ToThe Editor, Afternoon Despatch & Courier, Mumbai, India.
This letter is being copied to email@example.com, a mailing list on the internet with hundreds of Traditional Zarathushtri members.
It is also placed on the world wide web at http://www.ParsiZoroastrianism.com which is a site that has been visited by more than a hundred thousand people, and is very popular among Parsi and Irani Zarathushtris worldwide.
We must raise a strong objection to the fact that a newspaper of your stature has published a letter (30th May 2001) from a rogue Parsee who has attacked his own religion and community, stated several untruths in his letter and in so doing INSULTED the religious feelings of thousands of Zarathushtris worldwide.
We ask that you MUST ascertain the truth in this matter before publishing such untruths. The best option would be NOT TO INTERFERE in our religious matters at all, and give us the respect and religious freedom whuch the constitution of India guarantees to us. This is a religious matter and a secular paper such as yours should stay away from interfering in ANY religion.
To date, a number of Zarathushtris have written to you objecting to this letter, but your nespaper has not even the courtesy to publish the other side of the story. Your newspaper seems to be severely biased towards the "modern" "destructive" foreign way of thinking that is sweeping India, seeking to destroy and remove the cherished traditions and beliefs of the forefathers of today's Indians - the "Dharma" that made India strong in the past.
First of all, the rogue Parsi says "a majority of Parsis prefer either to go for cremation or burial". This is a DISTORTION of the truth, so much so that it verges on the ridiculous. For your information, and the information of all your readers, the recent SAMAST ANJUMAN (public community) meeting called by the BPP reiterated that the majority of the Parsi community preferred the age-old religious method of dakhma-nashini of our forefathers. This was followed by two public meetings at public halls in which full support for the Dakhmanashini system was shown by all our VADA DASTURJEES (High Priests) and more than 1500 Zarathushtris.
We are amazed at the threat of this "Judas" in our community: "The State Government must therefore act quickly and force Parsi Punchayat Trustees to close down the present age-old filthy, unhygenic system of disposal of dead."
The truth is, there are several proofs available from world medical organizations that cadavers do not present a "health hazard" if isolated from water and earth, such as the stone dakhmas are built to do. However, we must point out the absurdity of this threat - surely the "health hazard" by dumping bodies in the Ganges is far greater. Would this Judas, and his rich modernized friends, dare to suggest to the government to prohibit the way millions of bodies are being placed in the Ganges each year, in the name of the bogey of "health hazard"? Of course not.
The Judas also says: "D.D.G. have in possession photographs of central pit wherein is shown dead rotten bodies of men, women, and children piled up one above another. A camera never lies." Surely this takes the cake as an example of a traitor sordidly attacking the remains of his own people, and we take STRONG EXCEPTION to your newspaper printing such details and insulting our religious feelings.
The fact is that if a camera were likewise pointed inside an exhumed year old grave, or even a stinking garbage dump, you would get similar photos. This is what the dakhma is meant for - the destruction of dead, rotting matter, placed under the sun and on stone so that it does not pollute the earth. Such an ancient system is also used by the Tibetans and by certain native American tribes. It is a perfectly natural system.
The Judas says: "Late ...., Mr. ....., and many, many Parsis have preferred crematorium or burial after death"
These are the moneyed FEW, and it is a pity that they have chosen cremation or burial, which are SINS in our religion since they pollute the Holy Fire and the earth. The people who "bury" or "cremate" may be rich and famous, but as far as the religion of their forefathers is concerned, they have commited gross sins.
The ordinary Zarathushtri, who may not be filthy rich or famous, but who has faith in his religion and who diligently practices it and preserves it for thousands of years, is worth more to God and to the religion than these rich moneyed people, who have gone against the wishes of their own forefathers, who came to India to preserve their ancient Aryan religion.
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