[Assam] NYTimes: Zoroastrians , Christians, Muslims, Mongols etc - Irani history
jaipurschool at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 13 14:44:03 EDT 2006
The book is really good esp the history of Iran --but
its first chapter which compares Iranian history with
Indian history - if faulty but nonetheless interesting
-how the language is so similar -words likes devas,
asuras, gathas, etc are used in both cultures but with
different meanings -- I would conclude that since
"asuras " were considered good guys in Iran and bad in
India (and vice versa for "devas") -- the two cultures
were somewhat antagonistic and NOT from same clan as
concluded by the author. Thus I would conclude that
they have been there for long long time -and NOT came
together from Central Asia.
To bolster his claim that Indians came from Central
asian dry plains he quotes from Rig Veda that the
singer can see far till the horizons over dusty plains
-and the author conlcudes that in lush green North
India such plains are not to be found - and only to be
found in Central Asia --i wonder if he has ever been
to dusty Rajasthan or Haryana areas or Gujarat areas
in West India or even in current Pakistan (incl
Harrapa civilization area)
However, the author can be excused for his conclusions
which he bases on other authors and calls them best
guesses (though is adamant about them many times)
--since he is very knowledgeable about Iranian
recorded history -though not about their origins.
Hope you like the book - by a Prof. of Religion at
Univ of Florida.
PS: book from Amazon:
--- Barua25 <barua25 at hotmail.com> wrote:
> I am very much interested to know about Persia
> specially its religious history before the advent of
> Islam. (How histroy flies!!!). I think the book
> reffered will be important. If you see any other
> important book, please let me know.
> Keep in mind that you are picking up precious pieces
> for your auto biography. Keep it up.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "umesh sharma" <jaipurschool at yahoo.com>
> To: "Rajen & Ajanta Barua" <barua25 at hotmail.com>;
> <umesh.sh05 at post.harvard.edu>; <assam at assamnet.org>
> Sent: Friday, September 08, 2006 2:27 PM
> Subject: Re: [Assam] NYTimes: Zoroastrians ,
> Christians, Muslims, Mongols etc - Irani history
> > Rajen-da,
> > Glad you like it. Last night I was given a book on
> > Iran's religions by themother of my classmate who
> > converted to Bahai faith which originated in Iran
> > 19th century. She is of Jewish origins but brought
> > in a secular household and had been a muslim
> > she became Bahai. My classmate's husband is an
> > Iranian refugee who fled with hs elder brother and
> > mother when he was six -in 1984-across the border
> > horseback -for 12 hours-sitting behind a smuggler
> > -into Turkey where they stayed for one year as
> > refugees and then got permission to come to
> > Hismother died ten years later.
> > I learnt that Zoroasterians had an uneven
> > with Christians who came in later in 42 Ad/CE .
> > Some Kings and nobles had been quite strict and
> > killed thousands of them but most were tolerant
> > Christianity slowly became a major religion in
> > --till the advent of the Arab muslim warriors who
> > drove away Buddhists, and others --but allowed
> > and Christians to remain. Those Zoroasterians who
> > not convert had to flee to India. Crhistians
> > high officials under the muslim rule but
> > was banned and they had tobe extra tax -dhimmi -as
> > Indian Muslim rule - the Zazia tax.
> > Later many Christians were forced to convert to
> > else leave lucrative posts. Later Mongols kicked
> > Muslims in 1200 CE/AD killing the Khalifa of
> > (like that of Suddam Hussein perhaps) and
> > came back inpowerful posts and some got the
> > converts to Islam -killed in large numbers.
> Butthen in
> > 1400 Ce or so the Mongol's king Khan became a
> > and Musims were back in power-and retribution by
> > Tamoorlane . So the game went on.
> > British govt in 1880s forced Iranian govt to give
> > preferential treatment to those muslims who
> > to Christinaity. The lwas were changed to : those
> > became Christians would be given all the property
> > their relatives!! That law was in in place in
> > Amazing how the religious game was played by the
> > imperial powers then. What about the Anglican
> > now?
