From Excarnation to Ashes: Trust to Trust
Atop the glitzy neighborhood of Malabar Hill in Mumbai rests the poetically named tower of silence funerary complex wherein Parsis still leave their dead to be excarnated by carrion birds. Chapter 5 examines the role of mortuary ritual infrastructure and its relation to critical disputes in the community over the form and content of death rituals and who may participate in them. A newly built prayer hall attached to a cremation ground has offered a ritual alternative to some. To others, the idea of a corpse, the ultimate in Zoroastrian impure material, being placed into the purest fire is an outrage. This chapter shows how the trusts supporting and managing mortuary infrastructure first oblige and then enable ritual transformation. From excarnation to ashes, this chapter shows the entanglement of ritual infrastructure, created and managed by the trust and the property and propriety of Parsis.