Obituary: Prof. Badrozaman Gharib

Everyday we wake up to rueful obituaries of dear ones lost to the corona-virus, and in this huge human loss, towering writers and artists are no exception. In the past months of the pandemic, we had to witness the demise of writers, artists, and intellectuals whose faces and contributions to our cultural arena we would never forget:

Badrozaman Gharib (23 August 1929 – 28 July 2020) (بدرالزمان قریب)

In 1929, the same solar year that the last king of Qajar* died, Badrozaman was born to a renowned family of Garakani origin in Tehran. She graduated with distinction in Persian Literature from the University of Tehran in 1957 and was therefore granted a scholarship to study Linguistics and Phonology in the U.S. Under the supervision of Walter Bruno Henning, she wrote her doctoral dissertation on the Sogdian Language – an extinct language of ancient Sogdia, and became one of the rare living people who could read and speak it. Ever since her return to Iran, Badrozaman had been teaching in different universities and was the only woman who was granted permanent membership to The Academy of Persian Language and Literature. She was also a notable member of Iranian Science and Culture Hall of Fame. Among the most notable works of the nonagenarian scholar are the Persian-English Dictionary of Sogdian Language, and Sogdian Studies, A Collection of Articles.

Badrozaman was also a devotee of Mohammad Mosaddegh**. This fascination led her to compose an ode for him, to which Mosaddegh responded by sending her a hand-signed photograph of himself.

Miss Gharib never got married; she once said that Sogdian as her only fascination left her no time for anything else in the world. She is survived by her precious publications, if not by children.


*Ahmad Shah Qajar (21 January 1898 – 21 February 1930)

** Mohammad Mosaddegh (16 June 1882 – 5 March 1967)  Iranian politician who served as the 35th Prime Minister of Iran, until his government was overthrown in the 1953 coup.

(c) Photo: (c) Mehrdad Oskouei

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Farzaneh Doosti

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