Bard Events Calendar

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A Zoroastrian priest consecrating an offering of fruit while reading from an Avestan manuscript. Photograph taken by Mary Boyce in Sharifabad-e Ardakan, Yazd Province, Iran, 1963.

Religion Program, Middle Eastern Studies Program, and Asian Studies Program Present

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
‘Yearning to See You’: Friendship and Alliances between Iranian and Indian Zoroastrians
Olin, Room 203
4:45 pm – 6:15 pm
Dr. Daniel Sheffield, Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University
In 1478, an Indian Zoroastrian named Nariman Hoshang arrived in the village of Turkabad in central Iran, reconnecting the previously isolated Indian and Iranian Zoroastrian communities with one another. Over the course of the next three hundred years, dozens of letters were exchanged between the communities of Gujarat and Iran, along with gifts, ritual materials, and religious manuscripts. In this talk, I will examine the affective dimensions of friendship expressed through letters in constructing a Zoroastrian community. By situating the trade partnerships and networks of patronage that formed between Indian and Iranian Zoroastrians within the framework of friendship, I will try to sketch out new approaches to the formation of transregional communal identity in the pre-colonial period of Indian Ocean history. Finally, the talk will briefly discuss transformations in the connected ideas of friendship and sovereignty that ensued among Zoroastrian intellectuals of the early nineteenth century.

For more information, call 845-758-7389, or e-mail

Time: 4:45 pm – 6:15 pm

Location: Olin, Room 203