“It has definitely been challenging because already in the Sydney community you’re faced with not a great number of bachelors to choose from, and the other thing is you grow up with them as though they’re as close to you as family …
so it’d feel weird to even see them as your partner.” According to the 2016 Census results there are fewer than 3,000 Zoroastrians currently living in Australia.
The 26-year-old says it’s his preference to marry a member of the faith, but it’s not a prerequisite. It’s estimated there are 200,000 Zoroastrians worldwide with the majority (around 60,000) residing in India.“Zoroastrians came to India about 200 years after the advent of Islam in Persia [because] there was a lot of oppression and religious conversion,” Ms Havewala explains.Zarin Havewala doesn’t call herself a professional matchmaker, but her track record suggests otherwise.“So far, 55 couples have found their partners through my efforts — 53 couples are already married, and two more couples are engaged to be married soon,” says Ms Havewala, a Mumbai-based mother-of-two.“The way the numbers are going, within 50 years or a maximum 100 years, we just won’t be there — I’m talking about Parsis in India,” Ms Havewala says.
“Every year we get the statistics in which the births are, say, about 50, then the deaths would be 10-fold.” According to Mr Malegram, who moved from Mumbai to Sydney in 2015, Parsi protectionism is to blame.Ms Havewala is a Zoroastrian — or ‘Parsi’ (meaning ‘Persian’) as they’re known in India — a member of an ancient monotheistic faith that pre-dates Islam and Christianity.“About seven years ago, it struck me very badly [that] a lot of our youngsters are getting married outside the community,” Ms Havewala explains.The community is so small it makes up 0.01 per cent of the national population.Photo: Auzita Pourshasb (right) expected to marry a Zoroastrian, but instead found love with a Christian, Nathan Secomb.“In India to protect that Iranian ancestry and the genome, they decided to prohibit any inter-faith marriages and prohibit other people from entering the faith,” he points out.