Charter for Co-Existence

Charter For Co-Existence

Seldom has our small community been so riven with divisiveness and factionalism as now. Divergent opinions on almost every issue are exacerbated further by being aired in the media, not just the community press but the Internet, national newspapers and court proceedings. Very regrettably the opposing stands taken often exceed the boundaries of decent debate and discussion. These deep rooted divisions are causing great harm to the reputation of our community.

In recent times, there has been a substantial and positive focus on our community by governments, both Centre and the State, as well as society at large. There is a huge reservoir of affection and respect for the community. We require this goodwill for the resolution of problems that we as a community face today, including our diminishing numbers, our abandoned and dilapidated properties and educational and employment opportunities for our youth.

Yet the acrimony in the community, magnified by media exposure, can be hugely detrimental as it is destroying this goodwill. Such seemingly irreconcilable differences in such a small community should be a matter of deep and great concern for all of us.

Our community can only progress and grow by firstly adopting a path of Co-existence. Call it the ‘Charter for Co-existence’. The answer lies in finding equilibrium with neither side imposing its ideology on the other or acting in any way that infringes on the peace of the other. Restoring harmony and goodwill between community members is the first priority as also understanding and accepting that there will be different points of view.

If we trace our cultural history from our origins in Iran to migration to Gujarat, through the British era to date we have clearly adapted ourselves by making several changes but without losing any of our core values. Change, when necessary, has to be brought in by building consensus and with due debate and deliberation along with all concerned.

This process has to be an outcome of constant interaction and exchanges of ideas and knowledge and not by in-temperateness of language and action. There will always be opposing views; the answer lies in finding equations for peaceful and ideological coexistence. We must display maturity to resolve our conflicts internally and stop airing issues in the media and the courts.

We, a small group of well intentioned and concerned individuals whose hearts beat for the community, have been deliberating on ways and means to address the contentious issues that have been creating a split in our beloved community. We request all in the community to introspect and provide us with specific and practical suggestions which will ignite our minds and help in creating solutions to the vexed issues we are contending with.

It is time that the community moves on – to Dialogue from Diatribe, to Coexistence from Confrontation and to Harmony from Hatred.

Let us all come together in a spirit of camaraderie & understanding, sans rancour, and work for our future well being, progress and prosperity.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions. You may write to us at


  1. Dasturji Khurshed K. Dastoor
  2. Nadir A. Modi
  3. Burjor H. Antia
  4. Adi Engineer
  5. Dinshaw K. Tamboly
  6. Sam Balsara
  7. Darius J. Khambata
  8. Maneck Davar

November 05, 2014


Dr Jimmy Nadershaw Sidhva’s, article which appeared about six years ago in Jam-e-Jamshed – Click Here
Response from Farrokh Vajifdar – London – Click Here


  • Such a nice article….if only actions can replicate these lofty thoughts.

    Fine, let’s start with the basic few issues…..& come to a final decision on……

    !) Dokhmenishini system…(no prayers for the cremated)

    2) Renegade Priests…..(not on Dungerwadi & BPP establishments or take a firm decision)

    3)Post inter-caste marriage–status of—-children, Parsi women, regrds— Agiary entry, Navjote, Dokhmenishini etc; etc;

    4)Have ONE ELECTED RELIGIOUS HEAD, who’s word then becomes final in all matters of religion. Can have a 4-6 member panel + the Head…..The tenure must NOT exceed 5-6 years…….. same as BPP trustees…..


    5) NOT WASHING DIRTY LINEN IN PUBLIC…..BUT FOR THAT ALL BPP TRUSTIES & the RELIGIOUS PANEL MENTIONED ABOVE ( no member can be on both panels)….must be above board… that will be the toughest nut to crack……..

    6) The BPP trusties, whose term not exceeding 5-6 years must in turn elect the Chairman……who can be removed from position including loose his position as a trustee if a successful NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION is passed by the other BPP-trusties. His position a trustee can be filled up by the one who was 1st. left out on number of votes rec’vd during last elections……..

    Thereafter other issues may be tackled.
    Above are my humble suggestions/points of view as occurred to me.
    Thank you for asking for inputs.

  • Well written piece!

    While I am not too well versed with the current community issues in India, or for that matter its magnitude, I can, however, say with reasonable confidence that the primary genesis for a majority of our community’s contentious issues is our RELIGION. As such, I’m reminded of the famous poem “Anyway” attributed to Mother Teresa, a part of which follows:

    “Give the World the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth – GIVE THE BEST YOU’VE GOT ANYWAY

    If you say, or do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives – DO GOOD ANYWAY

    People really need help but may attack you if you help them – HELP PEOPLE ANYWAY

    If you are successful, you will win some false friends and genuine enemies – SUCCEED ANYWAY


    It’s the last line of this poem, if sincerely introspected and implemented by each of us in the community, it is very likely to enlighten the minds, particularly of those who want to have changes in everything, including our core religious values and beliefs.

    Ervad Jal Dastur

  • Firstly, the names of the persons mentioned are ultramodernists who believe that anyone can be converted to Zoroastrianism (just for name sake to get the benefits of the community funds or to misuse them). The believe in conversion.

    Secondly, what respect are you talking about, in India only might is the right. Do we not see the political statements of the leaders.

    Thirdly, Govt. policies were deliberately implemented to target our community in the past and even in present. On the flimziest excuses land of the Dokhma in Surat and many other places were confiscated.
    There are a lot of temples having excess lands they are never confiscated.

    Fourthly, conversion as recommended by the above people will lead to a major conflict with other major communities. Do we have the numerical strength to fight it out. Flowing of funds for the purpose of conversion activities of Christains and Muslims have been banned, even when the conversions have been voluntary.

    Fiftly, with the hardline rightist BJP and RSS firmly in power, the above should think many times before making any foolish statements.

    • @Hushang: Burjor Antia an ULTRAMODERNIST? Second, if this is the approach then there is no scope for peace in the community. The likes oh Hushang want that they will call the tune and the rest should accept what ever they say. My way or highway is their principle. So all end result of all,such attempts will be a big zero till such time BOTH sides agree to accept policy of GIVE AND TAKE.

  • The intentions are noble, desire genuine but for tangible result, it is essential that the attitude of some of ‘marj kakko kharo’ and their instinct to impose their views on religious affairs on other members will cause hurdles.

  • I do not find any reference to conversions being recommended by the signatories as stated by Hushang (who). It is persons like Hushang who come in the way of peaceful co existence in the community.
    His remark thus that ‘Fourthly, conversion as recommended by the above people will lead to a major conflict with other major communities’ is just laughable. Do we constitute a threat to others if we we have an addition of say 1000 more and that too strictly children of Parsi mothers married to non Parsis. You got to be kidding

    • Let the GoI come out with a general policy of conversion wherein children of Hindus Men married to non Hindus (eg. Muslims/Christains) can be converted to Islam/Christanity automatically without much hue and cry and riots by the right wing Hindu organisations. Will the GoI ever come out with such a policy?

  • With types of troglodytes raising the highest pitch, no practical outcome is possible. Some who are a part of cults like Ilme Kshnoom or Pundolism have a habit of projecting themselves as the only specimen of true Zoroastrian religion and as last remnants of our faith. With such approach, no solution can be envisaged.No one is a better Zoroastrian just by being follower of such cults.Our religion existed before such cults came into being.

    • Tehmul’s ……..{{ ‘Cults’ like Ilme Kshnoom or Pundolism have a habit of projecting themselves as the only specimen of true Zoroastrian religion and as last remnants of our faith}}, this is pure figment of fertile imagination. Said out of ignorance about the same.

  • Good suggestions from everyone above. Which means that the idea is not workable. Let us all carry on as is where is.

  • Unless there is a mood for give and take, it is doubtful if this mission will be accomplished.Already there are persons with fixed mind set that they alone are on the right path. People talk that the religion will survive only in the shores of Gujarat even though common sense tells us that there are more Parsi Zoroastrians in Mumbai Pune region than in entire Gujarat.

