HATARIA, MANEKJI LIMJI (مانکجی لیمجی هاتریا), emissary of the Parsis of India to the Zoroastrians of Iran from 1854 to 1890 (b. Mora Sumali, Surat district, 2 January 1813; d. Tehran, 15 February 1890; Figure 1).


In India. Hataria’s birthdate is given as 31 Āḏar (Kadmi reckoning) 1227 (Nowširvān, p. 8; with scribal or typographical error, Šahmardān, p. 618). Hataria’s father’s name was Limji b. Hushang, and a lineage is given, extending back nine more generations, by the anonymous author of a Tāriḵ-e Kermān, who wrote under Hataria’s supervision (Šahmardān, p. 618). The biography of Hataria in this work extends up to 1867; and the manuscript of it in Mumbai at the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute library (HP ms 142; ibid., p. 617) was used by the Zoroastrian historian, Rašid Šahmardān (b. Yazd, 1905; d. Contra Costa, Calif., 1983), in the first part of his account of Hataria’s life (i.e., ibid., pp. 618-27).

Hataria’s forebears were among the Zoroastrian migrants from Safavid Persia (1501-1722) to the major commercial port of Surat (ibid.; for Surat, see, e.g., Hinnells, 2008; for the history of  the Parsis within its diverse population, Seervai and Patel, 1899); but the family moved to Bombay, headquarters of the British East India Company, when the boy was five (Šahmardān, p. 618), presumably in the aftermath of the Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-18). With British control consolidated over all the former Maratha territories, the city of Bombay stood to become even more dominant as an administrative and economic center.

Hataria was raised and educated with an appreciation of the language, ancient history, and cultural heritage of Iran (Šahmardān, p. 618). From his youth, he found employment in the British administration of the Presidency of Bombay. His first reported travel experience, up the Indus river to Hyderabad, was as clerk/cashier/accountant (ṣanduqdār) for military expenditures  (ibid., p. 619). This event corresponds to the medical/diplomatic mission of Dr. James Burnes (1801-1862; brother of Alexander Burnes) to the court of the amirs of Sind and back, October 1827 to ca. February 1828; Burnes traveled with an escort of several small troop detachments (Burnes, p. 3). The group departed from the Kachh (Cutch) capital, Bhuj (Bhooj), Burnes’ station, where Henry Pottinger (1789-1856) was Resident (in Kachh, 1825-36, then in Sind, 1836-40) and the administrator of that state. Šahmardān (p. 619) states that Hataria at this time (as opposed to in the later period of business travel) went as far as Sukkur (Sakar), on the upper Indus.

After three years back in Bombay, in 1834 Hataria went to Bhuj again and for four years was employed there in the same capacity as before, handling military disbursements (Šahmardān, p. 620).  Throughout this period he took advantage of any contact with Afghans, Baluch, and Iranians to gather information about Iran, with a view to future travels (ibid., pp. 619-20). 

In 1838, the ongoing ‘Herat Question’ reached a critical point, and in 1839, British forces, led initially by the commander of the army of the Presidency of Bombay (Lt. Gen. John Keane [1781-1844]), advanced to Kabul to install its candidate as king (see FIRST ANGLO-AFGHAN WAR). Hataria continued his financial work, with broader responsibility for the “treasury of tax revenues” (ḵezāna-ye abwāb-jamʿ); he was now in Sind at the city of Tatta, on the Indus, not far to the west of Bhuj (Šahmardān, pp. 620-21; both Keane and Pottinger are mentioned in the account). Upon the withdrawal of much of the British force from Kabul in 1840-41, Hataria gave up hope, given the ongoing political and military turbulence, of being able to reach Persia from Sind; he requested and received his release from government service, and returned to Bombay (ibid., p. 621). This lengthy service to the Presidency would indicate that he was well able to help meet the government’s standard, detailed requirements for financial reporting (see, e.g., for the army, the duties attached to the Paymaster function, in Aitchison, comp., passim and  “Pay Department,” pp. 432-46). The anonymous author, in his concluding testimonial to Hataria, remarks: “I have never seen anyone more skilled than Mr. Manekji at accounting” (ʿelm-e ḥesāb; Šahmardān, p. 627). 

During the years that followed, Hataria traveled as a merchant, again in Sind  (5 ½ years), which from 1842 was under British rule and was being incorporated into the Presidency of Bombay, and up to Firozpur (Ferozepore) in the Panjab (1 ½ years); east of the Indus, he also traveled in Thar Parkar and in Marwar (in Rajasthan; Šahmardān, p. 622).  In 1846 he is said to be in Sind, working as “manager and agent in the trading enterprise of [the Bombay Parsi] Jehangir[ji] Jasavāla” (Nowširvān, p. 9).

During this half of his life, Hataria had two children by his wife, Hirabayi—a son, Hormozji (b. ca. 1838; see below), who would come to Iran with him, and a daughter, Dosibayi (Šahmardān, pp. 641-42). One other relative is mentioned—a nephew, through whose mismanagement, while Hataria was living in Persia, the latter’s “fortune and wealth” were lost in 1873 (Šahmardān, p. 641).    

A later biographical sketch could summarize Hataria’s qualifications for a mission to Persia thus:  he was well traveled, a man of experience, one skilled in diplomacy (wāqef bar romuz-e siāsi wa puletiki, Nowširvān, p. 9); his background in cash management and ardent desire to visit Persia also must have counted strongly in his favor.

Mission to Persia. In 1854, Hataria was appointed as the first emissary of the Society for the Amelioration of the Condition of Zoroastrians in Persia [“Amelioration Society”] (see Hinnells et al.). The Bombay-based Amelioration Society (which would be known in Iran as the Anjoman-e Akāber-e Pārsiān) had been established a year earlier (1853) by Sir Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, 1st Baronet (1823-1901); Mehrwanji Framji Panday, whose mother, Golestān, had fled Kerman in 1796 to avoid forced marriage to a Yazdi Muslim; and other Parsis who were dedicated to assisting their less fortunate Iranian coreligionists “with body, mind and money” (Hataria, 1865, p. 58; see also Hinnells). Hataria was given “explicit instructions to inquire into and report upon the social, political, and intellectual condition of the Zoroastrians in Persia” (Karaka, I, p. 72).

