Dear Zarathushti humdins,
[ To: TZML - Traditional Zarathushtrian Mailing List ][cc: Vada Dasturjis, Ervad Sahebs, Bombay Parsee Punchayat (BPP), Zoroastrian Studies, Religious Anjumans, Priestly Madrassas, Traditional Zoroastrian Home page moderators, TMYZ officials, prominent Zarathushtis, etc ]
The ARZ organisation, which is supposedly for the "revival" of Zoroastrianism, has got it wrong again.
In this week's advertisement in the Jame of 4th March, they now try and justify intermarried by using the gender card. Previously, they used the race card by calling us racists, now they accuse us Parsis of discrimination against women who have married outside. They do not talk about the big gunah these women have committed by marrying outside, but instead obfuscate the issue by presenting these women as victims!!! Holy Zarathushtra, how can we answer such mis-guided people. Perhaps this reminder will make them reconsider.
ARZ must remember that our religion frowns on mixed marriages of any gender. Intermarriage is a big gunah against the religion and the Atashes. Period. No room for arguments. It is wrong irrespective if the perpetrator is male or female. It is wrong to accept children of mixed marriages into our community or places of worship like fire-temples.
In Nature, it is a fact that intermarried women do more harm then men to the religion, then we must consider that fact, and as our dear Vada Dasturji Dr Firoze Kotwal has reminded us time and again that "such acts harm and distress (even) to Ahura Mazda". This however does not mean that men can intermarry and still call themselves and their non-Parsis spouses and children as Zarathushtis. This topic of gender equality especially as far as religious rules go is far complex then the lame "we are all equal be we men or women" mantra which could suffice in one's secular life.
In her penetrating and honest direct style, Mrs. Pervin J Mistry demolishes the ARZ claims. She rightly reminds them that when religion is concerned, the gender equality rules do not follow the politically correct line of thinking advocated by heterodox organisations. She reminds them that other great religions too, like Hinduism, has rules for barring intermarried women, when their women make mistakes.
Mrs. Mistry writes " Isn't it shocking that the ARZ tries to fool the gullible with such pathetic lack of scriptural evidence to prove that Parsis perpetrate injustice to intermarried ladies in the name of 'religion'. In dignity, respect, spirituality, YES, our religion considers both the sexes as equal but we do not consider intermarriage of either a male or a female to be ritually sanctified and religiously accepted. There is no " injustice" perpetrated by the Parsis to intermarried ladies if these women disobey the revealed tenets of the religion and marry out!"
Please refer the enclosed email below for the full article which is full of insights and religious facts.
TZML Admins (refer below)
Reply to ARZ re Justice to Intermarried Women
from Mrs. Pervin J Mistry
This refers to the weekly ARZ advertisement which is published in the last issue of Jam-e (4-3-2007), circulated a day in advance, on Saturday instead of the usual Sunday.
The advertisement reads: " Zoroastrianism is the first religion to fully recognize the absolute equality of men and women. Yet we Parsis perpetrate injustice to intermarried ladies in the name of 'religion'. Shocking, isn't it?"
Since the past 3 weeks, the ARZ has replaced the usual misquotes from the Sacred Avesta with other statements. The social, historical, cultural, as well as ethnic issues that ARZ is confused with are addressed in previous replies. Now, the ARZ is shocked that our religion does not allow intermarried Zarthushti women the same rights as the other Zarthushti women who are married within the religious community to Zarthushti men! They see this as "injustice" to the intermarried women! By definition, a person who disobeys the commands of a religion is a "heretic". No religion accepts the heretics. If a soldier disobeys the disciplines of the army, he is discharged. Are we, as a religious community, required to accept any act which is scripturally defined as a sin? No! No religious community accepts, rationalizes or justifies a sin! We do not accept intermarried Zarthushtis as practicing Zarthushtis. The ARZ turns a blind eye to the fact that even the Hindus do not accept intermarriage. The intermarried Hindu women are barred from participating at rituals and entering consecrated temples in India itself! Perhaps the ARZ individuals do not read the TOI and are oblivious of the news regarding entry denied to intermarried Hindu women in the consecrated temples of India.
