Short Story Article


Thursday, August 1, 2019

Artwork by Niki Zarrabi

Story by Elnaz Moghangard

Roya is a coming-of-age fiction novel about a young Iranian-American woman navigating loss, love, identity, purpose and renewal. Generational differences have distanced Roya from her more traditional parents. A recent heartbreak has left her feeling like an expat in her own body. Unwilling to face the responsibilities and decisions of her present reality, she finds herself trapped in a mental limbo. As she embarks on a trip to Iran for the first time with her grandmother, Roya experiences a country that is undergoing its own transformation ––a rich culture in the midst of navigating tradition and modernity. A vacation that Roya believes will be an escape from her problems turns out to become the antidote for her awakening. But before she can begin healing, she must first face the generational wounds of her past with the help of some unexpected encounters.


The next afternoon, they walk past the burgundy albalootrees and enter the covered patio. Roya grabs the pitcher of pomegranate sharbat, pours some in a cup and addswater. The dense syrup is still too sweet for her taste buds.

“Would you like to help me in the garden for a bit before we eat?” Khanoom Jaan reaches for a sparewatering pot.

“Sure. I’d love to.” They walk around the patio back under the open air.

“So Roya, what are you studying in school?

“Well, I’m in my third year of undergraduate school.”

“University, right?”

“Yes, university. Right now I’m studying pre-medicine.”

“And then?”

“And then I become a doctor.”

“And then?”

“Then, I spend the rest of my life as Dr. Roya”

“And then?”

“Well, then I get married, have kids and wait until they’re teenagers so they can tell me I’m being annoying.” Roya lets out a playful laugh.

The old woman smiles with her eyes amused by the young girl sitting before her. “Sounds like a wonderful plan then!”

Click here to read full story on Tirgan Publications

History & Literature Article

Historical Consequences of Patriotic Leadership

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Northeastern Illinois University proudly keeps the legacy of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh alive by awarding scholarships name after him. When students apply for the Mossadegh scholarships they learn about servant leadership.  Similarly, the public learns about the significance of the late Iranian prime minister when they attend the annual Mossadegh Servant Leaders lecture, which highlights and connects public service with current sociopolitical challenges following his motto of “I am servant of the people.” Mossadegh Hall is the only academic space in the world named after the patriot. Students study and discuss their plans for the future under the full view of his name and portraits. For millions of Iranians across the world the name Mossadegh is synonymous with dutiful patriotism, independence with dignity, and Chicago is first to publicly recognize him. For many Americans he’s an unknown figure but once they hear and read about him they are struck by his accomplishments.

The great grandson of Iran’s reformist Qajar prince, Abbas Mirza, Mohammad Mossadegh was born on June 16, 1882 in Tehran to Mirza Hedayat Ashtiani a finance minister and Najm al-Saltaneh. In 1909 he married Zahra Khanom, one of Nasir al-Din Shah’s granddaughters and soon after attended college abroad and studied political science and law in France and then in Switzerland where he received his doctorate in 1913. Upon his return to Iran he briefly taught at Tehran School of Political Science and then held various posts in government.  He served as Member of Parliament, governor of Fars and Azerbaijan, and justice, finance, and foreign minister at different periods.

Food Article

Cooking Along the Silk Route With Shayma Saadat

Thursday, July 25, 2019


Shayma Saadat is a Canadian chef based in Toronto. She is also an internationally published food writer whose  work focuses on food, culture and identity (Globe and Mail, BBC, New York Times, CBC, Toronto Star, among  others). Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Shayma is a Pakistani-Afghan with Persian ancestry, who grew up all over the  world as the daughter of an international development banker. Shayma was most recently seen cooking on CTV’s  Your Morning, and has been invited to host culinary workshops and talks for clients all over Toronto, (LCBO,  George Brown College, Loblaw’s, University of Toronto, Evergreen Brick Works, among others). Shayma’s  cooking style is based on the scents and spices of the countries of her heritage, which she refers to as Silk Route  Cuisine — she loves to combine these flavours with the local bounty of her home in Canada.

Join Shayma Saadat at Tirgan 2019 cooking workshop as she shares her stories and culinary secrets behind the food of her Pakistani, Afghan and Persian heritage, which she refers to as Silk Route cuisine. Inspired by the scents and flavours of her mother and grandmothers’ kitchens, Shayma will create dishes using seasonally and locally sourced ingredients from her home in Ontario. “In cookery, there should be no borders,” Shayma says. Her philosophy is simple: to inspire all of you to leave the workshop feeling excited about cooking dishes using local ingredients and spices from the Silk Route. There will be pairings of peaches and saffron; candy-sweet tomatoes and sumagh; and more!

Photo Credit: Shayma Saadat

What are your ties to the Persian culture? 

My father tells me that my grandmother, Shameem Saadat, whom I called Mader, was the granddaughter of Syed Nadir Ali Shah, a Sufi saint from Khorasan, in Iran. He travelled from his home in Iran to present-day Pakistan, to spread the Sufi word, and fell in love with a hazel-eyed girl, married her, and ended up spending the rest of his life in Lahore. That hazel-eyed girl was Mader’s grandmother. Mader was one of the first women in Pakistan to obtain an MA in Economics in 1938—she went on to become a civil servant, a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a fabulous and curious cook. Though Mader was an avid cook, she was not one to enter the kitchen on a daily basis, plus, her expertise did not lie in Pakistani cuisine—she loved to make aioli in her precious Moulinex blender; bronzed apple pies on the granite counter in her Lahore kitchen; and lasagne with nutmeg-spiked bechamel.  I had always heard stories of Mader’s Persian ancestry, but it was only after I moved to Toronto that I became keenly interested in exploring more about where her family—my family—had come from. By the time I came to know more, Mader was long gone.  I started my journey…

Click here to read full interview on Tirgan Publications