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Zoroastrianism in India

Zoroastrianism in India
Total population
Regions with significant populations
All of India, but mostly Gujarat and Maharashtra
Indian languages

Zoroastrianism in India has significant history within the country. After the Islamic conquest of Greater Persia, Zoroastrianism declined in Persia but continued to flourish in India as a result of Indian refuge, protection and patronisation following their escape and subsequent migration.

Due to persecution of Zoroastrians in other countries and the liberal atmosphere and patronisation of India, today the largest population of Zoroastrians resides in India, where Zoroastrians have been allowed to play a notable role in the Indian economy, entertainment, the armed forces, and the Indian freedom movement during British Raj. The Zoroastrian groups are regarded as either Parsi or Irani depending on the time of migration to India.

When Islam became the predominant religion of areas including such present-day countries as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Oman, the Muslim invasion of Persia, launched by the Rashidun Caliphate in 633 AD, became a huge event in the history of the region. During these conquests, buildings and books were destroyed. Due to this persecution, Zoroastrians became refugees in India. One of the conditions of their refugee status was that they would not partake in missionary activities or marry outside their community. During this period, Zoroastrian traders faced execution outside India, including in China where many were killed during the Guangzhou massacre.

The immigration of Zoroastrians to India continued, and by 1477 they had lost all contact with Persia. Not until three hundred years had passed would they come into contact. Zoroastrians also played a notable role during the freedom movements of India.