Shahriar’s death anniv. honored as Day of Persian Poetry

TEHRAN, Sep. 17 (MNA) – September 18 is the death anniversary of Seyed Mohammad-Hossein Behjat-Tabrizi, better known by his pen-name Shahriar (1906-1988), who was a prominent Iranian poet.

Iranians honor his memory on this date every year, which has been named as the ‘National Day of Persian Poetry and Literature’.

Born on January 2, 1906, in a village near Tabriz City, East Azarbaijan Province, Shahriar’s passion for poetry was recognized at an early age. While still in high school in Tabriz, his first poems appeared at the school’s journal.

Initially, he published his poems under his given name, Behjat, but later chose the name Shahriar.

His first poetry collection ‘Divan-e Shahriar’ was published in Tehran in 1931, with introductions by celebrated poets and scholars such as Saʿid Nafisi, Ḥossein Pezhman-Baḵtiari, and Malek-al-Shoʿara Bahar, who praised his eloquent language, and his innovative and well-crafted imagery.

Although Shahriar wrote in various forms, including lyrics, quatrains, couplets, odes, and elegies, he composed some of his most appreciated poems in the traditional genre of ghazal. His poems are mainly influenced by Hafez, a well-known Iranian poet.

Shahriar’s lyrical poems could be divided into three broad categories of religious, panegyric, and love poems, although the lines between the three are blurred.

Azeri origin poet wrote poems in Azeri language, too. His most famous poem in Azeri language ‘Heydar-Babaya Salaam’ (Hello to Heydar-Baba) was published in 1954and has been translated into more than 30 languages.

Heydar Baba is the name of a mountain where the poet spent his childhood. Many of his bittersweet memories are reflected in his works.

'The Blessing Bird of Good Omen', which is about Imam Ali (peace be upon him), is just one of his many other noteworthy poems.

Shahriar saw three eras of Qajars, Pahlavi, and the Islamic Republic. A deeper look into his poetry shows his objection to injustice and narrow-mindedness. He supported his people at critical times such as the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war when he reinforced the morale of Iranian soldiers through his poems.

                                                                                                          Shahriar reciting one of his poems in Turkish

One of the major reasons for the success of Shahriar’s works is the use of slang and colloquial language in his poetry so that they are understandable for a wide range of people.

His poetical sensibilities, combined with his understanding of Persian music, is reflected in his skillful employment of internal rhyme and alliteration. This has made his ghazals suitable for many great composers and vocalists.

Shahriar’s poetry has influenced many of traditionalist and neo-traditionalists contemporary poets, including Fereydun Moshiri, Nader Naderpur, and Hushang Ebtehaj (Sayeh).

Shahriar was interested in music and played the Setar very well. He was also a talented calligrapher.

Shahriar died on September 18, 1988, in one of Tehran’s hospitals and his body was transferred to Tabriz and was buried in Maqbaratoshoara (Mausoleum of Poets), where some 400 notable poets, artists, and mystics are also buried.

                                                 Shahriar met the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in Summer 1986 and recited one of his poems.

In 2006 and in a meeting with members of the executive board responsible for organizing the congress commemorating the centennial of Shahriar’s birth, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei praised Shahriar as a great Iranian poet and said that honoring Shahriar is in fact is honoring Persian poetry and named him a prominent poet whose verses showed his wisdom.

"Shahriar is one of the eternal personalities of Persian poetry," he added.

Elaborating on Shahriar's masterpieces, he said that Shahriar’s poetry is a great heritage of Persian literature, even though Shahriar's mother tongue was Azari.

He recalled the mystical theme and wisdom of Shahriar’s poems, citing his Azari language poem “Heydar Baba”, in which Shahriar philosophically examined human existence and the nature of the universe.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei hailed the personality of the poet and said that he was faithful to God, maintained an independent attitude, and never bowed to the power.

He went on to say that Shahriar showed his dedication to Prophet Muhammad (S) and his Household in his poetry.

By: Haniyeh Sadat Jafariyeh

News Code 163268


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