Art And Culture

Iran, Indonesia Share Linguistic Heritage: Persian is the Global Master of Mysticism

Iran, Indonesia Share Linguistic Heritage: Persian is the Global Master of MysticismIran, Indonesia Share Linguistic Heritage: Persian is the Global Master of Mysticism

One will hardly imagine that Iran and Indonesia share a linguistic heritage; but in fact the language spoken in Indonesia (known as Bahasa) has 350 Persian words as part of its lexicon.

In a recent cultural meeting dubbed ‘’Traces of Persian in Southeast Asia’’ held at the Language and Cultural Sciences Faculty of the University of Indonesia (UI) topics such as the language and cultural commonalities of Iran and Indonesia were explored, ISNA reported.    

Attended by Iran’s cultural attaché in Indonesia, Hojatollah Ebrahimian, and Dean of the Faculty of Language and Cultural Sciences Adrianus Lavranous, the gathering also aimed to boost cultural ties and understanding between the two Muslim nations.

Ebrahimian opened the meeting by saying that there are 6,000 languages within 20 linguistic branches, with one of them being the Indo-Iranian languages.

Emphasizing the importance of the Persian language in times bygone, Ebrahimian referred to Ibn Battuta, the famous Moroccan explorer, who was once quoted as saying that ‘’whenever I encountered difficulties with language in non-Arab countries, I resorted to Persian to get the message across.’’

‘’Persian is the global language of mysticism and anyone who is interested to study mysticism is advised to learn the language,” he said.

  Common Words

Ebrahimain noted that there are 350 Persian words found in the Indonesian language and said ‘’the presence of an Iranian figure in the Kingdom of Srivijaya is another strong indication of the historic ties between Iran and Indonesia.’’

Srivijaya was a dominant thalassocratic city-state based on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, which influenced much of Southeast Asia.  In Sanskrit, sri means “fortunate”, “prosperous”, or “happy” and vijaya means “victorious” or “excellence.”

“Other signs to look for are the inscription of Persian poems on the tombs of Fatimah binti Maimun in the village of Leran dating back to 11th century and Sultan Malik Saleh, the first Muslin ruler of Sumatra,’’ he said.  

He further said that on the tomb of Hesam al Din Inb Amir the ruler of the Province of Aceh in Indonesia, a poem by the Persian poet Saadi is inscribed.

 Lack of Information

Adrianus Lavranous noted that due to insufficient knowledge, many Indonesian students can barely differentiate between the Turkish, Arab and Iranian cultures.

‘’There must be more research conducted in Indonesia to better understand the language and culture of Iran,’’ Lavranous said.

Manekkeh Boodiman the deputy head of the language department also said ‘’we do not just think of the Persian language but rather we aim to make a study of Iranian civilization a priority.’’

He also called for the promotion of the Persian language by sending a delegation of Indonesian academics to learn Persian in Iran. ‘’We believe that making use of the Persian language will benefit academic ties between the two countries,’’ Boodiman said.