July 7st, 2003
Mr. Minoo Shroff, The Chairman, BPP,
The President/Chairman, FOPZAI,
The BPP Trustees, Mr. Dinshaw Mehta, Mr. Dadi Engineer,
Mrs. Silloo Kavarana, Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly, Mr. Maneck Engineer, Ervad Burjor Antia,
Dear Mr. Shroff, and respected Trustees of the BPP,
We, the concerned Zarthushtis of the Traditional Zarathustris mailing list (TZML), understand that in January 2003, the BPP hosted a meeting of the officials of WZO, ZTFE, FEZANA, FOPZAI and other interested parties to facilitate the formation of a proposed World Body.
Further, the Jam-e Jamshed Weekly dated June 22, 2003 reported that FOPZAI appointed Mr. Minoo Shroff, the Chairman of BPP and also the President/Chairman of FOPZAI, to liaise with WZO and other world Federations to pursue the formation of an apex World Body of Zarthushtis. This mandate was given to him at the meeting of FOPZAI, held on June 7th and 8th, 2003 in Mumbai.
We are aware that several BPP trustees wear more than just one hat and belong to other Organizations and/or Federations that have completely divergent constitutions and notions of who is considered to be a Zarthushti. This creates a serious conflict of interest.
We seek your clarifications on our concerns regarding the role of the BPP in the formation of this World Body.
While it is very desirable to unite all true Zarthushtis around the globe under one umbrella, it can only be beneficial if such an umbrella body is set up to protect and preserve the religion and religious institutions as well as rituals, traditions, scriptures of the Parsi-Zarthushtis!
Our main concern is that the WZO and other Federations who will converge to form this apex World Body actively encourage and accept the membership of converts, neo-Zarthushtis, juddins, inter-religiously married folk and children of mixed parentage into the Zarthushti fold. To them any one who believes in good thoughts, words and deeds is a Zarthushti. Consequently, this apex World Body will also inevitably include converts, juddins, etc., as so-called “Zarthushti” members. By accepting any and all such as “Zarthushtis”, such a World Body is suicidal considering our microscopic numbers.
The BPP does not represent either the individuals or the associations. It is not a Federation and nor is it an Organization that accepts individual membership. The BPP is set up as a “trust” to manage the funds and properties bequeathed by our philanthropic ancestors for the sole use of Parsi-Zarthushtis! Managing our trust funds is an entirely different mandate than forming/joining a political or religious body where the BPP trustees become involved.
If the BPP joins this World Body, what plan does it have for safeguarding the Parsi-Zarthushti community? How will it prevent the admission of juddins and converts into our sacred places and also prevent the consignment of bodies of juddins and converts to the dakhmas? The BPP may maintain that it intends to follow its own constitution in India. However, in an age of freedom and rights how will it follow its own constitution and prevent non/neo-Zarthushtis from demanding their “rights” to enter agiaries, atash behrams, etc., if the World Body accepts these intruders as full “Zarthushtis”? The BPP will be in a minority on this World Body and will be swamped over by all those liberal/neo-Zarthushti groups, thereby losing its status as the apex body of the Zarthushtis. Over time, its independence will ultimately affect the status of our agiaries and atash-behrams, throwing open their doors to all non/neo-Zarthushtis.
The BPP is already regarded as the Apex Body and its Chairman should speak on behalf of all Zarthushtis provided the Chairman complies with the trust that is bequeathed in his care of preserving and protecting our religion and its institutions without seeking to alter them. Only the Parsi-Zarthushtis can benefit from the funds and properties managed by the BPP.
If the BPP decides to join an apex World Body that accepts any one who is not a Parsi-Zarthushti by birth, then would it not be a breach of trust on part of the BPP trustees who are mandated to be trustees of institutions meant for Parsi-Zarthushtis alone? The BPP cannot subscribe to the inclusion of juddins, converts and self-professed “Zarthushtis” into our community or in our places of worship. Parsi-Zarthushtis are those only whose both parents are Parsi-Zarthushtis by birth. Moreover, decisions taken on behalf of the Parsi-Zarthushti community without its knowledge or consent and without the consent of our Vada Dastoors on an issue of such great importance would construe a serious breach of trust and faith. Such an act would also be construed as misuse of power and authority invested in the trustees of the BPP.
We are concerned that the acceptance of intermarriage, non-Zarthushti spouses, juddins and converts in the World Body will bring about the gradual destruction of our age old traditions, rituals and divinely revealed scriptures in order to legitimize religious transgressions. In general, everything that is our unique way of life and sets us apart as Parsi-Zarthushtis will be severely compromised or lost forever. What Alexander and the Arabs could not achieve, the World Body will bring about with one swift stroke through its political resolutions made by a handful of its officials. This forecasts a suicidal course for our microscopic community that is struggling to survive and safeguard the flame of its ancient religion from extinction in the current turbulent waters of “change” and “freedom”.
May we remind the trustees that our sagacious forefathers did not leave their beloved homeland of Iran to protect their own lives and their ethnicity. They could have lived happily and preserved their ethnicity had they converted to Islam in order to continue living in Iran. They came to India only to protect and preserve their religion and religious practices. It was with this intent that they also established the BPP to look after the sole interests of Parsi-Zarthushtis. Therefore, it is very questionable what benefits, if any will accrue by BPP joining an apex World Body. On the contrary, the consequences of joining will be disastrous to the religion, community and also to the BPP itself.
What happens to the Parsi-Zarthushti community in India is bound to affect those of us living abroad. We do not wish to see our beloved community being exposed to the dangers of extinction. We request the honorable trustees of the BPP to please answer our concerns.
SD: The Managing Board of the TRADITIONAL ZARATHUSTRIS MAILING LIST (TZML)
on behalf of its true Zarathushtri members.
This letter will be placed on the Traditionmal Zoroastrianism Home page at http://www.ParsiZoroastrianism.com for the information of real Zoroastrians worldwide.
This letter has been sent to:
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"Dasturji Nadirshah Unvala"
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"Ervad Rooyintan P Peer"
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