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Presentation on theme: "THE ZARATHUSHTI WORLD : A GLIMPSE OF THE JOURNEY & A 2012 DEMOGRAHIC PICTURE Roshan Rivetna."— Presentation transcript:



3 Map of Achaemenian Persian Empire (ca 500 BCE) Centuries after the birth of Zarathushtra (ca 1400 BCE), Zoroastrianism was dominant for over 1000 years, during the Persian Empires. It was the Imperial religion of the Sasanian Empire. Followers numbered in millions.. 936 CE (or 716 CE). Arrival “in seven shiploads” at Sanjan on the Western shores of India. MOTHERLAND IRAN PERSIAN EMPIRE (559 BCE - 651 CE)

4 . The Dark Age. Over 1200 years following the Arab conquest (in 636 CE …) through the Islamic dynasties, was the dark age for Zoroastrians. “Only 7,000 of them are left and only a miracle may save them from extinction. They teach a lesson that glory is not everlasting, because these are the descendants of the people who once ruled the world.” - Count de Gabineau French Ambassador to Iran, 1850s MOTHERLAND IRAN THE DARK AGE (636 - 1925 CE) A Gabar family [photo: A.V.W.Jackson, 1906] Easing of conditions in 1900s. Zoroastrian luminaries emerged -- in business, industry and government. Members of Parliament were: Keikhosrow Shahrokh, Arbab Rustam Guiv, Dr. Esfandiiyar Yeganegi ….. Esfandiyar Ekhtiyari.

5 . 936 CE or 785 CE or 716 CE. Seeking refuge from Arab oppression, some Zoroastrians set sail from Hormuz “in seven shiploads” and landed at Sanjan on the Western shores of India. “Just as this small pinch of sugar has sweetened this pot of milk, so will my people live harmoniously with your people and strive to enrich your country.” - High Priest Neriosang Dhaval EXODUS to INDIA

6 . THE FIRST DIASPORA THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT (INDIA, PAKISTAN & SRI LANKA) By the 1800s, under British rule, Parsis became the foremost economic figures in Bombay, and went on to blaze the trail in commerce, science and industry; and built a reputation for Integrity, Industry and Philanthropy across the Indian subcontinent. “The Parsis … are the principal native inhabitants of Bombay, in regard to wealth and numbers; not only the most valuable estates, but most of the shipping of the port belongs to them … the favourites of fortune; let us add, they are deservedly so, for we find them doing very extensive acts of charity and benevolence.” - Sir William Ouseley, 1813 First 800 years. With their sacred Fire, the Parsis journeyed inwards from Sanjan – and established Iranshah at Udvada in 1742.

7 Zoroastrians of UK -- oldest community of south Asian origin in the Western world. Majority live in the British Isles, small numbers also reside in countries across Europe. 1724. Nowroji Rustom Maneck Sett (1663 - 1732) -- first Zoroastrian (and first Asian) to visit UK. 1861. Formal Association (now ZTFE) was established. 1890 - 1935. Three Zoroastrians (also first three Asians) elected to Britain’s House of Commons - Dadabhai Naoroji, Sir Muncherjee Bhownaggree and Shapurji Saklatvala THE WESTERN DIASPORA BRITISH ISLES & EUROPE Nowroji Rustom Maneck Sett [photo: Parsee Lustre on Indian Soil] In recent years. Three Zoroastrians honored by British Royalty - Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBE (House of Lords), Cyrus Todiwala, OBE and Dorab Mistry, OBE.

8 PRESENCE IN THE FAR EAST HONG KONG, SINGAPORE & ….. Today, the Hong Kong and Singapore communities of successful businessmen and professionals have built a reputation for generous philanthropy. The HK$200 million 23-storey “Zoroastrian Building” in downtown Hong Kong is possibly the most valuable Zoroastrian asset in the world today. Small numbers of Zoroastrians also reside in Malaysia, China, Japan, Phillipines, Indonesia, Korea and Thailand. 1800s. Parsi merchants traded along China coast - Canton, Macao, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore … 1874. The Zoroastrian Charity Funds of Hong Kong, Canton and Macao was established.

