At a meeting held on Sunday, 8th January, 2017, by Navsari Samast Parsi Zoroastrian Anjuman (NSPZA), at Navsari’s Khurshed Wadi, a majority vote of 156 to 6, has favored the proposal to utilize a piece of the Doongerwadi land for building an Aramgah or burial ground. The Parsis of Navsari have, for some time now, been asking for an alternative means to Dokhmenishini to carry out the last rites of our dearly departed. The traditional practice of the Dokhma (Tower of silence) at Viraval in Navsari faces no threat of closing down and will continue alongside the Aramgah, which is proposed to be built around it.
The meeting was convened by NSPZA after 163 community members sent a letter to NSPZA six months ago asking to initiate the alternative burial practice. The trustees present for the meeting included honorary secretary Yezdi Kasad, Hormaz Avari, Dara Deboo, Kersi Deboo and Jimmy Bacha. This decision comes in the face of staunch opposition by the community’s orthodox, as also the refusal to give such permission by five of the Vada Dasturs. Navsari holds the highest number of Parsis in Gujarat, amounting to over 2000 in number.
Not surprisingly, social media has been extremely abuzz with numerous opinions showing the divide amongst the community. Those in favor of the burial have cited mainly practical reasons including it being a democratic move, geographical convenience, lack of vultures and ineffective solar panels which take very long to work on the body. The traditionalists have viewed this move as irreligious and anti-Zoroastrian.