The Delhi Parsi Anjuman (DPA), which manages the community’s affairs in the Capital, has been slammed by the Parsi national association for its proposal to allow burial of non-Zoroastrian spouses in community cemeteries.
At a meeting held in Mumbai on Sunday, the association, of which the Bombay Parsi Punchayet is the largest and most significant member, unanimously voted against the DPA’s proposal to permit interring of non-Parsi spouses in their Aramgah, or community cemetery.
The BPP condemned the idea as “ultra-reformist”. “It is true that members are increasingly marrying out of the community. It is true that there might be a need to open up in future, but now is not that time,” said Dinshaw Mehta, BPP chairman.
Yezad Kapadia, president of DPA, agreed the step was ahead of the times, but said it was needed. “As it is, we are battling the crisis of extinction. What can be worse?” he said.
After the national body’s opposition, the DPA – which had planned a vote on this issue at its annual general meeting on September 21 – has decided not to pursue the proposal at the event. “A committee has been formed, which will take a decision in the near future, after discussions with community members,” said Kapadia.
Despite the BPP’s stand, there are some voices of support in the community. Jehangir Patel, Mumbai-based editor of the community magazine Parsiana, said, “Change is bound to happen. At some point, the community will have to open up,” but added any such radical step must involve the opinion of community members. On the other hand, Goolrukh Gupta, a Parsi woman who has moved the Supreme Court seeking freedom to enter Parsi religious places after her marriage to a non-Parsi, said the BPP’s stand was “narrow-minded.”
“All these regressive measures are efforts by the trustees to hijack the faith. By rejecting it, we have done no good to the community.”