Historical deception of Iranians - 04-25-2012, 12:41 PM
In presenting the history of their nation, the Persian writers usually proceed with a bombastic style exactly like the 16th century Imperial Mughal court panegyrists; they are very clever in weaving facts and fancies together. One of their presumptuous claims is that Central Asia including Afghanistan is a part of Persia’s heritage. With regard to the Persian's unrealistic judgment about their past, Edward G. Bowne, an internationally recognized authority on Persian history and literature says, " I hope that none of the Persian friends will take exception to the title which I have given to this volume, A History of Persian Literature Under the Tatar Dominion.
I have known Persians whose patriotism has so far outrun their historical judgment as to seek to claim as compatriots not only Timur but even Chingiz and Hulagu, those scourges of mankind of whom the last mentioned did more to compass the ruin of Islamic civilization, especially in Persia, than any other human beings."
To begin with, the original name of the country, which is nowadays called Iran, had been Persia for more than two thousand years. Under the political influence of the Nazis in 1936, the then government of Persia decided to change the name Persia into Iran.
In 550 BC when the land of the Medes was occupied by Cyrus the Great, the territories of both Medes and Persians became a political entity called Persia. Meanwhile, Cyrus the Great conquered many lands in the Middle East and West Asia and thus he created an empire called Persian Empire.
Then Cyrus turned towards the east and began his incursions into northern India and Central Asia. In Central Asia, Cyrus was fiercely resisted by the Scythians, who defeated and killed him on the battlefield and they annihilated the Persian army. Scythians are Indo-European people to which the Afghans are racially related.
The Achaemenids worshiped Mithra, an early Aryan god, but later they adopted Zoroastrianism when they occupied Balkh and contacted the Zoroastrian priests.
The life style of Medes and Persians was tribal and when Cyrus laid the foundation of Persian Empire, he borrowed the administrative laws from the Mesopotamian, especially from the Assyrians, who were formidable worriers and skilled administrators. As the Persian language (so-called Old Persian) was crude, the Acaemenids adopted Aramaic as the Empire's court language.
The so-called Persian civilization is the offspring of the Mesopotamian culture, whose history started in 3000 BC, and whose civilization has played a major role in the history of mankind.
To claim that that Central Asia and the present day Afghanistan is a part of Persia's heritage is a travesty of historical facts. According to Encyclopedia Americana, the Aryans, who wandered in Central Asia, settled in Bactria, northern Afghanistan, and built the city of Balkh in 19th century BC. In 15th century BC, Zoroaster, a native of Bactria, taught his monotheistic philosophy and Ethics in the city of Balkh. According to Nancy H, Dupree, Balkh is one of the oldest cities in the world and is considered to be the first city to which the Indo-Aryan tribes moved from the North of Amu Darya, approximately between 2000 - 1500 BC.
The Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC, also known as the "Oxus civilization") is the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age culture of Central Asia, dated to ca. 2200–1700 BC, and located in present day Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centered on the upper Amu Darya (Oxus), in area covering ancient Bactria. Its sites were discovered and named by the Soviet archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi (1976). Bactria was the Greek name for the area of Bactra (modern Balkh), in what is now Afghanistan, and Margiana was the Greek name for the Persian colony of Margu, the capital of which was Merv, in today's Turkmenistan.
In 1000 BC, the Medes and Persians finally settled in the western part of modern Persian, where they faced two different peoples with highly developed pattern of life: The Elamites and the Mesopotamian. The Elamites were non-Aryans, whose racial origin is unknown and who lived in southwestern Persia. The Medes and Persians were in a constant state of conflict and both lived a tribal life. In 550 BC, Cyrus united Medes and Persians and laid the foundation of Persian Empire. As already mentioned, the birthplace of Persian Empire is the western part of modern Iran, and during the rule of the Achaemenids the Persian territory expanded occupying Mesopotamia, Lydia, Ionia and Levant and in the east the Persian occupied Parts of Central Asia including Afghanistan and a chunk of north India.
Each of these countries had its own specific geography and culture. In other words, these territories were not the integral parts of Persia; they were just colonies. Thus, the Persian writers, who claim that Central Asia including Afghanistan belong to their heritage, are absolutely wrong and irrational.
As far as the antiquity of land and culture is concerned, the Afghans' land with its culture is much older than that of Persia. As already mentioned, Medes and Persians were two Aryan tribes who had been living a tribal life until the rise of Persian Empire in 550 BC. While in the 15th century BC, Bactria, northern Afghanistan, was a hub of civilization where Zoroaster was teaching monotheism and moral philosophy in the city of Balkh.
Bactria is the land from where the Aryans started migration as their number increased and the place could not accommodate them. A group of them crossed the Indus River and settled in north India and those who remained in Aryana are now called Tajiks, Pashtuns and Baluches.
