15th Zoroastrian Congress held in Houston
Houston: Intermarriage is the only way
Zoroastrians, members of one of the world`s oldest surviving
monotheistic religions, can survive, a prominent community
member from Iran said.
"We need to be open and accepting as a global
community," Dr Niaz Kasravi, who was the keynote speaker at
the 15th Zoroastrian Congress told community members here,
adding, "If we choose to be exclusive, it will hurt us."
Kasravi said intermarriage with other groups was the
only way for the community to survive.
"To reach that goal, we must overcome the internal
challenges that we face by moving beyond intolerance, closing
the lingering divides, and involving the younger generation,"
she said while discussing `Zoroastrianism of the future:
Preserve, Perfect, Progress`
By their own estimates, about 100,000 Zoroastrians
live across the globe, the bulk in India (60,000), mostly in
Mumbai; another 15,000 in Iran and then the rest spread over
North America, Australia, the Far East, UK and Pakistan
(2,000), mainly Karachi.
The community members in Houston recently held the
three-day Congress, with the theme,"Preserve the Past, Protect
the Present, and Perfect the Future", which was attended by
over 550 delegates, including a diverse group of speakers,
performers and participants.
During the meet, a visual treat unfolded on stage as
50 actors depicted the birth and struggle of the religion from
Egypt to Greece to the Hindu Kush mountains.
The show stressed on how the Zoroastrians, under
pressure from Islamic rulers of Iran to convert, shrank as a
group and migrated from 10th century onwards to salt deserts
and other lands, notably to Gujarat in India, to survive.
Among topics discussed during the Congress were
Zoroastrians in Iran, identity, genetic studies of Texas
Parsis (Zoroastrians), diaspora, treasures and food.
The floor exhibit featured ancient (some 200 years
old) cultural artifacts, books and embroidered textiles lent
for the event by local members of the community.
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