Book, Punching the Parsis


Mushirul Hasan writes in the first paragraph of Wit and Wisdom: Pickings from the Parsee Punch, that “As in the case of Muslims, the Parsis, a relatively small community, was savagely attacked in the proverbs, and caricatured more generally. A Parsi loses no time in breaking his word; a Parsi youth never tells the truth; a bankrupt Parsi starts a liquor shop and celebrates the day of Zoroaster by drinking brandy. As for domestic scandal, it is hinted at in the punning proverb, ‘All is dark (andhyara) in a house where you find an andhyara or Parsi priest.’”If these attacks and caricatures were as general as Professor Hasan makes them out to be, it is surprising they are not more frequently encountered in other writings of the period under study (the late 19th century) or, indeed, why they have not retained their virulence in the public perception of Parsis today.Price: Rs 795


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