Leaving Persia in successive migrations during the Islamic period, more than 1,000 years ago, Zoroastrians went in several different directions in an effort to preserve their religion and culture. The ones who arrived in India came to be known as Parsees (meaning Persians). Initially, the Parsees in India led an obscure life, mainly as agriculturalists keeping low profile. But under the British, around the 18th century, Parsees achieved prominence and flourished excelling in many different trades. It must be noted that while following the true essence of their faith, they also adopted Indian customs such as, Parsee women would wear saris, their food was fused with Indian flavours and they spoke the local language (Gujurati). At the same time, they have maintained reciting their prayers in Avestan (ancient Iranian language).
The Parsees and their contribution to the industrial and economical growth of India is above par. They have achieved fame in almost every field. Among the internationally known icons are Ratan Tata (Industrialist who led the Tata group into a global conglomerate), Zubin Mehta (Conductor of Western Classical music), Field Marshal Manekshaw (War hero), Freddie Mercury (Vocalist and song writer of the rock band, Queen) and Rohinton Mistry (an Indo-Canadian novelist). This visual documentation depicts the daily activities of Parsees in Mumbai and nearby towns.