A distinctive feature of the Poona community was the number of Iranian Zoroastrians who arrived there as refugees. It is difficult to give many details because most were not wealthy or powerful. Several opened tea-shops and restaurants (Diddee and Gupta, p. 235). They moved from Bombay to avoid the monsoons, but many appear to have faced, if not discrimination, a rather patronizing attitude from Parsis. An exception to the general lack of information on the Iranians in Poona is Aspandyar N. Khairabadi, who died in 1899 at the age of 116. He had been orphaned at an early age and worked in a tailor’s shop before opening his own shop, but then moved into farming. He married at the age of fifty-two in 1837, and migrated to Bombay in 1858 to escape persecution. He moved on to Poona, where he worked at the funeral grounds, Dungerwadi, for sixteen years, a lowly level of employment, but it is said that all Poona Parsis went to his funeral (Patel and Paymaster, III, p. 741). At the turn of the century there were 1,900 Parsis in Poona (Gazetteer on Poona, p. 181).


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