By all accounts (e.g., Riśāle/“Parsi Mission,” p. 3), Hataria set sail from Bombay on 31 March 1854. He transited via Hormuz Island, which perhaps was the scene of a lengthy anecdote about Hataria and Persian cuisine that was told to Edward G. Browne in 1888 (Browne, 1893, pp. 175-78). He landed at Bushehr (Bušehr).  It has been said that, before proceeding to Shiraz, he may have traveled first to Baghdad, and there he may have encountered Bahāʾ-Allāh (e.g., Buck, Cole). However, the latter abruptly left Baghdad on 10 April 1854 (Balyuzi, 1971, p. 14), and a longer and more propitious time for their meeting would come in 1862-63 (see below). The Tāriḵ-e Kermān (or, at least, Šahmardān) only describes two months that were spent visiting cities and ancient sites of Fars, including Shiraz, Firuzabad, and Darab, then his return to Shiraz (Šahmardān, p. 623).

In Shiraz, he joined up with a party that was bound for Isfahan via Yazd, including the orientalist Julius Heinrich Petermann (1801-1876). According to the latter, the Hataria group at this point included the 16-year-old son, Hormozji; a cook, Shapurji; a secretary and interpreter, Kay Khosrow, who was originally from Yazd; and an unnamed mobed, i.e., Zoroastrian priest (Petermann, II, pp. 197, 201). After slight delay, they departed about 6 July and were hospitably greeted upon arrival at Yazd on 24 July (ibid., pp. 179, 203; cf. Šahmardān, p. 617, n. 1). The Hatarias took up their initial residence among the Zoroastrians of Persia at Yazd and began to survey the socio-economic conditions there. The Hatarias remained at Yazd for 14 months (Šahmardān, p. 623) and then moved on to Kerman to repeat their efforts. 

During the 1800s, the Zoroastrians of Iran were living under Muslim rule without dependable legal protection (see, e.g., Framjee, pp. 39-49; Choksy, pp. 141-43; Kestenberg Amighi; among the travelers, see Petermann, at Yazd, II, p. 206, and references in Kasheff), and they were becoming increasingly fatalistic about their status and safety. Per the terms of his employment, Hataria soon began to file detailed reports on their political social, civil, and religious conditions. Hataria wrote, for instance, that the majority of rural Zoroastrians in Iran were enduring considerable poverty, living in huts, and subsisting on a diet of bread, rice, and vegetables.

In Bombay, a meeting of the Parsi leaders on 11 January 1855 reviewed Hataria’s reporting and initiated plans for fundraising for schools, fire temples, and a daḵma, “relief to the aged and destitute,” and—especially—efforts to procure “partial or total remission” of the jezya “poll-tax.” From the account of the meeting (in Karaka, I, pp. 73-74; Murzban, I, pp. 132-33, citing the Parsi Prakash, vol. I, pp. 654 ff.), Hataria seems to have laid emphasis in his reports on the heavy burden that this tax imposed on the community. A specific task for Hataria himself would be to convince the Qajar ruler of Iran, Nāṣer-al-Din Shah (r. 1848-96), to abolish the jezya—a goal that would take repeated and international efforts “from 1857 to 1882” (Murzban, I, p. 133) to achieve. Meanwhile, to aid the Iranian Zoroastrians both in surviving and in paying the jezya, Parsis funneled money to Iran for Hataria to distribute. Within a few years after his arrival in Persia, the first concrete institutional results were achieved in Yazd and Kerman (see below). 

Demographic estimates of the Zoroastrian population at the time varied widely (Choksy, p. 142), but such information was essential for the effective direction of Parsi relief efforts, so in Hataria’s early years in Persia, he made his own estimate of the men, women, and children in the areas of Tehran, Yazd, Shiraz, and Kerman.  The head count he compiled, broken down into 22 communities, totals 7,123 people country-wide—ranging from 14 up to 1,379 at Yazd (table published in 1859, Gobineau, p. 373). These same numbers, as given in contemporary Parsi sources, are combined into regional groupings and total 7,108: 6,658 (Yazd, in 1,000 “houses or families”), 450 (Kerman), 50 (Tehran), plus “a few” in Shiraz (Framjee, pp. 31-32; cited in Murzban, I, p. 108).

At the city of Kerman, Hataria was on good terms with the military commander (kalāntar) and became friends with the spiritual leader (qoṭb) of the Neʿmatollāhi order (selsela) of Sufis, Zayn-al-ʿĀbedin Raḥmat ʿAlišāh (1208-1278/1793-4 to 1861-2; Anvari, II, p. 799).  During a short local trip together out of the city to Māhān, Raḥmat ʿAlišāh bestowed on Hataria a Sufi title,  darviš-e fāni (lit. “transitory dervish”)—a generous gesture that affronted some members of the order (Šahmardān, p. 624). Hataria clearly appreciated the magnitude of the title, since henceforth he would use it, appended to his name (for an example, see below, Writings and Patronage). The title would have taken on added significance for Hataria if he had in mind the name “Moḥsen Fāni” as the (alleged) author of the apocryphal work Dabestān-e maḏāheb (Shea and Troyer, trs., pp. vii, 3; see also below).

The above event happened prior to Hataria’s move to Tehran, purchase of a house, and interview with the shah (the Tāriḵ-e Kermān chronology in Šahmardān, pp. 624-25). Hataria inevitably made Tehran his permanent residence, in order to carry on his political and diplomatic efforts, especially those directed against the jezya. He worked to develop contacts within the political hierarchy. Unfamiliar with Iranian royal protocol, he enlisted the assistance of Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson (1810-1895), the British ambassador to the court of the Qajars. Rawlinson helped Hataria to obtain an audience with the shah in 1857, but little came of that preliminary meeting. Hataria also found an ally in Joseph Arthur, Comte de Gobineau (1816-1882), the French ambassador, who lauded him to palace officials in Tehran (cf. his appreciation of the work of  “a learned Parsi from Bombay,” Gobineau, p. 374).  Gobineau may actually have had the idea—which the Prussian mission heard about—of appointing Hataria as consul for France in Yazd in 1861; the Prussian Heinrich Brugsch (I, p. 219) refers to Hataria as the Yazd Zoroastrians’ “wise leader, very familiar with European customs and practices, the merchant Manakji.”

