Pakistani Community Youth Dance Competition in Karachi Club leaked
The ancestors of today’s Parsis in Pakistan — followers of Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest religions — fled Persia over a millennium ago for the safety of the western Indian subcontinent. Legend has it Parsi leader Jadi Rana made a pledge to the then emperor of India that Zoroastrians, known in the region as Parsis, would not be a burden but would blend in like sugar into milk.
But today they are a fading people across the subcontinent, with many affluent families from India and Pakistan leaving for the West. The community, which has long been active in business and charity, has been unnerved by the upsurge in Islamist extremist violence. One expert said the loss of the Parsis in the society would be a “huge blow” to Pakistan’s diversity.
Only around 1,500 are left in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, where they have “fire temples”, community centres and final resting places also known as the “Tower of silence” — where the remains of their dead are left in the open to be consumed by vultures according to their tradition.
Parsis are often called “fire worshippers” because their religion considers fire — together with water — as agents of purity and fires are lit as part of religious ceremonies.
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