(photo by safrang)
It’s Nowrouz today: the vernal equinox, the first day of spring, the beginning of the solar calendar, and the occasion for one of the most syncretic of festivals in the world: a cheerful amalgamation of Islam and Zoroastrianism, pagan rite and religious ritual, red tulip and the holy book.
This spirit of joyful syncretism is captured best in one of the oldest folk tunes in Afghanistan- one that goes through everyone’s mind at this time of the year- where a certain good-natured and blithe Mullah is urged to come partake in the festivities of Nowrouz.
Because in recent times spring in Afghanistan has come to be associated with the thaw that brings on the “spring offensive”, and because the spirit of the joyful Mullah Mamad jan has long died in Afghanistan and is replaced with the haunting spectre of another Mullah, we take the liberty to modify the old tune and urge the latter Mullah to forget the offensive and join in the festive:
Let us go to Mazaar, Mullah Omar jan!
(Thanks to Hatif’s comment admonishing me not to invite the Mullah to Mazaar -and by historic precedence I should know why that would be a terrible idea- I stand corrected. The line above was meant to imply:
Let the rest of us go to Mazaar, O’ Mullah!
Not that the mad Mullah is prepared to listen to either interpretation…)