Parsis (Indian Zoroastrians), a small traditionally endogamous group, are well known in India for their philanthropic giving. The Parsis of Mumbai are beneficiaries of hundreds of Parsi public charitable trusts today, and this article will show how trusts, as particular forms of giving, establish perpetual communal obligation connecting the past and present. It will show how the circulation of personal assets through customary inheritance within a family is replaced by the trust with the circulation of communal obligations in perpetuity. While this mechanism of giving has a marked endurance, what has changed is what constitutes ‘the good’ within these deeds. Moving away from traditional philanthropic practices of subsidizing education, medical care, and welfare to the poor, the focus of giving has shifted to the pursuit of communal reproduction, both biological and social.
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