India’s Parsis Fight for Survival

Parsis have played an important cultural and economic role in India’s development. They are behind the giant multinational Tata Group, the national airline Air India and Mumbai’s famous Taj Palace Hotel. But despite their prosperity, the Parsis are facing extinction.


More than 1000 years before the birth of Christ, followers of the Zoroastrian faith were worshipping fire and preaching free will. But when their homeland Iran was attacked in the seventh century by Muslim invaders, they were massacred and persecuted. Many fled in search of religious freedom – and most landed on India’s shores, where they became known as Parsis.

Yet India’s last census in 2001 reported that there were less than 70,000 Parsis left.

Listen to my report on the Parsis’ fight for survival and why their demise is creating rifts within their community.

Story aired on Deutsche Welle Radio World in Progress on November 17, 2010

Also aired on KBR68H’s Asia Calling on October 30, 2010

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