Hataria developed friendships with early nationalist intellectuals of the time, such as Jalāl-al-Din Mirzā Qajar (1826-1870) and Mirzā Fatḥ-ʿAli Āḵundzāda (1812-1878), who themselves sought to reform aspects of Islam and so helped further his cause. While remaining Zoroastrian, Hataria also expressed admiration for Baha’ism. From 1877 to 1882, Hataria’s secretary was the scholar Mirzā Abu’l-Fażl Golpāyegāni, a recent convert to Bahaism at the time of his hiring (Golpāyegāni, p. 81). Hataria also hired as scribe (kāteb) the Babi Mirzā Ḥosayn Hamadāni, an experienced secretary, who—like Golpāyegāni—had recently been released from prison in Tehran (Golpāyegāni, p. 76; see also below, Writings and Patronage).

After five and one-half years in Tehran (Šahmardān, p. 625), ca. 1856-62, Hataria left the city to travel in western Iran (Azerbaijan and Kurdistan); after returning, he proceeded south, via Kermanshah, to Baghdad for, as he said, “some urgent work,” which is not further specified (Riśāle/“Travels in Iran,” p. 25). Bahāʾ-Allāh was still residing in the city then, prior to 1 May 1863, when he left for Istanbul (Mirza Moḥammad Javād, in Browne, 1918, p. 16), and Hataria remained in the city for one year. Thus there was ample opportunity for contact between the two in this period, whether or not they had met previously or had already been in correspondence (for which, see below, Writings and Patronage).  From Baghdad, Hataria traveled to the ʿAtabāt and Basra, and he then took ship to Bombay.

During 1863-65 in Bombay, Hataria reinforced his prior written reports with personal appeal to the Parsi community (see Stausberg, 2002, pp. 154-55, and 2003, pp. 439-40). A presentation in Bombay is excerpted verbatim by Šahmardān, dating it to 1863 (pp. 630-31). In February 1864, Hataria gave his first formal talk on the state of the Iranian Zoroastrians of Yazd at the residence of Mehrwanji Framji Panday, one of his main sponsors of the Amelioration Society. In his talk, he detailed the terrible persecution suffered by the Zoroastrians of Iran and his efforts to remove the jezya, and he presented a statistical record of the Zoroastrian population of Iran (see above). He also prepared two books and saw them published (see below, Writings and Patronage).   Before he returned to Iran, on 7 May 1865, the Parsis of Bombay honored him with a written encomium and 20,185 rupees cash along with a Kashmiri shawl (Šahmardān, p. 629), in recognition of his work in Iran. While he was in Bombay, his son, Hormuzji Manekji Hataria, who had stayed back in Yazd, continued his work.

The jezya and other discrimination. The jezya was a religion-based, fiscal penalty first placed upon recognized non-Muslim religions in the seventh century by Arab Muslim conquerors (Boyce, 1969; Choksy, pp. 143-44; Zia-Ebrahimi), and it remained in force for Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians in the Qajar period. Hataria’s initial efforts to obtain elimination of the tax for Zoroastrians produced only a token reduction (Murzban, I, pp. 133). Ultimate success came, not only via Hataria’s mission, but also through pressure on the Qajar dynasty from the British Raj at the behest of prominent Parsis, like the Liberal Party’s Member of Parliament Dadabhai Naoroji, who were among the leadership of the Amelioration Society who met with the shah in London in 1873 at the request of Hataria. Yet upon his return to Iran, the shah, being reluctant to face the powerful religious caucus of the ulama, failed to issue a proclamation ending the jezya. Then, and at Hataria’s request, Sir Dinshaw Petit—who had especially close ties to the Zoroastrians of Yazd through his marriage with Sakarbai Panday, who was the daughter of Golestān (see above)—approached Lord Thomas Northbrook (1826-1904), then Viceroy of India (1872-76), to apply diplomatic pressure on the Qajar king. That the viceroy obliged was indicative of the growing importance and political influence of Parsis in nineteenth-century India. On instructions of the viceroy, the English ambassador to Tehran, Ronald F. Thomson (1830-1888), raised the matter of the Zoroastrians’ plight with the shah (Šahmardān, pp. 632-33).

The result of these activities—Hataria’s in Tehran and those of prominent Parsis in India and Great Britain, plus the political pressure of the British Raj—was the abolition of the poll tax by a Qajar farmān “royal decree” dated Ramażān 1299/August 1882 (for the farmān, see Persian Zoroastrian Amelioration Fund, text, p. 73; tr., pp. 64-65; also Murzban, I, pp. 134-35; Choksy, pp. 143-44). The various Zoroastrian communities held celebrations (jašn) to observe the event; on 18 December, Hataria presided at a diplomatic gathering at the British mission and offered thanks to the shah and prayers for his government and for Great Britain (Persian Zoroastrian Amelioration Fund, pp. 71-72; Šahmardān, pp. 634-35).

The lifting of the jezya did not end other forms of discrimination, and so Hataria remained in Iran to improve the legal, infrastructural and sociopolitical conditions of Iranian Zoroastrians. He lobbied incessantly to ensure that Zoroastrians were treated equally under Iran’s criminal and civil law codes, including a demand that Muslims who had murdered Zoroastrians but usually escaped punishment be brought to justice. He even encouraged Zoroastrian Iranians who were desperate to make a living to immigrate to Bombay, where jobs were readily available with Parsi entrepreneurs and merchants.

Zoroastrian revival. Hataria noted that many Zoroastrians were illiterate, because the Iranian government and the ulama had denied them access to education. This impediment was a major concern of the Amelioration Society, and it is notable that in 1858,  the second point in Hataria’s list of the recommended functions of the restored Kerman temple (see below)—after namāz-e ḵodāy “prayer to God”—is that there should be a school (dabirestān) for the education of the Zoroastrians in knowledge (dāneš) and skills (honar) (text and translation in Boyce, 1966, pp. 66-68). In 1860 he set up the first school, for boys, in the small, new community in Tehran; then came subsequent ones in Yazd and in Kerman, using funds from the Amelioration Society. By 1882 there were, altogether, twelve Zoroastrian schools providing secular, Western-style education (Murzban, I, p. 111). These were organized along pedagogical lines similar to those for Parsis in British India (see rules in Riśāle/“Travels in Iran,” pp. 25-26). Hataria even recruited teachers from among India’s Parsis to relocate to Iran and instruct Zoroastrian boys and girls (Writer, pp. 45-46). Education not only enhanced the lives of Zoroastrians, it laid the knowledge framework for the community’s future prosperity, political participation, and re-entry into the broader Iranian society (Choksy).

