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Thread: A “Persian” Iran?: Challenging the Aryan Myth and Persian Ethnocentrism

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    A “Persian” Iran?: Challenging the Aryan Myth and Persian Ethnocentrism

    Hi all

    I have long had an interest in the history of Iran as I did a postgraduate degree studying it. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this article because there is quite a bit which I disagree with:

    Aryanism was one of the most influential of these ideologies, and it identified the Indo-European language tree (which includes Sanskrit, Persian, and most European languages) as proof of a migration of an imagined Aryan nation out of India, through Persia, and into Europe. Aryanism was highly convenient for Europeans because it made sense of the Indian and Persian civilizations they were encountering through their colonial enterprises.

    https://ajammc.com/2012/05/18/a-pers...ethnocentrism/


    This seems problematic as even when the article was written, archaeologists were divided into two camps regarding the origins of the Proto Indo-Europeans, a Anatolian homeland and a Pontic-Caspian steppe homeland. Lord Colin Renfrew, a chief proponent of the Anatolian hypothesis conceded that Marija Gimbutas had been correct about the Pontic-Caspian Steppe homeland hypothesis:



    The same page posted these on social media:

    101638919_2931371413599139_6104347957362950144_n.jpg

    101651174_2931371716932442_9145711542015098880_n.jpg


    Again, this seems quite problematic as Persians are partially descended from Indo-Iranians who migrated to the Iranian plateau about 1000BC-800BC, their Indo-Aryan cousins had migrated centuries before. So more distantly they probably share some ancestry with Europeans if one goes back to the Sintashta culture which was partially formed from ancestry deriving from the Corded Ware culture which did reside in Europe:

    From_Corded_Ware_to_Sintashta.jpg

    https___bucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com_public_images_6a35c547-4.jpg

    Finally, the same page critiques the idea of Iranians being a "model minority", I have found from experience that much of the Persian disapora are highly educated which is partially thanks to the efforts of the Pahlavis, so I am quite confused why that is a bad thing:

    101927761_2931371546932459_4846232215366926336_n.jpg


    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this article and hopefully it will clarify these viewpoints which I do take issue with.
    Last edited by deuterium_1; 06-05-2020 at 08:20 AM.

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    The broad gist of the article is correct vis a vis Persian ethnocentrism since the Pahlavi era (anyone who's bothered to acquaint themselves with Reza Pahlavi's authoritarian, quasi-Sassanid attempt to force culturo-linguistic unity across Iran can't dispute this).

    However, I'm not particularly taken by the way in which "Aryanism" of the Iranian variety is described, here. While the historical accounting of how it came about is correct, the article fails to mention that this mindset has only really persisted among the Iranian diaspora (particularly those who'd left prior to, or during, the Islamic Revolution of 1979). I also don't see any propositions regarding why said ideology has persisted within the diaspora (IMO, it's a combination of nostalgia for the pre-Islamic autocracy and, in the case of diasporans residing in European/Western countries, an attempt to foster a contradistinction with other minority groups for the purpose of minimising their perception of being an "outgroup" relative to the native culture or people).

    Also, some of the language used in this piece belongs to a specific socio-political "type" in the West, so there's a rhetoric skew in favour of maximising the degree of discrimination (f.ex. describing the occasional bigotry towards Iranian Azeris as "racism", despite the fact that Iranian Azeris are mostly of the same "stock" as other NW Iranian-related groups and their/"our" culture overlaps more with other Iranian groups than any other).

    Another issue - The current regime in Iran, by their own admission, doesn't particularly care about maximising the reach of Persian culture or language in the country (I've noticed some non-Iranians claim this is the case, but there's no evidence for this). On the contrary, there's plenty of direct evidence that the Islamic regime is actively eroding the longstanding Persephone norm in the country (f.ex. delivering sermons or occasionally issuing basic commands during live broadcasts in Arabic rather than Persian). Highly curious that the article doesn't state this fact.

    Articles like this are quite unfortunate, as they do reveal some inconvenient truths concerning the modern Iranian psyche (f.ex. most Persians look confused when you present them with the observable fact that, had it not been for Turkic-speaking/originated dynasties, the post-Abbasid revival of Persian as a language of prestige across the region wouldn't have happened*), but the omissions or journalistic decisions give one reason to question both the premise and the basis of said truths.

