Zoroastrianism needs to adapt its archaic laws

As the child of a female Zoroastrian I cannot follow the religion, even if I wanted to. Yet if it does not survive, the traditions of my Parsi ethnicity go with it

As the child of a female Zoroastrian, I was not permitted to follow in my mother’s footsteps and undertake the Navjote; whether I am even allowed to call myself Parsi is debatable, although as it is an ethnicity, it is hard to know what else to term myself. And, as a non-Zoroastrian, I am not allowed into the fire temples.

The faith is inextricably linked to the Parsi and Irani communities – you don’t find Zoroastrians of any other ethnicity. Although historical evidence suggests that many left ancient Persia for economic reasons, my late maternal grandfather gave me the traditional Parsi version of events. He stated that the Zoroastrians’ exclusivity dates back to the seventh century, when Arab Muslims invaded ancient Persia and gave them the choice of converting to Islam or fleeing the country. Many chose the latter, and sailed to India in a fleet of ships. On arrival, the king of the Gujarat sent out a (possibly apocryphal) cup of milk filled to the brim, to signify that the country was overflowing with residents and couldn’t accept any more.

Why, as an atheist, should I feel sadness at the decline of a faith that was never mine to begin with? Perhaps for the same reason that many people who don’t believe in God have a soft spot for the religion of their ethnicity: nostalgia for my childhood, family ties, the memory of my beloved grandfather praying quietly in his sedreh and kushti. But I think it is more than that: Zoroastrianism and being a Parsi are intertwined, so much so that the terms are often used interchangeably. If the religion dies, all the traditions of the ethnicity will go with it.

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4 comments

  • Acceptance of a Religion of a state of mind….if you choose to be a Zoroastrian, nobody can stop you. The rest are all stupid man made laws which, I am sure, will be eventually discarded. Being born of one Zoroastrian parent does not prevent you to practice the Religion of your choice.

  • every one can follow a religion & philosophy Ideas and traditions behind the religion , no one stop you from praying our prayers or chanting singing the ashem vohu or Yatha ahu variyo ..

    Parsi is as Parsi does , if you practice Good thoughts Good words and Good deeds then you are a parsi or a good human being who loves God and the Truth

    The Parsi race is not in Decline NOr is the religion of thoughts or PHilosophy showing any signs of dying we shall grow stronger and stronger every year an increase in number 🙂

    all we have to do is adapt to change strong Good Mothers Breed strong and good children with strong values

  • In the “click here for the full story…..” noted
    that in the 2-3rd para the lady writes (in the Guardian)……
    “Originating in Iran in approximately 1,500BC, founded by the badass apocalyptic prophet Zoroaster, it is the first monotheistic religion, and is based on a simple equation of good (Ahura Mazda) versus evil (Ahriman)”
    Is this what is mant by freedom of speech/free press…….what in God’s name does this lady mean by the sentence above which reeks of blasphemy. How did this crap pass the moderator.
    Almost all the,200 +, comments are by non-Zoroastrians, and they have shown greater respect for the faith than the writer.
    Madame religion is eternal and not some evening wear which requires a change every weekend so as not to look ‘outdated’

  • Considering the decline of the believers of Zoroastrian faith and the teachings of the prophet, I think we should in the first place come out of this notion that we should not adopt someone who has married outside our community. Our religion does not oppose anyone from practicing the the religion, rather emphasizing on more of rightful practices which are more spiritually and morally correct.The ruvan is still in spiritual purification stage after death and after passing through
    several stages the final attainment to the doors of heaven are opened,
    so if the mere promise given to the king in exchange for the right to stay and practice our own religion in place of refuge and then what Parsis have given to this country is far outweighed than keeping the promise, and also the out of religion marriage is also the gift that we have adopted from here(whatsoever be the reason).Agreed that we should not marry outside our religion but if for any reason the person does go out it does not mean he stops being a relative of Parsi, in fact it is fast now becoming more of a trend and habitual way of daily life to adopt this system.
    So this has become one sided traffic hence the time has come to evaluate our thinking and adopt the way to liberalize the religion from being extinct. Then also what is the problem if one of the parent is a Parsi.
    I would like to give few instances.
    Parsis in other states of india like UP, Chattisgarh, M.P. Jharkhand, where Parsis are in microscopic value Parsis here cannot get their partners and they cannot leave the place because of economic or various other reason what is the way out? Simply because our ancestors promised we should not marry out caste. IN keeping the promise some are still bachelors/spinsters and their reproduction system has out lasted their thinking and rigidity leading to the extinction of our religion. Parsis in Kanpur are 40(at one time i.e. in 50sTill seventies there were 1000 to 800)highest in UP, IN Jharkhand (in Jamshedpur there are merely 80 to 100( the same numbers were applicable) In Raipur there are 6 nos.in Jhansi there are 4. all these places have huge Agairy compounds and attached properties with no one to take care of it. and we keep harping about out promise we gave.
    I can still give more examples of our high and low vaues for which we are known.
    Introspectation DEAR Zoroastrian.

    ( AUSTA) SAM AIBARA.

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