Notes to Chapter 4
- The case of the Bombay Parsees is a curious instance in point. When
this industrious and enterprising tribe, the descendants of the Persian
fireworshippers, flying from their native country before the Caliphs,
arrived in Western India, they were admitted to toleration by the Hindoo
sovereigns, on condition of not eating beef. When those regions afterwards
fell under the dominion of Mahomedan conquerors, the Parsees obtained from
them a continuance of indulgence, on condition of refraining from pork.
What was at first obedience to authority became a second nature, and the
Parsees to this day abstain both from beef and pork. Though not required
by their religion, the double abstinence has had time to grow into a
custom of their tribe; and custom, in the East, is a religion.