The Parsi Elite Welcomed in their Host Societies

Agnostic over at Dusk in Autumn poses a very interesting question

Why are Parsi elites welcomed, while Jewish and Chinese elites are reviled?

Even though they are only one case, it is such a strong counter-example that it must make us reconsider what truly underlies the psychology of anger toward ethnic elites. The Parsis, like the Jews and the Chinese, are not a native ethnic group of the society where they have strong influence, having come from Persia into India. (While they do share some genetic and cultural heritage, it would still be like a group of Armenians settling and wielding much control over the economy in Ireland.) They also came to their high status gradually through greater intelligence and industriousness, not through force. And they have been living in their host society for hundreds of years — plenty of time for the seeds of envy and rioting to have been sown.

And yet, there has been no history of pogroms against the Parsis. If anything, they’re seen as more of a national treasure, not that Indians worship them or anything. All the ingredients for an explosion of ethnic hatred and rioting would seem to have been present for centuries, so what gives?

I would say that there are multiple reasons for this, interwoven between culture, religion, spirit of entrepreneurship and many other nuances.

Do read the entire article and comment on it here.

  • Jkws

    Deep bow in gratitude to Arsan Sam Wadia for publishing this thought provoking blog.  The value of a writing can sometimes be determined by the number of ideas it releases in its readers and the number of questions which follow; on that basis, this blog is certainly stimulating.  Our knowledge of DNA can be rather limiting, examining only biological/psychometric conclusions.  Wouldnt it be incredible if a measure for a “spiritually genetic” component could be found/proved just as the familiar DNA was.  The Hadron Collider now searches for the Higgs Boson (the God particle); now there is a new venue for science if I ever saw one.  I tip my hat to those respected scientist who search for the “spiritual” further element; perhaps our current panorama of thought is just too young, too much in its beginnings for grand summarizing conclusions to be made.  Yet, this blog evidences multiple unanswered mysteries for the WHY.  Upon one thing the readers seem to agree: the Parsi Elite do seem to exist in numbers greater than in other elite populations compared to their wholes.  India has been the petrit dish during these past centuries, yet the Persian genes have an equally strong influence….another nurture vs nature equation; the fact remains that genetic material cannot survive unless it is protected and the Indians can certainly claim a large piece of that pie.  This leaves us at the doorway of enlightenment.  A tiny population of individuals full of mystery has survived.  There seem to be elements present which defy explanation.  Let’s all step out with courage as we engage
    scientific method searching for answers to these mysteries; and, let all nations of the world model India as they initiate their own Protectorate around the Parsi Elite who have migrated to countries worldwide.

  • Jkws

    Deep bow in gratitude to Arsan Sam Wadia for publishing this thought provoking blog.  The value of a writing can sometimes be determined by the number of ideas it releases in its readers and the number of questions which follow; on that basis, this blog is certainly stimulating.  Our knowledge of DNA can be rather limiting, examining only biological/psychometric conclusions.  Wouldnt it be incredible if a measure for a “spiritually genetic” component could be found/proved just as the familiar DNA was.  The Hadron Collider now searches for the Higgs Boson (the God particle); now there is a new venue for science if I ever saw one.  I tip my hat to those respected scientist who search for the “spiritual” further element; perhaps our current panorama of thought is just too young, too much in its beginnings for grand summarizing conclusions to be made.  Yet, this blog evidences multiple unanswered mysteries for the WHY.  Upon one thing the readers seem to agree: the Parsi Elite do seem to exist in numbers greater than in other elite populations compared to their wholes.  India has been the petrit dish during these past centuries, yet the Persian genes have an equally strong influence….another nurture vs nature equation; the fact remains that genetic material cannot survive unless it is protected and the Indians can certainly claim a large piece of that pie.  This leaves us at the doorway of enlightenment.  A tiny population of individuals full of mystery has survived.  There seem to be elements present which defy explanation.  Let’s all step out with courage as we engage
    scientific method searching for answers to these mysteries; and, let all nations of the world model India as they initiate their own Protectorate around the Parsi Elite who have migrated to countries worldwide.

  • J Kumana

    Jewish and Chinese elites have typically have been highly cohesive, and acquired immense wealth and power in their host societies, but they have typically not extended a helping hand to the less fortunate outside their close-knit communities.  The Parsis of India, on the other hand, have done so.  There are many educational and health-care institutions that are open to non-Parsis.  In Parsi founded companies, non-aprsis can expect to make career progress based on merit.  Also, Parsis do not engage in economic exploitation of the public, like the Jews of New York who dominate national financial institutions (Wall St, the Fed Reserve, etc) and the fate of US politicians through AIPAC.  Jews have a similar history of politico-economic domination in the UK, Canada, France, Australia, and pre-war Germany (which is what inspired the Nazi movement).  For example, Rupert Murdoch, who is facing corruption charges in the UK, is Jewish.  He also owns the Wall St Journal in the USA.

    Don’t know much about the Chinese, but they have behaved similarly in certain Asian countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Viet Nam), though not in Latin America or the West.

