Predating Islam, Christianity and Judaism, monotheistic Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest religions. But the future is dim for the Parsis, a community of Indian Zoroastrians whose numbers are dwindling and whose identity is threatened, OZY reports, by fewer people being able to speak the Parsi-Gujarati dialect. That’s why Russian-born scholar Anton Zykov has collected hundreds of samples of colloquial speech in an effort to save it.
How deep can he get? While he’s immersed himself in the culture, Zykov isn’t allowed in Parsi fire temples, forcing him to use trained local consultants to help his documentation.