Fereydoon Joneydi

Audio of the Entire Interview

Interview Transcript


In Dialogue with Fereydoun Joneydi

Part 1

Personal Life


My late father Bahtash Irani, gloriously photographed here above me, had been educated in Iran. Together with Mohammad-Taqí Bahār (contemporary poet, politician, journalist) and a person called Motamed Daftar from Khorasan always wondered about what they could do for the pursuit of culture in Iran.  They thought of opening a cultural school at the heart of bazaar to acquaint bazaar tradesmen with cultural concepts. Bahar taught literature, Motamed daftar taught Mathematics and as an athlete and fluent in Ruassian my father was the school director. It was a good idea but it shouldn’t have been limited to one school. Later on it didn’t work especially when Bahar moved to Tehran the school closed for good.

My memories of primary school is very vague, I was very young. In high school I was taught by a person called Hassan Sajjadi who was a scholar of Mohammad-Taqí  Adib Neyshaburi (Also known as Adib Saani, Contemporary Islamic scientist and poet(, I therefore feel that my cultural identity is very much entwined with the teachings of Adib Neyshaburi. Most of my classmates were not very attentive during Sajjadi’s lessons, but I was his one true admirer and have treasured his teachings up to this day. There formed a deep relationship based on admiration and respect between myself and him, and his words helped me find the path which I have continued to be on till present.

The most prominent memory I have of my father is from when I was in the 5th grade; I was listening to my father talk to a group of adults about The Shahnameh (Book of Kings. He said “people think that Shahnameh is entirely mythological, they claim this based on the question that how could Jamshid reign for 800 years? One must know that time was measured in months at the time so 800 months is approximately 66 years which makes the story of Jamshid close to reality”, this ignited an inner explosion within my mind, I was young and I could not take part in these conversations but hearing this made me think that the Shahnameh must be studied with precision.  At the time, most houses did not have electricity and families mostly used Korsis to stay warm. A subject I was studying at school entailed rewriting the ‘Seven Labors of Rustam’ (Haftkhān-e-Rostam).  I had done maybe two or three Labors before it was dinner time. After dinner while everyone was getting ready to sleep around the Korsi I asked my mother kindly if I could continue with my homework and she always liked for children to study so she agreed and asked me to put out the oil lamp when I was done. I can’t even begin to explain how  that 10/11 year old boy spent the night with Haftkhān-e-Rostam, the pain from having sat on my knees and from my arms having pressed against the jagged edges of the korsi top, I went through all the seven phases, the Persians won the battle and I happily went to sleep at the early hours of the morning. This is the most important memory from my childhood which inclined me towards The Shahnameh and its studies.

I started university in 1964, and got into Tehran University with an average high school score of 100%. Unfortunately however, I found that there was no one amongst my tutors that met up to my expectations that I had developed from my experience with my old teacher Mr. Sajjadi, so I was on my own in whatever I pursued. 

Saeed Nafisi (linguist, Persian literature scholar, historian and poet, was amongst the first generation of professors at the Tehran University School of law and literature) was very charismatic amongst Iranian intellectuals and because of his anti Shah views he had become popular among highbrows in  Iran. I wasn’t in his class officially, while knowing he brought up great subjects in class and spent a lot of time at the university, where students weren’t even that interested at the time. I was the only one who really listened closely. His method of teaching was very subject based, this one time during a writing session he recited a contemporary Farsi poem “The cheerfulness of spring passes, as undoubtedly doth the hardship of the cold, with hardships of life do not let sorrow  shadow your heart as this too, shall pass”; I raised my hand at that point and said to him “I believe one must not say, this too shall pass and wait for matters to pass, one must actively work hard and try to achieve his goals in life”, he simply told me that this was the poet’s opinion and that if I was in disagreement I ought  to write my own version. So I thought of three verses in response, in utter adoration of nature which put across the same notions as of the poem I was arguing against; so Nafisi was surprised and said ‘weren’t you in contrast to this poem?’ , ‘I thought about it and I think it’s quite right’ I replied.

I was taught by masters such as Badiozzaman Forouzanfar (Literature scholar, linguist) who was rather imperious, Malek-Osh-Shoara (Mohammad-Taqi Bahar, Poet, Journalist, historian and Contemporary politician) from time to time before he passed away, who was probably the most glorious of them all and students were very fond of him.  

Interviewer: What was the subject of your PhD dissertation?

It was something that I later turned into a book a called The Life and Emigration of The Aryans which was published in ten editions. Later I thought this was not enough so after working for 35 years I published the book ‘The Story of Iran based on Iranian discourse’, it is a truly amazing piece of work that puts across notions no one has ever talked of before.  (Recites verses by Ferdowsi outlining the roles of fowls and cockerels and later concludes that all must pray and give thanks to the creator)  I thought about this verse for just over 20 years and I found out that Iranians, our ancestors, were able to work out the 24hour day from the sounds and calls of roosters. I stayed up night after night only to realize that in fact these creatures would make a call every hour from 11:45 onwards till about 5 or 6 in the morning when they would all be up. This is something very unique. There are two other verses about Norouz, the new year (recites and corrects common edition mistake: At the onset of the new year when the body lets go of affliction and the heart frees itself of animosity; the noble rejoice, with wine, chalice and music) Hormoz-e farvardin or the first day of spring and the start of the new year, Hormoz meaning the first day of the month which was also called Ahuramazda, noting that in ancient times each day of the month had a specific name, clearly tells us that the notion of chronometry is already being used at that day and age and Iranians were fully aware of this systematic use of time. How is ‘May’ (wine) made? It needs a container, the very first of which were made of clay. People used to leave fruit in large ceramic jars in order to keep the over a long period of time and when they would go back to these jars they would find that their contents had completely changed in nature. This indeed was the birth of wine and the beginning of pottery, and the advance of chronometry when these people noticed the pattern in the roosters’ calls, they made something called ‘Pang’ or ‘Pangaan’, what we now call ‘Fenjaan’, which had a hole at the bottom, they would put this on a tub of water, as water little by little penetrated through, this would sink and go down and it would be measured as ‘one pang’.

Isa Sedigh (also known as Sadiq A’lam, ‘The wise Sadigh’ 1894-1978, was a writer, minister of education and third president of Tehran University) was enormously imperious, he would often never say hello back to someone who greeted him. I remember this one incident during the celebration of the first year anniversary of the University of Tehran, he was walking towards the front of a lecture room when he condescendingly said “A foreigner has spent three decades of his life on studying and deciphering ancient Persian Cuneiform; I ask you, the children of Iran , would you even spend three days to do so?” he then put his hand in his front jacket pocket, he would always do it as part of his style and gesture, and continued walking to the front. I suddenly got up, he was shocked as he didn’t expect it, during his years of teaching no one had really attempted to talk back to him. I said “Instead of inspiring, motivating and encouraging students, these children of Iran to work for this country, you patronize them, put them to shame, when it hasn’t been long since the great Dehkhoda finished his work of thirty years (the Persian Encyclopaedic Dictionary). Have you not seen, read or heard Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh which he spent thirty years writing? On what basis do you think that an Iranian is not prepared to work for his own culture? Just so you know, I, Fereydoun Joneydi, child of Iran will work for Iran from now till the end of my life.” The lecture hall went quiet, there were 50 or 60 people taking that class, it was the history of culture and students from other majors would attend as well. Sedigh put his hand in his front pocket and went and sat in the front, he said nothing to me. Thankfully, this child of Iran has worked for this culture since the day he said those words up until now, and there are indeed such people, we must not humiliate them.  

An individual whom I will not name, asked me to become a university tutor, when I refused and was asked for reasons, I said to him “the ceilings of your classes are too low for me”.  Over the years I was asked and invited several times to lecture at different universities, including Tehran, Sharif etc. and I only accepted based on the following conditions; first, that I did not want to get paid, secondly, that I would not be teaching within a conventional framework of grades and attendance sheets etc. and thirdly that I would only teach and talk of the subject I would pre-plan before the class and nothing else. I would go on having agreed on all those conditions because for me, someone who wants to work for the promotion of the culture of his country should not be looking at receiving a wage for it, this is my opinion that if someone is looking for money in this then there is something that has gone wrong along the path. One should spare one’s life for Iran, and above all its rich culture.

It was extremely hard at the start, the night when I made this pact with myself, I went for a walk in shoes that had holes in them, and gravel would come through and penetrate my socks. One who voluntarily works for years without getting paid is bound to become homeless; and I had. That night was in the year 1978, after the Islamic revolution, I thought to myself what is it that I should do, and came to the conclusion that my Late father and late Bahar had reached, it was culture that I had to focus on. I wrote an immaculate plan for Bonyad-Neyshaboor (Neyshabur Foundation) which I found and started. At the beginning it was very tough because the place I lived in was not worthy and up to standards for the work I was doing, it was very hard. But little by little when the publications started selling I was able to rent an office. The books and publications is my only means of living up to this date. I do have to say that my father left me 50 acres of land in Neyshabur, for which I planned comprehensively with drawings and letters of explanations which I sent to Mr. Rafsanjaani’s office, then president. I wanted the land to be home to a kind of Nezamiyeh (School), a university in the ancient Iran style, one that is not limited to merely giving out degrees. It was a portrayal of my own wishes and longings. However no one replied. Then when Mr. Khatami became president later, I sent the same documents, he knew me and he had written to his deputy to give the matter attention. Of course, the deputy never contacted me. Instead I contacted his office and said that I had received an annotated letter from Mr. Khatami, I gave them my address and number to organize further discussions, no one ever called or followed up,  Khatami’s time in office ended, the 50 acres is still sitting there along all the plans and drawings of the idea which entailed details such as a sports venue themed in the essence of Pahlevani and Zoorkhaneh rituals, open air classrooms, Hamaams with natural lighting and all spaces designed with reference to Iranian culture. Nonetheless, today we are going forward in this very small space and leading a minimal life through our publications.

