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Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India: A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY Hardcover – October 7, 2004
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...reminds us once again about the unique contribution which all cultures-and-communities make towards the richness-and-diversity of this world... -- Rohinton Mistry, Writer
...stunning achievement...As a Parsi, these remarkable photographs bring to life the vivid pageant of living amongst my people. -- Homi K. Bhabha, Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of English Literature, Harvard University
A monumental book...a remarkable marriage of heart and minda book of photographs that tells many good stories alongside. -- Mira Nair, Filmmaker
I am grateful to Sooni Taraporevala...this photographic journey of contemporary Parsi life...a book I can wholeheartedly recommend... -- Bapsi Sidhwa
Sooni Taraporevala's book...is indeed the finest documentation of the life and achievement of our community in 20th century India. -- Maestro Zubin Mehta
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Rarely do you find a book of the quality for the price.
Highly recommended for those who are Parsi, interested in Parsis, or Zoroastrianism.
"People have never asked me, as they should have done, what the name Zarathustra precisely means in my mouth, in the mouth of the first Immoralist; for what distinguishes that philosopher from all others in the past is the very fact that he was exactly the reverse of an immoralist. Zarathustra was the first to see in the struggle between good and evil the essential wheel in the working of things."
The story of the author's family, temple, and home life is interesting enough, but the book is rewarding on sheerly photographic merits alone. The familiar urban India of crumbling concrete, colorful shutters, thronging streets, and hole in the wall shops is vividly reproduced here. It is oddly refreshing to not have India's poverty on display--we know it exists, but that's not the point of this book. The people herein range from the wealthy to the shopkeeper class. It is not, as similar books by non-Indians are prone to be, a cavalcade of exotica.
Some of the uniformly excellent photos include these:
A deaf, wizened grandfather shouting at a fountain pen repairman.
An abandoned, one-room temple, still with its devotional portraits and wall clock, inhabited only by a crow on the ceiling fan.
Middle-aged businessmen, most half in the bag already, crowding the bar at a celebration
Young priests performing a rite over a ceremonial feast, on the floor in a daylight interior space.
A wealthy art patron and wife, in their sumptuous living room.
Several river scenes, with devotional activity such as reciting verses or praying in the water.
A Parsi and a Nepalese seated together on the train--a contrast of ethnic types.
A man with a distinctive face, such as Leonardo da Vinci collected in his sketchbooks, snapped with the telephoto lens while waiting for the bus.
And plenty of home scenes, like one of mother, friend, and tots, enjoying a play date on the English-looking lawn. Except that it isn't grass, but some other wide-bladed carpet plant, instead.
These scenes are all expertly and affectionately photographed, and presented with genuine warmth.