Farzad Irani, a physical therapist by profession, born and brought up in New York happily devoured a plate of egg chutney pattice and mutton dhansak, while re-familiarizing himself with Parsi delicacies during his 15-day trip to western India. During his trip, he wants to arouse his connections with his ethnic and religious identity as a Zoroastrian.
Irani when he was just 12-year-old, had visited Mumbai in order to go through his Navjote, which is the traditional Zoroastrian baptism ceremony. Presently, he came back with Return to Roots organization, holding a dream to connect young Parses and Irani Zoroastrians with their legacy, holding the aspiration to build up a community that once used to thrive in and around India’s largest city.
According to folklore, Zoroastrians reached by boat on India’s west coast between the 8th and 10th centuries, running away from religious persecution in Persia. They swiftly mixed with the local population, adopting the Gujarati language as well as the local customs; yet firmly holding onto their religious beliefs. That first wave was known as Parses; a second wave, during the 19th century, became another subset called Iranis. From that moment, they have succeeded and generated some of India’s most outstanding lawyers, merchants, and doctors.
The organization, Return to Roots intends to help young Zoroastrians to strengthen their connections and immerse oneself more acutely with the threatened culture.
The two-week tour of Return to Roots’ would consist of meeting priests, homes and restaurants, worshipping at local fire temples, examine heritage and culture, and analyze present-day debates within the community. It would emphasize the importance of maintaining the Parsi and Irani populations.
Irani, who is a Zoroastrian, during the Zoroastrian Youth Congress, met fellow believers. The Zoroastrian Youth Congress is held every four years in various locations all around the globe.
The Return to Roots tours will start from Mumbai, as it houses the largest numbers of Zoroastrians, and it would be visiting Udvada, where the Parsi refugees first settled, and Navsari, home to Parsi rural communities. The organizers are hoping that the itinerary will expand to Iran in the course of time, where Zoroastrianism, are regarded to be the oldest monotheistic religion, which originated 4,000 years ago.