Talk:Persian people

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"Persian people" in Persian[edit]

@Rye-96: The Persian language equivalent of "Persian people" is قوم فارس Qowm-e Fārs. The word پارسیان Pārsiyān is (1) much less common to refer to this ethnic group, and (2) is less accurate, as the term also applies to the Indian Parsis. --Z 16:54, 15 December 2016 (UTC)

@ZxxZxxZ: And your sources for these statements are?...
Rye-96 (talk) 17:08, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
@Rye-96: Actually, @ZxxZxxZ: is right. Why are you asking for a source for something so common sense, commonplace? "Qome Fārs," "Nasle Fārs," "Mellate Fārs," these are quite literally what you hear when Persians refer to the Persian people. Where's your source that "Pārsiyān" is the term employed in everyday usage? It's pretty obvious now that you and @LouisAragon: like to think of yourselves as the "gatekeepers" of this article and anything not to your specific personal liking or explicitly written by you two gets removed, no matter how valid. I mean for Christ's sake, the article is a complete shell of what it used to be--you even removed the women's issues section (not to mention all the other sections) just because you felt like it. If what you two have been doing to this article over the course of the entire year is not considered POV-pushing, then I don't know what is. And I don't expect Wikipedia higher ups to address this behavior either, even though this is textbook POV-pushing. —570ad (talk) 19:28, 25 December 2016 (UTC)
@570ad: Pārsiān is not my personal point of view, since it already existed within the article for long. And the phrases that you have provided here are firsthand experiences. You can't validate them by simply stating that they are sensible.
Since there doesn't seem to exist a reliable source for this issue, and that the term Pārsiān itself is questionable, what I suggest is that we remove the Persian title.
"Gatekeepers"?.. That's a false accusation, and is considered a personal attack. What I removed from this article included unsourced, unrelated, and overstated material. And you were absolutely free to object and start a discussion.
Sections regarding political references of "Pan-Iranism" (Iranocentricism and Pan-Iranism), religious waves addressing the entire population of Iran (Religion), and the status of a few ancient Achaemenid and Sassanid royal figures—and modern figures such as Googoosh and Shirin Ebadi who are absolutely not representatives of ethnic Persian women—(Women) were hardly related to this article.
Rye-96 (talk) 09:14, 26 December 2016 (UTC)
  • "Qome Fārs"," "Nasle Fārs" and "Mellate Fārs" are not common in Iran, specially the last two of them. According to Minorities in Iran: Nationalism and Ethnicity after Khomeini by Rasmus Christian Elling p. 24:
"In Iran itself, however, “Persian” is rarely used as an autonym. Apart from in descriptions of an ancient people (qowm-e pārs), the very term “Persians” (fārs-hā) appears somewhat awkward; it sounds peculiar, and when used by Iranian scholars, it often appears only within quotation marks."

And the term is not common in reliable sources either:

"Indeed, many scholars never use the ethnonym “Persian” (fārs) when writing in Persian (fārsi) about Iran."

Actually, the term "Persian" has no equivalent in Persian language. It is usually translated as "Irāni". There's no consensus among scholars on whether Persians are an "ethnic group" or not. Many consider them a linguistic group, not an ethnic group. I think there shouldn't be any Persian equivalent in the lead, since that term doesn't have an equivalent in Persian language. -- Kouhi (talk) 14:34, 26 December 2016 (UTC)

I suggest:

  • Remove "(Persian: پارسیان‎‎ – Pārsiān)" and any other unsourced/dubious terms.
  • Rewrite some parts of this article. Because this article limited "Persian" to Persia/Iran. It's really confusing in some cases. An obvious example is ancient/medieval Persian people (e.g. Avicenna and Khwarizmi). For example, a reader decides to click on Persian wikilink on Avicenna article, but it just confuses him/her. Because Avicenna was born in Bukhara, but this article just talks about modern Iran. but current lead says "The Persians (Persian: پارسیان‎‎ – Pārsiān) are an Iranian ethnic group native to Iran..." Then what about those Central Asian Persians?! Current revision is biased and has obvious povs in my opinion. It does not match with many other articles which are about this group. --Wario-Man (talk) 08:26, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

Thank you, this is exactly one of the many points I tried to address in the thread above entitled "Major Article Overhaul." Isolating just the opening paragraph alone, in that "overhaul edit," I even tried to provide a much more accurate opening statement for the article than the current restrictive one, but they just undid the entire revision wholesale instead of actually going through and reading it objectively and possibly improving on the edits or making some kind of contribution instead of simply reverting the entire article to the previous form. This is the version I had provided in that edit:

The Persian people are an Iranian ethnic group native to the landmass of the ancient Persian Empire that chiefly makes up today’s Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, as well as the southern parts of Turkic Central Asia and who share a common Persian ancestry and cultural system. They are native speakers of the modern Persian language, as well as closely related dialects and languages.

