What do young people in Iran think about India and Indians?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 18, 2020 05:32 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 18, 2020 05:32 AM

Even after reading so many answers I decide to write because we have lived in Tehran for three and a half years and it will be very ungrateful of me not to write about all the love and affection, even respect that we have received from those highly cultured people.

My husband’s colleagues and friends were mostly engineers. And those who were educated abroad knew workable English but when you are living at a place for a longer duration you come in contact with common people too.

So now my problem is, from where to start?

Iranians are very outgoing, friendly people. On the weekly holiday parks and gardens are full of families picnicking there. Whenever we went there someone from these unknown families would come and talk to us, invite us and offer us tea and snacks. They are crazy about our Hindi movies, though they may not follow a word of it. Though their movies are of very high quality, Hindi types of movies are not made there, can not be made because a girl without ‘hijab’ can’t be shown publicly. And because of this movie craze they are also aware of some of our traditions. Many a times it happened that I was sitting on a bench in the park all by myself, the youngsters would come and with hands awkwardly folded try to say ‘Namastey.’ A cassette of Hindi songs or a DVD was the most cherished gift. Because of the common Aryan race it is difficult to differentiate between the Iranians and North Indians, they recognized me because of the red ‘bindi’ on my fore head. (The word Iran comes from Arayan. Old name is Persia.)

When we went to the market for our daily purchases, the shopkeeper would immediately become friendly on learning that we are from Hindustan. ‘Hindi! Dust Dust’ (दुस्त- friend) he would keep repeating and will refuse to charge money. ‘मिहमान हस्ती’ – ‘you are our guest’ he would say. Even the unknown taxi driver wilł refuse at first. Of course it was their way of showing respect and we always paid which was expected. But he accepted it as if he has got a gift- with a lot of thanks and good wishes.

The Iranians are totally non- vegetarian. They have no concept of totally vegetarian food. If I ordered a pizza at restaurant I specifically told them that I want only tomatoes and capsicum as topping. But the waiter often brought the pizza with a few ‘salamis’ over it, saying-’mehman hasti’. You are our guest and these are on my behalf. How do you explain to such an affectionate person that a strict vegetarian will not even like to eat the food touched by some non vegetarian item. I just removed the salami after he left and ate the rest.

When I learnt Farsi and started reading the books I found many quotes and anecdotes about India all showing India or Hindustan as they prefer to call it, in good light. They are very cultured people. Reading material is available at low prices and you can see a driver reading a newspaper while waiting instead of gossiping for hours as we see here. All those of the science stream- doctors and engineers that I met, there was not a single who did not know about his poets. Gardner or a housewife, everyone would quote from Omar Khayam or Hafiz. The longest night, the 21st of December is spent together by family members by singing or reading poetry of Hafiz, Baba Tahir and others.

In spite of converting to Islam, Iranians have kept some of the old Zorastrian traditions alive. This makes them feel separate from Arab world but for Hindustan they have full respect. Though the government tries to paint a darker picture of India- highlighting the evils like ‘Sati’ as if it were an everyday event, people in general, from professionals to laborers have great love and respect for India.

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