Long times ago, longer than you can imagine, in the legendary land of Iran reigned a mighty king, called Manoochehr Pishdadi. On one of the hard days which Iran still recalls, a tough battle occurred between two powerful kingdoms of Iran and Turan, a battle whose taste is still fresh. Luck didn’t seem to be on Iran’s side and as it went further it seemed as if any slightest hope died with each passing second and minute until Iran’s army was sieged by Turan Army in the Mazandaran region. Turan was led by Afrasyab- Ferdowsi’s famous mythological character in Shahnameh.
Iran’s king stepped on his pride and offered a comparison, which was an irenic peace offering and was then accepted by the opposing side. This acceptance didn’t obviously come from the heart, as it was a gesture of humiliation and belittling. However, one condition stood between the peace and Iran’s Army and it obviously looked like an impossible task to handle. This condition which was evidently proposed in the continuance of Turan’s belittling and emasculation act would ask for an Iranian Hercules and champion to step up for a sacrifice. Things seemed to be on Turan’s side at the time, but if only they could’ve foreseen what was about to come they’d never proposed that devilish and unfair peace offering!
The champion or the strongest soldier must climb up Damavand, reach the peak and from there he would have to shoot an arrow, anywhere this arrow would land would be recognized as the border between the two countries. Damavand was chosen due to it being an iconic symbol of Iran, the 4th country in the world!
Iran had a hard time deciding, as it was the offer that would cause shame if accepted. In the midst of Iran’s dilemma and indecision, Turans decided on Iran.
In this loving army of Iran, served a young, decent man called Arash. Arash was a son of Iran, a simple courier serving selflessly for the king and his motherland. Yes, Arash was the chosen one and among many others who neither had the guts or the courage to stand up for their country, Arash accepted this challenge. He reminded himself that a man of honour would do anything for their precious motherland.
The difference between Arash and others was not only his dignity, which was a moral character, but he owned something special no one else had! His bow and arrow! The one The Goddess of Love handed to him a while back and gave him enough precautions and instructions regarding this very special bow and arrow. She had told him that the arrow was intended to travel so far, but the beholder of it would die afterwards.
Arash started his journey, thoughts racing in his mind, who knows what he was going through while pacing the way to the peak. As he was approaching the peak, he was aware of what was about to come and yet never looked back. He had consciously made a decision in the way of his land and his people, as anxious as he may have been this was a point of no return, he said to himself. When he reached the peak, he gathered all the power he got in himself, the arrow would definitely scream out of excitement at the point of letting go of the bow. Arash’s body was shed into pieces, uniting with Iran’s soil and as his soul was respired to the arrow; it travelled to the east from morning until dusk, landing on top of a walnut tree next to Amu Darya River. This point was then recognized as the border between the two countries.
This son of Iran, who was then and is now called Arash the Archer, will forever be our symbol of heroism and zeal, irrespective of him being a real or a mythological character.
You can find a big statue of him in Tehran’s “Sa’ad Abad” complex.
By Sara Kheirdoust / TasteIran