German court blocks repatriation of Iranian poet’s remains over daughter’s complaint

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Tehran – Iran Music House said on Saturday that a German court had blocked the repatriation of the remains of famous Iranian poet Amir-Hushang Ebtehaj following a complaint by his daughter.

The court will hold a hearing on Monday to investigate the case, the house added, but it did not refer to what Ebtehaj’s daughter is complaining about.

Ebtehaj, 94, who wrote under the pseudonym “Sayeh”, died of complications related to old age in Cologne, Germany on August 10.

Subsequently, Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance said it was ready to transfer Ebtehaj’s remains from Germany for burial in his native country.

Ebtehaj was due to arrive in Tehran last Wednesday. His funeral was due to take place in his hometown of Rasht on Friday after a public farewell to the poet outside Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on Thursday.

However, all arrangements were canceled after the Culture Ministry said Ebtehaj’s transfer to Iran had been postponed, allegedly due to official problems in Germany.

Meanwhile, Iranian officials also requested permission to bury Ebtehaj at his Tehran home under a Judas tree, for which he composed a poem.

The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts rejected the requests due to a law prohibiting any burial in a historical site in Iran.

Located on Anushirvan Street near Ferdowsi Square, Ebtehaj’s house was included in the national cultural heritage list in 2008.

Iranian scholars regard him as the last peak among the few prominent poets in contemporary Persian literature. He composed in ghazal, the most important Persian lyric form influenced by classical Persian tradition. He also produced blank verse collections, for which the poet Nima Yushij is known.

He created his first collection, “Early Songs”, when he was 19. The collection was followed by “Mirage”, “Siah Mashq” and several other books, including “Mirror in the Mirror” and “Hafez by Sayeh’s Exertion”.

In 1971, his love of poetry and music brought him to Radio Tehran, where he was chosen as director of Golha, a professional broadcast of traditional Persian music. With the contributions of singer Mohammadreza Shajarian and great musicians such as Mohammadreza Lotfi, Parviz Meshkatian and Hossein Alizadeh, he recorded many albums, which are considered a great treasure of Iranian music.

“Sepideh” (“Dawn”) was one of the songs composed by Lotfi with a poem by Ebtehaj. Shajarian performed the song, also known as “O Iran, the house of hope”.

Photo: A portrait of Amir-Hushang Ebtehaj is placed in memory of the Iranian poet under the famous Judas tree in his house in Tehran on August 13, 2022. (ISNA/Sara Sabzi)

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