Youth Speak

It all boils down to the youth of our community… be it the survival of our culture, the survival of our legacy as India’s most loved, illustrious and respected minority, the survival of our unique ethnicity – the survival of our very community – our very existence. A lot is said about the youth of our community – usually pointing towards their lack of attention and participation in community affairs. Twenty-two year old Rayan Dastur, a Mobed and a final year law student represents a voice from the community’s youth, sharing insights into the ongoing sense of divide felt increasingly between the youth and the adults/seniors within our community. Rayan shares his take on what it means to be a Parsi Youth, and encourages you to come forward and share your ideas and constructive opinions towards helping bridge this gap and work together towards restoring the erstwhile Parsi unity and glory.

“The Parsis, the kind and talented lot.” That’s how we’re described in India. From Dadabhai Naoroji, to the Tatas, all the way to Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw and Supreme Court Judge, Justice Rohinton Nariman. Parsis occupy imminent positions in almost every field. We are hailed as ‘The Jewels of a Crown called India’. Growing up, I’d take immense pride in being called a ‘Parsi’. Quite honestly, we all secretly feel special when people exclaim, “Oh wow! you’re a Parsi. Not really known one until now. Only heard about how talented and charitable you all are!” Frankly speaking, we are a talented lot, aren’t we?

My  8-year long stay in the Athornan Madressa in Dadar, gave me an in-depth view into the sacred teachings indoctrinated by Prophet Zarathustra. But as time passed, I realized that these teachings, along with the people of this Community, will soon become extinct, like the dinosaurs. This is why I approached Parsi Times – to give me – a young Parsi Priest, an opportunity to bring about not just the awareness that threatens the long-term survival of our Community (which the youth seems to be naive and disinterested in), but to start working towards factors that truly bring us down.

Enough with all the analysis! A large number of eminent Parsis have spoken ad nauseam about it. My goal is to start working towards solutions that will help our population grow. The majority blames the youth for not taking enough interest in religion. But is that really all? There are a dozen relevant topics that lack clarity. Let’s address these together in the coming weeks.

The community, specifically the youth, lacks direction.  We don’t have solutions for our issues. Ranging all the way from inter-caste marriages to the quickly fading out existence of Parsi priests. Sometimes, it seems like we lack a competent authority who can give us final, binding answers. We’re lost in a complicated maze with no leader to follow, in need of clarity.

The youth needs to force the clarity out of our ‘apparent leaders’ – someone who can truly show us the way. I’m aware that only a small number of the youth really takes interest in community/religious matters, so I request those reading this to share this article amongst the youth. We must express what we really feel. Being a Dastur of Udvada and a soon-to-be practicing lawyer, I am progressive – I do not cater to unyielding guidelines that result in discord, but I’m in consonance with the youth of today. And it is our responsibility to speak up as concerned and responsible community members.

We, the youth, are the future of this community. It’s time we started participating in our Community matters if we truly wish for our grand Parsi community to survive. Open up and come forward to tell us what you – the youth of the Parsi Community – feel our community lacks, or areas where we need to change – be it our mentality, habits, beliefs or outlooks. The Community needs our participation, else, all that will remain is our DNA samples and relics in a museum of extinct species.

So, mail me at – I look forward to hear from my fellow youth – let’s bring in the change we desperately require, let’s set the precedent for our Community to unite and not be relegated as a Community that basks in the glory of it’s past. If we could survive the tyranny of our Persian persecutors, I believe we have more than what it takes to solve our issues today.

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