Open Letter to BPP Head Minoo Shroff

by Mrs. Pervin Mistry

To: Mr. Minoo Shroff, Chairman of the BPP.

Dear Mr. Shroff,

This is a reminder and an appeal from a very concerned Zarathushti.

Reminder because at the WZC2000 at Houston, Mr. Rustom Tirandaz, then Trustee of the BPP, requested you to chair the evening session wherein the World Body was discussed. It was unanimously expressed that it would be unwise for the BPP to join any World Body wherein the very definition of a "Zarathushti" is ambiguous. Your reply was that you would discuss with your co-trustees the concerns of all the individuals gathered in that room. Please, have you addressed our concerns?

This is an appeal because the community is speaking against the BPP being a signatory to this cosmopolitan World Body but instead of heeding the innumerable protests, the BPP seems to be ignoring the wishes of those it is supposed to protect and preserve. As a trustee of this hallowed institution called the Bombay Parsi Punchayat, it is your obligation to protect and preserve our millennia old religion, religious community and all our institutions specifically identified for the sole use of Parsi/Irani Zarathushtis! To preserve and protect indicates continuity and preservation without modification. The Vada Dasturjis and the community are appealing to you, the Chair of the BPP, to withdraw from this cosmopolitan World Body that is not geared towards the preservation of our religion and community but only to accommodate the converts who masquerade as "Neo-Zarathushtis".

So far, in the long span of four years, you have not once disclosed to the community who the "neo-Zarathushtis" are for whom this World Body is specifically created. The creation of this World Body affects every single Zarathushti wherever he/she may live. Because this cosmopolitan World Body affects the future survival of our religion and how it is going to be modified to legitimize the "neo- Zarathushtis", it is the duty of every Zarathushti to know who these so-called "neo-Zarathushtis" are! They are the recent converts!

In the last fifteen years many Muslims living in the U.S., specially in California, were the first to be converted to become "Zarathushtis" by none other than a Muslim apostate named Ali Akbar Jafarey. Mr. Jafarey himself performed the so-called navjote ritual of these Muslims although he denies the Paigambari of Asho Zarathushtra and the existence of the Sacred Avesta except the Gathas! It is important to note that word "navjote" is not mentioned anywhere in the Gathas. This trickery of Mr. Jafarey and his followers to misuse and distort our scriptures for convenience is well established. I am sure you know that navjote is not a magical wand that would make an individual a "Zarathushti". Children born to both parents who are themselves Mazdayasni Zarathushtis of unbroken lineage, are, by birth, born into the Mazdayasni Zarathushti religion and are rightfully entitled to all our religious institutions and privileges even before their navjote is performed. This is because our religion only accepts those who are born Zarathushtis. The converts who call themselves "neo-Zarathushtis" cannot be considered Mazdayasni Zarathushtis spiritually, traditionally, religiously, by tokham or by any deviously fabricated ideas.

There is no such word as "conversion" meaning proselytism from other religions into our own mentioned anywhere in our Sacred Avesta. The only conversion mentioned is the moral one of converting vices/angremainyu to virtues or Spenta Mainyu. The Majlis in Iran has warned Mr. Jafarey at least 3 times not to indulge in the anti-Muslim activity of converting Muslims to Zarathushtis. You must be aware of these warnings through the previous issues of Bombay Samachar when Mr. Jehan Daruwalla was the editor of Parsi Tari Arsi. Mr. Jafarey's conversion activities can well jeopardize the lives of innocent Zarathushtis living in Islamic regimes. If the World Body accepts converts, are we prepared to defend ourselves against any organized genocide in any country? The turmoil in Balkans, India and other parts of the world due to conversion is a warning to our small community to follow the safe mode of survival, ethnically and religiously, by adhering to the religious prescription of non-conversion.

