This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Irani" India – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (August 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Persian: ایرانی
Zoroastrian Dari, Hindi, Other Persian Dialects
Related ethnic groups

The Irani (Persian: ایرانی; meaning Iranian) are an ethno-religious community in the Indian subcontinent; they descend from the Zoroastrians who emigrated from Iran to British India in the 19th and 20th centuries.[1] They are culturally, linguistically, ethnically and socially distinct from the Parsis, who – although also Zoroastrians – immigrated to the Indian subcontinent from Greater Iran many centuries prior, starting with the Islamic conquest of Persia.

Distinction from Parsis

The Parsis and Iranis are considered legally distinct. A 1909 obiter dictum relating to the Indian Zoroastrians observed that Iranis (of the now defunct Bombay Presidency) were not obliged to uphold the decisions of the then regulatory Parsi Panchayat. Some of the Irani community speaks an ethnolect called Zoroastrian Dari whereas most Parsis typically speak Gujarati. However, the two communities increasingly intermarry and are said to have been "integrated well" with each other.[2]


This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Although the term 'Irani' is first attested during the Mughal era, most Iranis are descended from immigrants who left Iran and migrated to the Indian subcontinent during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At the time, Iran was ruled by the Qajars and religious persecution of Zoroastrians was widespread. Some Iranis still speak Persian and the Dari dialects of the Zoroastrians of those provinces. Iranis are generally seen as a subset of the wider Zoroastrian community.

As is also the case for the Parsis, the Iranis predominantly settled in the west coast of India/the Indian subcontinent.

See also


  1. ^ Masashi, Haneda (October 1997). "Emigration of Iranian Elites to India during the 16-18th centuries". Cahiers d'Asie Centrale (3/4): 129–143. Archived from the original on 14 July 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  2. ^ Shastri, Padmaja (21 March 2004). "What sets Zoroastrian-Iranis apart". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 19 April 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2018.