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A professional photographer, Sooni Taraporevala, is also the acclaimed screenwriter of the award-winning films Mississippi Masala and Salaam Bombay. Born and raised in Bombay, she received her BA from Harvard and an MA from New York University.

Parsis

Sooni Taraporevala

The result of a twenty-year labour of love, photographer and screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala’s Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India offers a rare, insider's view of how the Parsis, a religious and ethnic minority of India and the South Asian diaspora who follow the religion of Zoroastrianism, endures today. UNESCO recently celebrated 3000 years of Zoroastrian culture. Today, the Parsis are a proud but often misunderstood religious minority, small in number but significant in influence — the community has produced many well-known leaders and artists, including the world-renowned conductor, Zubin Mehta; the late rock singer Freddy Mercury, of Queen; and the international award-winning author, Rohinton Mistry.

As a people, the Parsis are a highly literate and educated people, comprising one of India’s most wealthy and urbanized communities, yet they are also the smallest — and they also follow what many would consider Stone Age rituals: perhaps most notably, leaving their dead out in specially designed open air towers for vultures to devour. The words and images in Taraporevala’s unique book chronicle, for the first time, the faces, voices, and unique culture of the Parsis — a community of intense contradictions.