“You know… there is another person from India here,” remarked Barkat, my local guide-cum-driver, as we cruised along the sandy coastline of Chabahar on a hot, hot afternoon.
“Yes. He came a very, very long time ago…”
“Ah… Syed Ghulam Rasool!” *
Legend has it that Syed Ghulam Rasool traveled from India to Persia about 800 years ago, fell in love with a local beauty and married her. Unfortunately, he passed away in his sleep that very night.
The locals then built a shrine as his resting place.
The best part though is this: Every year, they hold a two-night festival to celebrate (rather than mourn) his death with dance and music.
Chabahar is in Iran’s Sistan-va-Baluchestan province and as the name suggests dominated by the Baloch community. During the festivities, Baloch from across the border in Pakistan also join in.
According to Barkat, the celebrations fall in the cooler months of December-January.
Wish I could be there then.
* How did I know? The real reason was too complicated to break down for Barkat, especially in my halting Persian. Two years ago, I prepared a 5-minute presentation on Chabahar in my Persian class at Georgetown. The emotions you experience when you finally see with your own eyes the distant places that you’d obsessed over in pictures is priceless!