Monthly Archives: July 2017


“The Parsis of India” examines a much-neglected area of Asian Studies. In tracing keypoints in the development of the Parsi community, it depicts the Parsis’ history, and accounts for their ability to preserve, maintain and construct a distinct identity. For a great part the story is told in the colonial setting of Bombay city. Ample attention is given to the Parsis’ evolution from an insular minority group to a modern community of pluralistic outlook. Filling the obvious lacunae in the literature on British “colonialism,” Indian society and history, and, last but not least, “Zoroastrianism,” this book broadens our knowledge of the interaction of colonialism and colonial groups, and elucidates the significant role of the Parsis in the commercial, educational, and civic milieu of Bombay colonial society.
BRILL01-Jan-2001 – Religion – 368 pages
Click Here to read the preview of the book
Some excerpts and contents :
In appreciation of their efforts on behalf of the freedom struggle in South Africa, and in appeal for their continued support, M. K. Gan-dhi noted the legacy of the Parsis of India: “It is one of the supreme wonders of God that, though the Parsee community does not number more than a hundred thousand in the whole world, it has made a name for itself everywhere by virtue of its many illustrious qualities. It can be said that it is this community, which holds power in India. Bombay is the real capital of India, [and] it owes its prosperity mainly to the Parsees.”‘ Gandhi’s assessment is but one of many that have sought to understand the ability of the Parsis of India to survive and prosper as a community and people over the centuries since their arrival in India.
Chapter One focuses on the rise of the Parsi community in Bom-bay, and the moral and economic supports to community and identity that take shape in the urban setting. An examination of the role and place of charity within the Parsi community, and the Parsis’ pre-eminence in trade and commerce provide insight into the Parsis’ ad-aptation in the new setting, and the building of the foundation and base for the subsequent growth of the community under colonialism.
Chapter Two examines the factors that made for leadership of the Parsi community among the wealthy and influential Parsi merchant-princes of early Bombay, and the rise of the institution of the Parsi Punchayet of Bombay as the internal government of the Parsis. The chapter examines the ability of the Parsis to exploit the new opportunity made available in Bombay to safeguard, preserve, and redefine identity with the establishment of the Punchayet, and prior to the great influence of Western ideas on the community. The chapter takes account of the community norms and the social ideology that emerges among the Parsis in the urban setting and which, for a time, unite the Parsis in support of the Punchayet. The chapter then focuses on the decline of the Punchayet and the processes that make for the rise of alternative models for safeguarding identity.
Chapter Three examines the challenge posed to Parsi religious identity by the conversions of Parsi boys in Bombay, by the Rever-end Doctor John Wilson. The chapter provides a unique picture of the challenge faced by the Parsis from the Christian missionaries, and how the most accommodating of communities under colonialism reacts in antagonism to a perceived threat from the colonial envi-ronment. It reflects that amidst the Parsis’ continuing progress and socialization under colonialism, their religious identity remained in-violable. Of central focus is the ability of the Parsis as a community to withstand the challenge posed by the Christian missionaries, while in general affected by the impact of the colonial environment.
Chapter Four examines the Parsis’ response to the changing social milieu of mid-nineteenth century Bombay. The influence of Western education and British values on the Parsis, and the attempts by the Parsis to direct social progress to their advantage amidst social and cultural change, are examined. The chapter in particular focuses on the rise of the Parsi reformers, as a new centre of authority among the Parsis, and the consequences of the reformers’ reform movement.
Chapter Five concentrates on the attempts by the Parsis to shape their identity through legislative and legal channels. The chapter first examines the Parsis’ attempts, at mid-nineteenth century, to fashion and have enacted a Parsi law code that deals with the issues of (intestate) inheritance and succession, and marriage and divorce. The section notes the pressures of the colonial environment and, in particular, the effect of British legal norms on the Parsis, which shape the Parsis’ responses. The chapter then deals with an important legal case in the history of the Parsi community, known as the Parsi Punchayet Case of 1906-08. The Parsi Punchayet Case involved the Parsis turning to the law courts to settle issues relative to their identity, specifically the issue of conversion and membership in the community, and the consequences of their actions. Finally, the chapter examines the evolution of Parsi thought by the early twentieth century and a second important legal case, known as the Rangoon Navjote Case of 1915-18. This section seeks to provide historical context to the changes the Parsis had undergone since the middle of the nineteenth century, and that shaped their arguments over identity and modernity.
Chapter Six examines the diversification of Parsi opinion over politics, specifically the rise of political nationalism among some Parsis, and the tension this creates within the Parsi community as to political allegiances and identity. The chapter traces the public career of Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917), his ties to the Parsis, and the influences that shaped his identification with the Indian nationalist movement. The chapter also examines the efforts and difficulties of the Parsis Sir Pherozeshah M. Mehta (1845-1915) and Sir Dinsha E. Wacha (1844-1936) to associate the Parsis with Indian nationalism. The rise of the Parsis in the Indian nationalist movement provides insight into the evolution and maturation of a segment of Parsi opinion towards a broader sense of identity, as well as the problematic nature of the transition for the Parsis.
Finally, the Epilogue presents an overview of the present-day Par-sis and is included to both update the historical narrative, and demonstrate the relevance of the historical narrative to the issues that continue to preoccupy the Parsis of India.

