Twenty years ago, UNESCO requested me to create a programme on the Parsi Zoroastrians, as they realized that this community was facing demographic extinction. With the loss of culture, the world loses a part of its wisdom and UNESCO’s mandate was for us to record this culture. Even as a student and teacher of the interlinking of the world’s knowledge traditions, who had worked on Zoroastrianism for many years under great international experts, I have been amazed and humbled by what the UNESCO Parzor Project has discovered.
From linguistics to jokes, songs and stories, empty villages and single Parsi families in corners of India, what has kept me going has been the spirit of this community. Today, however, every young Zoroastrian seeks escape from the countless negative stories, quarrels and politics that have overtaken a pioneering peoples, who at their highest were only 1,40,000 persons in the vast humanity of India. Today we are around just 50,000 individuals but each one has a story worth listening to and learning from.
I write to you to invite you to look beyond Bombay and Gujarat, discover your links and tell your stories as an Influencer for the future of the Zoroastrians. Parzor’s experience with the Return to Roots Diaspora Programme, now in its fifth year, www.zororoots.org, has led me to try and create a circuit not just of geographical and professional discovery but to interlink in this circuit your own personal and professional expertise, correct the negativity, connect with community and create a future for a small group, which surviving from the Bronze Age, has much to offer even today to human kind.
HORIZONS is Parzor’s attempt to let young men and women come together, share their ideas and help create a future; be it through discovering a Zoroastrian family who created ecological tourism before the world spoke of it in Masinagudi forest, built great institutions to benefit mankind through science or be it through just sharing ideas, bouncing them off each other and making friends.
A fashion show by Parzor’s Ashdeen, will be just one of the surprises which awaits you. It is through you as an Influencer that the Parsis will continue to be a tight knit group full of the positivity which comes from a positive faith which by osmosis has continued to provide leadership, still honoured across the world.
I promise you a happy time in a beautiful part of the world!