Foreword 2004-Please see my new related article by the same title at the following URL:


Foreword (Nov 9, 1998)-  I wrote this article in 1994.  Recently I went back to Neishabur.  It was not much different from what I had seen twenty years ago, that I have described in this article below.


The motevalli of attAr's tomb was telling me about the moghols and how they had beheaded attAr and the legend that attAr's head was still talking to them about the atrocities they had committed and how the same moghol who had beheaded him had seen attAr's head talking, and builds the tomb for attAr, and motevalli said: This is why although thousands of people were killed by moghols and buried in thousands, attAr's spot is specifically known.


The motevalli was also telling me how Ali Shir Navaii had resurrected attAr's tomb, from what had actually been left from the moghol's invasion time.  The black stone with carving of Ali Shir Navaii's era is still there today. 


I wonder if any of the folks on SCI know the documented historical details of these events  that I had heard from the motevalli of attAr's tomb.  That would be nice to read.


Here is my original 1994 article "Conference of the Birds":




In 1977, I had a trip to Neishabur, KhorAsAn; and paid a visit to the tomb of attAr-e Neishaburi. It was really great to go there. When the motevalli of his tomb was telling me about attAr, I was remembering attAr's Mantegh-ol- Tair (Conference of the Birds), which I had read in the summer when in 8th grade, in 1965. I also remembered Rumi, who visited attAr with his father, on his way to Qunieh of Turkey.  It was Rumi who said:


Attar gasht haft shahr-e eshgh rA, mA hanoos andar kham-e yek koocheh iim ( I am now thinking to myself that I am not even andar kham-e yek koocheh, maybe andar kham-e yek khaneh if very hopeful:-)).


In my trip, I also visited Khayyam's tomb.  The road to it was full of red flowers and it was an awesome sight. Any any rate, why am I telling you all of this?


More than ten years later, in 1988, an American friend of mine had referred the director of a local theatrical group in San Jose (California) to me, to help her to find good musical pieces for her upcoming play in San Jose. I met her in an afternoon for a tea.


She told me the name of the play was CONFERENCE OF THE BIRDS written by some writer in New York. I said, "do you mean the story of the thirty birds who go around the world in search of truth; and finally at the end of the world, in kooh-e ghaf, they see themselves in a mirror, and find out that simorgh is nobody but they themselves".


She said, "yes yes", have you seen the play in New York or read so and so's writing? I said no, "this Conference of the Birds is actually the story by a great Persian poet named attAr written hundreds of years ago." In a short time, later, I found her a copy of Penguin paperback edition of CONFERENCE OF THE BIRDS.


She later checked her screenplay, and saw the credit to attAr was given as the inspiration of the playwright. So I helped her a little bit with the music selections; but I also introduced her to a local Iranian theatrical group. This was really great. The two groups got together and practiced for three months. The original attAr's text was discussed in their practice sessions and Iranian cast would help the Americans with their questions.


The play was staged in 1988 in a small theater in Downtown San Jose.  Many Americans and Iranians came to see the play. It was really amazing, how much CONFERENCE OF THE BIRDS had traveled from Neishabur; in time and space, and was still as fresh as the misty morning fog. The cast spread afterwards, both Americans and Iranians.  I hope to see a movie of this wonderful story to be made one day by our talented movie makers.


Sam Ghandchi

April 4, 1994





* The above article was first posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup on April 4, 1994


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