When it thunders…

TEHRAN, Sep. 17 (MNA) – Iran in general and Azerbaijan in particular have been the land of growth and flourishing of many poets and mystics in all ages; a place for literature myths, from Shams to Shahriar.

Azerbaijan has been a breeding ground for many well-known poets like Parvin Etesami, Ghatran, Nezami, Shams Tabrizi and Sheikh Mahmoud Shabestari, and a place for emergence of prominent Muslim scholars like Allameh Amini, Mohammad Taghi Jafari, Allameh Tabatabaei and many political and cultural figures and libertarians like Sattar Khan, Bagher Khan, Sheikh Mohammad Khiabani and Ayatollah Madani.

Mohammad Hossein Behjat Tabrizi, mainly known by his pen name Shahriar, is among famous and valuable national figures of Iran's cultural heritage, at the top of eloquent poetry and literature.

Born in 1906 in a village near Tabriz, Shahriar was the first Iranian to write poetry in Azeri language and his most famous poem Heydar Babaya Salam (Hello to Heydar Baba), known by many as one of the best modern poems in Azeri language and the pinnacle in Azerbaijani literature which gained great popularity in Turkish world, has been translated to more than 30 languages and adapted into a few plays.

In Tabriz, Shahriar received his elementary education, including the study of Divan of Hafez, under his father’s supervision. Shahriar’s formal education started at Motahari (former Mansour High School) Secondary School in Tabriz. He published his first book of poems in 1929. His poems are mainly influenced by Hafez, a famous Persian poet, and Khasta Qasem, an old Azeri poet.

He came to Tehran in 1921 and continued his studies in Dar-ol-Fonoun High School and studied medicine there in 1924. 

Shahriar lived in a house in Naser Khosrow Street with his mother; there he fell in love with a girl in their neighborhood. Due to the financial situation of Shahriar, the girl's family decided to say yes to a richer suitor.

His failed love at a young age made a huge impact on his life; he dropped out just before getting his diploma and went to Khorasan, where he found a job there.

He returned to Tehran in 1935 and started working in the Agricultural Bank of Iran. Shahriar was the first Iranian Azerbaijani to write significant poetry in Azeri Turkish.

In 1954, her beloved mother died, the first person who put the nature of poetry in his heart and Shahriar had repeatedly confirmed his sense of poetry dates back to the time his mother sang to him the Turkish lyrics. Shahriar's bitter memory is his separation from his mother to whom he wrote the viable masterpiece of "Alas, My Mother."

When she passed away, Shahriar moved to Tehran and got married with his aunt's granddaughter.

The most important feature of Shahriar's poetry is its popular nature which is desirable for special and general interests; from a rural child who whisper Heydar Babaya Salam to those intellectuals who make researches and investigations on his lyrics, are enchanted by the beauty and elegance of the words of Shahriar in his poems.

Shahriar's skill and proficiency in both Azeri and Persian literature and culture, made decision makers to unanimously choose September 18 as the National Day of Persian Literature and Poetry marking the death anniversary of Shahriar.

Shahriar’s poems take diverse forms, including lyrics, quatrains, couplets, odes, and elegies. One of the major reasons for his success was the sincerity of his words. The poet made use of slang and colloquial language in his rhymes to make them understandable for the public.

In an article published in International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences, Nasrin Jafari names 4 factors to recognize a poet: poet's art, poet's lyrics influence among the people, emotional depth of human excellence (concepts and content), and cultural support.

She says Shahriar first was master in literary prosody and rhyme and had familiarity with literary poetic form. Second, because of his fame among people and high status and reputation of his poetry among people, most of them came in circles of literary and read his poems. Even people had memorized most of his lyrics. Thirdly, his poems are full of spirit, of love, emotion and personal and social kindness. In most of his poems, love, emotion of human or even divine love, is quite visible. In his poems, we see all nouns, proverb, and rate of customs and understanding of world literature, especially West literature, as well as Russia.

Shahriar is best known for his straightforward language and easy-to-understand poems. Hello to Heydar Baba is a long poem in two parts addressed to Ḥeydar Baba, a mountain near Tabriz, using slang and colloquial language which has contributed to the appearance of some grammatical or lexical lapses in his poetry, he is generally admired for the elegance of his language, and his fame has surpassed almost all the poets of his time:

Heydar Babaya Salam

Heydar Baba when it thunders,
Floods rush down
Girls stand back and watch,
I hail your glory and your people,
May you remember our names too?

When your partridges take flight,
When the rabbits hop out of the bushes,
When your gardens have burst into blossoms,
May you remember our name too?
And make our depressed hearts happy.

When Norouz gales uproot garden shelters!
And Norouz flowers and snow drops blossom!
When the clouds wring out their clothes!
Greetings to those who remember us,
Let our sighs turn into mountains.

Heydar Baba may the sun warm your back
Make your smiles and your springs shed tears,
Your children collect a bunch of flowers,
Send it with the coming wind towards us,
Perhaps my sleeping fortune would waken!

Heydar Baba may you be fortunate!
Be surrounded with springs and orchards!
May you live long after us!
The world is paved with events, deaths and losses!
This world has long been childless and an orphan.

Heydar Baba my way differed from yours,
Life passed, I could not come until late!
I could not learn what happened to your beautiful ones,
Did not know there were perilous paths, losses, separations and death.

Heydar Baba good sons are faithful,
Life passes, regrets are wasteful,
Disloyal sons won’t live long,
Believe me we have never forgotten you,
Forgive us if we failed to see you.

This passionate poet began by composing tragic poetry. Many of his bitter memories are reflected in his books Hazyan-e Del, Heydar Baba, and Mumiyai. Heydar Baba, composed in Azerbaijani and later translated into Persian, was for a long time on the top ten best-seller list in Tehran.

Shahriar was interested in humanistic issues and in his poem "A letter to Einstein" he criticized the result of his scientific work that was abused as nuclear weapon. Shahriar was a talented calligrapher, played the Sitar very well, and had a keen interest in music.

As Nima was a legendary inventor and step by step opened new field of literature for the contemporary Persian literature. Shahriar told new concepts and used novel designs for classic poems. To the extent, that he gained the highest achievement in this method. He had created a balance in his poetry. Using the old style and new style, he launched a new convention that it can be taken up as his personal style.

He died on September 18, 1988, in one of Tehran's hospitals and his body was transferred to Tabriz and was buried in Maqbaratoshoara (House of Poets).

Every year, several ceremonies and conferences are held to commemorate Shahriar in Tehran or Tabriz. Many people specialized in studying his poems come together to discuss various dimensions of his character and works.

There is also Shahriar Literary Award in remembrance of this Iranian renowned contemporary poet. The prize is to be awarded to institutions, organizations and individuals whose efforts contribute to the works and life of contemporary Iranian poet and scholar Shahriar.

No doubt Shahriar is a genuine mirror of Iranian culture and identity. Such geniuses emerge once every few centuries, having a large influence on a nation's literary history.

Such figures are the pillars of poetry and play a major role in the development of important literary periods. Shahryar is among those who keeps a special position in Iran and Azerbaijan's poetry and literature and one who has left a brilliant footprint on Iran's literary history.

News Code 119754


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