Zoroastrianism Today

Today the majority of Zoroastrians are Indian in origin. Known as Parsees, they migrated from Persia around a thousand years ago when they suffered religious persecution from Arab, Islamic invaders. Legend has it that upon arriving in Gujurat on the west coast of India, the ruler of the time, Jadi Rana, asked the new arrivals why he should permit them to stay in his lands when they were already full and prosperous. The leader of the Parsees reportedly said that they would be like a few grains of sugar in milk, sweetening an already harmonious community even more and thus they were allowed to stay. Our exhibition takes its name from this legend. Most Parsees today live in Mumbai and as a community they are instrumental in contributing to the city’s development and prosperity. Since the British rule of India, Parsees have forged strong links with the British.
 
The largest community of Zoroastrians in the UK are Indian Parsees. The first three Members of Parliament of Asian ethnic origin in the UK were all Parsees, the first of which in 1892 was Dadabhai Naoroji, elected as a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party. In the world of sport, the first Indian cricketers were Parsees who founded the first Cricket Club in Bombay in 1846. Several years later, they conducted a tour of the UK and played at Sheffield Park in East Sussex in 1886. In more modern times, perhaps the most renowned British Parsee is Freddie Mercury, (born Farrokh Bulsara) lead singer of Queen. There have been many outstanding industrialists, shipbuilders and scientists amongst the Parsees. Perhaps the best known is the Tata Group; a multinational conglomerate company that encompasses seven business sectors - communications and information technology, engineering, materials, services, energy, consumer products and chemicals - and donate generously to academic centres.
 
The second largest community of modern Zoroastrians originate from Iran. In recent years an Iranian Zoroastrian presence has grown in the UK as a result of refugee movement and migration following the Iranian revolution. Other significant Zoroastrian communities are spread across the globe, notably in North America, Pakistan and Australia. The Zoroastrian Trust Fund of Europe, established in 1861, is the oldest Zoroastrian organisation in Europe.