In the 19th and 20th centuries, Iranian and Afghan intellectuals set out to excavate the Persian literary tradition in search of texts and tools to construct new identities. It was in this process that Iran imagined Ferdowsi as its national poet.
The importance of Persian education to families living in late-nineteenth century North India is often overlooked, perhaps because colonial rhetoric in the period treated Persian as irrelevant and emphasized the English-vernacular debate in education. Nonetheless, for many Indian elites, Persian remained a vital part of a well-rounded education. Persian literacy offered access to an extra-colonial identity marker and extra-colonial forms of employment and patronage.
Why are some people obsessed with purifying the Persian language? This article explores the idea of language purification by examining a contemporary movement called “Parsig” that seeks to revive Middle Persian, in part by removing the Arabic influences that have entered Modern Persian.