A Full Board Of Trustees – The Need OF The Hour!
As a community member who wishes for the growth and welfare of our tiny yet glorious community, I am absolutely aghast at the ongoings at the BPP. The Trustees were elected by us to do good for the community – but for some Trustees, the motto is ‘Self before Service’!
Last week, the article in Parsi Times, by BPP Trustee Kersi Randeria, titled, ‘BPP Housing: A Donor’s Promise, A Beneficiary’s Distant Dream’, was as eye-opening as it was disparaging. No wonder, our faith in our elected leaders is dwindling faster than our population numbers.
To the deserving Parsi beneficiaries, the dream of being provided free ‘Housing’ will remain a dream until the 3-in-Majority BPP Trustees have their way. This is not even a real Majority – these 3 Trustees are just getting off on a technicality – when the BPP Board of 7 got reduced to 5.
The only solution is to hold elections and elect candidates who are genuinely concerned and care for the betterment of the community – only then we can have a full and balanced board.
This unethical majority has since been milking the situation to their best advantage – the welfare of the community and the community members be damned!! Headed by BPP Trustee Viraf Mehta, who plays the game in proxy on the diktats of his father, the majority trustees have done more disservice to the community than service. The moving of the Parsi Gate to accommodate the BMC, Allowing the BMC to fly drones over our sacred Doongerwadi and more recently, forcing the BPP Trustees, to yet again allow the BMC to enter our Doongerwadi to lay permanent water pipes… WHY ARE WE PANDERING SO MUCH TO THE BMC?
Another online publication recently shared the original minutes and exchange of emails which shows Viraf Mehta constantly batting for the BMC, holding clandestine meetings with the BMC officials, arguing his case with Kersi Randeria, who thankfully, true to his responsibility as a Trustee, has refused to let the BMC have their way yet again!
Ample proof also shows that Viraf Mehta is pandering to the will of the BMC for the sake of his own personal interests related to his properties. Are Trustees Randeria and Dadrawala simply going to sit back and allow Viraf Mehta to trade off the community’s properties and the welfare of the Parsi Community for the personal benefits of the Mehtas???
Obviously, the 3-in-Majority will NEVER want elections to take place! They will keep doing their best to postpone it. And yet again, Trustees Randeria and Dadrawala seem to have their hands tied behind their backs, as they are the minority trustees, and thus unable to prevent these misdoings by the 3 majority Trustees!
As a community, we need to speak up in one voice against these evils which compromise and destroy our legacy as Parsis. We have to come together and DEMAND THAT ELECTIONS BE HELD BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!! A FULL BOARD OF TRUSTEES IS THE NEED OF THE HOUR! WE CAN NOT AND MUST NOT WAIT TILL THE MAJORITY TRUSTEES – UNDER THE MEHTA INFULENCE – STRIPS US CLEAN OF OUR LEGACY AND DIGNITY.
By Arzan Ghadially
How Long Are We Going To Delay The BPP Elections?
The pandemic is not going to end soon. But how long can we keep using this as an excuse to delay the BPP elections, when clearly the rest of the world is gradually resuming life as we knew it? How long will this ‘3:2 Majority’ of the BPP Trustees dominate the Board unethically? These three Majority Trustees, who have been elected by the community, seem to have focus their loyalties towards their mentor, who unabashedly takes the credit for their win!!! Is it what is expected from our candidates who made tall promises earlier?
The community is fed up with the present state of affairs in the BPP. Elections should be held, observing strict COVID protocol and following safety measures, as required – and the incomplete (and thus skewed) 5-member BPP Board should be restored to its original number of 7 Trustees.
The candidates can publish their manifesto on posters, or through Parsi publications, can hold Zoom meetings to interact with the voters at different colonies. Arrangements can be made for online voting with help from volunteers in colonies.
This time, let us choose the RIGHT and DESERVING candidates. Since 2008, the first time we voted, we rejected persons of merits due to our biased allegiances. This has hampered our progress and created conflicts in the community. Crores of rupees of public charity trust are frittered away on fruitless litigations emptying the coffers of the trust, thus depriving the poor and needy of their legitimate rights to donors’ aid.
In 2008, we voted, for the first time – it was time for rejoicing, but there was no planning. Since then, elections are still conducted without a proper ‘Code of Conduct’, as it suits the candidates who cannot be disqualified for corrupt practices or penalized for breach of rules. If we want to have free and fair elections, a ‘Code of Conduct’ MUST BE drafted and legalized before the next election and implemented during the elections.
In addition, the voters register needs to be updated. To keep the trustees vigilant and focused, the duration of their term be shortened, to about 4-5 years. The security deposit of a mere Rs, 5000/- encourages manipulators to exploit the system and the elections, by introducing fake candidates to stand for election so as to divide the votes and diminish the chances of other candidates. The deposit should be increased to Rs. 50,000/- with a provision that the deposit would be forfeited if the candidate fails to get a certain percentage of the total votes.
We expect not only austerity in spending but accountability and transparency from the trustees. They are expected to keep their annual accounts, reports budget, etc. open to public scrutiny. We urgently need to bring the above reforms.
The trustees should diligently manage the trust and the properties – and not advocate the cause of outsiders at the cost of our community’s welfare.
Our religion is based on righteousness and gives us the freedom to follow our hearts. Will the wise Lord Zarathustra and the God of subtle vision the Mazda Ahura be pleased with the way we are practicing religion today?
More than ever, we need to choose the right candidates during the next elections. But even more importantly, as a community, it is the time to assert our democratic rights to a free and fair election, which has been due for a while now.
By Piroja Homi Jokhi