India: debt crisis sparks Zoroastrian split

An internal debt crisis has prompted Zoroastrians in Mumbai to allow advertising billboards into an ancient funeral ground—sparking a split in the community. Zoroastrian dissdients say the signs—exhorting motorists to “Rev up your night life” by buying a popular model car—desecrate the sanctity of the grounds. Trustees who approved the billboards say they are needed to raise cash to maintain the Tower of Silence where the Parsi Zoroastrians have wrapped their dead in white muslin and left them to be devoured by vultures since 1673. “I have told people who are objecting, bring me three million rupees a year and I will stop the advertisements,” said Burjor Antia, trustee with the Bombay Parsi Panchayat, local Zoroastrian council. (The Scotsman, May 30)

See our last posts on India and global car culture.