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Encyclopedia > Parsi
Parsis

Modern Mumbai Parsi Family in traditional dress
Total population

c. 100,000 Fars (Persian: فارس) is one of the 30 provinces of Iran. ... “Farsi” redirects here. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (400x690, 145 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Parsi Talk:Parsi/Archive1 Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner...

Regions with significant populations
c. 70% in India, 5% in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, 25% elsewhere.
Languages
Gujarati, English
Religions
Zoroastrianism
Related ethnic groups
Iranis

A Parsi (Gujarati: પારસી Pārsī, IPA: [ˈpa(ɾ).si]), sometimes spelled Parsee, is a member of the close-knit Zoroastrian community based in Pakistan and western India. Parsis are descended from Persian Zoroastrians who emigrated to the asian subcontinent over 1,000 years ago. Gujarati (ગુજરાતી GujÇŽrātÄ«; also known as Gujerati, Gujarathi, Guzratee, and Guujaratee[3]) is an Indo-Aryan language descending from Sanskrit, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). ... Irani is a term used to denote Indian Zoroastrians whose ancestors emigrated from Iran within the last two centuries, as opposed to the longer residing Parsis. ... Gujarati (ગુજરાતી GujÇŽrātÄ«; also known as Gujerati, Gujarathi, Guzratee, and Guujaratee[3]) is an Indo-Aryan language descending from Sanskrit, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). ... The Persian Empire was a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau, the old Persian homeland, and beyond in Western Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. ...

Contents

Definition and identity

As an ethnic community

Although the Parsis of India originally emigrated from Persia, they no longer have social or familial ties to Persians, and do not share language or recent history with them. Over the centuries since the first Zoroastrians arrived in India, the Parsis have integrated themselves into Pakistani and Indian society while simultaneously maintaining their own distinct customs and traditions (and thus ethnic identity). This in turn has given the Parsi community a rather peculiar standing - they are Pakistanis and Indians in terms of national affiliation, language and history, but not typically (constituting barely 0.006% of the total population) in terms of consanguinity or cultural, behavioural and religious practices. For other uses of this term see: Persia (disambiguation) The Persian Empire is the name used to refer to a number of historic dynasties that have ruled the country of Persia (Iran). ... This article is about the Persian people, an ethnic group found mainly in Iran. ... Consanguinity, literally meaning common blood, describes how close a person is related to another in the sense of a family. ...


Genealogical DNA tests to determine purity of lineage have brought mixed results. One study supports the Parsi contention (Nanavutty, 1970:13) that they have maintained their Persian roots by avoiding intermarriage with local populations. In that 2002 study of the Y-chromosome (patrilineal) DNA of the Parsis of Pakistan, it was determined that Parsis are genetically closer to Iranians than to their neighbours (Qamar et al., 2002:1119). However, a 2004 study in which Parsi mitochondrial DNA (matrilineal) was compared with that of the Iranians and Gujaratis determined that Parsis are genetically closer to Gujaratis than to Iranians. Taking the 2002 study into account, the authors of the 2004 study suggested "a male-mediated migration of the ancestors of the present-day Parsi population, where they admixed with local females [...] leading ultimately to the loss of mtDNA of Iranian origin" (Quintana-Murci et al., 2004:840). A genealogical DNA test examines the nucleotides at specific locations on a persons DNA for genetic genealogy purposes. ... In human genetics, Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups are haplogroups defined by differences in the non-recombining portions of DNA from the Y chromosome (called Y-DNA). ... The structure of part of a DNA double helix Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is a nucleic acid molecule that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms. ... Mitochondrial DNA (some captions in German) Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria. ... The Gujarati people, or Gujaratis, (Gujarati: ગુજરાતી લોકો Gujǎrātī loko, or ગુજરાતીઓ Gujarātīo), is an umbrella term used to describe traditionally Gujarati speaking peoples who can trace their ancestry to the Gujarat region in India. ...


The Rivayat epistles suggest that at some point between the 15th and 17th centuries non-Zoroastrians were accepted into the fold. (See also History of the Parsis)


Self-perceptions

Parsi Navjote ceremony (rites of admission into the Zoroastrian faith)
Parsi Navjote ceremony (rites of admission into the Zoroastrian faith)

The definition of who is (and who is not) a Parsi is a matter of great contention within the Zoroastrian community in India. Generally accepted to be a Parsi is a person who is a) directly descended from the original Persian refugees; and b) has been formally admitted into the Zoroastrian religion. In this sense, Parsi is an ethno-religious designator. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (450x800, 122 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Religion in India Zoroastrianism Parsi Talk:Parsi/Archive1 Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (450x800, 122 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Religion in India Zoroastrianism Parsi Talk:Parsi/Archive1 Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added...


Some members of the community additionally contend that a child must have a Parsi father to be eligible for introduction into the faith, but this assertion is considered by most to be a violation of the Zoroastrian tenets of gender equality, and may be a remnant of an old legal (see below) definition of Parsi. Nonetheless, many Parsi Zoroastrian priests will not perform the Navjote ceremony - i.e. the rites of admission into the religion - for children from mixed-marriages. Feminism is a social theory and political movement primarily informed and motivated by the experience of women. ...


An often quoted legal definition of Parsi is based on a 1909 ruling (since nullified) that not only stipulated that a person could not become a Parsi by converting to the Zoroastrian faith (which was the case in question), but also noted that "the Parsi community consists of: a) Parsis who are descended from the original Persian emigrants and who are born of both Zoroastrian parents and who profess the Zoroastrian religion; b) Iranis from Persia professing the Zoroastrian religion; c) the children of Parsi fathers by alien mothers who have been duly and properly admitted into the religion."


This definition has since been overturned several times. The equality principles of the Indian Constitution void the patrilineal restrictions expressed in the third clause. The second clause was contested and overturned in 1948. On appeal in 1950, the 1948 ruling was upheld and the entire 1909 definition was deemed an obiter dictum, that is, a collateral opinion and not legally binding (re-affirmed in 1966). The Constitution of India lays down the framework on which Indian polity is run. ... Patrilineality (a. ... Obiter Dictum is a remark or observation made by a judge while issuing a ruling. ...


Nonetheless, the opinion that the 1909 ruling is legally binding continues to persist, even among the better-read and moderate Parsis. In the February 21, 2006 editorial of the Parsiana, the fortnightly of the Parsi Zoroastrian community, the editor noted that several adult children born of a Parsi mother and non-Parsi father had been inducted into the faith and that their choice "to embrace their mother's faith speaks volumes for their commitment to the religion." In recalling the ruling, the editor noted that although "they are legally and religiously full-fledged Zoroastrians, they are not considered Parsi Zoroastrians in the eyes of the law" and hence "legally they may not avail of [fire temples] specified for Parsi Zoroastrians" (Parsiana, 2006-02-21). A Zoroastrian Fire Temple is a place of worship for Zoroastrians. ...

Wedding Portrait, 1948
Wedding Portrait, 1948

Image File history File links Parsi_wedding_portrait_with_Dastur_MN_Dhalla. ... Image File history File links Parsi_wedding_portrait_with_Dastur_MN_Dhalla. ...

Demographic statistics

Indian census data (2001) records 69,601 Parsis in India, with a concentration in and around the city of Mumbai (previously known as Bombay). There are approximately 8,000 Parsis in Pakistan, with an estimated 2500 in the city of Karachi. There are also approximately 50 Parsi families residing in Sri Lanka. The number of Parsis worldwide is estimated to be fewer than 100,000 (Eliade, 1991:254). Image:1870 census Lindauer Weber 01. ... , “Bombay” redirects here. ...   (Urdu: , Sindhi: ) is the largest city in Pakistan and is the provincial capital of Sindh province. ...


Indian census data also established that

  • the number of Indian Parsis has been steadily declining for several decades: the highest census count of the Parsis was of 114,890 individuals in 1940–41, which includes the crown colony populations of present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Post-independence censuses are only available for India (1951: 111,791) and reveal a decline in population of approximately 9% per decade. They do not however take emigration into account. As of 2001, Parsis constitute 0.0069% of the total population of India.
Parsi Wedding (exchange of rings)
Parsi Wedding (exchange of rings)
  • the gender ratio amongst Parsis is unusual: as of 2001, the ratio of males to females amongst Parsis was 1000 males to 1050 females (up from 1024 in 1991), due primarily to the high median age of the population (elderly women are more common than elderly men). The national average was 1000 males to 933 females.
  • the age composition reveals an inverted pyramid: as of 2001, Parsis over the age of 60 make up for 31% of the community. The national average for this age group is 7%. Only 4.7% of the Parsi community are under 6 years of age, which translates to 7 births per year per 1000 individuals.
  • the Parsis have a high literacy rate: as of 2001, the literacy rate amongst the Parsis is 97.9%, the highest for any Indian community. The national average is 64.8%.
  • 96.1% of Parsis reside in urban areas. The national average is 27.8%.

