‘Time for change in ancient Iranian religion’ – Sunderland academic speaks out on Zoroastrianism

Adi Khambatta, an 85-year-old graduate from the University of Sunderland.
Adi Khambatta, an 85-year-old graduate from the University of Sunderland.
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AN 85-year-old Wearside graduate claims one of the world’s oldest religious communities has a blinkered view of life.

Adi Khambatta, who is a member of the Parsi community, says it needs to move on and accept inter-marriage family members into the fold.

The pensioner has written his thesis at the University of Sunderland, entitled Decline or Perceived Decline of this Great and Ancient Zoroastrian Community, after travelling the world and interviewing members.

The ancient faith is believed to have been founded around 3,500 years ago and is now governed by a secular board of trustees.

Adi graduated with a Master of Philosophy. His thesis promotes the fact there isn’t a decline and it is just a perceived decline.

It is estimated there are 140,000 Parsis across the world. In recent years, the numbers have declined because those who are married into the religion do not count, and neither do their children.

Retired engineer Adi came to England from India nearly 50 years ago. He said: “The Parsi leaders in Bombay do not accept that there is a perceived decline, although it is evident with many now moving abroad and inter-marrying.

“I’ve married an English woman and my three children cannot become members of the community if they wanted to do so – this is happening across the world.

“It’s completely unjustifiable. The current situation shows it is a complete blinkered view of life.

“There has to be a decree in Bombay and accept people can be a member of the community through inter-marriage.”