Literary Reading: The Mystery of the Missing Mount Nasir Khushraw

Where is Mount Nasir Khushraw?

Where is Mount Nasir Khushraw?

Here is an anecdote that Alice Hunsberger gave at the start of a lecture on Nasir Khushraw to the Iranian Society on January 24th 2001:

Last May (that is, May 2000), when I was in Tajikistan to give a paper on Nasir Khusraw, I came away with a story.

Nasir Khusraw holds a special place in the hearts of the Tajiks, not only because they consider him a Tajik poet, since Tajik is the name of their language, which is really Persian. But also because he spent his last years there, in exile mostly in the eastern region called Badakhshan.

Today, Badakhshan (which straddles both Tajikistan and Afghanistan and Pakistan) nearly completely professes the Ismaili faith, a fact the Badakhshanis reverentially attribute to Nasir Khusraw’s beautiful preaching and poetry.

The story is this. During Soviet times, when Tajikistan was one of the republics, an officer came from Moscow to Tajikistan to make an inspection. He was shown around the schools, hospitals, power plants and other places that would display progress in general. One of the things sagaciously pointed out were the soaring mountain peaks: Mount Lenin, Mount Communism, Mount Fifth of May, and so on.

This fellow from Moscow, who was not only sensitive but informed of local enthusiasms, said:

 “Aren’t you upset that there is no Mount Nasir Khusraw?”

To which his Tajik host replied:

 “There is no mountain high enough.”

______________________

Please also read interview: Voices: Alice Hunsberger on Nasir Khushraw – Poet of Substance

4 thoughts on “Literary Reading: The Mystery of the Missing Mount Nasir Khushraw

  1. It is not enough to simply feel prod about the Piratan of Nasir Khusraw. We sincerely need to follow his teachings and the guidance that he has provided for each one of us and the Jamat collectively.

    Some of his missing poetry is still scattered in the Mountains of Badakshan and the Pamirs. We have to gather his teachings for the coming generations. e.g.

    ZIKREE GHAFEE NOOREEJALEE MOWLA ALI MOWLA ALI
    KHUNDAM KHUDA NAMASH ALI MOWLA ALI MOWLA ALI;

    We need a complete translation of the DEVAN in various languages including English and URU. I am a fan of Alice Hunsberger and I pay my tribute to her for now and always for the remarkable work she has done on the Pir.

  2. I have just found this wonderful site. While having fun exploring it, I came upon this terrific anecdote. The story behind it is that when I was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, and had finished my book, Nasir Khusraw, The Ruby of Badakhshan, I was looking for fresh information. So I started asking all the Ismaili students what Nasir Khusraw meant in their lives, and I pursued the questioning even when in Tajikistan. Those I asked at first couldn’t think of anything, but then they would get back to me with something they remembered. The story works exceptionally well in English because there is a popular song with exactly the same line, “Ain’t no mountain high enough…. to keep me from you.”

    My second book for the Institute is with their editors and should come out in 2010, Inshallah. It contains the papers from the 2005 conference in London on the Philosophical Poetry of Nasir Khusraw.

    All the best,
    Alice Hunsberger

    • Being a native of upper Hunza area – where Wakhi is spoken – I am one of the many followers and admirers of Sayidna Nasir Khusraw and turn my face towards him before my Imam. It may look strange for many people, but without Sayidna’s wisdom we would never have recognised our Imam.

  3. Very right very true, there is no mountain high enough to represent our great Peer Nasir Khusraw.

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