Books tell interesting stories of Parsis, Anglo-Indians

·2-min read

New Delhi, Mar 19 (PTI) As the Parsis celebrate Navroz Saturday, a new book will help children learn more about one of the oldest communities that sailed from Iran to India on large wooden boats, landed in a town called Sanjan in Gujarat and blended in peacefully with the people.

Puffin India has come out with two illustrated picture books under its 'Have You Met' series on the culture and lives of lesser-known communities in India.

'Have You Met the Parsis?' and 'Have You Met The Anglo Indians?' by Anastasia Damani will help understand the culture and customs, the heritage and food habits, and the festivals of these communities.

In 'Have You Met the Parsis?', children can now know more about Parsi food, festivals and attires with the Theatrewala family. They can learn to cook lip-smacking Parsi bhonu, fill their pocket of good deeds and make beautiful decorations. They can also find out about iconic Parsis such as Freddie Mercury and Jamsetji Tata.

Talking about the importance of children understanding diversity, Damani says, 'A child's cognitive and personality development starts at a very young age. Their immediate surroundings (what they see and learn) set the precedent for their idea of 'normal'. It's important to expose them to more than what they're born into.' She feels that doing so ensures that they not only understand diversity, but realise that it's necessary both at the community and individual level.

The two books include activity sections such as arts and crafts and recipes.

Damani says the series has been made interactive with the intent to involve the reader in some of the happenings within the communities.

'Children in the target age group are naturally curious and curiosity leads to learning. So my hope is that the books will spike a positive interest toward all communities, not just the ones I've written about.' Veteran journalist Bachi Karkaria says that Parsi by marriage, Damani brings an 'outsider's objectivity, an insider's warmth, presenting a feast of information made easily digestible with charming illustrations'.

Ruskin Bond calls the books a 'beautiful window into the world of lesser-known communities in India'.

The second book in the series, 'Have You Met the Anglo Indians?' tells about the English and Irish families who decided to stay back in India after 1947 and make it their home.

It describes their food, festivals, and attires and also talks about famous Anglo Indians, such as Bond and Derek O'Brien. PTI ZMN SHD SHD