Modern Asian Studies


From Crisis to Community Definition: The Dynamics of Eighteenth-Century Parsi Philanthropy

David L. Whitea1

a1 Appalachian State University

India's Parsis as a group have long been noted for their entrepreneurial talent. Parsis have played an important role in the growth of Indian industry in the nineteenth century, pioneering cotton textile industries in western India. Parsis were first described by early European visitors like J. Ovington as the principal weavers of Gujarat who worked primarily in ‘silks and stuffs’. In the late seventeenth century, Parsis began to participate in trade as ‘a large number of Parsi merchants began to operate in Swally and some of them like Asa Vora bought pinnaces (small coastal ships) to transport their goods to Basra and other ports in the area.’