PARSIS OF INDIA A GOLDEN HISTORY
I AM PROUD TO BE A PARSI • Parsi is synonymous with ancient Persia. • Parsis have added sweetness to the Indian society. • Parsis true to the words spoken ages ago “Mix in the society like sugar in milk.” • Parsis innumerous qualities have enhanced the Indian society. • The spirit of adventure took them to four corners of the world. • Parsis ruled the bank, educational institutions, health care, hospitals & housing colonies. • Parsi ladies thought of animal hospitals, Convalescent homes. PARSI THY NAME IS CHARITY
THE PARSIS AN ARYAN RACE • Parsis came to India thousands of years ago. • Men are handsome, tall & have Aryan Nose. • Ladies are with beautifully chiseled features. THE BREED STILL EXISTS
KISSAH - I - SANJAN Written in Persian in 1600 By Priest Behman Kaikobad Sanjan in Navsari • ZOROASTRIAN WERE FORCED BY RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION OF MUSLIMS TO LEAVE THEIR HOMELAND & FLEE. • INDIAN PARSEES FIRST SOUGHT REFUGE IN REMOTE REGION OF KHURASAN. • THEY SHIFTED TO HORMUZ FOR 15 YEARS ON THE PERSION GULF. • THEN MOVED BY SEA IN SEVEN SHIPS TO INDIA. • THEY LANDED AT DIU (GUJARAT). • REFUGE GIVEN BY HINDU RAJA – JADI RANA IN SANJAN.
PARSEE SECTS In 1730 on a Controversy of New Year’s Festival Indian Parsees separated themselves into: • SHEHEN SHAHIS – 93% of Parsees (New Year - Sept) • KADMIS – 7% of Parsees (New Year - Aug) • FASLIS – 21 Mar New Year.
CONDITIONS BY KING JADI RANA • Priest to explain their religion to the king. • To give-up native Persian language & take on Indian language. • Women to exchange Persian garb with Indian dress. • The men should lay down their weapons. • Parsees to hold their wedding processions only in the dark. Priest NERYO SANGH accepted all conditions by putting SUGAR IN MILK POT. • Gujarati is native language. • Sari is traditional garment for women. • Loyalty of Parsees is still observed today. • Parsees strictly preserved their own religion.
PROFESSIONALLY • Parsis leave an honest impression of dedicated & sincere in their chosen profession. • They work mirthfully & give their best. • They are in all chosen profession: • Doctors • Bureaucrats • Teachers • Bankers • Corporate Honchos • Lawyers • Chartered Accountant • Office Staff • Parsis are the best Social Worker. • They are humane & loving in their approach. THEY ARE GENEROUS IN GIVING • Journalists • Musicians • Scholars • Writers • Sportsman • Merchant Princes
RELIGIOUS LITERATURE (HOLY AVESTA) Every Parsi bowing to Holy Fire promises himself: • To think - GOOD THOUGHTS. • To do - GOOD DEEDS. • To Speak - GOOD WORDS. “AVESTA” is the Parsis HOLY BOOK. Originally contained 21 books but today it contains only: (a) “YASANA” (Book of sacrifice – 17 Gathas are part of it). (b) “YASTS” (Hymn like praises). (c) “VENDIDAD” (Law & Code of Purification). (d) “VISPERAD” (Collection of prayers & Liturgical texts) ZOROASTRIANISM IS WORLD’S OLDEST REVEALED RELIGION • VALUE SYSTEM OF PARSIS INBIBED IN CHILDHOOD. • PARSI CHILDREN GROW INTO A POSITIVE PEOPLE.
