Letters to the Editor

Congratulations! Our Schools Are The Best!

Hearty Congratulations to the Principal, the Staff and Students of Manekji Cooper School for their stupendous performance in the ICSC examination 2020. The topper Viha Jain securing a whopping 99.6%, ranks No.1 in Mumbai. This is a well-deserved reward for their highly professional teaching, and the care and concern they bear for the students. All the 139 students who appeared, got high distinctions! The 26 Zoroastrian students who have secured up to 98.40% marks, have made the community proud of their achievements.

Understanding the value of education, our visionary ancestors established various educational institutions to promote value-based education. Our community has always considered the value of education and the parents strive to give the best education to their children. It is sad that despite having access to such excellent affordable and cultural education institutions, especially for our children, we prefer to send them to high-profile international schools where education is a profit making business, and they associate with many possessing reduced values. No wonder we notice a decline in the moral values in our community! 

Along with the skyrocketing school fees, we shell out a sizable amount on private tuitions, thinking that extra coaching will help our children to get high grades, but depending on private tuitions, children remain inattentive in class. 

About six hours a day, five days a week, in the company of like-minded enthusiastic friends, schooling is a joyful and rewarding time for a child – learning, exploring and developing the skills of thinking intensively and critically, and forming independent opinions. Teaching is an art where teachers create interest in subjects resulting in the student wanting to self-study and further explore new avenues. The goal of education is to build confidence, to create a thirst for knowledge and above all, build character with strong ethics and independent judgement. 

We have quite a number of Parsi Schools, with a good number of Parsi staff, imparting value-based education, inviting Parsi students with open arms, offering them incentives and even free education. Even books, uniforms are given free to deserving students. The environment in these schools create in them pride of our Parsipanu so dear to our hearts. Even the most affluent from other communities seek admission in Parsi schools, while we are missing a golden opportunity! 

Think wisely, appreciate the blessings offered to the community. OUR SCHOOLS ARE THE BEST!!

By Piroja Jokhi

Zoroastrian Priest Arash Kasravi Murdered In Iran

Dear Parsi Times,

 Last week, a California based Zoroastrian priest by the name of Arash Kasravi, and his two companions, were murdered in Kerman, Iran. Kasravi had travelled to Iran due to his father’s death and to sort out legal matters regarding inheritance. According to Iranwire (https://iranwire.com/en/features/7355), Kasravi had received death threats before and thus was travelling with a bodyguard. After going missing for several days, the bodies of Kasravi and his two companions were found in a villa in Mahan district, Kerman. Kerman’s prosecutor, Dadkhoda Salari, has claimed that these murders were possibly financially motivated.

However, this is a highly suspicious case and this could likely have been a murder/assassination organized by the Islamic Regime. It would not be the first time a member of the Zoroastrian community has been targeted by the Regime. Please refer to the cases of Kasra Vafadari (Paris, 2005) and Manouchehr Farhangi (Madrid, 2008), both of whom were prominent members of the Zoroastrian community, who had been harassed by the Islamic regime, received death threats and were ultimately murdered in what appears to have been regime sponsored assassinations. 

Furthermore, the brother of Kasra Vafadari, Karan Vafadari was arrested alongside with his wife in 2016; they were denied the right to a lawyer at their trial and were charged with having alcohol and mixed gendered gatherings at their home in Tehran. It is important to note that these things are not illegal for members of religious minorities like Zoroastrians. They were released on bail two years later but the basis for their arrest was so the regime could seize their property and assets. 

The regime has done this with many Zoroastrians, Bahai’s, Jews, and Christians. Previously in history, religious minorities had to pay a heavy tax known as jizya, this was abolished under the Pahlavi dynasty. The false charges and imprisonment of religious minorities, and the seizure of their assets, inheritance, and property, is an obvious attempt by the Iranian Government to replicate the Jizya tax.  

Zoroastrians face discrimination in areas such as education and employment. The Islamic Regime places many restrictions on Zoroastrian organizations in Iran and Zoroastrians are feeling increasingly persecuted. The murder of Arash Kasravi, reminds me of the murder of the Christian priest Haik Hovespian Mehr who was murdered by the Iranian government in 1994.

Please help spread this news amongst the Parsi community. The Islamic Regime has been getting away with this for too long. The Zoroastrians in India, unlike in Iran, enjoy a tremendous amount of influence in society. The Parsis can lobby and express their concerns to the Indian government, and prompt the Indian government to issue a statement/condemnation regarding the discrimination of Zoroastrians in Iran and to apply pressure on the Iranian government to adequately investigate Kasravi’s murder.

Parsis saved the Iranian Zoroastrian community in the 19th Century when the community was suffering horrific persecution under the Qajars. The Parsis sent Maneckji Limji Hataria to assist them and to lobby the Qajar King, and the Parsis also got the British government to successfully persuade and pressure the Qajar King to end the Jizya tax and other discriminatory laws against Zoroastrians. 

Once again, the Zoroastrians in Iran require Parsi assistance, but this time from the Islamic Regime. How many Zoroastrians can the regime murder and get away with? The Zoroastrians of Iran are completely defenceless and have no means to stand up for their rights or to protect themselves. Thus, we call for the Parsis in India to do whatever they can do to raise awareness to the plight of the Zoroastrian community in Iran and to help hold the Regime accountable for their criminal actions.

(Darius Dharsi is a Zoroastrian living in Canada. A student of Iranian Studies, he is very passionate about Zoroastrianism.)   

By Darius Dharsi


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