Re: Mrs. K. D. Oomrigar’s Letter About Worli Prayer Hall

Dear Editor,

In the issue of Parsi Times dated 16th July, one Mrs. Khorshed Oomrigar has expressed her views regarding the Worli Prayer Hall, which are factually incorrect. At the outset I would like to mention that during my visit to India a month back, I had attended a funeral ceremony at the said Prayer Hall and without any hesitation, I can say that the Prayer Hall is well-maintained, well-lit, airy and clean. The Prayer Hall also has facility for the ritual bath to be given to the dead body before the paidast ceremony. Our prayer book Khordeh Avesta, prayer caps, scarves and sandalwood are also made available at the Prayer Hall for the people who attend the ceremonies. After the paidast ceremony the body is placed on a stretcher by the relatives and the same is wheeled to the adjacent crematorium, wherein the staff of the crematorium helps in placing the body on the conveyor of the electric furnace.

On the contrary, due to total absence of vultures the so-called ‘traditional’ Dokhmenashini system itself is dysfunctional and has undergone multiple changes like installation of Solar Panels (which actually burns the body part where the rays are concentrated), release of ozone gas, sprinkling of lime stone powder, spraying of bovine urine in the dakhmas and, last but not the least, in the guise of cleaning the bhandar of the Dakhmas, the bodies in different state of decomposition, are brought out and given a mass burial on the Doongarwadi grounds. Now, are all these trial and experiments carried out in name of ‘traditional’ dokhmenashini in line with religion?

Mrs. Oomrigar also mentioned that relatives of the deceased touch the dead body. I would like to remind her that in other cities there is no system of paid khandias and nassesallars. The actual work of consigning of body to the Dokhma is done by the close relatives themselves. In fact, the body being carried and consigned by the near and dear ones is a very touching and blessed duty so as to be part of the final journey of the loved ones.

One other racist issue raised by Mrs. Oomrigar is presence of non-Parsis near the prayer hall. She needs to understand that this Prayer Hall unites the families in moments of grief and does not divide the families in name of religion. The non-Parsi spouse and their other family members and friends are all allowed to pay their last respect to the deceased without any discrimination. That is the true spirit of Zoroastrianism.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of true karmayogis like Dinshaw Tamboli, the Worli Prayer Hall is the answer to the clamour for alternate facility for those who are not willing to opt for the so-called traditional but now dysfunctional mode of disposal.

Ervad Ratan Unwalla

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