I married when I was 24. Although the basis of my marriage was not formed on profound emotional bonds so it lead to separation. God however blessed me with a gift who became as tall as myself and sounded like myself (Afshin Joneydi pictured with his father). He later studied and became a doctor and decided to move back to his father’s town and help those in need. He went to a poor neighbourhood and set up a clinic. In an early autumn day, he didn’t have a landline as he could not afford it so he had connected one of those rented lines or clinic use; the line was broken so he had gone to fix it with the cleaner, meanwhile a woman had come crying to clinic begging the nurse to go after him, so she did and my son left the wire in the hands of the cleaner and went to attend to the patient, the cleaner not very skilled coiled the wire and put it through electricity of 18000 volts, at the same time the phone rang and my son instantly was electrified and lost his life. This young man (pictured). He was working there voluntarily just like me. He would go to poor villages to treat children and would write their prescriptions for the teachers. He had agreed with a pharmacy that he would sign the back of prescriptions for which the patient could not afford and that he would go at the beginning of each month to clear their debts.  When this happened, although I was grief-stricken and devastated, I went to that pharmacy which was fairly large, I stood there, not knowing what to even say, one of the clerks recognized me and kindly asked what I needed. I said that I had come to clear my son’s debt, and he kept telling me there was no outstanding balance for him to be paid. I knew there was, but they kept telling me otherwise. They spoke very highly of him and assured me that as for that month there was no debt to be paid.   


In Dialogue with Fereydoon Joneydi

Part 2

Professional Periods

Nameh Pahlavi- A guide to Pahlavi Language and Scripts (Parthian.Sasanian)

I always wished to be able to understand ancient languages. The first time I came to close contact with it was reading Isa Sedigh’s ‘History of Iranian Culture’, there was a sentence (recites sentence in ancient language from the book) which seemed to have quite a few Arabic words. I felt heartbroken but I didn’t give up. There was a good bookstore called Tahouri which still exists but it’s just not as effective as it used to be, I went there and asked if they had any books in Pahlavi Language. They offered me a few books which were written by foreigners. When I asked if there were any books by Iranian authors, I was told there is a book published by Mashhad University, called Ardovirafnameh which they have refused to distribute. I said well I am going to visit my mother in Neyshabur so I will go to Mashhad and pick up a copy. He said if you do end up going, ask them why they have been refusing us a copy. I went to the Mashad University book store and asked them for the book but was told that the author has asked distribution to stop till the 2nd edition is published. I told them that I had travelled all the way from Tehran for this book just to be denied it, and that I would complain to Dr. Khanlari; so in the end they agreed to give me a copy. It was around 1975 or 1976, my mother still lived in Neyshabur; while I did not understand a word of Pahlavi I started studying the book. I remember on the first day it took me from 5 in the afternoon till about 2 in the morning to read only a line and a half of the book. I would take a word and look at the word index to see which one would correspond to it in shape form and meaning; my late mother came up to me and asked me to sleep but I told her I couldn’t. Day by day I would go forward a bit more. There are signs in the Pahlavi language called Hozvaresh, the late author Rahim Afifi, would refer to these as Hoz, I was very confused and had no idea what they were. On the fourth day, I annotated on one of the pages of this book, which I still have, that this word should be written as such and such and has been referred to incorrectly. I finished the book which was in fact Dr. Rahim Afifi’s doctoral dissertations over 12 or 13 nights. I reviewed it once more and by day 20 I can say that I knew Pahlavi quite well. When I saw the European takes on Pahlavi, I found that they offered nothing but confusion so I decided to write a version of my own and I did it over 2 or 3 months. At the time there was the Ministry for Arts and Culture and I had a meeting with the minister himself for the archaeological works I had done and I mentioned this book on the side. He found it interesting and asked me to have a prologue written for it by Dr. Farahvashi which I refused; I did say however that if he wanted it proof read by him I had no objection. I sent it to Farahvashi, the transcript stayed with him for three years but I received no reply on it despite asking him a few times. After the 1979 revolution I gradually published it together with other books. This version of Pahlavi Script and interpretation which I wrote in my own handwriting became the best in the world. It is the easiest guide ever written to teaching the language, the methods used before are as though the authors didn’t intend for the readers to comprehend Pahlavi properly in my opinion, why should this language which is the mother of the Persian language not be understood by us in our country? Henrik Samuel Nyberg had written The Middle Iranian dictionary of ideograms (Frahang ī Pahlavīg) a few years back which included 620 Hozvaresh words, I added another 820 words including 200 verbs to the largest Pahlavi dictionary that existed. My version then became the largest dictionary for Hozvaresh words and was published by Neyshabur Foundation. Over the years we have held many workshops and programs. We teach Avesta once a week and Pahlavi on different levels four days a week to familiarize Iranians with the language of their ancestors. This is of course a very primary step, but all small steps lead to bigger actions consequently. We must introduce the children of Iran to their ancestry language.

Pictured: Nameh Pahlavi- A guide to Pahlavi Language and Scripts (Parthian.Sasanian)

Interviewer: how much have these books on the teaching and introduction of the Pahlavi language and hozvaresh received attention?

Anyone who has come into contact with them has been astouned, because the ,ethods which are being used to teach Pahlavi at our universities is rather obscure and hard to comprehend. A person called MacKenzie, whom I think of as an antagonist towards Iran, has made up pronunciations of Pahlavi of his own which are very misleading, I will give you an example, In Avesta there is a word ‘Hatchaa’ which changed to ‘Hatch’ in Pahlavi, and subsequently to ‘Az’; when you can see that ‘Hatcha’ is the root of ‘Az’ it is much clearer and comprehendible to see the journey a language has taken from a more difficult position to an easier one. But when you don’t know the story behind it and suddenly see the word ‘Hazh’ you become confused, a stranger to your own ancestral mother tongue. Therefore our universities are not teaching efficiently, it is possible that they don’t know but even if they do they are not conveying it properly that Algebra, Trigonometry, Logarithm all originated from Iran. Logarithm which was created by Kharazmi, which was first introduced as Al-Kharazmi and then Algorithm, uses a binary system which is used today in all IT systems over the world. No body talks of how Kharazmi came up with all this which is truly a betrayal, for someone to have introduced this system 1200 years ago why should our own universities not talk about it. Same goes with trigonometry and chemistry. I found that approximately 4500-5000 years ago, Iranians measured a Meridian (Longitudinal line) of 180 degrees from the most eastern islands of Japan to the western Canary Islands, this meridian is in Iran, and the English quite unlawfully took this concept and planted it in Greenwich. I will explain, if you want to measure around our planet conceptually, you would only need a rope to tie around it, but if you come into contact with a mountain, you must do so by trigonometry, align the multiple sides. When we measured such complexity 4.5 to 5 thousand years ago of the hemisphere with the meridian lying here in Iran, it shows that we fully knew trigonometry, so why not at least say it.

The Life and Emigration of Aryans (based on Iranian conversations)

This book starts from the beginning of time, and the emergence of mankind from early human descents, races allegedly being born from Neanderthals, (recites poem from Shahnameh meaningas follows) he raised and straightened his head up as though a tall Cedar tree, so this tells us that he used to be bent before and gradually stood up on two legs. We can see that even after 80 or 90 thousand years since these poems came to life, today we refer to the sounds of water, rain or the banging of things or the knockings on the door the same as those which were referred to these poems in those very old ages. So they have survived about 90 thousand years through the test of time in our language. So the book begins from the creation of Earth, through to the creation of man and his progressions for example the invention of language and conversing which is referred to as Fravaak, ‘Fra’ is a prefix that means progression for example ‘Farda’ meaning ‘tomorrow’ is originated from the Pahlavi ‘Fratag’, ‘Tag’ meaning ‘the bright of day’, so moving towards the light in the future ‘tomorrow’. In fact day is referred to as ‘Tag’ in the German language. Another Pahlavi word which I mentioned is Fravaak, ‘Vaak’ which the English word ‘voice’ is rooted in meaning conversation, means moving towards a conversation.

Interviewer: which resources did you use?

My most significant source was the Shahnameh which no one has looked at with this depth.

Interviewer: when did you publish this book?

I published it in the early years after the Islamic Revolution, I think around 1981. When I published this book, over the thirty years after it lots of entries were added to it which I then published it under the name: The Story of Iran (based in Iranian conversations). One is astonished when reading this book, to find the extent of work our ancestors had done for the progression of knowledge and the development of life, which we have been unaware of; and even Europe which only began its progression 4 or 5 centuries ago had been oblivious to, all these advances had been made time and time ago.        

The Legends of Rostam- First volume from Shahnameh/ Zal and Rudaba

The Legends of Rostam- Third volume from Shahnameh/ Rostam’s Seven Labours

The Legends of Rostam- Fourth volume from Shahnameh/ The battle of Hamavaran & the fighting of the seven heroes