According to the National Commission for Minorities, there are a "variety of causes that are responsible for this steady decline in the population of the community", the most significant of which were childlessness and migration (Bose et al., 2004). Demographic trends project that by the year 2020 Parsis in india will barely number 23,000 or 0.0002% of the total population of India. The Parsis will then cease to be called a community and will be labelled a 'tribe'. (Taraporevala, 2000, intro). In Pakistan on the other hand, the number of Parsis appears to be in no such decline. In fact it seems to have increased in the past decades due to being suplimented with the steady immigration of Iranian Zoroastrians to Pakistan. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (500x700, 177 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Parsi Talk:Parsi/Archive1 Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (500x700, 177 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Parsi Talk:Parsi/Archive1 Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner...


History

Arrival in Gujarat

Part of a series on

Zoroastrianism Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). ...


Portal
Primary topics

Zoroastrianism / Mazdaism
Ahura Mazda
Zarathustra (Zoroaster)
aša (asha) / arta Faravahar, The depiction of the Human soul before birth and after death. ... Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). ... Ahura Mazda () is the Avestan language name for a divinity exalted by Zoroaster as the one uncreated Creator, hence God. ... Zoroaster (Greek Ζωροάστρης, ZōroastrÄ“s) or Zarathustra (Avestan: ZaraθuÅ¡tra), also referred to as Zartosht (Persian: ), was an ancient Iranian prophet and religious poet. ... In Vedic Sanskrit, Rta literally means the course of things. ...

Angels and demons

Overview of the Angels
Amesha Spentas · Yazatas
Ahuras · Daevas
Angra Mainyu Zoroastrian angelology is branch of Zoroastrian doctrine that deals with the hierarchical system of divinities introduced by the reforms of Zarathustra (Zoroaster). ... In Zoroastrianism, Amesha Spentas are the Holy Immortals, the equivalent of Archangels in Christian theology. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Zoroastrian angelology. ... Ahura is the Avestan language designation for a class of divinity, adopted by Zarathustra (Zoroaster) from prehistoric proto-Indo-Iranian religion. ... The Daeva are a fictional clan of vampires in the role-playing game Vampire: The Requiem, published by White Wolf Game Studio . ... Angra Mainyu is the Avestan language name of the hypostasis of the destructive spirit. The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman. ...

Scripture and worship

Avesta · Gathas
Vendidad
The Ahuna Vairya Invocation
Fire Temples
See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ... The Gathas (Gāθās) are the most sacred of the texts of the Zoroastrian faith, and are traditionally believed to have been composed by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) himself. ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Faravahar, believed to be a depiction of a Farvashi, as mentioned in the Yasna, Yashts and Vendidad The Avesta is a collection of the sacred texts of the Mazdaist (Zoroastrian) religion. ... Ahuna Vairya is the Avestan language name of the most sacred of the Gathic hymns of the Avesta, the revered texts of Zoroastrianism. ... A Zoroastrian Fire Temple is a place of worship for Zoroastrians. ...

Accounts and legends

Dēnkard · Bundahišn
Book of Arda Viraf
Book of Jamasp
Story of Sanjan
The Denkard is the largest encyclopedia of Zoroastrianism written in 9th century. ... Category: ... The Book of Arda Viraf is a Zoroastrian religious text which describes the dream-journey of a devout Zoroastrian through the next world. ... The Jamasp Nameh (var: Jāmāsp Nāmag, Jāmāsp Nāmeh, Story of Jamasp) is a Middle Persian book of revelations. ... The Qissa-i Sanjan (or Kisse-i Sanjan, the Story of Sanjan) is an account of the early years of Zoroastrian settlers on the Indian subcontinent. ...

History and culture

Zurvanism
Calendar · Festivals
Marriage
Eschatology
Zurvan is the Persian god of infinite time, space and fate. ... The Zoroastrian calendar is a religious calendar used by members of the Zoroastrian faith, and it is an approximation of the (tropical) solar calendar. ... Zoroastrianism has numerous festivals and holy days, all of which are bound to the Zoroastrian calendar. ... In the Zoroastrian faith marriage is encouraged, an institution greatly favoured by the religious texts[1]. As of such, a Zoroastrian Wedding is a cause for celebration. ... Zoroastrianism eschatology is the oldest eschatology in recorded history. ...

Adherents

Zoroastrians in Iran
Parsis · Iranis
• • •
Persecution of Zoroastrians Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Yazd Zoroastrians in Iran have had a long history, being the oldest religious community of that nation to survive to the present-day. ... Irani is a term used to denote Indian Zoroastrians whose ancestors emigrated from Iran within the last two centuries, as opposed to the longer residing Parsis. ... The persecution of Zoroastrians has been common since the fall of the Sassanid Empire and the rule of Umayyad Arab empire that replaced it. ...

See also

Index of Related Articles

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According to the Qissa-i Sanjan "Story of Sanjan", the only existing account of the early years of Zoroastrian refugees in India but composed at least six centuries after the tentative date of arrival, one group of immigrants (today presumed to have been the first) originated from (greater) Khorasan (Hodivala, 1920:88). This region in Central Asia is in part in North-Eastern Iran (where it constitutes the Khorasan province), in part in Northern Afghanistan, and in part in three Central-Asian republics of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The Qissa-i Sanjan (or Kisse-i Sanjan, the Story of Sanjan) is an account of the early years of Zoroastrian settlers on the Indian subcontinent. ... Friday Mosque in Herat, a city which is known as The Pearl of Khorasan Greater Khorasan is a modern term for eastern territories of ancient Persia. ... Map of Central Asia showing three sets of possible boundaries for the region Central Asia located as a region of the world Central Asia is a vast landlocked region of Asia. ... Khorasan (also spelled Khurasan and Khorassan; خراسان in Persian) is an area, located in eastern and northeastern Iran. ...


The immigrants were granted permission to stay by the local ruler Jadi Rana on the condition that they adopt the local language (Gujarati); that their women adopt local dress (the Sari); and that they henceforth cease to bear arms (Hodivala, 1920). The refugees accepted the conditions and founded the settlement of Sanjan, which is said to have been named after the city of their origin (Sanjan, near Merv, in present-day Turkmenistan). (Hodivala, 1920:88) This first group was followed by a second group, also from Greater Khorasan, within five years of the first, and this time having religious implements with them (the alat). In addition to these Khorasanis or Kohistanis - mountain folk, as the two initial groups are said to have been initially called (Vimadalal, 1979:2) - at least one other group is said to have come overland from Sari (in present-day Mazandaran, Iran). (Paymaster, 1954) Jadi Rana or Jadav Rana is a figure from the Qissa-i Sanjan, an epic poem completed in 1599, which is an account of the flight of some of the Zoroastrians who were subject to religious persecution following the fall of the Persian Empire, and of their early years in... Gujarati (ગુજરાતી Gujǎrātī; also known as Gujerati, Gujarathi, Guzratee, and Guujaratee[3]) is an Indo-Aryan language descending from Sanskrit, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. ... For the city, see Sari, Iran. ... Sanjan is the second station in Gujarat (the first station is Umergaon) just inside the Gujarat-Maharashtra border, when travelling on the Western Railway line. ... Sanjan was an ancient city in Greater Khorasan, a realm in northeastern Iran, in the vicinity of the historically eminent city of Merv. ... Merv (Russian: Мерв, from Persian: مرو, Merw, sometimes transliterated Marw or Mary; cf. ... Sari is the capital city of the Iranian province of Mazandaran in northern Iran. ... Mazandaran (Persian: مازندران) is a province in northern Iran, bordering the Caspian (Mazandaran) Sea in the north. ...


