Fire of Victory

  • Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar
    Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar
  • Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar
    Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

There was something special about that meeting with Dastur Nersoyang Dhaval. And one meeting was all it took for King Vajjada Deva to welcome and embrace yet another culture into the country.

“We worship the good, strong, beneficent Fravashis of the Holy.”

[Inscription carved on the Sanjan Stambh, a memorial column erected in 1920 in Sanjan, Gujarat, to commemorate the arrival of Persian Zoroastrians in India]

Day 17, Month of July, AD 936, Royal Rajput Court, Nandhipuri, Present day Gujarat

High Priest Nersoyang Dhaval, standing at the forefront of his small group of people, glanced around him. The court of this Indian ruler might be small, but it was well-lit. It faced the east. Some people might complain about the sun hitting them right in the eyes each morning, but to him, after the endless misfortunes they had suffered, this seemed a good sign. He turned to the turbaned interpreter beside him. “Pray, what did you say His Highness was called?”

“The most illustrious King Vajjada Deva, of the Silahara dynasty,” the interpreter said. “Now, please stay silent; His Highness is presiding over a land dispute, and will take up your case very soon.”

East meets west

It proved to be a wait of ten minutes, when the king finished his business and the waiting priests moved forward. They must present a strange picture, Nersoyang Dhaval knew: taller than those of the Hind, fair-skinned and although they, the priests, wore long beards and shrouded themselves in white … any king might be forgiven for thinking they looked more like warriors rather than refugees. The priest took a look at the doubtful expression on the king’s usually good-humored countenance, and felt decidedly nervous. A very polite greeting, under the circumstances, wouldn’t be amiss.

“Great Jadi Rana of the benevolent Shahrayas,” he began, and paused as the court dissolved into murmurs, upon hearing the translated Persian. “I beg pardon, good king. We come from the far-flung lands in the north-eastern corner of the Persian Empire. We are unused to your tongue and may mispronounce your royal title, but we mean well.”

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Courtesy : Porus Homi Havewala

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