Ubeyd Zakani

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Ubeyd Zakani (1370 – 1371), was a Persian poet and satirist of the 14th century (Timurid Period) from the city of Qazvin. He studied in Shiraz, Iran under the best masters of his day, but eventually moved back to his native town of Qazvin. While pursuing his studies in Shiraz Ubayd became one of the most accomplished men of letters and learning of his time, acquiring complete proficiency in every art, and compiling books and treatises thereon. He subsequently returned to Qazvin, where he had the honour of being appointed to a judgeship and ####was chosen as the tutor and teacher of sundry young gentlemen. His work is noted for its satire and obscene verses, often political or bawdy, and often cited in debates involving homosexual practices. He wrote the Resaleh-ye Delgosha (Joyous Treatise) as well as Ethics of the Aristocracy and the famous humorous fable Mouse and Cat, which was a political satire. His non-satirical serious classical verses have also been regarded as very well written, in league with the other great works of Persian literature. He is one of the most remarkable poets, satirists and social critics of Iran (Persia), whose works have not received proper attention in the past. His books are translated into Russian, Danish, Italian, English, and German. As a measure of his accomplishments, experience, learning and worldly wisdom, his Tract of a Hundred Counsels and his Definitions are a sufficient proof. Moreover he composed a treatise Rhetoric which he desired to present to the King. The courtiers and favorites, however, told him that the King had no need for such rubbish. Then he composed a fine panegyric, which he desired to recite, but they informed him that His Majesty did not like to be mocked with the lies, exaggerations and fulsome flattery of poets. Thereupon 'Ubeyd Zakani said, 'In that case I, too, will pursue the path of impudence, so that by these means I may obtain access to the King's most intimate society, and may become one of his courtiers and favorites', which he accordingly did. Then he began recklessly to utter the most shameless sayings and the most unseemly and extravagant jests, whereby he obtained innumerable gifts and presents, which none dared to pose and contend with him. Thus 'Ubeyd Zakani a serious writer, a moralist and a panegyrist was compelled by circumstances to become a ribald satirist. Because of the ribald and often homoerotic quality of his verse, he has been widely censored.

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