City families celebrate festival with fervour

Anvita Srivastava
Sunday, 18 August 2019

Even members of the Parsi community paid a visit to this open agiary in Pune, as they felt it is important for the community to change. Parsis, who follow Zoroastrian religion, are known to be a tight-knit community, who traditionally did not allow those marrying outside their religion to follow Zoroastrism. 

Pune: For the second year, members of Parsi community, who are married to non-Parsi partners, celebrated Persian New Year at Asha Vahistha near Chandan Gardens on NIBM road - India’s first open agiary where an opportunity to continue following their faith is extended to such people. 

Even members of the Parsi community paid a visit to this open agiary in Pune, as they felt it is important for the community to change. Parsis, who follow Zoroastrian religion, are known to be a tight-knit community, who traditionally did not allow those marrying outside their religion to follow Zoroastrism. 

Dilshad Blaze, a 40-year-old mother of two, was among those who took the utmost pride in celebrating this festival in a unique way. 

“I am married to a Christian and therefore my children have never been to an agiary. This is the first time in the last ten years of my marriage that finally, my children visited an agiary,” she said, after coming to Asha Vahistha - The Zoroastrian Centre.

Born to a Parsi father and Christian mother, Dishad was not allowed after a certain point in the religious ceremonies during childhood. “But now my children will not feel left out and they can also be part of all festivals and ceremonies,” she said.

Asha Vahistha - The Zoroastrian Centre is India’s first agiary started under the umbrella of Association of Revival of Zoroastrianism in 2017. 

It is open for all communities and especially for Parsis who married people from other faiths.

Rohini Daver from Mumbai said, “We visit this agiary every year as both my sons are married to non-Parsi girls and this agiary gives me an opportunity to introduce my daughters-in-law to know about our faith.”

Parsis from Pune and nearby cities, who visited the agiary, feel it is bringing the much-needed change and reducing the discrimination. 

Muskan Baker from Mumbai said, “We wanted to spend a peaceful new year so we decided to visit this open agiary. I am extremely elated that things are 

changing in the community and it was much needed. With this open agiary, the discrimination is ebbing away and even if people are married out of the community, they can still continue with their faith.”

“It is important for the community to change as change is the only constant thing. This agiary also gives an opportunity to the people who married out of the community to continue with their faith. Time has come when we have to change,” said another visitor from Mumbai.

Zinobia Mavalwalla said, “I visit this agiary every year and it feels good that the community is ready to accept the change and be the change as well.”

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