Zoroastrianism

The Parsi or Zoroastrian religion was founded by Zarathushtra or Zoroaster, in the eighth century BC. He preached monotheism in the region now known as Persia.

He taught the worship of fire and the presence of good and bad in the form of Ahura Mazda and Ahura Man. He also taught the ethical doctrine of kindness and charity. These doctrines are enshrined in the Zend Avesta.

The Zorastrian religion spread over the whole of Persia and remained the dominant religion till the eighth century AD when Muslims conquered this region. Most of the Parsis migrated to different parts of the world. They also came to India and settled at Navsari in Gujarat, and later on spread to almost all parts of India.

It was Dadabhai Naoroji, the famous nationalist leader and a Parsi, who exposed the hollowness of the British claim of civilizing India and not exploiting it. Another outstanding figure, who belonged to this community, was Jamshedji Tata, a pioneering Indian industrialist. He established an iron and steel industry in India in the face of the toughest competition posed by the British steel mills and yet continued to prosper. The Parsees also established a large number of public charities.