In Zoroastrian theology, all dead matter is considered unhygienic and polluting. Parsi Pallbearers (Nassesalars and Khandhias) are corpse-bearers invested with priest-like duties and are responsible for protecting the living from contamination by the corpse. Theologically, pallbearers are supposed to hold a venerated position, but that is sadly not the case in the present times.
Only Zoroastrians who do not have recourse to any other professional positions, gravitate towards becoming pallbearers at functional Doongerwadis / Towers of Silence at various parts of India, especially the west coast. The income of Parsi Pallbearers is not only modest compared to other professions, but Pallbearers also function under extremely trying conditions that often cause emotional strain.
With a view to providing our Parsi Pallbearers some financial relief as well as to make them feel appreciated, WZO Trust Funds requested the generous and caring Trustees of Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao, to consider extending financial support to this segment of our community, which they have readily and graciously agreed.
Taking the initiative forward, WZO Trust Funds requested various Anjumans, that have Towers of Silence (Dakhmas) under their jurisdiction, to provide us with a list of individuals that served as Pallbearers. We have now collated a final list of 76 individuals who perform the duties of Pallbearers at various Towers of Silence (Dakhmas).
Upon the recommendation of WZO Trust Funds, the Trustees of Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao have agreed to financially extend support to our Pallbearers, starting with funding each one on a quarterly basis (July-Sept 2019) at Rs.22,500/- [which amounts to Rs.7,500/- per month], for a period of one year; post which the arrangement will be reviewed and considered for renewal.
It is hoped that this support extended to them will provide them with some financial relief as well as reassure them of the community’s appreciation for their indispensable services.
It will not be out of place to reiterate that Trustees of Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton & Macao, have, as an institution, been extending maximum support through WZO Trust Funds to Zoroastrian individuals in India requiring assistance across numerous platforms, including medical expenses, pursuit of higher education, financial relief on quarterly and piecemeal basis to individuals who are economically challenged or in different forms of distress. The present initiative is yet another illustration of their large heartedness, benevolence and concern for our very grateful community.