Due to Hataria’s encouragement, Iranian Zoroastrians began to organize anjomans  “associations” to manage communities at Tehran, Yazd, Cham, Shiraz, Isfahan, and Kerman. Those anjomans were able to establish waqfs “religious trusts” with funds contributed by local Zoroastrians and by Parsis. Using this financing, Hataria refurbished, rebuilt, and even built new daḵmas “funerary towers” so that traditional funerals with exposure of corpses could continue at Yazd, Kerman, and Tehran. Mehmān-ḵānas “lodging houses” were set up in Tehran so that Zoroastrian men could move to the capital city for employment. Bādgirs “wind towers,” to cool Zoroastrian community centers and homes, and qanāts “subterranean water channels” to irrigate fields were repaired at Yazd and its surrounding villages, such as Taft and Cham, and at Kerman. Hataria also oversaw construction of prayer halls and water tanks (saqqā-ḵāna) at the pilgrimage shrines of Pir-e Sabz and Pir-e Bānu Pārs. He delivered food, clothing, and medicine to elderly Zoroastrians and built orphanages for parentless children. For daughters of the very poor, he garnered dowries so that they could marry—more than one hundred Zoroastrian girls were wedded to men within the community with the Amelioration Society bearing the expenses.

His most important contribution to reestablishing Zoroastrian religious praxes, however, was restoration and construction of ātaškadas “fire temples.” The great Ātaš Bahrām of Yazd (not the same as the present one, which dates to 1932) was extended and repaired by him in 1855 within a year of his arrival in Iran (see ĀTAŠDĀN). Two years later he rebuilt the Ātaš Bahrām in Kerman with money sent by the Amelioration Society. His inscription in the temple, dated 1228 Y./1275/1858, delineates its purpose as a focus for the cultural life of the city’s Zoroastrians (Boyce, 1966, pp. 66-68). He requisitioned ritual instruments (ālāt), priestly garments, and prayer books from India to ensure continuity of rituals. On the other hand, Hataria was instrumental in persuading Iran’s Zoroastrians to give up animal sacrifice, something he was personally against, due to Hindu influences, although it had been a central aspect of the faith’s rites for centuries previously.

In sum, Hataria worked tirelessly to rebuild the communal leadership and religious infrastructure of the Zoroastrians and, in Tehran, to remove the jezya. After 1868 he declined to accept a salary for his labors (Stausberg, 2002, p. 155)—a move which may have enhanced his freedom of action. Self-supporting through his merchant activity, Hataria helped poor Zoroastrians out of his own resources (Šahmardān, p. 639).

After Hirabayi’s death in India, Hataria married an Iranian Zoroastrian from Kerman, Farangis Hormazdyār Ḵosrobandar (Mehr, p. 280, figure 2a), and he thereby assimilated into the local community. She predeceased him in 1889. Hataria’s son, Hormozji, participated in his father’s work in Iran from the very beginning, but details of his life are few; he had two daughters (Šahmardān, pp. 641-42). 

The elderly Hataria suffered from a kind of palsy (ḵālej va laqva va raʿša; Nowširvān, p. 9); he died in Tehran on 15 February 1890. The Parsi efforts led by him had created a bond between them and the Zoroastrians of Iran, making the latter more open to Western values and ideals (Choksy, p. 144).  His successor as agent for the Amelioration Society was able to report in 1893 a total Zoroastrian population in Iran of 9,269—a count that is 30 percent greater than that (given above) for the previous generation (Murzban, I, p. 109).

Images. One known photograph of Hataria is published; it shows him seated in the midst of Zoroastrian community elders and schoolchildren at Yazd and was taken close to the end of his life (Mehr, p. 280, figure 2b). A very small image of a younger Hataria in a similar group scene is reproduced, taken from the collection of his letters and notes (Nāyebiān and ʿAlipur Saylāb, p. 121). A portrait print of Hataria, seated, and his Persian wife (Šahmardān, p. 643; Mehr, p. 280, fig 2a) also may date from his lifetime. A posthumous, full-length portrait print, done in 1897 by R. A. D’Costa, hangs in the Kadmi and Šāhānšāhi Anjoman Dar-e Mehr at Pune. Based on it, a three-quarter length oil portrait of Hataria was painted in 1913 by the Parsi artist M. F. Pithawalla; it hangs in the Wadia Ātaš Bahrām fire temple in Mumbai (Figure 1; Godrej, pp.  650-51). This is the image commonly reproduced (e.g., Murzban, I, p. 134A; Nowširvān, p. 9; online: see Riśāle/“Travels in Iran,” p. 1). The militant pose shown is reminiscent of the fact that, in the course of travels between Tehran and the other cities with Zoroastrian communities, Hataria and his son faced the wrath of zealous Muslims and the greed of bandits, so they traveled armed to protect themselves (Hataria, 1865, pp. 86-87). A bust of Hataria, reproducing the portrait image, is displayed in the Ātaš Bahrām at Yazd (Boyce, 2002, p. 241; online: see Persian Zoroastrian Amelioration Fund). In Kerman, a similar reproduction, as a marble statue, stands in the Nāṣeri Anjoman (so named after Nāṣer-al-Din Shah, who granted Hateria authorization for the anjomans of Kerman and Yazd) (partial image: Sorushian).


Before returning to Persia from his 1863-65 stay in Bombay, Hataria documented his social and economic efforts in Iran in two books.  The original Gujarati-language book, titled Rishāle ejhāre shiāte Irān (1865), was translated into Persian, presumably by the author, and each was printed in 1,500 copies (Šahmardān, p. 625).  An English-language version was published as A Parsi Mission to Iran. The book comprises twenty-two chapters, an addendum, and a lexicon of words he believed were unique. In it he recorded the rites of passage and other religious rituals, priestly practices, social customs, festivals, dress, and mannerisms, and oral and written traditions, of the Zoroastrians he had encountered in Iran. An additional book on his observations and findings in Iran was titled Jāma-ye Mānek “The collections of Manek” (Murzban, I, p. 132, n. 142; Šahmardān, p. 629).

