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  • India, Parsis, Marry Early!
    I recieved a mail yeterday from ZNA, which has an interesting article, regarding the dwindling Nos. of Parsi Zarathushtis. The Orginal Message: Read on:-

    Minority panel urges Parsis to marry early
    IANSPublished: April 11, 2008, 01:01
    New Delhi: The clock is ticking away for India’s Parsi community.Alarmed by their dwindling numbers – as per the last census the Parsi population was less than 70,000 – the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has proposed action.The NCM intends to encourage timely marriages and the joint family spirit among Parsis as non-marriage, falling fertility and separation are some of the leading causes behind the decline in their population.”We want to help them in checking the decreasing numbers,” NCM chairperson Mohammad Shafi Qureshi said.He said Mehroo Dhunjisha Bengalee, a Parsi commission member, was coordinating with community leaders.A survey found that only 99 childbirths took place in the community last year till August 2007. In 2002, 206 births were reported across the country and the figure came down to 174 in 2006. History has it that around 18,000 Parsis, who are Zoroastrian by faith, fled to escape military expeditions by Arabs to India from Persia over 1,000 years ago and settled in Gujarat. Over the years, the community made a name for itself in entrepreneurship.But not all is well with them today.”Our number is steeply going down, and the trend has to be reversed. The panel is willing to join community leaders in saving them from almost extinction in India,” said Bengalee, who is a former vice-chancellor of the University of Mumbai.The survey commissioned by the minority panel found that late marriage or none at all, fertility decline, emigration, and separation are the main causes behind the declining numbers of Parsis in India.As per Census 2001, Parsis number 69,601 in the country, while other minority groups are much higher in number like Jains 4.2 million, Buddhists 7.9 million, Sikhs 19 million and Christians 24 million. Muslims being the largest minority community in India accounts for 13.8 per cent of the total population of over 1 billion.During 1991-2001, the growth rate was 36 per cent among Muslims, 24.5 per cent among Buddhists and 22.6 per cent among Sikhs, while the Parsi population declined by 8.88 per cent, says the census report.InteractionThe NCM intends to encourage the minority community to foster the spirit of joint family, encourage timely marriages, check divorces and increase intensive post-marriage family interaction countrywide, particularly in Mumbai, where a sizeable number of Parsis live in India.While they are mainly concentrated in Maharashtra and Gujarat, they also have a presence in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. “Though late marriages and divorces are some of the known causes of the decreasing number of Parsis in India, what is lacking is the zeal of entrepreneurship,” Bengalee said. “The urge for early employment and strengthened family ties to live together and lead the Zoroastrian way of life, knitted in good thoughts, is also missing.”

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