It’s hard to believe how quickly time flies, but, it does. Parsi Times is now seven years old.
Seven is a favourite number all over the world. Many consider it to be a lucky number. There are seven days of the week, seven colours of the rainbow, seven notes on a musical scale, seven seas and seven continents. Even across books and literature, one finds that Snow White runs off to live with seven dwarves, there were seven brides for seven brothers, Shakespeare described the seven ages of man and Sinbad the Sailor undertook seven voyages. Even when Ian Fleming was looking for a code for James Bond, he didn’t choose 001 or 005. Only 007 seemed appropriate. Hence, may seven prove lucky for the Parsi Times, even though the times we live in are quite challenging.
Seven years ago many within the community wondered, why one more weekly newspaper, when we already had Jam-e-Jamshed and Parsiana, as also columns in Mumbai Samachar to cover Parsi affairs? To begin with, Parsi Times was not established to commercially compete with any other Parsi publication. The dream was to celebrate diversity and fill certain information and communication gaps within the community. Today, after seven years, what do readers like about Parsi Times? Some read it to catch up on Parsi politics. But, most like it because it is tastefully flavored with coverage of Parsi events and happenings. One also finds balanced religious and cultural points of view, peppered with diverse voices that have long been stifled. And, all this is so amazingly blended into a unique cultural cocktail that leaves a few shaken and the rest stirred.
The editorial policy has remain balanced – neither rabid fundamentalism nor extreme liberalism. It welcomes every shade of opinion and provides many with the opportunities to find a platform to freely voice their views. Mercifully, it has not yet succumbed to the lure of ‘advertorials’ where one can pay to publish their version of “news” and so called “independent reporting”. In private and in public, I have seen Parsi Times welcome both bouquets and brickbats with equanimity. The newspaper is always serious about the issues which it takes up. But, at the same time, it has endeavored not to get either boring or boorish.
Aside from the serious issues, PT also dwells on lighter issues – after all, the readership is Parsi and Parsis want to read about food, entertainment, sports, outings, and of course, humour. Meherbai’s Mandali seems to be an all time hit with both the young and the old.
PT also profiles young entrepreneurs and provides budding writers an opportunity to test their writing skills. There is enough scope now for the youth to express their aspirations and have their voices reach out to a wider audience. If Parsis are looking for a change then this newspaper is the answer to their heart’s desires. Don’t wait for a miracle – YOU make that miracle happen with YOUR voice. Remember, journalism can never be silent – that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air.
Yes, if you want to see a few things changed for the better within the community, be it education or health care, just pick up the pen or better still, hit the keyboard and write to Parsi Times.
Always remember, it is our community’s newspaper and it will be the newspaper that YOU would want it to be. The Editor will exercise editorial discretion whenever and wherever needed, but, knowing her as I do, she will neither stifle nor gag YOUR woes, aspirations, dreams; and uphold at all times YOUR freedom and right of expression.
We need a revolution in the community. For too long has the community stayed silent and for too long have voices been drowned in the din of orchestrated and paid political propaganda. Now is the time to truly usher a new dawn in the history of our community. Together we should tackle the tyrants, respond to those who have been ruthless and all this with a resoluteness to change things for the better.
They say, journalism is the first rough draft of history. With the grace of Ahura Mazda and the support of the community, Parsi Times has already the first few chapters of modern Parsi history! May it chronicle many, many more! Happy Birthday Parsi Times and thanks for keeping the community tuned in with the times that we live in!