Not all Udvada residents happy with ₹8-crore grant
Some of the residents believe that introducing development programmes in the village would be detrimental to the religious sanctity of the place.mumbai Updated: Dec 26, 2017 00:53 IST
As a part of the Adarsh Gram Yojana, Udvada village received funds worth Rs 8.4 crore from Union Textile and Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani. Under the provision, the village will be provided with CCTV cameras, WiFi facility, and a public health centre.
However, some of the residents believe that introducing development programmes in the village would be detrimental to the religious sanctity of the place. Udvada, with a population of around 100 Parsis, holds religious significance for Zoroastrians.
Vada Dastoor (high priest) of Udvada, Khursheed Dastoor, said, “We cannot change the nature of Udvada. The village is structured in a way that there are no sewage systems and we use septic tanks here. This is why it has to be retained as a village and cannot be converted into a town.”
“This place serves as a religious site for the community. Trying to change the nature of this village would affect the piousness of this place,” said a local resident.
The Iranshah Udvada Utsav (IUU) , which is in its second edition and was held last week, was met with similar protests by residents and some members of the Parsi community.
The festival was held with the purpose of bringing back Parsis to Udvada, so that it could serve as a community gathering. However, the turnout for the festival, was lower as compared to last year.
“Last year we had around 1400 people on two days and 3500 people on the last day, but this year we had 1850 people attending the festival on the first two days and 2200 on the last day,” said Dastoor. One of the reasons could be because this is the time of the year when Navjots (religious initiation ceremonies) and weddings in the community take place,” he added.
Several Parsis also took issue with the fact that the religious programme paid tribute to Freddie Mercury, British songwriter and a gay activist. “The whole Parsi Community is upset with Freddie Mercury being honoured, Zoroastrianism strictly bans such activities,” said Rayomand Zaiwalla, a resident of Mumbai.
Meanwhile, Parsis from Gujarat didn’t approve of a programme catering to only the elite members of the community. Jimmy Bacha, a resident of Navsari, said that instead of having a fanfare for just one section of the community, the money could be used to feed 500-600 poor families in and around Navsari. “There are a lot of people who could make better use the money. It could have been donated instead of using it for entertainment,” Bacha said.
Other issues, such as the Jiyo Parsi scheme and the question of inter-caste marriages, were discussed at the event. Under the Jiyo Parsi scheme, the government provides aid to Parsi couples for raising children. The cap for this was increased from Rs5 lakh to Rs8 lakh.