9 PRESENCE IN AFRICA SOUTH AFRICA & SEYCHELLES 1948. After Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, Sohrabjee Rustomjee, brought Gandhiji’s ashes to South Africa in recognition of his prominent role in South Africa’s struggle against apartheid. South Africa -- Durban and Johannesburg 1870 - 1900s. First wave of 30 immigrants ventured to the “dark continent” in sailing vessels. Second wave followed in early 1900s. They played significant roles in the colonial period, the apartheid regime and the democracy gained in 1990s. Among the earliest was “Parsee Rustomjee”, a businessman, philanthropist and political activist for down-trodden Indians and Africans in South Africa. The Seychelle Islands Around 1880, Mr. Temooljee ventured 2,400 miles across the Indian Ocean, in a ‘dhow’ to the Seychelle Islands. Today Temooljee & Co, run by 80-year old Soona Oliaji, is the largest general store in Mahe Island. “In a country of 100,000, our tiny community of 21 still has a visible and influential presence.” - Soona Oliaji

10 PRESENCE IN AFRICA EAST AFRICA & ADEN Above, Diana Darukhanavala, and her 83-year old father are the only two remaining Zarathushtis now, in Zanzibar. Left, Shamba ya Parisi -- Swahili for Temple of the Parsis. [Photos: Farah Bala] East Africa -- Mombasa, Nairobi, Dare Salam and Zanzibar 1963. 250-300 Zoroastrians in Zanzibar -- in civil service, business or professions. After revolution in 1963, almost all left for UK, USA, Canada or India. The Agiary and aramgah are defunct, and used as a godown by the Mussalmans. Aden 1976. Aden Fire was ceremoniously moved to the Lonavla Agiary, when Zoroastrians left Aden after handover to Yemen.

11 Regional director Meher Bhesania [center] with Board Members of WZCC (Middle East). UAE (Dubai), Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait 1960s. Sitting on top of the greatest pool of oil reserves in the world, Gulf Region offers good job and business opportunities. Zarathushtis started arriving after oil was discovered in 1960s. 1979. The resident population was 300, and is growing steadily. The Region has an active chapter of WZCC and produces WZCC’s flagship magazine SynergyZ. PRESENCE IN GULF REGION

12 WESTERN DIASPORA NEW ZEALAND & AUSTRALIA Far left, Inaugural jashan, Parsiana Lodge, Auckland, 2004. Left, Unveiling Cyrus the Great statue in Bicentennial Park, Sydney. Persian Cultural Festival, 1994. New Zealand. 1877. First known migrant to New Zealand was Hormuzji Ratanji Shroff with wife and three children. Set up hardware business “Shroff and Sons” in Auckland. Still run by descendants. 1960s. Zarathushtis seeking a better life, started migrating to New Zealand. Growth has been significant. Australia. 1950s. Migration started and has grown steadily, to Sydney (NSW), Melbourne (Victoria), Western Australia, Adelaide (South Australia) and Brisbane (Queensland).

13 “ The business was carried on by Parsees, some of the most intelligent people I have ever known, rich and very honorable in their dealings. The merchant with whom I did business, Nasser Vanji Monackjee, was a very fine man.” - George Nichols, 1799, collection of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA WESTERN DIASPORA NORTH AMERICA - CANADA & USA 1799. Early trade relations between Bombay and Salem, MA

14 “… a friend brought a real live Parsee, with a tall headdress, to take tea with us. It was a revelation to me that a fire worshipper could take tea like ordinary mortals. “ …He drank his tea and ate his bread and butter quite like other folks … He spoke in a very low, cultivated, refined voice, using much better English than we did!” - Caroline King’s memoirs. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA WESTERN DIASPORA NORTH AMERICA - CANADA & USA 1851. Possibly the first Zoroastrian to visit USA. Ardeshir Cursetjee Wadia came to Boston area in 1851 to set up trade with the Americans.

