Parsis debate priest’s organ donation appeal

Parsis debate priest’s organ donation appeal

Hvovi Minocherhomji and High Priest Khurshed Dastur

 While most support it, a small section of orthodox Parsis are in opposition claiming the body belongs to god.
A Parsi high priest’s appeal to donate organs has the community debating yet again – while a majority are in favour, a small section questions the right to donate parts citing the orthodox belief that the body belongs to god, and must be offered back to him in itsentirity.High Priest Khurshed Dastur, who is with the Udvada fire temple in Gujarat, cited the case of 21-yearold Hvovi Minocherhomji, a Parsi girl who made headlines in June when traffic police cleared busy roads to ferry a donor’s heart she was waiting for.

“The girl is recuperating now and she has got an all-new life. Isn’t that something to consider? When the community is open in accepting organs, then they should be open in donating organs too,” Dastur told Mumbai Mirror on Wednesday.

“I simply made an appeal on humanitarian grounds. No religion talks about organ donation but it is a need today,” said Dastur who first spoke openly about organ donation two years ago when he performed the Navjote ceremony of a blind Parsi boy.

His most recent appeal was made last month in Sanjan, Gujarat while he was addressing the community on Sanjan Day, which marks the Parsis’ arrival in Sanjan after fleeing from Iran.

Dastur’s plea found support from Bombay Parsi Punchayet chairman Dinshaw Mehta. “I completely support Dastur in this. If we can take organs then we can give them too. This is the best form of charity,” said Mehta.

According to Dastur, only a small section of Parsis is against donating organs. Orthodox Parsis believe that the body belongs to god and must be given back to him unblemished. Another belief holds that if a Parsi donates his eyes, he will not be able to walk the bridge to heaven and may fall to hell due to his blindness.

After Dastur’s appeal, a priest from Mumbai, Ervad Marzban Hathiram, wrote in his blog that charity is possible only with that which is ours, not that which belongs to someone else.

“If my neighbour is a very rich man I cannot appropriate his wealth, distribute it among the poor and call it charity. That would be akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul. The moot question is this – is the human body ours, or does it belong to God? Real charity does not lie in giving away something when we no longer need it – real charity means giving away something even though we may need it,” he said.

Jyoti Shelar – Mumbai Mirror – Dec 6, 2014


  • I am an organ donor and I hope that man made restrictions do not play a role that donating an organ by a Parsi is only for a Parsi.

    • Parsis have given much by way of donations to cosmopolitan causes. Compare this to the huge majority community which only builds magnificient temples in India and abroad. These temples are built at mind boggling costs. These temples only benefit their community and act as brand ambassadors and propogate their religion.

      However all Parsis have got in this country since independence, is insults, discriminations and deliberate injustices just because they belong to an numerically insignificant religious minority.

      Since, in India might is right prevails in everything.

      • If we ‘really’ live by the dictum; Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good DEEDS – do we even need to debate this subject?

  • Zoroastrian Priests and Anjumans should make it very clear that organ donation is not prescribed in Zoroastrian scriptures.

    However, it is upto each Zoroastrian Parsi to make an individual decision.

    • How could organ donation be prescribed in scriptures? Organ transplant was not available back then. If our community is to survive in 21st century and beyond, we should start thinking forward and not thousands of years backwards. Our Vada Dasturji is right. It is an example of how God would like us to help all our fellow humans.
      We should respect the judgment of our high priest and follow him and treat him with respect like other communities.

  • Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good DEEDS this good in theory but in actual practise do the rich Parsi industrialists or the influential Parsis of BPP and other trusts practise the same is very doubtful.

    Particularly the last part i.e. Good Deeds where they have miserably failed and also doomed our community.

    Our community have done Good Deeds by donating to cosmopolitan causes and got religious and racial discriminations in this country as reward.

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