The following is the text of a short talk that was given by me recently at a special joint function of Zoroastrian Association of California and California Zoroastrian Center, in Westminster, California:
Importance of Preserving Unity (CZC 6/16/13)
By Maneck Bhujwala
Thank you Meher for the introduction, and to CZC and ZAC for joining hands for this event. Wish you all a Happy Father’s Day, and thanks to mothers and children who make us Fathers.
We all know the famous saying “United we Stand, Divided we Fall”
Why is it especially important for Zarthushtis to be united ?
History teaches us that the mighty Zarathushti Persian empire fell to Alexander and to the Arabs, mostly due to lack of Unity.
Today, we are a very small community so for us Unity is a matter of survival.
Unity helps to preserve our resources for implementing current and future projects – money, manpower, ideas, volunteers for classes/events, priests
Unity helps to preserve our Zarthushti culture for our future generations.
Unity helps to protect our community when we face dangers from outside.
Unity helps provide more eligible partners for marriage within the community
What causes divisions and infighting that hurt the community ?
The basic causes are too much ego, jealousy, lust for power and control, self-righteousness (I am right, you are wrong), unwilling to listen and compromise.
When we started ZAC in 1974, we had Iranians and Parsis together, meeting, eating, enjoying Indian and Persian music and songs. With the coming of big donations, the urge to control it may have tempted some people to form another group. When we started ZANC in 1980, we also had Iranians and Parsis enjoying together, but after Arbab Guiv’s big donation, some decided to start another group. And, they also went to court once. Fortunately, most Iranians and Parsis are good people and they forced their leaders to settle amicable out of court.
Can we have have Unity among Diversity ?
Yes we can.
We can learn from Interfaith organizations, where people from many different religious communities meet, learn about each other, have mutual respect for other’s beliefs, and promote peace, respect and harmony between communities through educational events, without giving up individual beliefs and traditions.
In our small Zarthushti world, we can also have different groups who pursue their preferred language, culture and religious interpretations and traditions in their homes, events, and prayer ceremonies, and yet cooperate with each other on joint projects with Unity.
In Northern California I as president of ZANC and Mr. Anoshiravani, president of PZO organized joint Navroz events where our youth met many more young Zarthushtis compared to individual group events. Same happens at FEZANA events.
Today’s joint event with ZAC and CZC is a good example of Unity. Let us resolve to meet, learn and celebrate together. Let us urge our community leaders to develop a personal relationship by meeting periodically to discuss activities and plan joint events. May Ahuramazda bless our community with good thinking and humility so that we may serve the best interests of our members and future generations !