What is it that keeps the Parsis of India going, so many years after they migrated to the country? Quite simply: Faith and Values, which are the twin cornerstones of their survival down the years.
As most would know, Zoroastrianism is the world’s oldest revealed religion. Exactly how far back it dates is open to speculation. But it certainly goes back thousands of years. Through all these years, the Zoroastrians have kept the flame of faith burning with admirable devotion, although without any unnecessary aggression.
The Parsis who came to India as migrant from Persia, gave a covenant to the Rana of Gujarat when they landed at Sanjan over a thousand years ago, promising they would never permit conversion. The Rana was concerned that the ‘foreigners’ from Persia would convert his flock to another faith.
That promise has been kept to this day and the Parsis have more or less kept to themselves in matters religious, but when it comes to contributing to Indian society they have not shied away in any which way.
From establishing schools, hospitals, and institutions of all kinds, to bequeathing their wealth to a host of cosmopolitan, charitable causes, as well as community projects, they have kept adding to the rich lustre of Indian public life, like the proverbial sugar-in-the-milk.
Some of the country’s most illustrious sons and daughters have been Parsis. Be it in politics, medicine, law, the media, business and enterprise, entertainment, or social work, there has been a legion of legendary Parsis who have performed, and continue to, brilliantly and to the best of their ability.
Inborn in the Parsi ethos is a sense of goodwill for others, and this has stood the community in good stead. Never anti-national, disruptive or divisive, the Parsis have only sought to enrich India, the country they came to and today unequivocally consider home, having left Persia with absolutely nothing centuries ago.
And it is to India’s eternal credit that she has assimilated the Parsis, who have heaped their gratitude and talents upon her in double measure with their sparkling contribution.