Freddie Mercury: A Parsi boy to a legend rocking the galaxy

On his 70th birthday, Farrokh ‘Freddie’ Bulsara recognised for contributions to music

Culture

News - India & You

September 7, 2016

/ By / Kolkata

Freddie Mercury in his younger days, known for his spectacular stage presence and exhilarating vocal performances.

Freddie Mercury in his younger days, known for his spectacular stage presence and exhilarating vocal performances.

 Freddie Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara, to Parsi parents, who spent his teenage years in India, had an asteroid named after him on 5 September, what was his 70th birthday.

Farrokh Bulsara, better known to lovers of rock and roll as Freddie Mercury, had an asteroid named after him for his contribution. Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May introduced asteroid Freddie Mercury 17473 to the world, on the occasion of Mercury’s 70th birthday. May made the announcement via his official website and social media account.

“I’m happy to be able to announce that the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre has today designated Asteroid 17473, discovered in 1991, in Freddie’s name, timed to honour his 70th Birthday,” announced May in his video on YouTube, adding “Henceforth this object will be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury. This announcement is to recognise Freddie’s outstanding influence on the world.”

Indian connect

Although Mercury never publicly embraced the Indian roots to his identity, his memory lives on in the country. Born to Indian Parsi parents in the east African British Zanzibar, now Tanzania, where his father worked, Farrokh Bulsar eventually lived in India after he reached the age of 10, for a few years. He moved to England later and rechristened himself Freddie Mercury, the legendary vocalist the world fondly remembers him as.

HistoryinPictures posted a picture of Freddie as a child on their twitter account

Spending around seven years in St. Peter’s, a boarding school close to Mumbai, capital of eastern Indian state of Maharasthra, Freddie has left the school as a reported pilgrimage point for fans who have dug deep into the singer’s life. Daily Mail had shared pictures on Twitter earlier this year of the incredible cultural journey the legendary vocalist had taken in his life.

A famous Parsi

Mercury belonged to the Parsi community, an immigrant community that hailed from Persia and around, and settled in India around the 7th century. The philosophy followed by the community is known as Zoroastrianism, although adherents of this faith survive even in today’s Iran and elsewhere, the Parsi community itself is said to be geographically located to India in present day. The Parsi numbers are dwindling but their rich cultural heritage remains. The majority of the community’s population now lives in Mumbai, and there are relatively smaller settlements in other cities around India.
Efforts taken by UNESCO to preserve the unique community’s heritage in India have been on since 1999 with its New Delhi undertaking of PARZOR project for the preservation and promotion of Parsi Zoroastrian culture and heritage. Recording and revival of interest remains the main aim of this project but alongside this there are attempts envisaging connections with countries like Iran, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan where the Zoroastrian cultural linkages can still be found.

Freddie Mercury’s birthday brought forward the contributions of a Parsi man with humble origins.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Avatar Utsab Biswas says:

    Thanks for ‘rocking’ us, Freddie! A nice, informative piece that also takes you on a walk down the memory lane.

  2. Like!! Thank you for publishing this awesome article.

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