15 In 1866, the Gold Rush was on. Maneckji Faramji Javeri came to California prospecting for gold. WESTERN DIASPORA NORTH AMERICA - CANADA & USA 1866. Gold Rush. Possibly the first Zoroastrian to visit Canada. Javeri also visited Barkerville, north of Vancouver, making him possibly the first Zoroastrian to visit Canada.

16 “ Many enterprising and intelligent Parsis are desirous of emigrating to the New World … where they can … preserve and follow the religion of their forefathers … “A settlement in America has become the subject of our grave considerations …” -- Letter to US Consul by Parsis of Baroda, 1876. WESTERN DIASPORA NORTH AMERICA - CANADA & USA 1876. From Baroda to the New World.

17 1860. Conjee Rustomjee Cohoujee Bey (aka Antonio Gomez) of Lahore came to New York and served in US Civil War. 1866. Possibly first South Asian to settle in San Francisco. 1911. Interned in The Presidio with full military honors. WESTERN DIASPORA NORTH AMERICA - CANADA & USA 1860. First to settle in USA.

18 1885. Eduljee Sorabjee, god-son of Sir Dinshaw Manockjee Petit, came to Los Angeles and became a naturalized US citizen. WESTERN DIASPORA NORTH AMERICA - CANADA & USA 1885. First US citizen - in Los Angeles. 1892. First Zoroastrian born in USA. 1892. Pestonji Framji Davar settled in San Francisco. Son Jamshed was the first Zoroastrian born in North America. “Mr. Sorabjee was a thorough man of the world, there was little in his manner or speech to distinguish him from a cultured Englishman or American.” - H. D. Barrows, 1912 Historical Society of Southern California

19 1900. Bhicaji Balsara came to settle in New York and became the first naturalized US citizen, after courts opined that: WESTERN DIASPORA NORTH AMERICA - CANADA & USA 1900. First naturalized US citizen. 1929. Zoroastrian Association of NY. 1904. Phiroze Saklatwala ‘Parsi Oil King’ came to New York and became part owner of an oil company.. 1929. The first Zoroastrian Association of New York was born in his living room on West 11th Street. “Parsees do belong to the white race.. are intelligent and well- to-do, principally engaged in commerce.”

20 ELLIS ISLAND RECORDS 1900 - 1920s 1903. Merwan Irani, 35 on the Philadelphia,Southampton. 1905. Phiroize Sethna, 38 on the Cedric from Liverpool 1909. Nanabhoy Sethna, 25 on the Adriatic Southampton. 1910 Pestorg Patel, 40 on the Lusitania, Liverpool. 1914. Maneckji Dhalla, 39, and Cuvarbai Dhalla, 36, on Carmania, Liverpool. 1923. Minochie Irani, 25, on Canopic, from Bremerhaven. 22-year-old Jamshed Irani Arrived at Ellis Island in 1920. His name is on the American Immigrant Wall of Honor.

21 WESTERN DIASPORA NORTH AMERICA - CANADA & USA PROMOTING THE VISION 1977. Arbab Rustom Guiv and Morvarid Guiv came to the USA with the vision to establish dar-e-mehers. Their generosity bore fruit with dar-e-mehers across North America.  FEZANA (estd. 1987) serves to coordinate the work of the Associations, to collectively strengthen the community in NA.  NAMC (estd. 1992) serves to preserve and perpetuate the religion in NA.  Today there are 28 Associations and 11 dar-e-mehers / Centers. Six Fezana Presidents at 25 th anniversary. Seventh President Katayun Kapadia not in picture.

22 2004. FEZANA World Zarathushti population Survey. Population and intermarriages. 2012. Repeated 2004 survey, Added data on children/seniors, Parsi/Iranian and male/female breakdown. NOTE: This is not an official, statistically correct census. Data may be inconsistent, inaccurate and incomplete and our estimates may be incorrect. We present the raw data here, as gathered, to get a flavor of the Zarathushti World. “DEMOGRAPHICS DETERMINES DESTINY”

23 Grateful Thanks to: All the sources and contact persons from 25 countries, 50 US States and 10 Canadian provinces. FEZANA Administrator Zenobia Damania for data collection. Parsiana (Roxana Driver) and FEZANA Journal (Aban Vazifdar). My family and friends for help in making these fancy slides. THE ZARATHUSHTI WORLD A Demographic Picture