Although the Sanjan group are believed to have been the first permanent settlers, the precise date of their arrival is a matter of conjecture. All estimates are based on the Qissa, which is vague or contradictory with respect to some elapsed periods. Consequently, three possible dates - 936 CE, 765 CE and 716 CE - have been proposed as the year of landing, and the disagreement has been the cause of "many an intense battle [...] amongst Parsis" (Taraporevala, 2000). Since dates are not specifically mentioned in Parsi texts prior to the 18th century, any date of arrival is perforce a matter of speculation. The importance of the Qissa lies in any case not so much in its reconstruction of events than in its depiction of the Parsis - in the way they have come to view themselves - and in their relationship to the dominant culture. As such, the text plays a crucial role in shaping Parsi identity. But, "even if one comes to the conclusion that the chronicle based on verbal transmission is not more than a legend, it still remains without doubt an extremely informative document for Parsee historiography." (Kulke, 1978:25)


The Sanjan Zoroastrians were certainly not the first Zoroastrians on the subcontinent. Western Gujarat, Sindh and Balochistan had once been the eastern-most territories of the Sassanid (226-651 CE) empire, and consequently maintained military outposts there. Even following the loss of these territories, the Iranians continued to play a major role in the trade links between the east and west, and in the light of Brahmanical discouragement of trans-oceanic voyages, which Hindus then regarded as polluting, it is likely that Iranians maintained trading posts in Gujarat as well. The 9th century Arab historiographer al-Masudi briefly notes Zoroastrians with Fire temples in al-Hind and in al-Sindh. (Stausberg, 2002:I.374) Moreover, for the Iranians, the harbors of Gujarat lay on the maritime routes that complemented the overland Silk road and there were extensive trade relations between the two regions. The contact between Iranians and Indians was already well established even prior to the Common Era, and both the Puranas and the Mahabharata (both are 6th-5th c. BCE texts) use the term Parasikas to refer to the peoples west of the Indus river. (Maneck, 1997:15) This article is for the Indian state. ... Sindh (SindhÄ«: سنڌ, UrdÅ«: سندھ) is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhis. ... Major ethnic groups in Pakistan and surrounding areas, in 1980. ... After Islamic Conquest  Modern SSR = Soviet Socialist Republic Afghanistan  Azerbaijan  Bahrain  Iran  Iraq  Tajikistan  Uzbekistan  This box:      The Sassanid Empire or Sassanian Dynasty (Persian: []) is the name used for the fourth Iranian dynasty, and the second Persian Empire (226–651). ... Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn Masudi (أبو الحسن ØŒ علي بن الحسين المسعودي) (?, Baghdad , Iraq - 956, Cairo,Egypt), was an Arab historian, geographer and philosopher. ... A Zoroastrian Fire Temple is a place of worship for Zoroastrians. ... The Silk Road Silk Route redirects here. ... “BCE” redirects here. ... Purana (Sanskrit: , meaning tales of ancient times) is the name of an ancient Indian genre (or a group of related genres) of Hindu or Jain literature (as distinct from oral tradition). ... For the film by Peter Brook, see The Mahabharata (1989 film). ... The Indus is a river; the Indus River. ...


"Parsi legends regarding their ancestors' migration to India depict a beleaguered band of religious refugees escaping the harsh rule of fanatical Muslim invaders in order to preserve their ancient faith." (Maneck, 1997:15, cf. Paymaster, 1954:2-3) However, while Parsi settlements definitely arose along the western coast of the asian subcontinent, it is not possible to state with certainty that these migrations occurred as a result of religious persecution against Zoroastrians. If the "traditional" 8th century date (as deduced from the Qissa) is considered valid, it must be assumed "that the migration began while Zoroastrianism was still the predominant religion in Iran [and] economic factors predominated the initial decision to migrate." (Maneck, 1997:15) This would have been particularly the case if - as the Qissa suggests - the first Parsis originally came from the north-east (i.e. Central Asia) and had previously been dependent on Silk Road trade (Stausberg, 2002:I.373). Even so, in the 17th century, Henry Lord, a chaplain with the British East India Company, noted that the Parsis came to India seeking "liberty of conscience" but simultaneously arrived as "merchantmen bound for the shores of India, in course of trade and merchandise." That the Arabs charged non-Muslims higher duties when trading from Muslim-held ports may be interpreted to be a form of religious persecution, but that this was the only reason to migrate appears unlikely. That persecution was the sole motivating factor to emigrate has also been questioned by Parsis themselves (e.g. Nariman, 1933:277), and "both factors - the need to open new avenues of trade, and the desire to establish a Zoroastrian community in an area that was free from Muslim harassment - entered into the decision to emigrate to Gujarat." (Maneck, 1997:16)


The term 'Parsi' is not attested in Indian Zoroastrian texts until the 17th century. Until that time, such texts consistently use either Zarthoshti, "Zoroastrian" or Behdin, "[of] good nature" or "[of] the good religion." The 12th century "Sixteen Shlokas", a Sanskrit text in praise of the Parsis and apparently written by a Hindu (Parsi legend, cf. Paymaster 1954:8, incorrectly attributes the text to a Zoroastrian priest), is the earliest attested use of the term as an identifier for the Indian Zoroastrians. The first reference to the Parsis in a European language is from 1322, when a French monk Jordanus briefly refers to their presence in Thana and Broach. Subsequently, the term appears in the journals of many European travellers, first French and Portuguese, later English, all of whom use a Europeanized version of an apparently local language term, for instance, Portuguese physican Garcia d'Orta, who in 1563 observed that "there are merchants [...] in the kingdom of Cambai [...] known as Esparcis. We Portuguese call them Jews, but they are not so. They are Gentios." In an early 20th century legal ruling (see self-perceptions, above) Justices Davar and Beaman asserted (1909:540) that 'Parsi' was also a term used in Iran to refer to Zoroastrians. (Stausberg, 2002:I.373) Boyce (2002:105) notes that in much the same way as the word "Hindu" was used by the Iranians to refer to anyone from the Indian subcontinent, the term 'Parsi' was used by the Indians to refer to anyone from Greater Iran, irrespective of whether they were actually ethnic Persians or not. In any case, the term 'Parsi' is itself "not necessarily an indication of their Iranian or 'Persian' origin, but rather as indicator - manifest as several properties - of ethnic identity" (Stausberg, 2002:I.373). Moreover, (if heredity were the only factor in a determination of ethnicity) the Parsis - per Qissa - would count as Parthians. (Boyce, 2002:105) The term 'Parseeism' (or 'Parsiism') is attributed to Anquetil-Duperron, who in the 1750s - when the word 'Zoroastrianism' had yet to be coined - made the first detailed report of the Parsis and of Zoroastrianism, therein mistakenly assuming that the Parsis were the only remaining followers of the religion. Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... , For the Anglo-Saxon royal retainer, see Thegn. ... Bharuch is a city and a municipality in Bharuch district in the state of Gujarat, India. ... Cambay, also known as Khambhat, is a town in Gujarat state, India. ... The word gentile is an anglicised version of the Latin word gentilis, meaning of or belonging to a clan or tribe. ... Professor Nora Elizabeth Mary Boyce (2 August 1920 - 4 April 2006) was the worlds leading doyenne of Zoroastrian studies. ... Greater Iran (in Persian: ایران بزرگ pron: Iran-e Bozorg, also ایران‌زمین pron: Iran-zameen) is a term for the Iranian plateau in addition to the entire region where Iranian languages are today spoken as a first language, or as a second language by a significant minority. ... External links Official website of Fars Governorship Categories: Iran geography stubs | Provinces of Iran ... Abraham-Hyacinthe Anquetil Du Perron (December 7, 1731 - January 17, French orientalist, brother of Louis-Pierre Anquetil, the historian, was born in Paris. ...


The early years

The Qissa has little to say about the events that followed the establishment of Sanjan, and restricts itself to a brief note on the establishment of the "Fire of Victory" (Middle Persian: Atash Bahram) at Sanjan and its subsequent move to Navsari. According to Dhalla, the next several centuries were "full of hardships" (sic) before Zoroastrianism "gained a real foothold in India and secured for its adherents some means of livelihood in this new country of their adoption" (Dhalla, 1938:447). , Navsari (Gujarati: નવસારી) is a city and a municipality in the Indian state of Gujarat. ...


Two centuries after their landing, the Parsis began to settle in other parts of Gujarat, which led to "difficulties in defining the limits of priestly jurisdiction." (Kulke, 1978:29) These problems were resolved by 1290 through the division of Gujarat into five panthaks - "districts" - each under the jurisdiction of one priestly family and their descendents. (Continuing disputes over the jurisdiction over the Atash Bahram led to the fire being moved to Udvada in 1742, where jurisdiction is today shared in rotation between the five panthak families).


