Saturday, October 06, 2007

Islamic Zahak Occupiers

Kaveh Ahangar is perhaps a mythical figure who first appeared in Ferdousi's Shahnameh as the hero who rescued his people from the ruthless ruler in power at his time. Kaveh was such a man who stood up against the tyrant Zahak (known as snake-shouldered). Zahak was the son of Mardas an Arab ruler in Iran. Stories have it that Zahak killed his father in order to earn the kingdom. It was believed that Zahak had a special relationship with the devil. The devil had kissed his shoulders and from each shoulder had grown a snake.

This urges Zahak to seek treatment. This time the devil appears in front of Zahak as a doctor and advises him to drink the blood of young Iranians in order to satisfy the needs of the bloodthirsty snakes. One night Zahak dreams that three men came to his palace and killed him. He wakes up in terror and calls upon the dream interpreter whom in turn tells him that a man with a name of Fereydoon will come and take his kingdom away. Hence Zahak sends for Fereydoon to be discovered and destroyed. Fereydoon's mother, Faranak, hears the command and takes fereydoon to a village in Larijan in Mazandaran (north of Iran).

Ferdousi further writes that Fereydoon was left to a farmer in Larijan and milked by a cow whose every hair was of a different color. Zahak soon hears of this unusual cow and comes to the North in the seek to find it. Faranak hears of this and takes Fereydoon to an old man who wondered in the mountains to take care of him. Meanwhile Zahak kills the beautiful caw. Once Fereydoon reaches the age of sixteen he leaves in search of his mother. When he found his mother, he was told all that had happened to him.

Fereydoon upon hearing his disturbed life becomes eager to take revenge. As Fereydoon gets closer to approach his revenge he meets Kaveh at a gathering. Kaveh, a working class blacksmith with nothing more than a brave heart & the support of his people, decided to end this vicious cycle & destroy this evil king. With bravery he approached Zahak and demands freedom. He took off his leather apron and puts it on top of a long metal to make a flag out of it. This flag was called the Darafsh the flag of freedom that sentenced the guilty monarch to life in the mountains.

It is written that Kaveh, Fereydoon and his two brothers,(Kianoosh and Shadkam), united the people and went to a war with Zahak. Meanwhile Zahak flees to India while his army was fighting with Fereydoon. Fereydoon conquers Zahak's army and after he decides to finish the unfinished business and find Zahak. After finding Zahak, Fereydoon takes him to the Albourz Mountains, located in North of Iran, and prisons him in a cave. The day that Fereydoon destroyed Zahak and his kingdom may also be the day that the Persians celebrate the Mehregan Festival. A day that good destroys evil. Some historians believe the story originated during the Medes kingdom in western Iran & Zahak was in fact the unpopular king Astyages.

Kaveh's flag was later on famous as Darafsh and it was customary in the ancient Persia that every king would add a jewlery to the darafsh. When Arab Muslims invaded Iran, the darafsh was seized in a bloody battle fought around Nahavand (a city with the same name in today's Hamadan province in the mid-western Iran) and taken, among many other war spoils. The Arabs burned the flag and used the valuable items. In todays Iranian political narrative Zahak stands for Islamic Republic of Iran.

Picture of Kaveh Ahangar:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

such a long story and I thought I knew it! imagine that during all these years that this story was going on Zahak had thoes two snakes on his shoulders and had to feed them human flesh. yuk! do you know if the story took more than 30 years ?!!LOL