SHERNAAZ ENGINEER's blog on the Parsi community

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Minority Matters

Dr. Syrus Darvish Irani, a General Medical Practitioner from Mahim, who is contesting the BPP elections, points out some interesting facts in his manifesto, which should set the community thinking.

Until the 1980’s there were five reserved seats for Parsi/Irani youth at Walchand Engineering College, Sangli. Today’s scenario: Hardly any reserved seats available in professional colleges.

He adds, “In the 1990s I tried my level best to impress upon the community to intervene in the Supreme Court regarding reservations for Parsis. However, none ventured into it. The theme was ‘we Parsees do not need reservations’. After that, I personally met the then Chairman of the Minority Commission, who advised me to come through the Punchayet and stake my claim of 2% reservation for Parsi/Irani youth in professional colleges. During that period, the Mandal Commission was the only way to intervene in the Supreme Court; but I failed to gain momentum.”

He further points out: According to the 2001 census (Government of India): 0.0069% of the total population is Parsi – 69,601; 13.4% of the total population is Muslim – 151 million; 2.34% of the total population is Christian – 24 million.

“Currently there are reservations for all other minorities, including Muslims and Christians, in professional colleges, but none for Parsis and Iranis.”

We wonder what Dr. Syrus Darvish Irani’s chances are at the BPP polls, but we hope he pursues his plan for procuring Minority Status nonetheless, along with several other contestants who have also put in on their manifestoes, whether they too win or not.

Some issues ought to be beyond winning/losing. And securing education opportunities for our largely marginalised Parsi/Irani kids needs to be unanimously high on everybody’s priority list. In these over-competitive times, where admissions close at well over 90 per cent for all professional courses, we are highly disadvantaged being so small in number, with quotas and reservations abounding for most others.

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