Inscriptions at the Kanheri Caves near Mumbai suggest that at least until the early 11th century Middle Persian was still the literary language of the hereditary Zoroastrian priesthood. Nonetheless, aside from the Qissa and the Kanheri inscriptions, there is little evidence of the Parsis until the 12th and 13th century, when "masterly" (Dhalla) Sanskrit translations of the Zend commentaries of the Avesta began to be prepared. From these translations Dhalla infers that "religious studies were prosecuted with great zeal at this period" and that the command of Middle Persian and Sanskrit, among the clerics, "was of a superior order" (Dhalla, 1938:448). The Kanheri Caves are a protected archaeological site in Mumbai, India. ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ... Pahlavi is a term that refers: (1) to a script used in Iran derived from the Aramaic script, and (2) more broadly, to Middle Persian, the Middle Iranian language written in this script. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ...


From the 13th century to the late 16th century the Zoroastrian priests of Gujarat sent (in all) twenty-two requests for religious guidance to their co-religionists in Iran, presumably because they considered the Iranian Zoroastrians "better informed on religious matters than themselves, and must have preserved the old-time tradition more faithfully than they themselves did" (Dhalla, 1938:457). These transmissions and their replies - assiduously preserved by the community as the rivayats (epistles) - span the years 1478-1766 and deal with both religious and social subjects. From a superficial 21st century point of view, some of these ithoter (Gujarati: questions) are remarkably trivial - for instance, Rivayat 376: whether ink prepared by a non-Zoroastrian is suitable for copying Avestan language texts - but they provide a discerning insight into the fears and anxieties of the early modern Zoroastrians. Thus, the question of the ink is symptomatic of the fear of assimilation and the loss of identity; a theme that dominates the questions posed and continues to be an issue into the 21st century. So also the question of conversion of Juddins (non-Zoroastrians) to Zoroastrianism, to which the reply (R237, R238) was: acceptable, even meritorious. (Dhalla, 1938:474-475) Gujarati (ગુજરાતી Gujǎrātī; also known as Gujerati, Gujarathi, Guzratee, and Guujaratee[3]) is an Indo-Aryan language descending from Sanskrit, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. ... Avestan is an Eastern Old Iranian language that was used to compose the sacred hymns and canon of the Zoroastrian Avesta. ...


Nonetheless, "the precarious condition in which they lived for a considerable period made it impracticable for them to keep up their former proselytizing zeal. The instinctive fear of disintegration and absorption in the vast multitudes among whom they lived created in them a spirit of exclusiveness and a strong feeling for the preservation of the racial characteristics and distinctive features of their community. Living in an atmosphere surcharged with the Hindu caste system, they felt that their own safety lay in encircling their fold by rigid caste barriers" (Dhalla, 1938:474). Even so, at some point (perhaps not long after their arrival in India), the Zoroastrians - perhaps determining that the social stratification that they had brought with them was unsustainable in the small community - did away with all but the hereditary priesthood (called the asronih in Sassanid Iran). The remaining estates - the (r)atheshtarih (nobility, soldiers, and civil servants), vastaryoshih (farmers and herdsmen), hutokshih (artisans and laborers) - were folded into an all-comprehensive class today known as the behdini ("followers of daena", for which "good religion" is one translation). This change would have far reaching consequences. For one, it opened the gene pool to some extent since until that time inter-class marriages were exceedingly rare (this would continue to be a problem for the priesthood until the 20th century). For another, it did away with the boundaries along occupational lines, a factor that would enamour the Parsis to the 18th and 19th century British colonial authorities who had little patience for the unpredictable complications of the Hindu caste system (such as a clerk from one caste who would not deal with a clerk from another). social stratification is the division of people of a particular society on the basis if occupation, income, power, prestige, authority, status, dignity, education, class, castle, gender, race and ethnicity In sociology, social stratification is the hierarchical arrangement of social classes, castes and strata within a society. ... The Indian caste system describes the social stratification and social restrictions in the Indian Subcontinent, in which social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous, hereditary groups often termed as jātis or sub-castes. ...


The age of opportunity

Following the commercial treaty in the early 1600s between Mughal emperor Jahangir and James I of England, the British East India Company obtained the exclusive rights to reside and build factories in Surat and other areas. Many Parsis, who until then had been living in farming communities throughout Gujarat, moved to the British-run settlements to take the new jobs they offered. In 1668, the British East India Company leased the seven islands of Bombay from Charles II of England. The company found the deep harbour on the east coast of the islands to be ideal for setting up their first port in the sub-continent, and in 1687 they transferred their headquarters from Surat to the fledgling settlement. The Parsis followed and soon began to occupy posts of trust in connection with government and public works (Hull, 1913). The Mughal Empire (alternative spelling Mogul, which is the origin of the word Mogul) of India was founded by Babur in 1526, when he defeated Ibrahim Lodi, the last of the Delhi Sultans at the First Battle of Panipat. ... n ... James Stuart (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scots as James VI, and King of England and King of Ireland as James I. He ruled in Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567, when he was only one year old. ... The British East India Company, sometimes referred to as John Company, was the first joint-stock company (the Dutch East India Company was the first to issue public stock). ... The tone or style of this article or section may not be appropriate for Wikipedia. ... The original islands Seven islands were merged to form the city of Bombay (now called Mumbai): Isle of Bombay Colaba Little Colaba or Old Womans Island Mahim Mazagaon Parel Worli The nearby islands of Trombay and Salsette were also merged to form the surburban Greater Bombay. ... Charles II (29 May 1630 – 6 February 1685) was the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. ...


Where literacy had previously been an exclusive domain of the priesthood, the British schools provided the new Parsi youth with the means to not only learn to read and write, but also to be educated in the greater sense of the term and become familiar with the quirks of the British establishment. These latter qualities were enormously useful to Parsis since it allowed them to "represent themselves as being like the British," which they did "more diligently and effectively than perhaps any other South Asian community" (Luhrmann, 2002:861). In turn, it allowed the British, who were otherwise quite convinced of their racial and intellectual superiority, to deal with the other native communities through the offices of the Parsis. While the British saw the other Indians, "as passive, ignorant, irrational, outwardly submissive but inwardly guileful" (Luhrmann, 1994:333), the Parsis were seen to have the traits that the colonial authorities tended to ascribe to themselves. Mandelslo (Morgenländische Reyse, 1638) saw them as "diligent", "conscientious" and "skillful" in their mercantile pursuits. Similar observations would be made by James Mackintosh, Recorder of Bombay from 1804 to 1811, who noted that "the Parsees are a small remnant of one of the mightiest nations of the ancient world, who, flying from persecution into India, were for many ages lost in obscurity and poverty, till at length they met a just government under which they speedily rose to be one of the most popular mercantile bodies in Asia" (loc. Cit. Jeejeebhoy, 1938:33).


One of these was an enterprising agent named Rustom Maneck who had probably already amassed a fortune under the Dutch and Portuguese. In 1702, Maneck was appointed the first broker (so also acquiring the name "Seth") to the Company, and in the following years "he and his Parsi associates widened the occupational and financial horizons of the larger Parsi community" (White, 1991:304). Thus, by the mid-18th century, the brokerage houses of the Bombay Presidency were almost all in Parsi hands. As James Forbes, the Collector of Broach (now Bharuch), would note in his Oriental Memoirs (1770): "many of the principal merchants and owners of ships at Bombay and Surat are Parsees." "Active, robust, prudent and persevering, they now form a very valuable part of the Company's subjects on the western shores of Hindustan where they are highly esteemed" (loc. Cit. Jeejeebhoy, 1938:33). Gradually certain families "acquired wealth and prominence (Sorabji, Modi, Cama, Wadia, Jeejeebhoy, Readymoney, Dadyseth, Petit, Patel, Mehta, Allbless, Tata, etc.), many of which would be noted for their participation in the public life of the city, and for their various educational, industrial, and charitable enterprises." (Hull, 1913). Bombay Presidency was a former province of British India. ... Bharuch is a city and a municipality in Bharuch district in the state of Gujarat, India. ...


