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The outlines the common Parsi perception of the pattern of their settlement in western India.After some time the settlers approached the king for permission to build a temple to house their most sacred grade of fire, an Ātaš Bahrām (see ĀTAŠ). The history of that fire, known as Irān-šāh, their “king of Iran” in exile, is central to much subsequent Parsi history.It is not implausible that other Zoroastrians interested in mysticism might also have traveled to India, not only to escape persecution but also in search of enlightenment (Modi, 1932b; Stiles Maneck, pp. Conscious of the lack of ritual knowledge in his community, and supported by leading Parsis in Surat and other centers, he arranged for a Zoroastrian layman () of Broach, Nariman Hōšang, to go and seek guidance from the Zoroastrian authorities (dastur) in Yazd and Kermān. They were concerned with the Parsis’ lack of knowledge and urged them to send two priests (; see HĒRBED) to Iran to study the religion, as they themselves suffered from a shortage of priests and could not spare any of their own to be dispatched to India.He appears to have gone without any letters of introduction, indeed with no knowledge of Persian, so he spent a year in Yazd learning the language while earning a living by trading in dates. They praised Chāngā Āsā for negotiating freedom from the poll tax for Navsari Parsis.There is debate over the exact date of this exodus: 716 CE (S. In his account of their religion he emphasized the features that accorded with Hinduism, for instance, reverence for the sun and the moon, fire and water, and the cow. “At last a wise dastur, who was also an astrologer, read the stars and said: 'The time Fate had allotted us in this place is now coming to an end, we must go at once to India.’” They sailed to Diu in western India, where they settled for nineteen years: “[t]hen a priest-astrologer, after reading the stars, said to them: 'Our destiny lies elsewhere, we must leave Diu and seek another place of refuge.’” But a storm came while they were at sea, endangering their lives, so they prayed “O Almighty God! “Their prayers were heard; the victorious fire of Bahrām abated the storm,” so they arrived safely in India (, tr., pp. There they sought permission to settle from the local ruler, Jadi Rana.As noted below, there were a variety of traditions about the settlement in the early 17th century. There are a number of hints about early Parsi settlements in a range of sources, some Muslim, some notes on old manuscripts, and some early buildings. Some of the earliest are: the Kenheri cave inscriptions of 1009 CE; reports of the presence of Parsi traders in Cambay in the 11th century; the settlement in Navsari, which is said to date from 1142; and a copy of the (see CORPSE) was built near Broach in 1309 because the old one (undated) was dilapidated (Patel, p. Some grants of land were made to Parsis around Thana in the 11th century, and there is a communal memory and ritual recall of a Parsi massacre at Variav in the 12th century (though the legend takes various forms, see , tr., pp. With such fragmentary evidence it is difficult to plot a coherent chronological history.
The period of Mughal rule (1573-1660) was a time of relative peace and security, in contrast to the earlier period of oppressive rule from the Delhi Sultanate (13th-15th cent.).The oldest manuscript detailing them is dated 1543 (Sanjana, pp. The Panthaks were: (1) Sanjān between the rivers Pardi to Dahanu (nowadays based in Udwada); (2) Navsari between the rivers Pardi to Variav and the River Tapti; (3) Godavra, from Variav to River Narmada near Broach; (4) Pahruc from Ankleshwar to Cambay; and (5) Cambay.Some of the regions, for instance, Sanjān and Navsari, long predate that period. The problem was a delicate one, because Parsi priests then (and now) are not paid a salary for rites performed. After a hundred years they moved on to Hormuz, but still remained under threat of oppression. Come to our aid” and they vowed to consecrate a Bahrām fire if they arrived safely in India. The variations are due to the fact that the only source, the does not give precise dates but rather uses round figures (e.g., “In this way three hundred years, more or less, elapsed … In this way seven hundred years passed by …,” states that it was written down in 1600, based on oral tradition and it must therefore be used with due caution and appropriate allowances as a historical source, given the way it was composed and transmitted (Stausberg, 2002, I, pp. The account of the exodus begins by describing how a group of devout Zoroastrians in Persia went into hiding in the mountains during a time of fierce Islamic persecution.
The Parsi leader, Ardašir, rushed on to the field like a lion and roared out a challenge. riding a swift horse, charged at Ardašir with his lance … When tragedy beckons even marble becomes soft as wax” (, tr., pp. The Hindu-Parsi alliance was defeated and Muslims ruled the land. Fearing for its safety in the face of the Muslim invasion of Sanjān, Parsi priests took it to the mountain of Bahrot, south of Sanjān, and hid it in a cave for twelve years before taking it to the village of Bansda; the dates are again disputed. There were two major Muslim conquests of Gujarat in the approximate period referred to in the , in 14; it is not clear which of the two dates is relevant. The first (the poll tax levied on non-Muslims), but there is no mention of the transfer of Irān-šāh to Navsari through his proposal, a momentous event which would have been mentioned if it had occurred by then (, tr., p. Such events shape community identity and their memory is generally carefully preserved, but precisely because of their importance the stories can be subject to later “elucidation.” Sanjān was at the turn of the millennium a thriving port, and it is plausible that it was a major Parsi settlement as the , tr., pp. The early settlements were in locations with harbors, some of which could accommodate large ships that crossed the oceans, for example Cambay and Broach, while others, such as Navsari, were harbors used by ships pursuing the coastal trade.