The Jame Poll is a SHAM

Zarathushtris stand firmly behind Dakhma-nashini


The Editor
Mid-Day Newspaper,
Mumbai, India.


Dear Sir,

This is with regards to your recent article "PARSIS RECONSIDER DISPOSAL OF DEAD"
published in the Mid-day newspaper of 28th June 2000, in which a "poll" conducted in the
Jam-e-Jamshed newspaper is mentioned.

We are members of the Traditional Zarathushtris Mailing List (TZML) on the internet
(currently 209 born Zarathushtri members from all around the world) and we are of
the concerted opinion that the recent Jame Poll on Dakhma-nashini is a SHAM.

First of all, religious matters cannot be decided by "polls" or "majorities". Our ancient
Mazdayasni Zarathushtri religion is decided by the Avestan scriptures which have been
revealed to our Prophet Zarathushtra by Ahura Mazda Himself. In these scriptures,
Ahura Mazda commands all Zarathushtris to follow the Dakhma-nashini method
of dead body disposal and no other, so that the earth, fire, and water are not
polluted by decomposing matter.

As such, it is folly and a disgrace to subject the commandments of Ahura Mazda
to a shoddy "poll" and decide by a "vote" whether or not the commandments should
be followed. We strongly CONDEMN the creators of such polls and their hidden
instigators. The supporters of such polls include rabid liberal organizations based
in America, where unsanctioned and insulting cults have been formed by Muslims
based on our religion.

Tomorrow, can another newspaper decide to publish a poll on whether or not the
name of Ahura Mazda can be changed, or the name of our Prophet Zarathushtra,
or whether we should stop worshipping Fire because of the smoke in our fire temples?
These things are SET and defined in our religion, just like the dakhma, and cannot
be decided or changed via a "poll".

Essentially a poll is a Western concept and cannot be applied to religious matters.
Polls often give the wrong impression in other mattters as well, for eg. the Albert
Kinsey poll of college students that erroneously convinced America in the fifties
that adultery and homosexuality were at high levels throughout the country, whereas
in reality they were at high levels only in the subset of liberal students that responded
to the poll in the first place. This poll was indeed one of the aspects that brought about
a moral lapse in the modern world from then on.

In a similar manner, the numbers carried by the Jame are totally wrong: YES at 63%,
NO at 36% and 528 persons voted in all out of more than 50,000 Zarathushtris in India.
In what way is this supposed to reflect the entire Zarathushtri community? As per
modern concepts, 528 persons (among them non-Zarathushtris) do represent the
whole Zarathushtri community, but then modern concepts are known to be silly
and wrong many a time.

We feel that this is a shoddy "poll" on one of the greatest tenets of our religion
where the respondants may have been non-Zoroastrians as well. We ask you -
would the Pope in Rome allow Muslims and Hindus in Italy to vote on matters
concerning the Catholic religion?

If it was just a matter of numbers, then the Jame have also wrongly missed
out the letter we sent on behalf of the TZML, which has 209 members. 63% of
528 is 333, 36% of 528 is 191. Adding 209 to 191, we get 400 which is the majority
in favour of Dakhmanashini.

We therefore QUESTION the Jame figures and urge you not to lend credence to
such "polls" which are non-Indian in origin and have nothing to do with the great
culture of our peoples. The Zarathushtri community in India stands firmly behind the
ancient method of Dakhma-nashini, which has been followed by our forefathers
for tens of thousands of years and we reiterate that these age-old principles
will stand as a rock and not be changed by us.


Porus Homi Havewala
Traditional Zarathushtris Mailing List (TZML)
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