570ad (talk) 18:54, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
@570ad: Last time you joined a discussion on this talk page, you called me and another user idiots ([1]), which is an obvious violation of WP:PERSONAL. What you have brought here is the same unsourced self-formulated information that you had provided back then. You can't drop that in front of the existing sources.
None of the sources includes a mention of "Persians" living in those regions. All reliable sources make a clear distinction between the modern-day Persians (the supposed ethnic group) and Persian-speakers (i.e. Tajiks, Tats, Hazaras, etc).
@Wario-Man: The Khwarizmi and other similar communities are all from areas that were non-Persian in origin. Khwarezm, Bactria, and Sogdia were originally Eastern Iranian regions that were gradually Persianized. They originally spoke eastern Iranian languages in the area. This issue can be covered here within the article, for instance mentioning the Persianization and probably that the Persian people lived in way more areas back then.
Rye-96 (talk) 08:07, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

There were areas within the boundaries of modern day Iran that were of non-Persian origin (e.g. Parthia) but underwent Persianization, just like Bactria, Sogdia etc did.

We know that there are different meanings of Persian employed: (1) Persian as a nationality - synonym to Iranian. (2) Persian as a cultural-linguistic identity - to include Tajiks of Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and the ancestors to that region (Rumi, Ibn Sina, Rabia Balkhi etc). (3) Persian as an ethnic group - used in modern day Iran to refer to Persian speakers who aren't of the other ethnic groups (Azeri, Kurd etc).

This needs to be made clear in the article. You've simplified the article a great deal. While it might make for easier reading, it doesn't reflect the complexity of the situation. (talk) 11:45, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

@570ad, Kouhi, and Rye-96: We can't write articles based on our personal analyses. For example, see this:

  • According to Richard Nelson Frye, a leading historian of Iranian and Central Asian history, the Persian migration to Central Asia may be considered the beginning of the modern Tajik nation, and ethnic Persians, along with some elements of East-Iranian Bactrians and Sogdians, as the main ancestors of modern Tajiks.[

As you see, Frye talked about a mixed origin, not just some Persianized natives. The ethnogenesis of Persians and Persian-speaking ethnic groups is complicated. How do you want to label all Persian-speaking people from Afghanistan or Tajikistan as Persianized X?! How do you know all Iranian Persians are native and not Persianized people? Or are the medieval Persians from Afghanistan and Central Asia are Persianized X?! How do you define Persian-ness of all of those medieval people from Khorasan? For example, Ferdowsi is 100% Persian because he was from Tus (Iran) and Nasir Khusraw is Persianized because he was not from Iran (born in Qabodiyon, Tajikistan)?! Or what about Rumi and many others? As I said in my above comment, current revision of this article is not neutral and it does not match with many related articles. It ONLY confuses the readers because it lacks information about Persians of other regions (e.g. Central Asia, Afghanistan and etc). In my opinion, current revision and its biased tone is one of the reason why many edit wars happened here. --Wario-Man (talk) 09:00, 29 December 2016 (UTC)

I fully agree with Wario-Man. I want to add that Central Asian Persians are not the only "Tajiks". This Turkic word was used to refer to all Persians. For example, Persians of Iran were called "Tajik" in the Safavid era (see Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 6, p. 229):
"According to the traditional interpretation, there existed a sharp distinction in the Safavid empire before Shah 'Abbas I (995-1038/1587—1629) between military posts which were reserved for the Turkish tribal leaders, and civil and religious posts which were filled by members of the native aristocracy, that is by Persians, often called Tajik."
-- Kouhi (talk) 09:48, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
@Wario-Man and Kouhi: "We can't write articles based on our personal analyses." - Exactly. And that's what I've been against all along.
"Ethnic Persians, along with some elements of East-Iranian Bactrians and Sogdians" being "the main ancestors of modern Tajiks" does not validate the idea of how synonymous the words Persian and Tajik are.
Currently, Iran being the motherland of the Persian people has not been backed up by any sources within the article, so the removal of that portion would be fine. But adding those other regions just because of some Medieval Persian figures would result in a pure self-formulated data.
I do agree that the complexity of these issues need to be better represented within the article, but, as I mentioned before, what you guys are trying to promote within this article violates the no original research policy.
Rye-96 (talk) 13:50, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
Once again; you will need reliable sources that explicitly state that the Tajiks of present-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan etc, the ethnic group as we know them, are ethnic Persian people/part of the Persian ethnic group. To say that "oh, many scientists/scholars/etc that were once born in those regions are known as "Persians" and therefore (?!) Tajiks must be also Persians/part of the ethnic Persian group, is nothing but self-formulated WP:OR. You can either back up your story with reliable sources, or you can't. Simple as that. That's how it works here. Personal opinions and emotional feelings (which is why all these IPs and SPA accounts are attracted to a certain extremely small niche of articles on Wikipedia) are completely irrelevant. Furthermore, this is a huge topic. If this claim would even be true, there would be tons of reliable sources backing it up, but they do not exist. - LouisAragon (talk) 19:20, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
What IS verifiable however, and what should be added to the article, as its currently lacking, is that Persians once lived in a way wider area, including C. Asia and the Caucasus, regions which produced many of the most noted ethnic Persians of the Medieval era (some of which have already been mentioned by name here). - LouisAragon (talk) 19:25, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
@LouisAragon: It's funny that you and Rye-96 cite WP:OR so much but then turn around and exactly suggest a self-formulated narrative. What you're proposing is that the Persians lived in a much wider geographic area before, and then had some kind of colony collapse event occur in Khorassan and beyond and that's why they're all concentrated in modern-day Iran? Give me a break. Do I even have to ask for a source on this proposal or is it not that obvious that it's a funny story you made up? The more logical thing that happened (and the more obviously likely) is that those Persians that were living there, stayed there and make up the majority of the Persian identity of the region today--and the Persianized element is a minor factor (albeit significant, yes). There was no scifi mass exodus or whatever else you're suggesting.

