Focus on ‘us’ may script Parsi turnaround

Be Responsible. Don’t use a condom tonight.

With India bursting at the seams, there is probably only one community in the country for which this slogan holds true. And to arrest the fall in Parsi population, Jiyo Parsi, the organization working with support from the ministry of minority affairs, on Sunday held a workshop in Kolkata. The approach here was straightforward and practical.

Katy Gandevia and Pearl Mistry from Jiyo Parsi got the ball rolling by encouraging people to have more babies. It isn’t easy, particularly for the Parsis where everybody has an opinion (10 opinions, Gandevia believes). According to Mistry, the rate of divorce among the Parsis are high as many women are not ready to stay in joint families after marriage.

“There is so much of ‘Me’ in all of us that feelings for the community have come down. The Centre has allotted Rs 10 crore for five years. This means that we can spend Rs 5 lakh on every couple. The problem in the community is that girls get married late as they are independent by nature. By the time they settle down, they have few reproductive years left. We have had cases where hyper or hypo thyroid has prevented women from becoming pregnant. Jiyo Parsi urges all women to get screened and seek medical assistance if required. The costs will be reimbursed. The project also pays for artificial intervention,” Gandevia said.

A gynaecologist was also invited to discuss issues concerning pregnancy and age.The doctor also told young women how she has succeeded in managing a successful career as well as a good family life. This is one of the major concerns among Parsi women. “The worst part in a woman’s life is between 25 and 35 years. She has to manage a career while there are concerns of leaving her family and settling with her in-laws. Women can’t keep on blaming others. They should have the inner desire and shouldn’t be afraid of marriage. It is a challenge that they have face and fight. A major cause for cancer among Parsi women is their unmarried status,” the doctor said.

The effort was appreciated by the Parsi Zoroastrian Association (PZA) in Kolkata. According to president Darius Bapooji, the workshop will not only help youngsters to go in for marriage and children, even families will be encouraged to work for the growth of the community. “The family is very crucial in our community. It is good that the family is part of the workshop. People also learnt of educational loans for Parsi children from our own trusts. This will allay fears that parents may have about their children’s futures,” he said.

Published on Times Of India