Arrivals: Parsis, Pilgrims and Puritans
This prelude to the designated timeframe of the book (1771–1865) explores some of the perceived parallels between the immigration of English “Pilgrim” and “Puritan” groups to the northeastern coast of America in the early decades of the seventeenth century, and that of Zoroastrians from Iran to the northwest Indian coast of Gujarat several centuries earlier, and from there to Bombay under British rule. A study of the founding narratives of each group—which were almost contemporary in their earliest written form—highlights their emphases on the preservation of their respective religion as a motivation for relocation. It is clear that socioeconomic factors were also at play. The early commercial enterprises and infrastructures of each group are introduced as a backdrop to their initial interactions with each other, as goods began to be shipped across the thousands of miles between the two continents.