mid-day editorial: Parsi women finally have a foot in the door
There is plenty of debate on the Supreme Court's decision to allow Goolrokh Gupta - a Parsi woman who married a Hindu man - to attend the last rites for her parents in a section of the Tower of Silence, if the need arises
There is plenty of debate on the Supreme Court's decision to allow Goolrokh Gupta - a Parsi woman who married a Hindu man - to attend the last rites for her parents in a section of the Tower of Silence, if the need arises. Goolrokh had earlier been barred from entering Zoroastrian places of worship after she married outside the faith.
Yesterday, this paper published an interview with Goolrokh, in which she hailed the apex court's decision as a victory of sorts, while the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) insisted that it was by no means a landmark ruling. The BPP said it is important to look to January 17, when the case will come up again in court. Purists may like to play down its value, but it is evident though that the first significant challenge has arrived. It has, in a way, started the ball rolling for reformists who want to see the community laws change with the times.
The nature of activism is, by definition, slow and painstaking. It starts with one person or group challenging the status quo; that's when the first few slivers of the rock begin to chip away. There are protests and numerous sacrifices. This is the nature of revolutions, which may spark alive with one challenge, and then fizzle out in the middle, only to come alive again.
It is certain though that the first big push has come. Now, we may see more women speak up for parity and change within this community. Let the discourse be logical, mature, and most importantly, non-violent. In religious disputes, reason is often left behind; passions take over and frenzied rhetoric drowns out civil debate. This matter will be looked at with extreme interest, not just within the community, but outside too, as it seeks to bring men and women on par. Let us see this through the prism of dispassionate and intellectual logic, not irrational emotions.
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