Mumbai: Proposed Dandiya Event At Doongerwadi Stirs Up Debate

Mumbai: Proposed Dandiya Event At Doongerwadi Stirs Up Debate

Some residents of the area have claimed that the ground is part of the 300-year-old cemetery and the proposed dance event on October 23 will destroy the sanctity of the sacred place.

Manoj NairUpdated: Friday, October 20, 2023, 10:08 PM IST
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A proposed dandiya event in a Parsi colony at Nepean Sea Road located next to the Parsi-Zoroastrian Tower of Silence, has stirred up a debate whether a dance programme should be held near a cemetery.

Some residents of the area have claimed that the ground is part of the 300-year-old cemetery and the proposed dance event on October 23 will destroy the sanctity of the sacred place. 

The venue for the ‘Eco Park’ programme is located at Godrej Baug which has 16 residential buildings inhabited by Parsi-Zoroastrians. The land on which the colony stands was taken in the 1980s from the 55-acre forested Tower of Silence cemetery, known as Doongerwadi, to provide housing to the community. 

Community members, recently, also opposed a non-Zoroastrian religious event at a hall attached to the fire temple premises. The event at Sethna Agiary, scheduled on October 28 was cancelled after a furore in community newspapers. 

"Godrej Baug fire temple is part of the cemetery"

"If the Tardeo dandiya was cancelled because it was a non-Zoroastrian function, why is a similar event being held at Doongerwadi, which is a religious place?" asked a resident of Godrej Baug. "Eco Park is located next to the Godrej Baug fire temple which is part of the cemetery," the resident added.

Another resident, Tehmtan Dumasia, said, "ECO Parks was created out of the Doongerwadi jungle and it is part of Godrej Baug which is itself considered an extension of the cemetery land. There is a debate whether the ground is part of the cemetery."  

Farhad Hozdar of Godrej Baug Residents Association said that the programme was a gathering of residents and friends. "We have been conducting many such activities and programmes for the benefit of our residents on the same venue for over 20 years," said Hozdar. "We are a residential complex bordering our Tower of Silence of close to 500 flats - home to over a thousand peace loving bawajis. There are other residential areas in the same vicinity of the park." "Why is this issue stoked up now?," asked Hozdar.

Mahrukh Noble, Bombay Parsi Punchayet’s trustee said that the decision to host the dance event was taken by the residents' association of Godrej Baug. 

Decision yet to be made: Bombay Parsi Punchayet’s trustee

"Our board is yet to decide; we have a meeting this week," said Noble. When asked about the claim that the ground is located in the cemetery, Noble added, "It depends on how you want to look at it."

Regardless of the debate, the organisers have sent out invites for the event. 

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