At a time when there are debates over the uniform civil code versus religious personal laws, a book analyzes who is a Parsi.
Author Prochy N Mehta says the tales ‘that we have heard for generations, and what has been handed down to us as the story of the Parsi community in India, have often been rather fictional’.
The perception, for example, that the Parsis have always been an affluent community, is a modern-day myth devoid of any real value, she argues.
The story of the arrival of the Parsis in India, the most important chapter in this story, is itself shrouded in mystery, she says.
In ”Who is a Parsi”, Mehta tries to ”set the record straight and lift the veil on the glorious history of our people”.
She says she wishes to ”take the reader on this journey through the alleyways and alleys of our history – from the time of the writing of the poem ‘Quissa-i-Sanjan’ in 1599, when Parsi a recorded history actually begins, in the 20th century”.
The author also adds: “As you must know, the children of married Parsi women are victims of discrimination. In this book I try to show that there is no legal, religious, social or secular custom on which it is based. ”The book, published by Niyogi Books, documents through letters, newspaper articles and court transcripts of cases, the opinions of prominent Parsis like Dadabhoy Navroji, Ratan D Tata, Ratan J Tata, Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, Sir Jehangir Cawasjee Jehangir, Rustumji Byramji Jeejeebhoy, Homi J. Bhabha, KR Cama and many others who stood up and fought for what they believed – that Parsi and Zoroastrian meant the same thing.
The author also depicts the community dichotomy in the 20th century between Orthodox and Reform groups and explains the anomaly of how Reformers who followed the original Mazdayasna or Parsi religion constituted true Orthodoxy.
There was a reform movement led by the high priests of the community and the most influential members of society for a return to the original purity of the original Zoroastrian religion.
The book also recounts how the Parsis found shelter and a peaceful environment to grow and prosper as a community in India and contributed significantly to society.
In the foreword to the book, veteran Supreme Court lawyer Fali S Nariman writes: “A pride of the Parsis is that they belong to the oldest monotheistic religion in the world. In historical fact, they do.
”But now – with the steep drop in the birth rate, the whole community is in danger; many believe that Parsi personal law is largely responsible for this fate: this is precisely the theme around which this well-researched and lavishly illustrated book has been written.” Mehta has won 71 medals at international sporting events, including 52 gold medals. She is the Asian record holder in the 400 meters and triple jump for women aged 40 and over. She is the first female president of the Calcutta Parsee Club. His father, the late Rusi B Gimi, was a pioneer in outdoor advertising in India. His company Selvel, founded in 1945, is now synonymous with outdoor advertising (OOH).
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