Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India

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Overview

The result of a 20 year labor of love, photographer and screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala's Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India offers a rare insiders view of how the Parsis, a religious and ethnic minority of India and the South Asian diaspora who follow the religion of Zoroastrianism, endure today. UNESCO recently celebrated 3000 years of Zoroastrian culture. Today, the Parsis are a proud but often misunderstood religious minority, small in number but significant in influence—the community has produced many ...
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Overview

The result of a 20 year labor of love, photographer and screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala's Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India offers a rare insiders view of how the Parsis, a religious and ethnic minority of India and the South Asian diaspora who follow the religion of Zoroastrianism, endure today. UNESCO recently celebrated 3000 years of Zoroastrian culture. Today, the Parsis are a proud but often misunderstood religious minority, small in number but significant in influence—the community has produced many well-known leaders and artists, including the world-renowned conductor, Zubin Mehta; the late rock singer Freddy Mercury, of Queen; and the international award-winning author, Rohinton Mistry. As a people, the Parsis are highly literate and educated, comprising one of India's most wealthy and urbanized communities, yet they are also the smallest. They also follow what many would consider Stone Age rituals: perhaps most notably, leaving their dead out in specially designed open air towers for vultures to devour. The words and images in Taraporevala's unique book chronicle, for the first time, the faces, voices, and unique culture of the Parsis—a community of intense contradictions.
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What People Are Saying

Homi K. Bhabha
"Sooni Taraporevala's stunning achievement lies in providing Parsis with a vibrant visual identity that has often been overlooked in celebrations of contemporary Indian cultures and communities. Taraporevala has mastered the art of capturing, with an unerring eye, what is both personal and communitarian in the Parsi world. As a Parsi, these remarkable photographs bring to life the vivid pageant of living amongst my people."
Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of English Literature, Harvard University
Mira Nair
"Sooni's book is an intimate epic. A monumental book, magnificent in its sweep yet always retaining its love for the particular. This is a remarkable marriage of heart and mind-a book of photographs that tells many good stories alongside."
Filmmaker
Rohinton Mistry
"The visual feast Sooni Taraporevala provides is without doubt an invaluable record, ranging from the sacred to the profane, the everyday to the ceremonial. But it is more than that.The pictures tell a story.And, like all good stories, it reminds us once again about the unique contribution which all cultures and communities, large or small, make towards the richness and diversity of this world that is the human family."
Writer
Zubin Mehta
"Sooni Taraporevala's book on the Parsis of India is indeed the finest documentation of the life and achievement of our community in 20th century India."
Maestro
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585675937
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 11.32 (w) x 11.38 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Young priests 24
2 Faith and the faithful 44
3 The city 72
4 Legends 138
5 The village 174
6 Generation next 200
7 Rites of passage 216
8 The last journey 242
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2005

    Good pictorial journey

    This book about my Parsi community is very well organized. It gave me a nostalgic journey back to my city of birth, Bombay which I have not visited in last 30 years. I placed a copy of this book in our Mainz University -Dept of Anccient Iranian Languages and Culture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2004

    Wonderful

    This isn¿t a book just for Parsis- it¿s a perfect combination of veritable art and wonderful writing. The Parsi community is one of great diversity, and Sooni Taraporevala¿s ¿The Parsis¿ brings this variety to light in a way that few other publications have successfully managed. Not only does her book stride the cultural spectrum, but it captures each facet beautifully; heart-wrenchingly so, and one can scarcely imagine another picture that could capture the moment more eloquently. The accompanying narratives are also insightful in the extreme and lack the posturing and false grandiosity that riddles so many other publications that try to infuse a sense of pride and wonder in the reader. This is a book that I am bound to use when explaining my heritage and background, not only to non-Parsis, but to future generations of Parsis here in North America. A wonderful book that I¿d recommend to anyone.

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