Hinduism Today, July 19, 1994, in a short article: "Must We Marry within Our Religion?" states: " For marriage to serve its spiritual purpose to the highest, husband and wife should hold the same beliefs and share the same religious practices." Our religion considers marriage to be a sacrament and it is valid only if both the partners are Zarthushtis by birth! Is our religion an exception for not counting the intermarrieds as "Zarthushtis"? If a Zarthushti woman (or a Zarthushti man) marries a Catholic, she/he has to first renounce the Zarthushti religion and be baptized as a Catholic Christian. If a Zarthushti woman/man marries a Muslim, it is required to first renounce the Zarthushti religion, accept Islam and then marry the Muslim spouse. I ask the ARZ if they consider a person to be a practicing "Zarthushti" if the person willingly renounces the religion of birth and converts to another religion. Does the ARZ in their confused thinking accept "Zarthushtis" as Hindu-Zoroastrians, Christian-Zoroastrians, etc.? Why, they may as well proclaim themselves to be the Prophets of a new Cult because the Christian religion does not accept a Hindu-Christian or a Muslim-Christian as a Christian; Muslims will not accept any member into their religious community who is a Christian or a Jew as a Muslim-Christian, or a Muslim-Jew! If a Zarthushti converts to another religion is the person still considered to be a "Zarthuhsti"? If other religions do not consider their apostates as followers but consider them as outcasts, if the Muslims consider any Muslim who has renounced Islam to be "kafur" and outcast such an individual will the ARZ consider this as injustice and try and dictate to the Muslims that they should accept the outcast in their fold as a practicing Muslim? ARZ should try.
The ARZ is right when they maintain that our religion offers equality to both the sexes and we maintain that precisely that is why our scriptures reveal, unequivocally, that due to the equality of both the sexes, a male as well as a female Zarthushti commits a religious sin when he/she marries a juddin! Scriptures such as Vendidad, Husparam Nask, Patet Pashemani, Chithrem Buyat, VahishtaIshti Gatha, the Dinkard, etc. condemn the intermarriage of a Zarthushti male or a Zarthushti female as a spiritual, religious sin!
We are a patrilineal community in the sense that Zarthushti girls at birth take their father's name as their middle name as well as the father's surname till they marry and thereafter take the husband's name and surname replacing the father's. Take the example of an osti girl from a mobed family marrying a behdin and thereby she is considered no more an osti but a behdin and her name is recited together with her husband's in all naam-grahans in the rituals where names are taken. This is not discrimination! It is a "ritual tradition" continued since countless millennia! The sacred names of Zarthushti females are always taken with the name of their Zarthushti husband or father, if unmarried!
Will the ARZ show us just one instance where a juddin's name is mentioned in our naam-grahan ? The ARZ declares time and again that after coming to India some traditions have changed and therefore the ARZ intends to revert to the practices started in Iran by Asho Zarathushtra! With absolutely no offence meant to any religion or a religious community, I ask, can the ARZ give just one instance from the past up to the present where a Santaram, Narayan, George, Henry, Ahmed, Ali, Akbar, or a Hebrew name such as David is mentioned in our rituals as naam cheshti anusheh raven ravani behest bareh "Thomas" aedar yad bad? Please know that it is Asho Zarathushtra's tenets and traditions that we, in our Prayers, are following till today, since countless millennia, from az Gayomard up to the present time and will continue to follow for yet countless more millennia to come, up to anda Soshyos!
Isn't it shocking that the ARZ tries to fool the gullible with such pathetic lack of scriptural evidence to prove that Parsis perpetrate injustice to intermarried ladies in the name of 'religion'. In dignity, respect, spirituality, YES, our religion considers both the sexes as equal but we do not consider intermarriage of either a male or a female to be ritually sanctified and religiously accepted. There is no "injustice" perpetrated by the Parsis to intermarried ladies if these women disobey the revealed tenets of the religion and marry out!
This confusion in the mind of the ARZ founders and supporters is indeed shocking, isn't it? What next?
Pervin J. Mistry
March 6th, 2007.