This letter (reproduced below) is written by none other than our great rathestar Ervad Darius Sethna who was the first to publicly expose the desecration of our scriptures and rituals by Ali Akbar Jafarey. To fool the gullible, Mr. Jafarey twisted the truth by suppressing an important footnote from the Vishtasp Yasht and misquoting that even our Prophet, Holy Asho Zarathushtra, advised against the use of gomez (taro). Ervad Sethna exposed Mr. Jafarey's cunning and Dasturji Kotwal and also Dasturji JamaspAsa wrote to clarify this misinformation Ali Akbar Jafarey was spreading to the community. All this dishonorable craftiness by Jafarey was just to erase our sacred scriptures, specially the Vendidad and the ritual of Nirang Din, as well as doing away with purity laws. The Vendidad was targetted because this is the only Nask out of the 21 that has survived in entirety, is recited during the ritual of Nirang Din and also because this very important Nask condemns intermarriage and acceptance of non-Zarathushtis!
Kudos to Ervad Sethna for once again defending our religion, this time from the enemies from within! This is a very befitting reply to those who wish to alter our revealed scriptures, rituals and time honored traditions in the name of "freedom", "rights" and "humanism". Perhaps it is time we separate from the Reformist Zarathushtis as the Jews did from their owm indigenous members. The answer to our survival lies in how we will handle the continuity of our most ancient, millennia old religion and race without dilution during these times of turmoil and setting up of "global" bodies to include any and all "who profess the Faith" as "Zarathushtis"!
Thank you, Ervad Sethna, from all the Zarathushtis!
Ervad Darius N.Sethna
C/o C. Dorabji & Co.
Motlibai Wadia Bldg.
22D, Parsee BazaarSt.
Fort, Mumbai 400 001
January 4, 2005
Re: Article by Mr. Vispy Wadia in ‘Jam-e-Jamshed Weekly’ dt. November 28, 2004
I refer to the article published in ‘Jam-e-Jamshed Weekly’ by a Mr. Vispy Wadia, Trustee, A.R.Z., titled “What Did Our Prophet Zarathushtra Preach, Zoroastrianism Or Parsi-ism?”
The answer to the above question clearly lies in the proclamation of ‘The King of Kings, the great Achaemenian King, Darius the Great. This proclamation has been etched at Naqsh-e-Rustom, Iran stating, “Parsa Parsa-ha Puthra, Arya, Arya Chithra” ---- “I am Darius, the Great King, King of Kings, King of the countries of all races, King of this far-reaching earth, Son of Hystaspes, the Achaemenian, A Parsa (Persian), The son of a Parsa, An Arya (Aryan) of Aryan lineage.”
Perhaps the intentions of Mr. Wadia may be good, but his objective remains suspect. I cannot accept that by using scare-mongering tactics and creating a fear-psychosis amongst the Parsi Zoroastrian community at large, he can justify his ulterior ‘motive’, namely, “It is important ‘not’ to lose any “Inter-Married Parsi and their Progeny”. Since there is no such thing as “half a Parsi Zoroastrian”, these inter-married Parsis and their progeny are already lost and, of course, through their own personal choice.
As Mr. Wadia rightly states in this article, “all agiaries, baugs, doongarwadis, etc., are governed by the trust deed of the trust and every trust deed very clearly defines and states that the benefits of the trust funds and institutions are meant for Parsi-Zoroastrians only. Therefore, it is clear that all our baugs and agiaries are only for Parsi-Zoroastrians.”
The “Intermarried Parsi and their Progeny” do not fall into the above category, nor is their peculiar situation (of being inter-married) in consonance with the wishes and approval of the original founders and donors of the Parsi-Zoroastrian Trust Deeds. Therefore, they have no ‘right’ whatsoever to the usage of our consecrated institutions or to any benefits of our trust deeds. Even so-called ‘usage’ rights claimed by Parsi men married to non-Parsis can be challenged in the Court of Law.
Ethically, morally and logically, in this case, “The Intermarried Parsi and their Progeny” have no locus standi, and to accept them into our Religion against all our fundamental ethos, precepts and tenets could only “tantamount to hypocrisy and deceit” on our part towards these most unfortunate “The Intermarried Parsi and their Progeny” and beyond any reasonable doubt, indicating an act of dishonour on our part.
Some of our revered Dasturji Sahebs and Ervad Sahebs and trustees are totally responsible for bringing upon us, this current situation created by their vested interests, lies, double standards and above all, their despicable failure in the performance of their solemn duty to preserve and protect their Race and Religion the only reason for which our fore-fathers left their Fatherland, Ayran, and took refuge in our Motherland, Hindustan.
Before I conclude, I wish to quote the legal opinion of my very dear friend, the late Justice Jamshed E. Sanjana, on the “Neville and Nusli Wadia Navjotes”.
“There is no provision of Law to recognize non-Parsi persons as Parsi Zoroastrians after performing rituals like the Navjote and hence no Priest (mobed) or Dastur can legally perform any rituals such as a navjote and admit any person who is a non-Parsi in the Parsi (Zoroastrian) Faith.”
“I am basing my legal opinion in this behalf of Law pronounced in the case of Maneka Gandhi vs. Indira Gandhi (for greater details, see Journal 1985; A.I.R. Vol. 72 (1985 October) PP81-83 in the article by Mr. Justice M.L. Jain.”
Over the last 35 years or more, ever since I have been involved with this controversy at home and abroad, I have maintained that we must seriously consider adopting the solution wisely accepted by the Jewish community their Race and Religion. Some 150 years ago, they faced exactly the same dilemma as ours. After a lot of squabbles, ill-feelings and violent confrontations, costing innocent lives on both sides, good sense prevailed.
The unacceptable intermarried Jews and their progeny were helped by the entire Jewish community TO FORM A SEPARATE ‘IDENTITY” that of “REFORMIST JEWS’.
Distinctly separate and new institutions were formed giving the intermarried Jews and their progeny the dignity and the right to worship Judaism in their own way and in accordance with their own Rules and Values and yet accepting them as equals in all other aspects with mutual respect.
Needless to say, the results are obvious the Jewish community today vibrates with prosperity and power all over the world and are in total harmony amongst themselves.
I am in agreement with Mr. Wadia when he says, “The creation of a Zoroastrian World Body is a step in the right direction.” I would say, take this opportunity and call this NEW Body THE WORLD REFORMIST ZOROASTRIAN BODY because, in all honesty, that is what it actually would be, in reality.
The intermarried Parsi and their progeny have an equal right to worship Zoroastrianism, but without trying to destroy the original Zoroastrian institutions. Like the Reformist Jewish community, they can build their own institutions and worship in accordance with their own rules and values.
Ervad Darius N. Sethna
cc: Editor, Jam-e-Jamshed Weekly
Editor, Parsee Voice
Editor, Mumbai Samachar
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