    The bit of the article that you take issue with is the fringe "Out of India" hypothesis for IE, which isn't accepted by most linguists or scholars and enjoys predominant support in India. I've noticed a minority of Iranians tend towards that hypothesis as well.

    * Practically all Persians owe their/"our" language's revival to Ferdowsi, but seldom few recognise "the Turks" as the pivotal patrons. In the absence of either, it likely wouldn't have extended all the way from Turkey to north India.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMXX View Post
    The broad gist of the article is correct vis a vis Persian ethnocentrism since the Pahlavi era (anyone who's bothered to acquaint themselves with Reza Pahlavi's authoritarian, quasi-Sassanid attempt to force culturo-linguistic unity across Iran can't dispute this).
    Yes Reza Pahlavi even creation a special institution to "Persianise" Farsi even further

    However, I'm not particularly taken by the way in which "Aryanism" of the Iranian variety is described, here. While the historical accounting of how it came about is correct, the article fails to mention that this mindset has only really persisted among the Iranian diaspora (particularly those who'd left prior to, or during, the Islamic Revolution of 1979). I also don't see any propositions regarding why said ideology has persisted within the diaspora (IMO, it's a combination of nostalgia for the pre-Islamic autocracy and, in the case of diasporans residing in European/Western countries, an attempt to foster a contradistinction with other minority groups for the purpose of minimising their perception of being an "outgroup" relative to the native culture or people).
    I agree there

    Also, some of the language used in this piece belongs to a specific socio-political "type" in the West, so there's a rhetoric skew in favour of maximising the degree of discrimination (f.ex. describing the occasional bigotry towards Iranian Azeris as "racism", despite the fact that Iranian Azeris are mostly of the same "stock" as other NW Iranian-related groups and their/"our" culture overlaps more with other Iranian groups than any other).
    Iranian Azeris are largely integrated into society from what I have heard

    Another issue - The current regime in Iran, by their own admission, doesn't particularly care about maximising the reach of Persian culture or language in the country (I've noticed some non-Iranians claim this is the case, but there's no evidence for this). On the contrary, there's plenty of direct evidence that the Islamic regime is actively eroding the longstanding Persephone norm in the country (f.ex. delivering sermons or occasionally issuing basic commands during live broadcasts in Arabic rather than Persian). Highly curious that the article doesn't state this fact.
    The publication is reluctant to confront that perhaps due to ideology. A few Iranians within Iran who I spoke to resent this heavily

    Articles like this are quite unfortunate, as they do reveal some inconvenient truths concerning the modern Iranian psyche (f.ex. most Persians look confused when you present them with the observable fact that, had it not been for Turkic-speaking/originated dynasties, the post-Abbasid revival of Persian as a language of prestige across the region wouldn't have happened*), but the omissions or journalistic decisions give one reason to question both the premise and the basis of said truths.
    I completely agree

    The bit of the article that you take issue with is the fringe "Out of India" hypothesis for IE, which isn't accepted by most linguists or scholars and enjoys predominant support in India. I've noticed a minority of Iranians tend towards that hypothesis as well.
    I am wondering why the author was not aware of recent studies which strongly disprove it. I do wish Iranians are brought up to speed so that they are better informed. I have not seen much commentary on David Reich's studies from the Iranian community, which is a shame.


    * Practically all Persians owe their/"our" language's revival to Ferdowsi, but seldom few recognise "the Turks" as the pivotal patrons. In the absence of either, it likely wouldn't have extended all the way from Turkey to north India.
    Indeed, the Ghaznavids were very important in patronising Persian culture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deuterium_1 View Post
    Iranian Azeris are largely integrated into society from what I have heard
    More than that - Iranian Azeris are inseparable from the Iranian state, both at the top and the bottom of the hierarchy there.

    From Sattar Khan through to Reza Shah's family (his wife was Azeri) to Khamanei to Moussavi... Iranian Azeris are also heavily involved in the market economy there (tens of thousands of Azeris are working in Tehran right now).

