Code: 60140 A

TEHRAN –(Iranart)- Mohammad-Sarvar Rajai, the Afghan author of the acclaimed books “From Leili Desert to Majnun Island” and “Mission of God” who lived for over 27 years in Iran, died of COVID-19 on Thursday in Tehran. He was 52.

Rajai was admitted to Milad Hospital a few days ago, however, all treatments to save him were in vain due to a severe chest infection, Iranian media announced.

Following the destruction wrought by decades of war in Afghanistan, Rajai left his motherland for Iran to find a safe haven to pursue his writing career.

While he was confronted with racist remarks in Iran, he nevertheless persisted upon the path that he had chosen.

“I started a new life in Iran,” he once said in an interview and added, “First, I tried to find a job. I worked many jobs from peddling to working as a tailor, shoemaker and construction worker, but I was deeply interested in writing, so the love of writing led me toward finding some cultural friends in Iran a year after my arrival in the country.”  

“I was certain that there was somewhere in Iran for Afghan people to pursue their cultural interests. One day, I found an article in a newspaper announcing a series of literary sessions by Afghans at the Art Bureau.”

Due to the racist attitudes that he had experienced at work with Iranians, he was doubtful if he could get permission to enter the sessions, but a worker at the Art Bureau’s information center directed him to the location of the literary sessions.

“Since then, I have found many cultural friends by attending numerous cultural meetings, and my writing career started in Iran,” he noted.

From that time to when he passed away, the focus of his writing was to establish unity between Iranians and Afghans.

He served for years as director of the Afghanistan Literature House in Tehran and Afghanistan Poetry and Story Office at the Art Bureau.  

He spent most of his life gathering information about Afghan volunteers in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and the Iranian volunteers who joined the Afghan forces in their war against the Soviets during the 1980s.

Part of his studies in these fields was published in “From Leili Desert to Majnun Island”, which was released by the Study Center of the Islamic Revolution Cultural Front in 2018.   

The book carries the memories of those Afghans who volunteered to fight for Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. He gave a copy of this book to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in his annual meeting with poets and literati in 2019.

He also wrote “Mission of God”, which was published by Rah-e Yar in June 2021. This book recounts the story of Ahmadreza Saeidi, an 18-year-old Iranian volunteer who joined the Afghan forces in their war against the Soviets during the 1980s.

His credits also include the poetry collection “Flowers of the Kabul Garden”, “In Arms of Hearts” and several other books.

He was a founder of Bagh, a children’s literary monthly that is published in Iran. 

In a message published on Thursday, Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Seyyed Abbas Salehi, offered his condolences to Rajai’s family and the Afghan expatriates in Iran.

“For years our dear Iran has hosted a large group of Afghan poets and writers. Hosting this group undoubtedly has helped the growth of literature in both countries,” he wrote.

He also added that Rajai was one of those Afghan literati who played a key role in this field.

Art Bureau director Mohammad-Mehdi Dadman also sent a message of condolences.

“His strenuous efforts at the Art Bureau brought the greatest blessings that will remain even after his demise, and his death is absolutely a great loss,” he said. 

source: Tehran Times

Mohammad-Sarvar Rajai
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