President Pranab Mukherjee recalls the contribution of Zoroastrian Community
to the country’s development
Mumbai, December 27, 2013
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress in Mumbai today.
Speaking on the occasion the President said Zoroastrian community in India has always extended itself to reach the highest echelons of achievement and success in the fields of business, industry, art and letters, leading our defence forces and breaking new frontiers in the field of advanced science and technology. He also recalled that many national leaders of Zoroastrian faith led the charge against colonialism and Madame Bhikaji Cama, fearlessly unfurled what she called the ‘Flag of Indian Independence’. The President also underlined the significant contribution made by Dr. Homi Bhabha and Dr. Homi Sethna who developed India’s nuclear energy programme and several distinguished military officers like Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw, Admiral Jal Cursetji, Air Marshal Aspy Engineer and Air Marshall Fali H. Major. He also remembered JRD Tata who founded India’s first commercial airline
The President also said the declining population of the community is a cause for concern as there are only 1,40,000 Zoroastrian followers world-wide and 1/3rdof this number is aged over 60. He said this phenomenon needs to be addressed very pragmatically and sensitively. He however, said that there is no doubt that a community which has such high literacy, talent and discipline is bound to continue on the path of advancement and growth.
Maharashtra Governor, Shri S. Sankaranarayanan, Maharashtra Rural Development Minister, Shri Jayant Patil were also present on the occasion. Earlier Dr. Cyrus S. Poonawalla, Chairman, Serum Institute of India Ltd. welcomed the President.
The World Zoroastrian Congress is being held in Mumbai after a gap of 23 years. The Congress is held once every four years. And it provides the community a forum to discuss its socio-economic development, history, religion and other issues facing the community. The theme of this Congress is “Zoroastrianism in the 21st century: Nurturing Growth and Affirming Identity”. The 10th World Zoroastrian Congress hosted by the Bombay Parsi Panchayat is being attended by prominent persons from different walks of life from all over the world.