Hataria regarded it to be “the duty of every faithful one to collect, publish, and revive the knowledge, skills, industries, rules, regulations, and politics of the ancient Parsis” (Riśāle, p. 87).  In keeping with this cultural concern, he sought to foster awareness of the “traditional history”—both actual and legendary—of the ancient past.  In 1858, he commissioned the Qajar historian and diplomat Rezāqoli Khan Hedāyat (1800-1871) to produce a history of royal dynasties with ancient Persian origins: the work was published in 1879 as Nežād-nāma-ye pādšāhān-e Irāni-nežād (Book of lineage of the kings of Iranian descent; Storey, I, p. 239). In 1871, when Hedāyat published his Persian-language dictionary, Farhang-e anjomanārā-ye nāṣeri, Hataria was invited to write the introduction; he invoked ancient tradition in giving his name there as “Mānekji son of Limji Hušang Hāteryā Kiāni [“Kayanid”], titled darwiš-e fāni” (see also Hamadāni, introd. Browne, p. xxxvii, n. 5).

In accord with his own directive (quoted above), Hateria aided the recovery of pre-Islamic literature. In his 1865 book Riśāle (“Travels,” p. 27), he wrote that he had handed over his collection (up to then) of “ancient manuscripts” and printed books in diverse languages, as well as coins, other artifacts, and photographs, to the Zoroastrian Anjoman, plus money to initiate their preservation, “with instructions to preserve them in a fitting place.”   Although no museum was created, a Manekji Limji Hataria Library did come into existence, located in the Bombay Zarthoshti Anjuman Ateshbahram (Modi, preface), which contained donations from Hataria (ibid.). A major example of these is the fifty-five folios of a Middle Persian text (obtained by him ca. 1872) that has proven to be of great value for the social history of the Sasanian period, the compilation of legal texts known as Mādayān ī hazār dādestān. He donated the manuscript to the Hataria Library, and it later was introduced to the West through the facsimile edition of J. J. Modi (Bombay, 1901).

Another manuscript known to have been acquired by Hataria was the Avestan and Pahlavi Vendīdād ms. ML3, dated 1594 (Geldner, I, p. xi listing it with several more recent mss.; Sanjana, pp. xxxv, xliii; Mirza, pp. 170, 174). It was a source for the old, and still extant, ms. DJJ (Cantera,  pp. 322, 344). Hataria had ML3 “at Teheràn, but it has now [by 1895] returned to Bombay” (the Pahlavi scholar Edward W. West, quoted in Sanjana, p. xliii), but whether it was ever conveyed to the Zoroastrian Anjoman or the Hataria Library remains unknown.

The extent of Hateria’s manuscript collection also is not known, but he was one of those warmly thanked for their support of the Pahlavi dictionary project by Dastur J. M. Jāmāsp-Āsānā (I, 1877, p. xiii): “Mr. Maneckji Limji Hataria, of Persia, has displayed a very deep interest in the progress of this work, and has rendered me invaluable assistance by sending important Pahlvi [sic] works from his own library, and those of other learned persons in Persia ….”

In the late 1870s, both Golpāyegāni and his employer, Hataria, communicated with Bahāʾ-Allāh, who by then was settled in ʿAkkā (Acre).  Thus Bahāʾ-Allāh wrote in reply to Golpāyegāni’s inquiries: “as for that learned man, he hath also written” (marqum dāštand) (Cole, tr.; text, Ešrāq Ḵāvari, ed., VII, p. 148). Hataria showed that he was familar with the apocryphal Persian religious literature—the Dasātir, Šārestān, and Dabestān-e maḏāheb (on these, see Corbin, with end-note), and he apparently accepted its prophetological tradition from the First Man, Mahabad (Mah-abād) to Zoroaster.  Thus, when Hataria, comparing various aspects of diverse religions as he understood them, sent a series of questions, he referred (as quoted by Bahāʾ-Allāh) to his own faith as “the religion of Mahabad and Zoroaster,” “the Mahabadi prophets, including Zoroaster,“ and the following: “Zoroastrians say that God created the First Intellect [naḵostin ḵerad] as an intermediary in the form of a man known as Mahabad, and we are his descendants” (Cole, tr.; text, Ešrāq Ḵāvari, ed., VII, pp. 166, 148, 168; for another letter from Bahāʾ-Allāh addressed to the Zoroastrian community, see Sohrab, tr.).

In 1877, Hataria edited Jāvidān ḵerad, an abridged Persian translation of Abu ʿAli Meskawayh’s collection of moral precepts attributed to ancient sages (for the Iranian genre of wisdom literature, see ANDARZ; for Meskawayh’s use of such a source, see DĒNKARD and Daryaee, p. 112; actual examples are noted by Shaked: see p. xlvi; Edwards, col. 92). Next, he edited a volume titled Āyin-e Hušang, composed of four minor works of apocryphal literature in the tradition of the Mughal-period Dasātir; these are alleged to have been translated from Pahlavi by a mobed and another person; Hataria contributed an introduction, appendix, and marginal notes (Tehran, 1879; Gujarati tr. of three parts, Bombay, 1904; Edwards, col. 378; Mošār, I, col. 94; for these works and their context, see Corbin; he lists a published version also in Bombay, 1878).

Also during Golpāyegāni’s employment and that of Hamadāni (killed in Rasht, 1299/1882:  Hamadāni, introd. Browne, p. 78), Hataria made a new request for “a chronicle of the kings of Iran,” this time addressed to Moḥammad-Esmāʿil Khan Zand Tuyserkāni (Golpāyegāni, pp. 76-77). The latter specialized in “archaic [qadim] Persian” (ibid., p. 76), a term which could imply, besides avoidance of Arabic words, acceptance of the invented vocabulary of the apocryphal literature. “Pure Persian” was a desideratum for Hataria, who expressed his desire for communication in this medium to Bahāʾ-Allāh (Cole, tr., last question; text, Ešrāq Ḵāvari, ed., VII, pp. 170-72). The latter replied judiciously and attributed equal virtue to Arabic. The same subject is addressed in another response by Bahāʾ-Allāh, described as addressed to “the Persian Zoroastrian Bahais” and itself said to be written “in the purest old Persian language, without an Arabic word in it” (Sohrab, tr., p. 5). 

