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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

There are several naturalised British subjects in Yezd


Bombay Society nominates and sends an agent to reside in Teheran, the capital of Persia, to look after the interests of helpless Zoroastrians, and the Parsees of Yezd have moreover a national assembly called the Anguman-i-Nasseri.

I was entertained by this interesting body of men, and received from their president, Ardeshir Meheban Irani, much of the valuable information here given about the Yezd Parsees. The Association has an elected body of twenty-eight members, all honorary, the most venerable and intelligent of the community, and its aims are to advocate the social rights of the Zoroastrians as a race, to settle disputes arising between the individuals of the community, to defend helpless Parsees against Moslem wantonness, and to improve their condition generally.

The Association was established on the 3rd of February, 1902, by the late Mr. Kaikosroo Firendaz Irani, the then agent of the Bombay Society. In this work he had the advice and help of the leading men of the community.

There are several naturalised British subjects in Yezd, including the President of the Association--who speaks and writes English as well as any Englishman--but it is greatly to be regretted that these men cannot obtain proper protection from the British Government. Yet these fellows could be of very great assistance to England in spreading British influence in Yezd, not to speak of increasing

British trade--which they are only too anxious to do, if a chance is given them--in conjunction with the representatives of their race in Bombay--the most Anglicised, except in religion, of all our subject races of India. There was formerly a British Vice-Consul in Yezd, but for some reason known to the Government, while Russia finds it expedient to establish Consular agents in all the principal centres of Persia, we have actually withdrawn our representative even from so important a city as Yezd!

The Parsee communities of Yezd and Bombay are in constant communication with each other, and it is well known what marvellous prosperity these fugitives of Fars have now attained in Bombay, through their honesty and hard work, especially since their connection with the British, whose civilisation, with the exception of religion and the hat, they have entirely adopted. Most of them speak perfect English, and many of the sons of the wealthier Parsees have been educated at universities in England. We find them working banking houses on a large scale, and cotton mills, running lines of steamers and shipbuilding yards. They trade considerably with the Far East and Far West, and with every nook in Asia. Even as far as Samarkand, Bokhara, Siberia, Nijni-Novgorod, and St. Petersburg, Parsee traders are to be found, and in Japan, China, the United States, and Canada. With England they carry on a very extensive trade, and through them as intermediaries much of the import trade into India finds its way into neighbouring markets more difficult of access to the direct British exporter.

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