14 Facts About Parsi


The Parsi people comprise the oldest of the Indian subcontinent's two Zoroastrian communities vis-a-vis the Iranis, whose ancestors migrated to British-ruled India from Qajar-era Iran.

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Parsi, spelled Parsee, member of a group of followers in India of the Persian prophet Zoroaster.

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Term Parsi, which in the Persian language is a demonym meaning "inhabitant of Pars" and hence "ethnic Persian", is not attested in Indian Zoroastrian texts until the 17th century.

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However, the Parsi community had to abide by three rules: they had to speak the local language, follow local marriage customs, and not carry any weapons.

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Definition of who is, and is not, a Parsi is a matter of great contention within the Zoroastrian community in India.

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An oft-quoted legal definition of Parsi is based on a 1909 ruling that not only stipulated that a person could not become a Parsi by converting to the Zoroastrian faith but noted:.

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Parsi 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.

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In 1702, Maneck, who had probably already amassed a fortune under the Dutch and Portuguese, was appointed the first broker to the East India Company, and in the following years "he and his Parsi associates widened the occupational and financial horizons of the larger Parsi community".

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The number of Parsi schools multiplied, but other schools and colleges were freely attended.

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Main components of Zoroastrianism as practiced by the Parsi community are the concepts of purity and pollution, initiation (navjot), daily prayers, worship at Fire Temples, marriage, funerals, and general worship.

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Marriage is very important to the members of the Parsi community, believing that in order to continue the expansion of God's kingdom they must procreate.

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Parsi accordingly went on to alter some 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).

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In Peshawar a Parsi graveyard was established in the late 19th century, which still exists; this cemetery is unique as there is no Tower of Silence.

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Admiral Jal Cursetji was the first Parsi to be appointed Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy.

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