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This article is about a Zoroastrian community of the Indian subcontinent. For the Persian people, see Persian people. For the Persian language, see Persian language. India and a few in Pakistan. Iranians rebelled against Muslim conquerors for almost 200 years. During this time many Iranians who are now called Parsi chose to preserve their religious identity by fleeing from Iran to India.

Parsi” in the Persian language, literally means Persian. The long presence of the Parsis in the Indian subcontinent distinguishes them from the smaller Zoroastrian Indian community of Iranis, who are much more recent arrivals, mostly descended from Zoroastrians fleeing the repression of the Qajar dynasty and the general social and political tumult of late 19th- and early 20th-century Iran. Parsi, also spelled Parsee, member of a group of followers in India of the Persian prophet Zoroaster. The Parsis, whose name means “Persians”, are descended from Persian Zoroastrians who emigrated to India to avoid religious persecution by the Muslims. The term Pārsi, which in the Persian language is a demonym meaning “inhabitant of Pārs” and hence “ethnic Persian”, is not attested in Indian Zoroastrian texts until the 17th century.

Until that time, such texts consistently use the Persian-origin terms Zartoshti “Zoroastrian” or Vehdin ” the good religion”. The first reference to the Parsis in a European language is from 1322, when a French monk, Jordanus, briefly refers to their presence in Thane and Bharuch. Subsequently, the term appears in the journals of many European travelers, first French and Portuguese, later English, all of whom used a Europeanized version of an apparently local language term. The term “Parseeism” or “Parsiism” is attributed to Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron, who in the 1750s, when the word “Zoroastrianism” had yet to be coined, made the first detailed report of the Parsis and of Zoroastrianism, therein mistakenly assuming that the Parsis were the only remaining followers of the religion. In addition to above, below are few references that show the Parsi identity was well truly an identity even before they moved to India. In Outlines of Parsi History, Dasturji Hormazdyar Dastur Kayoji Mirza, Bombay 1987, pp.

Herodotus and Xenophon, the two great historians who lived in the third and fourth centuries B. A person should always be vigilant to align with forces of light. The Qissa-i Sanjan is a tale of the journey of the Parsis to India from Iran. It says they fled for reasons of religious freedom and they were allowed to settle in India thanks to the goodwill of a local Hindu prince. 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. The definition of who is, and is not, a Parsi is a matter of great contention within the Zoroastrian community in India. Zoroastrian religion, through the navjote ceremony.

In this sense, Parsi is an ethno-religious designator, whose definition is of contention among its members, similar to the contention over who is a Jew in the West. Some members of the community additionally contend that a child must have a Parsi father to be eligible for introduction into the faith, but this assertion is considered by most to be a violation of the Zoroastrian tenets of gender equality and may be a remnant of an old legal definition of the term Parsi. Parsi fathers by alien mothers who have been duly and properly admitted into the religion. This definition was overturned several times. The equality principles of the Indian Constitution void the patrilineal restrictions expressed in the third clause. The second clause was contested and overturned in 1948.

Nonetheless, the opinion that the 1909 ruling is legally binding continues to persist, even among the better-read and moderate Parsis. In the February 21, 2006, editorial of the Parsiana, the fortnightly of the Parsi Zoroastrian community, the editor noted that several adult children born of a Parsi mother and non-Parsi father had been inducted into the faith and that their choice “to embrace their mother’s faith speaks volumes for their commitment to the religion. According to the 2011 Census of India, there are 57,264 Parsis in India. As of 2001 the national average in India was 1000 males to 933 females.

2001, the literacy rate is 97. According to the Qissa-i Sanjan, the only existing account of the early years of Zoroastrian refugees in India composed at least six centuries after their tentative date of arrival, the first group of immigrants originated from Greater Khorasan. Although the Sanjan group are believed to have been the first permanent settlers, the precise date of their arrival is a matter of conjecture. All estimates are based on the Qissa, which is vague or contradictory with respect to some elapsed periods.

The Sanjan Zoroastrians were certainly not the first Zoroastrians on the subcontinent. Parsi legends regarding their ancestors’ migration to India depict a beleaguered band of religious refugees escaping the new rule post the Muslim conquests in order to preserve their ancient faith. Sanjan and its subsequent move to Navsari. Two centuries after their landing, the Parsis began to settle in other parts of Gujarat, which led to “difficulties in defining the limits of priestly jurisdiction. Inscriptions at the Kanheri Caves near Mumbai suggest that at least until the early 11th century, Middle Persian was still the literary language of the hereditary Zoroastrian priesthood. Nonetheless, “the precarious condition in which they lived for a considerable period made it impracticable for them to keep up their former proselytizing zeal.