Former Maharashtra Advocate General Darius Khambatta’s address at Udvada in Gujarat Saturday drew both ire and applause as he said that Parsis should be more inclusive.
Khambatta, known for his oratory skills in the legal circle, said Zoroastrianism was a “universal religion” that supported acceptance.
Khambatta was addressing the crowd on the second day of the three-day festival at a tiny hamlet of Parsis in Gujarat. Suggesting there should be acceptance, he said, “Zoroastrian fire temples should open their doors to children of Parsi mothers married to non-Parsis.”
The senior counsel, who practises in the Bombay High Court, said Zoroastrianism should not be sacrificed while trying to preserve a racial community.
Khambatta’s views did not go down well with some members, who got up from seats in disapproval, demanding his exit.
But Khambatta stuck to his opinion. “I always believe that people should talk to each other. I do not believe in keeping my mouth shut. If I am willing to listen to the opinion of others, they should also listen to what I have to say,” he later told The Sunday Express. The younger generation, he said, should learn to be more inclusive to give a better chance for the community to flourish.
He cited a judgment by the Privy Council that had ruled on October 22, 1925 that the trustees of a fire temple had the authority to admit whoever they deemed fit into the premises.
Kaivan Mogrelia (25), who is attending the festival and has come from Kolkata, backed Khambatta, saying, “This is not the age to have or to follow all traditions at one ago. Religious acceptance is the key for any community to flourish.”
But 73-year-old Gordafrid Aresh, who travelled from abroad to Udvada, said, “It is a not a legal argument you are making. It is a religious one. Where is it written in our scriptures that inter-racial marriages are accepted?”