Friday, February 29, 2008

Ervad Jimmy Doctor properly answers the doubts and controversy created by Mr Minoo Dumasia

From: TZML Admins
Date: Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 7:23 PM
Subject: Ervad Jimmy Doctor properly answers the doubts and
controversy created by Mr Minoo Dumasia
To: TZML <>



28 Feb 2008

Dear Zarathushti humdins,

you will find this serialisation very interesting and inspiring.

It is from a young Ervad of our community who rises to defend his religion.

TZML Admins

From: Jimmy Doctor
Date: Feb 6, 2008 9:20 AM
Subject: A response to Mr. Minoo Dumasia

Hi Minoo. I was one of the people who got your email (the one copied
below). I believe you are one of those Parsi's who proclaim they have
an 'open mind'. If I am correct in that assumption, you will have the
courage to read what I have written in response to your email in its
entirety. I am not just another Traditional here to blast you at
every corner. You made some very valid points, and others that I
believe need some reconsideration. Since it is obvious that your and
my religious views differ, Im going to try my best to leave them out
of this. Instead I will be speaking strictly from the viewpoint of
theory, logic, history, social observations and research. Think about
it? I thought about it plenty, as you will soon find out, and here is
what I have got to say:
"The recent events and the shameful behaviour of the orthodox parsis
in Mumbai, led by the self-proclaimed leaders and keepers of the
faith, made it to the news on NDTV."
Were you there? What type of behavior did we partake in that you would
classify as shameful? Did we physically assault anyone? Did we commit
any crimes? Was anyone taken to the hospital? The answer to all of
those questions is of course, no. We simply stood up for what we
believed in, and intellectually challenged Antia. A challenge might I
add, that he was unable to meet. He was not able to answer even one
question asked by the audience in a satisfactory manner. If this
controversial event took place with any other religious community in
India, you better believe that heads would have rolled, literally. I
highly commend the people that were there for keeping our good name by
remaining relatively civil. The tempers that were lost, were of course
a natural human reaction to someone spreading lies about ones
religion. The cops were called in as a precautionary measure, not
because there was violence in progress.
"When will these stupid people ralise that with so few Parsis alive,
inter-breeding and marriages between close relatives will ultimately
lead to the extinction of our community. If the gene pool is very
small and limited, then it is a recepie for disaster for the parsis of
india. It is beyond belief how the Persian refugees survived in India
for so long with so little inter-mixing with the various Indian
First of all, its quite condescending and conceited for you to
proclaim your view as intelligent and those views of the orthodox as
"stupid." I don't proclaim to know everything, and I don't put down
other people and their beliefs because theirs are different than mine.
Since we have been following our practices for millennia and haven't
gone extinct yet, I think your claims are overly dramatic. Recipe for
disaster? If you want a recipe for disaster, how about when the
Hindus, Muslims and Christians of India all realize that we now openly
accept converts and gladly include us in their communal riots. How
quickly do you think we will be wiped off of India's map? Are you
personally going to defend our people and places of worship when riots
break out? Since you yourself said that it is beyond your belief as to
how we survived in India, vastly out numbered, for centuries let me
break it down for you. By marrying within the fold we were able to
preserve not only our religion, but our identity as well. If you would
like proof, look to the other areas of the world besides India whom
the Persian refugees migrated to. Where are they now, I ask you? What
happened to them? They were assimilated into their host populations,
never to return again because they intermarried. Look no further than
the Native Americans for even further proof. How many people do you
see who are self proclaimed "1/16th [insert Native American tribe name
here]" who actually follow the Native American way of life? The only
ones that currently follow their ways are the people who married
within their fold. Their ethno-centric religion is similar to us in
the sense that you cannot convert into being a Native American, you
have to be born into it, and the only way to raise the numbers is
increased birth rates. We held strong for centuries in India, our
population grew because we stuck to our beliefs and religious
practices. I think it is no coincidence at all that our numbers have
started to dramatically fall after the construct of mixed marriage was
introduced at the turn of the past century. Lastly, might I add that
scholars, both Zoroastrian and not, with PhD's in our religion from
accredited Universities, such as SOAS, Harvard, and Columbia are all
in unanimous agreement that Zoroastrianism does not, never has, and
never should accept converts or mixed marriages as it goes directly
against what we stand for.
"We adopted many of their customs, changed our language, our rasms
and ways of celebrating our good events are not Persian, made India
our home and yet we always treat them as "perjaat" and inferior in
their own country. Is that what is so great about us Parsis? No wonder
our misdeeds have now brought us close to extinction."
Customs, practices, food, culture, language, all have no religious
significance. They can change and adapt in time. The religion is
perfect to begin with, and requires no change. Who exactly do we treat
as inferior? It doesn't matter what your religious beliefs are, I
shouldn't have to tell you what a significant positive impact that
Parsi's have had on India as a country. We have not only contributed,
but have risen to be the some of the best in every field imaginable.
We as a community have done an incalculable amount of community
service and charitable work not just for our fellow Parsi's, but for
the Indian people as a whole. Don't think that just because we don't
allow our sons and daughters to marry an Indian, that we think they
