Published On: Sat, Sep 7th, 2019

Why are the Parsis Dwindling in India

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A decade and a half ago, I had a Parsi girl friend. She was not averse to sex, but she never wanted to marry and have children. She felt this would impinge on her freedom. The result, we drifted apart and now all these years later she is still an eligible bachelor girl. Her elder sister did marry, but to a Moslem and she was promptly ostracized from her religion by the Parsi Panchayat and priests. This is the bane of the Parsi community. Some girls not marrying at all and some marry late and again a significant lot marrying non Parsi’s.

Advent of the Parsis to India

The Parsis who came to India in about the 9th and the 10th century settled on the west coast of India. Presently they are concentrated in Gujarat and the city of Mumbai. They came to India, which was a haven for them, to escape the persecution by the Moslems in Iran.

It is hard to reconcile that this community, which is now a minuscule one in India, once ruled the entire known world 2000 years back and their kings like Xersis and Darias ruled over vast empires. But the advent of Islam and its resultant persecution made the die hards flee to India. In India they have made good progress and integrated with the Indian community and nation and are every inch as nationalist as others in India.

Dwindling Numbers

The Parsis numbered about 300,000 at the turn of the nineteenth century. However, at the turn of the twentieth century their numbers has dwindled to just about 100,000 and as per demographic scientists the numbers may come down to as low as 20,000 by the years 2020. This is alarming news and one wonders where the Parsi community is heading.

Why are the Parsis Dwindling in India

One of the reasons is that, though the Parsis are a vibrant community in all fields, yet on the religious and matrimonial front they are insular and this has led to disastrous results. Inbreeding and marriages between the communities has led to a low fertility rate and this is not helped by Parsi girls marrying outside the community or marrying late. In addition as Parsi girls are very fair, there is no dearth of suitors from other communities and religions

The literacy rate among Parsi women is the highest in India and that perhaps has a bearing on a lot many Parsi men and women marring late or not marrying at all. The result is that the number of Parsis above the age of 60 is triple the national average. This is because of the low birth rate and its resultant effect.

The Role of the Priesthood

The Parsi priests and Panchayat have also made a big contribution to this declining Parsi population as they have adopted an iconoclast policy of no conversion and complete ostrization of Parsi girls who marry outside the community. All these, coupled with the low fertility rate have led to a dwindling of the Parsi population.

Many people have commented that the Parsis in 2020 will from a minority become a sect .This is bad news, as the Parsis are a vibrant community who have had a big hand in India’s development, with men like Rattan Tata, JRD Tata and Nusli Wadia having contributed immensely to development in all fields. In fact India’s first Field Marshal was also a Parsi, Sam Manackshaw.

It is for the Parsi Panchayat and the priest hood to look into this problem of dwindling of the Parsi population and take steps accordingly. It will be a sad part of history in case they become a foot note.

About the Author

- I am an internet marketing expert with an experience of 8 years.My hobbies are SEO,Content services and reading ebooks.I am founder of SRJ News andTech Preview.

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