Tuesday June 18, 2019

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

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Rumi
Sufi poet, Rumi. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons
  • 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.

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  • Aparna Gupta

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

Next Story

US Hits Iran with New Sanctions; Petrochemicals Targeted

Washington is pressuring Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile program

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US, Iran, Petrochemicals
FILE - A man walks past the Mahshahr petrochemical plant in Khuzestan province, southwest of Tehran, Iran. VOA

The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s petrochemical industry, including its largest petrochemical holding group, over its financial support for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Treasury Department said.

Washington is pressuring Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile program and for waging proxy wars in other Middle Eastern countries. The new measures follow a round of sanctions imposed last month that targeted the Islamic Republic’s export revenues from industrial metals.

Tensions between the two countries worsened last month when the Trump administration ordered the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East, citing intelligence about possible Iranian preparations to attack U.S. forces or interests.

The Pentagon has also accused the IRGC of being directly responsible for May 12 attacks off the United Arab Emirates coast that damaged two Saudi tankers, an Emirati vessel and a Norwegian tanker.

US, Iran, Petrochemicals
The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s petrochemical industry. Pixabay

Friday’s sanctions target Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) for providing financial support for the economic arm of the IRGC, Iran’s elite military unit in charge of Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

The U.S. Treasury also designated the holding group’s network of 39 subsidiary petrochemical companies and foreign-based sales agents. PGPIC and its subsidiaries hold 40% of Iran’s petrochemical production capacity and are responsible for 50% of Iran’s petrochemical exports, it said.

“By targeting this network we intend to deny funding to key elements of Iran’s petrochemical sector that provide support to the IRGC,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The Treasury statement said Iran’s oil ministry last year awarded the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya, the IRGC’s economic and engineering arm, 10 projects in oil and petrochemical industries worth $22 billion, four times the official budget of the IRGC.

Also Read- U.S. Starts ‘Unwinding’ Turkey from F-35 Program over Russia Defense Deal

President Donald Trump last year pulled out of a 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for easing some sanctions, saying it did not go far enough.

The Trump administration has since taken several unprecedented steps to squeeze Iran, such as demanding the world halt all imports of Iranian oil and designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, which Iran has cast as an American provocation.

U.S. law already punished U.S. persons who deal with the IRGC with up to 20 years in prison because of the group’s designation under the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, a different sanctions program. (VOA)