Celebrate Kadmi New Year with traditional Persian delicacies made by Parsi home chef

Celebrate Kadmi New Year at a table laden with traditional delicacies whipped up by a Parsi home chef of Iranian lineage

For the longest time, home chef Perzen Patel of the Bawi Bride Kitchen had been searching across Mumbai for zereshk berries, an ingredient that studs the Iranian dish, Berry Pulao. She was told to either replace zereshk with cranberries [“but they taste different”] or wait at the airport on a Friday when the Iran Air flight lands in Mumbai, hoping to find a passenger carrying zereshk that they could sell to her.

“It didn’t seem like a thing I could do,” she says with a straight face. Instead, early this year, she approached every dry fruit shop in Crawford Market. “Finally, I learnt that Asiatic Stores stocked them, but they had to be ordered in bulk. Occasionally, Motilal Masalawala [Kalbadevi] will also source it for you.” The acidic wrinkled beauties will make their way into the Irani Berry Pulao (`600), packed with mutton and kebabs, which Patel will offer as part of The Persian Table, a delivery menu that celebrates the lesser-known Kadmi New Year (July 18) — an ode to Irani Zoroastrians, who follow a calendar different from the Parsis.

Tabrizi Koofteh
Tabrizi Koofteh

Flavours from Persia
“Persian cuisine hasn’t got its due in the city. The perception that it is challenging [to re-create] because sourcing ingredients is tough is also not true,” says Patel, who, along with business partner Subhasree Basu — the duo have co-founded a culinary enterprise Greedy Foods — pored over Persian cookbooks for recipes. “Most dishes use few spices, relying on salt, pepper and aromatics like bay leaves and star anise. We’ve added a few more spices, loads of dry fruits and used mostly locally available ingredients.”

 The menu includes Ash e Reshteh, Aubergine Salad, Tabrizi Koofteh, Khoresh Fesenjan and Pastry Cigars. The duo plan to make the menu an annual feature.

Perzen Patel
Perzen Patel

Culinary difference
Patel says she is “25 per cent Irani” owing to her maternal Irani lineage. However, she rarely celebrated Kadmi New Year. “Many Iranis visit Doongerwadi (Zoroastrian Tower of Silence) to pay their respects to those who have passed away. My aunt told me that as a child, she would spot caterers offering pots of Ash e Reshteh and herbed naan to visitors. A few still follow this practice but charge a price for the dishes.”

Highlighting the difference between Parsi and Irani cuisine, she says, “Parsi food blends Persian, Gujarati and British influences. It includes fish, and the trademark sweet and sour flavours. Most Iranis too cook like Parsis but traditional Irani food continues to be low on spice, onion and tomato, and much meatier.”

