Sunday, 7 July 2013

Kainaz Amaria | On Being Zoroastrian

Here's an interesting, and well produced personal documentary on Parsi Zoroastrianism. As readers and followers of this blog know, I'm interested in documenting world religions...and their various rituals, and Zoroastrianism is a religious tradition that I've never thought of. The personal documentary is a tad long by my standards, but stay with it to witness some footage made inside a fire temple.

Zoroastrianism was founded by the Prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra) in ancient Iran approximately 3500 years ago, and is one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions. For 10 centuries, Zoroastrianism was one of the most powerful religions in the world, and was the official religion of Persia from 600 BCE to 650 CE.

Speaking of oldest monotheistic religions, I intrigued by the notion that Akhenaten (ca 1300 BC) of Pharaonic Egypt could've been the first in human history to subscribe to a form of monotheism He declared that Aten was not merely the supreme god, but the only god.

Ms Amaria makes the distinction that her documentary is on Parsi Zoroastrianism, rather than Iranian. The Parsis are members of Zoroastrian communities in India, and ethnically distinct from the Iranians even though both groups are Persian Zoroastrians. Zubin Mehta and Rohinton Mistry are two of the prominent Parsis I know of...but there are many others.

Kainaz Amaria has a B. A. in international relations and political science from Boston University and an M.A. in photography from the School of Visual Communication, Ohio University. In 2010 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Mumbai, India. Her images and multimedia collaborations have been recognized by contests including CPOY, Women in Photojournalism, Atlanta Photojournalism Conference, the National Press Photographers’ Contest and the South Asian Journalist Association. Her clients include Vogue India, The New York Times, Reuters, National Public Road, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, GlobalPost, Marie Claire (USA), the St. Petersburg Times, US News & World Report, Inc. Magazine & Condé Nast Traveler.

She's a member of the multimedia team at National Public Radio (NPR) and is currently based in Washington, D.C.