570ad (talk) 21:20, 29 December 2016 (UTC)

@570ad: If you haven't already, read my previous comments. I did not and do not insist on anything that's unsourced or self-formulated. You can definitely bring up about the portions you consider self-formulated, and I'll give my comment just like the issues discussed above.
Rye-96 (talk) 09:22, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
  • OK, I checked some reliable sources and I think LouisAragon and Rye-96 are right. In most of reliable sources, Tajiks are distinguished from Persians. For example, in the Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East, Tajiks are clearly distinguished from Persians and were discussed separately. And also the article of Iranica distinguishes between Tajiks and Persians ("...Tajiks of Afghanistan and Persians of Iran"). -- Kouhi (talk) 00:50, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

@Kouhi: Tajik and Persian have been used as synonyms throughout history. That's why the heritage of Central Asia, the heritage of Rumi, Ibn Sina, Al Biruni (who could still speak his native Khwarezmian language) is also considered the heritage of Iranian Persians. From the same article on Tajiks:

"By the eleventh century (Yusof Ḵāṣṣ-ḥājeb, Qutadḡu bilig, lines 280, 282, 3265) the Qarakhanid Turks applied this term more specifically to the Persian Muslims in the Oxus basin and Khorasan, who were variously the Turks’ rivals, models, overlords (under the Samanid Dynasty), and subjects (from Ghaznavid times on). Persian writers of the Ghaznavid, Seljuq and Atābak periods (ca. 1000–1260) adopted the term and extended its use to cover Persians in the rest of Iran, now under Turkish rule, as early as the poet ʿOnṣori, ca. 1025 (Dabirsiāqi, pp. 3377, 3408). Iranians soon accepted it as an ethnonym, as is shown by a Persian court official’s referring to mā tāzikān “we Tajiks” (Bayhaqi, ed. Fayyāz, p. 594). The distinction between Turk and Tajik became stereotyped to express the symbiosis and rivalry of the (ideally) nomadic military executive and the urban civil bureaucracy (Niẓām al-Molk: tāzik, pp. 146, 178-79; Fragner, “Tādjīk. 2” in EI2 10, p. 63).

In Il-khanid and Timurid Persian literature, and into the Safavid period, the term was routinely used in the context of a Turkish or Turco-Mongol ruling elite to distinguish Persians in general (as state functionaries, merchants, urban artisans, and rural peasants) from Turks and Mongols. Examples may be seen in Rašid-al-Din (1310; Tāriḵ-e ḡāzāni, ed. Jahn): bitikčiān-e tāzik ‘Persian secretaries,’ p. 282; raʿiyat-e tāzik ‘the Persian peasantry,’ p. 296; Sayf-e Haravi (ca. 1320): tāžik, of an individual, pp. 101-102; ʿAwfi (1333; Lobāb, ed. Nafisi): tāzik, p. 562, the plural tāžikān, p. 101; Mirḵʷānd (d. 1498); nesbat ba-mardom-e tāzik ‘toward the Tajik people,’ Tehran, Vol. 5, p. 137 (see also Fragner in EI2; and for hundreds of citations of all forms of the word in Persian literature, see Dabirsiāqi, pp. 3374-3403)."

Now how do you want to address this?

One way to resolve this could be the following: when readers are reading articles on medieval Persian heritage the word "Persian" should link to a disambiguation page with a brief description and the link to this current article (renamed to Iranian Persians) and the article on Tajiks-- at the very least this should be done for articles on the Persian heritage of Central Asia which is directly linked to modern day Tajiks.

570ad raised a good point that no one addressed. I'm putting the disputed tags up because this hasn't been resolved. There are a lot of people who have raised issues with the way this article has been redone and it will continue to be a problem until its properly addressed. (talk) 13:44, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

@Kouhi: Consensus is when all parties involved come to an agreement—I would hardly call three people agreeing with each other "coming to a consensus." One of the core issues here is the erroneous claims of the (for argument's sake) "Persian-speaking communities of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan" today being simply "Persianized" communities vs. actually being the continuation of the historical Persian communities of the region. Afghanistan and Tajikistan are modern states, no one here denies this, however, the land and people were an integral part of Greater Khorasan/Greater Iran, and when the historical figures of this region (e.g., Rumi, Rudaki, ibn Sina, etc.) are considered fully Persian, yet their descendants are merely "Persianized," therein lies the fundamental problem that has implications far beyond just this article alone. At present, this article fails to address these issues in any way (hence the {Multiple Issues} templates--in fact, a lot has been removed from the article over the past several months, further adding to the problem). Until these issues are resolved here and an actual consensus reached, the tags ought to remain. —570ad (talk) 23:17, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

