Keeping the fire alive in Chennai
Pearl (name changed) is married to a non-Parsi, as a result of which her child has not been baptised as Parsi. This is the case of several Parsi women married to non-Parsis in the city. This could be a reason to worry since there is already a fear that the community may become extinct in the coming centuries.
There are about 120 Parsi families in the city and like in other cities across India, they are a miniscule segment.
However, in Chennai, there is just one Fire Temple for the families that reside here. Dinyar, (name changed), who is married to a non-Parsi, explains, “Not being accepted in the community is a misnomer. My wife is a non-Parsi and it is entirely up to me to decide if I have to raise my children as Parsi or not. Similarly it is up to a Parsi woman married outside the community to decide the same. She can choose to take the child to Surat or any other place where the Fire Temple permits conducting baptism ceremonies, in such cases. Here we have just one Fire Temple, may be there will be another one in 10 years down the line and that will allow the practice,” he says.
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