Alhough Parsis have never fallen short of declaring that India welcomed them with open arms and always praised the greatness of the country they have been living in, retired Air Chief Marshal Fali Major said that they should always consider themselves to be Indians first and then Parsis.
Major was one of the speakers on the subject ‘Nationalism, nation-building and national security: Our contribution then and now’ at the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress.
“We should always think of ourselves as Indians first and then as Parsis,” said Major. He recollected the words of Dadabhai Naoroji, the prominent freedom fighter and quoted from his speech at the Lahore Congress session in 1893: “Whether I am a Hindu, a Mohammedan, a Parsi, a Christian, or of any other creed, I am above all an Indian; our country is India, our nationality is Indian.”
“What Dadabhai Naoroji said then, holds true even today,” asserted Major.
Sharing the motto with which he and many others served Indian defence forces, he urged the Parsi youth to “touch the sky”. “Keep pushing yourself to go higher. You cannot achieve glory unless you go a long way. Have grit and honesty.”