In this lecture, Dr. Khushnazar Pomirzod will discuss the Avesta, a collection of religious texts of Zoroastrianism, and the modern language of Shugnan people. According to the Avesta, Hiyanids are Shugnan people who still live in the Pamirs and Hindu Kush (adjacent territories of Tajikistan, Afghanistan and northern Pakistan). Shugnan people (“Xuγ̌nůnе”) are referred to as X’iiaone in the Avesta, Hiyunon in the Pahlavi, and Khiyanit in Latin. The Avesta book of the Zoroastrians was created to formalise and spread religion during the reign of the Sassanids. Prior to this, the Zoroastrian religion was known orally and passed on by word of mouth. This book was also known as Usto, Abisto, Asto, Visto, Afisto, Apisto, and the book's root name was borrowed from the Pahlavi Avistok. The book is also an ancient source of knowledge about several tribes and peoples, including Iranians and Turanians.
Around 3,000 BC, Aryan tribes moved from their habitat and descended south from the shores of Oxus or Vakhsh (Amu Darya) to India and west to modern Iran and Europe. All Aryan tribes lived together prior to their separation, and Mithra was their common deity. Unlike those who switched to Zoroastrianism, the Hiyanids were followers of Mithraism. Many elements of the ancient Hiyanid culture are still preserved in this region. The “Xuγ̌nůnе” language, or Shugnan, is the keeper of the most important historical data and messages.
Dr. Khushnazar Pomirzod is an Independent Scholar based in Canada. Originally from Afghan Badakhshan, he graduated from Kabul University with a Master of Arts in Economics, and completed his doctoral studies in history at Tajikistan State University. He has been an educationist, teaching math and science for over 20 years, and has worked as an advisor and team leader for educational projects for 10 years. Dr. Pomirzod also worked for the Ministry of Education in Kabul (Afghanistan), managed the Department of Pamiri Languages, a group of endangered languages in Northeastern Afghanistan, and acted as an Adviser for the Aga Khan Development Network in Afghanistan and Aga Khan Education Service in Pakistan.