May 28, 2022

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Speakers call for enhanced linguistic linkages between Iran, Pakistan

The Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East & Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) held a Roundtable and Exhibition on Monday in collaboration with the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran-Pakistan Institute of Persian Studies titled Darakht-e-Dosti, Epitomizing Pak-Iran Relationship: Celebrating Linguistic Linkages.

Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Pakistan speaking as a guest speaker said that depth of relations and friendship between the two neighboring nations of Iran and Pakistan is not hidden from anyone and has a long history in the region.

“The historical, civilizational, identity, religious and cultural bonds between the two countries can be clearly seen in the mirror of the linguistic linkages between the two nations of Iran and Pakistan,” he said.

The envoy said the linguistic ties between Iran and Pakistan can be seen in the depth of the influence of Persian language on the national and local languages of the region. For many centuries, Persian has been the official, literary and international language among the nations of the region.

The envoy said Persian language is a common cultural heritage that does not belong only to Iran, but belongs to the whole region. We must all honor it together and expand it to preserve our cultural and identity values. For Pakistan, Persian has been one of the most important identifying elements. For example, I should mention that the name of this country is in Persian and the national anthem of Pakistan is also in Persian.

He noted according to scholars who research about Allamah Iqbal, about 70% of the written works left by Allama Iqbal, the main ideologue of the Pakistani movement, are in Persian, and he expressed his most important political and social views the form of Persian poetry and literature.

Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said considering the pivotal role of “language” in Iranian and Islamic thought and tradition, in addition to communication tools, language can be mentioned as an important humanizing and thought-making element.

Speakers call for enhanced linguistic linkages between Iran, Pakistan

He noted The Iran-Pakistan Institute of Persian Studies is a joint cultural institution established to strengthen the cultural and linguistic relations between the two nations and to preserve our valuable identity-civilization heritage.

Ehsan Khazaei, Cultural Counselor of the Embassy of Iran stated that Pakistan is unique in the terms of having a variety of manuscripts, especially Persian which reflect the relations and history between the two nations as well as the culture of the subcontinent.

He said that there is immense capacity for joint cultural exchanges and dialogue. In order to strengthen the culture and relations between the two countries a dedicated education and culture center would help to achieve this goal.

Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry Director General ISSI in his remarks said Farsi is like an old tree for us. The famous Pakistan poet Allama Iqbal’s poetry is mostly in Farsi which is evidence of the strong links Pakistan shares with Iran.

He recounted the five years he spent in Iran during his service in the Foreign Office and expressed his happiness and appreciation that this event was taking place.

During her introductory remarks, Amina Khan, Director CAMEA said that in the evolution of Urdu as a language, there is considerable influence of the Persian dialect as Urdu mainly borrows its words and grammatical structures from Persian, with more than 60% of Persian words making up the language.

She said moreover, both languages are written in the Nasta’liq script. She went on to say that the influence of Persian on Urdu can be seen in the lyrics of Pakistan’s National Anthem in which all the words are in Persian language except for the word “ka”.

She noted any mention of the linkages between Urdu and Persian would be incomplete without the significant contributions of Allama Iqbal, Pakistan’s national poet, who produced almost 12,000 verses of poetry, out of which nearly 7,000 verses are written in Persian yet another visible example of the influence of the Persian language.

Pakistan’s former Ambassador to Iran Riffat Masood said that people in Iran know Allama Iqbal as ‘Iqbal Lahori,’ more than people in Pakistan. Farsi is a living language and is spoken across Pakistan in different varieties.

She said language and cultural aspects that bring people together are unfortunately discussed less. It is time to look at how we can enhance and strengthen these ties.

“Therefore, both countries should arrange a few cultural exchanges across the border. Television, media, books and magazines can help us exchange cultures and linguistic linkages are viable ways forward,” she concluded.

Speakers call for enhanced linguistic linkages between Iran, Pakistan

Dr. Habibollah Azimi, Former Head of the Manuscripts Department of the National Library of Iran expressing his views through video link from Tehran said it is important to carry out research so that manuscripts can be preserved.

He said the accuracy of manuscripts is the best way to preserve the history of this region. The main issues in manuscript preservation are photocopies and setting of digital libraries. For decades, a number of Iranian and Pakistani scholars have identified the importance of manuscript catalogs. Due to scattering of manuscripts in different libraries it is difficult to revive them, he said.

Mrs. Razia Akbar, Assistant Professor, Persian language & Literature, national university of Modern languages (NUML) said that Iran is a country which always stood by Pakistan. The two nations are not different from each other as they share strong cultural and linguistic linkages and their friendship is an example for the entire world.

“Pakistan and Iran are one soul but geographical infrastructures have divided us. The farsi language is prestigious and Urdu has nurtured within the roots of the farsi language and is derived from it. In fact, Islam entered the subcontinent through Iran,” she said.

Dr Muzafar Ali Kashmiri, Professor of Persian language at Islamic International University (IIU) said that in order to increase Urdu-Farsi linkages, more academic linkages are needed. He ended his speech by saying, “you should cultivate the trees of friendship as this will give you happiness, but wherever you see a tree of evil you should gut it out”.

Ambassador (retd) Khalid Mahmood Chairman Board of Governors ISSI related his experience in Iran as Ambassador. He stated that time and again Iran has supported Pakistan on many issues. Despite several ups and downs the relationship between two has remained strong.

Members of the diplomatic corps in Islamabad, academics, civil society, former and current diplomats, students and media personnel were also present.

A video clip depicting the workings of the Iran-Pakistan Institute of Persian studies was also shown on the occasion.

The talk was followed by an exhibition of Persian manuscripts dating back to more than 1000 years that have been preserved at the Iran-Pakistan Institute of Persian Studies as well as various Iranian artifacts.


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