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Zoroastrianism in India

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Zoroastrianism in India

In India, the Zoroastrians comprise of a very small percent of the entire Indian population. The Parsis and the Iranis represent two major categories of Zoroastrian communities in India and these communities were believed to be formed in around 6th and 7th century BC.

The followers of this religion are called Parsis since they entered India from Persia. There is even an evidence of their arrival to India through a poem called "Story of Sanjan" by a Parsi priest written in Sanskrit. 

Although the poem gives a very clear picture of their settlement in India, but the exact time when they arrived is still a mystery. The language of the Parsis is known as the holy language in Iran and is called Avesta.

Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism and its Historical Background:

The Parsis first settled in Sangam in the kingdom of Jadi Rama on the Western Coast of India and by the 10th Century, they had spread to other cities and villages of Gujarat. 

In the year 1290, the Parsis were divided under 5 different groups of priests based on the geographical location in Gujarat. 

These priestly groups were: The Bhagarias (Navsari), Bharucha, Godavra (Surat), Khambatta and Sanjanas. Gradually, by the 11th Century, the Parsis were well established in India and started frequently travelling from Portugal and Iran.

Parsis were engaged in all kinds of work profiles except that of iron-smith since those are considered to be unreligious. During the 16th century, the Parsis started settling in Mumbai, and by the 19th and 20th centuries, Mumbai became a prime territory filled with their population. 

Furthermore, apart from the places in Mumbai, Gujarat also had a few places where Parsis made their presence primary, such as Sanjan, Nausari and Udvada.

During the colonial period, the Parsis became the most colonial community in India due to the combination of English language education and western contacts. 

In contemporary India however, the role that the Parsis play in the industrial, trade and financial context has earned them a very important place in the country’s social life. and its teachings and beliefs:
The prophet of Zoroastrianism was Zoroaster and all of its teachings and philosophies are based on his doctrines.  

Zoroastrianism is a monotheistic religion that believes on the fact that there is only one creator and supreme force that rules over all the creations and he is known by the name: Ahura Mazda. Under Ahura Mazda, there are many other lesser divinities such as the Yazatas, and the Amesha Spentas which are all created by him.

As we know that the Parsis believe that there is only one God, so there is also a belief that there is a continuous war between the good forces (forces of light) and the bad forces (forces of dark). 

It is meant that the good forces will win over the evil forces. Moreover, they have faith in fire, air and water which are considered to be the pure element, need to be preserved. Hence, the dead are not cremated; the dead ones are kept on high towers, to be eaten by hawks and crows.

However, it has been seen that the population of the Parsis are seen to be declining during the 20th century as a result of emigration and low birth rate. 

But, yet this surviving community continues to rule the Indian regions. The Parsis considered their religion to be the most important religion, because they represent the world’s largest surviving group in the ancient faith.
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