‘Bad’ bavas

Parsis are generally thought to be a uniformly kind, just and generous lot. The community’s history of philanthropy and lovable eccentricity has put them above reproach. So when people hear of Parsis involved in any sort of wrongdoing or activity that deviates from the eidos of the community, they are shocked.

At a meeting the other day, a reporter happened to mention that Arthur Road Jail has a Parsi convict. The information prompted a collective intake of breath. But they’re sweet goofballs who stubbornly cling to ideals in a morally decrepit world. How can they thieve and murder?

Three weeks ago, Subramanian Swamy outraged the country with his fascist views on Hinduism and Islam in an article in DNA. In the course much heated discussion over his article, it emerged that Swamy is married to a Parsi. There was surprise. How could a Parsi marry this fanatic?

Speaking of right wingers, not many know that the Shiv Sena had a Parsi MLA – Dinaz Patrawala of Cusrow Baug. Fancy that – a Sena member who is both a woman and a Parsi.

Another Parsi spouse raised eyebrows recently. It was reported that Santosh Shetty aka Anna, a gangster who is being blamed for the murder of lawyer Shahid Azmi, is married to a Parsi. How could a Parsi marry a gangster, even if he did come from Warden Road?

Of course the Parsi deviant who captivated the entire country two years ago was Kobad Ghandy. The discovery of a Parsi Maoist was received with such astonishment – it was as if penguins had been found in Africa or the dodo was still alive. Parsis either run empires or live off inheritances or potter about their colonies polishing Yezdis. That one could engage with the wider world, leave the comforts of Bombay to rally labourers in Maharashtra’s hinterland was hard to believe. Especially since Ghandy came from a privileged family. His father was an executive at Glaxo, the family had a flat in Worli and a bungalow in Punchgani and his brother ran an ice cream company called Kentucky; it was one of the first to make fresh fruit ice cream in the city. Maoists are usually regarded the scourge of society. But fond pieces were written about Ghandy, his quiet intelligence, his cooking skills, his family’s strawberry ice cream.

One has only to read about the fractious Bombay Parsi Punchayet elections to know that Parsis are human too. They fight political battles as shamefully as anyone else, can be as fanatical as Bal Thackeray and when you prick them they bleed – blood, not the milk of kindness.

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1 Response to ‘Bad’ bavas

  1. Gopal says:

    They are human but they’re still the best. I love them to bits!

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