Will Zoroastrianism Survive?
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
yes ofcourse Zoroastrianism will Survive if they start adopting liberal policy towards other religion.i mean to say that as rome was not built in a day as like this the community should take neccesary inititiatives regarding this issue like they cannt increase their population in one day so the alternative of this is that
1.the community can start accepting peoples from other religion on strict rules and regulations or you can say that only those people should accepted as zorastrians who have strong faith in this religion and one respect its values and beliefs and
2.the community should give equal importance to the children of a parsi mother and and parsi father and give them oppurtunity that one of their child can adopt zorastrianism as a religion inspite of his father relgion.
my best wishes are always with zorastrianism.
As a basic rule converts are not allowed in Parsi. The best way is to encourage Parsi women who married non-parsi to let their children follow Zorastrianism. I think the time has come when Parsi Women should be given this right to make their children Parsis and should be allowed to worship in Fire Temple. This is the only easy solution that I can see for the moment. It is time to give equal rights to Parsi Women. This will definitely save Parsi community.
i am totally agree with your idea tilu.but do u raelly think that a single step will improve the population ratio drastically.i think we need more advance and liberal ideas.bcz those women who already marry outside their caste and now to put their children into zorastianism will create some kind of oppositions from their husbands side family irrespective of their right.
Rubbish. I think irrespective of your gender, anyone who marries out of the Prasi/Irani community mustn’t retain the title of Parsi or Irani, rather they must identify as mixed, or what ever they married into. I believe that you must have both Parsi parents to be parsi, and have pure parsi ancestry to be considered Parsi. But on the other hand I believe Zoroastrianism is a religion and not a race, so anyone can convert to Zoroastrianism, even if they are not a Parsi or Irani. In fact to save the Zoroastrian faith conversion must be permitted, but for the survival of the Parsi and Irani community people must marry only with the community, and that they should allow modern day Persians from Pars or Yazd to become parsi only if they convert to Zoroastrianism.
Hey Gaurav and tilu….I agree with U both…..The two best ways is letting people be a part of the religion….need not convert thou….but believing and respecting can come only when u know more about it. I come form a city that was settled by the TATAS…JAMSHEDPUR or as it is called TATANAGAR….Thou its a parsee settlement the awareness is little whether it’s about Sadras and Kustis…or anything related about it. The point is first we have to open doors to everyone without an intent- an intent to convert but letting the good word spread. I have seen so many parsees following RAM DEV BABA…there is no intent to convert but a noble message to learn….so y cant we Hindus learn the better of Zoroastrianism. Yes agreed centuries ago a promise was made not to convert. The reasoning behind the promise was to save the religion. Today we have to again save the religion from extinction.
And then being unbiased to women is another important thing. Just marrying a non parsee does not make a women less loyal to her lord. The truth is that she would believe the lord irrespective of not being allowed into the fire temple. We cannot give up on our identity just like that . However what is sad is such an action leaves the children inexperienced of the beauty and divinity and the rich culture. The whole idea is lets spread anything that’s good. PLEASE PASS THE BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE TO ALL OF US….ITS TIME WE BECOME LIBERAL FOR THE GOOD….god bless….
well, i do agree with raj aryaa but i feel a women should be given the right whether she wants to convert her kids to her religion or should the kids continue in her husband’s religion. i think the decision should be of the couple.. and why cant one follow two religions at the same time… why do we have to write only one religion in any forms or anything?
when a guy marries a non-parsi his kids can become parsi but a parsi women marries outside her religion her kids cant become parsi? whats that? i mean parsis are known to be so free and modern minded people yet we have discrimination of whose child can be parsi and non-parsi.
i want this discrimination to end. equal rights should be given to both.
As a Parsi here is my view. Zoroastrianism is a religion, and to be a Parsi is ethnic/racial. After establishing that, It is my strong belief that anyone can become Zoroastrian/Zarthoshti by STRICTLY following the Zarthosthi belief and customs. Also nobody can become a Parsi, you must have BOTH parents as Parsi/Irani otherwise you cannot be a Parsi or Irani. I think both males and female that leave the Parsi community must no longer identify as Parsi/Irani, only with their new Ethnic group, irrespective of gender, although they can retain their Faith they will not retain their ethnic identity. So all in all, anyone can become Zarthosti but nobody can just become a Parsi or an Irani, you must be pure Parsi and Irani ancestry to identify as such. PS. modern day persians who come from pars can convert to Zoroastrainism and become a Parsi or Irani, although most Parsi’s don’t accept that.