The definitive and now extremely scarce book on the Parsis (Zoroastrians of Persia) written by an insider. The first volume bears a long inscription with the signature of the author, addressed to Miss Beatrice Tolkien — the half-cousin of famous author JRR Tolkien — and was probably in her library.
From the Author’s Introduction:
A special but melancholy interest attaches to this Volume I. The three chapters contained therein have been translated by Miss Eatanbai Ardesir Framji Vakil, a ‘ Bachelor of Arts ’ of the University of Bombay. While the pages of Les Parsis were passing through the press in Paris, Mlle. Menant — as stated in my “Foreword” — used to transmit them to me, and Miss Eatanbai very kindly undertook to translate them into English. The lady was able to translate only upto the end of chapter the third, when her brief but happy career was closed somewhat suddenly. She passed away in 1895 at the early age of twenty-six, and her memory I have deemed it to be my duty to preserve by publishing her translation of the first-three chapters which make up this first volume. The subsequent chapters — with the author’s Preface and the Introduction — have been translated by the Eev. J. Wastie Green, M.A., of Cambridge, Senior Classical Master in Trinity College, Glenalmond, and late Warden of Victoria College, B.C., and some-time Governor to His Highness the Crown Prince of Siam. I hope those who are in a position to judge of the translation will find it satisfactorily done. Those whose knowledge of English and French may be limited will not — I hope — attempt to sit in judgement over this great and arduous undertaking of Miss Vakil and Eev. Wastie Green.
Volume I. of the English edition comprises chapters on, I. — The exodus of Parsis from Persia to India : II . — Z oroastrians in Persia, that is, the history of the remnants left in Persia after the alleged exodus : III.— Population . Properly speaking, next after chapter the third, should have followed, in the same volume I., the three subsequent chapters on Usages, Costumes, and Fetes, as all these six chapters give a more or less complete and comprehensive idea in re the Parsis in India, in so far as what the six chapters treat of. But, as the work
of printing progressed, I found that, — with the use of antique paper,— to embody all the first-six chapters in one volume with the’ numerous Plates inserted by me, would make it somewhat : unwieldy. I have therefore placed Chapters IV, Usages, V. — Costumes, and VI. — Fetes, in volume the second, and have affixed to it a very extensive Index of Names and Subjects, comprised in the first-two volumes.
Chap. I. — Exodus
Chap. II. — The Zoroastrians in Persia
Chap. III.— Population
Chap. IV. — Costumes
Chap. V.— Usages
Chap. VI — Fetes
Chap. VII. — Birth
Chap. VIII— Investiture
Chap. IX- — Marriage
Chap. X.— Death
Chap. XL — After-Death
Chap. XII. — Dakhma (‘Towers of Silence’)
Chap. XIII.— The Panchayat (‘Synod of Elders’)
Chap. XIV.— Modern Legislation for Parsis
Chap. XV.— Education : i. — Education of Men, ii. — Education of Women
Chap. XVI — Commerce
Chap. XVII. — Literature
Chap. XVIII.— Politics
Chap. XIX. — Religious Literature : (a Supplementary Chapter, by the Editor of the English Edition.)