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A look at social and cultural life

Mohammad Ali Soltani, born in Kermanshah in 1336 AH (1957), finished his elementary education in Kermanshah. At the same time, he was tutored by the great sages of the time, namely Seyyed Taher Hashemi and Seyyed Haaj Sheikholesalm (then a great teacher in University of Tehran) and Sheikholesalm Kurdestani and was granted permission and was certified to teach in his field. In Tehran, he also finished his academic education and there, he was in apprenticeship of the great man of the day, a liberal-minded man and a writer as well, Keivan Qazvini. This apprenticeship was for years and in this period, he received extended education in Literature, Islamic Mysticism and Philosophy. Confidence built in this way had made him able to attract the master’s  sense of having a intimacy with him, even he was granted the right and authority of editing and compiling the master’s works and acted as the master’s cultural and spiritual  surrogate. In collaboration and good offices of him and with the Master’s elder son, Siavash Samii, the personal library of the Master was donated to the Faculty of Literature and Humanities of the Razi University of Kermanshah.

 

 This was a great force and support to the University which helped students and teachers of the University as well to use this valuable collection of books and found many followers among the writers having any collection to devote their valuable books to University. After years of inactivity and cultural silence, he had his first work on in Kurdish literature, Immortal Prayers of Kurdish Literature,in 1362 AH (1983) which was the first series of books of this genre, spiritual and cultural by nature in Kurdish literature, published after the Revolution of 1979. After this book, edited and compiled the history of Kurdish Literature in Kermanshahan in six volumes and his research in the extended account of the historical geography of Kermanshahan and edited many Kurdish Divans (book of poems) of Kurdish poets of the day, past and present, who composed in Kurdish as well as Persian. At this time, he was getting a PhD in Lietrature, guided by Dr. Abdolhosein Navaii. He was very influential on Soltani’s grasp of the historical moments and made him familiar with historical process.

 

 Then he worked hard to revive the culture and history of his hometown, Kermanshahan, which from the very long, he was very avid to do this task. To that date, there was no comprehensive document about the geography and history of the region, and Soltani, during 30 years of hard work, created a work of permanence and enduring. The respect lavished to his work by the artists and authors was in such range that it included works and imagews from any creed and cult and they were in response to his best work in order that no one of the aspects of life from literature, history, religions, geography, ethnic groups, legends and myth, prominent men of literature and other fields of study, artists, great families of importance, mystics, women and men attire, local foods, local music to traditional sportive practices called Pahlavani, governmental and local administrative centers in every spot of Kermanshahan be known and revered. In this way, the encouragement and support from a prominent man of Iranian culture, Iraj Afshar was very influential and helped Soltani the most. Today every research by the Universities and governmental centers and individuals are all use this comprehensive, visual and scientific work and in every item of the press the effect and content of this work can be traced in detail. While many of the provinces lack any work tantamount to this work regarding the given province, and many cities of importance lack a work in this level, even small towns of Kermanshah have their own documentary history.

 

This collection has harvested many awards of the best work including many in Iran and also the Book of the Year Award in Kurdistan, Iraq, the Crystal Aras. In the light of his lifelong attempts and hard work, Soltani has been a master of the abstruse and complex lexicon of the Persian and Kurdish literature and in general, in that of the Orient. His works has totally changed the general trend of the past and shed light in the legendary nature of the literature, and made known the ancient thinking tradition, with the best possible method, and using the European translations and research, has revealed the historical developments of the Rebellion by Alavids of Zagros. This work is an analytical work which has been translated to Kurdish and Turkish.

 

When in early youth, Soltani made himself with calligraphy and reflections in Kurdish Literature in the apprenticeship of the great calligrapher Seyyed Taher Hashemi and learned all the musical system of the Kurdish song system and local arts and handicrafts, also attended to the circle of the great exegeses and interpreter of Sonna, Ayatollah Haj Seyyed Morteza Nojumi and there, got specific grasp of the different artistic creations. Two collections of works calligraphy by the Ayatollah along with the miniature and oriental art forms, nastaliq and tholth,The Essence of Creation and the Sacred Magic have been published by Soltani. He is the pioneer of the contemporary research on the calligraphy and writing system in the country and has written annotations to many of the works of the great constellation of calligraphers and, for a short span, has been one of the contributors of the Chalipa Quarterly whose editor was Dr. Hossein Elahi Qomshei.

 

Soltani himself is a master of naskh and nastaliq and has created beautiful works on these systems of writing and has written dozens of prose and poetry by Kurdish, Persian and Arab poets, one of them which is especially noteworthy, is the Message of Yarsan. In poetry, although he deems no work poetry in strict sense of the word but in the sublime form of it, and has no claim for poetic ambition, has a poetic spirit and his poetry in Persian and Kurdish dialects exceeds two thousand lines which has been published in 2 volumes by his own calligraphic art. He also has published in his special fields of study and is a master of prose and has developed a firm style in prose writing. In rhetoric, he is a great man and his lectures in academic circles bore witness to this fact.