Wisdom Without Courage
We are advised to use our own wisdom and follow the teachings of the person whose answer are consistent with teachings of our religion. A layman is usually ignorant of the teachings of religion, so he is easily misled by scholars and PhD holders mushrooming by dozens. May I question the validity of practices in vogue contradicting the teachings of our religion at the cost of offending the so-called scholars? Constitution provides liberty to manage religious affairs without interference. Yet we ignore religious injunctions and continue the practice adopted by some Priests of yesteryears resulting in approval of inter-marriages of our men. We are guilty of promoting gender bias. Hence we have no right to complain about our dwindling numbers. As long as the gender bias prevails, the sword of inter-marriages will exist. Why can we not reverse the violation of religious norms over-ruled by court of law? We lack courage of conviction. The “Myship, My order” attitude of our High Priests will one day sink our community. Do we believe those who do not practice what they preach? He is wise who does not consider himself to be so.
Solving The Community Crisis
The recent news about the fall in birth-rate of Parsis may have created a small ripple among the community members. We Parsis are known as ‘pachham budhia’ in Gujarati – meaning, ‘getting wisdom after the event’. The fall in population is not a new happening – it’s been ongoing for 80 years or more. Our population was 1,31,000 as per 1931 count. Thereafter, it’s been declining and today we are about 57,000.
In 1930’s too, the same controversy was plaguing the community – acceptance of others into our community.
A quote from the autobiography of our great religious scholar, Dastur Dr. Maneckjji Dhalla (English Translation, 1975; Pg. 395) states, “At the moment, until the social atmosphere of the community undergoes a change, it is understandable that due to high death-rate, the fall in birth-rate due to family planning and other reasons, the strength of the community shows a downward trend. When we, or the generations to come, become aware of the danger of our decreasing numbers, then fresh answers will be found to suit the changing circumstances.”
This was forecasted over 80 years ago, but our community members, leaders and high priests seem to be happily practicing ‘Khavasni, Pivasni and Suvasni’! instead.
I further quote, “It is just possible that after decades the community may create an enlightened and educated priest class and a popular understanding that to spread the good faith and to increase our strength is not only commensurate with the precepts of our religion but also in the interest of our social well-being.”
How much longer shall we wait to see that ‘enlightened and educated priest class’ emerging and ‘ understanding by our community members about spreading our religion? The problem or the issue needs to be resolved by using our heads and not sentiments. I welcome all views from readers, but can these be only constructive suggestions based on reason?
It is said, ‘He that cannot reason is a fool; He that will not, a bigot; He that dares not, a slave’. It will be appreciated that at my age of 86, I would be allowed to refrained from associating with fools, bigots and slaves.
Kersee Kabraji, Pune.