are inferior. That is an idea propagated by you and yourself, not any
traditional that I have ever met. Fact of the matter is, if I got
married to a Blond haired-blue eyed- white skinned European girl, she
would be as much of a juddin as the darkest African woman walking this
planet. Country of origin and skin color has no bearing, it's the
religion that's everything. The only misdeeds hurling us closer to
extinction are the so called conversions, and the mixed marriages
taking place in our community.
"How many Parsis know Persian, let alone the 3000 year old archaic
language of Gathic Avestan? How many Parsis can recite the "Kushti"
prayers properly without missing chunks or mis-pronouncing the text.
How many can even correctly read and pronounce the Gujrati text from
our prayer books? How many of us can claim to be "true" Parsis who
sincerely and unflinchingly follow the Traditional Tenets of the
Zoroastrian Religion. If we can do all wrong things, not allowed by
our religion and still call ourselves Parsis, then why not let those
who want to become Zoroastrians be admitted into the faith."
So let me get this straight, your proposed solution to the supposed
lack of knowledge and practices are to inject more clueless people?
What makes you think your coveted converts will follow all of the
Traditional Tenets of the Zoroastrian Religion? It is literally
impossible to follow every single rule, however we must follow as many
rules as we are able to in this day and age, and not discount the
major pillars which make us who we are. Simply throwing them by the
way side when we can easily practice them is a sin. How about
encouraging and educating the current population of Zarthostis, the
ones who have helped keep our religion alive for millennia, on what
the correct rules are? If we can teach an outsider, we can teach our
own community, and it will have far greater chance sticking if we do
the latter. Why? Because its part of who we are, it's the very fiber
of our soul and being.
"None of us alive today (including the Zoroastrian diaspora) can say
"yes we know what the Prophet Zarathushtra has decreed". We only have
old scriptures written in Ancient texts and we have no authorative
translations for any of them. Most translations of ancient religious
texts and prayers are subjective or consensual. They are dependent on
the interpretation of the so called "experts" of the ancient texts.
People like Dastur Mirza, Randeria, and many other "so-called orthodox
Parsis" think they know everything and can dictate to the rest of the
community what they should accept and what they should reject. And
they also expect us to follow their decrees like lemmings. Remember
that Mirza has a finite life and today he may be the chief priest in
Udwada, tomorrow he may die and in future history be classed as the
man who rang the death knell of Zoroastrian Parsis of India."
To an extent, I agree with you here. We in fact have limited knowledge
about Avestean Texts. You could contest that we have no idea what they
mean. However, both eastern and western scholars have devoted their
entire lives to studying Avesta, and for you to make in one fell swoop
the assumption that their conclusions are "subjective and
consequential" is I think a bit premature. Even if we could translate
our existing texts perfectly, so many of our books in Persopolis were
burnt or destroyed. How do we know what our religion really wants us
to do? The answer is look to the past. History cannot be erased or
burnt down. The fact of the matter is, we cling so hard to our
traditions because it's the only accurate means we have of following
our religion. All things considered, as I said earlier, most of the
world renowned Avestean scholars will side with our traditional rules
and rituals time and time again.
"I believe that "Religion" or "Faith in God of a particular
denomination" is a personal thing. If I convert myself into a
Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Jew it is only because I choose to do so,
not because I am being forcibly converted. Similarly the progressive
parsis are not asking for forcible conversion of other races to
Zoroastrianism. The Title or Subject of Dr Kersi Antia's speech was
"Acceptance in Zoroastrianism".
He was only saying why should being a Zarthushti be either born to
both Parsi parents…"
You are correct, religion is a very personal topic, however just
because you make life choices that go against what the religion
mandates, does not mean the religion (which has been around longer
than yourself) should change to suit your needs. Imagine if that held
true for everyone. It would be total anarchy, and religion would have
no point in existing. The fact of the matter is no conversion ceremony
exists today, or ever existed in the past. I can make claims about the
past because we have historical evidence to back it up. Cyrus the
Great could have easily converted people if he wanted to with or
without force, yet this NEVER happened even once. Why do you think
that is? The "Navjote" Antia performed was a total sham. Almost every
Zarthosti knows that a Navjote is a coming of age ceremony for a
child, where they take responsibility for their future actions, and
cannot be performed on an adult with any spiritual significance! You,
nor I, nor even the highest priest of our time can create or perform a
conversion ceremony. We all as mortals lack both the knowledge of the
spiritual world, and the authority of Ahura Mazda to make changes or
reform to our religion. So to even discuss conversion would be a moot
"… or a patriarchal inheritance. What about womens rights. Why do we
insist on rights for women to have equality, be politicians,
enterpreneurs or leaders, have equal pay etc. We openly proclaim our
disagreements with the mal-treatment of women in other societies and
religions and yet these hypocrites do this to our own sisters and
daughters and claim it is a religious decree."
I TOTALLY and wholeheartedly AGREE with you on this point. I couldn't
have said it better myself. Its wrong for EITHER a man OR a woman to
marry out of our religion. Who ever thinks that men can marry out is
living a lie. This was never part of our religion, and never will be.
There are only pockets of people who think this way. They know they
