Amordad News

Memorial of Pourdavoud and unveiling of Khordeh Avesta

Translated by Shabboo Goli

Together with the memorial ceremony for Ebrahim Pourdavood, the first “Khordeh Avesta”, in a font taken from the Iranian Avesta script, was unveiled.

Firooz Bahram High School held a memorial service for Professor Ebrahim Pourdavoud and the unveiling of the Avesta in collaboration with Hiromba publishers, the Zoroastrian Association of Tehran, and the Iranian Studies Association. Dr. Katayoun Mazdapour, Dr. Mahmoud Jafari Dehaghi, Dr. Farzaneh Goshtasb, Dr. Ali Shahidi, Dr. Katayoun Namiranian, Dr. Bahman Moradian, Mobadyar Pariya Mavandi, and Professor Bahram Boroumand, an Avestan calligrapher (from a handwriting of Fereydoon Marzban) were speakers of this conference.

Dr Ali Shahidi, member of Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Tehran University, assistant Professor, Department of ancient Languages, Iranology and Ph.D. in ancient cultures and languages, Tehran University, spoke about this day: “Today is 20 Bahman 1400, the birthday of Professor Ebrahim Pourdavood, founder of the ancient culture and languages branch and also founder of the Iranian Studies Association.” Pourdawood’s birthday is recorded in his family documents according to the Qajar period of 28 Jumada al-Awwal 1303 AH, in Rasht. “Calculating this date with the help of updated software with scientific accuracy, gives us the equivalent of 13 Esfand 1264 (solar calendar) and 4th March 1886 AD.”

Pourdavood has left behind his life story which he wrote himself, in which he mentions his birthday as 20 Bahman 1264. It was on this basis that during his lifetime friends, colleagues and his students have celebrated his birthday every year and scholars who knew him. Such as Dr Mohammad Moeen, wrote his birthday as 20 Bahman. What is important is that a day is recorded in the cultural calendar of Iran as his birthday and we gather on this day and have a review of the history of the branch of study that he founded and we all follow his path”. Dr Shahidi expressed his gladness that the historical Firooz Bahram High School, where the first meetings of the Iranian Studies Association took place. In the second part of his speech, Dr. Shahidi spoke about the efforts of Iranians in the present era to revive Dindabireh and a brief history of Dindabireh’s typewriting, lithography, and lead printing.

Bahman Moradian, Ph.D. in Ancient Culture and Languages, talked about the characteristics of Khordeh Avesta, the selection of prayers, selection of handwriting, and sources used for publishing this book.

Dr. Mahmoud Jafari Dehaghi, Professor of the Department of Ancient Culture and Languages, University of Tehran, spoke also about Gatha poems and the Indo-European poems, on behalf of the Iranian Studies Association. According to him, the mysterious concepts in Gathas are specific of Indo-European poetry.

Farzaneh Goshtasb, Ph.D. in Ancient Culture and Languages, gave a history of Avestan orthography, and achievement of Dr. Katayoun Mazdapour in the field of Avesta manuscripts, such as photographic prints of manuscripts, a small Avesta in the style of Mola Behrouz Alexander and Avesta 976, and added that before, attention was focused on Indian prints because it was assumed that the Iranian copies could not be found. But Dr Mazdapour published an article on several newly written Avesta manuscripts and introduced a copy found in Iran in 2009.

Mobadyar Pariya Mavandi, a Ph.D. student in ancient Iranian culture and languages, being the next speaker, read the first verse of Pourdavood’s poem in the name of “My wish is to reap a cluster of truth,” published at the end of the Avesta by the efforts of the Azar Goshsab Priest. In her speech, she pointed out that it was planned to hold an exhibition of printed and manuscript copies of Khordeh Avesta, during the unveiling of the Persian Khordeh Avesta, but due to COVID-19 this was not possible.

In this regard, some photos of printed and manuscript Khordeh Avesta were displayed, and Iranian calligraphy was compared with Indian calligraphy. It was emphasized that for the first time, Khordeh Avesta was published in a font taken from the Iranian Avestan script to record another change in the history of Zoroastrian written heritage. She added that in the discussions about the Avesta manuscript, various divisions are mentioned; one of them is the separation of Iranian scripts from Indian scripts, and one of the features that distinguishes them from each other is the calligraphy. Until now whatever was taught to the Zoroastrian children was based on the Indian script. In part of her speech about cooperation and team work for printing the Khordeh Avesta Mobedyar Mavandi said that this system of team work dates back to when the Khordeh Avesta entered homes for public prayers.

In the past copyists (scribes) would copy the Khordeh Avesta and make it available for the use of Mobeds and Hirbods. Over time, with the advent of the printing industry, because it became available in numbers, which would not have the problem of handwriting any more. This caused the Khordeh Avesta to enter the houses of Zoroastrians and be available to everyone. It was then that the need for cooperation and team work for printing Khordeh Avesta was felt. Also, the images of Mobeds, institutional calligrapher, donors and those who participated in the printed of the Khordeh Avesta from the past upto this day, were displayed.

