Iran orders censoring of eight centuries old story ‘Khosrow and Shirin’

16 Aug 2011

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Iran’s Culture Ministry has ordered the censoring of one of the most famous epic love stories in Persian literature more than eight centuries after it first appeared, the news agency Mehr reported yesterday.

Khosrow and Shirin was written by Nezami Ganjavi in 1177, published in 1180 and has been part of Persian literature ever since.

But after 831 years, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, an ideological watchdog in charge of issuing permission for books prior to printing, has decided that parts of the book need to be censored.

‘After these kind of decisions you feel fed up as far as any cultural work in this country is concerned,’ said Fariba Nabati, cultural director of Peydayesh Publications, which publishes the Khosrow and Shirin book.

According to Nabati, after her company had published the book for many years, it decided to change the layout for the eighth edition and sent it to the ministry for approval.

The publisher was shocked when the ministry informed her that parts of the work had to be censored, including phrases such as ‘left nothing of the wine while drunk,’ ‘going somewhere where we can be alone,’ and ‘holding hands.’

Following the 1979 Islamic revolution, any reference in literature to physical encounters between men and women has been banned as immoral. As consumption of alcohol is forbidden, even symbolic references to wine and drunkenness are forbidden.

Nezami Ganjavi (1141-1209) is considered the greatest romantic epic poet in Persian literature, especially his two love stories Khosrow and Shirin and Layla and Majnoun.

source: Freedom Messenger

Tehran Review
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