Published by AMS Press, January 1990, 416pp.
This book published in the year 1990, reflects the results of the research the author
did on the history and the intricacies of the communal functioning of the Zarathushtian
community of Iran. She undertook this work while living in country during the years
1972-73 in partial fulfillment of her Masters of Sociology Degree requirement.
The author interviews many Zarathushtians in Iran, including community leaders,
activists, scholars, other members, as well as non-Zarathushtian scholars, and uses
scientific approaches to analyze the data she had gathered to come up observations on the
subject of Conversion, Assimilation, and Persistence amongst the Zarathushtian of Iran.
The book relates information on the rise and spread of Zarathushti, the fall of
Zoroastrian Empire, and the intermittent persecution they were subjected to.
The author examines the state of the modern Zarathushtian community of Iran tittering
almost on the verge of extinction just a century earlier and the infrastructure that
evolved around its emergence in the capital city of Tehran. The inter-community politics,
the perception of the people within the community of themselves, of their relationships
with their countryman is studied and analyzed.
In most instances, interesting comparisons are drawn between the plight of the
Zarathushtian community and the other minorities in Iran, which provides for a more
complete understanding for her findings. Even more interesting are the comparison she is
able to draw between the plight of the Zarathushtians in Iran and the Coptics in Egypt
both of whom came under similar assault. The Copts, considered indigenous people of Egypt
managed to survive in the millions compared to the Zarathushtians in Iran (indigenous
people of Iran) whose strength is even below 50,000.
The author even gets into a discussion of the subtleties of the Zarathushtians of Yazd
and Kerman, and their interactions.
In brief, the author has done a fine job of researching and documenting a lot of
interesting facts about the state of the Zarathushtians in Iran, the circumstances
surrounding the emergence of the modern Zarathushtian community of Iran and all the
factors impacting its existence.
Reading this book can give the students of history and religion a good perspective on
what can go wrong and right in a country/community where religion takes the center stage.
To those interested in the history of the religion of Zarathushtra in its country of
origin, this book provides for good perspective on the subject.