24 IRAN 2012 25,271 (SCI) 15,000 (Est) Decline by -37.5% (Est) 1850 7,000 (Est) 1986 32,589 (SCI) 1996 27,920 (SCI) 2006 19,823 (SCI) 24,000 (Est) Population is “no more than 15,000” (Dr. Ekhtiyari) Intermarriages: almost zero Family size: 3.5 persons Male-Female ratio: 51.1%, 48.9% Concerns: Census data unreliable Emigration to the west Late marriages and fewer children. Source: Dr. Esfandiar Ekhtiyari Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary

25 INDIA & SRI LANKA 1891 89,490 1901 94,140(+5.2%) 1911 100,096(+6.3%) 1921`101,778(+1.7%) 1931109,329(+7.4%) 1941114,890(+5.1%) 1951111,791(-2.7%) 1961 100,772 (-9.9%) 1971 91,266 (-9.4%) 198186,013 (-5.8%) 199177,353 (-10.1%) 2001 69,601 (-10.0%) 2011 61,000(est) (-12.4%) 2004 66 2012 37 (-43.9%) Intermarriages: 39% of marriages in Mumbai in 2011 were intermarriages. Children: 17.6% in 2001. Seniors: 24.1% were 65 or over in 2001. Males - Females: 48.8% - 51.2% in 2001. Concerns: Late marriage, no marriage Low fertility rate = 0.9. Replacement level is 2.1. Deaths outnumber births. Source: Prof. Armaity Desai Prof. S. Siva Raju Prof. Jamsheed K. Choksy (for Sri Lanka)

26 1995 2831 2001 2378 (-16.0%) 2004 2121 (-10.8%) 20121675 (-21.0%) Intermarriages: 2.6% (10 men and 33 women) are married outside. These women and their offspring are not counted in the totals. Students. Also not included are 47 students studying abroad. “None are expected to return.” Children and Seniors: “No doubt the majority are old. In last six months, 7 more have died.” Origin: All are Parsis. Males- Females: 45.6%, 54.4% Source: Toxy Cowasee PAKISTAN

27 GREAT BRITAIN 2004 ----------------------------------- GREAT BRITAIN 5,000 England 4,900 Scotland 65 N. Ireland 25 REP OF IRELAND 10 ----------------------------------- 2012: “Increased to around 5,500” Intermarriages: In 2004, percentage of non Zarathushti spouses in a sampling of ZTFE directory was estimated to be 5.2%. Age distribution: “Average age is coming down. More deaths than births is balanced by a small inflow of new immigrants.” Source: Rusi Dalal

28 Parsi-Iranians 2004: About 1,000. 2012: (In progress) Zarathushtis by Choice. 2004: 125 officially initiated. 2012: (In progress) Dr. Khosro Khazai, European Centre for Zoroastrian Studies, Belgium: “1,832 initiated in past 10 years.” Mobed Kamran Jamshidi, Sweden. “2,000 initiated and 20,000 want to be initiated.” Source: Dolly Dastoor et al. EUROPE & CENTRAL ASIA Note: Work is in progress to collect accurate and consistent data.

29 Singapore 2004: 162 2012: 372 (130%) Hong Kong 2004: 210 2012: 204 (-3%) Intermarriages: Hong Kong: 15.5% Singapore: 13.0% Children: Hong Kong: 27.2% Singapore: 39.4% Seniors: Hong Kong: 16.3% Singapore: 9.3% Origin: Almost all are Parsis Male-Female: Hong Kong: 46.7%, 53.2% Singapore: 51.9%, 48.1% Source: Hong Kong: Yazdi Parekh Singapore: Russi Ghadiali and Homiyar Vasania FAR EAST Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam

30 Intermarriages: S. Africa: 20.1% E. Africa: “Of the 15 in Mombasa, 7 are unmarried, 3 married (1 to non-Z), 2 widows, 1 separated.” Children - Seniors: S. Africa: 8.2% children and 25.4% seniors. E. Africa: 60% over 65. “In Mombasa no one is below 40.” Origin: Almost all (but 1 or 2) are Parsis. Male - Female: S. Africa: 44.0%, 56.0% E. Africa: 53.3%, 46.7% Source: S. Africa: Solly Shapurjee E. Africa: Vistasp Vatchha Seychelles: Soona Oliaji AFRICA EAST AFRICA Kenya (Mombasa, Nairobi) Tanzania (Dare Salam, Zanzibar) 2004: 78 2012: 37 (-53%) SOUTH AFRICA (Jo’burg, Durban) 2004: 114 2012: 134 (+17.5%) SEYCHELLES 2004: 21 2012: 21

31 GULF REGION Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE GULF REGION 2004: 2,200 2012: 1900 (-13.6%) Intermarriages: 4.1%. Children (under 21): 27% Seniors: “Not many above 65 are able to stay, unless sponsored or have special visas.” Origin: Almost all Parsis. Data not available on Iranians. Male - Female: 53.0%, 47.0% Source: Meher Bhesania

32 AUSTRALIA and NEW ZEALAND Australia 2004: 2601 2012: 2577 (-0.9%) New Zealand 2004: 900 2012: 1231 (+36.8%) Intermarriages: Australia: 4.0% New Zealand: 2.6% Children: Australia: 9.3% New Zealand: 24.4% Seniors: Australia: 29.6% New Zealand: 3.2% Origin (Parsi - Iranian): Australia: 71.1%, 28.9% New Zealand: 98%Parsis Male - Female: Australia: 50.3%, 49.7% N. Zealand: 48.8%, 51.2% Source: Australia: Arnavaz Chubb New Zealand: Tehmus Mistry

33 CANADA & USA Canada 5,975 (5,341) 6,442 (5,995) 7.8% (12.2%) USA 10,794 (9158) 14,405 (10764) 33.5% (17.5%) Total NA 16,769 (14,499) 20,847 (16,759) 24.3% (15.6%)  2004 Estimated (Recorded)  2012 Estimated (Recorded) Intermarriages: Canada: 5.6% USA: 9.9% Children: Canada: 16.8% USA: 18.7% Seniors: Canada: 15.8% USA: 12.2% Origin Parsi - Iranian: Canada: 72.0%, 28.0% USA: 68.1%, 31.9% Male - Female: Canada: 51.4%, 48.6% USA: 51.7%, 48.3% Concern: Assimilation. Source: Association / individual in each of 50 US States and 10 Canadian provinces.

34 (Full Report in FEZANA Journal Fall 2013 and at Canada Immigration to Canada, based on only 5 of 10 provinces reporting is roughly estimated at 500; 300 (mostly from Iran) to British Columbia and 200 to rest of Canada. USA Immigration to USA, based on only 10 of 50 states reporting is roughly estimated at 1870, rounded to 2000; 1670 to California (mostly from Iran) and 200 to rest of USA. IMMIGRATION TO NA (2004 - 2012) North America. Estimated immigration, based on only a few states/provinces reporting is roughly estimated to be 2,500, most of them from Iran.

35 (Full Report in FEZANA Journal Fall 2013 and at Inter-married couples were asked : “How can we inspire and engage inter-married couples and their children to remain in the fold …? ADDRESSING CONCERNS OF ASSIMILATION IN NORTH AMERICA-1 Reasons why participation is not higher. Top 5 answers 1.Turned off by prejudices and doctrinal conflicts. 2.Too busy with work/school. Community is not a priority. 3.Turned off by dissensions among elders. 4.There are very few or no Z’s where we live, work or at school. 5.We feel uncomfortable at community events.

36 Inter-married couples were asked : “How can we inspire and engage inter-married couples and their children to remain in the fold …? What can FEZANA do to help families stay connected? Top 5 answers ADDRESSING CONCERNS OF ASSIMILATION IN NORTH AMERICA-2 1.Have structured online religious education classes. 2.Simple books and websites to introduce the religion. 3.Have an inter-married couples support group. 4.Strengthen “small groups” network to engage families in outlying areas. 5.Enhance the priesthood to also provide ministerial services and be learned teachers and inspirational speakers.

37 Intra-married couples were asked : “How can we facilitate and inspire young Z’s to marry within the faith?” ADDRESSING CONCERNS OF ASSIMILATION IN NORTH AMERICA-3 Top 5 answers: 1.Youth get-togethers: congresses, camps, professional meets, trips… 2.“Introductions” by family and friends. 3.Parents to show benefits of intra-marriage -- for the couple and the community -- from early childhood. 4.“Introductions” by match-makers (e.g. FEZANA Journal matrimonials page). 5.Matrimonial websites. Have online dating service at

38 A glimpse of the responses from a cross-section of N.A. elders as well as “next generation” Z’s suggesting “actions” to address concerns. 1.It all starts at home. 2.Religious Education from early childhood is the key. 3.Maintain our cultural traditions and religious practices. 4.Encourage marriages within the faith, and larger families. 5.Inspire and engage the Next Generation and those on the fringes. 6.Provide spiritual upliftment. 7.Celebrate the togetherness - Iranian and Parsi. (contd next page) ADDRESSING CONCERNS OF ASSIMILATION IN NORTH AMERICA-4

39 8. Revive the entrepreneurial spirit. 9. Get politically active. 10. Adapt and adjust. 11. Attitudes towards inter-marriage and their offspring. 12. Accept conversions. (Full report in FEZANA Journal Fall 2013, ADDRESSING CONCERNS OF ASSIMILATION IN NORTH AMERICA-5

40 39 CANADA 6,442(+7.8%) NORTH AMERICA 20,847(+24.4%) INDIA 61,000(-12.4%) NEW ZEALAND 1,231(+36.8%) PAKISTAN 1,675(-21.0%) GULF 1,900(-13.6%) AUSTRALIA 2,577(-0.9%) GR.BRITAIN 5,500(+10%) IRAN 15,000(-37.5%) HONG KONG 204(-2.9%) S. AFRICA 134(+17.5%) SINGAPORE 372(+129.6%) EUROPE/C.ASIA 1,000(0.0%) WORLD POPULATION 2004 = 124,953 2012 = 111,691 Decline by -13,262 (-10.6%) USA 14,405(+33.5%) E. AFRICA 37 (-52.6%) SRI LANKA 37 (-43.9%) MALAYSIA 43 (+43.3%) JAPAN 21 (-30.0%) SEYCHELLES 21 (0%) CHINA 21 (+5%) PHILLIPINES 15 IRELAND 10 (0%) SOUTH AMERICA 10 (0%) MEXICO 10 (0%) INDONESIA 5 KOREA 5 THAILAND 16 ZARATHUSHTI POPULATION 2012. Countries with population less than 100 are not shown.

41 Country2004 2012 Diff Iran24,00015,000-9,000 India69,60161,000-8,601 USA10,79414,4053,611 Canada5,9756,442467 Gr. Britain5,0005,500500 Australia2,6012,577-24 Persian Gulf2,2001,900-300 Pakistan2,1211,675-446 New Zealand9001,231331 Europe/Asia1,000 0 Singapore162372210 Hong Kong210204-6 Other countries389385-4 THE ZARATHUSHTI WORLD POPULATION TOTALS 2004 TOTAL= 124,953 2012 TOTAL = 111,691 In 2012, we estimate 13,262 fewer (-10.6%) Zarathushtis in the world than in 2004. WORLD POPULATION

42 GROWTH/DECLINE OF POPULATION BY COUNTRY 2004 - 2012 How can we sustain a loss of 13,262 Zarathushtis in less than a decade?

43 INTERMARRIAGE S Percentage of non-Zarathushti spouses in the Zarathushti population, 2004 and 2012




47 BIRTHS AND DEATHS NUMBER DEATHS PER 100 BIRTHS FOR NORTH AMERICA (FEZANA JR) AND MUMBAI (PARSIANA) In North America: In 21 years: 1,022 births and 706 deaths In Mumbai: In 20 years: 3456 births and 17,715 (!) deaths








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