Sources of Parsi Law :
◦The Parsis, whose name means “Persians,” are descended from Persian Zoroastrians who emigrated to India to avoid religious persecution by Muslims.
◦Parsis rebelled against Arab invaders for 200 years in Iran, which was their home country. This period is known as the Period of Silence.
To preserve their cultural and regional identity, they escaped Iran and sought refuge in India in the seventh century.
◦They live chiefly in Mumbai and in a few towns and villages mostly to the north of Mumbai, but also at Karachi (Pakistan) and Bengaluru (Karnataka, India). Although they are not, strictly speaking, a caste, since they are not Hindus, they form a well-defined community.
◦The exact date of the Parsi migration is unknown. According to tradition, the Parsis initially settled at Hormuz on the Persian Gulf but finding themselves still persecuted they set sail for India, arriving in the 8th century. The migration may in fact have taken place as late as the 10th century, or in both. They settled first at Diu in Kāthiāwār but soon moved to Gujarāt, where they remained for about 800 years as a small agricultural community.
◦With the establishment of British trading posts at Surat and elsewhere in the early 17th century, the Parsis’ circumstances altered radically, for they were in some ways more receptive of European influence than the Hindus or Muslims and they developed a flair for commerce.
◦ Bombay came under the control of the East India Company in 1668, and, since complete religious toleration was decreed soon afterward, the Parsis from Gujarāt began to settle there. The expansion of the city in the 18th century owed largely to their industry and ability as merchants.
◦By the 19th century, they were manifestly a wealthy community, and from about 1850 onward they had considerable success in heavy industries, particularly those connected with railways and shipbuilding.
◦They have made a mark in diverse fields. Scientist Homi Jehangir Bhabha was a pioneer in atomic research. JRD Tata was a legendary businessman.
◦Parsis are commonly seen speaking either Gujarati or English. But their native language is Avestan.
◦Contact of the Parsis with their fellow countrymen appears to have been almost completely severed until the end of the 15th century, when, in 1477, they sent an official mission to the remaining Zoroastrians in Iran, a small sect called Gabars by the Muslim overlords.
◦Until 1768 letters were exchanged on matters of ritual and law; 17 of these letters (Rivayats) have survived. As a result of these deliberations, in which the Parsis’ traditions were in conflict with the purer traditions of the Gabars, the Parsis, in the 18th century, split into two sects into questions of ritual and calendar
◦The Zoroastrian holy book, called the Avesta, was written in the Avestan language, which is closely related to Vedic Sanskrit. The Qissa-i Sanjan is a tale of the journey of the Parsis to India from Iran.
◦This is a religious book used by the Parsis; it contains different laws, liturgy, and other teachings within the scripture. It is written in the Avestan language that is only understood by the Parsis. Avast is a Persian name that is used to refer to boys and girls to mean foundation, principle, or fellowship. The Zend Avesta has been in existence for the longest possible and is one of the oldest religions that still exists.
◦Parsi are an ethnic minority in India and Pakistan. Today there are about 60,000 Parsi in India and 1,400 in Pakistan.
◦233 babies were born to Parsi (Zoroastrian) couples in India under the ‘Jiyo Parsi’ scheme for which the government has spent around Rs 10 crore since its inception in 2013-2014.
◦Under the scheme, the government provides financial aid to Parsi couples for Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as In-vitro Fertilization and Intra Cytoplasmic Injection, including surrogate pregnancies.
◦The objective of the scheme, implemented by the Union Minority Affairs ministry, is to contain the population decline of Parsis in India. The number of Parsi Zoroastrians fell to just 57,264 as per the 2011 Census from 69,601 ten years earlier.