The good thing about having a democratically conducted election for the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) is that it gives a wide variety of candidates the opportunity to contest.
While this might bring on some sniggers at the sheer audacity of relatively unknown persons in trying to push themselves into the fray, it is heartening to see that so many people, both humble and high-flying, have a shared mission of doing something for the community.
If any real progress is to be made in the coming seven years, our leadership will have to learn to be inclusive instead of being exclusive.
While several candidates may not have been successful at the polls, they still had noteworthy ideas that could be incorporated into the mission statement for the new term that has just commenced.
Elsewhere in this edition of the Jam-e-Jamshed, corporate honcho Jamshed S. Daboo has given a blueprint, detailing how the new BPP board can execute an actionable agenda for the community.
We are all looking forward to positive change at many levels and one of the ways of achieving this could be by integrating the best ideas from the manifestos that various candidates put out in pubic domain.
Some of these candidates could be co-opted on to committees to contribute by extending their ideas further.
For instance, a couple of candidates with impressive corporate backgrounds spoke of management systems that could be instituted in the areas of housing allotment and awarding contracts, so as to ensure good governance.
Another candidate spoke of a Code of Conduct, a Code of Ethics for trustees and the importance of a Declaration of Conflict of Interest, whereby sitting trustees do not get into business deals with the trust or take any benefit from the BPP, in any manner whatsoever, at a personal or professional level.
Yet another candidate spoke passionately of compassion and the need to speedily redress the grievances of the downtrodden, a priority that seems to have been pushed on the BPP’s backburner because of in-fighting.
Reducing the trustees’ term to five years was another worthy proposal, which should be acted upon.
Yet another candidate spoke of encouraging research in our religious scriptures and recommencing religious lectures by scholars of repute to restore pride in our roots.
Care for senior citizens was spoken of by a few contenders. This is an area of grave concern given our large ageing population. In fact, this election was once again driven by senior citzens, with one estimate saying barely 10 percent of the votes were polled by the youth. It brings home the need for the BPP to address the elderly demographic segment with the seriousness it deserves.
Solar power generation, water harvesting and garbage recycling to make our vast Baugs and Colonies ecologically complaint was one particular candidate’s mission – and it makes sense.
Entrepreneurship and educational opportunities for the youth was another point elaborated upon, which can certainly give our youngsters the fillip they need.
Doongerwadi and Dokhmenashini were also right up there as concerns for some candidates, with unequivocal commitments to preserve their sanctity and efficacy.
While many of these ideas might be part of the newly elected trustees’ agendas, it would not hurt to incorporate several other sound suggestions that germinated during election season.
While it was not possible for all 23 candidates to come onto the BPP board, their ideas could certainly be brought on board for the betterment of the community.
· This column appeared in Jam-e-Jamshed (October 25, 2015)