  • Honest truth uttered by this Tehmul.Our religion pre dates these two cults.

    • CONVERSION IS only in maths and FOR.EXCH. Rudolph STEINER of usa gives the honour to ZARATHUSTRA as the FIRST PROPHET and stops at Jesus. Read also DR. Karkhanawalla’s lecture at k.r. cama institute of Bombay. Google it. and finally.

    • Still don’t understand on what basis are, as you put it–‘Pundolism & Kshnoom’ considered ‘the two CULTS’ ????… the so-called religiously enlightened.
      My previous statement, regarding same, gave me a, walloping, 2-11 scoreline, much to my amusement…….and then we talk of unbiased assimilation of views.

      • So according to you dear Aspi, had the score been reversed, you would have called that as “unbiased” assimilation of views but since it was otherwise you feel it is biased. Wah bhai wah. Heads I win and tails you lose is the motto of all self styled Traditionalists

  • No body has made any reference to Conversion.All that is mentioned is about harmony in the community. It is persons like Hushang who vitiate the atmosphere by their obsession to run down others who are open minded.

    • Harmony and Co-existence in India means accepting whatever is imposed by the majority and saying yes to everything. Here the majority means all other communities as numerically Parsis are a big numerically compared to all other communities.

      Also, harmony and co-existence means saying yes to the hijacked version of the religion which is being envisaged by the ultra reformists and the rich sethias who have their own axes to grind. They want to impose their version of new Zoroastrianism.

      As for comments of others regarding conversion, it is tacitly implied when the child does not follow the religion of his father but the mother imposes her religion which is not a normal practice. This nothing but conversion thru’ the backdoor.

      • When reference is made to harmony, it is about harmony within the Community. Hushang needs to read the Appeal once again and not with a closed mind

  • To begin with, my humble opinion again—Religion is a constant. It cannot be changed, turned, twisted, molded to suit our conveniences thereby losing for ever its basic tenets.
    It is we who must try our best to adhere to as many norms etc; that we can.
    At least let us be thankful (sad at the same time) that for lack of ‘One Ultimate Religious Authority’, that many consider it their right to decide how much they wish to adhere to & how much they wish to discard, as it is unfortunately, NOT CONVENIENT/SUITABLE etc; etc; to them.
    Having thus exercised that freedom to suit oneself & there after to insist that — That be the NEW NORM is JUST ABSURD & NOT Correct. Rules,laws,tenets cannot thereafter be changed so that a different path chosen can be considered in conformity with the ‘Original Tenets’. There just cannot be different versions of our faith, it would be most absurd, totally chaotic & farcical.

  • Religion is one thing and customs are another.

  • Pingback: Prominent Parsis form a think tank to reduce community conflicts | Parsis, Iranis, Zarathushtis - ALL Under One Roof

  • It is typical mentality of persons like this Hushang who think that they are masters and owners of the community and rest of the members are empty headed That is what creates disharmony. Such elements thrive on creating contentious issues to be in the limelight and arm twist the silent majority. I too am not in favour of out of faith marriages but that does not mean that I should allow discord within the community to continue to pander to bloated egos of narrow minded persons who do not want to move with times on other matters.Fire Temples have no devotees. Such Fire Temples need to be amalgamated and the funds raised used for betterment of the community. Unfortunately, cussedness has so far prevailed.

  • We are already Co-existing. Now what is this charter meant for ?

    • The Charter For Co-Existence puts down on paper what we give ourselves and what is meant to be followed by for all of us who come to

      I agree — we are already co-existing … thanks to Dr Jimmy Nadershaw Sidhva’s superb treatise: “Can’t we Zarathushtis Live and Let Live ?” which appeared in Jam-e-Jamshed Weekly around six years back. If you haven’t read it you can still read it online here:

      It encourages us to LaLL (Live and Let Live) in our thoughts, words and deeds … to reduce community conflicts and increase “happiness” amongst us Zarathushtis

      “Ushta” — as always. dara

      Those who don’t agree are free to leave (as the RSS would say)

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