16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2000
After completing her first book (Persuasions of the Witch's Craft) on how rational and otherwise mainstream people make sense of highly non-mainstream religious practice and belief, Tanya Luhrmann went to study Parsis, followers of a dualist religion of Iranian origin, now living mainly in northwestern India. She found two things: first, that dualist theology plays little role in how Parsis make sense of their daily lives; and second, that despite having a high standard of living, many Indian Parsis feel both alienated from the larger Indian society (where they have little place in the debates between Hindu and Muslim majorities) and critical of their own community, leading them either to dwell on the glories of the colonial past, when they were the favorites of the British Raj, or to expatriate to Britain, the US, and elsewhere. Drawing from literary portrayals of Parsis, historical archives, and interviews with Parsis in Bombay and abroad, Luhrmann paints a fascinating and sympathetic picture of a former colonial elite. The psychological lessons she draws contribute to our understanding not only of Parsis, but of the experience of privileged minorities during and after colonialism and in diasporic communities today.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2006
I read this book for a class, and really found it interesting. I would recommend it to anyone who is curious about post imperial colonialism, the Parsi, or ethnographies. It was a bit challenging at first, but then I got into it and learned a lot of good stuff.