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Tarikh e Zartoshtian e Kerman (in Farsi)
A history of the Zoroastrians in Kerman in recent centuries
Jamshid Soroush Soroushian

Book Review

Varza, Jamshid

First, the author
Second, The Book

Third, Ordering..



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First, the author:
Jamshid Soroushian.jpg (6515 bytes)To a serious student of Zarathushtian studies, the name of Jamshid Soroush Soroushian carries a good deal of credibility and respect. Let me give you a few examples. Mary Boyce is perhaps the most reputable western historian of the Zarathushtrian religion. She has authored several books on Zarathushti subjects in the latter part of the twentieth century. She dedicates her main book "A history of Zoroastrianism," to Jamshid Soroush Soroushian of Kerman (2). In a later book "A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism," (3) Boyce expresses her gratitude to Jamshid Soroushian for his help and patience with western scholars and his facilitation of all the possible services at his disposal to them. Janet Kastenberg who recently published her book "The Zoroastrians of Iran: Conversion, Assimilation, or Persistence," expresses her gratitude to Jamshid Soroushian for his guidance and deep knowledge of the subject. Even in his post-retirement years Jamshid Soroushian continues to be active, authoring books and articles on a variety of topics related to Zarathushtrian subjects. He is well received by historians for his knowledge of Zarathushti, Persian literature and history subjects. Emeritus professor Bastani Pareezi, a reputable Iranian historian, writes the preface to the book under review.

Outside scholarly circles, Jamshid Soroushian is a prominent figure amongst the Zarathushtis of Iran whose contributions and services to the Zarathushi community of Iran are well known. For three generations, Soroushian and his forefathers were board members of the Zarathushti Anjuman of Kerman. He is also a popular figure amongst the people of his hometown, Kerman, where they usually call him "Arbab Shah Jamshid." He founded and is sponsoring an annual conference to study the culture and history of Kerman -- the "Kerman Shenasi" conference.

Second, the book:
Soroushian Tarikh e Zartoshtian e Kerman.jpg (9673 bytes)This book is a valuable source for the first hand history of the Zarathushtis of Kerman in recent centuries. Jamshid Soroushian, his father Soroush Soroushian and grandfather Shahriar Khodabakhash all served as the heads of the Zarathushti Anjuman in Kerman. Throughout this book there are detailed accounts of the Zarathushti people and their lives prior to the removal of the Jaziyeh, the headtax assigned to a non-Muslim person. Kerman throughout its long history has always hosted a large Zarathushti population, at least until the end of the Safavid dynasty. Despite hard living conditions, the Jaziyeh tax and many other forms of social and economic discrimination, the Kermani Zarathushtis had fairly prosperous lives. Due to regional wars this population was reduced significantly and suffered a great deal more under later regimes.

This book for the first time publishes several documents written by the members of the Zarathushti Anjuman describing their intolerable living conditions. One can easily see the economic discrimination, beatings, rapes and forced conversions imposed on these people. Later chapters of this book contain a detailed account of Maneckji Hateria's travel to Kerman along with his contributions to the community.

In short, every Zarathushti library should hold a copy of this remarkable and original work.

Third, Ordering information and other publications:
Jamshid Soroushian has published numerous articles in Farsi on subjects related to Zarathushti religion, Persian history andliterature. His current published books are 1) Ferdowsi's Shahnameh and the Achaemenians; 2) The role of education in Zarathushti religion; 3) Water and cleanliness amongst Iranian Zarathushtis.

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  1. Soroushian, Jamshid Soroush: History of the Zoroastrians in Kerman in recent centuries
  2. Boyce, Mary: A History of Zoroastrianism, Volume 1, E. J. Brill
  3. Boyce, Mary: A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism, Oxford University Press
  4. Kastenberg Amighi, Janet: Zoroastrians of Iran: Conversion, Assimilation, or Persistence, AMS Press