2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

A Community Facing Extinction: a Study of the End of Proselytization Among the Parsis of India
Zeeshan R. Reshamwala
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Among the heirs of the Ancient Persians are the Zoroastrians of India, known as the Parsis. They fled the Arab invasion of their homeland (present day Iran), landing on the shores of the Indian state of Gujarat in 716 A.D. A secluded community for many years, participating mainly in trade and commerce, the Parsis eventually became leading industrialists and merchants in the 18th and 19th Centuries, at the advent of the British Raj. Adapting quickly to European language and dress, and many professing loyalty to the British Queen, they soon became a colonial elite. Although evidence of conversion exists up to 1882, it soon became unacceptable in later years. Tracing the history of their community from the time of their landing to the present day, I argue that the essence of the end of proselytization is contained in the overlapping of their religious kinship with their distinctive Persian national identity.

Keywords: Zoroastrians, Parsis, End of Proselytization, Persia

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 6-1
Location: OP 2121
Time: 8:15

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