Decline in population: Of Zoroastrian descent

According to the Qissa-i-Sanjan — an account of the early years of Zoroastrian settlers in the subcontinent — the present-day Parsis (Parsi being Gujarati for Persian) descend from a group of Zoroastrians from Greater Iran who migrated to the western borders of South Asia during the seventh century AD after Muslims came to power. At the time of Partition, the community was further divided; those living in Pakistan became part of the new country while others remained in India. Over time, however, Parsis on both sides of the border have suffered a similar fate — their numbers have declined significantly due to late or no marriages, a decline in fertility rates and marriages outsides the community. How each country has dealt with the issue of dwindling numbers is a different story altogether.

By Shai Venkatraman / Dilaira Dubash / Aamir KhanPublished: December 21, 2014

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