Before the revolution I came across many kids, teenagers who wouldn’t talk highly of Iran, I would see 15 or 16 year olds on the street who would say ‘us Iranians will never straighten out’, many times did I think why should our children think this way and thought of what we could do to amend it. For me the only way was to introduce them to Shahnameh, at the time there was a Shahnameh published by Amirkabir which weighed around 3 kilos and I thought well a 14 year old can hardly even hold this, I had a niece around the same age at the time. It took me a while to realize that the legends of Rostam would suffice to start with, as it entailed notions of patriotism, love, brotherhood humbleness, helpfulness, kindness and all the characteristics that had existed in this rich culture. The Legends of Rostam itself however took up half the Shahnameh so it would still weigh around 1.5 kilos, how could I hand this to my niece? After thinking a great deal, I realized that these legends could be published one by one (pictured: The Legends of Rostam- seventh volume from Shahnameh/ The Story of Siavash), it all came to eleven volumes in the end. (pictured: The Legends of Rostam- Eighth volume from Shahnameh/ The Story of Kamus Kashani) After the Islamic revolution, I thought of writing the second volume to my book (pictured: The Legends of Rostam- Ninth volume from Shahnameh/ The Chinese Emperor and Ekvaan the Demon) while preparing the 11 volumes, I was editing the Shahnameh so that it only included the writings pf Ferdowsi and no one else. After 18 years I decided to rewrite these in Persian solely so that it would be easier to use for children. It was published two or three times which is not a lot, this is something that should be sponsored by a government organization, the Ministry of Education for example, to become a teaching material for a certain age, which unfortunately hasn’t been done up to this day. Although I have taken notice of good intentions and inclinations by the ministry of education; there were a couple of stories from the shahnameh in the Persian Literature textbooks, one in which Rostam kills Esfandiar and one in which Rostam kills Sohrab, which portrayed Rostam, this heroic legend as a symbol of immorality as he kills a great athleteand his own son. This came quite bitter to me as they need to be read within a greater context, I talked about it in quite a few speeches and later realized that they had omitted them from the textbooks. There was a reason for omitting these, Rostam having made a plea to Esfandiar to make peace and shake hands, was confronted by Esfandiars refusal and when Zal suggested to send him gifts, horses even, Rostam mentions Keyvan, which is the highest star in the solar system, this shows that Iranians were aware this at that time (recites poem), he says that Esfandiar’s head has reached Keyvan (metaphorically) and nothing can bring him to peace, then when he decides to finally pull the arrow, he spends the night praying and taking to God saying how he had tried his utmost to dissuade him from war but all that he thinks of is injustice and war. He refers to God as the creator of Mah (moon) and Tir (Mercury), and do you know why he only mentions the moon and mercury (tir)? Because the moon as a crescent looks like a bow and ‘tir’ in Persian means arrow. So Rostam had no other choice but to fight Esfandiar whereas many refer to him as ruthless for killing a great athlete, and for killing Sohrab his son, whom he didn’t know, if Sohrab wanted to come to Iran from Turan to see his father, he should have travelled with a convoy rather than on his own followed by an army. How was Rostam to know who he was? So it was wrongly portrayed that this epic hero is one who would kill unlawfully, which fortunately has been stopped in the past few years.

Zarvaan- The Measurement of Time in Ancient Iran

No one in the world is aware of the initiation of time measurement from Iran. No one knows that we invented the 24 hour notion of daytime measurement that is now used everywhere. I will give you an example, upon the formation of France by Charlemagne, Harun al-Rashid sends him a convoy of gifts to impress him and attract him to Islam, these were three gifts made by Iranian scientists. One of them was a clock, which was installed in the main square in Paris, almost like cuckoo clock, precisely at noon, a rooster would pop out and sing. It was a metal clock, imagine the craftsmanship they must have employed to make it to such preciseness. It worked with a chain reaction caused by water droplets dripping into a container the exact size that would take 12 hours to fill up by these drops, overflow and hit a surface that would work other levers to conclude in the rooster popping out at the exact intended time. And then we can’t even begin to speak of the mechanism that the rooster sung by. The world did not have clocks and we did at the time, they would call it ‘Saat’ which later turned into what we now call ‘Sa’at’. That same year Paris was hit by drought, people thought of the rooster as the devil and so attacked it and destroyed it in hope of a rainfall.  


In Dialogue with Fereydoon Joneydi

Part 3

Professional Periods


The Blissful Iranian Tune

I was disappointed to find that many of our musicians thought of music to have originated from the west whereas clearly it travelled from East to West. The European guitar has roots in the Persian Tar and even the piano has origins laying in Persia. According to ancient Greek mythology, it is a common thought amongst Europeans that there are seven Muses playing the harp on seven levels from the Earth to the sky who keep our world in order. At the late Mr. Zareh’s house who donated this place to the Neyshabur Foundation (The Zareh family pictured), I noticed that his daughter had a bizarre and rather unpleasant image of a woman on the wall, when enquired about it she said that it was of the fourth Muse, the goddess who is playing the harp at the fourth level, and I said one of those who are holding the earth and the skies together? She replied yes. ‘Do you really believe that someone who is stuck in a masonry form, who is not able to breath can make music and maintain the order of the world?’ I asked; she said ‘don’t you?’, I said ‘Of course I don’t, this is all masonry, how are these strings even going to move to be able to make a sound let alone balance the earth and the skies?’ she thought for a few seconds and said ‘I suppose you are right’. They are in denial, they fail to realize that the sheer magnitude of this world, orbit of the stars and planets, the enormity of galaxies, and the smallness of our planet in relation to all of it, all in all lies within the will of God himself, not concepts such as Muses from which the notion of ‘music’ has been derived. Therefore in the second edition of this book I changed the name from ‘The basis of Iranian Music’ to ‘The Blissful Iranian Tune’.

We discovered clay engraved illustrations in Chogamish of Khuzistan province, from which you could see A person sitting at a table eating and being served by someone else, a person seemingly playing a drum, a person blowing through a couple of goat horns one smaller than the other, someone sitting at the top playing the harp and someone sitting opposite him with one hand on his ear; if you ask any Iranian what this person is doing they will tell you that he is singing. Two conclusions can be made from this scene, first that, when there is evidence of singing accompanied by a musical beat dating back to 4500 years ago, it means that we had poetry, we had rhymes that corresponded to beats and music of our own, we did not learn music from the Arabs, because this is something that’s being widely said at our universities; that we learned poetry from the Arabs. This is while we had amazing poetry before Islam, so poetry definitely originated from us and not Arabs and this illustration shows it. The second conclusion is that we can tell from the illustration that 4500 years ago we used harps to make music whereas the formation of ancient Greece dates back to 3000 years ago. Therefore it is a falsa claim that music originated from Europe, the truth is it travelled to Europe from our geography.

The Role of Animals in Saadi’s Writings

This was the first book that I intended for children, in which I chose poems by Saadi that included animals. I had a student at the time whom I haven’t seen for years now, she went to a different city and we lost contact, she drew and illustrated all these poems so that they became very understandable for children; because truth be told aside from Shahnameh, Saadi is the most important Iranian poet that our children must become familiar with.

Shahnameh (The Book of Kings) by Ferdowsi, edited by Fereydoon Joneydi

While working on Shahnameh for 30 years and writing different books about it, I realized that some verses were indeed added later and lacked authenticity. For example in the opening we have his praise of God, where in the third verse he refers to God as ‘the creator of starts, planets and orbits, the one who bestows light upon the sun, moon and stars’ followed by ‘he who has higher than any name, place or impression…’, whereas the second verse says ‘God of name and God of place’, can someone who wrote the same sublime description in the third verse suggest as though one can give God a name or a given space, let’s say give God 20 meters of space to reside in? That is rather inferior of an idea, not only an offence to his almighty but also the ignorance of its protagonist. Therefore when I came across verses like these I thought to myself that I have to edit the Shahnameh which I did during the thirty years that I was working on it alongside other research. I also published a book called a Preface to Shahnameh which is around 480 pages, over 600 if published in Vaziri format. In this book I have explained the vast extent of the basis on which I have edited the Shahnameh. For example some of these factors include, the Farsi language, the Pahlavi language, the Avesta, moving forward is the study of ancient war instruments, for example the last battle between Kay Khosrow and Afrasiab, depicts Iranians outside the castle that Afrasiab stayed in, through a verse which uses the wrong succession of words, ‘be zir andarooon’ ,‘under the underneath’ it doesn’t make sense to have used two words which have the same meaning consecutively, instead I found that the original verse would  have started as , ‘be Khandagh(ditch) daroon(isnside)’ khandagh rooted in the word Kandak, so essentially saying that ‘inside the ditch around the castle was filled with fire, oil and wood, and huge rocks were being thrown in projectile motion from above’ Iranians had achieved this by a throwing device that they had invented which was able to hold heavy stones at one end of a pivoted lever.  It is also important to have knowledge of horses because they are present throughout the Shahnameh bearing great role. You need to know about the instruments they used in battles such as swords, poniards, different size mallets etc. An example that I personally discovered is an instrument they had made by tying a string around their middle finger at one end and tying the string around a hard object at the other end, they would emit a force to hit someone with it and pull back with the object still being attached to the attacker’s finger. I have abstracted many examples as such that no one else had taken notice of. It was also important to test authenticity through historical and scientific facts, for example one can tell when a phenomenon came to being three thousand years ago, it could not have been present at the time that the Shahnameh was written. I devised 28 criteria according to which I edited the Shahnameh which is being used widely today.

Capitulation and Iran (1911)

I wanted to publish this book before the Islamic revolution because as you know in the false history written in the Pahlavi era, it is mentioned that Reza Shah was the one who removed capitulation. I wanted to prove that in fact the first person who opposed Capitulation was Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh who spoke of it first during the Qajar period. We had this book published in the early years after the revolution, and I wish it could have been distributed more widely so people could see how immaculately Mosaddegh (Mohammad Mosaddegh was a politician, Member of Parliament, prime minister) had given the issue his thought and attention from an international law perspective and was the first person to rise against it. You must remember that in the recent years before the revolution, the Shah had agreed to Capitulation in favor of The United States once again, but Mosaddegh stands as the first person to logically oppose this based on rigorous scientific reasoning.

World Law in Ancient Iran

This is a very important book in the sense that today there is talk of ‘human rights’, we are giving a set of rights to the same humans who are destroying and contaminating the planet, the seas and oceans, the jungles, the sky, has caused the extinction of many species etc. A human rights preached by the likes of Churchill, Eisenhower, Truman; world killers themselves. All the while in ancient Iran we wanted rights for the world and not just humans. Humans count as one of the components of the world and thus would live by the rules of the world; and this is why life at the time was very peaceful, damage to the environment minimal, burning a single tree would be a sin, let alone greater damage. If a tree had to be removed for any reason, for example the construction of a road, the rule was to plant 7 trees of the same type a year before, so they could check if they bloomed in the coming spring, if so they would cut the tree in the following winter, so that it wouldn’t suffer in spring and the time it was awake. This is the sort of consideration our ancestors had for the world. This book may be small in volume, under 200 pages as I recall, but it truly depicts the great stance our predecessors took in those times to narrate a set of moral worldly laws, which they abode by themselves and lived and progressed with the natural pace of the world.

Abuzaydabadi Dictionary

There is a village near Kashan called Bizovoy which was later renamed Abuzaydabad supposedly because an Arab person called Zaydabadi had moved there at one point in time. Bizovoy means Booy-Abad (Booy meaning smell or scent), in fact one of the 64 sectors that existed in Khurasan befor the Mongols attacked was called Booy-Abad. When I slept outdoors on the rooftops of that village near Kashan, I could smell the beautiful scent of desert during the night.