BEST KNOWN FOR OUR CUISINE Parsis have special dishes for special days: • Curry Chaval for Kali Chawdas. • Dhandar for Hormuz Roj. • Khichri for Sarosh Roj. • Pulav Dal for Patiti. • Famous Dhansak for Sundays. • Parsi Pora & Akoori for Sunday breakfast. • Sev Rava for Happy occasions. PARSIS LIVE TOGETHER AND EAT TOGETHER
GAMBHAR THE WAY TO A PARSIS HEART IS THROUGH HIS STOMACH • Philanthropists host community feast on various occasions. • A Gala annual ritual to which entire community is invited. • Some hold Gambhar in memory of their departed dear once. • Parsis enjoy getting so many people together on a common platform & give them a good feast. • Parsis socialize & enjoy themselves. EVERYBODY & ANYBODY IS WELCOME
ZORASTRIAN IN BRITISH PARLIAMENT • Dr. Dadabhai Naoroji - House of Commons (1892-1895) Liberal Party candidate of INC. • Sir M Bhownaggree - House of Commons (1895-1906) Conservative Party. • Shapurji D Saklatvala - House of Commons (1922-1923) Labour Party. • Loard Karan F Bilimoria - House of Lords (2006). PARSIS LEAD IN THE PROCESS OF INDEPENDENCE
PARSIS & THE RAJ • SIR JAMSHEDJEE JEEJEEBHOY (1783-1859) First Baronet – The most esteemed parsi of 19 century. • DADABHAI NAOROJI (1825-1917) First Asian to become member of the British Parliament credited with coining the word “SWARAJ” or home rule. • SIR PHEROZESHAH MEHTA (UNCROWNED KING OF BOMBAY) Incorrigible advocate of militant nationalism & a true patriot. • MADAM BHIKHAIJI RUSTOMJI CAMA (1861-1936) First to unfurl the future Indian flag in public at second international socialist congress at Stuttgart Germany in 1907. • FIRST INDIAN TEAM to go to England to play cricket was exclusively made-up of Parsis. • FIELD MARSHAL SAM MANEKSHAW, MC (1914) Military Cross (MC) for conspicuous in face of enemy in the jungles of Burma during II World War in 1942. PARSIS HAD IMPECCABLE INTEGRITY & HONESTY
BAWAJIS OF BOMBAY • None in Mumbai can do without them. • Parsi humor is unique. • They are funny in films. • They laugh at themselves. • They laugh at all times. • There laugh’s are loud which fill the air & spread over. IT HAS PROBABLY MORE INFLUENCE ON MANKIND DIRECTLY & INDIRECTLY THEN ANY OTHER SINGLE FAITH
TATA’S CENTURY OF EXCELLENCE • 1903 – India’s First Luxury hotel. • 1907 – India’s First Integrated steel plant. • 1932 – India’s First Commercial air service. • 1941 – India’s First Cancer Hospital. • 1948 – India’s First International Commercial flight. • 1968 – India’s First Software service company. • 1998 – India’s First Indigenous car. A CENTURY OF TRUST
JHABLAS, GARA & KORS • The present day Parsis are privy to 100 year old Chinese design tradition. • The European tradition & Persian Zoroastrian tradition. • The trade flourished through silk route during Sacnian dynasty (226-661 AD) & Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) • An aesthetic, enchanting fully embroidered Gara Sari. • Made in China & worn by Parsis in India. • Various motives that cover Gara Designs: Floral to creatures, real & mythological phoenix, unicorn, bird of Paradise, aquatic life, butterflies & even bats. STORY OF PARSI HERITAGE
THE PHILANTHROPIST PARSIS OF HONG KONG • Parsis arrived in late 1700 to this river delta. • A generous lot of 200 souls at present. • Pioneers of the island economic success: • Sir Hormusjjee Nowrojee Mody • Cawasjee Kotwal • Dhunjibhoy Bisney • Even today HK $ 1 million a year flows into 30 local charities in Hong Kong & millions go to charities abroad in India. • Late Sir Hormusjee Nowrojee Mody contributed HK $ 300,000 to establish the university of Hong Kong. • Jahangir Rusttonjee contributed HK $ 2 million to fight tuberculosis & established 614 bed Ruttonjee Hospital in Hong Kong. • Keki Jokhi & his brother late Shapurji built AVAN BAUG in Navsari. • Dorabjee came to Hong Kong as a cook & owned at the end three hotels in Hong Kong. He also introduced colony’s first steam boat ferry service way back in 1898. • Sir Jamsetji jejeebhoy served on board of Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking corporation. GIVING BACK TO COUNTRY THAT NURTURED US
CALL FOR THE PARSI COMMUNITY • The Dwindling numbers. • Increasing number of Elderly (65+). • The main causes are: • Late marriages. • Few marriages. • Fewer children. • Exogamy if married outside the religion.
DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE OF PARSIS (AS PER CENSUS 2001) • All India picture is indeed dismal. • Total population only 69,601. • Overall Parsi constitute 0.007% of Indian population. • All India growth rate 21.34%. • Parsis recorded negative decline of 8.88%. • Religious minority community are: • Muslims • Christians • Sikhs • Buddhists • Parsis (without any population weightage) • Sex ratio: For 1050 females there are 1000 males. • 30.9% population in 65+ category, a disturbing feature (Indian 8%).
PARSIS IN THE ARMED FORCES • Contribution is far out of proportion to their strength. • In earlier era only Medical officers where in British Indian Army. • Captain Cursetji (Later Maj Gen) won distinguished service order in 1915. • Captain K.S Master won the Military Cross in WW-I, later became Lieutenant General & the first Director General of Armed Forces Medical College. • Three Parsis became Chief of their own services: • Air Marshal Aspy Engineer of the then Royal Indian Air Force (1964) • Admiral Jal Cursetji PVSM, AVSM of the Navy (1937-1979) • Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw MC of the Army (1932-1972) • Three Parsis commissioned as King’s, commissioned Indian officers pre WW-II, Nusli Billimoria, Rusi Billimoria & Wadia. • Highest Galentry awards after indipendence: • Lt. Col Adi B. Tarapori – Param Veer Chakra (1965) • 2/Lt (Now Col) Cyrus Pithawalla – Ashok Chakra (1981)
WEBSITES OF PARSIS • www.theparsidirectory.com • www.theparsimatch.com • www.theparsichronical.com • www.w-z-o.org • www.parsiresourcegroup.org • www.wzcc.net • www.oppournities.wcc.net • www.zoroastrianism.com