The first mass conversions carried out by the Zarathushtrian Assembly (ZA) operated by Ali Akbar Jafarey started in Latin America recently. The Mexicans were "made" into "Zarathushtis" by four individuals who define themselves as the "good" (?) "behdins"! They are Ali Akbar Jafarey, Ron Delavega, Magdelena Yezdi Rustomji and one from Poone named Darius Irani! From Mexico the conversion activity of the ZA has spread to other Latin American countries, Europe, Central Asia, Africa and China. FEZANA (Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America), the main association to form this World Body, accepts proselytes through its individual associations whose definition of a "Zarathushti" is ambiguous. FEZANA does not define a "Zarathushti" because it states that "there is no universally acceptable definition of a 'Zarathushti'." This is a cunning ploy in order to legitimize any and all who "profess the Faith" as "Zarathushtis". The converts are thus automatically accepted as "Zarathushtis" by FEZANA! The WZO, also one of the parties to the formation of this World Body, accepts converts who "profess the faith" as "Zarathushtis".

The World Body's main goal is to cause alteration to our revealed Mazdayasni Zarathushti Din. Our Religion is the Religion of Ahura Mazda that Asho Zarathushtra brought to the Mazdayasni Zarathushtis alone! I request you to inform the community in India that FEZANA, WZO, as well as WZOF and the WZOI (two arms of this World Body) accept those who simply "professes the Faith" as "Zarathushtis". Sir, you are appointed as the Chair of IZO (International Zoroastrian Organization, the main arm of this cosmopolitan World Body), and you are also the Head of the BPP, a co-signatory to this cosmopolitan World Body. The community in India (also in North America and worldwide) is still kept in dark that this World Body accepts all and any converts as full members. Within 10 years any convert can officially lead the IZO and dictate to us, the true Zarathushtis, as to how our religion should be followed and who are considered "Zarathushtis"! When will you make the community aware that membership in this World "Zarathushtrian" Body is irrefutably cosmopolitan? The sooner the better, please.

Please apprehend the fact that to accept these proselytes and to form such a so-called "Zarathushtrian" World Body is in complete conflict and contradiction with the sacred duty entrusted to you as an official of the BPP. The trustees of BPP are entrusted to solely protect and preserve the institutions that are earmarked for the use of the Parsi/Irani Zarathushtis alone! How will you protect and preserve our religion if the BPP accepts the existence of such a cosmopolitan body and becomes a co-signatory to admit the converts as "Zarathushtis"?

As "neo-Zarathushtis", all converts will have full privilege of entry and use of our sacred religious institutions of which you and other BPP trustees are the custodians! You have not been able to declare as to what "safeguards" the BPP has put in place to protect the real Zarathushtis. There are none! There cannot be any "safeguards" if converts are also members of this World Body! By accepting the converts under any name such as "neo-Zarathushtis", you cannot but define and accept them as legitimate heirs to the religion of Asho Zarathushtra! You cannot separate the words "Parsi" and "Zarathushti". They are synonymous, religiously as well as ethnically. A Parsi and a Zarathushti are identical! Hence, how will you protect the "Parsi" interests in India when the BPP joins this World Body? It is impossible, Sir, and therefore, so far, there has been NO clear statement as to how you will safeguard the Parsi interests and institutions in India!

Will the true followers of Asho Zarathushtra ever accept the converts as "Zarathushtis" or as the followers of our Great Mazdaysani Zarathushti ancestors who sealed their own fate in blood only to protect and preserve the religion that the BPP and other associations are about to desecrate? Never! Sir, respectfully you are reminded that you do not own the institutions entrusted under your care. These belong to the community! You are only a Trustee and you cannot go against the wishes of the community and the Vada Dasturjis!

The community and the Vada Dasturjis emphatically declare to you, in writing, that they are against this World Body and against the BPP joining such a Body. Will you go down in history as the Destroyer of the Mazdayasni Zarathushti Din? Please do consider before this Body is officially announced at the World "Zoroastrian" Congress in London in June 2005. It is never too late to undo a wrong! You can still withdraw BPP's commitment to join this World Body, you can still resign from the post of an official of IZO of this World Body and you can still withdraw BPP's membership from the FPZAI! This way, you will be able to fulfil your sacred duty to your religion and to your community you are obliged to protect as the Chair of the BPP.

