With just 40,000 Parsis left in Mumbai, the community is clearly shrinking, and has an extremely worrisome birth and death ratio, with merely 200 births and 800 deaths annually. The declining numbers have been attributed mainly to late marriages, several choosing to remain single, couples deciding to have only one child, infertility issues and marriages outside the community resulting in people no longer being classified Parsis.
And while Parsis are known to take a dig at themselves, especially when it comes to their dwindling population, the new 'Jiyo Parsi ad campaign which "urges Parsis to get married at a correct age and make more babies", has raised several eyebrows.
One ad in the campaign shows Dadar's Parsi Colony with a sign saying "Hindu Colony" instead. The sign added "If you don't get married and have kids, this area will have a new name in your lifetime."
Jiyo Parsi @Sam_Balsara I support yr plans to revive Parsi nos, but pl dont make campaign communal "Hindu hordes wl take over Parsi Clny"
— pravingandhino1 (@pravingandhino1) November 12, 2014
Given the negative feedback, Shernaz Cama, director of Parzor, an NGO associated with the Jiyo Parsi Scheme was quoted in Scroll as saying that this particular ad will not be published as the Parsis do not want to offend any community.
However, Sam Bisalara, MD and Chairman of Madison Advertising, which spearheaded the campaign was quoted in Mid-Day as saying while he would look at this particular ad, advertising is “meant to offend in some way. If it does not, it is handbills or mere information."
Meanwhile, some of the other tongue-in-cheek, witty lines of the , are worth mentioning.
"Isn't it time you broke up with your mom?" asks one poking fun at Parsi men who are still living with their parents. Another reads, "We're superior. We're cultured. We're educated. We're about to be extinct. Get married early, have babies early ."
These two seems to be have touched the right chord on Twitter though:
1. " Will your boyfriend ever be as successful as Ratan Tata? Who are you to judge, Nicole Kidman?"
2. Be responsible, Don't use a condom tonight.
Check out some of the Twitter responses to the ad.
— Rahul Sharma (@Biorahul) November 12, 2014
— Prashant Rao (@prashy74) November 11, 2014
One minute silence for the Parsi men losing out on great one-night stands tonight because they're like "NO. NO CONDOM. NO." — Rohan (@mojorojo) November 11, 2014
"Jiyo Parsi" Scheme shows the pressure under which my Parsi friends are to procreate! It should rather be "Jaago Parsi" Campaign! #fb
— Sandesh Shukla (@sandeshshukla) November 12, 2014
Apart from the ad campaign, the scheme also counsels Parsi couples on the importance of having multiple children at a young age and urges them to diagnose and treat infertility. The campaign advertises the fact that the community offers treatment like in-vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination free of charge to couples whose annual family income is below Rs 10 lakh.
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Updated Date: Nov 12, 2014 12:47:00 IST