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President greets people on Parsi New Year eve

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New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday greeted the people on the eve of Parsi New Year.

“Greetings and good wishes to all my Parsi brothers and sisters on the joyous occasion of Navroz,” the president said in a statement.

He said that over the years, the Parsi community of India has immensely enriched the country and contributed enormously to its prosperity and welfare.

“Navroz represents new beginnings. May this festival bring happiness and prosperity to all and inspire us to spread the message of amity and goodwill far and wide,” the president added.

(IANS)

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Parsi Community in India and What makes them Distinct from Others

10 Interesting facts about the Parsi Community in India

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A Parsi Community wedding ritual
A Parsi Community wedding ritual. Wikimedia
  • Parsi’s came from Faras, Persia, more than a thousand years ago
  • The reason of decreasing population is due to migration, declining fertility rate and late marriage
  • The religion Zoroastrianism was founded 3,500 years ago in ancient Iran by Prophet Zoroaster

New Delhi, August 19, 2017: The Parsi’s are an immigrant community, they are of Zoroastrian faith. Parsi Community came from Faras, Persia, more than a thousand years ago and are now located in Mumbai, India. They are mostly settled in old Mumbai but in recent times, they have settled in major cities and towns in India. Some of them are also found in countries like United States, Canada, England, and Pakistan.

In 1901 the Parsi population in India was around 93,952; in 1976 it was around 82,000   and in 2014 it fell down to 60,000. Since then the population has been decreasing. The reason of decreasing population is due to migration, declining fertility rate and late marriage.

ALSO READ: The decreasing number of Parsis in India and their concerns

Some of the holy Parsi festivals are Nowroz (New Year’s Day), Frawardigan (commemorating the dead souls), Pateti (the day of confession and repentance). Some of the famous Parsi people in India are Scientist Homi Jehangir Bhabha, Businessman JRD Tata, India’s first Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, Former Chairman Tata Sons Ratan Naval Tata, Bollywood Actor Boman Irani, among others. Parsi community makes up a very crucial community of India despite their presence in small numbers.  Here are 10 interesting facts about them:

  • The native language of Parsi’s is Avestan but they also speak Gujarati or English. The religion Zoroastrianism was founded 3,500 years ago in ancient Iran by Prophet Zoroaster. There is a collection of religious texts of Zoroastrianism known as the Avesta. Some of their religious literature is in Pahlavi (it’s an Aramaic-based writing system used in Persia from the 2nd Century BC to the advent of Islam in 7th Century AD).
  • Birth of a Parsi child is followed by a ritual bath, a cleansing prayer, sacred items are given to him/her. The main priest conducts prayers and formally invites him/her in the community and religion.
  • Parsi’s don’t usually bury or cremate dead bodies; they leave the body so vultures can feast on it. They do this as they don’t believe in polluting air or land. It is done at a place called Dakhmas or ‘Tower of silence’. They began using electronic crematorium after there was a decline in the number of vultures after 1990.
  • The Parsi’s had to face a struggle period of 200 years when they rebelled against the Arab invaders in Iran (their home country earlier). It was called the period of silence. In order to retain their regional and cultural identity, they ran from Iran as the Arab conquered it and took refuge in Gujrat, India from 8th to 10th Century AD. Some of them later migrated to parts of Mumbai.
  • Qissa- i Sanjan is the account of the early years of Parsi settlement in India.

Also Read: Parsi community lauded for role in nation-building

  • The Parsi Community believes in the existence of one invisible God. Atash Behram (victorious fire) which is located in the fire temple is of prime importance to them. There are total 9 Atash Behram in the world, out of which 8 are located in the western India and one is located in central Iran. The Udvada Atash Behram is the oldest Zoroastrian temple and the continuously burning fire temple in the world.
  • Male-Female Ratio of Parsi Community is different than others; they have more females and lesser males. As per 2001 Census, 1050 females per 1000 males which are more than India’s average of 933 females.
  • To solve the problem of declining Parsi community in India, Jiyo Parsi Scheme was launched on 24 September 2013. It was a government supported the initiative.
  • Some say that by 2020 the Parsi population will decrease to 23,000 and this can take away from them the tag ‘community’ and can label them as tribals instead.
  • The Parsi Community has the highest literacy rate in India among any Indian communities which is 97.9% as per 2001 census.

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India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru established parliamentary system of governance in India: President Pranab Mukherjee

Mukherjee said that the Indian democratic process was still unfolding

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President Pranab Mukherjee, Source- Wikimedia

Mumbai, March 17, 2017: President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said it would not be wrong to credit India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with establishing parliamentary system of governance in India.

Speaking at India Today Conclave here, Mukherjee said it was a “tremendous risk” to take any step in the circumstances prevailing then, but Nehru took the plunge and as a result India is a vibrant democracy today.

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“Nehru in his long innings as Prime Minister of India had profound influence over my generation. If someone says that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is the architect of parliamentary system of governance in India, he won’t be wrong,” Mukherjee said.

“It is not that he did not make mistakes but the fact remains that he took tremendous risk of introducing parliamentary politics in a country that is so vast and diverse, had zero economic development and low literacy levels at that time. But he took the risk,” he added.

Mukherjee noted that as a sign of vibrant Indian democracy, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, 66 per cent of “800 million people of India voted to elect 543 members to the Lok Sabha”.

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Mukherjee said that the Indian democratic process was still unfolding.

“It was Nehru who gave a new shape to India in 1956 by deciding to have states based on language. Today we have 29 states and the formation of Indian states has not closed. India’s democratic process in unfolding,” he said.

Mukherjee also noted former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s decisive action in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.

“Indira Gandhi had a strong influence over me. The high point of her political career was her effective and almost decisive role in liberation of Bangladesh. She was an effective Prime Minister who could utilise her power to further the principles she believed in,” he said. (IANS)

 

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Nari Shakti Awards on the Occasion of International Women’s Day

President Pranab Mukherjee says there's no place for gender bias in modern India

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Nari Shakti Awards
President Pranab Mukherjee, Wikimedia

New Delhi, March 8, 2017: While addressing at the ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan to present the Nari Shakti Awards on the occasion of International Women’s Day, President Pranab Mukherjee said that in modern India with its emphasis on inclusive development, has no place for gender biases. He had also lamented at the rising incidences of crimes against women in India, according to PTI.

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Amongst the 31 awardees, were 3 women scientists from ISRO- Subha Varier, B Codananyaguy and Anatta Sonney who have participated in historic space missions  of ISRO like the Chandrayaan mission, Mangalyaan mission and the most recent launch of 104 satellites in one go.

The first all-women kathakali troupe- Tripunithura Kathakali Kendram Ladies Troupe from Kerala was also awarded. They have ventured into performing a type of art which has been the exclusive preserve of men. The group has delivered over 1,500 performances in India and abroad since it’s formation in 1975.

Amruta Patil, another awardee is the first female graphic novelist of India, who has authored the novel ‘Adi Parva’, based on the Mahabharata, Purans and tradition of oral storytellers which was selected as one of the best graphic novels of 2012.

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Among other awardees were survivors of acid attack and trafficking, environment and animal activists.

Prepared by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @Upama_myself