This book was compiled by one of three brothers who were all my students for his doctoral dissertation, myself and the other two later helped him complete the book.

A Letter from Iranian Culture

This was published in three volumes; I had intended to publish it in the form of a monthly or quarterly journal as a compilation of essays on Iranian culture. However, after the first three were published, the Ministry of Culture published a book under the exact name stating the author as someone else and so I left the idea all together.

Avicenna – A legacy (in celebration of the start of the 2nd Millennium of his life)

Early on after the revolution it was the celebration of Avicenna’s one thousandth birthday. Mr. Banisadr (president at the time) and a few others gave an unwitting speech on him. I was very irritated that having the honor of holding a gem of a scientist such as Avicenna who shines all over the world, in the vast spectrum of our culture, no one could give a worthy speech on his character and works for the occasion. So I immediately wrote this book and had it published.

Educational Courses at the Neyshabur Foundation

I hold lessons nearly every day teaching Pahlavi on a basic, intermediate or advanced level. I also teach Avesta. We have friends and colleagues who help us on the way. Since 1969 I have held a class every Saturday afternoon to recite and interpret the Shahnameh for one hour.

Interviewer: do you start from the beginning and take it to the end?

Yes that is what we do, and when we finish we start over again.

I am tireless, I have dedicated my life to teaching the younger generations of Iranians, especially to teach them Shahnameh. I hold two classes myself in different fields of Pahlavi, and another course is run by a lady who joined the foundation 20 years ago and gradually became a master herself. She teaches ‘Gasht-i Dabireh’; in the Sasanian period there were two types of ‘Dabireh’, one was ‘Ham Dabireh’ which was writing on paper and the other ‘Gasht-i Dabireh’ which was inscriptions on stone.

After the revoloution, I kept thinking to myself, why should Iranians use the word Salam as their greeting? Salam means deference, submission, surrender. Before Islam indigenous villagers used to believe that there was a Jin (goblin) in each region, so when they left their housesto go out or cross the mountains they would recite a sentence beginning with ‘Salam’ which meant ‘we surrender to you your honor from the sins that our fellowmen might have committed; so it had nothing to do with greeting, in fact Arabs themselves say ‘Ahlan wa Sahlan’ as their form of greeting and not Salam, Salam means surrender, it is wrong. So I introduced ‘doroud’ (hello) ‘bedroud’ (bye) since those years which has spread amongst 40% of the educated population of the country. Last year a couple of girls came to the foundation bookstore and as we were conversing I cannot recall what I said but as to thank me they said ‘merci’ and I told them that ‘Merci’ is a French word and that they ought to use ‘sepaas’ instead, they look at each other and one of them said ‘it is kind of like how we use doroud and bedroud instead of Salam and khodahafez’, it was very interesting and pleasant for me that it seemed they thought it was their initiative, something that I had started many years back. And this is how it should be.  


In Dialogue with Fereydoon Joneydi

Part 4



Abu Mansur Muhammad, was an Iranian aristocrat in Khurasan who served the Samanids. Governor of Tus and sponsor of Abu Mansouri Shahnameh, which soon gained so much importance that initially Daghighi the poet started work on it, but his early passing left the work undone. A friend of Ferdowsi, unnamed in the Shahnameh, asked him to begin composing Shahnameh. In explaining how hecame about writing the Shahnameh, in the opening of the book (recites 3 verses), Ferdowsi mentions a Pahlevan (Champion), Abu Mansur Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Razzaq who wasTus’s Kanarang, a title given to the commander of the Sasanian Empire’s north-easternmost frontier province. We wonder why Ferdowsi has not referred to him by name; it is because his name did not rhyme with verses of Shahnameh. Abu Mansur Mohammad gathers a group in Tus to translate Shahnameh from ancient Pahlavi to Farsi. The group consisted of 4 individuals, one was The great Pahlevan (champion athlete) from Herat, the other was a Zoroastrian priest from Neyshabur, A Zoroastrian priest from Tus, and one from Sistan, they compiled the texts and Abu Mansur did the rewriting, unfortunately the only remnant of this compilation is its introduction which came to our attention abroad. Mawdud who was Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni’s grandson had gathered and destroyed all copies that existed of Shannameh so that he could bring to existence a version that became Mahmud’s eulogy. So all the genuine ones were gone, and only one copy survived which entailed acclamations of Mahmud Ghaznavi; and I have provided proof for all the sections that were added later that were not part of the original script.

Interviewer: from the text it seems that there is talk of only one wise old master?

No it is the group of 4 wise men that did the job, The book of Esther, 5th volume of Torah mentions that ‘the king did not sleep that night, he was read the account of the 5 kings preceding him’ I don’t know if I mentioned that the king mentioned here is Xerxes, we can tell that Shahnameh existed during the Achaemenid empire, and for that we are informed of historical issues that is truly mesmerizing,  since 100 thousand years ago up to this day there have been 4 major periods of Ice age, which geologists have identified. 8 major and minor periods of frost on Earth have been referred to in Sahhnameh, however no one had really taken notice of them, but I was able to extract this information I believe with a bit of divine help. The Würm glaciation which took place between 32000 and 20000 years ago was the third of its type which took 12000 years. It took me 21 years to figure this out, I had already outlined the others but just couldn’t make sense of this one in Shahnameh which is full of codes to decipher.

Enigmatic secrets and dimensions of Shahnameh

There is so much that needs deciphering in the Sahhnameh. We must know that Siyâvash was not one individual, it referred to a group of nomads who took refuge in Turan and they subsequently get killed there. (recites poem) ‘there was an army of 1000 men from Iran, each renowned and skillful, every single one was killed, with their blood the Earth grew Tulips from within… Siavash had made a pact never to lay hands on weapons, and never did he ask his fellow men to set one foot forward in the battlefield… they all perished’ all 1000 of them. Those who owned black horses, Sia-vash meaning black horse.

Interviewer: was Siavash their leader?

Well yes, they must have had a leader, named Siavash or not, one must note that it was a large group that got killed.

Interviewer: wasn’t Mithraism the main reason the Esfandiyar went to war with Rostam?

No, there is no mention of this, but rather it is because he tells him that ‘you have sat in your own corner of the world and have not acknowledged King Gushtasp (Vishtaspa) since the start of his reign, therefore I have to forcefully take you to his royal presence’. The story is that Rostam had been in Sistan and paid no special attention to Gushtasp; when Gushtasp asks Jamasp about Esfandiyar’s fate, he is told that Esfandiyar’s life will be taken by Rostam, therefore he orders Esfandiyar to bring Rostam to him. When the time comes Rostam repeatedly tells him that as champion of the country it is not right to take him in this manner but Esfandiyar does not accept, all the while promising Rostam that he will respect him once he is at the presence of the Shah, Rostam explains that having his hands tied to be taken is beneath his dignity. Zaal advises Rostam to dissuade Esfandiyar from starting a war by offering him a range of gifts, Rostam however explains that Esfandiyar’s head has reached as high as Saturn with his pride and that he will in no way bend down, this is important and often neglected that Iranians were aware of Saturn in those ancient times. Nonetheless Rostam tries once more the following day, but Esfandiyar is in no way prepared to step down, Rostam then talks To God (recites poem) and tells him ‘O’ Lord, thou creator of sun and moon, you see right through me, through my intentions, my efforts to make Esfandiyar turn his head away from the battlefield, but you know well that he thinks of nothing but war, O’Lord I beg you not to take this as my sin, Oh creator of moon and Mercury (Tir)’ now why Moon and Mercury (Tir)? Because the moon crescent symbolizes the bow and Tir (farsi for arrow and mercury) is an insinuation of the arrow he wants to pull against him. (Recites poem) ‘He aimed straight at Esfandiyar’s eye and defeated him in an instance, the world went dark for Esfandiyar’ now it is interesting that Esfandiyar calls Rostam to his side as he has fallen to the ground, and tells him that ‘neither you nor Zaal, nor the Simorgh, threw this arrow atme, my father did this to me’, he is wrong, this is what he did to himself, it was self-inflected, claiming sovereignty while his father lived, why would he do that when his father existed as king?’ these are all hidden in the many layers of Shahnameh but have mostly gone unnoticed as people don’t go profoundly into it.

What is your opinion of the different versions of Shahnameh which has been published?

The additions to Sahhnameh that were made by Mawdud of Ghazni, all exist in these editions,but have remained unspoken of by nearly all interpreters of the Shahnameh even Jalal Khaleghi Motlagh who is one of the most eminent compiler and editors of Shahnameh has not noted any of this additions and annexes.; all don by Mawdud who gathered poets and asked them to add parts in glorifying Mahmud of Ghazni, and to mention that Mahmud was the man standing firmly behind Ferdowsi. Shahnameh was finished in the year 400 Lunar Hijri, as it had taken 30 years to complete it must have started in the year 370. In that year Mahmud had been an 11 year old Boy playing on the streets of Ghazni, how could they possibly have told such lies for people to believe? Mawdud and his group of ostentatious poets were the cause of this and it is such a loss that their immense literature skills went astray in such a manner.

Interviewer: Who was Mawdud?

Madud was Mhamud’s grandson. A Sultan of the Ghaznavids.

What message have you taken from the Sahhnameh and what is your message for the youth?

I extracted the most important occasions of the history of mankind to that date from the Shahnameh and wrote it in the book ‘The Story of Iran-vol 1’.  In the second volume it becomes more simple, for example when you can see that  4 Würms have been identified from Shahnameh,  you are amazed that no other ancient book has talked of this. For example, in Shahnameh Keyumars is referred to as  Gaiio Mərətan (in Avestan), gaya meaning life and marətan meaning mortal human being, so it menas the ‘living mortal’, so since life itself came to being in the world, its adjective would be to die.