@ Your suggestion has its own issues, it sounds WP:OR, pov and personal analysis. Linking some Persians to a disambiguation page confuses readers again. Linking person X to a dis... page and person Y to this article?! Per what? Asking our readers to decide about them?! I assure if someone does it, other editors will revert his/her edits and they may report him/her too. It's similar to those nationalistic pov-pushers who tried/try to remove Persian from some medieval people articles or link it to irrelevant non-ethnic articles (e.g. Persia). Wikipedia readers wants clear info and we're not here to write our very own researchers. And which historian used "X Persian" to describe Persians from different regions? They just use Persian and it's clear enough. We can't change their works based on our personal opinions. We can't invent new terms. We can't categorize some people as Persian and some people as Persian-speaking/Persianized based on their region. For example, when you read Rumi, there is nothing unclear about his background. We can't manipulate sourced texts and insert our povs. Another example that I found this on Tajiks -> Tajiks#Name: "According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, however, the oldest known usage of the word Tajik as a reference to Persians in Persian literature can be found in the writings of the Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi. The 15th century Turkic-speaking poet Mīr Alī Šer Navā'ī also used Tajik as a reference to Persians. An example for the usage of the word Tajik in Persian literature is, for example, the writing of Sa'adi..." Saadi (a Persian from Iran/Persia) identified himself as Tajik. Now what? Was he Persian/Persian-speaking/Persianized? Or because he used the term Tajik is his poets, was his background from Central Asia? As you see, only sources matter not our povs. As I said in my above comments, these current issues are related to this article not other articles. We should fix them here and add necessary info. @570ad: If we don't reach a consensus within 1 week (until 2017-01-22), please ask for WP:THIRDOPINION or WP:DRN. --Wario-Man (talk) 07:48, 15 January 2017 (UTC)

@Wario-Man: Rather than reinvent the wheel from scratch, what I suggest is that we go through some of the previous versions of the article and see what they contained that we could build on. I will try to look through these earlier versions and compile a list of edit proposals. Thanks. —570ad (talk) 19:03, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

@Wario-Man: I know Tajik and Persian are synonymous, that was my point. I only made the distinction because people like Rye-96 are claiming Persians are only found in Iran. Persians in Iran and Central Asia were considered the same people historically, as your references show. By all means suggest a better idea if you have one. (talk) 22:49, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

You two (570AD + IP) still haven't shown a single reference that shows that the two present day ethnic groups, as we know them, are interchangeable in definition. On the other hand, ALL academia (e.g. Iranica) specialized on these matters make a clear distinction, as demonstrated, between Persians and Tajiks, in terms of the present-day ethnic groups. With regard to this, you are both implying extreme WP:OR and self-made interpretation, just because you apparently "feel" something is correct, and "want" it to be correct. In my opinion (we all agreed that there are certain other issues with the article that have to be addressed), we've reached a clear WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT and WP:COMPETENCE point regarding this matter, and I'm afraid it's not gonna change either. You haven't presented any sources that explicitly state that the present-day ethnic groups are the same, hence, you can't make the proposed changes you both are apparently ardent supporters of. It's dead simple really. - LouisAragon (talk) 05:30, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
I'd also like to stipulate (even though I'm sure he's at pains to make it seem as if he never said it), user "570AD" called us "idiots" right here on this talk page. This attests even moreso of a clear editorial problem. He should be glad he wasn't reported already instantly back then, and even more importantly, that we're still replying to him here. - LouisAragon (talk) 05:30, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

The issue of Persian ethnicity is not as clear cut as you are trying to portray by upholding the article’s current version and preventing any improvements to it. This is the core of the issue—one that myself, along with Wario-Man (talk · contribs) and have been trying to address here. I’m not sure why you keep claiming that editors here are hoping to push how we “feel”?? The core of the issue is that there is literally no mention of the Persian presence in Afghanistan and Tajikistan/Central Asia anywhere in the article. As has been mentioned several times earlier, when readers are on a page of a Persian figure such as Rudaki, there is a reference to Persian poet, however, when they venture to this page, there is absolutely no mention of anything relating to the poet’s birthplace. I’m getting a bit tired of repeating this, but Greater Khorasan is the birthplace of countless historical figures that have made immeasurable contributions to the overall Persian identity. All you have offered as an explanation was a silly statement that “Persians once lived in a way wider area, including C. Asia and the Caucasus”—and then what? They disappeared? They colonized the area, Persianized it, then left en masse? This is, unequivocally, a textbook self-formulated theory violating WP:POV; your statement takes the cake for this.

You have a personal agenda with any mention of modern-day Afghanistan and Tajikistan/Central Asia as is made abundantly clear by the fact that you removed Tajiks as a related people from the infobox. Tajiks, who even by your standards, are a separate Iranian people that speak Persian as their mother tongue and have Persian cultural practices just like in Iran, you remove, yet you leave in that same infobox Azerbaijanis, who are not even an Iranian people—they are of Turkic origin. I don’t know if you yourself see the agenda you’ve been pushing.

Anyway, in previous versions, this article clearly explained that Persian identity and ethnicity are not as straightforward as they are in other cases, and are more complex than the concept of ethnicity exists in Western contexts. This is an exact excerpt from the wording that is nowhere to be seen in the current version:

While a categorization of a "Persian" ethnic group persists in the West, Persians have generally been a pan-national group often comprising regional people who often refer to themselves as 'Persians' and have also often used the term "Iranian" (in the ethnic-cultural sense). As a pan-national group, defining Persians as an ethnic group, at least in terms used in the West, is not inclusive since the ethnonym "Persian" includes several Iranian people including the speakers of Modern Persian. Some scholars, classify the speakers of Persian language as a single ethnic unit (the ‘Persians’) and exclude those Iranians who speak dialects of Persian, or other Iranian dialects closely related to Persian; however this approach to ethnicity in Iran is erroneous, since the designation Iranian (Irani) as an ethnic term has been used by all these ethnic group in Iran, including the "Persians" irrespective of their origin, language and religion.

