“The Tatas, Freddie Mercury and Other Bawas,” by Coomi Kapoor commemorates noted Parsis

The pioneer in political journalism Coomi Kapoor’s new book – The Tatas, Freddie Mercury and Other Bawas is published by Westland Non-Fiction.

In this engaging, accessible, intimate history of the Parsis, Coomi pores through the names, stories, achievements and the continuing success of this tiny but extraordinary minority. She delves deep into both the question of what it means to be a Parsi in India, and how integral the community & contributions became to what it meant to be India.

Coomi Kapoor writes an intimate history of her community, delving deep into the question of what it means to be Parsi in India

The Parsis are fast disappearing. There are now fewer than 60,000 in all of India. But since their arrival in India from Central Asia, somewhere between the eight and tenth centuries, the community’s contribution to their adopted home has been extraordinary. The history of India over the last century or so is filigreed by the contributions of Parsis in every field, from nuclear physics to rock and roll, by such names as Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Petit, Homi Bhabha, Sam Manekshaw, Jamsetji Tata, Ardeshir Godrej, Cyrus Poonawalla, Zubin Mehta and Farrokh Bulsara (aka Freddie Mercury).

In this engaging, accessible, intimate history of the Parsis, the senior journalist and columnist Coomi Kapoor, herself a Parsi, pores through the names, stories, achievements and the continuing success of this tiny but extraordinary minority. She delves deep into both the question of what it means to be Parsi in India, and how integral the community’s contributions—from tanchoi silk to chikoos—became to what it meant to be Indian.

In Kapoor’s hands, the story of the Parsis becomes a rip-roaring, incident-filled adventure: from dominating the trade with China to becoming synonymous with Bombay, once, arguably, a city defined by its Parsis; from the business success of the Tatas, the Mistrys, the Godrejs and the Wadias, to such current contributions as the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines by the Parsi-founded Serum Institute of India.

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