Registration with UNESCO Puts Onus on Pahlevans

Registration with UNESCO Puts Onus on PahlevansRegistration with UNESCO Puts Onus on Pahlevans

Vice-President and Chairman of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) Masoud Soltanifar said registration of Zurkhaneh Sports with UNESCO “has created greater obligations for our country.”

Zurkhaneh* sports and Pahlevani* rituals play a fundamental role in the upbringing of the younger generation and “instructing them in ethical and chivalrous values combined with manliness, magnanimity and valor.”

It may be recalled that the commemoration of Pahlevani culture and Zurkhaneh sports was organized in Golestan Palace in mid-August and Soltanifar attended the ceremony along with the culture and sports ministers, Mehr News Agency reported.

Soltanifar said Zurkhaneh sports and Pahlevani rituals which underscored heroic conduct and courageous action has been registered with UNESCO in 2010 thus “obliging us to be a more careful in our conduct.”

He highlighted the features of the ancient sports and stated that it enjoys lofty standing as it is rooted in “our cultural and spiritual heritage and morality.”

 Integrated with Religion

Pahlevani culture and Zurkhaneh sports have been derived from traditions and beliefs over millennium years and play a key role in preservation of “epic and religious literature that is conducive to education and training of the younger generation in culture of manliness and magnanimity,” he noted.

He said with registration of the ancient sports on UNESCO list “we should act genuinely in safeguarding human beliefs and preserve the values cherished generation after generation in this country.”

He underlined the need for propagation of these values in material and spiritual living and invited all organizations, particularly the ICHHTO, the sports and youths ministry and the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance, to join efforts to accomplish this end.

He further said that “all of us should strive to ensure that these values are transferred from past generations to future ones in order to build a healthy society”.

Soltanifar said that the rich cultural values of Pahlevani rituals should be conveyed to different parts of the world. Adding that at present this sport has an international federation and its global competitions are in progress, he expressed hope that it will find foothold in different countries.

 4,000 Years Old

Minister of Sports and Youth Mahmood Goudarzi and Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati, made brief remarks in appreciation of the ancient sport.

Goudarzi said as per his study of Pahlevani, it is traceable to over 4000 years ago as substantiated by inscriptions found in stone monuments at Lorestan and Mesopotamia.

Jannati cited Imam Ali (A.S.) as the paragon of courage, valor and magnanimity as underlined by Pahlevani rituals dating back to 700 years ago and portrayed in the present form by the “Puryaye Vali’, a nickname given by Iranians to Pahlavan Mahmoud Khwarazmi.An Iranian Sufi poet and champion, famous for his chivalrous behavior and strength, Khwarazmi wrote couplets sung in the Zurkhaneh, enjoining the athletes to observe modesty.

Jannati pointed out that “Obviously, Pahlevani sports are far older because people of Iran were engaged in wrestling and martial arts since time immemorial.”

The culture minister said Imam Ali’s fair treatment of his assassin epitomizes the nobility and liberality not observed in any sport but the Iranian Pahlevani sports.

*Zurkhaneh is a traditional Persian gym and means ‘house of strength’.  Pahlevani reflects heroism or courageous deeds.