Parsis seek apology from Arjun Rampal over 'hurtful' remark
Arjun Rampal should apologise to the Parsis. This is the demand from sections of the Parsi community who are scandalised with the actor for stating in a recent interview to a men's magazine that he had visited a Parsi fire-temple or agiary. "I must be one of the few people who has gone into the agiary pretending to be a Parsi," Rampal had said.
The Zoroastrian religion does not allow non-Parsis to enter the holy premises. "Everybody in Mumbai knows that non-Parsis are not allowed to enter the fire temple," said Firoza Mistree, a researcher of Zoroastrian studies. Mistree says that the actor should apologise and identify the temple so that it can be purified.
In a letter to Rampal, Mistree states, "I am surprised that your wife, Mehr Jessia (a former Miss India), whom our community respects, has allowed you to publicly brag about your wrongdoing…Nobody is going to appreciate it."
Khojeste Mistree, co-trustee of the Parsi Panchayat and religious scholar, said, "What Rampal has done is unethical. He could have been more sensitive."
Rampal said he was deeply upset that an innocent remark by him had hurt the Parsis. "Let me bring it into context. It was when I was around eight years old and playing with my friends that I wandered into the compound (garden) of a fire temple. The caretaker mistook me for a Parsi and caught hold of me, and then let me go. I would never disrespect any community. I have always thought of the Parsis as respectable and enterprising people and would not change my opinion on this. If the actions of an eight-year-old boy have hurt the sentiments of anyone, I deeply apologise for it."
Chairman of the Parsi Punchayet Dinshaw Mehta said, "Even if he says it happened when he was eight years old, why is he boasting about it now? We want an apology."