Through his largesse, Maneck helped establish the infrastructure that was necessary for the Parsis to set themselves up in the city and in doing so "established Bombay as the primary center of Parsi habitation and work in the 1720s" (White, 1991:304). Following the political and economic isolation of Surat in 1720s and 1730s that resulted from troubles between the (remnant) Mughal authorities and the increasingly dominant Marathas, a number of Parsi families from Surat migrated to the new city. While in 1700, "fewer than a handful of individuals appear as merchants in any records; by mid-century, Parsis engaged in commerce constituted one of important commercial groups in Bombay" (White, 1991:312). Maneck's generosity is incidentally also the first documented instance of Parsi philanthropy. In 1689, the Anglican chaplain John Ovington reported that in Surat the family "assist the poor and are ready to provide for the sustenance and comfort of such as want it. Their universal kindness, either employing such as are ready and able to work, or bestowing a seasonable bounteous charity to such as are infirm and miserable, leave no man destitute of relief, nor suffer a beggar in all their tribe" (Ovington/Rawlinson, 1689/1929:216) . The Marāthās (Marathi: , also Mahrattas) form an Indo Aryan group of Hindu warriors and peasants hailing mostly from the present-day state of Maharashtra, who created a the expansive Maratha Empire, covering a major part of India, in the late 17th and 18th centuries. ... Anglicanism commonly refers to the beliefs and practices of the Anglican Communion, the churches that are in full communion with the see of Canterbury. ...

"Parsis of Bombay" a wood engraving, ca. 1878

In 1728, Rustom's eldest son Naoroz (later Naorojee) founded the Bombay Parsi Panchayat (in the sense of an instrument for self-governance and not in the sense of the trust it is today) to assist newly arriving Parsis in religious, social, legal and financial matters. Using their vast resources, the Maneck Seth family gave their time, energy and not inconsiderable financial resources to the Parsi community, with the result that by the mid-18th century, the Panchayat was the accepted means for Parsis to cope with the exegencies of urban life and the recognized instrument for regulating the affairs of the community (Karaka, 1884:215-217). Nonetheless, by 1838, the Panchayat was under attack for impropriety and nepotism. In 1855, the Bombay Times noted that the Panchayat was utterly without the moral or legal authority to enforce its statutes (the Bundobusts or codes of conduct) and the council soon ceased to be considered representative of the community (Dobbins, 1970:150-151). In the wake of a July 1856 Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ruling that it had no jurisdiction over the Parsis in matters of marriage and divorce, the Panchayat was reduced to little more than a Government-recognized "Parsi Matrimonial Court". Although the Panchayat would be eventually be reestablished as the administrator of community property, it ultimately ceased to be an instrument for self-governance. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (537x745, 111 KB)Parsees of Bombay a wood engraving, 1878 This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (537x745, 111 KB)Parsees of Bombay a wood engraving, 1878 This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years... // The Panchayat (पंचायत in Devanagiri) is an Indian political system that groups five villages in a quincunx (four peripheral villages around a central one were laid out as the 5 side of a die). ... Self-governance is an abstract concept that refers to several scales of organization. ... The Times of India, often abbreviated as TOI, is one of Indias leading daily newspapers, owned and managed by Bennett, Coleman & Co. ...


At about the same time as the role of the Panchayat was declining, a number of other institutions arose that would replace the Panchayat's role in contributing to the sense of social cohesiveness that the community desperately sought. By mid-century, the Parsis were keenly aware that their numbers were declining and saw education as a possible solution to the problem. In 1842, Jamsetji Jeejeebhoy established the "Parsi Benevolent Fund" with the aim of improving the conditions, through education, of the impoverished Parsis still living in Surat and its environs. In 1849, the Parsis established their first school (co-educational, which was a novelty at the time, but would soon be split into separate schools for boys and girls) and the education movement quickened. The number of Parsi schools multiplied but other schools and colleges were also freely frequented (Hull, 1913). Accompanied by better education and social cohesiveness, the community's sense of distinctiveness grew and in 1854 Dinshaw Maneckji Petit founded the "Persian Zoroastrian Amelioration Fund" with the aim of improving the conditions for the less fortunate co-religionists in Iran. The fund succeeded in convincing a number of Iranian Zoroastrians to emigrate to India (where they are today known as Iranis), and may have been instrumental in obtaining a remission of the jizya poll tax for their co-religionists in 1882. Potrait of Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy at the Sir J. J. School of Art. ... Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit. ... Irani is a term used to denote Indian Zoroastrians whose ancestors emigrated from Iran within the last two centuries, as opposed to the longer residing Parsis. ... In states ruled by Islamic law, jizya or jizyah (Arabic: جزْية; Ottoman Turkish cizye) is a per capita tax imposed on able bodied non-Muslim men of military age. ...


In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Parsis had emerged as "the foremost people in India in matters educational, industrial, and social. They came in the vanguard of progress, amassed vast fortunes, and munificently gave away large sums in charity" (Dhalla, 1948:483). By the close of the 19th century, the total number of Parsis in colonial India was 85,397, of which 48,507 lived in Bombay, constituting 6% of the total population of the city (Census, 1881). This would be the last time that the Parsis would be considered a numerically significant minority in the city.


Nonetheless, the legacy of the 19th century was a sense of self-awareness as a community. The typically Parsi cultural symbols of the 17th and 18th centuries such as language (a Parsi variant of Gujarati), art & crafts and sartorial habits developed into Parsi theater, literature, newspapers and magazines and schools. The Parsis now ran community medical centers, ambulance corps, boy scout troops, clubs and masonic lodges. They had their own charitable foundations and housing estates, legal institutions, courts and governance. They were no longer weavers and petty merchants, but now established and ran banks, mills, heavy industry, shipyards and shipping companies. Moreover, even while maintaining their own cultural identity they did not fail to recognize themselves as nationally Indian, as Dadabhai Naoroji, the first Asian to occupy a seat in the British Parliament would note: Whether I am a Hindu, a Mohamedan, a Parsi, a Christian, or of any other creed, I am above all an Indian. Our country is India; our nationality is Indian (1893). Gujarati (ગુજરાતી Gujǎrātī; also known as Gujerati, Gujarathi, Guzratee, and Guujaratee[3]) is an Indo-Aryan language descending from Sanskrit, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. ... Polish Boy Scouts fighting in the Warsaw Uprising Boy Scouts originally denoted the organization that developed and rapidly grew up during 1908 in the wake of the publication by Lord Robert Baden-Powell of his book Scouting for Boys. ... In most areas of the world Masons gather together in Masonic Lodges to work the three degrees of Freemasonry: 1° = Entered Apprentice 2° = Fellow Craft 3° = Master Mason Blue Lodge is used to specify the basic Masonic Lodge granting the first three degrees and to differentiate it from other Masonic... Statue of Naoroji in Mumbai Dadabhai Naoroji (4 September 1825–30 June 1917) was a Parsi intellectual and educator, and an early Indian political leader. ... Type Bicameral Houses House of Commons House of Lords Speaker of the House of Commons The Right Honourable Michael Martin MP Lord Speaker Hélène Hayman, Baroness Hayman, PC Members 1377 (646 Commons, 731 Peers) Political groups (as of May 5, 2005 elections) Labour Party Conservative Party Liberal Democrats...


Factions within the community

Parsi Jashan ceremony (in this case, a house blessing)
Parsi Jashan ceremony (in this case, a house blessing)

Image File history File linksMetadata Parsi-jashan-ceremony-1. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Parsi-jashan-ceremony-1. ...

Calendrical differences

This section contains information specific to the Parsi calendar. For information on the calendar used by the Zoroastrians for religious purposes, including details on its history and its variations, see Zoroastrian calendar. The Zoroastrian calendar is a religious calendar used by members of the Zoroastrian faith, and it is an approximation of the (tropical) solar calendar. ...


Until about the 12th century, all Zoroastrians followed the same 365-day religious calendar, which had remained largely unmodified since the calendar reforms of Ardashir I (r. 226-241 CE). Since that calendar did not compensate for the fractional days that go to make up a full solar year, with time it was no longer accordant with the seasons. Silver coin of Ardashir I with a fire altar on its verso (British Museum London). ... Events: Accession of Wei Mingdi as emperor of the Kingdom of Wei of China. ... Events Shapur I of Persia succeeds Ardashir I Births Deaths Ardashir I, first ruler of the Sassanids Categories: 241 ...


At some point between 1125 and 1250 (cf. Boyce, 1970:537), the Parsis inserted an embolismic month to level out the accumulating fractional days. However, the Parsis would be the only Zoroastrians to do so (and would only do it once), with the result that - from then on - the calendar in use by the Parsis and the calendar in use by Zoroastrians elsewhere diverged by a matter of thirty days. The calendars still had the same name, Shahenshahi (imperial), presumably because none were aware that the calendars were no longer the same. Intercalation is the insertion of an extra day or month into some calendar years to make the calendar follow the seasons. ...


