In A path-breaking development,the Parsi community in Gujarat will open the Agiyari to people from other communities. This is for the first time in the state that the Parsis have shed their conventional ideology and allowed people from outside their faith to have a close look at their holy place.
The Maiyat Khan Saheb Faramji Kawasji Adariyan and Dharamshala and its Nibhau Fund run Agiyari in Sayajigunj was built 85 years ago,and underwent restoration recently.
The decision was made after a senior member from the community,Firoz Wadia,felt that despite the restoration it would be seen only by a handful of community members. So,he thought,it should be made open for the people at least for a small duration. Unfortunately,Wadia died soon after and the idea was discussed among the trustees of the Agiyari,who decided to fulfil his wish.
“We will let the doors of the Agiyari open for the people for a month from Sunday onwards. The holy fire has been shifted to another hall in the same premises. We are aware about the religious sentiments and we will follow all the necessary precautions,” said Nikitin Contractor,one of the trustees of the Agiyari.
The development has,however,created ripples within the community. “The Parsi Panchayat is nowhere concerned with the issue because decisions like these are taken only by the religious priests. If it is so,then it will certainly invite a debate at the national level because our religion strictly restricts people who are non-Parsis from entering the holy place. If I am not wrong,then persons organising such events would be questioned by the religious priests,” said Darius Master of the Surat Parsi Panchayat.
Contractor,however,said that his trust has the full power to take the decision concerned with the Sayajigunj Parsi Agiyari. It is not that during the restoration we allowed people to enter,but we have decided to organise a special event to let people come close to our community,and understand us. I have not faced any problem from within the community while going ahead with this idea, he said.