She understood too much. Maybe that is why she took her own life. No more she must have thought. She belonged to a generation madly in love with literature, music and arts, that could not hate the way our glorious revolutionaries and Islamists do.
One day long ago in her unique way she came up with one of her nuggets which for some inexplicable reason has stuck with me over the years. She said the Mullahs are the same Mobeds [Magi] who reinvented themselves!
A long time has gone by, my memory is shot and I don't have her mastery of Adabiat and history, but her reasoning went something like this: the Magi were a caste (similar to the Iranian Mollahs who for example tend to marry within themselves). After the invasion of Arabs, they must have learnt Arabic, converted to Islam, changed their appearance and reinvented themselves as Akhoonds!
I have been searching on and off to see if I can find anything to corroborate her theory. Unfortunately, aside from the interminably boring theological books (probably written by the same re-invented charlatans) there seems to be no proper history of clergy in Iran. Most unbiased ‘histories’ start with the Safavid period and are concerned with Shia clergy.
Looking up Magi in Iranica makes the reader doubt existence itself, as they seem incapable of saying anything definitively about the Magi. Surprisingly the only emphatic statement these so called experts make is the Magi were not a caste! Yet they admit the Magi were pretty much segregated from the rest of the society, marrying within themselves, not mixing and having certain rights such as performing religious rites, if that is not a caste then what is?
So I turned to the Google and tried various searches on history of Magi, Mobed and any spelling variation I could think of. It was pointless. To date I have not found anything factual. But I did find something different yet related in a book by Shirin Samii about life under the Shah (written originally in French. The English translation was published in 2012 and translated into Persian also). Shirin Samii recounts her experience with Algerians and other Arab university friends in France. She compares their application of Islam to their daily lives compared to us Iranians and her conclusion about Iranians was electrifying:
…there exists between you and your Arab friends a very noticeable difference in culture and a very different approach to Islam. You understand that secularism is totally absent from their society. They are Muslim to the core. For them Islam is a not a doctrine to assimilate. It is part of their soul and being. They breather Islam. The live Islam and speak the language of Koran and do not need translators. They integrate it naturally. They are in osmosis with its religion and its language, without any effort, whereas in Iran and for Iranians it is different. They cannot directly establish this link and need intermediaries. A whole cast of Mullahs holds this privileged position. Surprisingly, this cast maintains itself. Since the Medes, and despite all the changes that happened throughout history, Iran maintains its religious cast almost intact. It is as if the Mobed, the Zoroastrian priests, have morphed into Mullahs.