    It's usually outsiders (or diasporan Iranians coloured by the "post-modernist" oppression dictum) who attempt to view things through the thoroughly inaccurate "Persians = bad elite, Azeris = oppressed minority" lens.

    Khamanei himself had recently instructed Iranian Azeris to not prioritise the Persian language over Azeri Turkish (this was the general trend from at least the 50's onwards, from what I've gathered).

    The publication is reluctant to confront that perhaps due to ideology. A few Iranians within Iran who I spoke to resent this heavily
    It is a suspicious omission. Anyone with access to the state-run non-English channels (f.ex. IRIB ) would observe that as a frequent occurance, particularly when Friday prayers take place. I don't watch those channels with any regularity, but have overheard it a handful of times in the past. (edit) Here's the proof.

    I am wondering why the author was not aware of recent studies which strongly disprove it. I do wish Iranians are brought up to speed so that they are better informed. I have not seen much commentary on David Reich's studies from the Iranian community, which is a shame.
    Younger Iranians are much better informed than those aged 40+ from experience - The majority of diasporans I've met still believe one of...
    a) The Persian empire is over 5k years old,
    b) Iran is an "Aryan nation" and the non-Iranic speakers are "of foreign ancestry",
    c) The ancestors of groups like Azeris, Kurds etc. spoke Persian (which was true in part, though as a second language in Sassanid times),
    d) PIE arose in Iran itself or near Iran (e.g. S. Caucasus, India)
    e) Light pigmentation in Iranians is due to Alexander the Great's soldiers (there's no evidence to support this, as with the Kalash)

    Iranians from within Iran seem to be less enamoured by those ideas (for good reason, given the country's economic and social problems).
    Last edited by DMXX; 06-05-2020 at 11:52 AM. Reason: line

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    Iran is fascinating. We can find some very ancient Iranian Y-DNA and mtDNA, good candidates are the Y-DNA haplogroup J and mtDNA haplogroup HV (HV +H), they were born in Iran or very close, I think.
    I presume my Y-DNA lineage lived in Iran or in the ancient Iranian peoples and geographies because we are matching Iranian individuals around 2500 BC. We have a Portuguese cluster and an Iranian cluster.
    We have some Iranian J1 lines bifurcating around 10000 BC, so they had been there for a long, long time.
    The question about the Iranian origin of PIE is a very good question and data will show how and when, if that's the case as I think.
    Iran was invaded by Alexander the Great, the Arabs and the Mongols with consequences.
    My ancestor lineage also met the Arabs, the Caliphate, Islamic religion and culture in Northern Portugal, I think my lineage was in Iberia before the Arab invasion, so we still had common cultural elements. We had another reaction, we took part and joined the Reconquista and that's the difference of my lineage in Portugal and Brazil to our cousins lineages that remained in Iran, strangeness in this point.
    I love Iranian ancient history and I hope to visit Iranian archaeological places one day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RCO View Post
    Iran is fascinating. We can find some very ancient Iranian Y-DNA and mtDNA, good candidates are the Y-DNA haplogroup J and mtDNA haplogroup HV (HV +H), they were born in Iran or very close, I think.
    I presume my Y-DNA lineage lived in Iran or in the ancient Iranian peoples and geographies because we are matching Iranian individuals around 2500 BC. We have a Portuguese cluster and an Iranian cluster.
    We have some Iranian J1 lines bifurcating around 10000 BC, so they had been there for a long, long time.
    The question about the Iranian origin of PIE is a very good question and data will show how and when, if that's the case as I think.
    Iran was invaded by Alexander the Great, the Arabs and the Mongols with consequences.
    My ancestor lineage also met the Arabs, the Caliphate, Islamic religion and culture in Northern Portugal, I think my lineage was in Iberia before the Arab invasion, so we still had common cultural elements. We had another reaction, we took part and joined the Reconquista and that's the difference of my lineage in Portugal and Brazil to our cousins lineages that remained in Iran, strangeness in this point.
    I love Iranian ancient history and I hope to visit Iranian archaeological places one day.
    Well as an Indian, I feel kinship with Iranians because 12,000 years ago we had an influx of Iranian hunter gatherer DNA which is fairly dominant in the Indian subcontinent today.Also Sanskrit was brought to India by Indo-Aryans who shared ancestry with the Ancient Persians and Medes as they both descended from the Proto Indo-Iranian Sintashta culture. The Vedic Gods were closer to that of the Persians, in the Rig Veda there is a reference to Mitra/Mithra who was also worshipped by the Persians.

