Parsi Legal History

ISBN-9781107047976jktLaw and Identity in Colonial South Asia: Parsi Legal Culture, 1772-1947 is out in a US/UK edition with Cambridge University Press, and in a South Asian edition with Permanent Black (here and here). It won the Law and Society Association’s J. Willard Hurst Prize for socio-legal history in 2015. You can find previews of my book here and here.

For more about the book:

The book has been reviewed by

Law & Social Inquiry 42:4 (fall 2017) has a review symposium on my book, with essays by Bhavani Raman, Sylvia Vatuk, Assaf Likhovski, Winnifred Sullivan, and me.

I have also posted a forthcoming article, which is a sequel to the book: “Parsi Legal Culture, Constitutionalism, and the Rule of Law.”

Interested in Parsi history? You may want to look at these:

  • Spotting Parsi Names: this short guide will help you identify Parsi names in historical sources. You can also take advantage of Karaka’s guide to Parsi first names, Darukhanawala’s list of Parsi family names, and The Parsiana Book of Iranian names.
  • Parsis in Burma:
    • Please e-mail me if you would like to read my piece, “Finding Parsis in Burma” (Hamazor 2007:1, 48-51): For an overview of the history of Burma’s Parsis, you may want to look at my doctoral dissertation (pp.45-49). I write about the Rangoon navjote case of Saklat v. Bella in ch.7 of my book. It is also the subject of my dissertation.
    • Parsi Tombstones from Burma: in 2007, I traveled to Myanmar and learned about Yangon’s old Parsi cemetery.
    • P. D. Patel, My Fifty Years in Burma (Rangoon: the author, 1954): This remarkable out-of-print memoir tells the life story of a Parsi lawyer who survived the Japanese occupation of Burma during World War II. I thank Zareer Sam Ruttonsha, Firdaus Sam Ruttonshaw, Semine Jal Patel, and Rubina Jamshed Patel for making this scan available. I have written about P. D. Patel’s memoirs and others in an article, “Parsi Life Writing: Memoirs and Family Histories of Modern Zoroastrians” (2017). Please e-mail me if you would like a copy:

There is also my blogpost, Ruttie & Bella.

[updated on 29 June 2020]