BY KUNAL GUHA ON 29/07/2017 IN MUMBAI MIRROR
The Parzor Foundation and Madison BMB along with Bombay Parsi Panchayat, TISS, and Federation of Zoroastrian Anjumans of India launched the second phase of the Jiyo Parsi campaign, an effort to reverse the decline in the Parsi population on Saturday.
That the first campaign in 2014 was “mildly controversial” says adman Sam Balsara, “contributed to its ability to go viral”.
“But this doesn’t mean there were no detractors. I remember meeting a 26-year-old girl, who came up to me to say, ‘Whom I marry is my business’. That is when it occurred to me that we need to look at it from an individual perspective and not just from the community perspective,” explained Balsara about the strategy behind the new campaign which features real case studies “to make the campaign credible”.
The new ad campaign focuses on trying to persuade young Parsis to get married and have children for a better balance to their own life. The campaign features print ads such as the one with a man in his forties, sitting on a chair with the headline reading, ‘After your parents, you’ll inherit the family home. After you, your servant will’. “One feels that becoming a parent can be limiting but since we had a child, we’ve travelled a lot in India and abroad. Also, whenever we have to go for a party, my mother comes over to take care of our daughter, so barely much changes,” says 37-year-old Mehernosh Pagdiwalla who attended the event with his wife Rashna and 16-month-old daughter Myra.
“We had to widen the concept of ‘Jio Parsi’. The voice of the first campaign was frivolous and while the new one is formal, it will still draw a chuckle. Marriage and having children is a private and delicate matter so we need to deal with it sensitively,” explained Balsara, adding that young Parsi parents need to be enlightened about the benefits of starting a family early. The Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who launched the campaign, said that his ministry was willing to help this cause with whatever financial aid and moral support was necessary. “I was very upset when I had to respond about the declining population of Parsis in the Lok Sabha. I hope this campaign manages to create awareness about this concern,” said Naqvi, adding that the new campaign seems “effective in communicating the message through few words”.
Among those present to speak on the issue was model, VJ and TV show host, Parizad Kolah Marshall, who reflected on the time when she almost quit the comedy show she hosted on TV to start a family.
“When I shared my plans with the director, he congratulated me and asked me to take a break and return to the show. I felt I wouldn’t be able to because once you’re a mother, you’re responsible for the family. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot juggle a career along with it,” said Kolah, adding that she was back on the show following a six-month-break.
Mehernosh Pagdiwalla with his wife Rashna and daughter Myra, who have been featured as a case study to encourage Parsis to have a family.
Published in Mumbai Mirror .