Jesse Palsetia: The Parsis and Zoroastrianism in India

/ University of Toronto Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies


Jesse Palsetia


September 9, 2023

Welcome back to the 5th season Parse! Join the host, Yasamin Jameh, for an exciting episode, a lecture given by Dr. Jesse Palsetia on the Parsis of India.
Palsetia gave this lecture as part of the Zoroastrian Studies Symposium in honour of Ervard Dr. Jehan Bagli which took place at U of T on September 9th, 2023. Palsetia gives a brief history of the Parsis, an ethnoreligious group of the Indian subcontinent adhering to Zoroastrianism who are descended from Persians who migrated to Medieval India during and after the Arab conquest of the Persian Empire to escape religious persecution and conversion to Islam. He traces their origins as a small and obscure group of refugees, to their emergence as a very prosperous mercantile community in British India during the colonial period as a result of their industriousness and unique condition of being particularly suited to cosmopolitanism due to their minority status.
Jesse S. Palsetia is a professor in the Department of History at the University of Guelph in Canada. He is a historian of India and a specialist in the history of the Parsis of India. His work examines the interaction between Indians and imperial ideologies, and Indian responses to the pressures of colonialism. He has previously published works on the Parsis of India, the history of Bombay city, and Indians in the colonial environment. His most recent book is Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy of Bombay: Partnership and Public Culture in Empire published by Oxford University Press in 2015.
To watch the full talk, click here: ⁠⁠