Parsi - History and Cultural Relations

Zoroastrianism had been in existence in Persia for well over a thousand years, usually as a state cult. When Muslim Arabs intent on spreading their new faith invaded and overthrew the last Zoroastrian king, Yazdagird III, in A . D . 651, numerous refugees fled, some following the Great Silk Route into China where they established trading communities and built fire temples in various cities. All traces of these Chinese Parsis had disappeared by the tenth century A . D . Others who had sought refuge in the mountainous region of Kohistan were Finally driven to the port of Ormuz (Hormuz), from whence they sailed to India. The exact date of arrival is controversial, but it is traditionally put at A . D . 716. Recent research puts it as late as A . D . 936. The story of their flight and their landing on the west coast of India at Diu has since been romanticized. In reality, they eked out a subsistence on marginal land provided by their Hindu hosts. With the coming of the Europeans, Parsis moved into an intermediary niche between the foreigners and the natives in the cities. Today the Parsis are the most urbanized and Westernized community in India, having been the first to avail themselves of the opportunities that came from Western-style education and the growth of industry, commerce, and government under the British. Thus, the first Indians to become surgeons, barristers, pilots, and members of the British Parliament were all Parsis. Despite their long residence in the country Parsis have not been absorbed into the Indian caste system. Like the Europeans, they have been viewed as foreigners. The native Hindu and Muslim states accorded them positions of high authority and privilege, including prime ministerships and guardianship of the treasuries, on account of their education, relative incorruptibility, and impartiality toward caste allegiances.

Also read article about Parsi from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: