By Yezad Kapadia
Having just returned from a trip to the north of Europe, during which I could interact with many Zoroastrians in different geographic locations, I thought I would put down my thoughts on paper and post them on our website.
In Oslo we caught up with Kourush who was kind enough to spend half a day with us and show us around. During our conversations I discerned that Kourush had left Iran because of religious persecution. As he preferred to practice his religion in a country where he could do so freely, he came to Norway via Pakistan, where he was well looked after by the local Zoroastrians, and is now a Norwegian citizen. He managed to get his wife across too and both are living together in Oslo.
During our conversations I distinctly got the feeling that though he is happy to be away from Iran he finds it difficult to settle down in the country which has given him asylum. Both he and his wife work part time. This way he can finance his studies. There are about ten Zoroastrians in Oslo who meet regualrly. On special occasions a Zoroastrian priest comes down from Sweden to perform Navjotes, Weddings and Jashans. He is in touch with his family in Iran but cannot return.
Because of his inability to move out of bed because of an injury we could not meet with Cyrus in Bergen. Like Kourush, Cyrus also is in the process of getting the lady, whom he wishes to marry, across from Iran, to be able to marry her.
On our way back home from Helsinki harbour we got into a taxi. Finding that our driver was a Kurd, I asked him whether he was a Zardushti, as we are known as in that part of the world. He was taken aback by this question and quite sheepishly nodded. When I told him I, too, was one he quite energetically gave the thumbs up sign, with both the thumbs!!
In Vienna we were very happy to have met the Rabady’s again. We were delighted to see that all of them still wear their Sadras and Kustis. Their respective wives, both non Zoroastrians, take a keen in our religious matters.
Kourush had very kindly arranged for us to meet Yuri in St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, due to some misunderstanding, we could not meet. The group in this city is also very active. Kourush and his wife hope to travel shortly to St. Petersbug to attend a Navjote there.
Participating in discussions on the net and through my experiences on this most recent trip of ours, I am firmly of the view that our religion will not only survive but, one day, will thrive.
*Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals