Home > Britain, History, India, Indian Economy, Politics, Religion, Social Trends > Zoroastrian Pride – At what cost?

Zoroastrian Pride – At what cost?

Is it a false sense of superiority that is behind the Zoroastrian problem? Instead of feeling superior, is it time that Zoroastrians learnt something from these Hindoos, divided by caste?

Life in Parsi Colony - Cartoon by Satish Acharya.

Life in Parsi Colony - Cartoon by Satish Acharya.

The Parsis were exemplary because they stood high above the common divisiveness of caste and demonisation of The Other. We must remain a community that’s worth emulating – and worth preserving. (via Blindly into the abyss – The Times of India).

Snootiness stops you from learning

Bachi, I would not be so superior over these ‘Hindoos, divided by caste’. The same Hindus united to give shelter to your refugee forefathers, when driven away from your homeland. And before giving refuge, some 500 years earlier, to win back the lands conquered by Alexander.

Without Indian elephants corps, would the Sassanians have ruled for more than 500 years?

Staying down is defeat

Anyone in the world can have their lucky day – including Alexander!

Losing to Alexander was not the tragedy. The one important question which is ignored was “Were the Greeks able to retain their Indian or Persian conquests?”

Within the next few years, Western history admits that the Indians kings won back all their losses – quite unlike the rest of Alexander’s conquests. For instance the Sassanians, a true-blue Persian dynasty was able to retake Persia, in 223 AD, 500 years after Alexander, from Parthians, who in turn were able to depose the Seleucids after 250 years – by 63 BC. Egypt and Greece never recovered.

After the defeat and death of Cyrus The Great at the hands of Tomyris, the Persians stopped looking India-wards. 500 years later (nearly), with the help of the Indian cavalry and elephant corps, the Sassanians stopped the Romans at Persian borders in 363 AD.

Achaemenids did not learn their lessons from the death of Cyrus, the Great. Possibly, the outcome against Alexander would have been different, had they used more elephants at Gaugamela – instead of 12-15. Similarly, a 1000 years later, the Sassanian army, had forgotten their lessons – and could not use their few elephants to full effect, against the Islāmic Arabs.

But, the Sassanian dynasty was able to wrest back and defend Persian dominions from the Greco-Romans, after setting up an elephants corps in their army – evidenced, for instance, by the carvings at Taq-i-Bustan.

At one time, the Sassanian rulers had increased its Indian war elephant corps to 12,000.

Of an Edwardian India  By SILLOO MEHTA (Image courtesy - Copyright © 2011, The Hindu.). Click for larger image.

Benefits of collaboration? When life in a Parsi household was lived at a leisurely pace ... Of an Edwardian India By SILLOO MEHTA (Image courtesy - Copyright © 2011, The Hindu.). Click for larger image.

Entrepreneurs or Collaboration?

Is it the entrepreneurship of Homi Mody that you are proud of?

Or his collaboration with the British? Can it be Homi Mody’s adulation and admiration of the British?

October 28th 1933.

On that day, the Bombay Mill Owners Association signed the Lees-Mody Pact. This earned all Indian industrialists, Nehru’s distrust. The British had succeeded once again in divide-and-rule.

While the whole country was on a boycott of British goods (specially Lancashire), 21 businessmen led by Homi Mody (father of Russi Mody, Piloo Mody) agreed to a system of ‘imperial preferences’ – which furthered India’s impoverishment. Earlier, Homi Mody had warned Gandhiji against the renewing the swaraj movement.

Homi Mody had his own political ambitions. After Independence, Nehru did try and make up with Homi Mody. Homi Mody was also included in to India’s Constituent Assembly – even though he had served the British well.

Or is it the wealth from opium trade with China by Parsi traders who set up their offices in Hong Kong that you are proud of? Or the collaboration in the opium trade (and slavery) on which the British Empire was built. Not that Parsis were not the only collaborators. Remember these Hindus traders, divided by caste, restricted by shubh labh compunctions played a lesser role (compared to the European and Parsi traders) in this opium trade.

Even during Alexander’s conquest of Persia, witness the complete collaboration that Alexander got from the defeated Achaemenid ruling family of Sisygambis, Stateira, Oxathres (brother of Darius III; also written as Oxoathres and Oxyathres) et al. But, at Indian North-West of the foursome Bessos, Spitamenes, Datafernes and the Scythians made Alexander’s life miserable. At Gaugamela, it was Bessos and his cavalry which broke Alexander’s formation.

The tribes and kshatrapas (satraps) of Indian North West swath, delayed Alexander for nearly three years – before he could step into India. In India, Alexander had to pay the King of Taxiles, Omphis, (Ambi) 1000 talents of gold (more than 25 tons of gold) – to secure an alliance. He had to return the kingdom of Punjab to Porus – purportedly, after winning the battle.

What were Alexander’s loot and pickings from India? Negligible.

SKETCH OF PARSI COUPLE BY MOKSHA; Posted on SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2008. Click for larger image.

SKETCH OF PARSI COUPLE BY MOKSHA; Posted on SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2008. Click for larger image.

Bactra – Bharat-ah …

Of course, India is not what India calls itself.

Bharat(ah) and aryavart are the more common names. Bactra is the Greek pronunciation (possibly) of Bharat(ah). Till about 8th century BC, Zoroastrians were based in Iran.

Within a few years, after the fall of Zoroastrian Sassanian kingdom, under persecution by the Islāmic conquerors, in Persia, the first set of Zoroastrians made their way back to  India. Over the next 200 years, from 8th century to 10th century, the Zoroastrians returned to Bactra  – Bharat(ah).

This false sense of superiority is what is behind the Zoroastrian problem. Just like all Parsis are not drug dealers or British collaborators, Hindus don’t deserve negative tags. Factually bad and misplaced in terms of etiquette, you should take a 2ndlook at this caste tag.

Instead of feeling superior, it is time that Zoroastrians learnt something from these Hindoos, divided by caste.

  1. raman
    May 25, 2011 at 5:54 am

    It just beats me as to why Hindu’s seem to be everybody’s favorite bogeyman. Had it not been for the magnanimous but little known Hindu raja who gave refuge to bachi’s ancestors, parsis would have most likely been extinct by now or at the most survived on as dregs in Islamic iran. In fact, parsis seeking refue in India was not a one time affair. It carried on right uptill the early years of the 20th century whenever things got too hot in Iran. This same snootiness towards Hindus can be seen in some of the utterances of that other refugee, dalai Lama (same old stuff about caste, etc. etc.). The Tibetans keep thanking India (never Hindus) for giving them refuge.

  2. June 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm

  3. Zend Lakdavala
    April 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    First, congratulations for a brilliant response to Bachi’s Parsi-you’re-great pablum. While I am by birth a Parsi, I have long since relinquished my religion–Zoroastrianism not that I was ever a serious religionist; I am an agnostic and the Parsi label, I care little, if at all. (I live in the US). I have for too long been embarrassed by Parsi/Zoroastrian horn-tooting and other self-adulatory attitudes my ilk vainly, ignorantly indulges in. I am very happy that someone set the record right for Bachi Karkaria and others who think no end of their own community, religion, race, lineage, etc.
    Thank you so much.

    PS: I would love to make acquaintance (via email) with the person who brought down the pompous Parsi, a couple of pegs with a much-needed history lesson.

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