A group of Iranian nationals are set to celebrate the ‘International Day of King Cyrus the Great’ (of Persia) in a simple ceremony at NIBM, Kondhwa on Sunday. This would be the second year in a row that members of the National Movement of the Iranian Resistance (NAMIR) — some of them are refugees from the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran — would celebrate the event in the city.
“We are expecting 12-15 people. Like last year, we will sing the Iranian national anthem — from before the Islamic revolution — around a photo of Cyrus the Great, and then observe a minute of silence in his honour,” said Behzad Amiri, head of the India Branch of NAMIR, who will host the event in his house. “This will be followed by discussions on the services of Cyrus the Great to the people, and simple refreshments like biscuits and sweet water. We are refugees and cannot really have a big celebration,” he added.
A Persian monarch and founder of the Achaemenid Empire, King Cryus is said to have been a much revered and beloved king. He is also credited with declaring the first charter of human rights in the world. The celebration marks the day he took Babylon, the ancient capital of the Oriental Empire. “He is the father of the Iranian nation. The current regime came to power with force and false promises. Iranians will still celebrate Cyrus Day, even in Iran,” said Bahram Irani, who left Iran 22 years ago due to “lawlessness and lack of governance”.
The Islamic Government has banned any celebration of this day in Iran, and people are not allowed to visit the tomb of Cyrus. Members of NAMIR would still go near the tomb, and some conflict might occur, explained Amiri. Due to separation from the main organisation, the India branch cannot function properly, he said.
Amiri, a democrat, came to Pune as a student in 1977, and protested against the Islamic regime after the revolution, after which he came to India seeking asylum. “If I ever go back, they will hang me,” he said.
Most members expressed their gratitude to India and its support in enabling them to exercise their freedom to protest. “Iranians are a highly educated and culturally inclined people. The way we are projected, as if we are all fundamentalists, is terrible. We are utterly indebted to India, and everything we do is to promote friendship between Indians and Iranians,” said Prof. Parichehr Felfeli, another NAMIR member.