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'A celebration of 25 centuries': Pahlavisants, Pakistanis and Parsis

Waghmar, Burzine (2011) 'A celebration of 25 centuries': Pahlavisants, Pakistanis and Parsis. In: Persepolis 40 Years on: International Conference on the Archaeology, History and Reception of Persepolis, October 14-16, 2011, The University of Edinburgh.

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Abstract

Imperial Iran's arrival on the late twentieth century stage was declared by Orson Welles as no party but 'a celebration of 25 centuries'. The socio-political capital, by participating in Pahlavi panache, was not lost on three votaries discussed here, all of whom sought their place in the Aryamehr's sun. None of them, with differing agendas and distinct aspirations, were left dissatisfied: Pahlavisants --not necessarily Pahlavists-- correctly, orientalists engaged in Middle Iranian philology, were, as their Iranist or Persianist peers, engaged in pure scholarship and unwittingly bridled in endorsing the regal mantle of a self-styled legatee, one at several removes, from the Achaemenids and Sasanids -- a frequently familiar Persian refrain. By October 1971, the unravelment of Jinnah's 'moth-eaten' homeland, since its abortion from British India just a quarter century earlier, was on course: Bangladesh was born exactly two months to the day on 16 December, 1971. An examination of publications, both scholarly and souvenir, plus ephemera of this period, reveals the mood and discourse of a Pakistan salvaging its raison d'être by flagging the Perso-Islamic credentials of its disjointed eastern and western provinces with pre-Islamic Iranshahr. As the oldest Iranian diaspora anywhere, the Parsis or Zoroastrians of the subcontinent cherish spiritual ties to the 'old country'. These had been revived, in the heady nation-building era of Reza Khan, by intellectuals situating a pristine repository of the Iranian ethos among Bombay's Parsis. Persepolis '71, some seven years prior to the post-Jaleh square fervour of October-December '78, marked an anniversary for Parsis and Pahlavists consummating a match spanning a half-century of mutual admiration.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Lecture)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Services and Administration > Library and Information Services
Depositing User: Burzine Waghmar
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2011 15:00
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/12499

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