India’s Zoroastrians dying out for lack of Parsi clergy ?
In the cramped heart of the suburb called Andheri, the MF Cama Athornan Institute was strangely quiet. The institute, founded in 1923 to train Zoroastrian priests, is a large, M-shaped edifice with excellent infrastructure and teachers dedicated to the welfare of their students.
At present, those students number precisely four.
Classroom after classroom lay locked, their blank innards barely visible through smoked-glass windows. One room on the first floor, so big that even the softest voice echoed, used to be a dormitory holding as many as 50 beds; now it is occupied only by a clothesline strung across its breadth, bearing the laundry of its residents.
One leg of the M has been rented out as office space to an aviation academy. “Have you ever seen a school like this, where there are more teachers than students?” Dastur Firoze Kotwal said with a sigh. Mr Kotwal is a high priest and one of the religion’s greatest scholars. He is also an alumnus of the Cama institute and a former principal there. “It is almost a dying seminary.”
Courtesy : Ader Gandi