The following letter was written by the BPP Trustee Mr. Rustom Tirandaz to his fellow co-Trustees. I share this letter with you, so that you too may be aware of the murky cloak-and-dagger dealings our other "Aakabars" of the community are involved in.
Please feel free to forward this to others so that they too may be aware of the shenanigans at 209 Dr. D. N. Road!
Karl K. Sahukar
RUSTOM S. TIRANDAZ 780, Karani Mansion, Jam-E-Jamshed Road, Mancherjee E. Joshi Colony, Dadar , Mumbai - 400 014. TEL: 412 72 09 FAX: 413 72 09 E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Ref. 3392056. 4th December, 2001.
The Trustees, Bombay Parsi Punchayet, Dr. D. N. Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001.
My Dear Fellow Trustees,
Ever since the opinion of our senior counsel Mr. Rafiq Dada has been received by us, I have been most intrigued by the happenings that have taken place in the board. The events of the last few weeks have badly shaken my faith in our collective wisdom to really take the right decisions without fear or favour and steer the course of the majority of the Parsi Irani Zoroastrian Community out of the present murky and turbulent waters created by the controversy of Dokhmenishini versus Cremation.
I have failed to understand why, when our only legally qualified solicitor colleague Mr. Dady Engineer initially and unequivocally declared that on strict interpretation Mr. Dada's opinion favours the SDAC' contentions, did we suddenly have to create a volte face, and double over backwards in favour of the DDD-AG.
First of all I am at pains to understand, that whereas hitherto all the decisions of the BPP have been unanimous why all of a sudden is it thought fit to send out unilaterally a letter to the DDD-AG without so much as informing the SDAC only because the most of us were desirous of pleasing the doctors, lawyers and other professionals who were breathing down our necks. Sadly have I noted that we talked of the Samast Anjuman Meeting as desired by the clergy as well as the rank and file of the community and an Originating Summons to be moved by us in the Bombay High Court as considered by us, but we chickened out when the threats of the DDD-AG to drag us to the court and close down the Dokhmenishini system were extended.
We talked of calling the SDAC for a meeting, but whereas in the past we could wait for weeks on end for some of the DDD-AG members to return from their trips overseas, we could not wait two weeks for Mr. Khojeste Mistree to be well enough and recover from his bout of a Mumps Infection. This despite the fact that our colleagues were informed by him to that effect. What prompted Mr. Dinshaw Mehta who knew of this infection to remain silent at a time when Mr. Behram Dastur glossed over the same, saying that he refuses to meet us for two weeks. Why are we so much of a desire to please the DDD-AG that we cannot wait even two weeks to change a system which has come down to us over thousands of years.
Last Tuesday when I left early, I had mentioned that the ownership of the Jam-E-Jamshed has now changed hands and whereas it was an orthodox paper it has now become reformist. The board had called upon me to write a rebuttal to the Full Page article of the DDD-AG and it was your responsibility to ensure that it was printed. So be it.
The full page propaganda by the DDD-AG in The Jam-E-Jamshed must be categorized as an advertisement. Blowing ones own trumpet is a far cry from rational, mature and conclusive arguments, a fact that the incognito authority have acknowledged under cover of the organization.
Attempts to rewrite history is a Talibization of the truth and before I proceed, let me make it amply clear to the self righteous DDD-AG members that they do not have a monopoly on morality. There are Parsi Irani Zoroastrians many times the DDD-AG's miniscule Crematoria crazed comrades, who are equally if not more devout.
Months ago Mid-Day's reporter was initially fed half baked data, resulting in the front page banner. Another journalist Mr. Bapu Malcolm dug up the truth, only to find that the feed was from the anti Dokhmenishini action group. Attempts to sensationalize the event and arouse public opinion against Dokmenishini have been the DDD-AG's tactics from the very beginning. To harp on the problem ad nauseum is to restate the obvious.
To encourage the Solar Panels and then denounce them is dilatory. To prevent the alternative of the aviary through entrenched support and filibuster in the BPP is to avoid a solution to the problem. A festering wound needs to be treated not avoided nor enhanced.
Any normally educated person cannot read ulterior meanings into Counsel Rafiq Dada's opinion other than what it says. The DDD-AG in its wisdom and to its convenience will interpret, misinterpret and convert every sentence to its convenience and benefit.
