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Parvin E’tesami Is Voice of Liberty

Parvin E'tesami is a lasting lady of Persian poetry and one of the most influential women in the history of contemporary literature.
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Biography of Parvin E’tesami

Parvin E’tesami is a lasting lady of Persian poetry and one of the most influential women in the history of contemporary Iranian literature. She was born with the original name of “Rakhshandeh” on March 17, 1907, in Tabriz, in a family of art and knowledge. Her father was Yussef E’tesami Ashtiani (E’tesam-al-Molk), a writer, translator, and publisher, and her mother was Akhtar al-Maluk E’tesami. Parvin’s uncle, Abolhassan E’tesami, is considered a contemporary and famous painting, architecture, and calligraphy artist in Iran.

At age three, Parvin immigrated to Tehran with her father, the representative of the people of Tabriz at the parliament. In early childhood, she met poetry, literature, and cultural figures of that time, such as Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda, Mohammad Taqi Bahar, Abbas Eqbal Ashtiani, and Saeed Nafisi, and began to acquire knowledge of literature. Parvin learned Persian, Arabic, and English from her father as a child and started writing poetry at seven. Many pieces later became famous are poems that she wrote in her childhood and adolescence.

Parvin went to Tehran American School (Iran Bethel) to complete her education. In addition to poetry, she also worked as a Persian and English language and literature teacher in the same school, and she graduated in 1924 AD. At the graduation ceremony, she gave a speech about society’s lack of attention toward women and the importance of their education. These deconstructive words in those days when the presence of women in society was low, by a teenage girl, later became famous and lasted under the title Declaration of Women and History.

Parvin E’tesami married her father’s cousin and went to Kermanshah. Her husband was the head of the Kermanshah Police, and their life together lasted only two months, and then Parvin returned to her father’s house. According to Parvin E’tesami’s brother, the gentle and free character of the lady was not compatible with the military spirit of her husband, and the spiritual and moral difference led to the separation of this couple.

The Character of Parvin E’tesami

Many culture and literature leaders noticed Parvin’s quiet and humble character. Also, Rakhshandeh E’tesami, known and nicknamed Parvin, was a deconstructive poet because when she chose the nickname Parvin for herself, she decided to change the name of her birth certificate to it as well. At that time, the action was a kind of deconstruction because such a name was not common for girls until then. Parvin’s place in Persian literature is significant and specific, and this poet’s belief in practical truths, spiritual life, and mystical life has turned her Diwan into a solid moral treatise.

The first and only Diwan of Parvin E’tesami’s Poetry

The first and only Diwan of the enduring lady of Persian poetry was published in 1935 AD. This work, with 6,500 distiches, contains more than 200 different compositions in Mathnawi, Qasida, Ghazal, and Qet’a (another form of Persian poetry), and stanzaic forms, that Parvin sang before the age of 30. Shortly after its publication, this book attracted the attention of various strata of people and the admiration of the literary community of those days. Before this event, some of Parvin’s poems had been published in Bahar magazine (the first literary magazine in Iran), Dehkhoda’s aphorisms (Amsal o hekam), and other books and publications.

Nevertheless, the publishing of Parvin’s Diwan, to which “Mohammad-Taqi Bahar” wrote an introduction, and was published by the Publication of the National Assembly, was welcomed by many people. After publishing the first Diwan of poems, Parvin worked as a librarian at the Tehran Academy of Sciences for a short time. The books that Parvin had kept carefully and elegantly were transferred to the literature library of Tehran University. Some said that Parvin E’tesami wrote comments on the back cover of some books in the library, which may be remained.

In December of the same year, Parvin lost his father, and the sadness of being away from her life supporter made her stay away from literary activities. Finally, the poet died of typhoid at 35, when she was still very young. The Parvin’s tomb is next to her father in the shrine of Fatima al-Ma’suma in Qom. Parvin E’tesami is one of the poets who prepared a poem for her tombstone before her death. Parvin’s handwriting was found on a photograph, the beginning of which you can see the sentence; I wrote the piece for my tombstone.

The Poems Format of Parvin E’tesami

Parvin E’tesami’s poems include the classical and especially Qet’a formats, and we can say that Parvin E’tesami is one of the few innovative and transformative poets in Persian classical poetry. She wrote some works up to 14, which despite the simple and childish content, have remained in the minds of the public to this day. Poems such as “Tear Gem”, “Two Drops of Blood”, “Garlic and Onion” are among the Qet’a that Parvin wrote in those days. On the other hand, she is considered a poet of educational arguments, and the famous debate “Garlic and Onion” is one of the other poems that Parvin wrote at a young age in a debate style.

The literature of every period is like a mirror that shows the prevailing conditions of that time. Parvin E’tesami’s poems expressed her thinking and contemplation during the constitutional era. Also, as a society poet, the social and political events were not hidden from her sharp and poetic view. She is introduced as the only female poet who wrote the most stunning critical political poems with a feminine attitude and relies on ethics, wisdom, and thought.

Also, Parvin’s poetry is more didactic and ethical and expresses wisdom and moral issues in such a simple and eloquent language that it affects the reader from every class. Among the most significant social components in Parvin E’tesami’s poems, we can mention freedom, advice to the youth, attention to the situation of orphans and their rights, effort and work, support of the working class, and criticism of poverty and deprivation, etc. Parvin’s house in Tabriz is now the location of Parvin Etsami’s museum, where you can see some of her books and personal belongings.

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