A community known for their enterprising ways, Zoroastrians in Mumbai have been putting this skill to use to tackle the problem of their dwindling numbers. The religion, which promotes preservation of the purity of their race, doesn’t permit inter-racial marriages. Hence, the members have arrived at an innovative solution — speed dating. “We have hosted two speed-dating events at a popular resto-bar in South Mumbai and are hoping to have another one soon,” says Viraf Hansotia, co-founder of ZYNG. Nearly, 80 people attended both the dos.
The Bombay Parsi Panchayat (BPP) launched their matrimonial arm early last year and now regularly organises events to bring the single youth together, encouraging them to marry within the faith. “BPP started this facility following the requests from youngsters,” says Zarine Havewala, one of its organisers. Within one year, the committee has developed a database of over 300 eligible youngsters. “The last Census put our population at a little over 69,000 and every Census, our numbers have been dropping by 10,000. Today, many people marry outside the community. Though a Zoroastrian male’s children out of an interracial marriage can be admitted into the faith, the reverse is not permitted,” she adds.
Sometimes, it can be all too easy to be a pessimist about our community. The deep conservative-liberal divide permeates discussion of nearly every social issue, spawns some very vicious name-calling and mudslinging, and has in many cases completely split local anjumans, families, and friends. There is the familiar rhetoric that Parsis are “not what we once were;” that the youth, especially the boys, “are not ambitious;” and that the community has largely retreated from its once-prominent position on the social, political,
and economic stage of India. Finally, there are fears that our population is rapidly diminishing and that, some decades hence, there will not be many Zoroastrians left in India or the world.
Yes, the problems are real. But are matters today unusually bad? As someone engaged in extensive academic study of our community’s history, I would argue that this is not entirely the case. History shows us, for example, that the Parsis have always been an argumentative, garrulous lot. Our argumentativeness has both helped and hurt us. Read more
NEED FOR RENAISSANCE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP AMONG THE YOUTH – MINOO SHROFF
With leap in incomes and rising aspirations, the requirement for new products and services will literally explode. Is the youth of our community well positioned to avail this excellent opportunity? Our youth, many of whom are energetic and ambitious, have instead preferred secured cushy jobs when more exciting opportunities beckon them.
To equip the youth with the requisite tools to stimulate entrepreneurship, the World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce (WZCC) has launched a pro-active programme to create an enabling environment.
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has greeted the nation, especially the members of the Parsi community, on the occasion of Navroz, the Parsi New Year.
In his message, Dr. Manmohan Singh said that Navroz is the culmination of the celebration of seasons and is traditionally considered a harbinger of peace and prosperity. Navroz symbolizes the rich diversity of our culture and its celebration strengthens the bonds of brotherhood in our society, the Prime Minister added.