With the elections oncoming, dishing the dirt on one probable Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) candidate after another seems to be the community’s pass time. As the date draws closer, and the contest gets more capricious, the daggers, which are already drawn, will dig in deeper still – and the wounds will be more vicious.
Even the US Presidential elections, keenly as they are being contested around contentious causes, appear like a gentle garden party compared to our street-fight style of ballot battling.
What a pity, isn’t it? Increasingly, one is becoming disappointed by our lack of grace. For years, one has held on, steadfast to the notion of all we stand for – integrity, impeccable public conduct, personal decorum, a value-based upbringing that isn’t violated by opportunism, and respect for others.
All of that seems to have been subverted in the past few years as a slew of Acrimonious Acronyms slug it out for power. Whether it’s AZA, WAPIZ, ARZ, BPP, AIMZ, PRG, WZO, AFP, and whatever else, all of them have been embroiled in petty politicking and desperately trying to outmanoeuvre each other, whilst simultaneously attempting to manipulate the community into supporting their ideology and actions.
The result is the Parsis are today so fractured, so faction-ridden, so frayed that we have lost the very essence of who we are. And each of the Acrimonious Acronyms has played its part in the process. In trying to grab their slice of the community cake, all they have left are crumbs.
Average Parsis are not concerned with the perennial warring between groups. While ideologies can be debated and points of view countered, petty personal attacks are pointless. They only sully the ethos and atmosphere of the community, filling minds with mistrust and hearts with misgiving.
SURFEIT OF SCEPTICISM
Today, there’s not a single leader, or possible leader, amongst Parsis, who has not been shred to shards. Nobody trusts anybody any more, least of all if the person is standing for elections. Attacks are launched, fast and furious. This leaves the community confused, cantankerous and crushed. After all, if you cannot trust anybody to lead you, what purpose are the forthcoming elections going to serve?
As it is, nobody gets along with anyone. If the final Parsi Punchayet Board is going to be a coalition, with differing ideologies and personal egos pulling in very contrary directions, with the Trustees themselves having been discredited by their detractors, what are we thrusting the apex organisation of the community into – irretraceable chaos?
Perhaps, all those who are whipping up passions like egg whites in a badly set soufflé need to understand that we’re all falling flat. What we need, more than ever before, is cooperation and communion. Differing points of view have their place, but not at the cost of our unity.
Mutual respect will have to replace rancour and disruptive rivalry. There are far too many issues we need to focus on for our very survival as a community today, and these are far more crucial than our differences. We need Trustees who understand this, and inspire faith in the community that they can collaborate effectively. We can sometimes agree to disagree. But to be disagreeably disagreeable all the time is defeating.
May the coming months bring us the unity we so desperately need, and the leadership to take us ahead.
(This post first appeared in Jam-e-Jamshed)