Social History of Zoroastrians of Yazd

Tašakorī, ʿAlī-ʾAkbar. 2020. tārīḫ-e ejtemāʿī-ye zartoštīyān-e yazd [Social History of Zoroastrians of Yazd]. 3 vols. Irvine: Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at the University of California.

Ali Akbar Tashakori’s three-volume Social History of Zoroastrians of Yazd (in Persian) deals with the social history of the Yazdi Zoroastrians from the medieval to modern times. While the focus is primarily on the Yazdi community, the work also covers the wider history of Iranian Zoroastrians. The book examines the challenges faced by Zoroastrians in the medieval and early modern periods, as well as the beginning of the nineteenth century social and intellectual empowerment among Iranian Zoroastrians supported by the Parsis of India. It also highlights the growing political and economic influence of the community in the late Qajar and early Pahlavi era, as well as the remarkable role of the Pahlavis in elevating the status of Zoroastrians within Iranian society as a whole.

The first volume covers the lives of Zoroastrians of Yazd starting with the arrival of Islam in Iran, in 641 AD, until the formation of the Anǧoman-e Nāṣerī of Yazd in 1892 AD. This book discusses the treatment of Zoroastrians under the new Muslim rulers who regarded them as monotheists and “people-of-the-book”. It highlights two massive internal migrations to the Yazd region elevating its status as the center of Zoroastrianism. It also focuses on the formation of Anǧoman-e Akāber-Ṣāheb by Parsis and their efforts to abolish the Jazzieh tax and improve Zoroastrians’ lives. 

The second volume covers the formation of Anǧoman-e Nāṣerī by Keykhosro Khān-Ṣāheb in 1892 AD until the beginning of Pahlavi dynasty in 1924 AD.

This third volume covers the period that starts with the rise of Reza Shah and the formation of a secular government, which relied heavily on the pre-Islamic image of Iran, something which had a direct influence on promoting the social status of Zoroastrians. This volume focuses on the rule of Mohammad Reza Shah and the modernization of Iran, two elements with a profound influence on the lives of Zoroastrians of the Yazd region.