Miniatures of the Court of Keyumars

This is Keyumars, Now you will have seen in different editions of Shahnameh that he is depicted with a long beard, chunky belt and a baton, No, This isn’t the case, this text is much more ancient than depictions as such.  After the end of Keyumars’s period, Ferdowsi talks of the birth of ‘a son’ with’ a beautiful face’,  which I found to be linked to the evolution of the human race,  evolving into species with more proportionate features compared to their predecessors, you can see in this picture, then Ferdowsi refers to the intellectual ability and ambitiousness of  this human,  that he has risen and is standing up tall as a cedar tree,  which I have linked to Darwin’s theory of evolution progressing from our Neanderthal ancestors to the form of humans. In ancient Iran wisdom was categrozed in two forms, and psychological disciplines have the same concept but under different titles. There was an intrinsic wisdom, and wisdom whispered in the ear; for wisdom to be whispered there would have need to have been a form of conversing, so the formation of dialogue and the gatherings of dialogues and conversations to form a kind of collective wisdom, and Ferdowsi has told us of all this in a profound manner, unfortunately it has been neglected between the lines.

What is your message about the Shahnameh to your audience?

I would tell our youth that Sahahnameh is one of the greatest pieces of scientific work the world has ever seen, for example the Wurms  that we talked about before, were only discovered around a hundred years ago, whereas this text dates back to 32 thousand years ago, can you imagine the depth of knowledge it portrays sometimes in just one verse.

Interviewer: would you say that poetry existed at the time of the Achaemenes?

No it did not, everything was written in prose, for every king they would write all the events of their time, and of course other worldly events.

Interviewer: did writing and scripts  exist at the time?

In ancient Iran, writing initiated from depiction in script form. These also exist in Sahhnameh , I have included them in this book. Have a look, you can see people hunting in this picture; or  if you look at this one closely, one realizes that this is more recent, they have been able to depict the human form more clearly using just lines. Gradually petroglyphs in mountains, transformed into writing, from its initial form of ‘depictive representations’.  When we say ‘Minegaram’ (I write) we are saying ‘I draw’, this is because our first form of writing was in fact drawing. This is how writing came to being; these are all depictions showing the life of animals, you can see here a lion chasing a goat, which he will subsequently eat.  So this is how writing was formed. Mountains were called ‘Dovin’ , this word has evaded from Persian vocabulary over time and only exists in Ibn Isfandiyar’s History of Tabaristan, (recites sentence):  ‘every  year General Khorshid would go under a ‘dovin’ on which General Farrokh Khan’s castl e stood, for wine and hunting’ ;  one can extract from it that Dovin means mountain. Later writing on the Dovin (mountain) was called ‘dip’ or ‘div’ , and ‘dip’ means writing, the Pahlavi word ‘dipir’ later became the farsi ‘Dabir’ (teacher), also became the root of a Greek word and ‘Adab’ in Arabic. These all came from the ancient depictions and the narrative of this exists in Shahnameh.

Why is Ferdowsi also called ‘Hakim’?

I don’t call him Hakim, because Hakim is a person that rules, one who makes orders in different realms. Ferdowsi stands as the epitome of wisdom, life, endeavor, and the progression of human society, ‘Hakim’ does not do him justice, Although nothing can ever reduce Ferdowsi’s position in the world, nonetheless it is not right to call him that.

Where was Zoroaster born?

There are different accounts for the answer to this question. Some believe he was born in Azerbaijan, some say he was born in Tajikistan or Afghanistan, but Yasna states directly that Zoroaster was born in Rey (near present Tehran), it is Yasna 19, verses 14-18. When it is said that he was possibly born in Azerbaijan it is because, Azerbaijanis who were some of the most original and noble races of Iranians, whose language was changed in the past century due to British and Russian colonialism, hold some of the most magnificent literary characters and poets such as Nizimi Ganjavi, who were Azerbaijani. There is an enchiridion by Mowlana Rouhi Anarjani, Anarjan is a settlement near Tabriz, it is all written in Farsi. We have a great book on Azerbaijan, the most important ever published in Iran, that shows all the matters and issues of this region stemming from Farsi origin. It seems that Azerbaijanis were fond of almost claiming Zoroaster so they said he was born in that region, the same goes for Kurds, Khurasanis, etc. people from different regions wanted him to have been born from their own origins. Ahura , the name of God and Mazda meaning wisdom, Ahu meaning life and so the who phrase comes to ‘God of life and wisdom’ which is how Ferdowsi starts his text.  


In Dialogue with Fereydoon Joneydi

Part 5



Editing the Shahnameh which I see as an immense national responsibility, was done by me. There are two verses at the end of Shahnameh ‘I will not die then alive in the world,
For I have spread the seed of the word’, this is incorrect ono a few levels. ‘Keh’ has been used twice consecutively as a relative pronoun, which is grammatically wrong in Farsi, it almost sounds like a speech impediment, Ferdowsi would not do this. ‘I will not die from now on as I am alive’ bares the literary fault of not implying that I will not die because I ‘will stay alive’ (through my work). The third reason for this controversiality is that in the next verse Ferdowsi contradicts himself by saying ‘whoever has sense, path and faith, after my death will send me praise’, so ‘my death’ implies he does so believe that he will die, how can he say I will not die in the verse prior to this? So this verse which is the second before last could not have been written by Ferdowsi himself. There have been many verses added by others throughout Shahnameh. I have to point out that Sahhnameh was completed in the year 1010 CE. We know that it had taken 30 years for ferdowsi to finish what he had started. The year in which he started, in 980 CE, Mahmud of Ghazni must have been about 11 years old, so how is it that we are presented with so many lies about him. So much so that it is commonly said that Mahmud would not accept Ferdowsi to his royal presence; can you imagine, the great Ferdowsi of Iran, the life and soul of Iran, go and almost beg to an unworthy scoundrel, Ayaz, for him to persuade Mahmud to see him? Ferdowsi mentions Mahmud twice, once at the beginning, and I am disappointed that this has not been noticed properly, when he says (recites verses from Abu Mansuri Shahnameh) ‘at the onset, as I started writing, an eminent man of honour, young, heroic, strong and wise, of noble spirit, he asked me “for what is it that I can do, I will not see your needs overcome by none by me”, my fresh apple my endeavors, that stayed untouched by ghastly winds, this noble man this magnificent person, was lost from our company, as though a tall cedar tree would go missing from a forest, though I search he is not found, nor alive nor dead, oh those deadly man-killer whales…’

A writer who has written tens of books on Shahnameh, I am not going to name him, mentions somewhere that we don’t have much knowledge on Abu Mansur and hold next to none information of his travels on sea, that ‘man killer whales’ probably refers to an instance where they fell into sea and were eaten by whales; whereas ‘man killer whales’ refers to executioners of the royal courts, who had long moustaches, dressed in red with formidable appearances, and when ordered to kill someone they would do it almost instantly, cutting their head off. So this is what ‘man-killer whales’ refers to; now the reason why does Ferdowsi uses this metaphor, is because Amir Mansur who was Ferdowsi’s supporter, was taken captive during a war that took place in Neyshabur, even though he was not fighting, he was taken to Bukhara, through the city on a cow in daylight, they did this to humiliate him.  Then Sebaktigin, who is widely and wrongly referred to as Sabuktigin, Sebak has a very offensive meaning which I won’t say, asked for Amir Mansur who was then taken to his prison. Sebaktigin who had been a slave and was bought at the Neyshabur Slave market for 10 dirhams, had later been appointed head of the army, it is stated in Gardizi’s book that when Mansu was taken to Bukharar, Seabaktigin ordered his imprisonment so he was taken to his prison. When Sebaktigin died and Mahmud fought his brothers for power and became king, in the year 998. When talking of Amir Mansur Gardizi also mentions that Mansur was executed in prison in the same year which means that the moment Mahmud came to power, Amir Mansur was among the first individuals to be killed by his orders, Amir Mansur who was the son of Abu Mansur Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Rrazzagh Tusi. For this Ferdowsi curses (recites poem)  Mahmud for the killing of Mansur ‘that his life and soul be oppressed every month and every year, for thou a king with bad intentions’ , this is one instance of Ferdowsi’s curse, and also at another point in the end of Sahahnameh, which we know was finished in 1010 , he says ‘ the story of Yazdegerd now comes to an end, on the 25th of Esfand (March), it has been 400 years since Hijrat that I finished this celebrated book’,  then he states that ‘ 400 years has passed, no one from Iranian descent would harm this throne, while an unaccomplished man has become king’  who is it that has become king in the year 400 Hijri or 1010 CE? It is Mahmud of Ghazni. Then he continues ‘when race and lordship is of no use’ condemning Mahmud but refusing to even name him. 

Is it really possible that Ferdowsi having cursed Mahmud twice would go and plead for money behind the doors of his court? I swear to God there is no higher shame than the cultural, literary society of Iran accepting such a thing which is widely believed by majority of literary scholars. There is really no such thing, a belief as such refers to spurious added verses whining from the winter cold, begging for money, or those in adoration of Mahmud; at one point Ferdowsi has admired Rostam saying ‘ For as long as the creator has created, a cavalier such as Rostam has never emerged’ whereas in the ‘Mahmudi’ verses it is stated ‘For as long as the creator has created, Such a sovereign has never emerged’, now this is a blatant copy of the prior, these are things that no one has noticed, if I were to go and teach at university, this is the kind of conversation that I would be having, but instead I have chosen to dig deeper into our common contemporary pains, find where these pains are originating from. How is it that great empire which strongly beheld the flag of culture in the world, is defeated and brought down to such levels of abjection that it witnessed during Qajar? It is all because we grew apart from our rich culture. Ferdowsi used to be a farmer in Khorasan, when he realized he wanted to work on the Shahnameh, he had to spend less time farming which meant he couldn’t have as much of an income. But Amir Mansur tells him that ‘I will not see your needs overcome by none by me’ almost like a sponsor and Ferdowsi has mentioned this personally in the Sahahnameh. So this is why we know that many verses have been added to the Shahnameh later by other individuals, order by Modud the grandson of Mahmud, who had all versions of Shahnameh collected, destroyed and changed it to include numerous adorations of Mahmud.

