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Census 2011 Parsi Demographic Decline

Dear Friends,
I have just received the Census results of 2011 and while we expected the 10 percent decline, it is sad to see a 20 percent decline. From 69,601 we are now 57,264 only.
It is for this reason that Parzor had approached the Ministry of Minority Affairs, many years ago, for a Scheme to help the Parsi Zoroastrian community from demographic extinction. The Planning Commission had been briefed by us, but it was only in 2013 that MOMA kindly supported the Jiyo Parsi programme.
We have had, as predicted by ICMR, two thirds of the births of this Programme through Advocacy by efforts, both of our dedicated team at TISS, Dr Katy Gandevia, Pearl Mistry and Binaifer Sahukar, as well as the great pro bono ad campaign of Madison BMB which went viral across the world.
To this we add the medical component , led by the totally dedicated Dr Anahita Pandole of Jaslok hospital , the interventions of other caring doctors at the B.D Sarvajainik hospital in Navsari, others in Surat, as well as Hyderabad and several cities. With the help of surrogacy, supported over the limit fixed by MOMA, we have 2 healthy children.The total today is 71 births, with 3 happening recently on a single day in July 2016.
We, as a country and community, need to help this team and take the Parzor MOMA message to every couple as well as young Zoroastrians. Wherever we have had Workshops, on parenting, child management, grand-parenting, marriage counselling, we have had so many questions and anxieties raised and then resolved, to the best of our teams abilities. This shows that there is a deep psychological change needed in mind sets.
We now have 2 films on Jiyo Parsi, one short for general viewing, and one which touches on delicate and detailed medical issues . We need Anjumans to invite us for longer sessions where we can work with for several days, in depth with the community.
We have good things happening: couples and only children declaring on video, after seeing the Ads and hearing our Counselors, that they are determined to break this mindset and have a second child. We have celebrated the first birthdays of our JP children and even a few second birthdays .
But with the Census results out we all have to work much harder and encourage as well as support and help our young to find partners, encourage a balance between personal life fulfillment and successful professional work. Most importantly we must collectively and consciously realize the urgency of taking responsibility to save a precious world heritage from disappearing .
Let us all re commit ourselves to this task so that at the next Census we can look forward to better news and higher numbers.
With best wishes,
Dr Shernaz Cama
Director, UNESCO Parzor
Parzor Foundation




Prophet Zarathushtra

The Preservation of Culture and Heritage in an increasingly mono-cultural modern world is the challenge facing communities today. UNESCO, New Delhi, has initiated the “PARZOR Project” as Project 302 IND 4070 entitled “Preservation of Parsi Zoroastrian Heritage – Campaigns and International Conventions.” Followers of the Bronze Age Prophet Zarathushtra of Iran, the Parsi – Zoroastrians are one of the distinct threads in the tapestry of multicultural India. With the central tenet of ‘Humata, Hukta, Huvarsta’ (Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds), Zoroastrianism has survived from pre-history with its core beliefs still intact. As a driving force that impels its followers to excel in all fields of human endeavor and contribute vastly for the benefit of humankind, the community in India is found to be declining at alarming rates. While the Parsi-Zoroastrians are less than 0.01% of the Indian population, the loss in numbers is of 10% of its population in each decennial census.


While the Project started with the aim of recording and reviving interest in the Parsi Zoroastrian community in India, there has been an overwhelming response from other parts of the Indian subcontinent and the worldwide Diaspora.


From the tangible such as demographics (macro) to intangible cultural heritage(micro), we have encouraged scholars, the media, publishers and those interested in culture. Along with preservation, the attempt has been to revive the multicultural ethos that makes the unique ethnic and cultural identity of the Parsi-Zoroastrians. While we strive to make our community Return to Roots, we also envisage re-establishing contact with Iran, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan where the Zoroastrian links are being seen as a part of culture and history of the region.The Parsi – Zoroastrian Project intends to generate an awareness of this miniscule minority. While we look at popular narratives found in Modern Indian History, we also attempt to foreground the everyday life and skills of the dynamic community including and not limited to Religion and Priesthood, Textiles and Embroidery or Arts and Crafts.


We invite you to participate in our constructive pursuit of creating a revival of interest within the community, country and the world.
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