Mumbai Samachar Article: WZO has ceased to be a Zoroastrian organisation


Some utterances by its leaders reveal the un-Zoroastrian character of the World Zoroastrian Organisation.

At the end of a well organised function to honour senior Zoroastrians, Mrs. Rhoda Mistry, Vice President (Central Zone), WZO India Trust said:"My daughter is married to a non-Zoroastrian. Yet I have had the navjotes performed of all my grandchildren." Such ill-timed and uncalled for remarks at the end of a public function reveal dangerous signals.

Mr. Rustom S. Gae, chairman of WZO Navsari Trust has been advocating performance of navjotes of children of intermarried Zoroastrians for the past 25 years. Merely performing a farcical navjote ceremony is not a passport to becoming a Zoroastrian. And all this is suggested by Mr. Gae as a remedy for the declining Parsi population. It is this same Mr. Gae a resident of Delhi who led the DDD Action Group's charge to the BPP office. Such irresponsible and dangerous utterances of these two leaders are not mere isolated instances or personal views.

The WZO has publicly honoured in May 2000 some of their supporters like Prof. Kaikhosrow D. Irani, Mrs. Dina McIntyre, Dr. Farhang Meher who are all ardent supporters of Ali Akbar Jaffarey. This born Muslim claims to be a Ratu or a prophet. He openly performs navjotes of non-Parsis who wish to become Zoroastrians and issues certificates.

Public memory is very short. Most Parsis may not even be aware that the WZO has changed its constitution some years ago to allow non-Zoroastrian spouses to become members of the WZO. Such members have full voting rights as also the right to become an office bearer of the WZO. This means that any non-Zoroastrian can tomorrow be elected the President of the WZO! Make no mistakes that a right to vote also means a right to change its constitution and rules. Thus WZO has ceased to be a Zoroastrian organisation.

HAMAZOR, the official organ of the WZO stated in its issue of spring 1996: "It is encouraging to note that the Delhi Parsi Anjuman has passed a resolution allowing children of Parsi mothers and non-Zoroastrian fathers into the fire temple in Delhi. Further it is felt that time has come when non-Zoroastrian spouses should also be allowed to enter the fire temple."

All these actions go to show that the WZO encourages conversion of non-Parsis to the Zoroastrian religion. We call upon Mr. Dadi Engineer and Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly to categorically state whether they agree with the views and actions of their fellow trustees of the WZO?


One month has elapsed since that fateful day February 10, 2001. On that day the B.P.P. Trustees were summoned by theDDD Action Group. It was a Saturday evening when an emergency meeting of the B.P.P. Trustees was held. (The BPP office is closed on week-ends).

Despite our writing in these columns on 25.2.2001 the BPP has miserably failed in its duty to let the community know why they succumbed to the threat of legal action? Why did they yield to the demands of the group of "professionals" to permit the use of bunglis for those opting to be cremated or buried? And such decision has been taken without consulting the Parsi community at large who are the real beneficiaries!

The drama unfolds as if it is taken from the pages of a detective novel. It seems to be part of a deep-rooted larger conspiracy to hoodwink the Parsi community and take it for a ride. It is not as if these events took place suddenly. More than three months ago on 24.11.2000 the Dasturjis and scholar priests cautioned the BPP Trustees in writing that one of its senior executives is making enquiries with the priests about performing four day ceremonies at the Doongerwadi. Till today the BPP Trustees have not even bothered to reply to this letter despite our urging them to do so in these columns thrice. But our appeal fell on deaf ears. This itself speaks volumes for the BPP's usual tall claims of transparency and accountability.

When this correspondent enquired with the BPP he was told that they did not consider it necessary to reply to the Dasturjis. He was also told that the enquiries with the priests working at Doongerwadi were made by the said senior executive in his personal capacity as an individual. It is only now that it is reported that the mobeds residing in Godrej Baug were threatened into giving a written undertaking and if they were unwilling to perform ceremonies for those opting to be cremated or buried, the leave and licence agreement for their flats at Godrej Baug would be terminated

The Trustees in their letter of 14.2.2001 claim that a large majority of the Parsi community is desirous of a change. It is on record that not a single Parsi asked for crematorium or burial at the Samast Anjuman meeting held in December 2000. At this Samast Anjuman meeting these very Trustees waxed eloquent about their sworn affidavit to uphold the system of dokhmenashini.

Now, throwing their sworn affidavit to the winds, they have suddenly yielded to pressure like straws that blow with the wind. May we respectfully remind the Trustees that they are morally and legally bound to act only as per the trust deed in letter and in spirit. They are also bound to honour the intentions of the donors. The donors donated the bunglis to enable the families of the deceased Parsi Zoroastrians to perform religious ceremonies as enjoined in the Zoroastrian religion.

To err is human. We do not know under what compulsions the Trustees acted with undue haste. So far they have not shown their willingness to share their problems with the community at large. Wise men learn from their mistakes. But the majority of the Trustees seem to be adamant and are not willing to rescind their hasty decision. One Trustee even claims that he is bound to honour his word which he gave to the DDD Action Group. He conveniently forgets the promise he made to the Parsi community in his election manifesto: "The sanctity of our religious institutions will be maintained." Come election time and everyone who aspires to be a Trustee seeks votes and promises that he will honour the tenets, customs, traditions of the religion and claims to be a true Zarathushti. It is only after occupying the chair as a Trustee that he changes his tune. After all it requires a backbone to stand upright and be prepared to face the challenges. Our present BPP Trustees with the best of intentions have yet to demonstrate that quality.

The eight Dasturjis of India have unanimously condemned the BPP's decision. The BPP Trustees who have often said they are not well versed with our religious tenets, doctrines have no authority to take a decision on religious matters on their own without consulting the community and the clergy. May wisdom dawn on our Trustees and may they rescind their hasty decision taken under duress. The ball is now in their court.

At the time of going to press we learn that the BPP Trustees have put their decision on hold temporarily.

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