Iranian scholar:

Manuscripts guarantee unbroken Iran-India cultural engagement

New Delhi, Nov 6, IRNA - An Iranian cultural official in India underlined that the old manuscripts kept by both nations have always guaranteed the unbroken trend of cultural and literary engagements between Iran and India.

Ehsanollah Shokrollahi who is the head of New Delhi branch of Iran's Sa'adi Foundation made the remarks while talking to IRNA about the two-day national seminar held in Kashmir University on ‘Manuscript Heritage of Kashmir-with special reference to Persian Collections.’

He said during the seminar he emphasized the importance of such invaluable documents in preserving the national identity of the nations.

The Iranian official further noted that manuscripts throughout the history have helped nations to safeguard their cultures and collective memories vibrant.

Pointing out things kept in the memory of nations about their ethnic and cultural identities play extensively great role in development and consolidation of ethnic identity, Shokrollahi said manuscripts have carried the great responsibility of bridging Iran-India cultures.

He also said manuscripts regularly migrate between and among cultures thus ensuring the dynamic nature of cultrual exchanges.

The Iranian official further noted that the number of manuscripts transferred to Iran throughout the past centuries has been quite significant.

He went on and categorized these manuscripts into four sections according to the origin of their creation, briefing the audience on specifications of each group.

Shokrolahi, who was a special guest at this scholarly conference, also highlighted the general importance of the manuscripts, their identification, restoration and revival.

About this conference the Kashmiri newspaper “Street Times” wrote that it was organized by Kalakosa Division, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi in collaboration with Post Graduate Department of Persian, University of Kashmir.

Member Secretary, IGNCA, Prof. Sachchidanad Joshi who was the chief guest on the occasion talked about the unattended wealth of various manuscripts present in the country and the need of capacity building among the youth to extract knowledge from them.

“We have started courses on manuscriptology and young people have shown immense interest in these courses and other such workshops conducted by our organization,” said Prof Joshi.

Former Dean, Delhi University (DU), Prof. Sharief Hussain Qasimi congratulating the department of Persian for the seminar, said that it was an important theme selected to discuss about.

Prof Qasimi said that the sub -continent had a rich literary legacy “that was brought to ruins under colonial rule”.

“The knowledge coming down from west today is mostly the same knowledge they took away from us during colonialism,” said Prof Qasmi.

The event was presided over by Registrar, University of Kashmir, Prof. Neelofar Khan who, while sharing her experience on the occasion, said that students in colleges are more and more opting for Persian these days which in itself is a good omen for the promotion of the language.

Persian language and literature in Kashmir enjoy a high status, and now days the scientific circles of this Muslim state are making increasing efforts to revive Persian language and literature.

Indian and the Persian languages have thousands-year history of mutual contributions and exchanges. Persian is one of the oldest spoken languages in the world, and India is also a country with a history of several thousand years. The Persian has common roots with Sanskrit language, which is one of the oldest languages in the world, and has been used since the pre-Islamic era on the Iranian plateau and subcontinent of India.

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