Parsee (Parsi) Ladies, Bombay


This photograph of the women from the Parsi community was taken by William Johnson in late 19th century.

With the British granting freedom of religion and equality before the law to migrants and minority communities, the city saw an influx of Parsis, who went on to play a pivotal role in the making of metropolitan Mumbai. Acting as middlemen between the colonial empire and Indians for collecting taxes, Parsis soon gained the trust of both to branch out as industrialists in their own right. They invested their wealth in emerging industries to become the first modern Indian entrepreneurs.

Parsi women were among the earliest to receive opportunities for higher education in English and became social reformers, doctors and lawyers. They were also style icons of their time. The women in this photograph are seen wearing the traditional gara sari, with intricate ribbon borders and silk embroidery.

Parsee (Parsi) Ladies, Bombay
William Johnson
H: 24 cm X W: 19.5 cm
Accession No.