20120209-Parsi_wedding_portrait_with_DastSuddenly our Parsi Zoroastrian community seems to have found a new controversy to keep the national mainline media and our traditionalists busy and up in arms against the onslaught of a few rich and powerful reformist community members who have now decided to prey on our sacred Doongerwadi lands, even in Navsari.

What is surprising and shocking is that the self-declared reformists are persons of wealth and have access to resources which can easily be used to create their own assets which can suit their new found requirements rather than trying to poach upon and force themselves on the conservatives who undoubtedly have the sole right to our religious places that were bequeathed to carry on age old customs, traditions and rituals only of Dokhmenashini.

A case to the point is the “Prayer Hall” in Mumbai which was conceptualized and funded by the wealthy reformist members of our community, who felt the need for such a facility and are now enjoying the same, without trying to encroach upon or force their will on the conservative community members and their sacred groves without breaking our age old customs. Of course initially the focus was on one of our Doongerwadi Bunglis to create a “Cremate Ni Bungli”, but luckily our community stood strong and united and with full support from the then B.P.P. Trustees, especially the late firebrand Rustom Tirandaz, their evil designs had to be abandoned.

What we see today is a live and let live formula where both sides are happy with what they have. In fact, one assumed that a similar approach which was pragmatic and simple would continue to be used for all such future requirements, but as the saying goes, “there is no stopping greed”, and thus commenced the Navsari controversy.

Our Navsari Doongerwadi lands and the adjacent Tata lands, were exclusively given only for Dokhmenasheni purposes by the donors and it is now unthinkable to even think that all this can be changed just because the “Reformist Lobby” led by a wealthy reformist himself, suddenly decides to have his way on our sacred Doongerwadi lands.

One fails to understand why a wealthy individual, who has vast resources at his command, wants to grab what belongs to the traditional community to satisfy his reformist views, instead of just going ahead and using his own resources to fulfill his own dreams and wants and desires and purchases their own burial grounds.

Surely the “live and let live” adage, seems to be turned into “let me live….. but at your cost only” motto.

The Trustees as well as elders in Navsari have confirmed that both lands were given solely for Dokhmesheni purposes only and the trust deeds reflect the true position, yet these gentlemen are trying to use their money, muscle and political power against their very own community members just to please and appease their new found whims and fancies. This cannot and should not be permitted and every Parsi Zoroastrian must and should stand up to safeguard what is legally and traditionally theirs and what is attempted to be forcefully taken away.

Luckily, all the five Parsi High Priests have unanimously opposed the move to use our Doongerwadi land for the creation of burial facilities.

Let us hope that Mr. Noshir Dadrawala, Trustee of B.P.P. and one who has great personal knowledge on trust matters, uses his good books with his co-trustees to bring in the realization that community property can and should only be used for the purpose for which it was given by the original donors and no pressure from vested interests should sway them in performing their bounden duty towards community assets.

– Dr. Viraf J. Kapadi

Published on Mumbai Samachar