The current place of Iranian civilization and Iranic Unity

This article is written due to the sad affair of Iranian-cultural world (2009) where division and animosity has brought stagnation, weakness, suffering and backwardness.

What is the Iranian world? Just like the Arab world, the Iranian world is a place where Iranian languages, dialects and culture is prevalent. Thus this includes not only the political entities of Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, but also places where Zazaki, Ossetian, Kurdish, Dari-Persian, Talyshi and etc. are spoken in Turkey, Caucasus, and Uzbekistan. For example in Turkey, there are 15-20 million Kurmanj and Zazaki speakers who are Iranians. Or in Uzbekistan, non-official and Western sources put the number of Parsi-Dari speaking Tajiks at 30-40%. In Arran (Caucasus) and Sherwan there are still some Kurds, Talysh and Tats.

One of the ways to bring division to the Iranian world is nation-building based upon dialects, languages and etc. Where-as everyone in the Arab world (with widely divergent dialects and languages) are called Arabs, in the Iranian world, terms such as “Persians”, “Kurds”, “Tajik” are being promoted while the underlying attachment of these terms to the greater Iranian civilization is being demoted.

Unlike the Arab world which does not have a common history, the Iranian world does share a good deal of common history including Medes, Achaemenids, Parthians, Sassanids and many post-Islamic dynasties (Buyids, Samanids, Safavids, Ghaznavids, Seljuqs (the latter three being Turkic or Turcophone but ruling mainly Iranic speaking langs)). Also it shares the same origin (Indo-Iranians) unlike the Arab world and the same mythology (exemplified in Avesta, Shahnameh and Shahnameh myths in various Iranic languages)).

For example, we start with the term Persian. The term is increasing and misleadingly being used solely for the speakers of the Parsi-Dari language. However up to the 20th century, such a usage was not common. Rather the term Persian in its general meaning simply meant Iranian. We are not concerned here with the Old Persian empire or Achaemenids. Old Persian today is a dead language. From a linguistic point of view, modern Dari-Persian is a continuation of Old Persian however this language was developed in Khorasan and Central Asia before coming back to Iran. However the term Persian since the ancient era and Islamic times became equivalent to Iranian as opposed to Turk or Arab. Just like today there are many different Chinese dialects and languages (Cantonese, Mandarin, Taiwanese and etc.), however no one doubts the underlying unity of Chinese civilization. However, due to internal strife and external pressures, Iranian civilization has become somewhat fragmented and it is up to future Iranians to realize this and make efforts for unity while respecting internal diversity.

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