Zoroastrians in Britain: The Ratanbai Katrak Lectures: University of Oxford 1985

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Zoroastrianism is the religion of ancient Iran, dating back over a thousand years before the time of Christ. It is also the religion of Britain's oldest South Asian minority, with a history going back to 1724, From the contribution to the Zoroastrian MPs Naoroji and Bhownagree in the nineteenth century to the transmission of their heritage and concerns in the 1990s, this is the first complete study of the community. With the largest Zoroastrian population outside the `old countries' living in London, the British community has played an important part in the modern history of Zoroastrianism. They furnish a unique opportunity to trace the history and experience of an Asian community in the West for well over a hundred years, with a wide variety of members from rural and urban India, Pakistan, East Africa, as well as the original homeland, Iran, and a substantial proportion of Zoroastrians who are British-born. The book is based on an extensive study of archival sources, a large survey questionnaire, a programme of structured interviews, and over twenty years of the author's personal contact with the community. The book includes discussion of many important contemporary issues, such as racial prejudice, gender issues, generational differences, attitudes towards British society and to the `old country'-and argues that religion is an increasingly important concern among British South Asian minorities.