In 1745, the Parsis in and around Surat switched to the Kadmi or Kadimi calendar on the recommendation of their priests who were convinced that the calendar in use in the ancient 'homeland' must be correct. Moreover, they denigrated the Shahenshahi calendar as being "royalist". // Events May 11 - War of Austrian Succession: Battle of Fontenoy - At Fontenoy, French forces defeat an Anglo-Dutch-Hanoverian army including the Black Watch June 4 – Frederick the Great destroys Austrian army at Hohenfriedberg August 19 - Beginning of the 45 Jacobite Rising at Glenfinnan September 12 - Francis I is elected...


In 1906, attempts to bring the two factions together resulted in the introduction (based on an 11th century Seljuk model) of a third calendar: The Fasili, or Fasli calendar had leap days intercalated every four years and it had a New Year’s day that fell on the day of the vernal equinox. Although it was the only calendar always in harmony with the seasons, most members of the Parsi community rejected it on the grounds that it was not in accord with the injunctions expressed in Zoroastrian tradition (Denkard 3.419). 1906 (MCMVI) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... The Seljuk Turks (Turkish: Selçuk; Arabic: سلجوق Saljūq, السلاجقة al-Salājiqa; Persian: سلجوقيان Saljūqiyān; also Seldjuk, Seldjuq, Seljuq) were a major branch of... Illumination of Earth by Sun on the day of equinox The vernal equinox (or spring equinox) marks the beginning of astronomical spring. ... The Denkard is the largest encyclopedia of Zoroastrianism written in 9th century. ...


Today, the majority of the Parsis are adherents of the Parsi version of the Shahenshahi calendar. The Kadmi calendar has its adherents among the Parsi communities of Surat and Bharuch. The Fasli calendar does not have a significant following among Parsis, but - by virtue of being compatible with the Bastani calendar (an Iranian development with the same salient features as the Fasli calendar) - is predominant among the Zoroastrians of Iran.


The effect of the calendar disputes:


Since some of the Avesta prayers contain references to the names of the month and some other prayers are used only at specific times of the year, the issue of which calendar is "correct" has theological ramifications as well. See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ...


To further complicate matters, in the late 1700s (or early 1800s) a highly influential head-priest and staunch proponent of the Kadmi calendar - Phiroze Kaus Dastur of the Dadyseth Atash-Behram in Bombay - became convinced that the pronunciation of prayers as recited by visitors from Iran was correct, while the pronunciation as used by the Parsis was not. He accordingly went on to alter some (but not all) of the prayers, which in due course came to be accepted by all adherents of the Kadmi calendar as the more ancient (and thus presumably correct). However, scholars of Avestan language and linguistics attribute the difference in pronunciation to a vowel-shift that occurred only in Iran and that the Iranian pronunciation as adopted by the Kadmis is actually more recent than the pronunciation used by the non-Kadmi Parsis. Avestan is an Eastern Old Iranian language that was used to compose the sacred hymns and canon of the Zoroastrian Avesta. ...


The calendar disputes were not always purely academic either. In the 1780s, emotions over the controversy ran so high that violence would occasionally erupt. In 1783, a Shahenshahi resident of Bharuch named Homaji Jamshedji was sentenced to death for kicking a young Kadmi woman and so causing her to miscarry. 1783 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ...


Of the eight Atash-Behrams (the highest grade of fire temple) in India, three follow the Kadmi pronunciation and calendar, the other five are Shahenshahi. The Fassalis do not have their own Atash-Behram. A Zoroastrian Fire Temple is a place of worship for Zoroastrians. ...


The Ilm-e-Kshnoom

Main article: Ilm-e-Kshnoom

The Ilm-e-Kshnoom ('science of ecstasy', or 'science of bliss') is a school of Parsi-Zoroastrian philosophy based on a mystic and esoteric, rather than literal, interpretation of religious texts. According to the adherents of the sect, they are followers of the Zoroastrian faith as preserved by a clan of 2000 individuals called the Saheb-e-Dilan ('Masters of the Heart') who are said to live in complete isolation in the mountainous recesses of the Caucasus (alternatively, in the Alborz range, around Mount Damavand). Ilm-e-Kshnoom (science of ecstasy, or science of bliss) is a school of Zoroastrian philosophy, practiced by a very small minority of the Parsis of India, based on a mystic and esoteric, rather than literal, interpretation of Zoroastrian religious texts. ... The Caucasus Mountains are a mountain system between the Black and Caspian seas in the Caucasus region, usually considered the southeastern limit of Europe. ... Alborz Mountains Mount Damavand, Irans tallest mountain is located in Alborz mountain range. ... Mount Damāvand (Persian: ) also known as Donbavand, is a dormant volcano in Iran. ...


There are few obvious indications that a Parsi might be a follower of the Kshnoom. Although their Kusti prayers are very similar to those used by the Fassalis, like the rest of the Parsi community, the followers of Kshnoom are divided with respect to which calendar they observe. There are also other minor differences in their recitation of the liturgy, such as repetition of some sections of the longer prayers. Nonetheless, the Kshnoom are extremely conservative in their ideology, and prefer isolation even with respect to other Parsis.


The largest community of followers of the Kshnoom lives in Jogeshwari, a suburb of Bombay, where they have their own Fire temple (Behramshah Nowroji Shroff Daremeher), their own housing colony (Behram Baug) and their own newspaper (Parsi Pukar). There is a smaller concentration of adherents in Surat, where the sect was founded in the last decades of the 19th century. The tone or style of this article or section may not be appropriate for Wikipedia. ...


Exclusion versus inclusion

Parsi rites of admission into the Zoroastrian faith
Parsi rites of admission into the Zoroastrian faith

Among the Parsi community, no issue is more controversial than the exclusion of offspring of a "mixed marriage", that is where one parent is a Parsi and the other is not. Within a wider scope, the issue extends to questions of Image File history File linksMetadata Parsi-navjote-standing. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Parsi-navjote-standing. ...

  • gender equality (whether males and females are to be treated differently),
  • exclusion of women (and men if the gender equality question is taken into account) that marry out of the community.
  • whether Zoroastrians that are not Parsis have a right to use Parsi-Zoroastrian facilities such as Fire temples and Towers of Silence.

At its core, the conflict is a manifestation of centuries-old anxieties and fears of assimilation and the loss of identity. Those in favor for restriction of the term "Parsi" or even "Zoroastrian" to only those whose parents are both Parsis/Zoroastrians are most numerous among those that come from deeply conservative backgrounds, in particular (but not always) among the priesthood and the priestly class (the athornan). Consequently, the exclusionist stance is frequently equated with fundamentalism and its by-products of social and religious intolerance. Inversely, the inclusionist stance, i.e. that Zoroastrianism is a world-religion not limited by boundaries of gender, race or national origin, is denigrated as "heterodox", and its defenders are accused of being "anti-traditional", "neo-liberal" schismatics. A Zoroastrian Fire Temple is a place of worship for Zoroastrians. ... One of the two Towers of Silence no longer in use on the outskirts of the city of Yazd, Iran. ...


The "official" position of the communities is often one of exclusion. This is however not necessarily a stance that has been democratically determined since the panchayats or anjumans (the local trusts that manage and maintain community property — primarily the Towers of Silence — and administrate policy as to their use) are predominantly conservative, usually having five priests on a nine-member board. In accordance with Indian statutes, the anjumans have the domestic authority over trust properties and have the right to grant, prohibit or restrict entry and use. Thus, they can (and do) legally prohibit their use by anyone they might consider unentitled, or — in the case of properties administered by less exclusionist trustees — the priests employed at that facility make their opinion known by other means, for instance, by refusing to recite the names of "half-Parsis" or non-Parsi spouses during the tan-darosti.


However, in questions of practice, the conflict is (almost) academic. In cities with larger Parsi communities, there is almost certainly at least one fire temple run by priests that are not exclusionist. In any event, the Zoroastrian faith does not prescribe worship in a fire temple, so — in principle — a Zoroastrian who has been banned from entry to a particular temple could worship from his/her own home. Self-help groups such as the Association of Inter-Married Zoroastrians for "those who still believe that equality is a basic tenet of Zoroastrianism" attempt to ensure "that the rights of inter-married Parsees are not compromised" by organizing the initiation rites ('Navjote') for children of mixed parentage or by maintaining a list of Fire temples where Parsi spouses of mixed marriages are not ostracized. Nonetheless, with respect to last rites and use of the Towers of Silence, the anjumans continue to be selective about who may be interred according to Zoroastrian tradition.


