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Parsi Gymkhana Club Mumbai – Old Postcard 1917
This is an old 1917 postcard of the Parsi Gymkhana Club Bombay or Mumbai. Parsi industrialists in 1885 established the Gymkhana for the use of their own community.
Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Zoroastrians or the Parsis as we know them were originally from Persia (Iran). Because of the Arab invasion, they fled their homeland many centuries ago.
Arriving first at Diu between the 8th to 10th century, then moving to Gujarat and settling there for 800 years. Since the British received the islands of Bombay in 1661 from the Portuguese as dowry from the union of King Charles V and Princess Catherine, daughter of the King of Portugal.
The group of islands was united into a single landmass by reclamation. East India Company the owners then encouraged different communities to settle down in Bombay for business.
One of the communities was the Parsis, migrating from Gujarat to Bombay in large numbers. They were one of the major contributors to the city in commerce and trade.
The game of cricket was believed to have first played in Bombay, the frontrunners being the Parsis. So opening a cricket club by them that was in line with colonial clubs that barred Indians was inevitable.
Other communities too caught on and encouraged by cricket’s popularity. Hence the Hindu Gymkhana, Islam Gymkhana, and so on. Although not sure if all these clubs are still existing or have moved on.
Read about- Mumbai’s oldest cricket clubs.
Did you know- the Parsis don’t cremate or bury their dead but leave them for vultures to feed on them at the Tower of Silence.