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Date(s) - 28/10/2022
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Seminar Hall


Common Roots of Heritage
Similarities between Indian and Iranian Epics

Dr. Aziz Mahdi
Fellow, IIAS

Cultures of India and Iran, have had unbreakable, vast and deeprooted connections since the time immemorial and it is because of this fact only, that even today we witness numerous commonalities and shared cultural indices between these two ancient civilizations. One of the glimpses of these shared features are the strikingly
similar aspects of cultural indices present in the three great epics of these two nations.The present research is an attempt to provide a comparative morphological analysis of shared cultural indices present in the Indian and Iranian epics namely Mahābhārat, Rāmāyan and ShāhNāmeh (of Ferdowsi). Taking into consideration, the scattered instances of comparisons done between various aspects of Mahabharat, Ramayan and ShāhNāmehin the last two centuries; the present research is trying to dive deeper in reviewing and comparing the characters of these epics and along with the visibly archetypal similarities present in the characters of completely different narratives and stories; and
find the commonalities in narratives as well as point out the differences (if any) to provide a better picture for the future
researchers and researches on this topic.
The ancient Indian Epics are the melodies which have survived through ages; and ShāhNāmeh is a song based on those melodies of the ancient. Just as we may be able to change the words and lyrics of famous modern Indian melodies; but they will surely remind us of the original whenever we listen to them. Hearing the melody of ShāhNāmehmay remind an Indian, of the ancient melodies such as Rāmāyana and Mahābhārat.
The common Iranian man today, may not have the knowledge of the fact that such comparatively recent works have utilized the ancient Indian melodies of Rāmāyana and Mahābhārat in composition of their masterpieces. The Iranians did have the same ‘common’ melodies, kept in record for centuries, which were lost/destroyed in various world changing
events and military conquests which they were subjected to, throughout the ages; but fortunately those legacies were saved and kept safe in the Indian epics and other ancient works of Indian land.
The present research is critically analyzing this aspect and many other such narratives and characters in Indian and Iranian epics; which provide us with deeper understanding of the shared cultural indices of these two nations. Their similarities as well as dissimilarities show how much these narratives and indices have
stayed similar or grown apart after the separation of many millennia. As the fundamental idea of this research is the fact that Indian and Iranian cultures are the reflections of one singular cultural image, which surely existed many millennia’s ago, but is lost to us after the upheavals of time and place they were subjected to during this period.