See the complexity? Where is this addressed anywhere in the current state of the article?

A while ago, I offered a more accurate lede to the article, stating that, “Persians are an Iranian ethnic group native to the landmass of the ancient Persian Empire that chiefly makes up today’s Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, as well as the southern parts of Turkic Central Asia and who share a common Persian ancestry and cultural system.” But mentioning anything outside of modern Iran is taboo, so it was removed. Do we want to improve the article content or not? A lot of the source material used here deals almost exclusively with Iran, and anything else presented is shot down, as well as any effort to highlight the complexity of the ethnicity issue of Persians as a pan-national group of people. I’m not sure you realize that the ties that bind Persian people are not just ethnic, but also linguistic, cultural, historical, identical, geographical and political (which I tried to highlight, but gain, it was removed; see "IRANIAN FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS TAJIKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN DURING THE AHMADINEJAD PRESIDENCY: THE RISING SALIENCE OF PERSIAN NATIONAL IDENTITY". Journal of Central Asian & Caucasian Studies. 7 (13): 73. 2012."). Persian peoples have their own customs, their own language, architecture, art, literature, music, dance, media, cuisine, dress, society, mythology, etc. etc. etc.

It has nothing to do with “wants” or “feelings;” it's about dispelling confusion that will result from the previously mentioned issues.

But as always, you have nothing to contribute except repeating and repeating and repeating the same few sentences or instead bringing up irrelevant issues that contribute nothing to the article. When the issues with the article were first brought up, all you seemed to fixate on is my edit count! Are we counting dollars and measuring sizes or are we trying to improve this thing?? If something valid is brought up, is the edit count really relevant?? Feel free to report me for that time I was frustrated because all the guy replies with was 2 sentences to the discussion, you are entirely free to do so.

So let’s go ahead and bring in neutral third opinions to the article to help clear this up, since you’re clearly unwilling to work in a positive direction. —570ad (talk) 15:11, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

@LouisAragon: The article is not just about present day Persians, it is also about Persian people historically-- further compounded by the fact that when people click on the ethnicity link from a medieval Persian figure like Rudaki, it links to this page.

So the fact that Tajiks were (and still are) synonymous with Persians throughout history is important in and of itself, because it would mean that Tajiks were historically referred to as Persians (and vice versa), and therefore should be strongly featured in this article- an article on Persians throughout time, not just the present day. (talk) 21:23, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

Exactly. I think at the very least, we should touch on the complexities of the term. For example, in its strictest sense, Persian is a Persian speaker from modern day Iran, as what the article is largely focused on currently. But in other pages, it has a much broader usage than this. For example, it's basically used as any citizen from modern day Iran, regardless of their actual ethnic background (e.g., Kurd, Jew, etc.).
But realistically, Persian is an ethnolinguistic-cultural/historical term, so this is one of the reasons this article needs to be improved, which can be achieved by expanding on the term's different usages as it refers to the different people in the region. —570ad (talk) 02:44, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Multiple Issues[edit]

Update: Until we can sort out this mess above, a {multiple issues} template should be placed to alert readers of the significant issues with the article they're reading. —570ad (talk) 02:10, 13 January 2017 (UTC)

Request for comment on complexity of the Persian identity[edit]

The ambit of the RFC is way too broad and has failed to attract even a minimal discussion.Please reframe the RFC in a more objective manner.Winged Blades Godric 13:06, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The current article content is far too restrictive in its dealing with the Persian people accurately. We are seeking commentary from neutral third parties to help improve the article so as to avoid any confusion readers may have about the Persian people, past and present. Thank you in advance. —570ad (talk) 15:17, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Update discussion[edit]

@Rye-96, Wario-Man, LouisAragon, ZxxZxxZ, Kouhi, Tiptoethrutheminefield, and Hi all, I've made a few changes to the article hoping to address the many issues we've been discussing for the past several months now. Let's please continue the discussion here of any improvements or issues that anyone has with the article from the past and from the recent changes I just made, as well as anything else that still hasn't been addressed and needs to be taken care of.

Thanks in advance! —570ad (talk) 00:55, 10 March 2017 (UTC)

Brief note: I think the lede could definitely benefit from a revision. As @ZxxZxxZ: pointed out, things like long listing of specific fields of arts don't need to be listed out individually as they were before their removal; it could also be expanded to include other areas, since Persians contributed to many more fields in addition to the arts. —570ad (talk) 05:23, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
You're missing the point, 570ad. First and foremost, you need to come up with some valid references which can back up your statements. You cannot drop those unsourced and self-formulated material in front of the existing citations and get away with it.
As the "native to X" part was criticized about, and since it lacked any source, it must've been removed.
The idea of considering Tajiks equal to the modern-day Persian ethnic group is still lacking any accurate source; an yet there is a clear distinction between the two groups, as defined through modern-day sources and statistics.
The historical usage of the words Tajik and Persian, however, are definitely relevant to this article, and need to be included.
Rye-96 (talk) 13:10, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
Ethnicities and religions in Iran.png

Thanks for the comment Rye-96. If we look at this map of the ethnic distribution of Iran, where do any sources state that the Persian ethnic group abruptly discontinues at the border to the east of the country? Historically, there was no such border for many centuries in this area, this is the logic behind the trans-national character of the Persian people, and why stating in the article that they are uniquely in modern-day Iran is completely flawed and inaccurate. The burden of citing ethnic studies showing that indeed there is a sudden halt to the Persian people right at this modern eastern Iranian border also falls on your shoulders for promoting this notion, which I argue is lacking any credible sources, thus, shouldn't be pushed forward as a hard-fact in the article.

