September 26, 2010

Curiouser and Curiouser


EXCEPT,  I DON’T quite feel like Alice in Wonderland. Absurd would be a more appropriate term to describe this recent development that requires the family of a deceased Zoroastrian (Parsi/Irani) woman married to a non-Zoroastrian to file an affidavit stating she was a practicing Zoroastrian all her life in order to receive funeral rites that are the default option and birthright of all Zoroastrian men, single, gay, purple, married to Martians or otherwise.

Apparently, the earlier procedure, an affidavit filed by the woman herself in her lifetime, is inadequate. And no one is asking why women have to prove non-“desertion” by an act of marriage while it is casually assumed that men are piously practicing holy men who have no reason to adopt the religion of their partner.

Oh, did I just call it absurd? How about we add demeaning, humiliating and sickeningly offensive? There are so many reasons I am proud to be a Parsi. This, let it go on record, IS NOT ONE OF THEM.  I must state here that this is a resolution passed by the BPP, a Bombay-specific body, and does not hold true for Zoroastrians elsewhere in the world (thank heavens!) Nations the world over are proof of how little progress is made when its women are treated like second-class citizens and it is heartbreaking to see an otherwise progressive community do this to more than half its populace, sometimes with the blessing of that ill-informed second-class gender.

For an older post and some history on the subject, go here.

6 comments to Curiouser and Curiouser

  • Kunal

    Thank God for the Parsis! Without Bawas, India’s average sense of compassion, kindness and ethics would be much lower. That is not to say, you should not fight to make the community even more awesome than it is…you go girl! But just know that…we are ever so grateful that your ancestors chose to make India your home! 🙂

  • Sorab Dalal

    As a non-practicing atheist Parsi male I am very confused by this stupid argument. It is unfair and sexist. I could have my body consumed by our dying vulture population after my passing (I do not want this but that is beside the point), but a Parsi woman who might have been devout all her life but has survived other family members (a distinct possibility in our rapidly diminishing community) cannot. Even the mad hatter would be unable to wrap his head around this argument.

    • Dilnavaz Bamboat

      In a recent move by the Karachi Parsi Punchayet, children of Zoroastrian women married to non-Zoroastrian men will be accepted as Zoroastrians if the parents wish it. Now if only the Bombay Parsi Punchayet would take their earmuffs and blinkers off.

  • Sorab Dalal

    Kudos to the Karachi Parsi Panchayat. Maybe we can embarrass the BPP by telling them that Pakistanis are more progressive than we are (given the rampant nationalism we see in the country today). On the other hand that might work against us.

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