#AwardWapsi Is Farce. We ‘Minority Of Minorities’ Feel Safe Under Modi Government

As a young boy, the star attraction while visiting our Fire Temple in Kolkata, known as The Late D B Mehta’s Zoroastrian Anjuman Atash Adaran which is located on Metcalfe Street would be “Aspi”, the holy white bull.

Aspi was a part of us. Aspi had a room dedicated to him on the ground floor of the fire temple. Aspi was always treated like a pampered child. As I grew older I was taught the religious significance of Aspi for us Parsi Zoroastrians. Old age took Aspi away from us and it defiantly left a void in our lives.

2In Parsi customs, cleanliness and purification are extremely close to religiousness. The “Nahan” is a ceremonial bath taken just before a wedding (by the bride and the groom), as also, before the Navjote ceremony which is the thread ceremony for conformation into the Parsi Zoroastrian faith.

In preparation for the bath, the person recites the baj (a prayer). Subsequently under the supervision of the priest, he or she chews on a pomegranate leaf to imbibe wisdom (pomegranate is the fruit which is the “symbol of wisdom”). After removing the chewed leaf, he or she also sips “Nirang” (consecrated white bull’s urine) which Paris believe purifies the body.

The Bull

A white uncastrated bull which does not even have a single coloured hair on his body and which has been consecrated, is considered scared by the Parsis and is called “Varasyo”. Such a bull is extremely rare to find.


The preparation of the “Nirang” is no easy task. To purify the bull urine, two priests undertake the purificatory “Barashnum” ceremony. In order to attain highest ritual purity, the two priests under take various religious ceremonies which last 17 days. Subsequently the ceremony begins of consecrating the bull urine (called “Taro” or “Gomez” when not consecrated).

First the utensils for holding the urine and pure water are made ritually and some urine is collected from the bull. The priests undertake the preparatory paragnā ceremony in the afternoon. Shortly after midnight, the Vendīdād ceremony is performed. The vessel containing the urine and another filled with pure water are placed inside the ritual precinct and elaborate religious ceremonies take place subsequent to which the “Nirang” becomes consecrated.

In today’s world drinking the “Nirang” might astound many as the said urine would, as many believe, contain all kinds of bacteria, pathogenic and non-pathogenic. However a test conducted on the “Nirang” by Dr. Saunders, a consultant Bacteriologist at St. Nicholas Hospital, London at the request of Late Sohrabji H. Kutar found no growth of any kind in the said “Nirang”. I am sure the atheist would defiantly have a view to the contrary.

Award Wapsi (return) Debate

Parsis belong to one of the microscopic communities in the world. As they say, Parsis are the “minority” of the “minorities” in India. Yet while we were ignored by the previous regimes here is a government at the centre who has taken Parsi issues with such vigour which even the Parsis could not fathom.

Minority Affairs Minister of the Union of India Ms. Najma Heptulla has clearly stated that “of the six minority communities, the weakest is clearly the Parsis” and further stating that “it’s Parsis who need special attention”.

The Union government has made allocation of crores of rupees to show-case the civilization and culture of the Parsis in year 2015-16 budget. An exhibition ‘The Everlasting Flame’ will be supported by the Ministry of Minority Affairs and will be held between March 19 and May 29, 2016. The prime minister will visit the most sacred fire temple of the Parsis at Udvada in Gujarat in December. May I ask why this shrine was never given importance before? Are minorities safe under the present government? Without doubt an emphatic – “Yes”.

There are a group of protesting writers and film-makers angry with murder of Muhammad Akhlaq in Dadri over allegations that he ate beef. The latest to join the bandwagon is Ms. Arundhati Roy. With all due respect to her, let me take up the cause so beautifully expounded that “Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and Christians — are being forced to live in terror, unsure of when and from where the assault will come.” Ms. Roy even forgets to mention that Parsis are a minority. Further Ms. Roy won the National Award for Best Screenplay for a short film in 1989. Parsis have been murdered but she did not even show a murmur of a protest. Why? Here are some examples:-

A) December 2000 – Within a year of Ms. Roy getting her award three members of a Parsi family were brutally murdered at their flat in Wadia House in south Mumbai including a 93 year old lady. Such was the brutality of the attack that all the faces were disfigured;

B) December 2014 – A septuagenarian couple were killed under the jurisdiction of Palghar police station, Thane;

C) March 2015 – A 78-year-old retired principal secretary to a former Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court was murdered at his residence at Tata Blocks, Bandra (West), Mumbai.

Where were these protesting writers and film makers then? How come they never came forward to protest? Simple – there would be no media coverage. All we are concerned over secularism’s double standards are shown by these protesting writers and film makers.

The cow and the bull is as scared to the Parsis as it is to the Hindus. You can indulge in Endocannibalism (eating dead human flesh) for all we care. But do respect our sentiments also, though we are not a “vote bank”.

Dear Aspi you shall be missed forever.

Publised on News World India