The presumptuous and self righteous message of Mr. Rumi Sethna, Chairman, WZO, London, to the Prime Minister of India and published in the Jam-e-Jamshed Weekly makes shocking reading.
How can the WZO arrogate to itself the right to speak on behalf of "2,50,000 Zoroastrians" of the world? Since when has it become the self-appointed representative of every Zoroastrian living on this planet? Isn't this once again a devious ploy on the part of WZO to ingratiate itself in the eyes of those who matter?
Again, where does Mr. Sethna get the fanciful, inflated figure of 2,50,000 Zoroastrians? Is it some fear that a far lesser but realistic number would convert the Zoroastrians into a "tribe"? Or, is it that, in keeping with the change in the constitution of the WZO, eight years ago, whereby even a person "confirmed into" as against "born into" the Zoroastrian faith, as well as, "non-Zoroastrian spouses married to Zoroastrians and their children, can become members of the WZO, "Zoroastrian" includes all shades from grey to black?
In this regard, for the Parsees of India and particularly of Mumbai, it is pertinent to recall briefly the antecedents of WZO. In the early 60s of the last century, there was this "Incorporated Parsi Association of Europe". In the late sixties, under the leadership of late Mr. Jehangir Moos, the name was changed to the "Incorporated Zoroastrian Association of Europe". The word "Parsi" was willfully and meaningfully dropped, so that the radicals can have room for manoeuvring with the omnibus term "Zoroastrian"! Later, the Association became the "Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe". This was the genesis of the birth of the WZO in 1980, when its first President Mr. Bailey R. Irani, glibly talked of "the ancient heritage handed to us must be preserved, cherished and carefully handed to future Zoroastrians". It is on the basis of this conviction that in 1983, an anonymous donor gave a princely amount of £ 150,000 to the WZO for the formation of the first "World Zarathushtrian Trust Funds" as a charitable trust in London. Little did the donor know that ten years later...
Since, 1993, the WZO has employed all tactics and strategies to woo the Parsees of India into joining it. The letter to the Prime Minister almost a month and a half after the September 11,2001 terrorist attacks in USA, is one more gimmick used by the WZO to oil its way into the corridors of power!
Isn't it high time for the apex body of the Parsees of India in general, and those of Mumbai in particular, the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, to put the WZO in its place whenever it tries to meddle in matters, with which it is not connected? The 1200 year old Parsee community of India, too, should not allow itself to be hijacked by a 22 year old pseudo- Zoroastrian organization!
(It is time the WZO realizes it cannot fool all the people all the time-MJG*)
*MJG-Marzban J Giara- columnist of Parsi Tari Aarsi.
Mumbai Samachar; Sunday November 04,2001 page 20
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