The History of composing Sahahnameh

A sentence in Esther 5 of the Old Testament, states that ‘The King did not sleep all night on that night’ referring to Xerxes I ‘He was being read the book of his predecessors’, can you imagine that at the time of the Achaemenes Shahnameh existed, then we also found thatlater Shahnameh would be frequently read to Baharam Gor as well. Later when Islam emerges,  and Abu Mansur Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Razzaq Tusi was governor of Khurasan, (recites poem) ‘from every province an old priest was called to help wrap up this book I wrote, they were asked of the great kings of the world, those graceful noble men, that how is that they owned the world but degraded us so, where did this ill fate come from, how did their days pass, so the auspicious priests told him one by one, the tale of kings and the tale of the world ’, So Abu Mansur ordered them to versify those tales, which they did. His minister who was also called Mansur wrote this and it was later referred to as the Abu Mansuri Shahnameh, Unfortunately only the introduction of the AbuMansuri Shahnameh has survived, although we are still fortunate that not all of it was destroyedso we through it we get to know the people who put together this magnificent book by order of Abu Mansur Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Razzaq Tusi. One was a priest from Neyshabur called Mahoor Khorshid, the other was a priest from Tus called Shadan Borzin, anpther priest from Sistan named Bahram Yazdan-Dad and a Khurasani champion from Herat called Makh. The four of them sat together and ‘so the auspicious priests told him one by one, the tale of kings and the tale of the world ’.

Later, Daqiqi intended to start work on the Shahnameh but he soon passed away and Ferdowsi started it (recites poem) ‘A kind friend of mine in town, you would say we shared the same skin, this idea of yours is great he said, always stepping foot in worthy paths he said, your words so eloquent your youth so promising, your tales of championship so glorious, oh do tell the tales the kings for which you will gain noble honor soon’. And then as I mentioned before Ferdowsi tells us of Amir Mansour by this verse ‘at the onset, as I started writing, an eminent man of honor, young, heroic, strong and wise, of noble spirit…’ who was Abu Mansur’s son, and sponsored Ferdowsi till he was killed in prison, albeit however Ferdowsi continued for 30 years and finished Shahnameh. One of the oldest symbols of which exists in the Old Testament.


What was Ferdowsi’s motivation in writing the Sahhnameh?

The love for Iran, can it be anything but love for Iran? When Iran was downtrodden by Arabs he rhetorically asks ‘where did this ill fate come from?’ how did we come to this? Which in fact was absolutely the fault of Sassanians and their betrayals of handing over Iran to the Arabs quite literally; the Sassanid priests would even say ‘we have to be defeated the army of Ahriman (evil spirit) is coming and we will be defeated’. In the book Tarikhnama by Bal’ami, there is an account of an Arab man who claims that he saw an armed Iranian ‘I said to him, come forward for I want to kill you, he came forward, I then said give me your sword, he did and I cut his head off and took his armor’. That Iranian must have lost himself so much to have surrendered as such to someone who was unarmed; in fact he could have just easily killed the unarmed man, these were caused by those traitors of priests.

How did you edit the Shahnameh?

I started reading it, as Iranians we must, and sometimes I would read averse and think of it as rather not upto Ferdowsi’s standards, and I would think to myself maybe he had no choice. As time passed and I read different versions, I realized that the poet who came up with such lofty verses could not be the same as the person who wrote the mediocre ones. I did mention examples to you before. And as I kept working, when 60 or 70 percent of the work was done, I came across the Sahahnameh compiled by Jalal Khaleghi Motlagh; who has done a great job for the compilation of Sahahnameh. I came up with 28 criteria on the basis of which Sahahnameh should be corrected. For example one of them are horses, we must be familiar with horses. Now there is a story from Shahnameh that depicts the one on one fight between Bijan and  a commander from Turan called Plashan, at the top of a mountain, the commander runs from Bijan on his horse andgoes downhill while Bijan follows him.  During his ride, Plashaan comes across one of Afrasiab’s maids who asks him to take her or else she will be taken captive by the Iranians, Plashan attempts to go faster according to the story. The only thing is horses go slower than cows downhill, they cannot run, I have ridden horses and fell off them downhill before so I would know. Now how can Plashaan be riding and going so fast downhill with Bijan going after him? It is not possible therefore the story is made up. From the 28 criteria that I mentioned, one is the Avestan language, one is Pahlavi language, weapons, embattlement, etc. I compiled all the information based on these factors and on this basis I found those parts which could not be genuine and small printed them in my publication.

How many years did it take for you to find the fabricated verses of Shahnameh? 

Exactly 30 years, just as long as it took Ferdowsi to write it. You might be surprised by what I am about to tell you. When I finished my edit of the Sahahnameh in 1387 Jalali (2009) I submitted it to the Ministry of Cultureprinting office. It took them a year to publish it in 1388 (2010). The original Sahahnameh was finished in 400 Hijri (2010 CE) which  would have been the year 388 Jalali. Even though my Sahahnameh was ready to go for printing 6 months prior to when it finally did, it was finally handed to me on the 25th of Ordibehesht (15  th May 2010) 1388 Jalali on the National Day of Ferdowsi. It had taken me 30 years to finish since when I first started in 1357 (1989). It was in that year when I published my first interpretation of Sahahnameh and the migration of Aryans, and it was in the year after that I founded the Neyshabur Foundation. Ferdowsi had started work on Sahahnameh at the age of forty, this is what he claims in the Shahnameh, If we take away 40 from 1358 we are left with 18, I was born in 1318. I honestly take these numbers as a sign that I was supposed to be born 1000 years after Ferdowsi and do the work I did on this book which had been subjected to a lot of change over time.

From what perspective must the Sahahnameh be read? Legend/ Epic/ myth

Shahnameh is an absolute piece of historical work, the fact is that because Iran was always ruled by kings it just so happens that they are always present in this piece of work. For example with the Wurms or Ice Ages I told you of, the third one which happenedbetween 32thousand and 20thousand years ago, 12thousand years of living through the freezing cold, I would always read this verse ‘at the presence of God the possessor of the world, refraining from eating all day, till the dark falls at night’, and at another point, one that I think falls under the annexed verses ‘Fasting and night prayers till dawn the ordinance he observes’, and it occurred to me that though fasting was not accepted in ancient Iran, how is there mention of it in these verses? And concluded that maybe it had been introduced into their life routines at some point in time. I thought for years, 21 years nearly, I found and extracted three of the ice ages, but not the one that took 12000 years (between 32 to 20 thousand years ago). My Lovely late mother always used to speak in a Damghani accent, she was from Damghan, when she wanted to praise someone she would say in her own accent ‘Khanesh Abdaan, (meaning) May prosperity fall on his home’, I would humor her because ‘Abadan’ means water tank, so I’d say mother they would drown in water and she would sigh and say Oh I don’t know these things. So one night I thought to myself, I have found three major ice ages and not the fourth, ‘Khanem Abdaan’ it’s still a good achievement; My mother had passed away at the time. But nonetheless I did not stop trying. I thought, the people at those times must have had to hug sheep to keep warm and sleep at night , but even so, 40% of their body would still be subject to cold, even if they were in between two sheep the ratio would still be 80% to 20%. Till IU came to the conclusion that they would sleep like this (shows with hands) to the side and perpendicular to the ground, but then again they were people, they needed to roll over from time to time, I kept thinking, till suddenly it occurred to me, see my hands, that if man slept like this (demonstrates with hands) as in sleep standing up, this way one could be warm allover, but those outside would have half their bodies exposed, so they would have to switch place and this cycle would go on, it would also need a particular order for it to work. When I would discover findings as such I would call my son, Afshin, I would tell him and he would shed tears of joy, and I would too, he would admire me; but this time he was gone, and I felt a deep yearning to call someone, I had a friend who lives in Berlin, I called him past midnight and told him of what I had discovered, he cried too. Recently I found that penguins in the South Pole have a similar pattern of movement in the winter. Later I looked into it and found that the when the temperature is -60 degrees the temperature at the point in the middle where the first penguin is standing is 60 , which means there is a temperature difference of 120 degrees. So this is how they are up all night keeping warm. And then in the morning when everywhere is covered in ice, this is what Ferdowsi is referring to when he says ‘at the presence of God the possessor of the world, refraining from eating all day, till the dark falls at night’ , really what greater literary account of history is there in the world? Which shows how mankind was living between 32 thousand and 20 thousand years ago. Later he says ‘there was not much nourishment at the time, that clothing and food were new to people’, this is referring to lichen which would form on ice, people would eat these at night time and wait for the night after for it to grow again to be able to feed from them (so they were not fasting). Shahnameh really is amazing, so much so that we can’t imagine. These fascinating tales have come to life at a time when writing did not exist. How were they able to transfer all these notions to their future generations? There is no book like it in the world.  


In Dialogue with Fereydoon Joneydi

Part 6

Questions and Answers


In what ways have you benefited from your research?

It makes me feel as though I am flying in the skies, it is all my life. I don’t see anything higher than it. Although unfortunately people are negligent towards such notions, it seems like they are living but they don’t know how beautiful life can be when you live it meaningfully, getting to know the language, and the life and soul of our ancestors. I have always been like this since a very early age. Look at my late father, he knew the world, he brought me up to be like this.

What difference would you say there is between your world of Imagination and the world you are living in?

When I walk through streets and talk to common shopkeepers, I show them my world. Their faces almost bloom when I say ‘Doroud’ (formal Persian Hello), they also say ‘doroud’ back, it cheers them up. I never repel them from my world but I rather invite them into it. My students are the same. You haven’t seen my classes, love flows through these sessions; I believe a teacher must first start the flow of love through his students’ mind and soul and then start teaching other things. This is the way I am, everywhere. If I ever come in contact with something  that bothers my soul, I turn away. What can you do, you cannot change everything in the world.

What is the world of research like?

It is like a vast ocean through which a person who can see what’s underneath the water with a periscope or an amphibious camera is moving underneath the waves. You have certainly seen, the enormous range of fish, huge whales, the key is that if water doesn’t come into contact with our eyes we can see all the beauties beneath the oceans. For research especially within the Iranian culture, because it is very vast, and not very many countries are in possession of such rich and ancient background, for example Germany, Britain or France are not even a hundredth of Iran in terms of cultural history, therefore if we look closely we obtain the beauty of this dynamic movement.

