Iran is not just another country for India. Since the days of King Darius to the Mughals, and from the families of Jamshetji Tata and Godrej to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and Ghorban Mohammadpour, we have so much of Persia amidst us. So much that it has silently merged into our being, giving a distinct flavour to our languages, culture, strengths, mores and habits. Hence, an Iran sojourn had to be a special for me - a distinct experience - and it certainly proved to be that and much more. My first interaction in Tehran was a pleasant surprise and had all the elements of the poetic serenity of Hafez Shirazi. "You know what the meaning of Hindostan is," he asked me with a twinkle in his ageing eyes and a face that radiated the warmth of an old friend. And without waiting for me to answer, he continued: "Hindostan means Dostanto, the world, a great land that is friend to the entire duniya." Then, with a big smile, he added: "It's a wonderful country, so many languages, religions, different people in a vast area, yet you are keeping them all together. You have so much to give to the world, I wish you make the entire world a Hindostan! Then there will be no problem. You can teach all how to live together." I was making a courtesy call on a renowned and highly acclaimed literary figure of Iran, Mohammad-Ali Mo'allem Damghani, president of The Iranian Academy of Arts, and a personage considered to be a close aide to the supreme Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. We discussed literature and the ancient threads that bind us together for more than an hour. He presented me a fabulously-produced limited edition of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh. And yes, another very special book, a Persion version of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's Devdas, translated into that language by Fatemeh Hashemnejad. Iran continued to remind me of old Persia and all its richness - the fragrance of each gulaab (rose), the redolent recitations of the works of Ferdowsi and Hafez Shirazi and, no less, the epic Iranian mural that looks down from the ceiling of Rashtrapati Bhavan's grand Ashok Hall. Each time I attend a swearing-in ceremony there, I gape at the sheer beauty of that work. And some other paintings of Iranian origin that adorn the walls of the hallowed hall. The three days I spent in Iran just a few weeks ago changed a lot of my perceptions about that country, its people and culture. Iran, as routinely reported to us by Western government and media agencies, is everything that stands against human values and democratic practices. Is that stereotype true? Should I not say something about what I saw and experienced for myself? Iran must be seen and understood by Indians through Indian eyes. Iran is a people, a tehzeeb that defines itself in unmatched subtlety and finesse; it's a poet's dream, it's dance, it's drama, it's fun. It is a land of unparalleled brilliance and beauty. We in India might still be debating about our Aryan roots, but Iran is sure and proud to be an Aryan land. That name itself - Iran - is directly derived from the word Aryan. They are different from every other Muslim land - so distinctly refreshing and civilised that it cannot but strike a visitor. It reminds you that whatever form of extremism tries to envelop a society, the soul of a people finds its expression in a thousand beautiful ways. The splendour under the Ayatollah's chador This is the second time in a week that I have come across an anecdotal as evidence article the beauty of Iran---which is not the way presented by the Western World. I find this to be humorous. Because nobody knows about Iran? It's 2018.