Tuyserkāni’s work of national history likewise is said to be “in pure Persian” (Golpāyegāni, p. 77). Titled Farāzestān “The heavenly world” (Storey, I, p. 246), its seven sections span from the creation of the world, through the legendary and the historical dynasties, to the “sages of the final cycle”  (dānāyān-e čarḵa-ye vāpasin; Ṭalāʾi, p. 71).  The author recorded Hataria’s encouragement and his sharing of knowledge and literature (quotation in Ṭalāʾi, p. 72), which would have included such apocryphal works as Āyin-e Hušang.  The author avows himself a Zoroastrian, and the work is described as Zoroastrian in spirit (ibid.). Although the heading in the Tehran manuscript is the Muslim besmellāh formula (illus., Ṭalāʾi, p. 70), the Bombay imprints render this in Persian, in a form very familiar to Zoroastrians, “in the name of God [yazdān] …” (on the formula, see Gignoux).  Farāzestān is ultimately dismissed by Golpāyegāni  (p. 77; Hamadani, introd. Browne, p. xxxviii) as mixing authentic, pre-Islamic Iranian traditions obtained from Ferdowsi’s Šāh-nāma with legends from the recent apocryphal literature.

Farāzestān was not printed until after Hataria’s death (Bombay, 1894: also that year as Nāma-ye Farāzestān), and the Tehran manuscript, titled Tāriḵ-e Farāzestān (Mošār, I, col. 731; Ṭalāʾi, pp. 70-73) is a copy (or version) produced in 1315/1897-8 (Ṭalāʾi, p. 71). In some form, the work was available for Hataria to introduce and comment on it in his Moqaddama-ye Farāzestān, which was completed in Rajab 1302/April 1885 (colophon: Ṭalāʾi, pp. 72, 74 [illus.]); a manuscript of it exists in the library of the Āstān-e Qods-e Rażawi, Mashhad, and another in the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute (HP ms 112; Šahmardān, p. 631). He also wrote a preface for another apocryphal source available to Tuysarkāni, the Šārestān by Bahrām b. Farhād b. Esfandiār.  This work in the Dasātir tradition precedes, and is invoked in, the Dabestān-e maḏāheb (Shea and Troyer, trs.,  I, pp. xxii, 77, 89, 93, 212).  It was later printed as Kolliyāt-e čahār čaman or Šārestān (Bombay, 1909; Edwards, 1922, col. 146; see further in Corbin, with end note).

Hataria also urged Mirzā Ḥosayn Hamadāni to write a history of the Babis. The scribe worked on his book, Tāriḵ-e jadid, with the professional assistance of Golpāyegāni, but, in the secretary’s account, their efforts were overridden by the heavy editorial hand of Hataria (Golpāyegāni, pp. 77-79; Hamadāni, introd. Browne, pp. xxxix-xli; Balyuzi, 1970, pp. 67-69). The work apparently came to be “known as the history of Manekji the Zoroastrian” (Golpāyegāni, p. 80) because of uncertainty regarding the author—a matter which the secretary cleared up in his detailed account intended for Browne. 

Towards the end of his life, Hataria produced some minor works, including a compilation of speeches and of letters between Zoroastrians in Iran and India (Mošār, I, col. 1270; Tehran, 1300/1882-83), and a letter of congratulations to Nāṣer-al-Din Shah on the occasion of the jubilee celebration of his rule (printed 1301/1883-84, at the time of the 35th-year anniversary: Mošār, I, col. 974).   A collection of Hataria’s selected letters and notes—containing, e.g., detailed discussion of the administration of the Zoroastrian schools—apparently was lithographed and is extant in the Ardeshir Yegānegi Library, Tehran (ʿAlipur Saylāb, p. 6). The survival of his own letters to India and the replies (but whose study required “time and patience and resources”) was noted by Šahmardān (p. 641), who also mentions (ibid.) a memoir, titled Eẓhār-e eḥqāq al-ḥaqq, that was kept in the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute (HP ms 156). 

Hataria’s other Persian papers, as well as Zoroastrian manuscripts that he collected during his stay in Iran, are now housed at the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, Mumbai. After its founding in 1916, its library received the holdings of two earlier Zoroastrian institutions—the Mulla Firuz Library (established 1854-57; Rehatsek, preface) and the Hataria Library (established some time after 1865). Perhaps Hataria’s son, Hormozji, made his own donations independently, or he may have acted on his father’s behalf. He is referenced on a copy of the Vendīdād in New York City (Columbia University, RBML, X892.5 Av3 S2).  The manuscript’s lithographed ex-libris states that Hataria’s son (here called Yazdāni Mānekji and assuming his father’s title, darviš-e fāni) donated to the library of the Mazda-worshippers (daftar-ḵāna-ye Māzdesini) and endowed to the Zoroastrian Anjoman, in 1240 Y./1287/1870, a number of volumes that he had collected; this volume is numbered “75” (handwritten). Presumably the Hataria Library is meant, whether or not that collection had yet been organized and named as such. This donation to the Zoroastrian Anjoman appears to follow up the father’s donation, which is described in his 1865 book (see above).   

Bibliography (online resources accessed 24 February 2013):

Works of Hataria.

Riśāle ejhāre śīāte Irān iāne Irān deśnī safarnā sārnō rīpōrt (Rishāl-e ehjār-e shiāte Irān), Bombay, 1865 (in Gujarati); Eng. tr. as A Parsi Mission to Iran, Bombay, 1865; abridged English translation serialized in Parsiana 13/2, 1990, pp. 60-64; 13/3, 1990, pp. 34-35; 13/4, 1990, pp. 39-42; 13/5, 1990, pp. 25-26; 13/6, 1990, pp. 29-32; 13/7, 1991, pp. 14-18; the abridged version is available as “Travels in Iran: A Parsi Mission to Iran (1865),”  at http://www.fravahr.org/spip.php?article61; Persian tr., Resāla-e tarjoma-ye eẓhār-e siāḥat-e Irān, Bombay, 1280/1863-64 (Hamadāni, introd. Browne, p. xxxviii; cf. Stausberg and Vevaina, p. 579).

