From: The Parsee Voice
Date: Mon, May 2, 2016 at 9:31 PM
Subject: TheParseeVoice Fwd: Please stop spreading half-truths and stop denigrating our sacred Dakhmas!
From: Jimmy Tavadia
Date: 2 May 2016 at 10:53:29 IST
Subject: Please stop spreading half-truths and stop denigrating our sacred Dakhmas!
Please stop spreading half-truths and stop denigrating our sacred Dakhmas!
There have been various reports in secular media in the last 6 months portraying the so-called beneficent effects of the Prayer Hall at Worli. The trustees of the Prayer hall, the renegade priests and their teams have been heralded as evangelists who have fulfilled a 'dire need' of our community by providing the so-called 'dignified' option of electric cremation to progressive Parsees of Mumbai. A fairy-tale like story is woven around the absence of vultures at our Paak Doongerwadi to substantiate and justify the necessity for creating an alternative method of disposing of our dead viz., cremation.
Whilst these babbles have been quietly tolerated by the silent traditional majority of our community, the recent antics of the liberals need to be thoroughly exposed. The liberals, in their attempt to popularise their Prayer Hall have started publicly demeaning our sacred, time-tested and age-old Dakhmas and the method of Dakhmenashini. They seem hell-bent on denigrating our traditional methods in an attempt to secure more business for their so-called Prayer Hall. Their renegade priests routinely indulge in marketing gimmicks by misquoting statistics and expressing optimism over the (unfortunately) growing trend of more Zarathushtis opting for cremation, thereby ensuring they do not run out of business and their jobs are safeguarded. They quote a 50% rise in number of people opting for cremation – but what they don't mention is that an increase of 50% from 15, is just 7 people!
The liberals seem to be using the pejorative of "Tall Poppy Syndrome" and express resentment for our Dakhmas and Dakhmenashini in order to demonstrate their alternative as "superior and dignified". The reality, however, is inversely related to the fictional stories being woven by them. The noisy, dirty Prayer Hall adjacent to the sewage drain at Worli is not even worthy of comparison with the serene environs of Paak Doongerwadi which has a mystical charm of its own. Whilst it may seem inconsequential to some, the ill-effects of alternate methods of disposal in the after-life as propounded in our scriptures, should be the single most compelling reason for Zarathushtis to stick to the time-tested Dakhmenashini system. The argument of the liberals that the system of Dakhmenashini has "failed" due to lack of vultures is convoluted and twisted to suit their own vested interests, to say the least. Their claim of the Towers of Silence being in a "mess" is a hyperbolic figment of their imagination (refer link below to the article titled "How a new prayer hall is changing funeral patterns in Mumbai's Parsi community" dated 27th April 2016, on Scroll.in).
The BPP Trustees, who are the custodians of the Paak Doongerwadi property, should issue a strong and unequivocal clarification regarding the false projection of the state of affairs at Paak Doongerwadi. The Dakhmenashini system is still very much fully functional in spite of the absence of vultures in Mumbai – and more importantly only this system can serve the critical function of enabling the soul of a deceased Zarathushti to reach the threshold of "Chinvat" on the dawn of the fourth day after death. Those who talk glibly about dignity in death are cleverly evading any reference to the main role of the consecrated dakhmas – ensuring that the soul of a deceased Zarathushti reaches the threshold of "Chinvat"! They dare not claim that their cremation services offer the same "benefit"!
To conclude, it is surprising how some influential people in our community are misusing their authority and indulging in double standards to promote their pet projects. Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly who is the Chairman of the Prayer Hall Trust has blatantly flouted the religious tenets of our religion by being the driving force behind the creation of the so-called Prayer Hall at Worli. However, he still continues to be the Trustee of Rustom Framna Agiary which he should have relinquished a long time ago given his irreligious leanings. Isn't this yet another instance of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds?
We humbly hope that the liberals lend their acquiescence to the above and stop indulging in sacrilegious defamation of our sacred Paak Doongerwadi.
Jimmy Jal Tavadia
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