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Ties of Brotherhood the Trail of Fire and Mustard to Hindostan….

April 2, 2018 by  

Rakesh Chaubey

A story is told in Hindostan of a girl who was married off and had to go live at her husband’s home in a nearby village. When she was about to leave, she took a bag of mustard seeds along with her. As she sat in the cart, she kept on scattering seeds on the flank of dirt road. She wept. She missed her parents and her siblings. Adjustment in her husband’s house was hard. Winter came. She missed her parents more than ever. Finally came noruz (called Holi in Hindostan). She went out of her house and saw the lovely yellow flowers blooming. She began to run alongside the flowers and after a lot of running and resting – a few hours later she found herself back at her home with her parents and siblings!

March is around the corner. Chahr Sambesuri will be celebrated soon. Neither most Persians nor most Indians know that there may not be a trail of mustard between them, but there certainly is a trail of fire that runs between them. It is an ancient bridge of fire that binds the Persians and the Hindostani people by a bond of brotherhood, that is not visible to most unless they look into the history of both people.

Today we have a wall of fanatic Arabized Pakistan between the Persians and the Hindostanis, but not too long ago the two cultures interfaced with each other and there was thriving trade, travel and interaction between the two. In fact, the languages and customs of North India are so similar that when people learn about it their jaws drop in awe.

 

The trail of fire

Come spring, the people of Persia build small bonfires and celebrate the festival of Chahrshambe suri – The fourth Wednesday of the sun. They light small bonfires and jump over them and chant, “Sorkhiye tu az man, Zardiye man az tu!” It is a ritual of purity where people consign their maladies to fire and purify themselves. The mythology behind it is the story of King Kaikawoos who had a young son named Seiavash. Late in life, Kaikawoos marred a young woman named Saudaba. Saudaba developed tender feelings towards Seiavash but Seiavash was not ready to blight the sanctity of the mother-son relationship. Rebuffed and rejected, Saudaba complained to the King that Seiavash had behaved inappropriately towards her. The king did not know who to believe. So he ordered both Saudaba and Seiavash to walk through fire. As the story goes, Saudaba was burnt and Seiavash escaped unhurt.

Come spring, the people of Hindostan build big bonfires and take fire from there to light and purify the stoves at their homes (an ancient ritual when a communal fire was kept burning in every village and people borrowed from it). The mythology behind this ritual is the story of King Hirankashyap, his son Prahlad and daughter Holika. Similar confusion caused both Prahlad and Holika to go through the fire. Holika died and Prahlad survived. 

Now tell me, are you not shaking your head in amazement?

 

Lets look at the trail of fire! 

In Spring the Arya people from Armenia celebrate a Water festival called Vardavar and come Easter they light fires (these days the church has made them give up the bonfire and makes them light candles)

In Spring the Arya people of Persian (Iran) celebrate Chahrshambe Suri and observe Noruz (New Year) a few days later. They invite people and place the Haft seen with Ajeel and sprouts to mark the arrival of the growing season.

In Spring the Arya people of Afghanistan celebrate the new year by lighting bonfires and flying kites (Remember the book Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini?).

In Spring, the Arya people who became Sikh, celebrate Lohri (where they light bonfires) and celebrate Baisakhi (New year – similar to Noruz). They fly kites during this festival much like their Afghan brothers.

In Spring, the Arya people who came to be called Hindus celebrate Holi. They light up bonfires on the night of the full moon and the next day, much like the Armenian brothers who throw water at each other for Vardavar, they throw colored water and powders at each other. They too fly kites during the Spring festivities. 

Now you have run with me along the mustard plants and we are back at our home – which is our Arya identity.

This Noruz accept my greetings from Hindostan. Our brotherhood and our culture may last forever, regardless of how we have been taught to pray. In our hearts you are Khurshidis and we are Suryavanshis. One and the same thing!

 

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