First service at new Parsi prayer hall

The new prayer hall at Worli for Parsis, who choose burial or cremation of the dead, will see its first prayer service on Wednesday two weeks after it received a goahead from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

Dinshaw Tamboly, a member of the prayer hall trust and a former trustee of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) said that this is the first prayer to be held since inauguration on August 3, which was marked with a jashan.

An hour long service, uthamna, will be held for Nargis Fali Nariman, who died aged 95 on Monday. Nariman was cremated at the Chandanwadi crematorium, following which a prayer was held at her Haji Ali resi­dence on Tuesday.

Khushroo Madon, who is coor­dinating the prayer along with reformist Parsi priest Framroze S Mirza, said, “Attendance was restricted at the prayer service at her [Nariman’s] residence but at the uthamna, around 100 rela­tives are expected.”

Spread on 3,700 square feet and built at a cost of ^1.5 crore donated by the AH Wadia Trust, the prayer hall.

“Many Parsis today want alternate methods of disposal of the dead such as burial and cremation as carrion eating birds are declining in numbers,” Madon said.

Some community members wanted space in the Tower of Silence cemetery on Malabar Hill for a prayer hall for families who opted for burial and cre­mation but the BPP had denied permission.

Madon and Mirza were banned by BPP for six years from entering all BPP controlled fire temples for conducting Navjote (initiation ceremonies) of children of Parsi women who had non-Parsi spouses, conducting mixed marriages and performing after death prayers for Parsis who were cremated or buried.

However, the matter was eventfully settled in February through a Supreme Court appointed mediator.

The priests said that unlike other communities, who take their dead directly for cremation, the Zoroastrians recite geh sarna prayers before the cremation. After the cremation they follow it up with funereal prayers for four days.

Published on Parsi Khabar