False Federation meeting reports in the Parsee Press

Rebuttal by Yazdi Desai

On 2/1/2005, Jame and Mumbai Samachar published an extremely biased and factually incorrect report about the Federation Meeting held in December 2004 in Ahmedabad.

This has been effectively rebutted by Mr Yazdi Desai. Mumbai Samachar has published Yazdi's rebuttal but Jame has not. Please send this mail to every person you know to help combat the lies and misinformation that has been spread about the Federation Meeting.


Hanoz M Mistry

The Editor,

Mumbai Samachar.


Your report on the Federation Meeting at Ahmedabad is factually incorrect and completely biased.

Factual error 1.

The World Body issue was opposed not only by 24 of the 29 Anjumans present that day, but by 41 (forty one) anjumans totally, (counting those who could not be present, but who have submitted written protests). This figure of forty-one, is likely to increase as days go by, for several anjumans who are not signatories to the protest, are still to be made aware of the cosmopolitan nature of this world body. Once the truth is made known to them, you can be sure you are going to have more protests on your hands, like it or not.

Factual Error 2.

You have written, "The so-called 24 out of 29 Anjumans which opposed the move collectively represented far fewer Parsis than the 5 Anjumans in favour". This statement too is factually incorrect. Firstly, to date the BPP has not passed/approved of the World Body Constitution and it is obvious that there is no unanimity on the BPP Board on this issue. BPP trustee Dinshaw Mehta has publicly opined that morally and legally, the BPP cannot join such a cosmopolitan Body. Trustee Dadi Engineer too has opined that morally the BPP cannot join the proposed world body. Our Chairman Mr. Minoo Shroff, has in fact publicly assured the community vide an interview in the Jame a few months ago that the world body would be a body of Parsi/Irani Zoroastrians only and would not include converts. Now that the cosmopolitan nature of the Body has been exposed, he too will be hard put to take the matter forward. The only supporters of the world body at the Federation Meet were Delhi, Chennai and Thane. Firstly, Delhi has been made a member of the Federation, in contravention of Federation Rules and Regulations. In any event, it represents only 600 Parsis/Iranis. Chennai represents 200, and Thane, represents 1500. Which of these anjumans can lay claim to being major anjumans, as projected by you?

On the other hand, those have opposed the world body include Poona, eight thousand five hundred, (8500), Surat, four thousand (4000), Ahmedabad, two thousand (2000), Navsari, one thousand five hundred, (1500), Borivli and Suburban Zoroastrian Association, along with 36 other anjumans! So dear sir, please do a recount and this time around, try not to fudge the figures and the facts.

Clarification 1

Under Rule 6 of the Federation Rules and Regulations, an anjuman can depute any person (not necessarily a member of that particular anjuman) to represent it at Federation Meetings. Mr. Khojeste Mistree represented Belgaum Anjuman, at the express request of its President, as did a few others who were deputed "proxies" by other anjumans, to attend the Meeting, with the specific objective of opposing the cosmopolitan world body. Every proxy attending the meeting was an official delegate duly appointed by a particular anjuman as per the Rules of the Federation. It is unfair that the massive support the orthodox had garnered in opposing the proposed world body is sought to be discredited by you by name calling, (butchers, bakers and sodawaterwalas) and other undesirable means. Please allow truth to prevail.

Clarification 2

Yes, there was an explosive incident on the second day of the Meeting, that all of us wish had not erupted, but one wonders why you fail to mention that that incident had absolutely nothing to do with the world body matter. It erupted over a completely unrelated issue, viz, Mr. Mogrelia's report of Madras anjuman's attempt to allow children of intermarried women, to become full-fledged members of the anjuman. That single incident (not connected to any world body discussion) is being misused to wrongly portray that the entire meeting was disorderly; and that single incident is deliberately being blown out of proportion in an attempt to discredit the fact that the majority of the anjumans of the Federation are opposed to joining the World Body. The orthodox had absolutely no intention of disrupting the meeting and not allow discussion. We were in fact clamoring for a discussion and a decision on the world body issue, which was consistently denied us. One wonders why Mr. Mogrelia was allowed to bring up this topic by the Chair, despite the Rule that no controversial matters are to be discussed at Federation meetings. We see it as a deliberate attempt to provoke orthodox sentiments, which were sought to be sidelined by the officials during the meeting

Questions you should have asked.

According to the Rules and Regulations of the Federation of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjumans of India, (FPZAI), Delhi Anjuman cannot be a member of the Federation because it allows membership to non- Parsi/Irani spouses and children of intermarried women. Yet Delhi not only attends Federation Meetings, but also has the same number of representatives on the Executive Council as the BPP! (the ratio is 5 trustees of the BPP to 5 members from Delhi). This despite Delhi having a population of only six hundred (600) Parsi/Iranis as compared to the 50,000 Parsis/Iranis the BPP represents. You should first look into Delhi's voting power on the Executive Council, as well as its very membership of the Federation, before you question the legitimate rights of smaller anjumans to their single individual votes. Questioning the voting Rules (established for 20 years), only after the World Body has received a fair and square trouncing at the Federation Meet, smacks of intellectual dishonesty, underlining a case of sour grapes.

You have asked, where do we go from here, and then have gone on to advocate a split in the Federation. You seem to be mouthing trustee Tamboly's threat. BPP Trustee Dinshaw Tamboly has threatened that he will see to it that the BPP steps out of the Federation, and that the BPP joins the world body on its own. Tamboly is now openly showing the WZO colours that he had successfully camouflaged these past many years. It doesn't seem to bother him that he will be splitting the Federation over this non-issue. Will the other 6 BPP trustees and leaders of individual anjumans all over India sit back and allow the Federation to be weakened and split thus? Will they allow the voice of the community that has spoken loud and clear at the Federation Meeting at Ahmedabad, as well as at two Public Meetings held in Bombay, to be stifled? We hope not. We would like to remind them once again, that they are Parsi leaders and that they owe their allegiance to the Parsi/Irani community alone. If they are still unsure about the opposition of the silent majority of the community, to the world body, let them call for a Samast Anjuman Meeting, to gauge the same. But they cannot ignore the voice of the community any longer.

Thanking you,

Yazdi Desai
7/4 Rustom Baug
Mumbai 400 027

Dear Hanoz,

Thanks for posting Yezdi's rejoinder to the Editor of Mumbai Samachar. I heartily congratulate Yazdi Desai for this very well written and well thought out rebuttal. There's nothing left out that needs to be addressed. A superb accomplishment! Thanks, Yezdi and may Ahura Mazda give more power to your pen and grant you added good health and strength to defend our Din the way you are, right now!

Indeed, the BPP is morally bound to either step out of this Cosmopolitan World Body fiasco altogether or to call a Samast Anjuman Meeting as per the unanimous sentiments expressed by all the Vada Dasturjis jointly with the community in attendance at the Public Meetings hosted by The Parsee Voice! The majority of Anjumans all over India are likewise opposed to this World Body. The BPP must act and submit to the will of the community by either stepping out of this cosmopolitan World Body deal or they must call a Sam and enter into a public debate as suggested by the community elders!

The community is now motivated and if the BPP Trustees cannot measure the jusso, Parsi-panu surfacing at this critical time, they will be making a great mistake. I am sure that at least some trustees, besides Dinshaw Mehta, will have the wisdom not to defy the sentiments of the community they supposedly represent and that they will comply with the Trust Deed by not joining with this cosmopolitan "Zoroastrian" World Body.

Thank you, Yezdi, thank you Parsee Voice and all the Defenders of our Faith for your superb rathestari of our Din!


Pervin Mistry.

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