Historical Figure a writer’s mind can be a powerful thing…!

Hence, it acquires a lot more than intelligence and the ability to write. It is a combination of the author’s deepest feelings captured by his/her life’s circumstances of the present and the past, that leads itself to readable words on a piece of paper. Sadegh Hedayat is among the most remarkable writers of Iran whose works can be identified by this notion.

He was born in Tehran in 1903 to a well respected family. According to his brother, Mahmoud, Sadegh was a very lovable child whose sweet speech and
wit was always admired. Though, by the age of six, he displayed a lack of desire to play with children of his age and became an introvert.

He finished his secondary education at a French school, St. Louise Academy in Tehran, where he took full responsibility of writing, publishing, and distributing the school’s newspaper. Thereafter, he was sent to Europe on a government scholarship to study dentistry. He eventually gave up that goal and focused on the study of pre-Islamic language and literature. He explored the works of many well-known writers and admirers such as Omar Khayam, Dostoevski, and Rainer Maria Rilke.

Hedayat was fascinated by the philosophies of Buddha and Zoroaster (Zartosht). He published “ “Ensan va Heyvan”” (“”Man and Animal””) in 1924
and became a vegetarian in defense of the animal kingdom against the ravage
of men. Later on he distributed “”Favayedeh Giyah Khari”” (The Advantage of Vegetarianism) in Berlin.

Through Rilke’s admiration of “”death””, Hedayat became intrigued with the “”knowledge of the unknown.”” So much in fact that he tried to commit suicide
in 1927 by drowning himself in River Marne in Paris. In a letter to his brother, Hedayat wrote, “”I did something really crazy, but luckily it did not do me in!”” The cause for his behavior still remains unknown, but one could guess that he must have led a complicated life.

Upon his return to Iran in 1930, Hedayat’s first line of short stories called “”Zindeh Be Goor”” (Buried alive) was distributed, but he felt isolated from freely putting his thoughts down. He left for India around 1936 where he published his masterpiece “”Buf-i Kur”” (Blind Owl). The novel was withheld from publication in Iran until 1941, due to the controversial issues that it contained.

The “”Blind Owl”” says a lot about Hedayat’s character and his state of mind:

The novel’s central emphasis is on the modernized women of his era. The dual image of women as the virtuous and the prostitute is not well absorbed by the male standards of the 30’s. Hedayat’s frustration with this phenomenon sets women as the core problem of life and death. Since, women are the birth-givers; they can not be the heavenly creatures forbidden from misconduct or sexual intimacy. The author’s inability to deal with this realism brings him to a stage of psychological disturbance.

By the end of 1930’s, Hedayat’s career as a writer reached the end of its lifespan. His addiction to drugs and alcohol was a gateway to self destruction as a writer and eventually himself. On April 4, 1951, Hedayat ended his miserable days by committing suicide for the second and last time.

Aside from being a writer, Sadegh Hedayat was also a painter and an admirer
of music. Although his literary works seem disturbing, even as we speak, his academic ambition as an artist, his creative mind, and his recognition as the best writer of his time, makes Sadegh Hedayat an unforgettable figure in our history!

Forugh Farrokhzad

Thus far, I have introduced you to a number of legendary men
in our history. Stereotypically, it’s rare for us to view women as great heroes and legends. This month I would like to introduce you to a woman who has given birth to the power of self-expression in ancient Iran: a freedom of speech foreign to women of her time!

Born in Tehran in 1935, Forugh Farrokhzad is one of the rare cases of Iranian women who defeated the rigid image of feminism in the early 19th century.

She discovered her talents at the age of 15 and attended Kamal-ol-Molk’s Technical School seeking knowledge in the fields of painting and dressmaking. Although both subjects were appealing to her, (specially painting which became a second avenue of her talents), she captured self expression in poetry. At the age of 16, she married her cousin Parviz Shapoor and gave birth to her only child, Kamyar a year later. Within two years after her son’s birth, her marriage failed and she left her son and husband to pursue her passion as an independent woman. The greatest importance in Farrokhzad’s three stages of development as a woman: her marriage, divorce, and abandoning of her child, was her personal declaration of conflicts between social expectations and her own tendencies:

It was I who laughed at futile slurs.

