Journey of Parsis
This project “Journey of Parsis” came about from the IIT-Bombay Webinar Series started earlier this
year. I am grateful to my friends at my alma-mater for giving me encouragement and support, and for
their curiosity and desire to keep learning. I would like to thank many friends and well-wishers for their
support, especially Edul Daver (New York) who has made tireless efforts to re-kindle world-wide the
spirit of entrepreneurship in our Parsi community – through WZCC. How can I forget Yazdi Tantra, and
his support. Zoroastrians.net has become a go-to resource for people around the world. And, last but
not the least, our illustrious ancestors on whose shoulders we all stand. Our Journey has been wonderful
over 1200 years, and we thank India for the opportunity it gave to the Parsis to flourish – keeping their
faith, traditions and culture. There are many others, but for space and time, I cannot thank them all.
Information in this presentation has been researched from contemporary and ancient articles and
I hope you enjoy the Journey and more importantly do our part so that our journey continues
successfully for another 1200 years.
Journey of the Parsis
Jamshedji Tata, Padma Bhushan Dr.Homi Bhabha, Zubin Mehta, Bharat Ratna JRD Tata,
Ardeshir and Pirojsha Godrej, Madame Bhikaiji Cama, Nani Palkhiwala, Freddie Mercury,
Padma Vibhushan Ratan Tata, Dadabhai Naoroji, Padma Vibhushan Fali Nariman, Field
Marshal Sam Manekshaw, Firoze Gandhi, Sohrab Modi, Vice-Admiral Rustom Ghandhi, Sir
Pherozeshah Mehta, Air Chief Marshal Fali Major, Chief Justice Sarosh Kapadia, Polly
Umrigar, Nari Contractor…
What do all these people have in common? They are all Parsis. Much admired and sometimes
ridiculed… they are the relatively recent sons and daughters of India… They are 0.00004 % of
India’s population. A humble grain of sand on the vast ocean of humanity. You can pack all of
them in a large stadium and still have tens of thousands of seats left.
Mahatma Gandhi once said “In numbers Parsis are beneath contempt, but in contribution,
beyond compare.” The Parsis have given to India in every field of endeavor – industry, science,
arts, music, philanthropy, armed forces, freedom-movement, films, law, banking, medicine,
finance, healthcare, sports, politics and social justice… Several have given the ultimate sacrifice
of their life defending India. Yet, they remain pretty much unknown outside of the larger cities of
Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Who are they? Where did they come from? What have they done? Where are they now? And,
most importantly, where are they heading? Come, join us in a historic journey of the Parsis.. all
the way from the straits of Hormuz to the shores of Gujarat, through centuries of solitude and
hardship. And, finally, their rise in the new home-land – India – that gave them refuge and
freedom… the country they have embraced as their own and its people they love…
We will cover their history, demographics, culture, traditions, ethos, social practices and their
contributions to India.. What makes them tick? How can they be so eccentric and yet have
produced brilliant legal, scientific and business minds? How can they laugh at themselves when
others take offense?
Also, find out the many challenges they now face… the biggest of all… an existential threat.
Padma Bhushan Dr. Farokh Udwadia – an eminent Parsi doctor – described it as a demographic
emergency. Would you rather have a Parsi as a friendly next door neighbor – much alive and
humorous? or see him in a museum – embalmed and forever silent? Pitch in with your insights
into what can be done… to save them, before they vanish forever…
Take this opportunity to learn about the much loved Bawajis.
Jamshed R. Kapadia grew up in Ahmedabad, India, studied at IIT-Bombay for his B. Tech (EE), and then came to the US for his MS. He has worked in the US with Fortune 100 Hi-Tech companies developing innovative technologies and products, and in world-wide business development. He has settled with his family in the USA, and is active in the local Zoroastrian Association, being a founder-member and leading its Funds for Scholarships and Charitable Giving. He makes his home in the USA with his wife (Rita), son, daughter/son-in-law, and grand-son.