Influence of Indo-Iranian Literature on Indian Literature




The post-Islamic introduction of Iranian literature into India begins with the reign of Sultan Mahmud-e-Ghaznavi who took the work of his father Saboktagin seriously and began the conquest of Northern India. Although the major aim of his expeditions were the propagation of Islamic faith and the capture of spoils of war, however, with these expeditions Farsi (the Persian language) began to penetrate into India.


With the defeat of Sultan Mas’ud-e-Ghaznavi from the Saljuk Turks, the successors of Mas’ud came to reside permanently in India and shifted, their capital to Lahore. We find three Iranian poets of the time settling in Lahore. These were Abul-Faraj Runi who died in 1099 in that city, Mas’ud Sa’ad Salman, a native of Gurgan who was imprisoned by his patron, Sultan Ibrahim Ghaznavi, for 12 years and died in 1131, and Hakim Sanaii of Ghazni, who is the first of the great mystic poets, who died also in Lahore in 1131 A.D.


Then we have a succession of poets, writers, historians who arrived into India during the Slave dynasty from 1206 to 1526. Among these one can mention Juzjani the author of "Tabaqat Nasiri", (1260), Mohammed Aufi of Bukhara who wrote "Lubab-al-Al-bab," the oldest biographical work in Iranian literature, and "Jawami’ al-Hekayat", Nizam addin Hassan Nizami Nishaburi (son of the famous Nizami Aruzi), Fakhruddin Mobarakshah the author of "Silsilat al-Ansab and "Adab-al-Harb".


Persian roots of Christian traditions



By Ramona Shashaani

A while ago, I was invited to give a talk at a Christmas party about the Persian tradition of celebrating the winter solstice on December 21st. In order to speak intelligently to a spiritually and psychologically keen audience, I set out to research the subject. I was scrambling to find resource material when my day was saved by our list co-moderator, Peter Bridge, who provided me with more references than I had hoped to find in my attempt to unravel the historical, symbolic and mythic bases behind the Persian people's celebration of this festive occasion.

What I did not expect to find, however, was a fascinating history of how Christmas may have its origins in the ancient Persian Mithraic tradition of worshipping Mithra or Mehr, the sun-god or god of love. With the approaching winter solstice, I thought it might be appropriate share this history with you.

While Christians around the world are preparing to celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25th, the Persians are getting ready to tribute one of their most festive celebrations on Dec. 21st, the eve of winter solstice, the longest night and shortest day of the year. In Iran this night is called SHAB-E YALDAA, also known as SHAB-E CHELLEH, which refers to the birthday or rebirth of the sun.

In the east more than in the west, lifestyles have often remained more in tune with nature. This integration of natural rhythms into life cycles is especially true in ancient Persia and has survived the ages. YALDAA, like other major Persian celebrations, is focused on the changing of the seasons. It is as ancient as the time that people organized their lives around the precession of equinoxes.

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