The dwindling vulture population has resulted in a significant shift in the way some progressive Parsi members treat their dead.
This issue resurfaced on Tuesday after Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of Tata Sons, was cremated two days after his death in a car accident. In contrast to the previous practise of’sky burials,’ where a body was buried in the sky,
Many Parsi funerals have been held at a specially built electric crematorium in the financial capital since 2015, after being left in “Towers of Silence” for the vultures to feast on.
After performing rituals according to Zoroastrian faith procedures, the dead person’s mortal remains are fed into the electric machine, and the same was observed in the case of Mistry. Mistry’s mortal remains were taken to the crematorium, which was built by the community in the last decade, where a family priest performed the rituals before the body was placed in the electric machine.
Because of the decline in vulture populations that fed on the corpses in the last decade, some people in the otherwise conservative community took up the call to build the crematorium, and many pragmatic families, such as the Mistrys, have embraced the new way of dealing with their dead.
As per reports, the vulture population in the country has declined to a mere 19,000 in 2017 from 40 million in the 1980s, which explains a shift in the community’s approach towards the dead.
The government has launched a sustained initia tive to arrest the decline in the vultures, which are a crit ical part of the food chain, through the National Vulture Conservation Action Plan 2020-25, which has met with some successes.