With the help of the Parsees, Professor Pourdavoud translated Zoroastrian literature into Persian

On the commemoration day of Professor Pourdavood, in addition to stating the exact date of his birthday, Mohammad Ali Ezzatzadeh referred to a personal letter, spoke about his travels, publications, articles and people with whom Pourdavood was friends, and also mentioned his students, who are now each master themselves.

This day is blessed with two important occasions: commemoration of Prof Pourdavood and the 90th anniversary of the foundation of Firoozbahram High School, and of course these two occasions are connected. Prof. Pourdavood founded the Iranian Studies association, which then established the Iranian Studies School, and the classes of that school are held in this school.

Biography of Prof. Ebrahim Pourdavood: Ebrahim Pourdavood, son of Vaghefpour, son of Mohammad Hossein Rashti, has written in the introduction to the “Yashtha” translation that he was born on 14 Esfand 1264 (official solar calendar) in Rasht. There is a letter from him to Mohammad Hossein Bahman in 1340 (1961) in which he has protested to the police invading Tehran University and has added: I received your letter dated 21.10.1340 on the 26th of the same month. I wanted to reply to your letter yesterday and thank you for your gift, but I had a guest and on the afternoon of the same day I received your telegram congratulating me on my birthday. This made me happier than always. Though my birthday falls on 5th March”. From this letter we gather that Prof Pourdavood’s birthday is 5th March equal to 14 Esfand 1264.

Professor Pourdavoud was born into a well-known and wealthy family; his father was a merchant and one of the big landowners of Gilan province. This can be seen from his letter to Taghizadeh, in which he writes: “Send a telegraph to Haji davood on my behalf and inform him of my health. This is his address in Rasht.” Haji Davoud is the grandfather of the professor from his mother’s side, a scholar from Khammam, and one of the nobles of Gilan he studied Persian and Arabic in Rasht.  His teacher was Mirza Abdul rahim Khalkhali, who is the editor of the oldest editions of Diwan Hafez. In 1284 (1906) Pourdavood came to tehran with his brother and his teacher, Khalkhali. This time was associated with the beginning of the constitutional revolution. This period of time was associated with the beginning of the constitutional revolution. This strong national feeling and the sense of fighting against the Russians that existed in Gilan became an incentive for him to lean towards constitutionalism.

Thus, in Tehran, he met a young man named Mohammad taqi Khan Pesyan, and together with several other constitutionalists, they created a group called “Ahrar.” Their goal was to revive the people’s national pride and the lost establishment. In Paris, Ostad met Seyyed Mohammad Ali Jamalzadeh and Mohammad Qazvini. With the help of Mohammad Qazvini, he published the Iranshahr magazine, but after the publication of three issues, this magazine was closed with the start of the First World War. Pourdavood and Qazvini traveled to Germany to meet Taqizadeh there. Due to Iran’s occupation, Pourvoud went to Baghdad with Jamalzadeh, where they published the Rastakhiz newspaper together. With the British forces advancing towards Baghdad, Pourdavood moved to Kermanshah and published a few issues of Rastakhiz there and stayed there for a few months; when that city fell into the hands of the Russians, he once again went to Qasr Shirin at night and then returned to Baghdad and published two more issues there. At that time, the Ottoman Turks prevented the distribution of Rastakhiz. He went from Baghdad to Aleppo and then to Istanbul, and because they prevented him from leaving there, he went to Germany after staying in Switzerland for a while.

The Germans also prevented him from leaving their country, and he stayed there until the end of WWI and a little after that. During this time he learned the ancient languages of Iran and the history of ancient Iran, and he got to know iranologists like Margwart and Chever and learned a lot. In Shahrivar 1299, he married the daughter of a German, and in 1303 (1924), he returned to Iran with his family, and again upon the invitation of the Parsees of India he traveled to India and lived there for 30 months.  There, with the help of some of the Parsees, including Dinshah Irani, he translated the Zoroastrian texts into Persian. Publication of parts of Zoroastrian texts, a report on Avesta, and some lectures about the civilization of ancient Iran, i.e., a report on the Verahram fire, religious leaders of Zoroastrian religion, the calendar and the differences of Zoroastrian religion, Persian language, Farvardin, Lies, and ancient and modern Iran, are among the books he wrote in India. In 1311 (1932), upon the invitation of Rabindranath Tagore, the government of Iran assigned him to India to teach the ancient Indo-Iranian culture, and he started teaching in Visva Bharati University. In 1312 (1933), at the Seventh Congress of Eastern India, he was appointed as a member of the Avestan Department and the Arabic-Persian branch chair.

In 1312, he went to Germany and completed the translation of the Avesta and had correspondence with the University of Tehran to establish a literature school. In 1316 (1937) he returned to Iran and started teaching in the faculty of Law and faculty of literature at Tehran university in 1317 he became a permanent member of the Iranian Cultural Center. On the 6th of Mehr 1324, Pourvoud founded the Iranian Studies Association. Pourvoud retired from Tehran University in 1992, and in 1999 he was awarded the rank of Distinguished Professor of the University. After retiring, he spent his time studying and doing research, and finally, on the morning of 26 November 1347, he was researching when he died of a heart attack.

Important works of Pourdavood: Persian translation of Avesta, articles on Iranian culture and ancient Iran, collection of valuable articles by Allameh Qazvini and its publication, translation of Tagore’s poems into Persian, and the plan for the continuity of culture and civilization. The last work of the professor was an unfinished book he could not finish.

The famous students of Professor Pourvoud: During his years as a teacher, Pourvoud trained many students, each of whom are considered as famous teachers and researchers in the Iranian culture and literature. Among them are Mohammad Moein, Mohammad Moghadam, Bahram Farehvashi, Ehsan Yarshater, and Jalil Doustkhah which are more famous than others.

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May 28, 2023