June 20, 2007 by pulkit
Iran has a sumptuous history and unparalleled cultural heritage, which is on a ventilator in present times. The Islamic regime in Iran has not shown much appreciation for the pre-Islamic history of Iran and its contemporary brand of nationalism takes no pride in those majestic times of yore. In fact, Iran has a written history that dates back to 3200 BC. Under Cyrus and Darius, Iran became the first superpower of the entire world that had been discovered till then.
Before the genesis of Islam, Iran was predominantly inhabited by Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrian faith emanated from the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster. Though there is little consensus over his lifetime, he is speculated to have lived around a thousand years before Christ. The followers of this faith are few and wide apart. The faith slowly is counting the last of its breaths.
This grave state of Zoroastrianism was brought about by the Islamic invasion of Persia - the name for pre-Arab Iran - and the religious cleansing that followed. Many Zoroastrians were converted by the edge of the sword and many of them paid with their lives for dissent. Also it led to their exodus to places like India.
Today Zoroastrians are a close-knit community, their endangered status having brought them together. There are a few Zoroastrians in Iran and the rest mainly live in the U.S and India. Many of the few Zoroastrians that are left gathered in Chak Chak, Iran to remember the Islamic invasion of Persia and the heroes of that dark hour. One of those heroes was valiant Nikbanou, the daughter of the last king of Persia, who resisted the Islamic invaders.
“We have all gathered at this sacred place to pray Ahura Mazda,” he said, using the Zoroastrians’ name for God. “We are also here to remember Nikbanou and what happened to our ancestors by the Arab invaders.” [source]
Many Iranian Muslims take great pride in their pre-Islamic roots. But it is the government that continues to despise the Zoroastrian faith. After the Islamic revolution, life has become an ordeal for the Zoroastrians, Christians, Jews and Baha’is, as the post-revolution governments have shown close to no tolerance for other faiths.