“Cases in Comparative Politics” is a text highlighting politics from a set of thirteen countries. The concepts used in the text relate to what essentials of comparative politics highlighted developing on some of them. In this text, author will give an analysis of chapter ten of the book, which highlights issues of Iran, as a country. The essay will highlight various concepts developed in the chapter in relation to the perspective of the author of the book. Considering that the book majorly concentrated on political overview of Iran, a comparative analysis will follow highlighting the ideal concepts within the text.
Chapter 10: Iran
The political system of Iran uses both the democratic attributes and that of theocratic ones. The driving force between the named attributes remained a central power for the government. Within their state were the Sunni and Shia Muslims who were in chaos ever. The split between the two communities was because of a debate on the successor of Mohammed legally. According to their perception, the leader should follow the ideal procedure in their selection, preferably legal procedure.
This chapter remains devoted to the examination of civilization that took place in the south and the southwest Asia before Islam invaded the new regions. In Iran, Parthian Arsacid rule was ruling the region using the Iranian imperial tradition. Warfare within the place was constant with the fight continuing against the Romans, which helped in weakening the empire. However, the Parthian rule used the liberal approach to grant religious tolerance to the citizens within the region. Their strategy was to lay a ground for the nationalistic emphasis for the coming period. The superiority was to be the main agenda for them to succeed in ruling over the region. This intrigued them to use various powers to upgrade on what they used to attain superiority.
The Sassanid, known for succeeding in the 224 C.E., also contributed a lot in the fight. They represented the Persian dynasty together with their activities in controlling the region until 651. Their enforcement was quite rebellious considering they were using various tactics in controlling the region. This chapter continues by detailing the political rise of Ardashir who was the first king of Sassanid, together with his successors. The king facilitated the expansion of the region with great influence from his people. The Roman Empire continued to expand significantly for the coming 350 years. Sassanid concentrated on agriculture as their main activity; however, they also taxed the caravan trade with the aim of improving on the revenue collected. Their activity mainly helped in improving their economy for them to have a good life. The main social unit within the community was the extended family. They considered the traditional way of life since they grew up to uphold the dignity of their ancestors. Their social classes were divided into four different regions: warriors, scribes, peasants and priests. The categories defined their culture. Likewise, aristocratic culture, that was evident in Sassanid, concentrated on diversifying believes of the Romans, Hellenistic, Bactrian-Indian, Achaemenid and other Iranian native traditions.
The chapter also highlights on the religion of the region and the impact on the lives of people from Sassanid. From the text, religion was a significant factor to the lives of Sassanid people. The state took control of every factor including the institutionalization of the Zoroastrian ritual together with the theory within the state orthodoxy. Contrary, the ruling orthodoxy had a main opponent from the Manichaeism. This was a clear indication of how the Manichaeism was very powerful in opposing various forces. However, this did not last for long as the orthodox overruled the Manichaeism. Despite their victory, the state continued to influence other members as they contribute to the formation of the Mazdakite movement in the 5th century. The main force for the movement was to demand for an extra egalitarian distribution for the goods provided by the society. However, in 528, the Mazdak together with his followers were killed. The main reason behind the killing was the stubbiness caused by the movement in demanding for more. Nevertheless, the name Mazdak remained famous as it symbolized revolt in the later Iranian history.
The chapter also focuses on the Gupta period that occurred in India during the golden age (320 – 450). During this period, Gupta remained to be superior as the most civilized state in the world. Through the leadership of Chandragupta II in the period of 375 to 415, the leader ensured that the region remained civilized through various approaches. The leader promoted the superiority of the region largely. The prosperity was an effort between the leader and the people of Gupta who ensured that they succeeded in every endeavor. However, this did not last for a long time as the empire collapsed after repeated Hun invaded the region at around 550. The effect was adverse that affected their superiority and economy to the worst. Their decline later was shattered by the invasion of Arabs at around 1000, who came to finish up with the prosperity of the region. The Gupta region with the coming centuries revived their economy from scratch after the invasion of the two communities. Their main activity was the production of architecture, sculpture and wall painting. They concentrated on the production of the above services, which later helped them improve on their economy. Nevertheless, ruling power from the Kalidash struggled to ensure they remained under their superiority power. Their use of various strategies in ensuring that they succeed in life was a flourishing factor to limit the exploration of Gupta under the leadership of Chandragupta II.
This chapter lastly concludes by discussing the organization of Indian society together with the Hindu and Buddhist religion life. The essence of the above summary relates to the following key points.
1. Zoroastrianism versus Manichaeism: the Sassanid used to claim a restoration factor for the true faith of Zoroaster after neglect of the Arsacid rule. Within this period, the greatest figure that supported the movement was the Kirdir during the 3rd century. The king made various efforts that aimed at converting the pagans, Christians and Buddhist. However, he faced opposition from the Manichaean who did not want the conversion process to succeed. Mani did the same but used a different way by diverging from Zoroastrian, Judaic and Christina forerunners. The preaching of Mani mainly concentrated on missionary, dualistic, and moralistic perspective of reality. The message was to promote restoration of the original unity that the original Zoroastrian, Judaic and the Buddhist enjoyed.
2. Indian society: the society of the Indians based their belief on four-class structure defined by Dharmashastra of Manu dating from 200. The system reflects on the basic principle stating that people are born in a certain station in life. Likewise, they have their duties and responsibilities to perform while they live. The four-class structure includes priest, servant, warrior and tradesperson. The division between the structures shows the attempt of fixing status and power of the superior three groups at the expense of other classes represented by non-Aryan outcast. These groups were responsible for the performance of the polluting jobs within the community. The control of caste took place with three groups: commensality, endogamy and trade.
3. Hindu and Buddhist life: the faith from the Hindu community concentrates on the divine presence in various forms. From the development perspective, Hindus consider performing acts of theism, piety and practice, or loving devotion as their main activity. However, Hindu polytheism, as ascertained by the community, does not proclaim idolatry, but gives a vivid affirmation from the transcendence of the infinite forms. According to the text, Shankara, the major Vedantic thinker, stressed on the idea of non-duality of the Ultimate. His devotions led to the development of two ideas in Buddhist religion: the first idea was solidification of strands of Buddhism, Mahayana and Therav_da. The second idea was the spreading of Buddhism from the homeland of Indians.
4. Iran and India in world perspective: the revolving perspective of the Indians and the Iranians was the existence of civilization on periphery revolving around the late Roman. However, the locus defining the political power, creativity in culture and vitality in religion based in Byzantine Anatolia, North Africa, Syria-Mesopotamia and Egypt. The world from the western region never promised future but embodied progress and culture in the cultures of Sassanid or Gupta.