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Rumi belongs to all; Mawlana Balkhi is Afghanistan’s heritage

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Cultural figures, writers, historians and officials expressed serious concerns over the dramatic move of Iran and Turkey to enlist Masnavi Ma’Navi, collection of renowned Afghan poet Jalal-ud-din Mohammad Balkhi in UNESCO as a common heritage of Iran and Turkey.

The attempt of Iran has sparked criticism in Afghanistan because Mawlana Rumi neither born nor lived in Iran.

According to Afghan historians and intellectuals, Rumi belongs to all. Sadeq Osyani, professor of literature at the University of Balkh, told the DW that the Sufi poet “actually has three homes.” “One is the whole world as his home, the second one is his home of language and the third is his birthplace in Balkh,” DW quoted him as saying.

Osyani agrees. “I don’t think there was a need to claim Rumi as one’s own before. Since his art and his impact belong to the world, but if you want to be specific you have to acknowledge that Jalal al-Din Muhammad Balkhi belongs to Balkh.”

“As soon as we heard about this matter, we contacted the representative of the UNESCO for Afghanistan and expressed our concern,” Hakimi told DW. “Jalal al-Din Balkhi is our pride and we won’t let any other country take this honor away from us.”

The former deputy interior minister, General Ayub Salangi, tweeted that “Rumi belongs to the world, is a fact that he was born in Balkh, Afghanistan.”

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