As Parsi and Irani Zarthostis, we are at an interesting crossroads in India today. Our stand as a ‘Minority Community’ has never felt as minuscule as it does now. Of course, I am referring to the ongoing and increasingly uphill battle that we have been fighting with MMRCL for months now, to protect our Atash Behrams from potential structural damage and imminent spiritual desecration. Whatever happened to the “greatest respect and gratitude” that innumerable Indian leaders have time and again vociferously declared for our Community and its greats, for our contribution towards building this great nation, as also our innumerable achievements that continue to constantly do India proud?
They may have their reasons to boot, but we have our heritage and our religion to protect, and our rights to assert. We are ever grateful for the safe, congenial haven given to us by this generous nation, but we are way more committed to the cause – safeguarding our religious sanctity – which had us seek refuge in India in the first place. We lived up to the set conditions and have diligently delivered on the promise of sweetening the milk. I truly hope that this milk does not turn sour. Time will tell…
As an extremely small-numbered and dwindling community on the verge of potential extinction, we win no real allegiance or favours from the higher-ups because we don’t fill out as a lucrative vote bank. But we still deserve to be protected and respected, and we need our immunity in place against such threats, for now and in the future. Clearly, that responsibility is upon us now.
Where we lack in numbers, we can make up for in unity, and speak loudly, clearly and assertively in one voice, so that no one mistakes the peaceful, calm and non-demanding nature of our Community for being a pushover anymore. We will neither be shouted down at by graceless lawyers, nor will we allow ourselves to be used as a precedent by the State or the government to scare and subvert potential activisms by other minority communities. We will continue our battle with decorum, righteousness and grace, but that alone will not cut it. We need to reinforce our immunity, we need to put out the strongest ever show of our unity – that is the need of the hour now more than ever – be it via peaceful protests on the streets, signature campaigns, peaceful talks with the powers that be, etc.
We need to stay staunchly united on this one because the consequence of this battle will directly either reinforce or undermine not just our religious sanctity, but the safety of our very identity, existence and rights as Parsi Zarthostis.