are dead wrong, and only continue to promote this nonsense because of
events that have happened in their family, because they have been paid
off, or because they are misguided. All the Vada Dasturji's signed an
accord denouncing this rumor years ago, I can send it to you if you
would like. This has been the case since we landed in Sanjan implying
that it is indeed of Persian origin. But don't take my word for it.
The late Dr. Mary Boyce, a western scholar who dedicated her life to
studying our religion wrote in her book, "...the panchayat set itself
resolutely against proselytizing or accepting juddins into the faith,
taking their stand on a statement attributed to the first settlers at
Sanjan, that they were those 'in whose cast men of different religion
are never accepted'. They also opposed investing with the kusti the
children of Parsi fathers and Hindu mothers." [Mary Boyce,
Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, P193]
"I also firmly believe that any person who wants to be converted into
our Faith should be accepted. As I said previously, those of us born
Parsis, have no real idea or knowledge of the religion and know
nothing about the deep meaning of our prayers. We simply read from a
"Prayer Book" and say it with very bad pronouncian; May God forgive us
for that."
Besides the fact that there is no way for a non-Zoroastrian to become
a Zoroastrian, there are some deep logic flaws here. If "us born
Parsis, have no real idea or knowledge of the religion and know
nothing about the deep meaning of our prayers" then where on earth is
a convert going to get this knowledge from? How are they going to
pronounce our prayers right? Either the information exists, in which
case people who know this information should be teaching and
encouraging other Zoroastrians, OR this information doesn't exist, in
which case converts wont make one bit of a positive difference.
"On the other hand, the convert is an enthusiastic, zealous and
devoted person, who has researched Zoroastrianism, thought about all
its aspects, compared it with his own and other religions and their
properties. He has then arrived at his own conclusion on Zoroastrian
tenets and practices. With this in mind he had decided on conversion.
Now think..."What could be better than an informed and knowledgeable
convert, an enthusisatic entrant who knows what he wants and has made
it his aim to know all about what he is converting to". Such informed
people could be the vanguard and bring life into our religion. Not
only that, these people would insert new genetic material into the
dwindled and inbred rotting genepool of the parsis of Mumbai."
A convert can also be a misled brainwashed loner who is constantly
seeking the next fad. Are you going to personally screen every single
convert into making sure they have done the 'research'. Wait, if they
did do the research, they would find that conversion is against our
practices and principals, both in ancient Iran and in the modern day
world, and would have the knowledge to not tamper with a group of
people whom they had great respect for. Furthermore, if you study
history, you will see that in Ancient Iran the downfall of the Persian
Empire came when such man made ideology was forcibly interjected under
the guise of 'religion'.
Your last scathing sentence really takes the cake. Putting all of my
religious belief aside, it's so offensive I have a tough time
believing that you don't take offence to your own words. Even if you
are a person born of mixed parents, (you may or may not be) to make a
statement like that really speaks volumes about your lack of both
character and knowledge. Do you realize that: Parsi's have represented
India (and won) in various Olympic events? The star players on India's
first cricket team were all Parsis? The man who brought Atomic Energy
to India, was also a Parsi.. State Bank of India, was started by a
Parsi? Air India was started by a Parsi? (need I go on, the list is
really endless). Parsi's have accomplished SO much that there is
actually a dedicated book which documents all of the Parsi Statues
that have been erected world wide to recognize their contributions to
society. The book is quite fat might I add. Pretty damn good for a
"dwindled and inbred rotting genepool" don't you think? By sticking to
our religous beliefs and doing what we can to enhance the quality of
life in India, this is how we have survived as a community in India,
and the Indians love and respect us for it! Have some self worth and
take pride in your own community!
While I cant speak for you, I for one, am perfectly normal and
relatively healthy, and so are ALL of my cousins and friends who are a
result of that populace. I have personally spoken with geneticists
regarding this issue and one informed me that Dr. King - a world
renowned breast cancer researcher who specifically stated that the
incidence of breast cancer in the Parsi community is not higher than
the global norm and there is NO EVIDENCE to show that there is any
inherited links in our group. We are no more or less predisposed to
certain conditions than any other. We have been marrying within our
community for millenia, so if you have everything present and
accounted for, please think twice about the statement you just made.
If it was that detrimental as you say it is, the extinction which you
so fondly speak of would have happened centuries ago. We are alive,
well, and strong thanks to our Traditional ways. I had the good
fortune of meeting up with hundreds of Zoroastrian youth last month,
all of whom were part of the genepool of which you speak so negatively
of. Let me say that I have never seen a more vibrant and vivacious
group of people in my entire life. Say what you want about our
traditions. You are a result of them. Everyone is free to their own
opinion after their own research. The baseless and libelleous claims
you make and propagate forsake not only your own self but your
ancestors as well.
Lastly your views don't surprise me as history does repeat itself. The
original Mazdayasnis devieated so far away from what was ther religon
to suit their needs, that Ahura Mazda had to send Zarathustra to set
things straight and reform the Mazdayasni Faith. This is no different
than what is happening now.

Please do think about it
Ervad Jimmy Doctor, 25