Yazdi Desai Withdraws Dinshaw Tamboly’s Recommendation For NCM

This week had the Parsi/Irani Zoroastrian community buried in debate yet again, as BPP Chairman Yazdi Desai announced, at the annual FPZAI (Federation of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjumans of India) meeting held last weekend, his decision to recommend the community’s distinguished, progressive philanthropist, Dinshaw Tamboly, for appointment as the Parsi Member on the National Commission for Minorities (NCM). Though many within the community rejoiced at this decision of having an altruistic visionary represent the community on a national level, the news did create an uproar amongst the orthodox of the community, who strongly expressed their opposition in terms of disappointment and disapproval, which finally got the Chairman to reverse his decision.

Formalising the withdrawal of his recommendation on 5th May, 2017, Yazdi Desai, also the President of FPZAI, sent the following mail to the Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi:

Dear Respected Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Sir,

I refer to my letter of 16th January, 2017, wherein as Chairman of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP), I had recommended the name of Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly for appointment as the Parsi member on the National Commission for Minorities.

After careful thought and due consideration, I hereby wish to withdraw my recommendation of Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly for the following reasons –

1. My recommendation was given in haste, at the instance of Mrs. Shernaz Cama, Director of ParZor (Delhi), ostensibly to thwart the appointment of a politically connected Delhi based Parsi businessman, and consequently my recommendation was given without the authority of the BPP Board at a duly convened Board meeting. I have made this fact public at the recent meeting of the Federation of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjumans of India (FPZAI) which was held in Mumbai over the last weekend.

2. A sizeable section of the Parsi community is very unhappy and upset at my recommendation of Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly. This is because Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly has very radical religious convictions and it is most likely that he will misuse this important position to further his reformist agenda, thereby destroying the delicate ethno-religious fabric of the Parsi Zoroastrian community. Even at the recently concluded meeting in Mumbai of the Federation of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjumans of India, almost all the representatives of the Anjumans throughout India, expressed disappointment and dismay at my recommendation of Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly.

3. To the best of my knowledge and belief, except for Dasturji Khurshed Dastur of Udvada, none of the other four present High Priests of India have endorsed Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly because of his anti-orthodox and anti-religious convictions and actions.

Please treat this letter as the final withdrawal of my recommendation of Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly, in my capacity as Chairman of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, which is the Apex Body of the Parsi Zoroastrian community in India for over 350 years.

I trust your Government will not create a rift and unnecessary controversy in our peace loving Parsi community by appointing Mr. Dinshaw Tamboly as the Parsi Member on the National Minorities Commission.

I truly regret the inconvenience caused to you, Sir, and the anguish and pain caused to my Parsi community by my hasty and thoughtless recommendation.

Yours sincerely,

Yazdi Desai Chairman, Bombay Parsi Punchayet; and

President, Federation of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjumans of India


Parsi Times caught up with an unfazed Dinshaw Tamboly, who, in his signature dignified and confident manner, responded with:

I have conveyed to you that the letter in question has not been endorsed to me, though many individuals have forwarded the same to me. I have also conveyed to you that I am not interested in commenting on an issue that is nothing but ‘political’ in nature and will let the matter rest here.

Warm regards,

Dinshaw Tamboly

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