The antiquity of Balkh and its brilliant culture is clearly acknowledged by the Arab conquerors and historians, who called Balkh Um al-Belad, the mother of cities. None of the ancient Persian cities has been given such a significant title.
It is to be noted that both the Avesta and the Rig Veda refer to the homeland of the Aryans: The Avesta mentions Balkh and its surroundings including countries such as Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan as the Arya Vaeja or the land of Aryans, but it does not mention Persia as the latter did not exist at the time of the Avesta. Similarly, the Rig Veda, the oldest sacred book of the Aryans in India, refers to the Aryans original homeland with snow capped tall mountains and lush green valleys located in the north.
In the olden days, all mountains in Afghanistan had been covered with vegetation and trees some of which were cut down by the populace who needed woods for constructions or for fuel. In southern Afghanistan and the NWFP, the British colonist paid money to the local people to cut down the trees from where the Afghan freedom fighters had waged a guerrilla war against the British.
Strabo, who lived between 64 BC and 24 CE, explains that the tribes inhabiting the lands west of the Indus River were part of Aryana and to their east was India. Strabo, also written Strabon (Greek: Στράβων; 64/63 BC – ca. AD 24) was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher, who wrote extensively on the history and geography of the Mediterranean regions, Middle East including central Asia and north India. Strabo was also a great explorer, who visited many places in the aforementioned regions. Therefore, his observations and experiences are very important, especially with regard to our subject. The original homeland of the Aryans and their culture.
With regard to Aryana, we shall have to mention another great Greek scholar, intellectual, scientist and Geographer namely Eratosthenes (c. 276 BC – c. 195 BC). The region that became known as Khorasan in geography of Eratosthenes was called Aryana at that time, which made up the land where Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion.
The southeastern region of Aryana fell to the Kushan Empire in the 1st century AD. The Kushan rulers introduced Buddhism in the Hindu Kush and nearby areas, in what is now Afghanistan. Numerous Buddhist temples and buried cities have been found in Afghanistan. However, the region of Aryana (or Khorasan) remained predominantly Zoroastrian. One of the three great fire-temples of the Sassanids "Azar-burzin Mehr" is situated near sabzevar in Iran. The boundary of the region began changing until the Kushans and Sassanids merged together to form the Kushano-Sassanian civilization.
Imitating the erroneous method of some European historians, the Persian historians make the field of their study the history of their nation in isolation. In this connection, it is noteworthy to quote Toynbee, the great British historian and intellectual of the 20th century.
Toynbee says: "Historians generally illustrate rather than correct the ideas of the communities within which they live and work, and the developments in the last few centuries, and more particularly in the last few generations of the would be self-sufficient national sovereign state has led historians to choose national fields as the historical study.
However, no single nation or national state of Europe can show a history which is in itself self-explanatory. If any state could do so, it will be Great Britain. In fact if Great Britain (or in the earlier periods, England) is not found to constitute in herself an intelligible field of historical study, we may confidently infer that no other modern European nation will pass the test.
Is English history, then, intelligible when taken by itself? Can we abstract the history of England from her external relations?" In the same way, Toynbee asks many questions and then answers them. He points out, “The best way to approach these questions is to direct our thought backwards over the course of English history and recall the principal chapters." What Toynbee means is that the history of a nation is made by external factors as well as by its internal factors.
As already mentioned the Persians and Medes settled in western parts of Persia in 1000 BC, they were living a tribal life, while, the Aryans were having a prosperous and civilized life in Balkh and its surrounding territories. The Medes and Persians learnt cultural values from the Mesopotamian and the Elamites. After conquering the main parts of Middle East including Levant, Lydia and Ionia, Cyrus the Great marched on the east conquering some parts of Central Asia including Afghanistan.
After Cyrus the Great's death, his successors adopted Zoroasterism, which gave a unifying power head to the Persians’ state and political machine. Thus, the Mesopotamian and the Bactrians play important roles in the development of the Persian Empire and its culture.
Our main focus is not on the tug of war between the Afghans and Persians. The main point of our discussion is the land whose people contributed to the world history and culture. Even the some of the world's oldest literatures mention some places or cities in Aryana for instance, the word "Kubhā" is mentioned in Rigveda (1700 BC) and the Avesta and appears to refer to the Kabul River. The Rigveda praises Kabul as an ideal city, a vision of paradise set in the mountains.
It is not reasonably clear as to why the Persian writers are claiming Afghanistan to be their part of inheritance. Once upon a time Rome had been ruling over the major part of Europe, North Africa, Syria. Palestine, Lydia and Armenia for centuries, but the Italian historians do not claim that these territories to be the parts of their heritage. Similarly, the Greeks during Alexander the Great and his successors ruled over Egypt, northwestern Asia, Persia and Afghanistan for many years, but the Greek historians never claimed these countries to be parts of their heritage.
Throughout history, the Afghan people and their culture remained distinct from their neighbors especially from the Persians, though they are parts of the ethnicity and culture of the same region. There are a few causes on account of which the Afghans kept their distinctive positions in history:
1) A unique civilization emerged when the Aryans built the city of Balkh in Bactria, Afghanistan as early as 19th century BC. Zoroaster, who was born in the same city in 15th century BC, began teaching his monotheistic philosophy and Ethical codes of life. This was humanity's great achievements in the field of enlightenment, which influenced the region in particular and the world in general.
2) The specific geographical position of Afghanistan and its mountainous countryside played important roles in shaping the Afghans’ psychological and physical set up thus making them independence and hardy. The Aryan heritage made the people of Afghanistan proud and self -reliant; Afghanistan produced many Empire builders and heroes, who throughout history fiercely resisted invaders. The rugged mountains everywhere in Afghanistan have created natural ambuscades from where the Afghans could easily attack the invaders by surprise.
3) Afghanistan’s crossroad position between India and China is another historically advantageous point on account of which Afghanistan became a place for the fermentation of different intellectual and spiritual movements. Thus, academies and learning centers emerged in cities like Balk, Arahozia, Gandahara Ghazna, Badakhshan, Zaranj, Bagram and the cities of Peshawar and Taxila.
In order to substantiate our arguments, we would like to compare the relationship between Aryana and Persia to the relationship between Greece and the Roman Empire.
Greece had been the cradle of civilization in the western hemisphere; its achievements in the field of arts, sciences and philosophy were unsurpassed. Greece also produced heroes like Alexander the Great. As soon as Greece became politically weak and Rome rose to power, the former became a part of the Roman Empire. Rome learned a lot from the Greeks though she failed to produce great thinkers and great artists like her predecessors, the Greeks. In other words, the Romans tried to copy the Greek culture but their intellectual and artistic achievements were much poor compared to those of the Greeks. However, the Romans had muscles whereby they ruled a huge territory for centuries.
Similarly, Aryana had been the cradle of learning and culture both during the pre-Islamic and Islamic periods. It produced great heroes and great patrons of arts and sciences such as Kanishka, who established a huge Empire and under whose patronage universities were built in Balkh, Bamyan, Gandahara (Peshawar and Taxila) and other parts of Aryana.
The Persian writers also take pride in the history of Jondishapur, where medical science and philosophy were taught under the patronage of Sassanid the King of kings. These writers, at the same time, accuse the Arabs of destroying Jondishapur and its library. An assertion, which is another part of their fictitious history
First of all, the scientific work in Jondishapur was not originally the product of the Persian mind; it was the product of the Greeks and Nestirian Christians, who were exiled by the Byzantine Emperor.
In 489, the Nestorian theological and scientific center in Edessa was ordered closed by the Byzantine emperor Zeno, and transferred itself to become the School of Nisibis or Nisibīn, then under Persian rule with its secular faculties at Gundeshapur, Khuzestan. Here, scholars, together with Pagan philosophers banished from Athens by Justinian in 529, carried out important research in medicine, astronomy, and mathematics".[
It was under the rule of the Sassanid monarch Khusrow I (531-579 CE), called Anushiravan "The Immortal" and known to the Greeks and Romans as Chosroes, that Gundeshapur became known for medicine and erudition.
Khusraw I gave refuge to various Greek philosophers, Nestorian Assyrians fleeing religious persecution by the Byzantine Empire. The main purpose of the King of kings, who gave asylum to these intellectual refugees, was political rather than the promotion of learning. According to the King of kings policy, the subjects should be kept in darkness lest they should revolt absolute authority.
The king commissioned the refugees to translate Greek and Syriac texts into Pahlavi. They translated various works on medicine, astronomy, astrology, philosophy, and useful crafts.
Anushiravan also turned towards the east, and sent the famous physician Borzouye to invite Indian and Chinese scholars to Gundeshapur. These visitors translated Indian texts on astronomy, astrology, mathematics and medicine and Chinese texts on herbal medicine and religion. Borzouye is said to have himself translated the Pañcatantra from Sanskrit into Pahlavi as Kelile væ Demne.
Many Syriacs settled in Gundeshapur during the Fifth century. The Syriac were most of all medical doctors from Urfa, which was during that time, home to the leading medical center. Teaching in the Academy was done in Syriac until the city fell to Muslim Arab armies.
Gundeshapur under Muslim rule
The Sassanid dynasty fell to Muslim Arab armies in 638 CE. The academy survived the change of rulers and persisted for several centuries as a Muslim institute of higher learning. It was later rivaled by an institute established at the Abbasid capital of Baghdad. In 832 CE, Caliph al-Ma'mūn founded the famous Baytu l-Hikma, the House of Wisdom. There the methods of Gundeshapur were emulated; indeed, the House of Wisdom was staffed with graduates of the older Academy of Gundeshapur. It is believed that the House of Wisdom was disbanded under Al-Mutawakkil, Al-Ma'mūn's successor. However, by that time the intellectual center of the Abbasid Caliphate had definitively shifted to Baghdad, as henceforth there are few references in contemporary literature to universities or hospitals at Gundeshapur.
As far as the Islamic period is concerned, Aryana was islamised much later than Persia, but the formers's response was much earlier, positive and productive than the latter. Great scholars such as Imam Bukhari and Muslim, who collected and compiled the Hadith through painful researches, were the natives of Aryana. Abu Hanifa (699-767) was the founder of the great Sunni school of Islam called The Hanafi School; his works on Islamic law and his independent interpretation of the Islamic principles are outstanding. Abu Hanif's father hailed from Kabul, Aryana. Similarly, great philosophers and scientists such as Avesina (953-1048), Farabi (870-950) and Al-Biruni (973-1048), Shahid Balkhi (died in 935).
Great Dari poets such as Rudaki (858-ca-941), Daqiqi942-980), Sanayee (1080-1131), Anwari (12th century), Farrukhi sistani (died in 1037) were from Aryana. Another great mystic poet and philosopher, who hailed from Balkh in the 13th is Maulana Jalal al-Dim Rumi. Rumi's poetry forms the basis of much classical Afghan and Persian music. Contemporary classical interpretations of his poetry are made by and Ustad Mohammad Hashem Cheshti (Afghanistan).
To many modern Westerners, his teachings are one of the best introductions to the philosophy and practice of Sufism. In the West Shahram Shiva has been teaching, performing and sharing the translations of the poetry of Rumi for nearly twenty years and has been instrumental in spreading Rumi's legacy in the English speaking parts of the world. Pakistan's National Poet, Muhammad Iqbal, was also inspired by Rumi's works and considered him to be his spiritual leader, addressing him as "Pir Rumi" in his poems (the honorific Pir literally means "old man", but in the Sufi/mystic context it means founder, master, or guide).
It is to be noted that the birthplace of the so-called Persian language is not Persia, where Pahlavi was spoken before the advent of the Ghaznavids and the Slajuq Turks.
In 10th century, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna imposed Dari on Persia as Pahlavi was crude and incapable of containing sophisticated literary imagery and intellectual concepts. According to the late professor Saeed Nafisi, a prominent scholar of Iran, Persian is a modified form of Dari, which was born in central Asia. Thus, Dari's name changed into Farsi or Persian because it was adopted by the Persian people. This means that the language spoken currently by the Persians is a Persianized Dari and nothing more! Therefore, in the following writings, the writer has referred to Persian as Dari instead of calling it Persian.
Later the great Persian poets such as Saadi, Hafiz, and Nizami Ganjavi imitated the poetic imagery and rules created by the above-mentioned classical masters of Aryana.
The militaristic and cultural achievements of the Timur were the product of Aryana. Timur lived in a time when the Ilkhanid (Mongol) power had fallen apart in Persia and Aryana was also in a state of political turmoil. There were many kings and petty potentates in Persia. After bloody conflicts and rebellions, Timur restored order and gave unity to the region.
By bringing craftsmen from different conquered lands to his capital in Samarqand, Timur initiated on the most brilliant periods in Islamic art. Timurid art and architecture provided inspiration to lands stretching from Anatolia to India. Timur's descendants continued to rule over Transoxiana as leading patrons of Islamic arts. The Timurid period is also brilliant with regard to the promotion of Dari and its literature. Jami was one of the greatest poets and writers of the age. Jami is also considered as the last poet of the classical age.
Through their patronage, the eastern Islamic world became a prominent cultural center, with Herat the new Timurid capital, as its focal point. Timurid rulers lured artists, architects and men of letters who will contribute to their high court culture. Some of these rulers were great patrons of arts of books commissioning manuscripts that were copied, compiled and illustrated in their libraries. Due to the flourishing of manuscript illumination and illustration, the Herat school is the apogee of miniature painting.
The phrase Persian Miniatures is misleading as the miniature paintings originated and developed in Herat under the patronage of the Timurids. After the brutal occupation of Herat by Shah Ismail Safavi, Behzad, the head of the mature painting school was taken as prisoner by the conqueror and taken to Tabriz where a new school of painting was established and Behzad was appointed as its head. After the death of Behzad, the paintings by the subsequent painters lost their vitality and changed into picture like figures.
04-25-2012, 01:03 PM
I copied it from some Afghan forum but the person who posted it doesn't respond.
Just read the article, you can find the sources to back up what he is saying from other books. It has some inaccuracies but on the whole it does quite well revealing the Iranian attempts to misrepresent history in their own favour. Its quite an eye opener. I specially encourage manzareh and others from pakhtunkwha to read it.
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