They demanded an apology from shopkeepers for hurting their religious sentiments.
Parsis held demonstrations for the first time at Heera Panna Shopping centre, Haji Ali to protest against shopkeepers for selling shoes containing the pendant of holy angel ‘Asho Farohar’. They also chanted slogans against shopkeepers and tried to disrupt their business. Shopkeepers were forced to shut their shops for an hour for hurting the religious sentiments of members belonging to Parsi community. They also demanded an apology from shopkeepers.
Zenobia Khodaiji, patron member of Red Swastik Society said, “We are deeply upset with the misuse of our Zoroastrian religious symbols. After reaching the shop we were shocked to watch ‘Asho Farohar’ pendants attached on male shoes. All the members of our community condemn this issue and we have asked them to tender an apology.”
“Shorn of all mystic ornamentation the symbol of “Farohar” actually depicts “the Concept of Creation”. Farohar is our Prototype and is our “Guardian Angel” residing in the Spiritual World. How can they display such shoes in their shops? They have hurt our religious sentiments and degraded Asho Farohar,” she added.
Faravahar or Asho Farohar is said to be a reminder of one’s purpose in life, which is to live in such a way that the soul progresses towards frasho-kereti, or union with Ahura Mazda, the supreme divinity in Zoroastrianism. The word “faravahar” actually is Pahlavi, or Middle Persian. It derives from ancient Iranian (Avestan) word fravarane which means “I choose.” The choice is that of the Good, or the Good Religion of Zarathushtra.
Earlier also, an e-commerce site had found itself in trouble after images of doormats containing Hindu deities photos were displayed on its website. Netizens soon started a campaign to boycott the e-commerce platform as it had to remove those products from its website.
Declining Parsi population in the city
Parsis population in India fell by 18% in the 2001-2011 decade and dropped to just a little over 57,000, according to Census 2011. In the 2001 census they numbered around 69,000. While Parsis expected the number to fall, the drop is even more drastic than most predicted. This is the sharpest fall in the community’s population after 1981 when the census reported a 27% fall over the previous decade.
While the population in Maharashtra has fallen by 9,885, Gujarat has seen a relatively smaller decline of 1,867. Delhi and Haryana, however, have seen a tiny increase of 19 people and 59 people respectively. The difference between men and women is almost insignificant. The number of Parsi men declined by 17% and women by 18%. The earliest Parsis came to the subcontinent more than 1,000 years ago from Persia where they flourished until the advent of Islam. Over the centuries, they maintained their distinct customs but integrated themselves into Indian society.