Reply to Bachi Karkaria: Challenge to the Times of India

At 02:55 PM 15/07/2005 +0100, pervin mistry wrote:

Dear Porus and Nauzer,

Thank you both for taking up the cudgel with Ms. Bachi Karkaria. The "traditional" stand and the stand that is taken by all the 7 current Vada Dasturjis is that the Zarthushti Religion does not accept or promote proselytes! Being a Zarthushti and a journalist, perhaps Ms. Karkaria should have first consulted the Dasturjis and printed their opinion side by side in order for her coverage to be "good" journalism.

In matters of religion Ms. Karkaria's persoanl views are not important since the Dasturjis are not "journalists" or "lawyers" or seek any other profession except "Dasturi". They are there to give their educated opinion regarding conversion and they have unanimously and repeatedly declared conversion to be alien to the Zarthushtrian scriptures, customs and traditions.

In the Gathas we are asked to question the choice of thoughts, words and deeds alone and whether or not such actions are in tune with Asha or righteousness. We are asked to choose only between the two mentalities of good and evil. We are not asked to "choose" our religion as we would choose our meals or clothes. There are many things in life we do not choose. We do not choose our parents after we are born as they are given to us prior to and by virtue of birth. Whether or not we want a different set of mother and father who happen to be more rich is immaterial. We do not choose our place of birth because it happens to be in a thrid world country! The soul chooses before birth the parents, religion and place of birth that is best suited for its spiritual progress while living. We are endowed by Ahura Mazda's Grace certain aspects in Life that are non-negotiable such as parents, family, religion, karma! There are ceratin Immutabele Laws too that are irrefutably mentioned in the Gathas and the unavoidable cause and effect of our choosing is also stated! Hence, the "questions" and the "choice" referred to by Ms. Karkaria is out of "Gathic" context.

Very good replies, Nauzer and Porus. Thanks.


Porus wrote:

Bachi Karkaria,

We challenge your concept of being a "good journalist". You have shown yourself to be openly biased in favour of the fake "conversions" occuring in the Western world, that is not the hallmark of good journalism. You have offended the religious sentiments of the majority of Parsis/Iranis, *your* community, by encouraging these false shows in the West (for your info this is not the first fake ceremony) since you well know your community does not recognize these fake ceremonies as valid and it hurts our feelings to see our religion mocked openly in this way.

You have also given unnecessary publicity to a South American non-Zoroastrian who has been reported to have said he would walk over the dead bodies of our Parsi people when he and his kind come to claim our sacred fire temples. If you were fair and unbiased, you would also have included his real feelings of hatred and ill-will for the Parsis, *your* people.

You have given undue publicty to a notorious MIS-awareness group, a group that was formed by the yahoogroups prohibited activity of mass-adding thousands of unsuspecting email addresses, and which is controlled by liberals and which censors traditional views. If you were truly a "good" journalist, you would also give publicity to the Traditional Zarathushtris mailing list (, but you have never done so.

In the last 2 days, The Times of India has not published any of our protest comments on your outrageous article, so the very concept of fairness in this newspaper is in doubt. We therefore challenge you, and the Times of India, to carry an open debate with the Traditional Zarathushtris. We will take your liberal views one by one and debate them with the spiritual help of the religion both of us were born into.

Please forward this letter to your editor so he can understand the deep hurt to the religious feelings of the Parsis/Iranis caused by such nonsense articles from your pen.


Dear Nauzer,

Thanks for passing on the Traditional Zs' anger over my report on the Russian conversions. I'm not surprised, but I continue to be disappointed by such reactions. If there's a newsworthy development, we are professionally obliged to report it, regardless of personal views on the subject. We may be opposed to the Iraq war or the porn-quotient of MMS, but does that allow us the luxury of not covering it?

Secondly, an e-group especially should know that, in the age of the Internet, you simply cannot withold information. Indeed, wide-open windows that allow the free flow of debate rather than barricades will help us keep our own thinking young within their ancient faith which so progressively encouraged questioning. On the same argument, what's the point of a ``protest campaign" that's restricted to the exclusive domain of this group. If you'll excuse the unwise choice of expression, it is tantamount to ``preaching to the converted". It would be more logical to discuss this in the open forums of the Times of India so that everyone who read the piece also gets to hear the opinions against conversions -- or watch the shooting of the messenger who has dared bring such news.

I believe that I have made the Parsi Zoroastrian stand as clear as possible in this context, without any personal bias. Perhaps that's the problem. These traditionalists would like me to write like a ``good Parsi" rather than like a "good journalist". In my understanding of both these proud roles, I find no conflict between the two.



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