    Parsis who have settled in the West do not have the numbers to achieve comparable domination, even if they wanted to.  This is due mainly to the exclusionary policies foisted upon the community by right-wing hardliners who ex-communicate parsis who marry outside the community on the basis of maintaining “genetic purity” (has no basis in fact).  Actual genetic studies have shown (cannot remember the exact publication) that only about 3% of present day parsis have DNA that closely correlates with Irani DNA.  And this is probably due to the steady influx of immigrants from Iran to India continuing to the present day.  The majority of parsi DNA more closely matches the Gujaratis, which indicates significant racial mixing over the past 1000 years.

    The decline in numbers of parsis in India may be partly due to having fewer children per family, but is also largely due to how parsis are defined.  If, for example, we defined a parsi as someone who had at least one parsi parent, then the population would be much larger, probably double what it was in 1941.

  • J Kumana

    Jewish and Chinese elites have typically have been highly cohesive, and acquired immense wealth and power in their host societies, but they have typically not extended a helping hand to the less fortunate outside their close-knit communities.  The Parsis of India, on the other hand, have done so.  There are many educational and health-care institutions that are open to non-Parsis.  In Parsi founded companies, non-aprsis can expect to make career progress based on merit.  Also, Parsis do not engage in economic exploitation of the public, like the Jews of New York who dominate national financial institutions (Wall St, the Fed Reserve, etc) and the fate of US politicians through AIPAC.  Jews have a similar history of politico-economic domination in the UK, Canada, France, Australia, and pre-war Germany (which is what inspired the Nazi movement).  For example, Rupert Murdoch, who is facing corruption charges in the UK, is Jewish.  He also owns the Wall St Journal in the USA.

    Don’t know much about the Chinese, but they have behaved similarly in certain Asian countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Viet Nam), though not in Latin America or the West.

    Parsis who have settled in the West do not have the numbers to achieve comparable domination, even if they wanted to.  This is due mainly to the exclusionary policies foisted upon the community by right-wing hardliners who ex-communicate parsis who marry outside the community on the basis of maintaining “genetic purity” (has no basis in fact).  Actual genetic studies have shown (cannot remember the exact publication) that only about 3% of present day parsis have DNA that closely correlates with Irani DNA.  And this is probably due to the steady influx of immigrants from Iran to India continuing to the present day.  The majority of parsi DNA more closely matches the Gujaratis, which indicates significant racial mixing over the past 1000 years.

    The decline in numbers of parsis in India may be partly due to having fewer children per family, but is also largely due to how parsis are defined.  If, for example, we defined a parsi as someone who had at least one parsi parent, then the population would be much larger, probably double what it was in 1941.

  • Zarathushtri

    I welcome this article and am very proud to be a Parsi, although I wish Parsi elites would do more to help their own.    

    I live in a northern town in the UK where there is a sizable Muslim Indian and Pakistani community.  I look at these communities, they way they help each other, the way they network with each other and the way they have made themselves successful within a few generations and think good luck to them. The examples of these two communities proves the old saying,” It’s not what you know but who you know”.  I only wish I had a community to network with such as these two communities have.  My point is why do we Parsis not do the same?  Why are there stories of poor Parsis when our community has such enormous resources?  Do stalwarts of our community not realize that if we cannot help our own and advance our own then what hope is there for us?  Or have I got it wrong?  Do Parsis help each other for the betterment of the individual and the community?

    I read the article about CJI Saroah Homi Kapadia calling for Parsis to return to India.  I would love to do so just so I can be part of a community and feel as if I belong but I have my doubts about the cohesiveness of our community and the ability to bind in these tough times for our community.A Parsi company is considered the UK’s largest private sector employer, the Tata Group.  Is there any effort within the group to consider their own or have the Tatas who were once Dasturs forgotten their roots?

    Can anyone answer these questions? If so please enlighten me!

  • Zarathushtri

    I welcome this article and am very proud to be a Parsi, although I wish Parsi elites would do more to help their own.    

    I live in a northern town in the UK where there is a sizable Muslim Indian and Pakistani community.  I look at these communities, they way they help each other, the way they network with each other and the way they have made themselves successful within a few generations and think good luck to them. The examples of these two communities proves the old saying,” It’s not what you know but who you know”.  I only wish I had a community to network with such as these two communities have.  My point is why do we Parsis not do the same?  Why are there stories of poor Parsis when our community has such enormous resources?  Do stalwarts of our community not realize that if we cannot help our own and advance our own then what hope is there for us?  Or have I got it wrong?  Do Parsis help each other for the betterment of the individual and the community?

    I read the article about CJI Saroah Homi Kapadia calling for Parsis to return to India.  I would love to do so just so I can be part of a community and feel as if I belong but I have my doubts about the cohesiveness of our community and the ability to bind in these tough times for our community.A Parsi company is considered the UK’s largest private sector employer, the Tata Group.  Is there any effort within the group to consider their own or have the Tatas who were once Dasturs forgotten their roots?

    Can anyone answer these questions? If so please enlighten me!