Are the people in each of the three Persian countries distinct from one another? Of course–there is no argument there. But, so are the people within each country. The eastern Iranian Persians in Mashhad are not the exact same as the western Iranians of Tehran, for instance, and it is a known fact that Mashhadis share closer historical ties with the people of Herat to the east than they do with their western counterparts. It is modern-day borders that separated a once united people, which is what the article needs to address. The current state is far too restrictive in its dealing with Persian identity. Although it has improved, I admit, but much still needs to be done. —570ad (talk) 14:33, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

@Rye-96. An alternative lede can be the following. If you refer to the German and Austrian article, they have a similar problem and have adopted this approach. With the following, we establish that 1) Persians in Iran and Afghanistan/Tajikistan are now classified differently but 2) historically they were the same people.

The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group native to Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. They share a common cultural system and are native speakers of the Persian language, as well as closely related languages.

The ancient Persians were originally a nomadic branch of the ancient Iranian population who entered modern-day Iran by the early 10th century BC. Together with their compatriot allies, they established and ruled some of the world's most powerful empires, well-recognized for their massive cultural, political and social influence covering much of the territory and population of the ancient world.

Throughout history, the Persians have contributed greatly to various forms of art. They own one of the world's prominent literary traditions, and have also left influences in architectural and scientific concepts.

Today, people of Persian heritage living outside of Iran in Afghanistan and Tajikistan are referred to as "Tajiks" and may or may not also self-identify as ethnically Persian—however, it is to be noted that the terms Tajik and Persian were historically synonyms and used interchangeably. (talk) 15:56, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

@570ad: The remark regarding the "eastern Iranian Persians in Mashhad" is correct. If not reverted already, there is currently a brief mention to the fact that the variety of Persian spoken in Khorasan is close to the one spoken by the Aimaq. And it could be expanded if needed.
What we need is accurate and relevant information extracted from some reliable sources, rather than some unsourced or first-hand material which definitely leads to numerous edit wars.
@ There's nothing to discuss and decide about as long as the primary issue with these statements is that they lack sources.
Rye-96 (talk) 16:54, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
@Rye-96: this article is not just about Persians in the modern day, but Persians historically. Tajiks were historically known as Persians. Sources have been provided. This fact is pretty important. It should be mentioned in the lede, not a footnote hidden away in the article. I suggest putting in the lede: "Today, people of Persian heritage living outside of Iran in Afghanistan and Tajikistan are referred to as Tajiks; however, it is to be noted that the terms Tajik and Persian were historically synonyms and used interchangeably." (talk) 18:04, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