What’s on the menu?
Ash e Reshteh (Rs 450): Translated as ‘noodle soup’ in Farsi, the dish is also known as Osh e Meer, where meer are traditional homemade, hand-cut wheat noodles. Patel slow-cooks chickpeas, split red lentils, pigeon peas, kidney beans and black-eyed beans separately and adds them to the soup with spinach, mint, dill and amaranth leaves and fettucine. “The noodles symbolise good fortune. A prayer is said while sprinkling the meer, as Iranis believe it is wish-fulfilling.”

Tabrizi Koofteh (Rs 325): Originating in Tabriz, the fifth largest city in Iran, the meatballs feature an outer layer of lamb mince and rice, stuffed with apricots, barberry and boiled egg. Seasoned with pepper and mint, they are served with a sweet-and-sour tomato gravy, similar to the one in Parsi gravy cutlets.

Pastry Cigars (Rs 200): Made with puff pastry, these include almond meal, cinnamon, cashews, rose water and orange rind instead of orange blossom water mentioned in the original recipe.

Khoresh Fesenjan (Rs 475): Chicken stew with walnut and pomegranate.

FROM July 15 to 18 (on pre-order basis)
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By Krutika Behrawala


Greetings from WZCC.

Folks, it is once again time for our Annual Global Meet. Earlier, our Global AGMs were successfully held in India as well as foreign locales, namely, Houston, London, Tehran, Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, etc. This year’s Global AGM will be held in India, viz. Bangalore – a dynamic city with its IT hub and pleasant environment. The name “Bangalore”, which is the capital of Karnataka State, represents an anglicised version of the Kannada language name “Bengaluru” – by which the city is now known.

In this fast changing world, Entrepreneurs, as well as Professionals, have to remain alerted on all fronts so as to become successful. Global Meet, therefore, arranged by WZCC is the ideal platform for all of us to establish a network so as to capture the market share and achieve sustainable growth.

Bangalore is sometimes referred to as the “Silicon Valley of India” (or “IT Capital of India”) because of its role as the nation’s leading information technology (IT) exporter. Indian technological organisations ISRO, Infosys, Wipro and HAL are headquartered in the city. Information Technology, as we are all aware, is growing at a rapid pace and hence, any business or profession need to keep pace with innovation which can be disruptive at times. Bangalore City will, therefore, be an ideal place for all of us to meet for continuous growth and prosperity.

Although our Bangalore Chapter is comparatively new, they have made a splendid effort to organise this Event, led by Air Chief Marshal Fali Major (Retd.), Chairman – Bangalore Chapter along with his dedicated team.

With their special efforts, they have selected one of the most sought after resorts called “Clarks Exotica Convention Resort and Spa”, which is hardly 15 minutes from Bangalore airport. It is a sprawling place with all the facilities one could look for and would, therefore, be an ideal location for us to communicate and network with each other.’









The month of December, in particular, would certainly add flavour to our Meet. The coolest months are December/January with an average low temperature of 15.1° C (59.2° F). Hence, carrying of light woollens are recommended. Moreover, their efforts have resulted in all of us getting the highly competitive rate for our stay and I am, therefore, sure that we will have a large number of participants for this Global Meet.

It is my appeal to all our members to kindly release advertisements which would be published in our yearly invaluable journal “SynergyZ” which has a wide circulation. Click Here for the advertisement details along with the Rate Chart. We are sure members will help WZCC in augmenting its resources for mutual benefit.

For the convenience of our members, all the relevant details are given below. Request all my dear members to read them carefully and fill in the details and register their names at a very early date. A quick and sizeable response from all our members will help us to organise this Event in a most exemplary manner.

Invitation from WZCC-Bangalore with details of Global Meet
Registration Form
Program Details
Information on Tour in India
Information on Tour in Srilanka

Looking forward to your gracious presence and interact with you for mutual benefit.