Jāma-ye Mānek, Bombay, 1865.

Moqaddama-ye Farāzestān, catalogue entry at the Digital Library of Astan-e Qods-e Razavi, http://digital.aqr.ir/index.aspx?pid=6&ID=84177&CBNID=54e3ef03-4334-4e7a-a57a-07c2e27e4fb7.

Sources and studies.

John William Aitchison, comp., A General Code of the Military Regulations in Force under the Presidency of Bombay, including Those Relating to Pay and Allowances, Calcutta, 1824.

Jawād ʿAlipur Saylāb,  “Naqš-e siāsi va farhangi-e zartoštiān dar dawra-ye qājār,” M.A. Thesis, University of Tabriz, 2010; available (in part) at idochp2.irandoc.ac.ir/FulltextManager/fulltext15/th/137/137630.pdf.

H. Anvari, ed., Farhang-e ʿaʿlām-e soḵan II, Tehran, 2008.

H[asan] M. Balyuzi, Edward Granville Browne and the Bahá’í Faith, London, 1970.

Idem, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Center of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, Oxford, 1971.

Mary Boyce, “The Fire Temples of Kerman,” Acta Orientalia 30, 1966, pp. 51-72.

Idem, “Maneckji Limji Hataria in Iran,” in K. R. Cama Oriental Institute Golden Jubilee Volume, Bombay, 1969, pp. 19-31; available at http://www.zoroastrian.org.uk/vohuman/Library/Maneckji%20Limji%20Hatari%20in%20Iran.htm.

Idem, “Zoroastrians in Iran after the Arab Conquest,” in Godrej and Mistree, eds., 2002, pp. 228-45.

Edward G. Browne, A Year Amongst the Persians. Impressions as to the life, character, and thought of the people of Persia, received during twelve months’ residence in that country in the years 1887-8, London, 1893.

Idem, Materials for the Study of the Bábí Religion, Cambridge, 1918; repr., 1961.

Heinrich Brugsch, Reise der K. Preussischen Gewandtschaft nach Persien 1860 und 1861 I, Leipzig, 1862.

Christopher Buck, “A Unique Eschatological Interface: Bahá’u’lláh and Cross-cultural Messianism,” in  In Iran: Studies in Bábí and Bahá'í History III, Los Angeles, 1986, pp. 157-80; available at http://bahai-library.com/buck_eschatological_interface_messianism#fn32.

James Burnes, Narrative of a Visit to the Court of Sinde at Hyderabad on the Indus [2nd ed.; 1st ed., Bombay, 1829], with a Sketch of the History of Cutch, Edinburgh, 1839.

Alberto Cantera, “Building Trees: Genealogical Relations Between the Manuscripts of Wīdēwdād,” in idem, ed., The Transmission of the Avesta, Wiesbaden, 2012, pp. 279-346; available at http://ada.usal.es/img/pdf/Building_trees.pdf.

Jamsheed K. Choksy, “Despite Shāhs and Mollās: Minority Sociopolitics in Premodern and Modern Iran,” Journal of Asian History 40/2, 2006, pp. 129-84.

Juan R. I. Cole, “Tablet to Mirza Abu'l-Fadl Concerning the Questions of Manakji Limji Hataria: Baha'u'llah on Hinduism and Zoroastrianism,” 1995, available online at http://bahai-library.com/bahaullah_cole_questions_manakji.

Henry Corbin, “Āẕar Kayvān,” in Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2008, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/azar-kayvan-priest.

Touraj Daryaee, Sasanian Persia. The Rise and Fall of an Empire, London, 2009.

Edward Edwards, A Catalogue of the Persian Printed Books in the British Museum, London, 1922.

ʿAbd-al-H̱amid Ešrāq Ḵāvari, ed., Māʾeda-ye āsmāni VII, Tehran, n.d.; available at  https://bahaiat.wordpress.com/مائدهء-آسمانی-جلد-هفتم-تأليف-ع/.

Dosabbhoy Framjee, The Parsis: Their History, Manners, Customs, and Religion, London, 1858.   

Karl F. Geldner, Avesta. The Sacred Books of the Parsis I, Stuttgart, 1896.

Philippe Gignoux, “Pour une origine iranienne du bi’smillah,” in Pad Nām I Yazdān.  Études d’epigraphie de numismatique et d’histoire de l’Iran ancien, Paris, 1979, pp. 159-63,    

Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, Trois ans en Asie (de 1855 à 1858), Paris, 1859.

Pheroza J. Godrej, “Faces from the Mists of Time: Parsi Portraits of Western India (1750-1900),” in Godrej and Mistree, eds., 2002, pp. 620-59.

P. J. Godrej and F. P. Mistree, eds., A Zoroastrian Tapestry: Art, Religion, & Culture, Bombay, 2002.

Abu’l-Fażl Golpāyegāni, tr. Juan R. I. Cole, Letters and Essays, 1886-1913, Los Angeles, 1985.

Mirzā Ḥosayn Hamadāni, tr. Edward G. Browne, as The Táríkh-i-jadíd : or, New History of Mírzá ʻAlí Muhammad the Báb, Cambridge, 1893.

Reżāqoli Khan Hedāyat, Farhang-e anjomanārā-ye nāṣeri, Tehran, 1288/1871; repr., 1336 Š./1957; available at https://archive.org/details/FarhangEAnjumanAaraENasiri-RazaQuliKhanHidayatFarsi.

John R. Hinnells, “Parsi Communities i. Early History,” in Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2008, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/parsi-communities-i-early-history.

John R. Hinnells, Mary Boyce, and Shahrokh Shahrokh, “Charitable Foundations ii. Among Zoroastrians in Islamic Times,” in Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 1991, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/charitable-foundations-mpers#pt2.

Dastūr Jāmāspjī Mīnocheherjī Jāmāsp-Āsānā, Pahlavi, Gujarâti and English Dictionary I, Bombay, 1877.

Ferdinand Justi, “Ueber die Mundart von Jezd,” ZDMG 35, 1881, pp. 327-414 (see note from J. H. Petermann, p. 328).

Dosabhai Framji Karaka, History of the Parsis, including their Manners, Customs, Religion, and Present Position I, London, 1884.