Recent years have also seen an increasing unwillingness to accept a priest's exclusionary stance. Where a priest's opinion had previously been accepted as canon, this is gradually changing with respect to who may and who may not be considered a Parsi. Following a 1990 debacle in Bombay, a highly respected High-Priest was dismissed from his post after he publicly declared that women that married out of the community were adulterous and were hypocrites if they continued to consider themselves Zoroastrians. This particular episode is however not representative of all the priests. The priests in Calcutta for instance have for decades been pragmatic when it came to implementing the exclusionary stance of their superiors in Navsari — they "import" priests from Jamshedpur when ceremonies need to be performed for individuals that would otherwise not be considered eligible.


Whatever the outcome of the conflict, it probably will not influence the primary issue that contributes to the decreasing number of Parsis: the low birth rate.


Issues relating to the deceased

It has been traditional, in Mumbai at least, for dead Parsis to be taken to the Towers of Silence where the corpses would quickly be eaten by the city's vultures. The reason given for this practice is that earth, fire and water are all considered as sacred elements, which should not be defiled by the dead. Therefore, burial and cremation have always been prohibited in Parsi culture. The problem today though is that Mumbai's population of vultures has been drastically reduced, partly due to poisoning by the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac which is often given to human & cattle. As a result without vultures the bodies of the deceased are taking too long to decompose and this has upset certain sectors of the community. Solar panels have been installed in the Towers of Silence to speed up the decomposition process but this has only been partially successful. There is a debate raging among the community as to whether the prohibition on burials and cremations should not be lifted. A committee comprising both liberal and conservative Parsis is to be set up (November 2006) to try and find a solution to the problem. , “Bombay” redirects here. ... A late 19th century engraving of a Zoroastrian Tower of Silence in Mumbai. ... A Nubian Vulture Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. ... This article is about Earth as a planet. ... For other uses, see Fire (disambiguation). ... Impact from a water drop causes an upward rebound jet surrounded by circular capillary waves. ... my sister died form overdose!!! Diclofenac (marketed as Voltaren, Voltarol, Diclon, Dicloflex Difen, Difene, Cataflam, Pennsaid, Rhumalgan, Modifenac, Abitren and Zolterol) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) taken to reduce inflammation and an analgesic reducing pain in conditions such as in arthritis or acute injury. ... “Spoilage” redirects here. ...


Prominent Parsis

Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara) was probably the most famous Parsi in the West
Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara) was probably the most famous Parsi in the West

For a list of Parsis with Wikipedia articles, see Category:Parsis and List of Parsis Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1551x3003, 2792 KB) en: Freddy Mercury Statue in Montreux, Schweiz. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1551x3003, 2792 KB) en: Freddy Mercury Statue in Montreux, Schweiz. ... Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British musician best known as the lead singer of the rock band Queen (inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001). ... Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara) was probably the most famous Parsi in the West This is a list of notable Parsis with a Wikipedia article. ...


The Parsis have made considerable contributions to the history and development of the India, all the more remarkable considering their small numbers. As the maxim "Parsi, thy name is charity" reveals, their greatest contribution, literally and figuratively, is their philanthropy (the term "Parsi" in Sanskrit means "one who gives alms"). Mahatma Gandhi would note in a much misquoted statement, "I am proud of my country, India, for having produced the splendid Zoroastrian stock, in numbers beneath contempt, but in charity and philanthropy perhaps unequalled and certainly unsurpassed" (Rivetna, 2002). ______ thy name is ______ is a catch phrase use to indicate the completeness of which something embodies a particular quality, usually a negative one. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Gujarati: , Hindi: , IAST: mohandās karamcand gāndhī, IPA: ) (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948), was a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement. ...


Famous Parsis include the legendary industrialist J. R. D. Tata, symphony conductor Zubin Mehta and rock icon Freddie Mercury, British businessman and Life Peer Karan Bilimoria, nuclear scientist Homi J. Bhabha and the similarly-named cultural studies theorist Homi K. Bhabha. Indian field marshall and champion of the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 Sam Manekshaw, screenwriter and author Sooni Taraporevala; and authors Rohinton Mistry, Firdaus Kanga and Bapsi Sidhwa are all Parsis. Well known Bollywood figures include Nauheed Cyrusi and Boman Irani. Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (July 29, 1904–November 29, 1993) was a pioneer aviator and important businessman of India. ... Zubin Mehta (b. ... Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British musician best known as the lead singer of the rock band Queen (inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001). ... In the United Kingdom, Life Peers are appointed members of the Peerage whose titles may not be inherited (those whose titles are inheritable are known as hereditary peers). ... Category: ... This page is about the physicist, Homi J. Bhabha. ... Homi K. Bhabha (born 1949) is a postcolonial theorist, currently teaching at Harvard University, where he is the Chair of the Program in History and Literature. ... The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. ... Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, MC, (Sam Bahadur) (born April 3, 1914) is a retired Indian Army officer. ... Sooni Taraporevala is best known as the screenwriter for the Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay! and Mississippi Masala, both directed by Mira Nair. ... Rohinton Mistry (born July 3, 1952) is considered to be one of the foremost authors of South Asian origin writing in English. ... Firdaus Kanga is a writer who lives in London. ... Bapsi Sidhwa (1938 - ) is an important author of Pakistani origin who writes in English. ... Nauheed Cyrusi is a Mumbai born model turned Bollywood actress. ... Boman Irani with Sanjay Dutt in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. Boman Irani (born in 1962, Mumbai, Maharashtra) is a Indian film and theatre actor. ...


The efforts of Parsis significantly altered the face of the city of Bombay and several landmarks, such as Nariman Point, are named after one. Parsis prominent in the Indian independence movement include Pherozeshah Mehta, Dadabhai Naoroji and Bhikaiji Cama. Illustrious Parsi families include the Tata family, the Godrej family, the Cowasjee family and the Wadia family. Nariman Point Mumbais tallest buildings are located at Nariman Point Nariman Point is Mumbais premier business district. ... The Indian Independence Movement was a series of revolutions empowered by the people of India put forth to battle the British Empire for complete political independence, beginning with the Rebellion of 1857. ... Sir Pherozeshah Mehta was an early Indian political leader and social activist, and a renowned and wealthy barrister. ... Statue of Naoroji in Mumbai Dadabhai Naoroji (4 September 1825–30 June 1917) was a Parsi intellectual and educator, and an early Indian political leader. ... Bhikaiji Rustom Cama (Madam Cama, Madame Cama) (September 24, 1861 - August 13, 1936) was a prominent figure in the Indian Nationalist Movement. ... The Tatas are a wealthy family of Parsi Zoroastrians in India. ... Godrej family is a wealthy Parsi family of India. ... The Cowasjee family is one of oldest and richest families settled in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. ... The Wadia (Whit) family is an old Parsi family originally based in Surat. ...


Representations in popular culture

  • The leader of Captain Ahab's secret whaleboat, Fedallah, in the novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville is referred to as "the Parsee". There is an emphasis on certain Zoroastrian traditions, especially a respect for fire.
  • The only human in Rudyard Kipling's "How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin" (Just So Stories) is a Parsee who lives on an island in the Gulf of Aden.
  • The 2006 film Being Cyrus is a story about a dysfunctional Parsi family of Panchgani that became the highest grossing English language Indian movie. Although highly acclaimed in the press and at foreign film festivals, the film was sharply criticized by many members of the Parsi community.
  • The main character of the 1998 Deepa Mehta film Earth is a Parsi girl in a Parsi family (that is, neither Hindu nor Muslim) during the partition of India (which occurred due to religious differences). The film was based on the semi-historical novel Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa.
  • Salman Rushdie's novel The Ground Beneath Her Feet deals with the rise of a world famous Indian rock star named Ormus Cama, who is of Parsi background. Also, two minor but significant characters in Rushdie's book Midnight's Children, Cyrus Dubash and Homi Catrack, are Parsis.
  • Canadian-based Parsi author Rohinton Mistry's books deal mainly with Parsi characters and society in relation to the greater Indian society around them, particularly in works like A Fine Balance and Such a Long Journey.
  • In Jules Verne's novel Around the World in 80 Days, Phileas Fogg and Passpartout rescue an Indian woman named Aouda from committing sati on the funeral pyre of her dead husband (a maharaja). She is later revealed to be a Parsi whose merchant father married her to the maharaja.
  • In John Irving's 1994 novel A Son of the Circus, the principal character is 'Doctor Farrokh Darruwalla', a Parsi married to an Austrian.
  • The 2007 film Parzania is based on the true story of a Parsi family caught in the crossfire of the 2002 Ahmedabad riots. The film is named after the utopian world of one of the characters of the story, a world in which everything revolves around cricket and ice cream.