@Rye-96: I've made a few updates based on this discussion, please check them when you get a chance. I think it is moving in the right general direction. As for the note on Mashhadis, I did not see it in there. When I have more time, I will try to go though past edits and see if it can be found in there and resurrected. I've also put back the line from Ibn Battuta, which was removed recently. This is a relevant piece of information that goes along with the usage history narrative in that section. —570ad (talk) 13:15, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Is there a source that says that the Persian-speakers (incl. Hazaras) of the nations called Afghanistan and Tajikistan are "Persians?" - LouisAragon (talk) 15:12, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
The stuff about the historic usage of Persian and Tajik looks fine. I've got some more material to add to that. Also, don't forget that Khorasan included major parts of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as well. - LouisAragon (talk) 15:13, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
This is a tricky one, since the Persians of Khorasan are much alike some Persians of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The Persian-speakers of Herat, for example, are more to close to Khorasani Persians than the Persian-speakers of Afghanistan. Historically 'Tajik' used to be a synonym with 'Persian', and many prominent Persians called themselves Tajks, especially during the medieval period and apparently even under the Safavids. However it is a different thing in this day. --HistoryofIran (talk) 15:30, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
Ethnicities and religions in Iran.png
@LouisAragon: As mentioned earlier, this article is not exclusively about modern-day Persians living in today's Iran. Once again, please refer to the point I brought up above about the ethnic map of Iran (reposting here). Replying with a question is not an answer, as you did. Does it make any logical sense to you that Persians abruptly stop existing at this eastern border? Why is it so hard to accept that Persians do indeed make up the bulk of the Persian element of Central Asia given that they have been in the region for centuries? The history of Persians itself tells us about their movements and where they settled, their conquests, etc. It was these Khorasani Persians (yes, in today's Afghanistan/Central Asia) that spread Persian culture to South Asia into India, giving rise to the Moghul dynasties and their achievements (Taj Mahal, etc.) and these Khorasani Persians of Central Asia are responsible for the huge presence of Persian vocabulary in Hindi and Urdu that have retained their eastern (Dari) pronunciation because of being brought there from Khorasan. What sources say anything contrary to the history? I think you are confusing the Indian subcontinent's Persian history with that of Central Asia's; true, the Persians in India integrated wholly into the general stratum of Indian population throughout centuries, whereas the Persians of Central Asia (particularly in Afghanistan and Tajikistan) have retained their Persian identity. You seem to think this people merely adopted the Persian culture, but the truth is, they have been active contributors to Persian identity, as proven by the countless historical Persians that were born there.
I have not brought up Hazaras once the entire several months of this discussion–yet you keep mentioning them as if the entire argument is about them, when it's not. And your edit note, "797 times," lol, please chill. —570ad (talk) 23:10, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Just to add to what 570ad and HistoryofIran said: The inhabitants of Herat, stretching to ancient Bactria (Balkh) on the east, were an extension of the population of the present-day Iranian provinces of Khurasan, and from the time of the Achaemenid empire these 'upper provinces' had a unity, probably ethnic as well as cultural (pg. 35, The History of Ancient Iran, Richard N. Frye). (talk) 21:16, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Well there was no such thing as a Persian population in Khorasan under the Achaemenids, if that's what you mean. The region was still populated by Eastern Iranians back then. I honestly doubt that the Persians even were a majority in Pars/Fars at that time, not by a large margin at least. It was after the Arab conquests the Persianization of the Iranian population started, and it seems to have been pretty much completed under Samanids, per [2], which I wrote in the Samanid Empire article;
Under the Samanid Empire, the Zarafshan valley, Kashka Darya and Usrushana were populated by Sogdians; Tukharistan by the Bactrians; Khwarezm by the Khwarazmians; the Ferghana valley by the Ferghanans; southern Khorasan by Khorasanians; and the Pamir mountains and its surroundings by the Saka and other early Iranian peoples. All these groups were of Iranian ethnicity and spoke dialects of Middle Iranian and New Persian. In the words of Negmatov, "they were the basis for the emergence and gradual consolidation of what became an Eastern Persian-Tajik ethnic identity."
You could say the modern-day Tajiks are Persians, but as a subgroup. They're not the same as the Persians in Iran. You don't see Tajiks and Dari-speakers going around and calling themselves Persian either. Honestly I think many Dari-speakers in Afghanistan would be pissed if you called them for Persian. Historically however Tajik was a synonym with Persian, but that's another story. --HistoryofIran (talk) 23:36, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
@HistoryofIran: Thank you for that comment, it was very, very informative and definitely helped shed some light on the issue. One question that seems to always linger in this discussion is what about the descendants of the historical Persian figures that came from the east, far beyond modern Iran's even easternmost borders of Mashhad? I am speaking of people like Rudaki, Rumi, ibn Sina, and so on. And what about the fact that the modern Persian language and literature, such as Persian poetry essentially bloomed outside of Iran in Khorasan? What is the explanation for the idea (that is currently being pushed by LouisA and Rye) that the aforementioned people were Persians, but their descendants who make up the bulk of the Persian-speaking communities of these regions are not Persian? I get what you're saying, but it would also imply that people like Rumi, Rudaki, etc. were probably Persian-speakers vs. being ethnically Persian as defined by LouisA and Rye, who have no way to resolve this discrepancy; they simply dismiss the argument and say, "Well, those people from back then were Persians, but the people living there in the same lands today are not Persians." This is probably the biggest issue with the article and we need to fully resolve it together. Your input definitely helped, but the question still lingers: Who made up the bulk of the people of "Khorasan Bozorg" and if it was Persians, where did they go? —570ad (talk) 00:29, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
@570ad:, thanks for reverting yourself. That's indeed a proper gesture to show that you want to keep it productive! ; ) The thing is, that the reliable sources don't call them Persian. Because no such source exists. I know I've asked and said this numerous times, but its because every time, you give us the feeling that you're evading it by giving (historically correct, I will add) anekdotes. We are only allowed to edit according to the reliable sources. Its really a fundamental principle of Wikipedia, and we are ought to stick to it. Hence, Wikipedia considers that it's not our job to fill in the answer to "where they did go" (referring to the last sentence of your previous response). Our opinion accounts for basically nothing here. Yes, historically, the terminations were used interchangeably, and historically (from the late Medieval era) they were used to denote the same thing. We all agree about that, we proved it, and there are many sources that back this up. But to say that the "Persian-speakers of Afghanistan and Tajikistan" or the "Tajiks of Afghanistan and Tajikistan" are Persians is unsourced WP:OR, as it stands. Simply and only because no source backs this up. HistoryofIran mentioned the same thing correctly. We really need to explicitly stick to the sources, please keep this in mind. We're starting to do well though, I will add! - LouisAragon (talk) 03:10, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Ok guys, I think this edit is pretty good (made by IP 77.xx). I think its even justified to call it simply spot on.[3] @HistoryofIran, I believe it basically covers that what we both mean, what do you think? It sticks well to the source too, as well as the other sources that are to be found about this. What should we do about Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan though?
I noticed btw, that the article is missing a lot of important information about the historic Persian communities of Shirvan/Arran (present-day Azerbaijan), southern Dagestan, Mesopotamia (Iraq), as well as of Asia Minor. Outside of Fars/Pars, many of these communities far pre-date any noteworthy communities elsewhere. Enc. Iranica has numerous proper articles about this matter, for a start. - LouisAragon (talk) 03:10, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Another useful source that adds to the already (verifiably correct) statements; H. F. Schurmann, The Mongols of Afghanistan: an Ethnography of the Moghols and Related Peoples of Afghanistan. The Hague: Mouton, 1962: [4]; p. 75: "... the Tajiks of Western Afghanistan [are] roughly the same as the Khûrâsânî Persians on the other side of the line ..." - LouisAragon (talk) 03:14, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Well we have to take note that most of the Tajik-Persian population of Khorasan and Transoxiana was massacred by Genghis Khans genocidal army, and was settled by many Turks/Mongols who become Persianized, whilst Iranians from Iran also settled there. But yeah then again the Khorasani Persians resemble more the Persians of Afghanistan/Tajikistan than the Western Persians. As I said, it's a very tricky one. But ya even the Persian language we today speak in Iran has been heavy influenced by Eastern Iranian languages, hence why even the most pure words in Persian are quite different from other Iranian languages that have much more in common with each other. The most 'pure' active Persian language today is Lori, which is funnily almost mutually intelligible to the Kurdish spoken in Iran. Btw this is a interesting read [5]. --HistoryofIran (talk) 14:24, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

