Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

No Fire Temple, but Lakhnawi warmth

The Parsi community is one of the smallest ‘communities from outside’ in Lucknow. There are just 71 Parsis in town! “We started trickling into the city and found Lucknow welcoming us with open arms. We had our share of adjustment issues but now, that I have been here for 15 years it’s like home for me,” says Daisy Homavazir, a resident of the Parsi Anjuman.

Most of the Parsis agree that staying in Lucknow has improved their Hindi and taught them how to make good Mughlai food. Also, their dress sense has change. Homavazir adds, “I have finally learnt to make chhola bhatura and chicken dishes.”

Most of the Parsis staying in Lucknow have come from Mumbai and they find Lucknow very different in all aspects. “Lucknow is very slow. For people back in Mumbai, life starts at 5 am and Mumbai sleeps not before 12 am. But, in Lucknow, the day dawns at 12 pm and people go to bed by 11 pm. People have a much more relaxed lifestyle in Lucknow. Back in Mumbai, people are always rushing for some or the other work,” says another resident of Parsi Anjuman.

She adds, “Back in Mumbai we didn’t have such a good facility as far as servants are concerned. In Lucknow we have servants with us 24×7 if we wish so.”

Now, that the Parsis have been staying here for so many years, many of them have adopted the customs and traditions that people in Lucknow follow. Many of them have started performing the Laxmi Pujan on Diwali and started playing Holi.

But most of the Parsis miss Mumbai and their relatives who stay there. Some of them also miss the sea and the beaches back home and they don’t get to eat the authentic Parsi food at restaurants. And some say that they don’t have a proper place of worship in Lucknow as Lucknow does not have a Fire Temple and is a hindrance in following their customs. Some also point out that they are not being able to given their children proper Parsi values as the set-up around them is very different.

The main festivals for the Parsis in Lucknow are Navroz and Khordadsal. Narvoz is the biggest festival of the Parsi community. It is the first day of the first month of the Zoroastrian year. Homavazir says, “Navroz is not just about one day. On the day of Navroz we get up early in the morning and say our morning prayers. In Lucknow we don’t have a Fire Temple so we have to say our prayers at home. Otherwise Parsis go to the Fire Temple on Navroz.” She adds, “Khordadsal is the birthday of our guru. And it the second big festival for us.”

Original article here