One of the advantages of being an educated and (comparatively) progressive Community, is that we have strong opinions! But sometimes, so obsessed are we about voicing our own opinions, that we tend to blur the line between expressing our opinions and imposing these on others who don’t necessarily see eye-to-Your-Opinion’s-eye!
Now, as long as these opinions are about the not-so-terribly consequential aspects, it’s alright… in fact, it’s even entertaining. But when religion gets embroiled in this conflicting-opinions-mix, it’s a disaster. Differences of opinion on religious matters in a Community has always been its undoing; it’s the nemesis of every Community’s most integral aspect – its unity. The unwillingness or inability of the seemingly educated to ‘agree to disagree’, when it comes to matters of religion, is as appalling as it is unfortunate.
Both, the traditional-minded as well as the liberals, put on this holier-than-thou garb of ‘protecting’ the religion. Sometimes I wonder how something as exceedingly private as religion, becomes the central topic of intense community debate. Religion is meant to be the journey that leads you to the Divine destination. It is meant to guide our souls and steer our spirits towards the light, the wisdom and the truth that is Ahura Mazda. How it metamorphoses into the single most destructive force that can undo a Community’s unity and cause intense distress to its individuals, is beyond the realms of everything that our glorious Zoroastrian religion stands for, in the first place.
The last week witnessed yet another unnecessary roadbump affecting our Community’s unity and image, where an actual police complaint was lodged by a self-proclaimed protector of the religion (read conservative) ‘defending’ the religion against an alleged infidel (read liberal), who was apparently instigating community members into committing blasphemous acts. Apart from the obvious lack of sensibility, responsibility or reason that this kind of a self-obsessed act displays, I am appalled at the arrogance of it all!
To think Zoroastrianism needs ‘defending’ – or that anyone can even truly defile its sanctity by instigative or any other kind of efforts – is seriously undermining the glory and the power of our religion. All it shows is your lack of knowledge about our history, and worse, the lack of faith in your religion. Zoroastrianism, our great Mazdayasni religion, and the world’s oldest, has been around for millenniums… it has survived cataclysmic events across centuries, nations and people. Parsis, on the other hand, are just a few centuries-old race, blessed to be born into this religion – let’s not get ahead of ourselves to think we are its ‘protectors’.
Zoroastrianism has, and will continue to survive and thrive. We, on the other hand, may not. So, maybe, instead of making a brouhaha (and a fool of ourselves in the eyes of the nation, every so often, by turning on each other and resorting to the national media and now, to the police) about being protectors, how about we start at the grass-roots as laid down by our holy Prophet, and try to live our religion based on its amazing tenets, so we can become the good (and wise) Zoroastrians that we were meant to be?