The one that was branded by shame

I shall be what I’m called to be, I said

But, oh the misery that “woman” is

my name.

Her decision to pursue poetry was against the norm of women at that time; hence, it attracted much attention and opponents. “The Captive”, “The Wedding Band”, and “Call to Arms” resemble her perspectives on conventional marriage, difficulty of women in Iran, and her incapability to live a conventional life as a mother and a wife. She suffered a nervous breakdown in September of 1955 that led her to a psychiatric clinic. Following her recovery, she went to Europe for a period of nine months during which she studied film and became acquainted with writer and cinematographer, Ebrahim Golestan. Her most famous work, “The House is Black” was filmed in 1962 with the help of her colleagues who believe that it represented Farrokhzad’s view of contemporary Iran.

She has published five volumes of her poetry, 4 of which became available during her lifespan and the fifth volume that was published after her death: “Prisoner” (1955), “The Wall” (1957), “Rebellion” (1958), “Another Birth” (1964), and “Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season” (1965). Farrokhzad was killed in 1967 in a fatal car accident at the early age of 32.
Her tomb in Zahiro-Doleh cemetery in Tehran is regularly visited by thousands
of her most loyal fans.

Forugh Farrokhzad is one of the most distinct women in Iran’s history. She
has been able to defeat the social norms of symbolic restraint in woman’s
self –expression. In one of her most famous quotes she says, “Until you reach
your liberated and free self, isolated from constricting selves of others, you will not accomplish anything. Art is strongest when it avails itself only to those who thoroughly surrender their whole existence to it”.

Her poems are an effect of emotional and psychological frustrations that gave
her the strength to turn “from personal to collective, from the female to the human, and from the private to the public.”

She has given the women of her country the courage to declare a voice by encouraging them to understand their state of oppression while giving them a reason to fight silence!

Cover Story Kamran & Hooman’s New Album: “20”

After nearly two years of anticipation Kamran and Hooman released their
long awaited album “20”. This summer sensation has topped charts since its release in June, becoming the number one selling album at VIRGIN RECORDS in Dubai, and has maintained its number one position since its release on eworldrecords.com, fueled by fans of all ages vying to get their hands on this musical masterpiece. Innovative, energetic and dynamic, “20” is a fresh breeze
to the stagnant and repetitive Iranian musical scene. Unquestionably, Kamran and Hooman’s youthful approach to music, along with their inclusion of various harmonic elements, such as R&B, Hip Hop, Dance, Latin influences and ambient electronic beats has sealed this duo’s fate as an integral force in the new era of Iranian pop music.

Since parting ways from the Black Cats in search of greater artistic freedom,
the two brothers are determined to create original, quality music. A majority of the lyrics on “20” are the product of poetic prodigy Maryam Heydarzadeh. Her insightful, romantic and moving poetry is beautifully paired with the acoustic engineering of Ramin Zamani. Zamani has been a pioneering force in Persian music, producing many of the most sought-after and notable releases of the time.

To add to Kamran and Hooman’s success is their music video’s debut
on MTV Europe, creating an international demand for the album while simultaneously introducing Iranian music to the wider, global music market.
Their concerts have sold out one after another from fans who can’t seem to
get enough. An upcoming concert scheduled for Thanksgiving 2005 at the Universal Amphitheater is also highly anticipated.

The Avang Music Company, which has spearheaded this production, is scheduling a music video shoot for “Fadayeh Saret,” directed by Armin
Hashemi in September. Avang is very pleased with its cooperation with
Kamran and Hooman and anticipates further cooperation between Avang
and the two brothers.

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