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August 5, 2004

* Sekandar, Iran and Aryans

Dear Mr. Davis,

I read your very interesting interview with Mr. Javid of the [A huge conservation project] I have three questions to ask you :

You mention the name of Alexander (the Great) as "Sekandar". This intrigued me in that I recently watched a DVD movie of American director John Huston called "The Man who would be King" (1975) based on the poem written by English writer Rudyard Kipling.

Interestingly in this film about two Freemasons who pledge to seek fortune and glory in a remote region of Afghanistan known as Kafirestan discover a tribe which hopes for the return of "Sikander", whose identity is unwillingly usurped by one of the leading characters played by Sean Connery.

My question is whether "Sikandar"  or "Sekandar" is the Indian equivalent of the Persian name " Eskandar" for Alexander and if so why doesn't Ferdowsi use the Persian pronounciation ?

Also Kiplings short tale and Hustons film suggest that the order of Free Masons may very well date back to the Times of Alexander. In the film interestingly the followers of Sikander obey blindly to a group of Priests who speak "ordu" and wear complete white suits very much like the Zoroastrian priests or Parsis in India. Does the Shahnameh or any other Persian litterary work refer to anything that could hint that the Freemasonery has Zoroastrian origins ? It should be noted that Kipling was a free mason himself ...

My last question is on the name Iran, which I believe the Shahnameh has one verse " Choh Iran  nabashad taneh man mabad" aka " If Iran was to dissapear so should my body and soul". Given some debate on the fact that the name Persia was changed to Iran in 1935 as "The Land of the Aryans", I wanted to know whether this is just a linguistic modification (of the name Persia to Iran ) in Latin or from a european perspective or was the name "Iran" refered to in Farsi as "Pars" or another name by Ferdowsi ?

My personal understanding is that the word "Iran" was used by Persians in Farsi even before 1935 to designate their country without any ideological connotation (particularily not a Nazi or anti semitic connotation) just as Germans would say "Deutchland" ( without the ' Uber Alles ') and not "Allemagne" as the French, or "Germany" as the British or Americans.

I also wanted to ask you whether the word "Aryan" refers to a race or linguistic entity? You mentioned that The word Iran originally referred to the inhabitants of the country, yet as you know the Iranian plateau was and is composed of different ethnical groups which even at the times of the Aechemenid Kings was composed of Persians and Medes.

As you may know French linguist George Dumezil (1898-1986) a member of the Academie Francaise, was Professor of Indo-European Civilization in the College de France and philosopher Claude Lévi-Strauss both worked on Indo European languages and Myths.

Dumezil in particular claims that the term "Aryan" is a linguistic entity and not a race which explains why Medes and Persians as well as other indo-european tribes like the Caucasian Ossets (For the anecdote Joseph Stalins mother I believe was an Osset and therefore spoke a persian dialect) spoke derivatives of the Aryan/Iranian language and shared common beliefs transcripted in their Mythology. Thus Interestingly some Europen languages like Corsican, German or English have  Indo-European roots here are a few examples:

"Koenig" (German for King), and "King" in English would derive from the Persian word "Kia" meaning "Crown". Similarily the word "Daughter" is "Tochter" in German and "Dokhtar" in Farsi/Parsi.

In addition Dumezil in his essay  "Mitra-Varuna: An Essay on Two Indo-European Representations of Sovereignty" I quote: "Dumezile demonstrates that every Indo-European religious and social system was structured according to three primary functions: sovereignty, war, and fertility. "Mitra-Varuna, a penetrating inquiry into the first of these functions - religious and political sovereignty. Dumezil shows how, from Vedic India to Ireland from Caucasia to Rome, and from Iran to Old Germany, the sovereign gods and heroes always appear in couples: the creative but violent legislator and his counterpart, the conservative guarantor of world order."

Also an author of "A destiny of a King" Dumezil's observations were defended by Claude Levi Strauss ( Himself a Jew ) when the former was accused of anti-semitism for presenting his theories. Dumezil's work is not exact science and he never claimed it was such, yet  it offers an insight into Indo European Myths and civilizations.

I wanted to know based on your knowledge of the Shahnameh whether Ferdowsi's Epic Poem responds to similar theories? [See reply: Iran in Shahnameh]



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August 2004

August 5, 2004

* Sekandar, Iran and Aryans
* Iran in Shahnameh
Shirin Ebadi
* Poll: Has he got a clue?
* Praising Islam?
* Az maast k-e bar maast
* Change is slow
* Failing each other

* Difficulty in perfection
Zahra Kazemi
* Change is slow
Asian Cup
* Shame on Team Melli!
* I'm Croatian and proud
* Palestinians wiped out?
* I won't vote for Torkzadeh
* Deterioration overdue
* Bush is not as bad?
* US clean house in Iran
* Q is for Queer
* Intolerant intolerance
* Follows logic
* What many believe
* No military action

* Is this Islam?
Homosexual language
* Orgasm or perish
* Silent opening

* Hillarious
* Laughing in Istanbul
* Glad
* NO substance
* You liberals

Nojeh coup
* It all disolved
* Liberation from within
* Military intervention
* 'Liberate' Iran's billions

* Guatemala impressions
Sex trade
* Rajavi supporter or not
Radio Farda
* Give me the job!
Farah Pahlavi
* Horrible role model
* How dare you?
* Photocopygenic
Persian lesson
* Words we hear a lot
* Soopoor or "superintendent"

* Logical advice
Vultarity, Profanity
* Deserve worse, but
* Tone of langauage

* Ojoobeha
* Like Kurdistan's rivers
* Attacking our baby
* Freedom of choice

* Ojoobeha
* Plastic foreingers
* Iranian in Madrid?
* "REAL" Javid?

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