It's a step towards the right direction, but I was waiting for some kind of consensus here before making further edits which are still necessary. @HistoryofIran. Central Asia was heavily Turkified, but I want to point out that the Tajik-Persian population still exist there. Turko-Mongols who were Persianized are now called Hazaras. They are distinguishable from Tajiks from their phenotype and dialect and they do not consider themselves Persian or Iranian. (talk) 20:09, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

Look at the Uzbeks and Tajiks for example, many of them have the same Asiatic features, which is rare among Western Persians (more common among Khorasani Persians though). Saying Hazaras are the only Persian-speaking people who are descendants of Turko-Mongols is incorrect. Many Transoxian/Khorasan cities such as Bukhara and Samarkand were depopulated and destroyed. Of course, the Tajik-Persian population which was descended from the Eastern Iranians still exist, but not by a very large margin, although not by a small margin either I think. --HistoryofIran (talk) 20:17, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Not to digress too much from the actual discussion, but this is a common misconception we have in Iran that "Afghanis" (as a collective term grouping them all together, regardless of actual ethnic background) is that they are "Asian/Mongol," and this is simply not true. I'm not sure of the exact numbers of the ethnic makeup of Afghan refugees in Iran, it's possible that Hazaras outnumber the others, but inside Afghanistan, they're a minority. There are genetic studies done on them and several other groups in the region that compared their DNA with that of the "average" Mongol DNA and it showed a very high fidelity (the most similarity in fact outside of Mongolia!). But other groups that were studied did not have as high genetic similarity. So the notion that Tajiks are "Mongoloid" is simply incorrect. There is a history of intermixing, yes, but overall, the groups of people have kind of stayed within their own ethnicity for the most part, which explains why Hazaras as a group are so "genetically pure."
In Iran, there are also people who look like Hazaras or "Asian" looking, such as Khodadad Azizi as a famous example, but they're only a small part of the overall racial makeup of the country. Most Persian speakers of Afghanistan can range from blond/red-hair, blue/green eyes to very dark features (some even look like Indians), but this is the exact same thing in Iran. I have met Iranians who look darker than Ghandi, but also have met others that look "European," and both are the "same" people, though their features are very different physically. The average look between Persian speakers in Iran and Afghanistan is the same in my experience. They're not really distinguishable from one another if don't have other clues that help identify their background (e.g., clothing, accent, behavior, etc.). —570ad (talk) 00:42, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

@LouisAragon: All historical Persian figures - including and especially those from regions traditionally inhabited by Tajiks (i.e. Tajikistan as well as Merv, Samarkand, Bukhara, Balkh, Herat etc) - link to this page. This page has (wrongly) been restyled as an article on Persians in modern day Iran, despite Persians in Afghanistan and Central Asia contributing a massive amount to the Persian language, culture and identity.

Writing "the east" is too vague. The east where? India? China? Why skirt around naming the countries, if they are an important part of the article? You vetoed 570ad's edit, which comprised of including the countries in the first line, so I suggested this new edit instead. It's an important part of the article as it clarifies the distinction between Persians in Iran vs Afghanistan and Central Asia. If you negate every attempt to address issues on the Talk page, they'll remain unresolved which will just lead to endless edit warring by future users.

If you're asking why Afghanistan is mentioned separate from "southern Central Asia", it's because it's not a Central Asian country ergo it has to be mentioned separately.

The body itself doesn't mention Afghanistan/Central Asia because the distinction regarding Persians/Tajiks are clarified in the lede, so there's no need to elaborate a great deal in the body. Although, I don't mind elaborating in the body if you want.

In any case, it's a minor edit that doesn't need reverting over such an unsubstantial reason. (talk) 23:21, 29 March 2017 (UTC)


Article is so convoluted it makes no sense. Article needs a complete overhaul, one hopefully that puts to rest the idea that "Persian" people aren't just plain old fashioned Iranians.

Norwegians don't call themselves 'Vikings' and Italians don't call themselves 'Romans'. I think I pretty much made my point.

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