In the issue of Jame Weekly of 3rd March 2002, DDD/AG has asked certain questions to BPP Trustees, the Prelates, and also to the community at large.
Without so much as a proper enquiry they have asked the BPP Trustees-
QUOTE " If Banglore can give its Zoroastrian community the right to choose between an Aramgah and a Dokhma what religious doctrine denies the residents of Mumbai their choices and rights?" and, " how do you justify your stand that four day obsequies cannot be performed for those opting for alternate modes of disposal in Mumbai when prayers are being said in Banglore for those Zarathustris whose last remains are not confined the Dokhmas?" UNQUOTE.
Let it be known that on the above counts the assumptions made by the DDG/AG are totally wrong.
There is a Gujarati proverb which reads as follows; ( a drowning man clings to the foam)
The intention of DDG/AG is quite clear. They want to create confusion and misunderstanding within the community by making these wrong and unsubstantiated statements, in the said article, basically relating to Mumbai and their ongoing controversy with the BPP Trustees they have, in an attemp to mislead the readers and to further their own cause chosen to make factually wrong statements relating to the prayers recited, and the practice followed in Banglore for the disposal for our dead. This they have done repeatedly and therefore, it compels me to refute and deny these statements and also give the readers a correct picture of the practice followed in Banglore.
a. At the outset let me categorically state that Banglore Anjuman does not accept or encourage any other mode of disposal of Parsi dead other than Dokhmenashini.
b. If any person opts for cremation or burial,the Anjuman does not intervene nor does it authorise any priest for performing the four-days ceremonies.
c. Our Trust Deed, Rules and Bye-laws clearly stipulated that with the coming to into existance of the Tower of Silence, the only form of disposal accepted in Banglore will be as prescribed by our religion. i.e. consigning the bodies to the Dokhma. It is also pertinent to know that this was the collective dictate of the 14 High Priests, that whenever there is a Tower of Silence and a person opts for other method of disposal, his/ her four-day ceremonies, should not be performed by the priests. The Anjuman strictly adheres to this rule.
e. Prior to the construction of the Dokhma in Banglore, there was a burial ground ( a piece of half an acre of land given free as a grant by the Government of Mysore for burying the dead, with the condition that it will revert to the Government if the said plot is not used for burial. ) After the Tower of Silence came into existence, the BPZA Anjuman resolved that henceforth the disposal by burial will stop. Following protracted litigation, the Government took over the management of the burial ground plot, and vested the management powers to the then Deputy Commissioner who had formed an independent committee under his chairmanship and made it available to those who insisted in burying their dead. The Anjuman had by then, already decided to detach themselves from the practice of burial and had nothing to do with it. This position continues even as of now.
f. It may be noted taht the decision to keep the burial ground going was on the basis of a Government of Mysore order and certainly not what the Anjuman had wanted.
Being the senior-most member of the Banglore Anjuman, with 68 years of service to our Banglore Parsee Zoroastrian Anjuman and our Agiary, I feel that not only is it my duty to strongly refute the false statements made in your above-referred article but once again proclaim to all and sundry that along with our other seven Vada Dasturjis I, too, have strongly stood in support of the system of Dokhmenashini, to the total exclusion of any other form of disposal. I am proud to say that our Anjuman also follows the same belief. Hopefully this clarification will help the public to get a proper perceptive of the practice and custom followed by the Banglore Anjuman and not fall prey to false and misleading statements made by a few with vested interests.
It is pertinent to note that Ms. Parinaz Gandhi in her editorial in the November 2001 of Parsiana issue has gone on record citing the observations of a member of the Banglore Parsee Community, who is clearly supportive of the DDG/AG. The member confirms that if he or his friends opt for any other mode of disposal in Banglore, the four-days ceremonies will not be performed. This being the case, we wonder how the DDG/AG have come to such wrong conclusions with regard to the practice followed in Banglore as applicable to the disposal of the dead. The DDG/AG pride themselves on being a highly educated class. If this be so they should consider it necessary to enquire and arrive at the truth. Their failure to do so in this instance leads to the conclusion that their motives are suspect.
DASTUR NADARSHAH P. UNVALLA.
Printed by Mehernosh Fitter.
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