Dr. Mohammad Reza Barzegar Khaleqi

Mohammad Reza Barzegar Khaleqi was born in 1965 in Qazvin. He went to Farhang Primary School. After finishing his primary school, he continued his studies in Mohammad Qazvini High School. Mohammad Reza lost his sight due to a car accident as a result of which he left his high school studies unfinished. He had realized that he was no longer able to see and the world should remain dark for him up to the end of his life. One day, when he was in hospital, he heard from the radio that there is a boarding school for blind people. This boarding school was located in Tehran. He says: "Hearing that report from radio made a shift in my life and introduced me to a road with numerous ups and downs." Despite the fact that his parents were opposed to his registration in that boarding school, Mohammad Reza went to Tehran and registered there. He knew that he had to travel between Tehran and Qazvin every day.  The school authorities did not agree to provide him with dormitory.

Elaborating on difficulties and problems of his registration in the boarding school for blind students, Mohammad Reza points out that he could not stand the atmosphere of that school and "Therefor, I returned to Qazvin." After returning to Qazvin, he was registered in Rahnama High School which was an ordinary school. The high school authorities conditioned his registration in their school on a couple of provisions. For instance, they emphasized that I should not have any extra demand from the high school. Since Mohammad Reza was unable to write, he had to learn typing. Therefore, he participated in some classes for learning how to type. Afterward, he finished his high school successfully.

In 1976, he was accepted in the Tehran University and received his B.A. of the Persian Literature from that university. In 1984, he entered the Tarbiat Moddarress University to continue his studies and receive his M.A. of the Persian literature.

After receiving his M.A. of the Persian literature from the Tarbiat Moddarress University, Mohammad Reza began teaching in different universities. In 1993, he received hi Ph. D. from the Tehran University and, since that time, he is involved in teaching research and compilation of books.

We have made an interview with Dr. Mohammad Reza Barzegar Khaleqi. Here is the text of this interview:

Q: You were faced with a problem in your eyes and your sight. How this phenomenon influenced your life?

A: No human being is totally perfect. I have never complained of my disability, because I have not chosen to be a disabled person. It is quite important to be self-reliant and remain hopeful toward the future. I am quite happy that the almighty God has not made me deprived of his blessings. I am thankful of the almighty God, because He has kindled the power of hope inside me and has made me hopeful toward the future. Hope per se is not sufficient. Hope is similar to an engine which requires energy and which should be directed toward the proper destination. At the same time, belief in the almighty God and His blessings and trusting in the divine tidings can contribute to man's development in both his material and spiritual life.

Q: You have studied the Persian literature at university. Has literature left any effect on your hopeful attitude toward life?

A: Literature is a course of study that deals with man's senses. It helps man to be calm even during hard times. At the same time, it empowers man. One cannot read the poetry of Hafiz and Mowlana Rumi and remain disappointed. In fact, these poets are dealing with love and their works are associated with man's efforts toward love and hope.

In literature, I was greatly involved in mysticism rather than epics. Mysticism gives insight to man and creates enthusiasm in him. Mysticism enables man – whether disabled or not – to distance himself from seclusion and think about a better future and his spiritual enhancement. Hafiz's sonnets and Mowlana's poetry are like oceans which can engulf man's whole being and separate him from depression.

Q: Literature, and specifically mystic literature, is not only dealing with the real world, but also elaborates on an unreal and imaginary world. Therefore, literature separates man from the earth and the mundane world. This unreal and imaginary nature of literature, some people argue, seems a little bit dangerous. At the same time, it creates a kind of hope, enhancement, and enthusiasm in man. What is your opinion in this regard?

A: The danger that is sometimes associated with this aspect of literature lies in the fact that it might leave man in an imaginary world forever. Poetry and literature are intertwined with man's spirituality and imagination. However, I do not agree with this argument that literature is sometimes dangerous. It is true that literature sometimes distances man from reality; however, it teaches us how to tackle with problems and difficulties of life. It is quite important to look at literature from this perspective. The person who reads literature should not remain in the imaginary world and suffice himself to that world. Rather, he should be inspired by literature. Literature creates a kind of spiritual joy in man which helps him forget his material and mundane problems. There are many people who argue that the 21st century is the age of computer, internet, cyberspace, atoms, etc. and there is no room for literature in this age. Nevertheless, I believe that, in this age, we need literature more than before.

Q: Therefore, you believe that Hafiz and Mowlana can act as pillars of hope and spirituality for us in this age of computer, internet, cyberspace, atoms, etc. Don't you?

A:  Yes, I do. However, mysticism is a totally personal issue. Each individual human being has his or her own peculiar features and characteristics and he or she should pass through the path of mysticism based on those peculiar features and characteristics. If man adopts the true path, that true path will lead him toward genuine reality. Otherwise, he will be doomed to failure.

Q: You have compiled and published numerous books. So far, you have published some 20 different books which mostly deal with the delineation and explication of the classic mystic literary works. Can you explain more about your books and writings?

A: My first book was book was dealing with Hazin Lahiji’s poetry. He was a classic Iranian poet. The subject of this book was actually my M.A. thesis. I am greatly indebted to Dr. Shafiei Kadkani in writing this book, because he introduced this topic to me. As a matter of fact, Dr. Shafiei Kadkani, who is a very famous Iranian scholar, left an extreme influence on me. I wrote three of my books under his inspiration and influence. I have also written, in collaboration with Dr. Touraj Aqdaei, a book which elaborates on the sonnets of Sa’di, the well-known Iranian poet. In addition, I have written and published a book on Khaqani’s poetry. In collaboration with Kamyar Abedi, I have compiled a book entitled Imagery and Images in Contemporary Poetry. In this book, we have elaborated on the poetry of Iranian contemporary poets such as Nima Youshij, Forouq Farrokhzad, Mehdi Akhavan Salis, and Ahmad Shamlou.

I have also written three other books which are going to be published in near future.

Q: The majority of your works have been dealing with the Persian classic poetry and literature. Only one of your books which you have written jointly with Mr. Abedi, i.e. Imagery and Images in Contemporary Poetry, is concentrated on the contemporary Persian poetry. What is your idea about the contemporary Persian poetry and why you have dealt with this kind of poetry less than the classic poetry?

A: I am more interested in mystic classic literature. This does not mean that I dislike the contemporary literature; however, I believe that contemporary literature is not associated with profound and in-depth understanding. In my opinion, the contemporary poetry, despite all its beauties, is sometimes nothing more than a concert of words. The mystery of contemporary poetry is not comparable to that of the classic poetry. In fact, every time you read a sonnet by Hafiz or Moulana, you grasp a new concept. This is an indication of the fact that the classic literature is full of mysteries and ambiguities. I am not opposed to the contemporary poetry. nevertheless, I should acknowledge that I am more interested in classic poetry.

Q: Why the higher education system of the country attaches little importance to the contemporary literature?

A: In my opinion, we should separate the higher education system from the issue of art. Unfortunately, the higher education system in our country undermines the literary savor of students of the Persian literature. It is, to a great extent, rooted in the fact that our professors of the Persian literature are not up-to-date and nurture no love for literature. At the same time, our students of the Persian literature, too, have no love for literature.

Q: Do you think that writing can be considered as a profession? Can anyone earn money from money?

A: Writing is not a profession and no one can earn his or her livelihood through being a writer. We should look at writing as a source of income or a job. A person who wants to be writer should be in love with this career. Literature is nothing but love.


Sunday 2019/3/17
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Dr. Mohammad Reza Barzegar Khaleqi

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