It is the New Year of the Zoroastrians today(one of them anyway). We celebrate this, the Persian New Year and vernal equinox because of our ancient connection with Iran, the fact that this is supposed to be King Jamshed’s birthday and because we like any excuse to celebrate. We also celebrate another New Year in August (I told you we like to celebrate) to mark the date of our arrival in India as refugees over a thousand years ago too. This is the community about whom Mahatma Gandhi once said, In numbers Parsis are beneath contempt, but in contribution, beyond compare. So let us all celebrate and laugh a little with this tiny tribe of opinionated and idiosyncratic people to say Jamshedi Navroze Mubarak!
These are the central tenets of the ancient religion preached by Prophet Zarathushtra (Zoroaster). We believe that if we practice Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds this takes care of most things.
At a Parsi wedding, no one really notices what the bride wears or how classy the décor was. How good was the patru (term for a full festive Parsi meal served on banana leaves) and the grade of liquor served are far more urgent questions.
It is easy to identify a Parsi (aka Bawaji) by virtue of the large noses, and other characteristic traits.
Most of the time.
We like telling people that Freddie Mercury was Parsi and that we are probably related to him (it is rumoured that most Parsis are related because there are so few of us left in the world).
The mother tongue of Parsis is Gujarati but we have our own peculiar accent and way of speaking it. Also our Hindi is almost universally terrible.
This is an actual notice in a Parsi Irani café in Mumbai. Parsi/Irani bakery and café owners can be and frequently are rude to customers – no one bakes/makes it better; that customer isn't going anywhere else is the understanding.
The high standard of living and education, later marriages and not permitting religious conversion mean that the numbers of Parsis are falling. We are among the only communities in India who are being urged to procreate and multiply; hence the Jiyo Parsi campaign.
And we can laugh at ourselves.
Do you have something interesting you would like to share? Write to us at [email protected]