© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/187471610X505951 Journal of Persianate Studies 3 (2010) 46-77 brill.nl/jps Imagining Hāfez: Rabindranath Tagore in Iran, 1932 * Afshin Marashi University of Kansas Abstract In April and May of 1932, Rabindranath Tagore traveled to Iran on an oﬃcial visit. He had been invited to Iran as the oﬃcial guest of Rezā Shah Pahlavi. Using an array of primary source material, this article examines the cultural, political, and ideological implications of this trip for the emerging discourse of nationalism in interwar Iran. The article argues that Tagore’s visit played an important part in promoting the new oﬃcial nationalism of the Pahlavi state. The emerging interwar ideology of “Pahlavi nationalism” sought to dissociate Iran from the Abraha- mic-Islamicate “civilizational ethos” that was now understood to have long dominated Iranian culture, and instead sought to associate Iranian nationalism’s claim of cultural authenticity to a newly emerging notion of “Indo-Iranian civilization” rooted in the pre-Islamic culture of Zoro- astrianism and Aryanism. Tagore’s visit to Iran was seen as an opportunity for his Iranian hosts to present him to the Iranian public as a living personiﬁcation of this newly conceived idea of national authenticity. The public ceremonies
Journal of Persianate Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2010
Keywords: Indo-Iran; Rabindranath Tagore; nationalism; civilization; Zoroastrianism; Hāfez; Aryanism; Rezā Shah
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