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Parsi - Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

Parsi - Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

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Parsi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaYour continued donations keep Wikipediarunning!The Wikimedia Board of Trustees election has started. Please vote.[Hide][Help us with translations!]ParsiFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, searchThis article is about the Zoroastrian community of the Indian subcontinent. Forother uses, see Parsi (disambiguation).ParsisModern Mumbai Parsi family in traditional attireTotal populationParsi people110,000Regions with significant populationsIndia70%Pakistan.0017%in the diaspora27%LanguagesGujarati, EnglishReligionZoroastrianismPart of a series onZoroastrianismPortalPrimary topicsZoroastrianism / MazdaismAhura MazdaZarathustraaša (asha) / artaAngels and demonsAmesha Spentas · YazatasAhuras · DaevasAngra MainyuScripture and worshipAvestaGathas · YasnaVendidad · VisperadYashts · Khordeh AvestaAb-ZohrThe Ahuna Vairya InvocationFire TemplesAccounts and legendsDnkard · Bundahišn
Book of Arda VirafBook of JamaspStory of SanjanHistory and cultureZurvanism
Calendar · FestivalsMarriageEschatologyAdherentsZoroastrians in IranParsis · Iranis• • •Persecution of ZoroastriansSee alsoIndex of Related ArticlesThis box: view • talk • editA Parsi or Parsee (pronounced /prsi/; Gujarati:
Prs) is a member of
the larger of the two Zoroastrian communities of the Indian subcontinent.According to tradition, the present-day Parsis descend from a group of IranianZoroastrians who emigrated to Western India over 1,000 years ago. The longpresence in the region distinguishes the Parsis from the Iranis, who are morerecent arrivals, and who represent the smaller of the two Indian-Zoroastriancommunities.Contents [hide]1 Definition and identity1.1 As an ethnic community1.2 Self-perceptions2 Demographic statistics2.1 Current population2.2 Population trends2.3 Other demographic statistics3 History3.1 Arrival in Gujarat3.2 The early years3.3 The age of opportunity4 Factions within the community4.1 Calendrical differences4.1.1 The effect of the calendar disputes4.2 The Ilm-e-Kshnoom4.3 Exclusion versus inclusion4.4 Issues relating to the deceased5 Prominent Parsis6 Representations in popular culture7 References8 Further reading[edit] Definition and identityThe term "Parsi" is not attested in Indian Zoroastrian texts until the 17thcentury. Until that time, such texts consistently use either Zarthoshti,"Zoroastrian" or Behdin, "[of] good nature" or "[of] the good religion." The12th century Sixteen Shlokas, a Sanskrit text in praise of the Parsis andapparently written by a Hindu (Parsi legend; cf. Paymaster 1954, p. 8incorrectly attributes the text to a Zoroastrian priest), is the earliestattested use of the term as an identifier for the Indian Zoroastrians.The first reference to the Parsis in a European language is from 1322, when aFrench monk, Jordanus, briefly refers to their presence in Thana and Broach.Subsequently, the term appears in the journals of many European travelers, firstFrench and Portuguese, later English, all of whom use a Europeanized version ofan apparently local language term. For instance, Portuguese physician Garciad'Orta, who in 1563 observed that "there are merchants [...] in the kingdom of
Cambai [...] known as Esparcis. We Portuguese call them Jews, but they are notso. They are Gentios." In an early 20th century legal ruling (seeself-perceptions, below) Justices Davar and Beaman asserted (1909:540) that'Parsi' was also a term used in Iran to refer to Zoroastrians. (Stausberg 2002,p. I.373) Boyce (2002, p. 105) notes that in much the same way as the word"Hindu" was used by the Iranians to refer to anyone from the Indiansubcontinent, the term 'Parsi' was used by the Indians to refer to anyone fromGreater Iran, irrespective of whether they were actually ethnic Persians or not.In any case, the term 'Parsi' itself is "not necessarily an indication of theirIranian or 'Persian' origin, but rather as indicator — manifest as severalproperties — of ethnic identity" (Stausberg 2002, p. I. 373). Moreover, (ifheredity were the only factor in a determination of ethnicity) the Parsis — perQissa — would count as Parthians. (Boyce 2002, p. 105) The term 'Parseeism' (or'Parsiism') is attributed to Anquetil-Duperron, who in the 1750s, when the word'Zoroastrianism' had yet to be coined, made the first detailed report of theParsis and of Zoroastrianism, therein mistakenly assuming that the Parsis werethe only remaining followers of the religion.[edit] As an ethnic communityAlthough the Parsis originally emigrated from Persia, most Indian Parsis havelost social or familial ties to Persians. Many do not share language or recenthistory with them. Over the centuries since the first Zoroastrians arrived inIndia, the Parsis have integrated themselves into Indian society whilesimultaneously maintaining their own distinct customs and traditions (and thusethnic identity). This in turn has given the Parsi community a rather peculiarstanding: they are Indians in terms of national affiliation, language andhistory, but not typically Indian (constituting only 0.006% of the totalpopulation) in terms of consanguinity or cultural, behavioural and religiouspractices.Genealogical DNA tests to determine purity of lineage have brought mixedresults. One study supports the Parsi contention (Nanavutty 1970, p. 13) thatthey have maintained their Persian roots by avoiding intermarriage with localpopulations. In that 2002 study of the Y-chromosome (patrilineal) DNA of theParsis of Pakistan, it was determined that Parsis are genetically closer toIranians than to their neighbours (Qamar et al. 2002, p. 1119). However, a 2004study in which Parsi mitochondrial DNA (matrilineal) was compared with that ofthe Iranians and Gujaratis determined that Parsis are genetically closer toGujaratis than to Iranians. Taking the 2002 study into account, the authors ofthe 2004 study suggested "a male-mediated migration of the ancestors of thepresent-day Parsi population, where they admixed with local females [...]leading ultimately to the loss of mtDNA of Iranian origin" (Quintana-Murci 2004,p. 840)[edit] Self-perceptions Parsi Navjote ceremony (rites of admission into the Zoroastrian faith)Thedefinition of who is (and who is not) a Parsi is a matter of great contentionwithin the Zoroastrian community in India. Generally accepted to be a Parsi is aperson who is a) directly descended from the original Persian refugees; and b)has been formally admitted into the Zoroastrian religion. In this sense, Parsiis an ethno-religious designator.Some members of the community additionally contend that a child must have aParsi father to be eligible for introduction into the faith, but this assertionis considered by most to be a violation of the Zoroastrian tenets of genderequality, and may be a remnant of an old legal definition of Parsi.An often quoted legal definition of Parsi is based on a 1909 ruling (sincenullified) that not only stipulated that a person could not become a Parsi byconverting to the Zoroastrian faith (which was the case in question), but alsonoted that "the Parsi community consists of: a) Parsis who are descended fromthe original Persian emigrants and who are born of both Zoroastrian parents and

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