Monday December 17, 2018

Afghanistan gets Furious as Turkey and Iran Bid over Rumi’s works

The Afghan government refused to heed their claim regarding the 25,600 verses of the Sufi poet which are the most influential works of Persian literature

1
//
Rumi
Sufi poet, Rumi. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons
Republish
Reprint
  • Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī popularly known as “Rumi” was a Persian poet of the 13th
  • Turkey and Iran continue to fight for the honour of being the birthplace of Rumi
  • UNESCO had emphasised on the fact that Rumi is a gift to the world and confining him within the boundaries would be disrespectful towards him

Tehran and Ankara have requested UNESCO to name the collection of Rumi’s works previously archived as “Memory of the World” as their joint property. But the Afghan government refused to heed their claim regarding the 25,600 verses of the Sufi poet which are the most influential works of Persian literature.  According to them, they should have the first rights over the works of Rumi.

Rumi's most influential work in Persian.
Rumi’s most influential work in Persian.Image Courtesy : en.wikipedia.org

As Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan continue to bicker over the issue of Rumi’s place of origin, scholars believe that Rumi was born in Balkh, Afghanistan and then had fled to Turkey when Genghis Khan and his troops had attacked Afghanistan. “He is considered an important part of the culture and identity of Afghanistan,” writer and poet Sadiq Usyan, a professor at the Balkh university in nearby provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif, told AFP. To accede to it without mentioning Afghanistan would be unacceptable, said the director of Balkh’s provincial cultural department, Salih Mohammad Khaleeq to The Hindu.

Recently, there were rumours about Hollywood wanting to film a biopic on Rumi and that Leonardo Di Caprio was going to play him. This outraged the world and there were crude comments on the topic of “whitewashing” tendency of Hollywood. Twitter users were enraged beyond belief and the hashtag “RumiWasntWhite” was rapidly trending.

The remains of Rumi's ancestral house in Balkh, Afghanistan. Image Courtesy : www.thepeninsulaqatar.com
The remains of Rumi’s ancestral house in Balkh, Afghanistan. Image Courtesy : www.thepeninsulaqatar.com

However, Khaleeq opined that the film would provide them with an opportunity to appeal to the tourists and urge them to visit the birthplace of Rumi. The portrait of Rumi stands widely visible in Balkh. But his ancestral house has been the prey for numerous weather hazards and is barely standing.

President Ashraf Ghani, who in mid-June hosted Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, has been carefully diplomatic, with a statement saying Rumi is “a shared pride of the two countries”, as The Hindu mentioned in their issue of  30 June, 2016.

A statue of Rumi in Turkey. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons

In spite of their tiff, the three countries of Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran, came forward to commemorate the 800th birth anniversary of Rumi in an event organised by UNESCO in 2007.

A portrait of Rumi overlooking the street in Afghanistan. Image Courtesy : www.thehindu.com
A portrait of Rumi overlooking the street in Afghanistan. Image Courtesy : www.thehindu.com

If Rumi could see the world fighting over him, he would have said:

“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing
and right-doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

ALSO READ:

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

  • Aparna Gupta

    The 25600 versus are property of the World and cannot be named to the two particular nations.

Next Story

U.S. Welcomes Pakistan’s Actions Towards Peace in Afghanistan

Pakistani officials say their influence over the Taliban has significantly declined over the years because the insurgents have gained control over large areas of Afghanistan

0
Imran Khan, Pakistan, Afghanistan,
Pakistan"s Prime Minister Imran Khan is seen during talks in Beijing, China, VOA

The United States said Saturday it welcomes actions Pakistan is taking to promote a negotiated solution to the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

The acknowledgement came a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced his country has arranged another round of Washington’s peace talks with the Afghan Taliban scheduled for Monday.

“The United States welcomes any actions by the Pakistani government to promote greater cooperation, including fostering negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghans,” a U.S. embassy spokesperson in Kabul told VOA.

US negotiator

U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, has met, and will continue to meet, with all interested parties, including the Taliban, to support a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan, the spokesperson added.

Neither Khan nor the U.S. spokesperson have disclosed the possible venue for the upcoming meeting with Taliban officials.

Some Afghan sources say Monday’s meeting will take place in Islamabad, but no official confirmation is available.

USA, afghanistan
U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, talks with local reporters at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 18, 2018. VOA

Khalilzad, who is visiting regional countries to gather support for Afghan peace talks, is to lead the U.S. delegation in talks with insurgent representatives. This will not be the first time Khalilzad has met with the Taliban.

Since taking office in September, the special U.S. envoy has held two publicly known rounds of preliminary discussions with insurgent negotiators in Qatar, where the Taliban runs its so-called political office. The talks have been for the sake of talks, according to insurgent and other sources aware of the meetings.

Trump’s letter to Khan

U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this month wrote a formal letter to Khan asking for his help to bring the Taliban to the table for negotiations. A day later, Khalilzad visited Islamabad where he met with Khan and his military chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, to follow-up on Trump’s request, Pakistani officials say.

Speaking in northwestern city of Peshawar on Friday, Khan said the U.S. has changed its tune by requesting help instead of saying Islamabad is not doing enough, as U.S. officials have previously insisted.

“By the grace of Allah, the dialogue is now happening inshallah [God willing] on the 17th [Khan did not mention the month] and Pakistan has facilitated the talks between America and the Taliban,” Khan said. He did not share further details.

taliban, afghanistan
Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, right, head of the Taliban’s political council in Qatar, takes part in the multilateral peace talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, Nov. 9, 2018. VOA

Khan recounted Friday that critics used to mock him as “Taliban Khan” for saying the Afghan war could not be ended without political negotiations but now all key stakeholders are jointly working to pursue a political settlement to end the violence in Afghanistan.

“If peace were achieved, God willing, Peshawar will change and become a hub of commerce and tourism, as things around the 2,500 years old living city are likely to change,” Khan said Friday.

Ambassador Khalilzad is 13 days into an 18-day visit to the region. He has traveled to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Belgium and plans to visit the U.A.E. and Qatar.

Withdrawal an issue

Pakistani officials privy to the U.S. interaction with the Taliban have told VOA that until now no progress has been achieved because the insurgents adamantly demand “a date or timeframe” for all foreign troops to withdraw from Afghanistan before the Taliban decides to participate in an intra-Afghan peace process.

Also Read: What to Make of Taliban’s Continued Rare Silence on Ghani’s Peace Offer? 

U.S. officials have long maintained Taliban leaders are sheltering in Pakistan with covert support from the country’s intelligence agency. Washington has been urging Islamabad to use its influence to bring the insurgents to the negotiating table.

Pakistani officials say their influence over the Taliban has significantly declined over the years because the insurgents have gained control over large areas of Afghanistan and continue to pose serious battlefield challenges for U.S.-backed Afghan security forces. (VOA)