Moby-Dick book cover Moby-Dick - the official title of the first edition - is a novel by Herman Melville. ... For other uses, see Moby-Dick in popular culture. ... Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. ... See also Just-so story for anthropological sense Wikisource has original text related to this article: Just So Stories The Just So Stories for Little Children were written by British author Rudyard Kipling. ... Being Cyrus is an Indian English language film released in 2006. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Deepa Mehta ( दीपा मेहता ),(born 1950 in Amritsar Punjab, India) is a controversial Indian-Canadian film director and screenwriter who is based in Toronto and Delhi. ... Bapsi Sidhwas novel, Cracking India, (1991, U.S.; 1992, India; originally published as Ice Candy Man, 1988, England), was released as the 1998 film Earth (1947 in India), directed by Deepa Mehta. ... This article is under construction. ... Cracking India, (1991, U.S., 1992, India; originally published as Ice Candy Man, 1988, England) is a novel by author Bapsi Sidhwa. ... Bapsi Sidhwa (1938 - ) is an important author of Pakistani origin who writes in English. ... The Ground Beneath Her Feet is a novel written by Salman Rushdie. ... Midnights Children is a 1981 novel by Salman Rushdie. ... Rohinton Mistry (born July 3, 1952) is considered to be one of the foremost authors of South Asian origin writing in English. ... A Fine Balance is the second book by Rohinton Mistry. ... Such a Long Journey (1998) is a film based upon the novel Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry. ... Around the World in Eighty Days (French: Le tour du monde en quatre-vingt jours) is a classic adventure novel by Jules Verne, first published in 1872. ... Phileas Fogg is the main fictional character in the 1872 Jules Verne novel Around the World in Eighty Days. ... // Ceremony of Burning a Hindu Widow with the Body of her Late Husband, from Pictorial History of China and India, 1851. ... Major-General H.H. Farzand-i-Dilband Rasikh- al-Iqtidad-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia, Raja-i-Rajagan, Maharaja Sir Jagatjit Singh, Bahadur, Maharaja of Kapurthala, GCSI , GCIE , GBE The word Mahārāja (also spelled maharajah) is Sanskrit for great king or high king (a karmadharaya from mahānt great... John Winslow Irving (born March 2, 1942 as John Wallace Blunt, Jr. ... Parzania (2007) is an award-winning Indian film drama directed by Rahul Dholakia, written by David N. Donihue, Rahul Dholakia starring Naseeruddin Shah ,Sarika and Corin Nemec. ... , Ahmedabad (Gujarati: , Hindi: अहमदाबाद ) is the largest city in the state of Gujarat and the seventh-largest urban agglomeration in India, with a population of almost 51 lakhs (5. ...

See also

Parsi cuisine is a blend of vegetarian Gujarati cuisine and non-vegetarian Iranian cuisine. ... India, being a multicultural and multireligious society, celebrates holidays and festivals of various faiths and special interest groups. ... Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Yazd Zoroastrians in Iran have had a long history, being the oldest religious community of that nation to survive to the present-day. ... The persecution of Zoroastrians has been common since the fall of the Sassanid Empire and the rule of Umayyad Arab empire that replaced it. ...

Bibliography

  • "Parsi". Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2nd ed.. (1993). New York: Random House. 
  • For an example of the use of "Parsi" as the name of a religion, see National Geographic: list of religions in India.
  • Nanavutty, Piloo (1970). The Parsis. New Delhi: National Book Trust. 
  • Qamar, Raheel; Qasim, Ayub et al. (2002). "Y-Chromosomal DNA Variation in Pakistan". American Journal of Human Genetics 70: 1107-1124. 
  • Quintana-Murci et al. (2004). "Southwest Asian mtDNA Phylogeography". American Journal of Human Genetics 74: 827-845. 
  • Legal rulings:
    i) Sir Dinsha Manekji Petit vs. Sir Jamsetji Jijibhai, (1909) 33 ILR 509 and 11 BLR 85, Justices Dinshaw Davar and Frank Beaman
    ii) Sarwar Merwan Yezdiar vs. Merwan Rashid Yezdiar, (1948) Parsi Matrimonial Court, Justice Coyaji
    iii) Merwan Rashid Yezdiar vs. Sarwar Merwan Yezdiar, (1950) 52 BLR 876, Justices Chagla and Gajendragadkar
    iv) Jamshed Irani vs. Banu Irani, (1966) 68 BLR 794, Justice Mody
  • Parsiana Editorial (2006-02-21). "How trust-worthy?". Parsiana (48). 
  • Eliade, Mircea & Ioan P. Couliano (1991). The Eliade Guide to World Religions. New York: Harper Collins. 
  • Bose, Ashish et al. (2004-12-04). [Growth of the Parsi population in India. Mumbai: National Commission for Minorities. 
  • Hodivala, Shahpurshah Hormasji (1920). Studies in Parsi History. Bombay: (Privately Printed). 
  • Paymaster, Rustom Burjorji (1954). Early History of the Parsees in India. Bombay: Zarthoshti Dharam Sambandhi. 
  • Taraporevala, Sooni (2000). Zoroastrians of India. Parsis: A Photographic Journey. Bombay: Good Books. 
  • Dhalla, Maneckji Nusservanji (1938). History of Zoroastrianism. New York: OUP. 
  • Maneck, Susan Stiles (1997). The Death of Ahriman: Culture, Identity, and Theological Change Among the Parsis of India. Bombay: K. R. Cama Oriental Institute. 
  • Stausberg, Michael (2002). Die Religion Zarathushtras. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. 
  • Boyce, Mary (2002). "The Parthians", in Godrej, Pheroza J.: A Zoroastrian Tapestry. New York: Mapin. 
  • Hull, Ernest R. (1913). "Parsi". Catholic Encyclopedia.  
  • Luhrmann, T. M.. "The Good Parsi: The Postcolonial 'Feminization' of a Colonial Elite". Man 29.2 (June, 1994): 333-357. 
  • Luhrmann, T. M.. "Evil in the Sands of Time: Theology and Identity Politics among the Zoroastrian Parsis". The Journal of Asian Studies 61.3 (August, 2002): 861-889. 
  • White, David L.. "From Crisis to Community Definition:The Dynamics of Eighteenth-Century Parsi Philanthropy". Modern Asian Studies 25.2 (May, 1991): 303-320. 
  • Karaka, D. F. (1884). History of the Parsis. 
  • Dobbin, Christine (1970). "The Parsi Panchayat in Bombay City in the Nineteenth Century". Modern Asian Studies 4.2: 149-164. 
  • Jeejeebhoy, Jamset Rustomjee Byram. Introduction.  In Darukhanawala, Hormusji Dhunjishaw (1938). Parsi Lustre on Indian Soil, Vol. I. Bombay: Claridge. 
  • Ovington, John, Rawlinson, H. G. (ed.) (1929). A Voyage to Surat in the Year 1689. London: Humphrey Milford.  ISBN 812060945X
  • Boyce, Mary (1970). "On the Calendar of the Zoroastrian Feasts". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (BSOAS) 33 (3): 513-539. 
  • Rivetna, Roshan (ed.) (2002). The Legacy of Zarathushtra: An Introduction to the Religion, History and Culture of the Zarathushtis". Hinsdale, IL: Federation of the Zoroastrian Associations of North America (FEZANA). 

Further reading

  • Passion of Indian Parsis in discovering their root in Iran (BBC Persian) (in Persian)
  • Christian Science Monitor: Oldest Prophetic Religion Struggles For Survival
  • UNESCO Parsi Zoroastrian Project
  • Searchable record of Parsi-related subjects

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Parsi Faith (0 words)
In India, Parsis also erected "Towers of Silence" the buildings in which they leave their dead to be devoured by vultures - a practice which, strange though it may seem to modern western thinking, has the ancient religious purpose of affirming the equality of all men in death.
Although Parsis never surrendered their religious identity, or - in contrast to the ill fated Anglo-Indians - ever became reviled as sycophants of the British, they were eager to absorb British culture and education.
In view of the sharp decline in the Parsi population, this may seem complacent, but the Parsis have an impressive record of resilience and their adaptability is almost proverbial.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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