NEW DELHI, June 19: “Though very small in number comprising a minuscule fraction of India’s total population, the Parsi community has consistently and remarkably enriched the Indian society over the years”. This was stated here today by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances,Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh while interacting with a delegation of “Parzor Foundation”, a UNESCO associated registered organization devoted to the cause of co-existence of different cultures in India with special focus on Parsi-Zoroastrians and their culture.
Dr Jitendra Singh observed that the Parsi community has made a major contribution in all walks of life and has thrown up several legendary icons in different fields, some of whom like Sam Manekshaw, Nani Palkhivala, Homi Bhabha, Piloo Mody, Zubin Mehta,Farokh Engineer, R.K.Karanjia, Sohrab Modi and Bejan Daruwalla have become an inseparable part of contemporary India’s bibliography. He expressed concern that even though around the time of independence in 1947, the population of the community stood at around 1-1.5 lakh, in the last six decades ironically, while the country’s population went up to 125 crore, the population of Parsi community declined to just about 60-70 thousand and that too mostly confined to Maharashtra, Gujarat and some other parts of the country. It is, therefore, the responsibility of all of us to recognize the greatness of Zoroastrian culture and help in its protection and resurgence, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh appreciated the fact that even as the Parzor Foundation facilitates social and scientific research with special focus on Parsi culture, it does not confine itself only to the Parsi and Zoroastrian community but has also taken upon itself the wider objective of creating awareness about India’s age old tradition of coexistence of diverse cultures. He assured all possible support from the government to encourage the work done by the Parzor Foundation, which is associated with UNESCO.
The Director of UNESCO-Parzor Foundation Project, Dr (Ms) Shernaz Cama explained to Dr Jitendra Singh the organization’s plan to organize a mega event in the union capital of Delhi, which will include three exhibitions titled “Everlasting Flame”, “Threads of Continuity” and “Across Oceans…..” in addition to an international conference on “India’s pluralistic heritage”. Considering that India has emerged as the cultural capital of Asia, she said, the proposed programme will also offer an opportunity for India to link with the rest of the countries.
Dr Jitendra Singh assured full cooperation from the government to make the event successful which, he said, would be a commendable effort showcasing India’s multicultural character. Well known personalities of the community Dr (Ms) Nilofer Shroff and Ms Monaz were also part of the delegation.