Please also allow me to remind you that the BPP has no adult franchise. The community has not elected you or any other trustee of the BPP. Only a very miniscule percentage has elected the trustees of the BPP and most of these who are eligible to elect are indebted financially (medically) to the cosmopolitan body called the WZO. It is morally wrong for a trustee of the BPP whose sacred duty is to preserve our religion and its institutions to also become an official of the WZO or FEZANA, or this World Body that accepts converts as "Zarathushtis"! This is conflict of interest and unethical. You may wear many caps of several corporations at the same time. These are not religious institutions and none of their ethical values are in conflict; however, you cannot wear two caps, one of a defender and the other of a destroyer, where religious teachings, rituals and traditions are concerned.

Besides, whom does this so-called World "Zarathushtrian" Body represent? Surely not the indigenous Zarathushti community! The community in India and worldwide (since this is a "World" Body) has not appointed any individuals to form this cosmopolitan World Body and none of the dissenting votes/voices have been counted! The few officials of this World Body are about to hijack the community to its doom in spite of strong protests by the Vada Dasturjis and community members! Mr. Shroff, will you let yourself be a party to this malevolent incidence? You have stated that you will not sign a document of affiliation to the World Body unless you are personally convinced about India's role being protected. How will you protect the religion, community and its institutions in India if converts are "Zarathushtis" and the terms Parsi and Zarathushti are identical? Will you be very specific and state the safeguards you have devised, if any, to protect the religion and community in India, please?

Currently in the U.S. there is an upsurge in the Evangelical Movement. Islam as well as many sects of Christianity is threatened. These individuals become easy targets to proselytism and our religion appears exotic and pleasing to them. The "neo-Zarathushtis" are offered political haven, financial bribes and "license to do as they please" without any responsibilities attached. Will the BPP become a party to such unethical conversion activities? Will you be able to live with your own conscience knowing you have harmed the very religion your ancestors gave their lives to defend, and the religion you were entrusted to preserve and protect undiluted and unharmed? Our miniscule numbers will be swamped by thousands upon thousands of converts in a world that is becoming increasingly intolerant of different religions.

A recent report states that the book, the World Almanac, published by Barnes & Noble, listed as New York Times Bestseller, gives the number of worldwide Zarathushti population as 2.7 million! This number is totally incorrect because we all know that our community worldwide is not much more than just one hundred thousand! This highly exaggerated number indicates that the World Almanac takes into account the recent converts as "Zarathushtis"! The BBC News Network and other Christian sources are reported as stating that the "Zoroastrian" religion is the world's fastest growing religion! Is our religion now just any merchandise to be bought and sold to those who search for a newer religion? Soon, it is expected that the number of Zarathushtis worldwide will swell to 65 million! How will you protect our ethno- religious community of merely a hundred thousand against the millions who will swamp the true Zarathushtis out of existence by diluting and altering our religion? Instead of standing firm against the religiously untenable act of conversion, you are about to destroy our tokham, the unalterable tenets, scriptures, traditions and rituals of our revealed religion forever to personal fame of becoming the first appointed Chair of the IZO, and to the misguided converts!

The trustees of the BPP are not upholding the original intentions of the donors who have entrusted the continuous succession of trustees of the BPP to protect and preserve all religious institutions for the Parsi/Irani Zarathushtis alone! We, the true Zarathushtis, appeal to you in the name of our Religion and forefathers whose name you recite and whose Fravashis you invoke, to please withdraw BPP's membership from FPZAI thereby refusing to be a co-signatory to the formation of this cosmopolitan World Body. This is an appeal to other associations in India to withdraw their membership from FPZAI in order to protest against the formation of this World Body and acceptance of converts as "Zarathushtis".

One last reminder, Sir, that the entire sacred Avesta and the Pahlavi Texts condemn din-dushmani as the worst sin. You are about to commit irreparable harm to your religion by becoming a co-signatory to the establishment of this World Body. It is an act of transgression to go against the wishes of the donors of the BPP whose trust you will not be able to uphold if you become a partner in this World Body. It is never ever late to rectify a wrong. I am positive that you, Mr. Shroff will reconsider your decision to make the BPP a partner to this irreligious, secular World Body.

May Ahura Mazda guide you,


Pervin J. Mistry

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