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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Shahnameh embodies Iranian identity: scholar

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TEHRAN, Nov. 3 - 2007 - (Persian literature expert Mohammad-Ali Eslami Nadushan believes that Ferdowsi's masterpiece, the Shahnameh, embodies the identity of the Iranian people. "Every nation has a book that represents the personality of that nation. For example: the British people have the works of Shakespeare, the Greeks have the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Italians have The Divine Comedy by Dante, and we have the Shahnameh," he told the Mehr News Agency on Saturday. "The Shahnameh not only contains the history of Iran but is also a symbol of our national character that should be used by Iranians as a guideline," he added. "Knowledge of the Shahnameh leads to self-knowledge, without which we will be unable to choose the right path," he explained. Eslami Nadushan, 82, expressed his satisfaction over the increased interest in the studying of the Shahnameh in academic centers over the past few years. However, he said that it is still insufficient. He recommended the version of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh corrected by Jalal Khaleqi-Motlaq as being the most reliable edition published in the world so far. This version was unveiled in July during a ceremony at the Great Islamic Encyclopedia Center in Tehran. Khaleqi-Motlaq, a distinguished Shahnameh researcher who currently resides in Britain, has spent the ten years from 1970 to 1980 studying various copies of the Shahnameh in order to produce his corrected version. "The young generation does not have the patience to scrutinize the Shahnameh for new analysis and all studies date back to past decades… This generation ignores all things from the past," Eslami Nadushan lamented. To solve the problem, special institutes undertaking research on the Shahnameh should be set up to train students on the proper methods of studying the Shahnameh and Ferdowsi, he suggested.

No place for Sufism in our Shia country: official said
TEHRAN, Nov. 2 (Mehr News Agency) -- There is no place for the promotion of Sufism in Iran, the executive director of the committee for the Rumi international congress Mohsen Parviz said in a press release published on Friday. The congress was held in Tehran and Tabriz last week to commemorate the 800th birth anniversary of the Persian poet and mystic Molana Jalal ad-Din Rumi. The press release was published after the congress was allegedly criticized for staging performances of Sama, the Sufi practice of gathering to listen to religious poetry that is sung, often accompanied by ecstatic dance or other rituals. "There is no place in the congress schedule for these types of dramatic movements which promote or approve Sufi behavior. Only two ten-minute reed flute and setar performances had been arranged for the event, none of which were related to Sufi philosophy," Parviz, who is also the Deputy Culture Minister for Cultural Affairs, stated. "There is no place for the promotion of the Mevlevi sect and Sufism in our Shia country," he noted. Parviz said that the objections refer to the scenes of Sama performances, which had been broadcast from the IRIB's TV channels during reports of the congress programs. However he gave no details about the alleged protesters. He said that these pictures were not related to the congress and had been taken from Sama performances abroad. However, the Iranian traditional music band Shams gave a series of concerts, combining their music with Sama performances by dervishes from Konya, at the Sadabad Palace in August which were most warmly received by the audiences.

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