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Parsis of Suraticon

  • icon1/833, Bejanji St, Kharwawad, Nanpura Kharwawad, Nanpura Surat, Gujarat 395001, Kharwawad, Nanpura, Surat, Gujarat 395001

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The credit for development of trade for Bombay with foreign countries, especially with China, goes to the Parsis of Gujarat. They prospered significantly, both in terms of wealth and position, after the British took over Surat’s administration in 1759 AD. Yhey became the chief merchants of Surat, with the English, the Portuguese and the Dutch brokers occupying prominent positions with their businesses. Soon after that, they made huge profit, both in Bombay and Surat, due to growth of opium and cotton trade with China. When Surat was ravaged by fire in 1857 AD, they shifted base to Bombay, which then since has become home to a majority from a community. The Parsis handles a major chunk of foreign trade. Some of the well-to-do Parsis were also very generous, which earned them a lot of respect.

In Parsi houses, the otlaleads to a parsal which opens into a courtyard. After the chowk, there is generally one or two ordo (chambers), which are usually dark and used either as a storeroom for grains or as a bedroom. The courtyard forms a nucleus from where one can enter the rasoduor kitchen on one side and the toilets on the opposite side. The courtyard would have an underground tanka and another open tanka at the ground floor level to store water. While the otla was a semi-public space, the courtyard was a privatespace.

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