Cultural rapprochement or political influence?.. Afghan poet wins Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlou’s Poetry Prize
The poetry collection “Haret Dolphin” by Afghan poet Mujib Mehrdad won the Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlou poetic award in its seventh session in the Iranian capital, Tehran.
“The Dolphin Lane” is the fifth poetry collection of Mujib Mehrdad that has been printed in Iran. The content of this poetry collection focuses more on the issues and problems of Afghan society and expresses the pain of millions of people who have lived under the fires of war and violence for many years in Afghanistan.
The jury chose Dolphin Lane for this year from among 12 poetry collections worthy of the award. The jury says that the Afghan poet’s victory came due to “the presence of unforgettable and sometimes captivating images, acceptable poetic rhythm, modern tone, pleasant sense of humor, in addition to poetic strength.” .
The Afghan ambassador to Iran, Abdul Ghafoor Liwal, told Al Jazeera Net, “This is the most important Iranian award in the field of contemporary poetry, and its criteria for innovation and dynamism in terms of form and content in contemporary poetry, and based on these criteria, the award is nominated by the jury after a careful evaluation, and Harat Delphin is for our Afghan poet.” This award is well deserved.”
A number of poets and writers believe that Afghan poetic talents have fallen victim to geographical and historical conditions, and awarding prizes and encouraging Afghan poets leads to a rapprochement between Iranian and Afghan culture and literature.
Mujib Mehrdad tells Al Jazeera Net, “Iranian society does not know much about Afghanistan and I hope that we can at least make the Iranian people better aware of our people and our country, and this will help bring people closer and remove stereotypes created by politicians.”
On the other hand, Afghan writer and political analyst Hikmat Jalil says to Al Jazeera Net, “Iran and its embassies in Kabul are active in spreading Iranian culture in Afghanistan, and that the awarding of the Ahmad Shamlou poetic award to Afghan poet Mujib Mehrdad is another attempt in this field and is trying to invest among young people in the field of culture and literature, and that the money that Iran spends on cultural matters in Afghanistan is mostly spent for non-cultural purposes.”
Mujib Mehrdad is a young Afghan poet who headed the editor-in-chief of “Hasht Sobh” newspaper and left his country after the Taliban movement entered Kabul and is currently residing in Albania.
Ahmed Shamlou Poetry Prize
The Ahmad Shamlou Poetry Prize is an annual literary competition dedicated to books of modern poetry published in Persian in Iran, and established in 2015, selects the best collection of poetry and translations from foreign languages into Persian.
To participate in the competition, the poems must be in the field of free and modern poetry, the books must not contain poems by other poets, and the book must have been published in Iran and before the current year.
The award includes a shield of honor and a cash prize given to the winner during the birthday party of the Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlou on December 12 last year.
The famous poet, heritage researcher and translator, Ahmed Shamlou, was born in 1925 in the Iranian capital, Tehran. He left his studies in the first year of high school and became famous as a poet in literary circles since the age of 17. After that, for five decades, he sat on the throne of Iranian poetry, and became a reference for Iranian culture and literature.
In recent years, Iran has established many libraries, educational centers and schools of religious studies in various cities in Afghanistan to spread Iranian culture. Afghans believe that Iran is using its so-called cultural aid to expand its political influence in Afghanistan.
The neighbor of Afghanistan spent a lot of money to build libraries in most Afghan universities, which contain large libraries that sometimes allocate a wing for Iranian books, such as the Kabul University Library.