About the Author:
Dastur Dr. Hormazdyar Dastur Kayoji Mirza (M.A., Ph.D.), the High Priest
of the Iranshahr Atashbehram at Udvada, was born in Udvada, India in
1907. He studied ancient and Middle Iranian languages, culture and
history, as well as Sanskrit and Aramaic at the School of Oriental and
African Studies where he did his Ph.D. work under Dr. W. B. Henning's
supervision. After completion of his doctorate studies, he returned to
India and continued his research in ancient Avesta & Pahlavi languages.
He served as Professor of Avesta and Pahlavi at various Madressas and at
the University of Bombay until his retirement in 1987. He has served the
Zartoshty community of India for over 55 years, as a Vada Dasturji as well
as a scholar. He has lectured widely in India and abroad and has produced
numerous books and publications on the religion, culture, history,
languages, and on issues pertaining to the religion of Zarathushtra.
About the Book:
Outlines of Parsi History by Dasturji Dr. Hormazdyar Kayoji Mirza is a
compendium on ancient and modern history of Iran – it’s religion,
literature and art. In the Preface, High Priest Dasturji Kaikhusroo
JamaspAsa labels the composition as an ambitious lay out: a bulky volume
that would deter a casual student. The style of presentation is rather
heavy but interesting, providing instructions on various fields of Iranian
culture along with the history. It exhibits the author’s vast reading,
great depth of learning and scholarship. The book was first published in
1974 and a second edition was published in 1987 in Mumbai, India.
The scope of this book is rather wide,
covering numerous fields of knowledge, supported by profound research and
by quotations from ancient and modern works by competent authors,
including verses from Firdausi’s famous epic, Shahname. Modern books on
Iranian and Persian history, particularly by the western authors,
generally disregard ancient Iranian historical tradition and commence
their account of Iranian history with the Medians and the Achaemenians.
They completely ignore pre historic dynasties and the ancient Iranian
tradition. Dasturji Mirza’s Outlines of History starts out with a
traditional account of the Worldly Creations as outlined in the Avesta
starting out with the First Man and the first Human Pair.
Its major tone and contribution, however, is
historical, dealing with various dynasties that ruled over Iran:
Peshdadian, Kayanian, Achaemenian, Macedonian, Pontus, Ashkanian-Parthian
and Sasanian. Historical accounts of post-Sasanian Parsi settlements and
of Parsi era have also been included. It is amazing how the learned
scholar plods through meager details, even legendary, bringing the reader
up to date.
The book outlines the Zarathushti scriptures,
Avesta and Pahlavi Literature, Sanskrit and Gujarati writings as well as
important Manuscripts and Literary Treasures of the Parsi Priests. There
is an account on the Date of Zoroaster with quotes from Greek scholars
that result in assigning a high antiquity dating him no later than 6000
B.C. An account of the life story of Zarathushtra followed by an account
of the teachings of Zarathushtra follows. The book further deals with
other important subjects: various aspects of our religion, Zoroastrian
virtues and characteristics, the life after death, biological
individuality, archeological findings, population, history of Zoroastrian
manuscripts, Holy fires in ancient Iran, festivals, art, temples, etc. Our
beliefs, customs, rites and literature are also described in detail, with
the author’s Introduction and concluding notes. Quotations are supplied
from numerous rare books, even Sanskrit, that are tucked away in Libraries
and are unknown to an average Zarathushti.
The book ends with chapters on, Ancient
Iranian Art in Brief outlines -Median Art, Achaemenian Art, Parthian Art
and Sasanian Art. The style of presentation is rather heavy but
interesting, providing instructions on various fields of Iranian culture.
Dasturji Mirza’s Outline of Parsi History is a legend, history, geography,
demography, religion, rites, etc. The book presents a bonanza to eager
students of Iran and Parsi History.
Other books by Dasturji Dr. Hormazdyar Kayoji
Mirza are: The Zoroastrian Religion, Some
Religious Problems Facing the Parsi Community, Atash Adaran - A Modern
Substitution For Atash Behram and Conversion In Zoroastrianism - A Myth