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Date(s) - 17/03/2022
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Seminar Hall


Common roots of heritage: A research on similarities present between Ramayan, Mahabharat and Shahnameh (of Ferdowsi).

Based on the primary research on three Epics, it was found that there are many commonalities present in them. The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi was written in the 10th century CE whereas the Ramayan and Mahabharat date back to hundreds of years BCE (ranging from 100 to 500 BCE according to various sources). Therefore, it is proposed that the stories and characters of Shahnameh may have originally had or taken the original essence of stories and characters of Ramayan and Mahabharat, and Persianized them through a period of centuries for the taste of Persian speakers and readers; hence, this research will point out the cultural loans the Iranian epic may have taken from the Indian Epics.
Shahnameh is among the longest Epic poems of the world; written by Ferdowsi between 977 CE-1010 CE. It is considered as the national epic of Iran; containing more than 50,000 couplets. Shahnameh is related directly to the cultural identity of Iran; revered equally amongst all the Iranians.
One of the important aspects of Shahnameh is that it consists of mythical as well as the historical past of the Persian Empire from the creation of world until the 7th Century.
Just like the Ramayan and Mahabharat, Shahnameh also provides a wide variety of moral and ethical values in the midst of storytelling.
The commonalities between Shahnameh and Ramayan and Mahabharat date back to the Common Indo- Iranian roots of the people of both the nations. The modern Iranian and North Indian inhabitants are from the same flock of Aryans who belonged to a common race, who had a common religion, common language and common thoughts, common rites and rituals.
The most ancient written texts of both cultures namely Veda and Avesta mention the race of their people as Arya. The common nomenclature such as Soma and Homa, Yama and Yima, Ahura and Asura etcetera point towards the common roots of both the cultures. Fire was and is still considered sacred and holy in Zoroastrian culture which is supposedly the remnant of Indo-European culture which later branched into Indo-Iranian culture. Rig Veda gives special importance to fire in its hymns.
Even today the commonalities such as in numbers, words as well as proverbs used by Indians and Iranians are numerous. Keeping such facts in mind; finding similarities in three prominent epics of these two nations will shed light on deeper cultural connections; which date back to thousands of years.
Scope and objectives:
Finding commonalities present between Indian and Iranian Epics can open the doors to broader and deeper researches in the area. Such a research will focus on finding similarities present between various aspects of Indian and Iranian epics; such as stories and characters present in them. For example, based upon my primary research on the topic, there are similarities present in the concept of fire test in Shahnameh and Ramayan, concept of LauhPurush or Iron-man in the epics, presence of a legendary bird in the epics, concept of SanjeevniBooti or nooshdaaru in the epics and so on…
Therefore, this research will dive deeper in these epics and find commonalities which have a shared root in Indo-Aryan or Indo-European culture, and have found a face in stories and characters of these epics.
Finding commonalities in such vast epics which collectively have more than a hundred thousand couplets, needs an in-depth knowledge of languages and culture of India and Iran; which the researcher possesses being an Indian, who has lived in Iran for more than a decade.
As the voluminous nature of these epics are not hidden for anyone and an in-depth and wider research would require a team of scholars working on the same for decades; therefore, the current research will only be focusing on similarities and commonalities present between the essence of stories and characters of these epics.
The research methodology used for the work will include reviewing the text of three Epics, with a morphological perspective; where even the hidden essence between their stories and characters can be found and pointed out in the final work.
Major sources to be consulted:
Original text of Ramayan and Mahabhrat from India & Shahnameh of Ferdowsi from Iran will be the major sources consulted for this research.
Significance of original contribution to knowledge
Such a comparative research work on the proposed scale has not been done till date on the proposed topic. The important feature being the fact that these epics will be critically reviewed from the original and near original text and not their translations from English; where many culturally significant and linguistic details are certainly lost in translation. Therefore, one can say that it will be one of the original contributions to knowledge in the field of comparative literature, specifically Ramayan, Mahabharat and Shahnameh.