|Shahriar, a born poet||
TEHRAN -- Today Iranians commemorate contemporary poet Shahriar, whose daughter described him as sentimental, tenderhearted, and a born poet who composed his poems extemporaneously in a flash of inspiration.
Seyyed Mohammad-Hossein Behjat Tabrizi (1906-1988), chiefly known by his pen name Shahriar, wrote in Persian and Azari.
Born in Tabriz, Shahriar came to Tehran in 1921 and continued his studies at the Dar-ul-Fonun, the Iranian polytechnic institute established in 1851, and began studying medicine after graduating from Dar-ul-Fonun in 1924. But he fell in love and left his studies about a year before receiving his M.D. degree after his beloved was forced to marry a man from an influential family.
Afterwards, he went to Mashhad and Neyshabur and worked in the Registry Office for four years. He returned to Tehran in 1935 and started working in the Agricultural Bank of Iran.
Shahriar composed his first poem for his mother when he was four years old. He published his first book of poems in 1929, with prefaces by Mohammad-Taghi Bahar, Saeid Nafisi and Pejman Bakhtiari, three major Persian literati at the time.
His poems are mainly influenced by Hafez (1325-1389), one of the finest lyric poets of Iran. Shahriar’s most famous works are “Heidar Babaya Salam”, a poem dedicated to his birthplace Heidar Baba village, and “The Blessing Bird of Good Omen”, which is about the first Shia imam, Ali (AS).
“Heidar Babaya Salam” is considered to be among the best modern poems in the Azari language, which is mainly spoken in the northwestern Iranian provinces, and has been made into a few plays. The poem is very popular among the Azari people.
Shahriar was admitted to a hospital in Tabriz because of severe lung disease in December 1987. He was released from the hospital after sevedral months, but he relapsed and was transferred to the Mehr Hospital in Tehran in July 1988. He died at the hospital on September 17, 1988.
His body was buried in Maqbat osh-Sho’ara (The Cemetery of Poets) in Tabriz.
Shahriar is survived by his daughters Shahrzad and Maryam, and his son Hadi.
“Father composed several Arabic poems while he was in poor condition in the hospital,” Maryam said in an interview in 2006.
“It’s amazing, since he had never spoken in Arabic before. At that time, it seemed that Shahriar’s zeal for composing poetry was going to explode, but he was not able to hold a pen, so he wanted relatives to write his verses,” she added.
Maryam, who is also a poet, calls her passion for poetry the best legacy of her father.
Iranian filmmaker Kamal Tabrizi, who gained fame outside Iran for his film “Lizard”, directed a TV series about Shahriar’s life story. The serial was completed in 2007. However, it did not receive an enthusiastic welcome from his children.
“By making vague works (on Shahriar), some cause misunderstanding in society,” Maryam said.
Maryam believes that some films about Shahriar do not properly introduce the poet.
September 17, which marks Shahriar National Day, was designated Iran’s national Day of Poetry and Literature in 2002.
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