In her speech Mobedyar Mavandi, head of the executive group and scientific editor of the Persian Khordeh Avesta with Dindabireh script and Iranian calligraphy, named gave the names of her assistants and colleagues and explained the method of this work: “The idea of printing Khordeh Avesta in the Dindabireh script and Iranian calligraphy was from Dr Katayun Mazdapour. The artist Bahram Boroumand has executed the design of the letters of Dindabireh with the handwriting of Fereydoun Marzban in the Corel program.

A term of 5 years was estimated for this work. So, Pooyan Zandian, one of the members of the executive team, created a font, with the help of Boroumand’s design and named it the font of Marzban’s Avesta. Following Pariya Mavandi, with the help of Bozorgchemi, Parisa Rayumand, Anahita Mehrshahi, and Sepehr Goshtasbi, the winners of several conferences of Avestan Studies and reading Gatha Mantra typed the texts of the prayer based on the three sources mentioned in the preface of the book.

The prayer texts were chosen with the help of Dr Katayun Mazdapour and scientific edition of Mobedyar Pariya Mavandi. Behname Mobarakeh from Hiromba Publishers was responsible for printing, publishing and following up the design of the cover page and layout. This book has been published with the donations of Rostam Khosraviani’s wife and children, Bahram Keiqobadi Rahmatabadi, in the memory of his wife, Irandokht Parsi Khodayar Khosraviani, in the memory of his wife Farkhondeh (Shirin) Parsi.

In another part of the conference, the artist, Bahram Boroumand, referred in his speech, to the Marzban family, to the Iranian calligraphy and the Marzban script which was selected for the printing of the Persian Khordeh Avesta, and gave illustrative explanation about the different stages of designing the Iranian calligraphy. This expert calligrapher from the judiciary department and Dindabireh script researcher on calligraphy and handwriting of Iranian copyists (scribes), believes that the Iranian calligraphy and artistry could not be found in India and that Iranian calligraphers were doing artistic work.

Katayoun Namiranian, Ph.D. in Ancient Culture and Languages, a member of the Shiraz University, thanked the staff for completing this project, noting that all the factors were pub correctly together, which impacted the creation and publication of this work. She spoke about the teaching of Dindabireh letters to Zoroastrian students, which had started several years ago, and added that printing this book is the right step taken towards teaching Dindabireh.

The message of Dr. Katayoun Mazdapour, a linguist and researcher of ancient languages, was read. In this message, Dr. Mazdapour compared two ancient Persian scripts and the equivalent of the Avestan script with details. She talked about the recognitions and research that have been done in this regard. For the Avestan language, the most complete and best script for reading is the Avesta script. For the Avestan prayers to be taught and read correctly, we need to teach this script to children and adolescents because the Persian script for reading the Avesta language is difficult and needs long term training. And, it is better that we all use the Avestan script for easy and correct learning of the Avesta script. It is possible to learn the Avesta script in a few days and then be able to read the Avesta, and preparing the Persian Avesta is an effort to learn the Avesta more easily. Children and youngsters should learn the Avesta script and in this way they can read the prayers correctly.

In the end, with the presence of two benefactors, Khodayar Khosraviani and Kourosh Keiqobadi, the son of the benevolent Bahram Keiqobadi, and the presence of Mobadyar, Pariya Mavandi, on behalf of the research and executive group the Persian Khordeh Avesta book was unveiled.

Mazdyasni’s anthem, another poem by Master Pourdavoud known as “Bamdad Shod Bang Zad Khoros,” was played in the middle of the program. This poem is performed by the Zoroastrianism Choir of the Zoroastrian Students’ Association and is played in Zoroastrian ceremonies and occasions at the beginning of the programs.

A conference in memory of Professor Ebrahim Pourdavod and the unveiling of the book Avesta Parsi was held on Wednesday, February 9, 2022, with Bouzarjomehr Parkhideh’s director of Firooz Bahram High School, and the coordination of Hormoz Khosraviani, Pedram Bastani, and Mobadyar Pariya Mavandi. Google Mate and Instagram program accompanied Amrdad live broadcast. The Persian Khordeh Avesta book, and selections from Khordeh Avesta, by Dr. Katayoun Mazdapour, was published in Dindabireh by Hirmaba. The calligraphy of the Persian Avesta is the work of the artist work of Bahram Boroumand. Mobadyar Pariya Mavandi also contributed to the completion of the book.

Negar Bozorgchami, one of the members of the executive group of the Persian Avesta book

Hormoz Khosroviani, host and organizer

Ali Shahidi

Kourosh Keiqobadi and Khodayar Khosroviani

Mahmoud Jafari Dehaqi

Bahaman Moradian

Farzaneh Goshtasb

Mobedyar Paria Mavandi

Bahram Boroumand

Katayoun Namiranian

Photos by Homayoun Mehrzad

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