Our own genuine Heritage and Legacy: by Dr. Pallan R. Ichaporia

Dear Readers:

For your reading pleasure:

A passage from the paper presented by Prof Oktor Skjaervo at the Second N. America International Gatha Conference

As the editor-in-chief of The Research Journal of FEZANA, while reviewing the paper presented by Prof Dr. Oktor Skjaervo at The Second North American International Gatha Conference, (to be printed in the proceeding of the Gatha Conference) a passage (from his paper) is so relevant and timely to our Zoroastrian children that I would like to give it as food for your thoughts.

Prof. Dr. Skjaervo of Harvard University said, "More specifically, I have tried to emphasize that their religion and culture is not based exclusively on the Gathas, but contains nearly four millennia of human contribution in the form of religious thought and literary compositions. It is this heritage, embedded in what we refer to as the Young Avesta, as well as the later Pahlavi, Persian and Parsi literature, that constitute the fundamentals of the Zoroastrian cultural identity. Dismissing it as not being the word of the Prophet and thus not worth consideration only courts disaster, because it leaves you with nothing but a set of obscure texts, the meaning of which nobody agrees upon. This attitude is comparable to that of certain Christian sects, who dismiss everything that is not written in the Bible. It would be like denying two millennia of European history and cultural achievements as not the part of a Western identity.........

Zoroastrian culture is much more than the Gathas. The Gathas are just one small part of its legacy, and it is important that the young Zoroastrians should learn that they possess wonderful literary and even philosophical traditions, quite capable to compete with those of other Western and Eastern cultures. Only having a few grown up Zoroastrian intellectuals and Zoroastrian academicians tell them that these traditions are not genuine because they are not the words of the Prophet is not going to help the survival of the faith......"

Several leading Western Scholars of International standings whom I know, have similar opinions. It is now-a-days fashion to try to find Avestan, Pahlavi, Persian and Parsi religious literature in the Gathas and if it is not found, then it is to be rejected under the false premise that it is anthropological, ancient history, prescriptive not refelective, etc etc. This will lead us towards our own self destruction. I hope the above passage has come in nick of time to make us think twice before we discard our own genuine heritage and legacy.

With kind regards,

Dr. Pallan R. Ichaporia.

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