> > The book is called " Spirituality in the Land of
> > Noble: How Iran shaped the World's religions" by
> > Richard C. Foltz , 2004 , OneWorld Publications,
> > Oxford, England
> > --- Rajen & Ajanta Barua <barua25 at hotmail.com>
> > > Thanks
> > > Umesh
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: umesh sharma
> > > To: assam at assamnet.org
> > > Sent: Thursday, September 07, 2006 7:11 PM
> > > Subject: [Assam] NYTimes: Zoroastrians Keep
> > > Faith, and Keep Dwindling
> > >
> > >
> > > Zoroastrians Keep the Faith, and Keep
> > > By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Published: September 6, 2006
> > > BURR RIDGE, Ill. - In his day job, Kersey H.
> > > is a psychologist who specializes in panic
> > > disorders. In his private life, Mr. Antia dons a
> > > long white robe, slips a veil over his face and
> > > to work as a Zoroastrian priest, performing
> > > passed down through a patrilineal chain of
> > > stretching back to ancient Persia.
> > >
> > > After a service for the dead in which priests
> > > sticks of sandalwood and pinches of frankincense
> > > into a blazing urn, Mr. Antia surveyed the
> > > Zoroastrian faithful of the Midwest - about 80
> > > people in saris, suits and blue jeans.
> > > "We were once at least 40, 50 million - can
> > > imagine?" said Mr. Antia, senior priest at the
> > > temple here in suburban Chicago. "At one point
> > > had reached the pinnacle of glory of the Persian
> > > Empire and had a beautiful religious philosophy
> > > governed the Persian kings.
> > > "Where are we now? Completely wiped out," he
> > > "It pains me to say, in 100 years we won't have
> > > Zoroastrians."
> > > There is a palpable panic among Zoroastrians
> > > - not only in the United States, but also around
> > > world - that they are fighting the extinction of
> > > their faith, a monotheistic religion that most
> > > scholars say is at least 3,000 years old.
> > > Zoroastrianism predates Christianity and
> > > and many historians say it influenced those
> > > and cross-fertilized Judaism as well, with its
> > > doctrines of one God, a dualistic universe of
> > > and evil and a final day of judgment.
> > > While Zoroastrians once dominated an area
> > > stretching from what is now Rome and Greece to
> > > and Russia, their global population has dwindled
> > > 190,000 at most, and perhaps as few as 124,000,
> > > according to a survey in 2004 by Fezana Journal,
> > > published quarterly by the Federation of
> > > Associations of North America. The number is
> > > imprecise because of wildly diverging counts in
> > > Iran, once known as Persia - the incubator of
> > > faith.
> > > "Survival has become a community obsession,"
> > > Dina McIntyre, an Indian-American lawyer in
> > > Chesapeake, Va., who has written and lectured
> > > on her religion.
> > > The Zoroastrians' mobility and adaptability
> > > contributed to their demographic crisis. They
> > > assimilate and intermarry, virtually
> > > into their adopted cultures. And since the faith
> > > encourages opportunities for women, many
> > > women are working professionals who, like many
> > > professional women, have few children or none.
> > > Despite their shrinking numbers, Zoroastrians
> > > who follow the Prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster in
> > > Greek) - are divided over whether to accept
> > > intermarried families and converts and what
> > > a Zoroastrian. An effort to create a global
> > > organizing body fell apart two years ago after
> > > priests accused the organizers of embracing
> > > converts" and diluting traditions.
> > > "They feel that the religion is not universal
> > > is ethnic in nature, and that it should be kept
> > > within the tribe," said Jehan Bagli, a retired
> > > chemist in Toronto who is a priest, or mobed,
> > > president of the North American Mobed Council,
> > > includes about 100 priests. "This is a tendency
> > > to me sometimes appears suicidal. And they are
> > > prepared to make that sacrifice."
