India. ZOROASTRIANS - A VANISHING COMMUNITY
"Numerically, the Parsis are not worthy of attention, but in terms of contribution, they are beyond comparison." M. K. Gandhi According to official data, today there are less than 100 thousand Zoroastrians (Parsis*) in the world, people who profess one of the oldest religions in the world - Zoroastrianism. Of these, according to the 2001 Indian Census, more than half, almost 70,000 people, live in India, with the largest number in Mumbai (before 1995, Bombay) and surrounding areas .1 A higher level of Parsi population was observed in 1940-1941 (114890 people), including the population of British India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. A significant part of the Parsis currently live in the UK. Data after the partition of India are available only for India, and they show that the number of Indian Parsis decreases by 9% every ten years, excluding emigration processes.2 IRAN-GUJARAT-BOMBAY The Indian Parsis are descendants of the Iranian Zoroastrians who migrated to the Hindustan Peninsula after the Arab conquest of Persia (633-644). Until the mid-ninth century, there was no mass forced conversion of Zoroastrians to Islam in Iran. When the struggle for a unified faith took harsh forms, temples and altars of fire and Zoroastrian shrines were destroyed in order to preserve their faith, the Zoroastrians were forced to seek shelter outside their ancestral homeland. In 936, ships with Parsis arrived on the coast of Gujarat, where, with the permission of the local ruler, they founded the city of Sanjan, their first settlement in India. Gujarati became their mother tongue, and saris became everyday clothing for Parsi women. Here the Parsis built their first fire temple, which became the religious center of the community in their new homeland and served for more than 800 years. Sanjan remained the religious center of the Parsis until the Muslim attack on the city in 1465 (according to other sources, in 1490).- Zoroastrianism (or Mazdeism) is one of the oldest religions, originating in ... Read more
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06.06.2024 (18 days ago)
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