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HISTORY OF THE ZOROASTRIANS

The Zoroastrian religion, which was established around 3000 B.C., spread across the length and breadth of Iran. The Achaemenian dynasty lasted over 200 years till it, along with most of the Zoroastrian scriptures and places of worship were destroyed by Alexander. Yes, the same Alexander, who is erroneously refered to, as "Alexander the Great" by many a misinformed society.  In spite of Alexander's evil design and the 500 or so, years of religious barenness that followed due to the Greek and Parthian rule of Iran, this great religion once again emerged with the rise of the Sassanians in A.D. 226. Great was the ardour of the Iranian kings and greater still the zeal of their high priests, who set about to put together the Zoroastrian religion, from scraps of parchment collected from all over the country.

The Migration

With the advent of Islam in around 600 A.D., the Zoroastrians faced persecution from their Turkish and Arab invaders. Most of them were converted to Islam by force and under fear of death.

The brave Zoroastrians put up a fight, but when they realised that it was futile to fight against such a powerful army, some of them took to the sea from the port of Hormuz, carrying with them their holy fire and set sail for lands unknown. This was done in order to preserve the community and to preserve its identity.

The winds took them to the shores of Hindustan (India). They landed at the Indian port of Sanjan. This happened somewhere between 716 to 785 A.D. As a thanks giving, within a few years of their landing, an ATASH BEHRAM (highest form of fire temple) was set up in Sanjan.

Immediately after landing on the shores of India, the Zoroastrians approached the local ruler JADAV RANA for his permission to settle down. The Rana imposed 5 conditions on the refugee Zoroastrians These were:

  1. A description of the Zoroastrian religion to the Rana by the Priest who had accompanied the fleeing Zoroastrians.

  2. The adoption of the language "Gujarati" as their mother tongue.

  3. The adoption of the garment "sari" by Zoroastrian women.

  4. That Zoroastrian wedding processions be held in the dark.

  5. The surrender of all weapons.

  6. The Zoroastrinas were welcomed in peace by the Indian people and now came to be known as PARSEES (people from Pars/Persia).

 

After The Migration

Zoroastrians or Parsees have lived and flourished in India for centuries. They have managed to mingle with people and cultures around them with the greatest of ease, while maintaining their own identity as a separate community.  Parsees are a peace loving, happy go lucky people who have the uncanny ability of getting along with their fellow humans, regardless of what happened in historical times. The same ability is demonstrated by Zoroastrians, who have migrated to western countries from India, in recent years. Zoroastrians do not engage in converting people from other religions into their own. Some Zoroastrians still live in Iran and keep the fire of their religion burning.

Through the centuries, Parsees have made their mark on the Indian subcontinent, as scholars, businessmen and industrialists and even as freedom fighters for India.

Many Zoroastrians now call Western Australia their home. They live a full, rich and happy life in this, their adopted country and they are proud of it.  They are doing well in government positions, medical, engineering, industry, travel, hospitality, the arts, business, transport and marine fields.