Wednesday, April 18, 2018


                                                    ( The Listeners )
                                                               ( The Gathering )

                                       ( Dr K L Pandita  ( Right )with M L Saraf )
                                             ( Dr K N Pandita ( Left ) With Prof R L Shant )



                               (Dr. Safa )


( Rumi )

(Like green grass  , we keep coming again and again )

When some Like minded social / cultural organizations decided to  honour  Dr K. N. Pandita    on 15.04.2018   , Ramesh Hangloo from  Radio Sharda, I B Zutshi convener  Paan-Nyaar   and Narinder  Safaya  convener  Dialogue  also joined  . My thanks to all the  organizations for inviting me . 

Dr K N Pandita former Director  Department of Central Asian studies , University of Kashmir  needs no Introduction.    He is a post graduate in Persian  from Punjab University and Ph.D. in Iranian / Central Asian Studies from Teheran University . He is the Author of  many books and innumerable papers . Awarded Padamshri,  for his academic attainments , Dr. Pandita is a widely travelled man.

He has closely worked with  many scholars from Central Asia more specifically from Tajikistan.His travelogue titled "My Tajik Friends" earned him the coveted Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1987.

Some prominent works of Dr. Pandita are:

1. Baharistan-i-Shahi, A Chronicle of Mediaeval Kashmir (translated from Farsi) 
2. Avicenna – An Introduction
3. Iran and Central Asia
4. Ladakh, Life and Culture (edited)
5. Hafiz of Shiraz (Urdu)
6. Tohfatul Ahbab, ( English translation of a 17th century history of Kashmir .)

His conceptual  clarity and  knowledge of Persian, Tajik and some other foreign languages   is amazing. It is always  a treat to listen to  him on many subjects   including troubled history of Kashmir . He is erudite , scholarly and brilliant as he speaks  .

In the get together under reference, While giving  a detailed account of his travels in Central Asia,  Dr Pandita  presented some beautiful anecdotes  relating  to his stay in Iran, Brussels , Germany , Geneva , Uzbekistan , Tajkistan and other member  Republics  of the  erstwhile U.S.S.R  .

Speaking about  the  Sun worship culture  in  ancient Iran and Central Asia , He said this:-

“ In Tajik and Persian  , Mithra means the  sun. Tajik and  Persian  are closely connected  languages and so is Pahalvi  .  Mithra is the  ancient  Indo -Iranian god of  sun or light  .  From India and Iran, this sun worship  cult spread  to ancient Rome and Spain in west.  In Pahalvi, Mehr means the sun. That is why the Shah of Iran  would be called as 'Arya- Mehr ' or the  sun of the Aryans . You have  many remains of ancient  sun worship  places in Central Asia and some parts of Iran.”

As he finished his speech , I put him a straight question:_

“ I have read that you were a favourite  student of  renowned Iranian scholar,    Prof. Zabihollah Safa  . Can you please elaborate something on this issue ?"

My question brought  a smile on his face and  he said:

“  When I went to Teheran for my doctorate  , I was lucky that Shri T. N. Kaul  was our ambassador in Iran at that point of time. I met Shri Kaul and that simplified so many things for me .I was entrusted to  Prof. Safa . I had heard his name . Never in my wild dreams could I imagine him to be my teacher  for more than two years . He was highly respected scholar world over at that time. The VC of Teheran university  opened the door of his car as a mark of respect. He was very serious , talked very less  and  a man of one word : but when he spoke , he was scholarly  beyond imagination  ,  delightful to listen to and  spellbinding  like the flow of  Niagara falls   . When I met him, 
he asked  me to do my doctorate  in “ Islamic Tassavuf  and poet Bedil “. Surprised at being awarded such a tough subject , I said ,
“ Sir , this is difficult . I have not studied  “Bedil” fully   and Tassavuf means very tough assignment . “
He was angry and said in a louder  tone ,
“  What do you mean ? If you Indians will not do it then who shall do it ? You must know that the contribution of Indians in development of Persian literature is more than the people from Persia . You have to do it. " 

There was no choice left. I knew Bedil was an ocean with no banks .There is absolute unanimity in Iran and Central Asia  that there has been no greater poet of Persian  than Bedil.
 I had to do the impossible . As time passed , Prof.Safa  turned out to be the most humane and helpful person.  He arranged every help for me . He even extended my scholarship tenure . He treated me like his own child. He was liberal in real sense of the term.  He was an outstanding scholar of   Iranian literature ,Islamic history and culture . Prof. Safa  was a dispassionate critic of so many subjects.  His usual audience at Teheran University included ambassadors of Arab countries apart from European scholars. . He had written  a series of  Books  ( 5 volumes )  on Iranian culture and civilization  . This  series  was treated as reference book by many Persian  scholars .   Rumi was his favourite . He would write  one line   from   some Persian couplet on board and then discuss it for full day. He would break the line   into words and then discuss etymology of each word and then trace the origin of the  word in Latin , German and  Greek  . Amazing scholarship  .Whatever I am , it is all due to Dr. Safa . I owe him everything. My Guru , my teacher and my guide in life , learning and  so many other fields. After  the fall of Shah and the Islamic revolution , he left Iran and moved to Germany . I always wanted to see him . Some years back, I was in Germany  and went to see him and I  got the shock of my life. He was bed ridden and had memory loss  due to  Alzheimer disease . So painful  for me. The debt remained unpaid.  What could be done .I have dedicated My  Book 'Tohfatul Ahbab'  to him.  "

( Avtar Mota )


Mirza Abdul Qadir Bedil had Uzbek ancestry .His ancestors came to India and settled over here. He was a renowned Persian poet from Indian subcontinent.He lies buried in Delhi. 

Prof. Zabihollah Safa (1911 -1999 ) was a scholar and professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies at the University of Tehran.He was liberal and a man of clear thinking and profound scholarship. He wrote countless articles and authored several books apart from translating many books into Persian.   His  contribution to the field of Iranian studies and  his seminal and comprehensive works on the history of Persian literature remains unmatched to this day.  He was also a regular contributor to the Encyclopaedia Iranica. He was a master of  several languages including french. He died as an exile in Germany.


Avicenna was a Persian polymath who is held in high respect in Iran and Central Asia. He was   one of the most significant physicians, astronomers, mathematicians, thinkers and writers from the Islamic world. He was  influenced by Greek philosophy , medicine and  logic .He has influenced many scholars and  medicine practitioners of Arab world that include Ibn Batuta and Al Biruni.He died in early 11th century.

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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