Kolkatta Parsis To Discuss Survival Issues at Sunday workshop

Published on Parsi Khabar

Manackjee_Rustomjee_Dharmashala_for_Parsi_Travellers_-_Bow_Street_-_Kolkata_2013-03-03_5184_thumCome Sunday and the 500-odd Parsis in Kolkata will get together for a special workshop on problems faced by the community, one of the smallest in the country.

This is an initiative by Jiyo Parsi, an effort by the ministry of minority affairs to arrest the decline in the population of Parsis in India. The workshop will be on ‘Family Life in Modern Times’, followed by a presentation by Jiyo Parsi. Such workshops are being held at all locations across the country with sizable Parsi populations. A report will then be prepared and submitted to the ministry for further action.

“After the 2001 census, it was realized that the Parsi population has come down drastically in India over the last 50 years. We felt that something needed to be done to get community members to have more children. A lot of research was carried out to ascertain the causes. Much of this was done at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). Studies were conducted on subjects like community elders, family structures, what the Parsi youth does for a living and disease. The findings and recommendations were handed over to the Bombay Parsi Panchayat, an apex body of the community, and certain measures were taken. For the next few years, financial encouragement was given to those going in for a second or third child. In five years, a few hundred babies were born. This isn’t a mean feat for such a small community. We then went to the ministry and a five year project was granted,” said Dr Katy Gandevia of TISS and project co-ordinator, Jiyo Parsi.

During research, it had been found that the age of marriage is a major factor in declining population. According to Gandevia, women in the 100% literate community are allowed the same opportunities as men and lead independent lives. By the time they decide to settle down, they have few reproductive years left.

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