Mr. Eruch Desai, Mr. Bomi Zaiwalla, The Eight High Priests of India, all the 44 presiding Priests of Mumbai's Fire Temples, and over ten thousand Parsi Irani Zoroastrian signatories have been unanimously equivocal in their condemnation of the DDD-Ag's demands. They have reinforced Dada's stand, no matter how much one might try to find fault with it.
The solar panels project has only grudgingly been accepted, never as an end in itself. To arrive at a solution, many avenues have been explored, the Aviary being one of them. Major problems require major solutions and that entails major costs. To delay and filibuster matters is to add to the expenses. The sooner we get going with the aviary the better. It may be significant to point out here that today the finances of the BPP have more than doubled and to expend even a sum of Rs. Five Crores is to my mind not a great sacrifice for preserving the Parsi Irani Zoroastrian Creed and its Traditions and Rituals such as Dokhmenishini.
It is truly heartwarming to note the DDD-AG's concern for the poor and I am sure that they are all, in their individual and collective capacity, deep into charity, for which we must all thank them. Then again there are others who help too, as silently as the DDD-AG.
Apparently the DDD-AG is against the Aviary, it is against the solar panels, it is also against the High Priests opinions and diktats, It is against the absence of proof about epidemic outbreaks, it is against the will of the silent helpless majority, it is against everything save and except the crematoria and their so called rights.
It is pertinent to note that the doctrine of partial rights is a DDD-AG invention. If, for whatever reason they deny their beloved ones their traditional rights, they deny them all rights. They simply cannot have the cake and eat it too. There is no such practice of partial convenience. A break is just that - a clean break. Rules are not for stretching. Continuing and persistent demands of every vocal but incompatible minority will shred the fabric of our Millennia old Religion beyond recognition. One is either with the mainstream or out of it.
The so called dignified and civil behavior of the DDD-AG was amply clear when our former Municipal Commissioner and DDD-AG's leading storm trooper Mr. Jamshed Kanga using his contacts engineered an enquiry from the B.M.C's. Executive Health Officer to enquire into the health hazard aspect of the Dokhmas. The DDD-AG from the very beginning while overtly maintaining a fašade of propriety, has intimidated and pressurized all and sundry including and more so the BPP Trustees, either directly or indirectly through their sundry agents in high places. Doctors, Lawyers etc. have been roped in to make announcements, hullabaloo statements an in general whip up a general hysteria.
The priesthood, being one supreme authority in all matters of religion, has been shunted aside as it refused to toe the DDD-AG line. The "if you are not with us you are against us" attitude has divided the community and added to the angst.
Their questions may be asked and the covert answers supplied. However the crux of the matter is that asking questions doesn't enforce or enhance the argument of the DDD-AG. It is no more than a diversionary tactic to force upon us their incorrect claims without logical but with convoluted arguments. The BPP is well aware of its duties and responsibilities and it does not need the DDD-Ag to educate it or dictate terms to it. Unfortunately the DDD-AG has its sympathizers in the BPP and they can and are constantly using that forum. They need not tell us what to do.
In conclusion, let me state that since the DDD-AG has decided to go its separate way, let it quietly walk away into the night with its hand maidens. They can have the rites and practices of their choice and I am nobody to comment on their options or recommend them. However I am duty bound to the rest of the community as a member of the apex body of the Parsi Irani Zoroastrians of the World to follow the dictates of both my conscience and of my great and if you like it much misunderstood religion.
If our Affidavit on Dokhmenishini does not have a ring of hypocrisy in it, then we have much work to do, to get Dokhmenishini on track again, and the lesser the interference, the better and faster and cheaper can we get the job done.
If we are not men of straw and if we care for Zoroastrianism, let us Stymie the DDD-AG with a Call for a Samast Anjuman Meeting and also go to court with an Originating Summons, as that is the least we can do for the thousands of nameless and faceless devout Parsi Irani Zoroastrians, and the various Anjumans of India, who look to the BPP as their saviour, since we lack the courage to ask the miniscule DDD-AG to go their separate ways as a new denomination of Zoroastrianism.
May saner counsel prevail, and lift the burden of destroying the faith from our frail shoulders.
Very Sincerely Yours,
Rustom S. Tirandaz.
P.S. Please forgive me if I have been harsh as it is a small price to pay for sounding the Death Knell of Zoroastrianism in its most pristine form.
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