Monday, January 10, 2011
Prince Ali-Reza - Cremation - Caspian Sea
There is little published information regarding Prince Ali-Reza Pahlavi of Iran.
Since his passing, there are some personalities that claim he may not have been free to express himself or partake in interviews - which seems very unfortunate.
However, from the little bits of information which we have been able to hear/read in the past few days since his passing, I'd like to share my personal views on Prince Ali-Reza Pahlavi.
It seems that Prince Ali-Reza Pahlavi was a very disciplined man much like his father and grandfather before him; an attribute that has been mentioned is that he had "military discipline which reflected his royal background". He was active in sports and had a strong interest and affection for his motherland and its rich cultural heritage. So much so that in forced-exile he chose to dedicate his time towards research in the field of ancient (pre-Islamic) Iranian studies and philology (ancient Iranian languages) both as a postgraduate master's and more recently on a phd level at Harvard University.
Family and friends close to him say that he always had a smile on his face and that he was an optimist. From a young age he was the more lively, playful, more daring perhaps, child of the late Shahanshah of Iran and Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi.
With this background information, Prince Ali-Reza Pahlavi's wish for his body to be cremated seems to be a powerful message regarding his personal beliefs. Someone that had a passion for pre-Islamic Iran and who had dedicated a significant part of his adult life studying in this field, and now with his passing having expressed his wish to be cremated and his remains to be scattered in the Caspian Sea in northern Iran - one cannot help but feel the late Prince's immense sense of patriotism - and in that a clear rejection of the hate-filled anti-Iranian Islamic ideology which has caused such pain to his fellow compatriots and which stands in stark contrast towards true and noble Iranian ideals. In Islam cremation is seen as something that is "categorically disapproved", "prohibited, disrespectful and a violation of islamic law", "forbidden, sinful and pagan" just to quote a few references to cremation by islamic scholars. Also noteworthy is that cremation was widely practiced in ancient Iran - even preceding Zoroastrianism (an ancient Iranian faith). If this is so, was his wish to be cremated then an act of defiance? an act of rebellion? a symbolic gesture? By doing this, was he finally able to express himself after so many years of being seemingly silenced? After so many years of not being able to express himself, his views, his hopes, his aspirations for his homeland...