First, the author
Second, The Book
First, the author:
To a serious student of Zarathushtian studies, the name
of Jamshid Soroush Soroushian carries a good deal of credibility and respect. Let me give
you a few examples. Mary Boyce is perhaps the most reputable western historian of the
Zarathushtrian religion. She has authored several books on Zarathushti subjects in the
latter part of the twentieth century. She dedicates her main book "A history of
Zoroastrianism," to Jamshid Soroush Soroushian of Kerman (2). In a later book "A
Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism," (3) Boyce expresses her gratitude to Jamshid
Soroushian for his help and patience with western scholars and his facilitation of all the
possible services at his disposal to them. Janet Kastenberg who recently published her
book "The Zoroastrians of Iran: Conversion, Assimilation, or Persistence,"
expresses her gratitude to Jamshid Soroushian for his guidance and deep knowledge of the
subject. Even in his post-retirement years Jamshid Soroushian continues to be active,
authoring books and articles on a variety of topics related to Zarathushtrian subjects. He
is well received by historians for his knowledge of Zarathushti, Persian literature and
history subjects. Emeritus professor Bastani Pareezi, a reputable Iranian historian,
writes the preface to the book under review.
Outside scholarly circles, Jamshid Soroushian is a prominent figure amongst the
Zarathushtis of Iran whose contributions and services to the Zarathushi community of Iran
are well known. For three generations, Soroushian and his forefathers were board members
of the Zarathushti Anjuman of Kerman. He is also a popular figure amongst the people of
his hometown, Kerman, where they usually call him "Arbab Shah Jamshid." He
founded and is sponsoring an annual conference to study the culture and history of Kerman
-- the "Kerman Shenasi" conference.
Second, the book:
This book is a valuable source for the first hand history of the
Zarathushtis of Kerman in recent centuries. Jamshid Soroushian, his father Soroush
Soroushian and grandfather Shahriar Khodabakhash all served as the heads of the
Zarathushti Anjuman in Kerman. Throughout this book there are detailed accounts of the
Zarathushti people and their lives prior to the removal of the Jaziyeh, the headtax
assigned to a non-Muslim person. Kerman throughout its long history has always hosted a
large Zarathushti population, at least until the end of the Safavid dynasty. Despite hard
living conditions, the Jaziyeh tax and many other forms of social and economic
discrimination, the Kermani Zarathushtis had fairly prosperous lives. Due to regional wars
this population was reduced significantly and suffered a great deal more under later
This book for the first time publishes several documents written by the members of the
Zarathushti Anjuman describing their intolerable living conditions. One can easily see the
economic discrimination, beatings, rapes and forced conversions imposed on these people.
Later chapters of this book contain a detailed account of Maneckji Hateria's travel to
Kerman along with his contributions to the community.
In short, every Zarathushti library
should hold a copy of this remarkable and original work.
Third, Ordering information and other
Jamshid Soroushian has published numerous articles in Farsi on subjects related to
Zarathushti religion, Persian history andliterature. His current published books are 1)
Ferdowsi's Shahnameh and the Achaemenians; 2) The role of education in Zarathushti
religion; 3) Water and cleanliness amongst Iranian Zarathushtis.
To place your order, visit Vohuman.Org Store
- Soroushian, Jamshid Soroush: History of the Zoroastrians in Kerman in recent centuries
- Boyce, Mary: A History of Zoroastrianism, Volume 1, E. J. Brill
- Boyce, Mary: A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism, Oxford University Press
- Kastenberg Amighi, Janet: Zoroastrians of Iran: Conversion, Assimilation, or
Persistence, AMS Press