    Culturally we have also been strongly influenced by Iran and during the Mughal era, there was more Persian literature produced in India than in Iran itself.

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  13. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by deuterium_1 View Post
    I am wondering why the author was not aware of recent studies which strongly disprove it. I do wish Iranians are brought up to speed so that they are better informed. I have not seen much commentary on David Reich's studies from the Iranian community, which is a shame.
    Quote Originally Posted by DMXX View Post
    The bit of the article that you take issue with is the fringe "Out of India" hypothesis for IE, which isn't accepted by most linguists or scholars and enjoys predominant support in India. I've noticed a minority of Iranians tend towards that hypothesis as well.
    I'm sorry I have to say you guys dont know a thing about this topic if you think OIT is "fringe". LOL. Appeal to authority is so weak.

    I can prove the OIT with Linguistics and disprove AIT with Genetics. It's so easy to show that there is 0 steppe introgression in South Asia. This is very basic stuff. You can look at my thread called "Serious Thread" if you dont know what I mean.

    It's just "political" and racist to co-opt Indo-European for eurocentric purposes and then to tell a whole culture they have to accept your views because you "Western Scientists" on your side when in fact without the cultural tradition you wouldnt even know what Indo-European or Aryan was.

    Eurocentric Aryan Migration guys would lose every debate, linguistic, historical and genetic if they engaged with someone like me who us knowledgeable in the topic.

  14. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by deuterium_1 View Post
    Well as an Indian, I feel kinship with Iranians because 12,000 years ago we had an influx of Iranian hunter gatherer DNA which is fairly dominant in the Indian subcontinent today.Also Sanskrit was brought to India by Indo-Aryans who shared ancestry with the Ancient Persians and Medes as they both descended from the Proto Indo-Iranian Sintashta culture. The Vedic Gods were closer to that of the Persians, in the Rig Veda there is a reference to Mitra/Mithra who was also worshipped by the Persians.
    You dont know what you are talking about. Iran_N has South Asian origins, not the other way round. You really shouldnt be talking about these things unless you are properly taught these things. Leave these things to the people who can best represent it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beyondAtheism View Post
    I'm sorry I have to say you guys dont know a thing about this topic if you think OIT is "fringe". LOL. Appeal to authority is so weak.

    I can prove the OIT with Linguistics and disprove AIT with Genetics. It's so easy to show that there is 0 steppe introgression in South Asia. This is very basic stuff. You can look at my thread called "Serious Thread" if you dont know what I mean.

    It's just "political" and racist to co-opt Indo-European for eurocentric purposes and then to tell a whole culture they have to accept your views because you "Western Scientists" on your side when in fact without the cultural tradition you wouldnt even know what Indo-European or Aryan was.

    Eurocentric Aryan Migration guys would lose every debate, linguistic, historical and genetic if they engaged with someone like me who us knowledgeable in the topic.
    Davidski and Razib Khan have strongly disproved the OIT hypothesis:

    https://eurogenes.blogspot.com/2017/...c-caspian.html

    http://www.brownpundits.com/2017/06/...to-south-asia/

    Quote Originally Posted by beyondAtheism View Post
    You dont know what you are talking about. Iran_N has South Asian origins, not the other way round. You really shouldnt be talking about these things unless you are properly taught these things. Leave these things to the people who can best represent it.

    Let's not get aggressive here.

  16. #10
    Haha, I've been debating Davidski on his blog for years. He knows I know much more about the topic than him.

    Razib is a nut-job.

    You are just a pawn who doesnt understand everything himself therefore cannot refute the weak arguments of the 'experts'. This is why this topic is so dangerous, cos average people are taken advantage of by those in power or authority.

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