Monday, February 1, 2016

Fwd: The FDU & Udvada Samast Anjuman still miss the prime point of the Udvada Utsav Protests: Udvada Is Not A Tourist Site But A Sacred Religious Venue

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: TZML Admins
Date: Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 9:43 AM
Subject: The FDU & Udvada Samast Anjuman still miss the prime point of the Udvada Utsav Protests: Udvada Is Not A Tourist Site But A Sacred Religious Venue
To: TZML <>

Sarosh roj, Sherevar Mah, YZ 1385

31 January 2016



Dear Zarathushti humdins,


cc: Vada Dasturjis
cc: Ervad Sahebs including Ervad Principal Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia and Ervad Dr. Rooyinton Peer
cc: Traditional networks like TZML, TMYZ, TParsees, TMZANZ, TMZA of California, PIPZ
cc: WZO (India)
cc: The Udvada Samast Anjuman
cc: Parsi Press
cc: Prominent Parsis like Mr. Filly Marawalla, Mrs Pervin J. Misty, Mr Marzban Giara, Mr. Rustom Chothia, Mr and Mrs Tahmtan and Godafrid Aresh etc.

The Udvada Samast Anjuman released a statement to the Parsi press, printed in the Jame Jamshed Weekly of 31 January 2016.  On the overall, the tone of the letter is haughty and very different from the courteous releases from the Anjuman in the past.

The statement obscures the main reason why traditional Parsis all over India have objected to the Utsav to be held in Udvada.  Many other anomalies appear in their statement too. They are covered here.

Udvada is not a tourist destination for Parsis or Non-Parsis
The statement mentions that positives like proper roads in Udvada have been developed, regular electricity is now available, high rise building would not be constructed in the vicinity of Iranshah, etc. etc. But both the Anjuman and FDU officials Dasturji Khurshed and Dinshaw Tamboly have to be asked:
1.    Are these benefits promised years ago anyway going to accrue only if an Utsav is held at the holy city of Iranshah?

2.    Why has Udvada to be turned into a tourist site so that non-Parsis will mark it on their diaries and come to see the gaam?

3.    The Gujarat government has allocated the development of Udvada to the Minister of Tourism Mr. Saurabhbhai Patel, and not to a more appropriate ministry.  We wonder why was Tourism considered in the first place. A tourist site is primarily for tourists, and Udvada is not a tourist site. Period.

When a religious site starts attracting tourists, it brings along with it a lot of negatives. This is very clearly spelled out by Vada Dasturji Meherji Rana K N Dastoor way back in 2002. He succinctly warns:  "It will affect the holy and spiritual atmosphere for the pilgrims and disturb their devotional frame required to be maintained there. More than that the project will greatly disturb the life of the Mobeds (priests) on whom lies the arduous and strenuous responsibility of tending, preserving and protecting the Holy Atash Padshah in accordance with the tenets, traditions and commands of the Parsi Dharma. The atmosphere of tourism, hotels and festivity will bring in serious ills and abuses of urban life, which will render it impossible for the Mobeds to observe their own personal 'tarikats' (the sacred rules of Ashoi-purity) as also the 'tarikat's for Iranshah."

The Reformist views of Darius Khambata being given a welcome platform. No apology from FDU.
What is the use of the Anjuman mentioning that the reformist Darius Khambata's views were his own. Several questions arise on this faux paus which occurred at the Utsav:

a.       Why was reformist Khambata selected as a speaker in the first place knowing well that similar attempts were made by him at the World Zoroastrian Conference in Mumbai some years ago?

b.      Why did Dasturji Khurshed not immediately stop Khambata from speaking further when the audience clearly expressed their dissatisfaction at such heterodox words. Isn't Dasturji the Dastur of traditional Parsis or did he consider Khambata's nonsense views more important than rules of the religion.

c.       Since Dasturji Khurshed and Dinshaw Tamboly were the key people in FDU which had a key stake in the Utsav, why did not one or both issue an apology that they were sorry about such views expressed by Khambata. The Vada Dasturjis themselves have written in a joint statement after the Ustav that "it has greatly saddened us and several members of the community at the events that have transpired. Some of the points made at the Utsav were both detrimental towards preserving the basic tenets of our religion and hurtful to a large cross-section of our community"

d.      Why is the Udvada Samast Anjuman taking the blame of Darius Khambata's faux pas, when in fact it is the FDU organisers Dasturji Khurshed and Dinshaw Tamboly who should be apologising  to the community for hurting its feelings and religious sentiments in a bad way.

Iranshah belongs to the whole community, not to the Udvada Anjuman only
The Samast Anjuman complains that outsiders need not meddle in Udvada affairs. They are wrong on two counts:
        I  First, when has Iranshah and its spiritual welfare become the sole prerogative of the Anjuman itself. They are just custodians of the Living Thriving Divine Entity called Iranshah, Who belongs to the whole Parsi community, in or outside Udvada.
      II   Secondly, the Samast Anjuman must also ensure that Dasturji Khurshed must not participate in any happenings outside Udvada, even if invited. One such example is during the recent BPP elections of October 2015.

Community consensus not adequately taken. Concerns expressed not taken on board.
Where was the community participation and opinion making sought before making decisions like inviting Darius Khambatta. Protests were made way back in a FPZAI meet, held on the 3rd and 4th of September 2005  (see The Parsee Voice, Sept 2005 issue).  Views of concerned Parsis appearing in Parsi Pukar, Jame Jamshed Weekly, Parsee Voice and the traditional networks about not projecting Udvada as a tourist centre were not taken on board.

Udvada Anjuman rejects mail posted to it
We also know for sure that two weeks ago the Udvada Samast Anjuman rejected concerns expressed by certain traditional people on the happenings at the Utsav. We have seen proof of the mail rejected twice. How did they make such a decision on the worthiness of the mail before opening it. Are they operating in a democratic manner or an autocratic manner.  Isn't the Anjuman supposed to keep an Inwards File and store all correspondence it receives from community members, even though the letter may be highly critical of its functioning.

Serious Negativities of the Utsav
There are other serious negatives too, for which both the FDU and the Udvada Samast Anjuman are answerable to the Parsi community:

a.  Why did Daver's dance troupe, which consist of indecently attired ladies allowed in the program. That shows disrespect to a Holy Place like Udvada.

b.  Why was only one media house Parsi Times chosen as the favoured media for FDU.

c.   Why was Parsi Times chosen at all?  Have people not read the heterodox articles preaching conversion appearing regularly in their recent issues. Such views are in total violation of what the religion, the Vada Dasturjis and the Anjuman stand for.

That is all for the moment. We will write again later.

Meanwhile we request all concerned Parsi networks and Parsi media houses to continue highlighting to the general public anything and everything which concerns the spiritual welfare of the community.

Do write to us if you have anything to share and your concerns about the way in which the Utsav was held and the venue of Udvada chosen.

TZML Admins