Date: 26 Jun 2000
I am simply a member of the Zoroastrian community. I will try and be as brief as possible. The origin of our community is from Iran (Persia). Our prophet Zarathushtra ( also known as Zoroaster by the Greeks) was born in Iran, and mainly started to teach his philosophy in the North-eastern part of Iran. Zoroaster's birth is put down by some scholars as 500 BC, but some say, it goes back to about 1,700 BC. this is what makes the study of Zoroastrian religion so difficult because of its antiquity, and most of his Gathas (the prayers) were verbally transmitted from father to son, in the original Avestan language. As you must be aware of the fact, that Iran had been invaded by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, followed by other intervening conquerors,till the Arab conquest in 636 AD, but during all this time Iran was essentially a Zoroastrian country. Islamisation of the people started after the Arab conquest by coercion, persecution and even death by the then ruling Arabs.
In between the 9th and 10th century AD, when matters came to a head, and living was nigh impossible, some of the Unconverted Zoroastrians left for India, and there they came to be known as PARSIS, who kept practising their ancient religion in relative peace and harmony, but aquiring certain amount of HINDU customs as well, but certainly not any of their religious beliefs. The Zoroastrians of Iran and India, were mainly agriculturists to start with, but during the British Rule they prospered immensely through their hard work and broadmindedness, excelling in education, philanthropy, and by and large by their cheerful nature they made themselves quite amicable. From 1947 onwards ie after the partition of India and Pakistan, thousands have chosen to migrate to the West into Europe and America.
There are various books written by scholars of varying degrees on Zoroastrianism and the Parsis. In the Encyclopaedia Britannica, we have been described as Parsis, practising Parsiism, which in my opinion is totally wrong, because there does not exist a suffix of an ISM after the name, PARSIS. We are just known as Parsis practising Zoroastrianism, exactly like the Iranians following Zoroastrianism in Iran.
I hope I have made some matters clear, but not in any way comprehensive.
Good luck and good reading.
Date: 30 Apr 2007
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