Ramesh Narayan on Jiyo Parsi

The Parsis are a unique community. Everyone knows how they reached the shores of Gujarat fleeing religious persecution, charmed the Jadhav Rana by promising to be like sugar that completely dissolves in milk, not altering its color, or consistency in any way, just blending in and sweetening it forever. Much has been written about their immense contribution to the economic status of India, the social fabric of Mumbai, their charming little eccentricities, their orientation towards philantrophy and their general goodness. I have personally witnessed many of the attributes of Parsis in the shape of a very dear friend whom I have known closely for over four decades. And yet, as a community, their numbers have been dwindling alarmingly. This is obviously because of an amalgam of many reasons but the thought that this community is hurtling toward possible extinction in the pure form we know, is alarming. And any effort to improve their numbers is very welcome. One such effort is by the Ministry of Minority Affairs and Parzon (UNESCO) in the shape of a print advertising campaign aimed at this little community that is scattered across the country, with a concentration in Mumbai. Created by Madison BNB the campaign uses a combination of the self-deprecatory humor that Parsis are so sportingly known for to urge them to get married and have more children. In fact the ad mentions that if a married Parsi couple is childless they could be entitled to financial assistance to explore the possibility of an IVF procedure. The headline of one of the ads reads “Panni ja isn’t a spell from Harry Potter. It means get married”. The tone of the advertising is casual and to-the-point. Apart from the advertising being something that could be effective we are pleasantly surprised to see this noteworthy effort from the Ministry of Minority Affairs. And happily though the creatives are the work of Raj Nair, the owner of Madison BNB is a good Parsi, Sam Balsara. May their tribe grow. I hope Parsis all over the world read this interesting advertising, or are told of it by their friends. And I hope they are inspired to act upon it. As for me, I am happy to report that my own dear Parsi friend has done his bit for the community as evidenced by his two lovely daughters.

Ramesh Narayan is a communications consultant. Mail your comments to cat.a.lyst@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 27, 2014)

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