Parsi community in India
The Parsis are an immigrant community, coming from Persia. This small religious community believes in Zoroastrianism faith, which is one of the world’s oldest religions based upon the teachings of Iranian prophet Zoroaster. Zoroastrianism has more than thousand years of history in India as most of the Parsi community had settled in India after migrating from different parts of the world towards India. Let us look into the history, impact and challenges of the Parsi community in India.
Zoroastrianism had its presence in Persia for over a thousand years. The arab invasion of Persia led to overthrew Zoroastrian king Yazdagird III in 651 a.d. Religious persecution led the Parsis to leave Iran and immigrated: to China and India. But by tenth century, the Parsis has disappeared in China due to mass executions during Guangzhou massacre
In India, they immigrated safely in 936 a.d. The Parsis first landed on west coast of India in Sanjan, a small town of Gujarat. The Hindus hosted them by giving them marginal amount of land. Many of them had moved to Surat, in the 15th century, to work in the trading factories established by the Portuguese, the British and the Dutch. During 1640, a large majority of the Parsis came to work in Bombay to work as ship builders. Today, the Parsi community is mainly concentrated in Mumbai.
If we go through the history of India, we will find that the Parsis have immense contribution to the Indian society. The Tatas and the Godrejs came forward to set up modern industry in India. The country also became a nuclear power holding the hands of Homi Bhaba. Bhicaji Cama and Dadabhai naoroji are some significant names in the history of India’s freedom movement. Many of the top lawyers of the country are from Parsi community, including Nani Palkiwala, Soli Sorabji and Nariman. Some of the finest bollywood stars including Boman Irani and Farooq Sheikh belong to the parsi community.
One of the challenges they face as a community is the dwindling population. Parsis comprise of less than .02 per cent of India’s total population. Their population has now dropped to merely 69,000 according to 2001 census which was earlier 1,14,000. Their birth rates have also dropped. In 2013, Parsi community had 195 births in entire country and 950 deaths.
What people said
“Muslims are not the minorities, Parsis are” – Najma Heptullah, Minority Affairs Minister
“I think what stands out is the fact that the smallest minority in India has really never felt that it is a minority. It has never regarded itself as a minority. It is this mindset that has enabled it to be, in many standards, the role model for the rest of the country,” – Arun Jaitley, Union Finance Minister
The Logical Indian is proud of the contributions made by the parsi community to India and the world. They are as successful as they are patriotic and they have set high standards in all walks of life, for which they command respect from all of India and the world.