Manouchehr Kasheff, “Anjoman-e Zartoštīān,” in Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 1985, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/anjoman-e-zartostian.

Janet Kestenberg Amighi, "Kerman xiii. Zoroastrians of 19th-Century Yazd and Kerman," in Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2014, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/kerman-13-zoroastrians.

 Farhang Mehr, “Zoroastrians in Twentieth Century Iran,” in Godrej and Mistree, eds., 2002, pp. 278-99.

Hormazdyar K. Mirza, “Literary Treasures of the Zoroastrian Priests,” in Godrej and Mistree, eds., 2002, pp. 161-83.

J. J. Modi, Mâdigân-i-Hazâr Dâdîstân. A Photozincographed Facsimile of a Ms. belonging to the Mânockji Limji Hoshang Hâtariâ Library in the Zarthoshti Anjuman Atashbeharâm, Poona, 1901.

Ḵānbābā Mošār, Fehrest-e ketābhā-ye čāpi-e fārsi/A Catalogue of Persian Printed Books (1808-1967), 3 vols., Tehran, 1973.

M. Murzban, The Parsis: Being An Enlarged and Copiously Annotated, Up to Date English Edition of Mlle. Delphine Menant’s Les Parsis I, Bombay, 1917; repr. 1994.

Jalil Nāyebiān and Jawād ʿAlipur Saylāb, “Madāres-e zartoštiān dar dawra-ye qājār,” Jostār-e tāriḵi 3/1, 1391 Š./2012, pp. 109-33; issue available at http://historicalstudy.ihcs.ac.ir/issue_49_116_دوره+3،+شماره+1،+تابستان+و+پاییز+1391،+صفحه+1-150.html.

[Vahu Noḏar Nowširvān] “Taḏkera-ye jannat-makāni-ye Mānekji Limji Hušang Hātaryā,” in Kār-nāma-ye sotorgān-e šorafā-ye pārsiān-e mamlakat-e Hendustān, 1913; bound in with the Šāh-nāma of Ferdowsi printed by Amuzanda Shirmard, Bombay, 1914: available at Library of Congress, World Digital Library, https://www.wdl.org/en/item/14356/#q=Persian+manuscripts&page=2. 

Jehangir Ošīdarī, Tāriḵ-e Pahlavi wa Zartoštiān, Tehran, 2535 = 1353 Š./1974.

Persian Zoroastrian Amelioration Fund, “News from Persia,” Proceedings and Reports, 1883, pp. 69-73; available at http://www.fravahr.org/spip.php?article84.

Julius Heinrich Petermann, Reisen im Orient II, Leipzig, 1861.

Rashna Writer, Contemporary Zoroastrians: An Unstructured Nation, Lanham, Md., 1994.

Edward Rehatsek, Catalogue raisonné of the Arabic, Hindostani, Persian, and Turkish mss. in the Mulla Firuz Library, Bombay, 1873.

Rašid Šahmardān, chap. “Farzāna-ye Mānekji Hātaryā,” in Tāriḵ-e zartoštiān. Farzānegān-e zartošti, Tehran, 1330 Y./1983, pp. 617-43 (the portion based on the anonymous Tāriḵ-e Kermān is pp. 618-27).

Darab Peshotan Sanjana, ed., The Zand î javît shêda dâd, or, The Pahlavi Version of the Avesta Vendidâd, Bombay, 1895.

Kharsedji Nasarvanji Seervai and Bamanji Behramji Patel,  “Gujarát Pársis from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time (A. D. 1898),” in Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, Volume IX, Part II. Gujarát Population: Musulmáns and Pársis, Bombay, 1899, pp. 177-254, 277-88.

Shaul Shaked, The Wisdom of the Sasanian Sages (Dēnkard VI), Persian Heritage Series 34, Boulder, 1979.

David Shea and Anthony Troyer, trs., The Dabistan, or School of Manners I, Paris, 1843.

Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, tr., “Tablet of Baha’o’llah,” Star of the West 1/1, 1910, pp. 5-9; volume available at http://starofthewest.info/.

Mehrborzin Soroushian, “Manekji Limji Hateria, (1813-1890 A.D.),” n.d., available at http://www.zoroastrian.org.uk/vohuman/Article/Manekji%20Limji%20Hateria.htm.

Michael Stausberg, Die Religion Zarathustras. Geschichte-Gegenwart-Rituale, Band 2, Stuttgart, 2002, pp. 153-64.

Idem, “Manekji Limji Hatāriā and the Rediscovery of Ancient Iran,” in Ataš-e Dorun. The Fire Within: Jamshid Soroush Soroushian Commemorative II, ed. Carlo G. Cereti and Farrokh Vajifdar, 2003, pp. 439-446.

Idem, “Manekji on the Sudre-Kusti,” In Jamsheed K. Choksy and Jennifer Dubeansky, Gifts to a Magus: Indo-Iranian Studies Honoring Firoze Kotwal, New York, 2013, pp. 165-78.

Michael Stausberg and Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina,  The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism, Chichester, 2015.

C. A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-Bibliographical Survey I, part 1, London, 1927.

Piruz Ḥosayn Ṭalāʾi, “Moʿarrefi va barrasi-e šiva-ye tāriḵ-nevisi-ye se nosḵa «Tāriḵ-e Irān-e bāstān», «Farāzestān» va  «Moqaddema-ye Farāzestān»,” Āʾina-ye pažuheš 132, 1390 Š./2011, pp. 66-78; available at http://jap.isca.ac.ir/article_663_5904d27f61d02883b389284b1eedc6dc.pdf.

Reza Zia-Ebrahimi, “An Emissary of the Golden Age: Manekji Limji Hataria and the Charisma of the Archaic in Pre-Nationalist Iran,” in Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, vol. 10/3, 2010, pp. 377-90; available (by subscription) at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1754-9469.2011.01091.x/epdf.

(Firoze M. Kotwal, Jamsheed K. Choksy, Christopher J. Brunner, and Mahnaz Moazami)

Originally Published: May 9, 2016

Last Updated: May 9, 2016

Cite this entry:

Firoze M. Kotwal, Jamsheed K. Choksy, Christopher J. Brunner, and Mahnaz Moazami, "HATARIA, MANEKJI LIMJI," Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2016, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/hataria-manekji-limji (accessed on 09 May 2016).