Children of Parsi-Zoroastrian women married to people of other ethnic groups should not be considered members of the community, said a majority of 500 Parsis in an opinion poll.
The poll had been commissioned ahead of the World Zoroastrian Congress, to be held on December 27 in Mumbai.
In the poll done by news weekly Parsiana, the majority said that “Parsi women should not be permitted to become mobeds (priests)”.
Parsiana had commissioned the survey to assess the community’s opinions on several important issues such as religion, the disposal of the dead, inter-faith marriages and the working of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, their largest representative body.
Parisana editor Jehangir Patel said the survey, conducted as part of the magazine’s 50th anniversary celebrations, was the first-of-its-kind opinion poll on important community matters.
The survey revealed many still endorsed traditional values, but there were also signs that others wanted reforms.
The issue of considering children of inter-faith marriages wherein a Parsi woman marries outside the community has been debated for long, particularly in the light of the community’s falling numbers.
When it came to preferences over the disposal of the dead, 67% opted for the traditional practice of putting bodies in the Tower of Silence while 28% opted for cremation, which again, showed an increasing shift in thought.
On a positive note, 66% said a Parsi woman who was married under the Special Marriage Act be allowed to enter fire temples while 91% felt that the woman’s body be allowed a traditional funeral.