What have been the greatest obstacles for your work over the years?

There’s a group of people who are very immersed in western culture, they think that is what the world has to offer, whatever they read write, do or give to their children is western. Another group who are also consumed by the west think that everything we have today has its roots in the west, whereas I believe anything good the west has had to offer is rooted in the region of Iran. It was the Iranian elite in ancient times who wrote scripts, poetry and order for the Arabs, there was nothing coming in from the west at that time. These things like it or not trouble me, in the world I have built around myself there exists no one who would dare exclaim such statements. I spend all my time at the foundation with the young generation. I sometimes travel to other cities for lectures, they are short trips. Those lectures are my own thoughts and works that I present to others, It is what I chose, so I never have quarrels or arguments as such with others.

What was your greatest motivation to keep you going over the years in your endeavors for protecting the Shahnameh and Iranian culture?

This resistance in a sense, if we go back to the start all comes from my late father. It was his upbringing. As matter of fact a day before he passed away, I asked him ‘why were you so hard on me as a child?’ he said ‘My dear son I wanted to make a man out of you’ he said this and all of a sudden all the upsetting feelings I was bearing left my mind.

What role does the audience bare in your field of work?

It has been proven that there has been a sort of migration from Iran to Korea, but it is widely known that the combination of Asian yellow race with Caucasian is bound to end up with Asian looking babies. The same goes with the combination of a black and white person, their baby will be mixed race but more towards the black origin. So we know that there has been migration from Iran to Korea which has resulted in yellow Asian looking descendants. But there’s a lot of evidence in Korea confirming an Iranian origin. I have explained all this in ‘The Story of Iran-Vol 2’, one of my students who has now become a Master, Ms. Basiri, has done a great amount of research on this subject and has gone into a lot more detail than I had, but she is so diligently loyal that she is waiting for me to publish the second volume of The Story of Iran, for her to be able to publish her own work. And in some cases she has spoken to me on the subject of understanding Korea.

What is your main reason for insisting on teaching the youth about the history and culture of Iran?

The significance for it lies in the fact that once we do get to know our culture the whole world becomes vaster and more beautiful. Our movement through life gains pace, our pains heal, if we know how our predecessors lived we are able to draw a clearer plan for our future path.

What is the root to this historical negligence in our education system?

My opinion is that, the organization which I don’t want to name that has grown in Iran over the years, they don’t want our children, our younger generation to know that the pillars of modern civilization rest right here, they don’t want them to know because they want us to be dependent on the west, to think we need them, they want the west to be the altar of our lives.

World Peace and Iranian Culture…

Historically speaking Iranians usually frowned upon war. If you study their behavioral patterns, right now an Iranian villager’s attitude is very much inclined towards how the ancient Iranians were, very peaceful and anti-war, whereas you know that the history of Europe was intertwined with war and aggression. With peace and friendship we must add color to the world, just the way our ancient ancestors used to be.

What is the extent of the presence of Avestan terminology in the Farsi we speak today?

It is almost like a grandmother’s language, partly being spoken by infants. We want to help these infants learn it fully. Take the Avestan Matarah, ‘Ma’ means quantity and is still present in words such as ‘Amar (statistics) shomar (quantity)’ and ‘tarah’ is a suffix that changes a word to a subject, so Matarah means a person who increases the number of family members, meaning a person who gives birth to children (mother), now lets nottalk about the fact that most families have only one child these days, you must remember some had up to 7,8,9 or 10 children, until the mother could physically bare no more. So the mother was the person who expanded the family, later Matarah became Matar in the Pahlavi language, and changed to Madar in Farsi, in Damqan, Kerman and Shiraz it was Maadar, in English it became mother, in Gilan Maar, in French Mére, so essentially it penetrated European languages on its move. If we are eating a fruit from a certain tree it is also good to know what the root does for us, how this fruit is connected to the root; this is the most ancient language in the world, that the Aryans used, although Europeans have been referring to Indo-European as the most ancient language since 50-60 years ago which I think is absurd,

I have something to tell you involving Richard Frye who is internationally known and respected, I had travelled to Australia for a lecture on the Culture of Ancient Iran, after I finished while everyone was astonished, the moderator asked Frye a question. He asked ‘what is your opinion on this talk?’ he replied with a series of matters that was not much related to my talk, I then said to him, ‘Prof, Frye I have a question to ask’, ‘You would know because of your age, there was a time when we would say the Aryan language, then at some point Europe decided to call it the Indo-European language, why did you make this change in the west?’ he replied ‘ well because the people who migrated on both sides of the region reached India on one end and Europe on the other’ I said well in a sense you can call it the American-Australian language because now that region has expanded  even more, he relpied ‘ no because America and Australia did not exist, they were not discovered at that time’ and I said well neither were India or Europe. He looked down and didn’t elaborate further.

Who was Bozorgmehr?

He was one of the greatest scholars the world has seen, who said a great deal of words of wisdom, including during the time of the reign of Kasra who was called Anushirvan, he wrote a book called A Token by Bozorgmehr, he states in that book that the Sassanian dynasty won’t be in power for more than a bit over 400 years, he predicts in the introduction. But  because of all his honesty he was imprisoned by Kasra, and when asked ‘how are you’ he would say I feel better than the Shah, till they put him in a metal oven in the hot wether of Ctesiphon, with only his head sticking out, when asked how he was in that situation he still said he was better than the Shah. So the king said ‘kill him now’, although killinghim would have been better because he was in so much pain. When he was asked why he kept saying that he was more well than the Shah, he replied ‘ happiness and sadness passes, but it is the Shah’s soul that bares guilt, who must repay on judgment day’, he has to pay, you have to pay if you did bad deeds, and finally they killed this great scholar who left beautiful scripts behind. After him, around 700 years after he died Saa’di the poet emerged who was similar in his way of thinking and conversing. He was a great man, so great that he managed to draw the metal curtain which was drawn between pre-Islamic Iran and Post-Islamic Iran. He is the only person who is accepted and spoken of very highly in the Islamic era of Iran, he is referred to as the wise Buzarjomehr, not a bad word has been heard of him.

Why did you name your publication ‘Balkh’?

Well it is the Neyshabur Foundation, Balkh Publication because I have never separated Iran from our dear Afghanistan and Tajikistan. I remember from an early age, maybe 15 or 16 when my late father would speak to his friends and say ‘In Samarkand we were standing by the Gate of Bukhara, while the convoy from Herat was approaching from a distance’, his eyes would sparkle as he said these words and I would think to myself, will I see Samarkand, the gate of Bukhara and the convoy from Herat one day. I was acquainted with my father’s great world from a very early age and so didn’t see them as different to one another, in fact they are not separate entities today either, In my opinion they might have different governments but they share the same ancestry, culture and history. This is why I picked the name Balkh. I had thought that if I ever have a bookshop I will call it Bukhara, and since the days that Tajikistan had found ways to escape communism, we had gathered with a group of our Afghan brothers and a couple of Tajikis to form sessions called ‘Cultural nights of Iran Afghanistan and Tajikistan’. These sessions continued till Ahmad Shah Massoud  was killed and those atrocities took place in Afghanistan, and also in Tajikistan, the friends I had, I mean take a look at this photograph, the group sitting in this photo from the right, consists of one person from the Afghanistan Poets’ socity who had won the united nations prize for poetry, then the chairman of the Zaraostrian society of Britain, then Mohammad Assemi, a great master from Tajikistan, the head of the Academy of languages, me as the moderator of the sessions, on this side Ms. Golrokh Zar the great Tajiki poetwhom you have heard of, and Mohammad Shakouri who was the greatest literature scholar in Tajikistan who passed away 5/6 years ago. As you can see there was great friendship between us and Tajikistan and Afghanistan, unfortunately some of them were killed, some died, for instance Mohammad Assemi was called in to a derelict caravansary, he was told he would be asked a question, instead he was sat on a chair and killed, because the current system did not approve of him.

What is the difference between the languages of Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan?

The Iraqi literary style does not do Persian poetry justice, It is the Khurasani style that Rudaki, Ferdowsi and others used that confirms this, we have published a book here by one of the greatest Afghan poets, when you read it you will see that it sounds as though it was written by a genuine rich poet such as Rahi Mo’ayyeri, this is what we have done, this great late Afghan poet, [The complete poems of Khalilullah Khalili], whose son Masoud is involved in political activities. All of his poetry is written in the Khurasani style, in fact the best style is the Khurasani style, which is very similar to what one reads by Saa’di. I have personally written poems which you cannot tell has not been written by Saa’di. [recites poem]

Oh Saa’di, it is true that you are wiser than the wisest of men

You are the true meaning of love, a different realm, I am not even as lucky as the mirror in which you see yourself (this is by Saa’di)

The bazaar dust you walk on is worth much more than me,  Who am I to be thinking of the pain your love bestows on one’s heart

Love is nothing when I travel with the dust of the path you take, I swear on loyalty itself that I would sacrifice my life for you

So immersed in your love I remain, that I have truly forgotten myself (this is by Saa’di) you are so amazed by yourself that you are utterly unaware of our existence

As you can see, it is hard to tell the difference between my verses and those by Saa’di himself. Not that it is my doing no, it is a Khurasani style poem, with Khurasani foundation and theme. Saa’di has made one of the most beautiful analogies when he talks of the candle and the butterfly, I remember a night when my eyes did not rest, I heard the butterfly tell the candle, there is no regret if I burn in your flame, why is it that you cry so much? The candle said, my sweet companion Angbin (Honey nectar) has left me, for this I cry, this is because they used to make candles from Angbin, so ‘it is the melted Angbin, my dear friend that has left me, this is the reason I cry’ it is so beautiful.

I am now going to recite my own poem to you:  

Like a burning candle, in the darkest of nights, my soul is in flames because of this physical body that stands between it and the light, often a burning sigh rises from my heart to the sky, and often my heart overspills with joy with droplets of blood, sometimes a slow breeze can cause my existence to shake,  and sometimes a tough flame rips my collar apart, from within my soul, every moment a flame flares from my radiant body, my radiant soul, my body is all tears, my soul all sighs, floats in the sea of my tears, my warm shaky sigh, although I am seen as still, by the night wanderers passing by, I am a hurricane of clouds, a rising series of waves, dancing headless and endlessly, is so that from the extent of my joy, I stomp my feet so hard on the ground that my soul leaves my body and rises from my head.

