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Commemoration in honor of Abolghassem Dehghani, Shahnameh researcher, from Lorestan

Translated by Shabboo Goli

The people of Lorestan and Bakhtiari just don’t read the Shahnameh, but actually live with it.

Commemoration of Abolghassem Dehghani, an Iranian poet, shahnameh researcher and shahnameh performer, was held on Saturday, May 7, at tehran Vahdat Hall. Mir Jalaleddin Kazzazi, Mohit Tabatabai, Alireza Shojapour, Ardeshir Salehpour and Mahmoud Sadeghizadeh spoke in this gathering.

At first, Morshed Ali Naari recited verses from the Shahnameh in the sardam style, with zurkhaneh bells to accompany him. Then, Kal ghodrat Fathi and Heshmat Fathi played musical instruments from Lorestan.

Ardeshir Salehpour, the executive secretary of the ceremony said: “Shahnameh is a hisotrical report and the identity of Iranians. Shahnameh is the identity of our honor and pride. It is a book full of lessons for us, a book of Iranian wisdom and knowledge. Shahnameh is full of advice and guidance.”

He continued: “Aligholi Mahmoud Bakhtiari believed that Shanameh is a spring from which the mystics have quenched their thirst. We do not care much for the mystical dimension of Shannameh, but pay more attention to its epic side.” Ferdowsi emphasizes on its rationality and wisdom, and starts his book with this verse: “In the name of God of life and wisdom.”

Salehpour added: “Shahnameh is a work of morality and speaks of love and affection. There are many stories of romance in the Shahnameh; the love between Zal and Rudabeh, and Bijan and Manijeh; and many stories of bravery, wisdom and power.  Ferdowsi says “Knowledge is power”.

He says: Bakhtiari and Lors do not read Shahnameh but live it. Dr. Mohammad Jafar Yahaghi, a professor at the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad and a researcher on the Shahnameh, has a very thought-provoking sentence: Ferdowsi’s body is in Toos, but his soul is between the Bakhtiari and Lor peoples. The sound of Shahnameh reading is loud from every black tent.

The executive secretary of the commemoration ceremony of Abolghasem Dehghani continued: “Shahnameh is the glory of Iran.” Contrary to what some say, Shahnameh is not a book about kings, but the word “great” means that the book is great. It is a powerful report of history and legends.

He added: “Bahram Beyzayi says: “Shahnameh brings joy to the ear and to the mind, and navigates into the realm of imagination and mysteries and immortality.” Ferdowsi collected the old stories and brought them into poem, and in 30 years of hard work, he “built a house from precious stones.”  Shahnameh is book full of justice, and gives pride to Iranians for being Iranian.

Salehpour continued: “Shahnameh is full of virtues that we should remember and repeat the verses when starting our day. Before Saadi, it was Ferdowsi who gave advice to the kings. Shahnameh is a work full of wisdom. We should preserve the works of our great men and the values in them. In the 15th century, for the next 100 years, we should have plans to commemorate the great men of Iran.

Then, the audio message of Prof Jalaleddin Kazazi was delivered (he had lost one of his relatives and was not present in the ceremony). “Shahnameh readers and Shahnameh performers of Iran have had the biggest share in spreading the message of this great book among the Iranians. The art of storytelling in Shahnameh is complex and multifaceted; it is a mixture of several skills, and Iranians should enjoy the wonderful world of Shahnameh as much as possible.

Mahmoud Sadeghizadeh said: If we want to compare ferdowsi with anyone in his era, the difference is from earth to sky. The root of this stark difference lies in Ferdowsi’s thoughts and his personality, and this goes back to his art of poetry, which is as great as the culture of this land.  Ferdowsi as a poet is asking the people to think.  He also wants them to be happy. He says: “Be happy and live happily.”

This researcher said: “Ferdowsi wants us to accept the dual nature of the universe; in other words; the conflict in the universe and to deal with it wisely. Ferdowsi’s concern is the same concern that our land, Iran, has. He is in love with Iran and by composing the Shahnameh, he kept the Persian language and culture alive forever. Feredowsi threw all his knowledge at the feet of his country, by saying: “Let me die if there’s not going to be an Iran”.

He added that Ferdowsi cannot be compared with any other poet. As the creator of the great book, which in fact is the constitution of Iranian culture; and if it wasn’t for his forbearance and efforts, what would have happened to the culture of our land?”. “May Iran never by ruined and become prey to lions and tigers”. After him, alireza Shojapour performed a declamation of Rostam and Sohrab legend.

Ferdowsi is one of the greatest tragedians in the world

Seyyed Ahmad Mohitat Tabatabai was the next speaker at the ceremony. He said: “Apart from saying that the Shahnameh is a national epic and a book of history and national identity of Iranians, Ferdowsi is one of the greatest tragedians in the world in world literature.”

He added: The Bakhtiari tribe has always tried to read Shahnameh and transmit it from generation to generation and culture to culture. An old movie that is considered to be the heritage of world history and made by a French tourist who came to Iran shows the migration of the Bakhtiari tribe and a person sitting on a horse while reading the Shahnameh to others, and we see that reading Shahnameh has been one of the daily routine of the people of Bakhtiari tribe throughout history.

The head of the National Committees of Iranian Museums (ICOM) continued: “In the past few decades, we have witnessed that parts of the national culture of Iran have received much attention, and Shahnameh readers gather together in Nowruz and Nowruzgah and hold special ceremonies.”

He added: “Professor Abolghasem Dehghani is a national phenomenon and a model from the point of view of the National Committee of Iranian Museums, and has been able to transfer his teachings to generations. In addition, the museums of Iran have playing an effective role in understanding of the Shahnameh and also preserving our culture.”

the final speaker of the ceremony was Prof abolghassem Dehghani. He began his speech as follows: “Greetings to my mother “ancient Iran”; praise be to the great Ferdowsi, collector of “The report of kings” (Khodaynameh)’ praise be to the beautiful name, Ahura Mazda and to the glory of Iran and to the culture of the fire of Zarathushtra.”

Mrs. Parisa Simin Mehr narrated parts of Siavash’s story during the commemoration ceremony of Abolghasem Dehghani. Morshid Mohsen Mirza ali also performed parts of Zal and Gudarz story. The performance of music by the Kahr group led by Mohsen Kayhannejad was another part of the ceremony. The end of Abolghasem Dehghani’s commemoration ceremony was the donation of gifts from many organizations and organs. Each of them presented a plaque and contributions to the famous Shahnameh reader of Iran.

Photos by Homayoun Mehrzad

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