Learning Farsi (1) – Nastaliq Style

Nastaliq style of writing farsi (persian). The line reads “bar akarin sayeat dakhil bastam”

I have been learning persian or farsi for over 3 weeks now. Today’s class is one of the high moments as I get to observe and appreciate the nastaliq style of writing persian. This aesthetically rich and elegant style has fascinated me since the time I saw it on the walls of old Indian monuments.

My persian teacher Shahin, wrote the first line of her poem for me in nastaliq style. I couldn’t help but start a persian thread here. The line in the image reads “Bar Akarin Sayeat Dakhil Bastam”. The story behind this is worth sharing. Early last month I was untying a metal rod from a fixture in the building foyer. This was supporting a string on which I had hung a series of posters from my field study. As I folded it up and untied the poles, this young lady who was an acquaintance until that moment happened to walk past and we exchanged smiles. She says, “to me it looks like you had tied a prayer on to that fixture which you now are untying.” In persian culture “dakhil” is an act of tying a piece of cloth with a prayer by a believer, who supplicates his God to fulfil his wish by doing this. In Hindu culture this is equivalent to a “mannat”. So, back to this conversation. This young lady in a flow speaks these words (in the pic) to me, saying what I was doing appeared to her like a “dakhil”.

This sets us talking persian culture, poetry, faith, Iran and the usual cascade of ideas that two people from different cultures would talk about in their first meet.

The line written in the image reads as “Bar Akarin Sayeat Dakhil Bastam” in persian. This is the first line of Shahin’s (my persian teacher. She blogs here) poem which means – the last time I saw you when you were leaving, I tied your receding shadow with a dakhil. The poet wishes that her love doesn’t leave her and as an act of desire she ties his shadow with a dakhil which to her is a sort of prayer that she wishes is fulfilled.

Persian poetry has always been so stirring to me, as much as their culture. As I get on this journey of learning this language, I can’t help but celebrate this richness.


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