Roj Spendarmad Mah Adar, 1379 Yz.
For the last few years, the community has had to bear in silence the brunt of the reformist agenda posted through the columns of the venerable Jame Jamshed newspaper, which was once the bastion of orthodoxy and religiousness. Many campaigns and attacks were carried out through this newspaper on our religion, its sacred institutions, our Manthras and our long standing traditions. This was possible due to the absolute intellectual, ethical and moral inadequacy of the so-called editor of the paper.
The hopes of the right minded and traditional community members were greatly uplifted when Ms. Shernaaz Engineer was appointed Editor of the Jame by the owners a few months ago. Well known for her upright behaviour, ethical attitude and journalistic pride and courage, Ms. Engineer was like a breath of fresh air. She promised to bring about righteous change in the manner in which the paper was run and within a short time we did see significant and positive changes, not only in terms of editorial content and presentation but also righting the balance between orthodox and reformist sections of the community.
It came as a great surprise therefore, to see the full page advertisement given by “Roshni and Savio D’Souza” thanking all kinds of people who helped in getting the farcical “navjote” of their daughter performed. Readers may be aware that there was frenetic activity through the last two weeks when news surfaced of the attempt of this inter-married couple to get the so-called navjote of their daughter performed at Colaba through the renegade and apostate “priest” Khushroo Madon. Various people swung in to action to try and prevent this irreligious act. Despite their best efforts, the D’Souzas had greater pull and managed to get the Deputy Chief Minister involved and through this influence this ceremony went ahead and a reception was also held.
This act, which goes against the very basic fabric of our religion, is a slap in the face for all our age old traditions, and is totally against the advice given by all the High Priests to this couple. Not being content with this, the irreligious couple had the gumption to take out a full page advertisement in the Jame Jamshed – “thanking” all those who had joined in this anti-religious act. And Jame Jamshed merrily published this ad.
This is a new low for our community – a non-Parsi breaks the basic rule of our religion, then publishes an advertisement thanking others who joined him in perpetuating the crime, the community’s premier paper publishes this ad – right opposite the page where the community’s High Priests have written that this should not be allowed.
Where are we headed as a community? This thought often occupies my mind. When incidents like this happen and are glorified by the press, it causes great grief and confusion in the minds of the faithful members of our community. It builds up a peer pressure to accept this irreligious act and becomes the new bench mark to be aped and followed by the impressionable members of the community.
As the community’s paper, Jame Jamshed carries a great responsibility – not only of reporting news and views, but also helping in preserving the traditional ethos and long standing traditions of the community. By allowing an advertisement like this to be carried, Jame Jamshed has betrayed the sacred trust reposed in it by the community. No excuses of presenting both sides or “it’s just their view” will wash. Jame Jamshed’s actions have greviously hurt the sentiments of a large section of the community and I have sent a strong letter of protest to the Editor. I request my readers to write individually to the Editor of Jame Jamshed [mailto:[email protected]] and make their displeasure known to her. It is only when a large number of people protest that Ms. Engineer will realize that the community is strongly against such acts and will not condone this kind of opportunistic behaviour in the garb of “being fair”.
Madam Editor, first be fair to your religion and the sacred vow you took when your Navjote was done, then talk about fairness to liberals and those who are bent on destroying the sacred and traditional character of our community.
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram