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Sunday, 20 July 2014 06:07

Iranian Notables, Sources of Global Honor (9)

Previously, we spoke of the role of language in cultural developments; and briefly studied Farsi language, its terms, and structure. We also reminded that throughout the reign of Sassanid dynasty and initial centuries of the Islamic era, Pahlavi language was the official language of Iran.

However, given the complexities of this language; it didn’t have the capacity to be globalized. In this period of time, Iranians turned Arabic into an international and acceptable language, making use of it as a means for their global cultural activities.

The literary and scientific Arabic, which was mainly developed by Iranians, was the exclusive scientific and literary language in Iran’s cultural circles until 4th Century AH. But, thereafter, Dari Farsi language gradually became a cultural, scientific, and literary language, while Iranian cultural figures quantitatively and qualitatively developed this scientific language, promoting its status into an international language. Upon the reinforcement of Farsi; the Arabic language gradually lost its previous capacity and was replaced by Farsi in Iran’s cultural scene.

Dari Farsi language was the continuation of the pre-Islamic oral language. It didn’t maintain a scientific and literary background because the official, religious, and scientific languages of Sassanid era were Pahlavi and Syriac. Hence, this language failed to turn into the official, scientific, and literary language of Iranian cultural circles in the initial Islamic centuries. But, after the 4th Century; concurrent with the emergence of the awakening era of Iranian cultural identity; Iranians regained their confidence, and Dari Farsi language, which was the ordinary vocal language in large parts of Sassanid territory, and among the courtiers, was promoted more than ever in the cultural and literary circles of Iranians. This language gradually sidelined indigenous tongues such as Kharazmi language, and became the main language of eastern regions of Iran.

In Sassanid era, Farsi was the indigenous language of Iran, while Pahlavi was the administrative, religious, and literary language. In Islamic era, Farsi language, with the acceptance of indigenized Arabic alphabet, which was more acceptable than the complicated Pahlavi alphabet, was also used in writing texts. Prior to acceptance of Dari Farsi as the literary, scientific, and administrative language, it was the tongue of common people.

However, Arabic was the religious, scientific, administrative and literary language, and was used by the majority of educated individuals. Dari Farsi language, from the very beginning, showed its true combination capacity, and upon the acceptance of Arabic alphabet, opened the way for entry of Arabic terms and concepts. Other Iranian dialects also simply gained entry to this language. This capacity for acceptance of terms and concepts from different cultures of Islamic World, boosted the globalization potential of Dari Farsi language, more than ever.

One of the surprising facts in Iran’s culture is that although Iranian dynasties didn’t know Arabic as such; they refused to accept Dari Farsi as the official and administrative language and maintained Arabic as the language of courtiers.

The Taherian, Samanid, and Bouyed Dynasties used Arabic language in their official communications.

According to Masoudi History Book; in the 4th Century, all Iranians, who lived in western regions of Iran, Azarbaijan, Armenia, Khorasan, Sistan, and Caucasus conversed in Farsi.

Farsi was accepted as the official tongue of Iran as of the rule of Saljuqid Turks. Although they were of Turkish origin; they accepted Farsi as the official and administrative language. This selection was mainly because as of this period, Farsi had gained the essential capacity for recognition as an official language; thanks to utmost efforts of Iranian authors, and scientists, who used Farsi for expression of their literary and scientific thoughts.

Entry of Turks and Mongols to Iran did not harm Farsi language, and after a while, the majority of immigrant Turks and Mongols were attracted to Iranian culture. Given that during the 6th Century AH, majority of Islamic lands were under the military-political domination of Turks; and that the majority of Turk rulers were influenced by Iranian culture; Farsi language was spread from China and India to Asia Minor; turning into one of the most accredited global languages. As of the beginning of rule of Mongols; Farsi was the official language of communications.

Marco Polo knew Farsi and had written geographical names of China in Farsi language.

In the era of Muslim traveler, Ibn-e Batuteh, Farsi attained its global communicational peak capacity. Wherever he traveled, from China to Indian forests, he encountered people, who spoke in Farsi. In 8th Century AH, he presented astounding facts about the wide-scale spread of Farsi language in the world. At the time, Turkish was the common language of people in Central Asia, India, Asia Minor, and Iran’s Azarbaijan.

But, the administrative, literary, and scientific language among Muslims was Farsi. According to Ibn-e Batuteh, the courtier language of originally Turk rulers in India was Farsi.

According to Cambridge Book of History, as of the domination of Ghaznavid Dynasty over India, the official and courtier language was Farsi, and anyone, who wanted to serve India should have mastered Farsi language.

Several poets in Lahore wrote verse and prose in Farsi. Prior to them, the renowned Indian Farsi-speaking poet, Amir Khosrow Dehlavi, wrote verse in Farsi, although he was born in India. In 7th Century AH, people in China’s Turkistan were familiar with Farsi.

Urdu, which is the language of people of Pakistan, is highly influenced by Farsi in regards to terms, concepts, poetic forms, and structure.

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