> > > In South Africa, the last Zoroastrian priest
> > > recently died, and there is no one left to
> > > at ceremonies, said Rohinton Rivetna, a
> > > leader in Chicago who, with his wife, Roshan,
> was a
> > > principal mover behind the failed effort to
> > > a global body. But they have not given up.
> > > "We have to be working together if we are
> going to
> > > survive," Mr. Rivetna said.
> > > Although the collective picture is bleak, most
> > > individual Zoroastrians appear to be thriving.
> > > are well-educated and well-traveled
> > > earning incomes that place them in the middle
> > > upper classes of the countries where they or
> > > families settled after leaving their homelands
> > > Iran and India. About 11,000 Zoroastrians live
> > > the United States, 6,000 in Canada, 5,000 in
> > > England, 2,700 in Australia and 2,200 in the
> > > Gulf nations, according to the Fezana Journal
> > > survey.
> > >
> > > This is the second major exodus in Zoroastrian
> > > history. In Iran, after Muslims rose to power in
> > > seventh century A.D., historians say the
> > > population was decimated by massacres,
> > > and conversions to Islam. Seven boatloads of
> > > Zoroastrian refugees fled Iran and landed on the
> > > coast of India in 936. Their descendants, known
> > > Parsis, built Mumbai, formerly Bombay, into the
> > > world capital of Zoroastrianism.
> > >
> > > The Zoroastrian magazine Parsiana publishes
> > > each month tracking births, deaths and
> > > Leaders fret over the reports from Mumbai, where
> > > deaths outnumber births six to one. The
> > > intermarriage rate there has risen to about one
> > > three. The picture in North America is more
> > > about 1.5 births for one death. But the
> > > intermarriage rate in North America is now
> nearly 50
> > > percent.
> > > Soli Dastur, an exuberant priest who lives in
> > > Florida, is among the first generation of
> > > who started the trend. Mr. Dastur grew up in a
> > > village outside Mumbai, where his father was a
> > > priest, the fire temple was the center of town
> > > his whole world was Zoroastrian.
> > > He arrived in Evanston, Ill., in 1960, where
> > > knew of no other Zoroastrians, to attend college
> > > a scholarship provided by one of the Parsi
> > > endowments in Mumbai, which have since provided
> > > scholarships to many others. He earned a Ph.D.,
> > > worked as a chemical engineer and married an
> > > American Roman Catholic he met on a blind date
> > > years ago.
> > > Mr. Dastur is a priest in much demand to
> > > ceremonies because of his melodic chanting of
> > > prayers. He and his wife, Jo Ann, have two grown
> > > daughters. Neither married a Zoroastrian.
> > > "They're good human beings," Mr. Dastur said.
> > > "That's more important to me."
> > > The very tenets of Zoroastrianism could be
> > > its demise, many adherents said in interviews.
> > > Zoroastrians believe in free will, so in matters
> > > religion they do not believe in compulsion. They
> > > not proselytize. They can pray at home instead
> > > going to a temple. While there are priests,
> there is
> > > no hierarchy to set policy. And their basic
> > > is a universal ethical precept: "good thoughts,
> > > words, good deeds."
> > > "That's what I take away from Zoroastrianism,"
> > > said Tenaz Dubash, a filmmaker in New York City
> > > is making a documentary about the future of her
> > > faith, "that I'm a cerebral, thinking human
> > > and I need to think for myself."
> > > Ferzin Patel, who runs a support group for 20
> > > intermarried couples in New York, said that
> > > the Zoroastrians in the group adored their faith
> > > wanted to teach it to their children, they in no
> > > wanted to compel their spouses to convert.
> > > "In the intermarriage group, I don't think
> > > feels that someone should forfeit their religion
> > > just for Zoroastrianism," Ms. Patel said.
