Zarathustra on his way to Copenhagen

Zarathustra on his way to Copenhagen

Who knows if there are still followers of Zarathustra in India and Pakistan? In this article, the author brings you to the megacity of Karachi, south of Pakistan. This city is a gateway to much questioning regarding the contemporary environmental crisis. By David Knaute, Karachi (Pakistan).

Considering the unique role Parsis have played over the years in the building of Karachi, the current crisis is greatly unfortunate. Community members like to retell the story of their arrival in India some centuries ago when their priests promised the Hindu kings they would be like sugar added to a bowl of milk, meaning they would mingle into the local population and try to be as helpful as possible, and to date, this has proved true. Mahatma Gandhi himself said that Parsis were “in number beneath contempt, but in charity and philanthropy perhaps unequalled, certainly unsurpassed”. Throughout the Indian subcontinent the Parsis have always enjoyed tolerance and even admiration from other religious communities. A peace loving people, they now keep well away from politics but this has not always been the case. From the 19th century onward they gained a reputation for their education and widespread influence in all aspects of society, partly due to the divisive strategy of British colonialism which favoured certain minorities. Parsis are generally more affluent than other Pakistanis and are stereotypically viewed as among the most Anglicised and “Westernised” of the various minority groups. They have also played an instrumental role in the economic development of the region over many decades; several of the best-known business conglomerates of India are run by Parsi-Zoroastrians, including the Tata, Godrej, and Wadia families.

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Courtesy : Rusi Sorabji

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