The Mumbai Parsi community is hoping to return vultures to their traditional and religious role of eating the dead by building aviaries near the Towers of Silence where the Zoroastrian dead are laid out to be stripped clean by vultures. For the past fifteen years, there have been barely a dozen vultures in Mumbai, and members of the community have increasingly turned to cremation (especially during the rainy season), which the religion considers unclean. The community hopes to have vultures return to eating the dead by February 2014. [more inside]
How about some Dhansak? Or maybe some Patra-ni-Machi? Is anyone in the mood for Chicken Farcha?? And to wash it down, how about a cool glass of Falooda with cream? Day before yesterday, was Navroze (Jamshed-e-Navroze), and the Zoroastrian community of Iran, along with the Parsis of India, gathered together at their Fire Temples to ring in the new year, with prayers and good wishes.
90,000 rare manuscripts on the history of India's Parsi community have been discovered at the Dastoor Meherjirana Library at Navsari, and will be preserved by the Parzor Foundation. The Parsis are Zoroastrians who were driven from Persia by the Muslim invasion 1400 years ago. But today, the Parsi population is fading, largely due to the orthodox refusal to recognize intermarriage. Some Parsis, like the Association of Inter-Married Zoroastrians, are trying to change this. Ironically, the vultures who consume the Zoroastrian dead in Bombay are also declining, forcing the less orthodox to switch to solar panels.
Into the Garden of Good and Evil - Muhammad Iqbal's "THE DEVELOPMENT OF METAPHYSICS IN PERSIA" (first published in 1908 and free online courtesy the Bahai's): "The most remarkable feature of the character of the Persian people is their love of Metaphysical speculation." Strong, bipolar Good vs. Evil distinctions, and the notion of a cosmic struggle between the two, seem to have originated in ancient Persia as Persian Dualism. See Manicheanism here, here (warning-spurious windows), and here. Special bonus - Freepers fulminate over a German theologian's exegesis of Manichean american political rhetoric!
The vultures of India are dying, with a population decline of over 90% in just over the last decade, probably due to an unknown virus. The decline in vultures is a problem for the Parsis of Bombay in particular, who, as Zoroastrians, have come to depend on the vultures to dispose of their dead at the famous Towers of Silence.