> > > Despite, or because of, the high intermarriage
> > > rate, some Zoroastrian priests refuse to accept
> > > converts or to perform initiation ceremonies for
> > > adopted children or the children of intermarried
> > > couples, especially when the father is not
> > > Zoroastrian. The ban on these practices is far
> > > stronger in India and Iran than in North
> > > "As soon as you do it, you start diluting your
> > > ethnicity, and one generation has an
> > > and the next generation has more dilution and
> > > customs become all fuzzy and they eventually
> > > disappear," said Jal N. Birdy, a priest in
> > > Calif., who will not perform weddings of mixed
> > > couples. "That would destroy my community, which
> > > why I won't do it."
> > > The North American Mobed Council is so divided
> > > the issue of accepting intermarried spouses and
> > > children that it has been unable to take a
> > > said Mr. Bagli, the council's president. He
> > > accepting converts because he said he can find
> > > ban in Zoroastrian texts, but he estimated that
> > > many as 40 percent of the priests in his group
> > > opposed.
> > > The peril and the hope for Zoroastrianism are
> > > embodied in a child of the diaspora, Rohena
> > > Ullal, 27, a physical therapist in suburban
> > > Ms. Ullal knew from an early age that her
> > > wanted her to marry another Zoroastrian. Her
> > > a former board president of the Chicago temple,
> > > helped organize Sunday school classes once a
> > > there, enticing teenagers with weekend
> > > and roller-skating trips.
> > > The result was a core group of close friends
> > > felt more like cousins, Ms. Ullal said recently
> > > breakfast.
> > > Both of her brothers found mates at
> > > youth congresses, and one is already married.
> > > Ullal stayed on the lookout.
> > > "There were so few," she said. "I guess you're
> > > lucky if you find somebody. That would be the
> > > ideal."
> > > Ms. Ullal's college boyfriend is also the
> child of
> > > Indian immigrants to the United States, but he
> > > Hindu. [They married on Saturday and had two
> > > ceremonies - one Hindu, one Zoroastrian.] But
> > > Ullal says that before they even became engaged,
> > > they talked about her desire to raise their
> > > as Zoroastrians.
> > > "It's scary; we're dipping down in numbers,"
> > > said. "I don't want to hurt his parents, but he
> > > doesn't have the kind of responsibility, whereas
> > > do."
> > >
> > >
> > > Umesh Sharma
> > > 5121 Lackawanna ST
> > > College Park, MD 20740 USA
> > >
> > > Current temp. address: 5649 Yalta Place ,
> > > Vancouver, Canada
> > >
> > > 1-202-215-4328 [Cell Phone]
> > > Canada # (607) 221-9433
> > >
> > > Ed.M. - International Education Policy
> > > Harvard Graduate School of Education,
> > > Harvard University,
> > > Class of 2005
> > >
> > > weblog: http://jaipurschool.bihu.in/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > All new Yahoo! Mail "The new Interface is
> > > in its simplicity and ease of use." - PC
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > assam mailing list
> > > assam at assamnet.org
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > Umesh Sharma
> > 5121 Lackawanna ST
> > College Park, MD 20740 USA
> > Current temp. address: 5649 Yalta Place ,
> Vancouver, Canada
> > 1-202-215-4328 [Cell Phone]
> > Canada # (607) 221-9433
> > Ed.M. - International Education Policy
> > Harvard Graduate School of Education,
> > Harvard University,
> > Class of 2005
> > weblog: http://jaipurschool.bihu.in/
> > NEW Yahoo! Cars - sell your car and browse
> thousands of new and used cars online!
> > > _______________________________________________
> assam mailing list
> assam at assamnet.org
5121 Lackawanna ST
College Park, MD 20740 USA
Current temp. address: 5649 Yalta Place , Vancouver, Canada
1-202-215-4328 [Cell Phone]
Canada # (607) 221-9433
Ed.M. - International Education Policy
Harvard Graduate School of Education,
Class of 2005
All New Yahoo! Mail Tired of Vi at gr@! come-ons? Let our SpamGuard protect you. http://uk.docs.yahoo.com/nowyoucan.html
More information about the assam