Not that I am not fond of Saa’di, in fact I identified more with Saa’di as a child than I did with Shahnameh, because Shahnameh was not only hard to read, but also with the verses added later by others it can be quite confusing. Believe me I have heard hundreds of times over the years that youngsters have gone and bought a Shahnameh with excitement only to find it incomprehensible and therefore put to one side. It is because of all the later additions. The Tajikis have been using the Khurasani style in their poetry which is very very beautiful, and one of the greatest poets of our time is Loiq Sher-Ali who has some very beautiful poems [recites one] , in their own accent:

In my hands I hold a Khayyami Chalice, a full chalice, roseate, within it the memory of ancestors, the tears of grandee, within it there are joyful cries and tearful laughs, within it there is the warmth of fire and the bitterness of smoke, as I found that the pain from love is an end to all separations, from the vhallice of friendship I drink a sip, I drink you O’ wine, so that everyone knows I am Shahrzad from the country of Khayyam, I drink you O’ wine so the know I am Khayyam’s heir and goblet.


He was killed, I was friends with all of them undeniably.

I have some modernist (‘No’) poetry, there are many poets who have written in this style, for example I think Kadkani has done it even better than Nima.


In Dialogue with Fereydoon Joneydi

Part 7

Questions and Answers


[Manuel Berberian Iranian- Armenian earth scientist, pioneer of earthquake seismology and geological mapping and tectonics in Iran, member of Geological Society of America]

Professor Manuel Berberian, is one of the world’s leading earthquake seismologists and geologists. He is very interested in the Shahnameh and has done a lot of work on it. This all started when I wrote the book ‘The life and migration of the Aryans’ when I talked about Mount Damavand, and asked a French volcanologist to study my viewpoints. It was the early years after the 1979 Islamic revolution, one day someone came to the Neyshabur foundation which was at a different location at the time. We had a room for an office, opposite Tehran University which a dear friend of mine Ali Akbar Khorramshahi had provided for me. I opened the door and saw a very prestigious gentleman. We exchanged greetings and he said he was looking for a Mr. Joneydi, I said that’s me, he said sorry for coming with no prior notice, I said that is alright and invited him inside. We started talking and he said ‘in your book on the life and migration of the Aryans you have asked for the French volcanologist, I wanted to tell you that I am friends with him and I can write to him and ask for his involvement’ I asked him ‘what do you specialize in?’ he said ‘I am a geologist’ I said well if you are then I ask this of you instead. He went and di a series of studies around Damavand which I have mentioned in the book ‘The Story of Iran’, he was a great and prominent scientist, it is a pity he left Iran.

Does the Persian language have the capacity for new words today?

The Persian language is the richest in the world, why? Because it is rooted in the Pahlavi language from the Ashkanian and Sassanian periods, which in itself is rooted in the ancient Avestan Language which dates back thousands of years. After I finish the second volume of The Story of Iran, I intend to write a book listing all the European words which stem from Iran and the Avestan language. If such a language is the mother of all Aryan languages, then it certainly has the capacity to explain all sorts of ideas. For instance you must know that the word Muhandes seems Arabic, once Omar asked Firouzan about this word, Firouzan told him that in Pahlavi it is called Handaachak, it later changed to Handasah (geometry)  in Farsi, deriving a noun from it would come to Muhandes, which look Arabi. Words in Arabic which are rooted in Farsi cannot have trilateral derivatives, for example for Muhandes you cannot have words like  tahandos or estehendaas or mahandoos, these words can only have plurals. Or for example Ostad   (Master)  would have been ‘Owstaat’ in Pahlavi, now that it is Ostad the only other form of it would be its plural Asatid, nothing else. This is one of the characteristics of the Arabic language, anything that has entered it from Farsi has kept its original form. In Farsi, over time we have stopped using the origins of words and instead have been using the Arabic form, and we have ended up with a half Arabic Half Farsi palette of words. But when someone knows the Avestan and Pahlavi language, and knows Farsi the same way that Ferdowsi’s child would, he can write 600 pages without inventing a word.

Who are the most important people who have researched Persian literature?

I would say Mohammad-Taqi Bahar, above all, who has written a few books on different topics. Forouzanfar, Jalaluddin Homaei, and others.  But Bahar was the best of them all.

How would you evaluate the quality of literary research being done these days?

I think it is absolutely phenomenal at the Neyshabur Foundation and there are lots of young people who are taking steps in this path.

Anvaar: are they being taught or are they researching?

Joneydi: they have been taught and are now masters, although a lot of them have acquired their PhDs from universities, and at universities there is vast disagreement with the foundation’s point of view, but they mostly remain silent and carry on, their work will be astonishing in the future of the Iranian society.

How do you see Iranian universities?

Like it or not we cannot disregard many issues that go on at our universities, but even in culture, Iran is commonly regarded as a follower of the west, which is because of a lack of knowledge of original Avestan and Pahlavi texts, they cannot study thee texts to truly see how the pillars of western knowledge are based on those of Ancient Iran, and thus they constantly depend on the west.  

What is your opinion of the Aryan background of people in other societies?

If we talk of Latin America, or if we talk of it as the Americans who replaced native Americans, if this is the case I have managed to prove that they also emigrated from Iran, now some say that they emigrated from a peninsula in North Eastern Asia, some say they went from Europe, no this isn’t the case.

Anvaar: what is the case?

From the North Pole. I have thoroughly explained this, if you read the stury of Iran you will see. We have even put together a chart that shows a lot of Native American words are exactly the same or similar to Iranian words. We even found a tribe in America called ‘Keykapous’, what can this ‘Keykapous’ be other than Keykavous? It is likely they went from Kasian in Iran to their current geography. However, there are some Native Americans who have Mogul backgrounds and live in the North Eastern parts of Canada, they are not the subjects of our work. But the ones I spoke of, have customs and beliefs towards the world, the universe, nature and God which totally corresponds to ancient Iranian thoughts and I have proven this.

What is the root of the word Honar (Art) and what is its legacy?

This word existed in ancient Iran in the form Hou-Naraveyti, Hou meaning good and Naraveyti meaning Narmaneshi or Bravery. The word we use as Honar today would have referred to beaux arts, and first came to life at the beginning of Qajar period and then Pahlavi period. It has a lot of applications in our life not only in the progression of many fields and affairs in the world but also it is also calming for the soul and invigorating and stimulating. It is very good.

What is the relationship between Modernism and national identity?

Like it or not, a lot of elements that were connected to a national sense of identity have slowly disintegrated in the past century. Which I think is not right, we must protect our national identity.

Anvaar: How?

I think if the Media, Radio and Television broadcasting, were honest with people it would be easier, but unfortunately they have adopted a top-down approach and have seggragated themselves from the nation. I must tell you that I do not personally own a TV but I hear that the material they are using is not in line with our national identity. They must wake up and seek to make amends.

 What is the greatest problem in Iranian society these days?

It is a short but deep and vast notion, it is not easy for me to say but I think if we go back to our national cultural roots we can resolve everything.

What is your greatest preoccupation today?

I fear life will not give me enough time to finish the second volume of The Story of Iran. This is my greatest worry. I pray to God that I finish it before I die.

What is your opinion on Love?

I don’t think anyone can quite talk about love if they have never fallen in Love, and thankfully I was blessed with Love in my lifetime, and when that love resulted in separation, which all true loves do at some point, one is able to fly in the sky. Even though from a very early age, my father would talk to me about these things and I would also come into contact with people who would talk of my bright future, I think it was love that truly shined on my heart and soul and led to special events in my life, but I truly came to know myself after my separation.

Anvaar: it seems that love still goes on in you?

It is inevitable, the good and constructive part has remained in me, but the part which was dependent on a person no longer exists.   

How do you define life and how can one find happiness?

Life is a long march on the field of existence. Galaxies, skies, earth, water, oceans and seas, microbes, these all make up this existence together and we are travellers on this great path.

I think as Iranians we can find ultimate happiness and wellbeing in seeking ourselves through our past, art and culture.

What amazes you most in life?

The world is full of greatness, but what can a blind person see in the mirror?

Everything in the world is astonishing, even a fly can make person think deeply about the world.

Who are the closest people in your life?

The one person who was my life and soul, was my son. I cannot begin to explain the relationship I had with him. The last night that I spoke to him, and I would always call him and say ‘Afshin Baba’, I told him you haven’t been home a few nights, he said I was invited and did not want to make distant calls. We would talk about everything, and music too, it was amazing that after 6 years of playing the Taar he was able to play the very difficult Mirza Hossein –Gholi Radif, that even Taar masters are amazed by. So we talked for a while, and at some point someone called on him, he apologized and said he would call me back, he told me not to call and that he would call me. I accepted. When he did call me I realized he had company and asked him to attend to his guest, even though he wanted to talk, but I told him that one’s guest is a priority. And then I said Bedroud (goodbye) baba jan (Dear).

Apart from my son I was very drawn to my father, especially the night before the day he passed away when he talked about many things and I gained a lot more love and respect for him. But he left me too. He used to put a lot of pressure on me, and in that last night I asked for the reasons why he had treated me the way he had, and he said, ‘my son, I wanted to make a man of you’. All those negative feelings left my heart in an instant and whenever I think of him my heart is overwhelmed with love for him. And my dear mother who even though was not educated, but raised me the way she did, and well of course my sister, brother, nieces and nephews, all the young ones at the foundation, I have love for them all.

What is your definition of life and death?

Life is God’s order flowing through the soul of the universe, and we are a part of that and we have to obey.

I will be talking about matters of death in the second volume of The Story of Iran, about Farvahar which will be very interesting, we must know that there is no such thing as death in this world, it is all life, and if one element dies it is only because another life will be born, the soul of this world is always alive and we can live forever through this creation.

What is your advice for the younger generation?

Keep on going on the right path of finding the essence of Iranian culture.