The Kalash of Iran

87 years ago in a small village outside yazd called Hossein Abad

“Just to tell you a little story, the gentleman in the middle with white beard is my great grandfather who’s holding my mum in his arm.

His father had seven sons and they were Zoroastrian and one day he told his sons that he has seen a sign that Shah Barham has come and he asked them to investigate and they all did and became Baha’is,”


I came across this on social media and I found it amusing in light of the discussion on the Kalash of Pakistan.

Faith is a funny thing; while I mourn the passing of the Kalash into Islam, I find the conversion of the Zoroastrians into Bahais to be ennobling.

The Baha’i Faith in its quest for growth has decimated two exotic minorities, Iranian Jews & Zoroastrians (Jews not as much as the Zoroastrians; there would be anywhere from 10-30% more Zoroastrians in the world were it not for the Baha’i Faith).

I’ve repeated this story on a blog but when I was young I asked a particularly fervent Zoroastrian Baha’i (most of them are as a rule) what would happen to their culture after they had all become Baha’i.

They absent-mindedly replied “we have Naw-Ruiz, we observe Haft-Seen (even though the practise of Haft-Seen has been modified by Islam) and we speak Persian so what?”

At the time something didn’t make sense to me but now so many years later; the idea that one shouldn’t have to lose their identity simply if they change their religion is now so much more appealing.

I’m probably the first Baha’i to be advocating this but the Faith must expand its tend and adopt a “Hindu” rather than a Muslim approach to the observation of its tenets. Otherwise the wave of cultural destruction that would accompany the growth of the Faith will be incalculable.

Though I imagine if the Kalash do see the light, they can swap the wine for the non-alcoholic version, I can assure them it tastes much better!

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5 years ago

“The Baha’i Faith in its quest for growth has decimated two exotic minorities, Iranian Jews & Zoroastrians ”

Bro with all you three combined don’t make up to double digits , why all this talk of growth and decimation and stuff 😛

Milan Todorovic
Milan Todorovic
5 years ago

Xerxie, you were probably joking (and misleading people) in your last sentence!

Lizard Catcher
Lizard Catcher
5 years ago

In some ways the tragedy of Zoroastrians is much bigger than that of Kalash. They were a super power at the height of Sasanian empire. Zoroastrianism used to be the religion of emperors. Now they are headed towards extinction.

Kalash didn’t have a past as glorious as Zoroastrians. Though they did score high on warlike qualities. It was their propensity to brigandage that provoked Abdur Rahman’s campaign against them. And from what I have read, Nuristanis were among the toughest fighters in the ranks of Mujahideen fighting the soviets.

4 years ago
Reply to  Lizard Catcher

The people who were zoroastrians and built a grand civilization didn’t go extinct, they have living descendants, they just happen not to practice the same religion. Zoroastrianism isn’t a people its a concept.

Brown Pundits