Ahmad Kasravi’s Writings in al-`Irfan


Between November 1922 and July 1924, several major articles and several interesting letters by Ahmad Kasravi appeared in the Lebanese review al-`Irfan. It is remarkable that the man who wanted to radically de-Arabize Persian wrote many articles in Arabic. In fact, Kasravi developed, in his young adulthood, a profound love of the Arabic language. In his memoirs, he recalls the delight he took in learning it and speaking it with his friends. In his memoirs, Kasravi writes that as a student, he made prodigious progress in Arabic, which astonished and ultimately infuriated his teachers. (Zendeganiye Ma (np, 1323/1944), p. 30) He fondly recalls that in his youth, “Sometimes we could go for a walk” We could take our books and go to the orchard and talk among the greenery and flowers” and make up Arabic sentences, correct or incorrect.” (ibid., p. 30)

al-`Irfan On al-`Irfan, see Chibli Mallat, “Aspects of Shi`i Thought from the South of Lebanon: Al-Irfan, Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya, Muhammad Mahdi Shamseddin, Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah,” Papers for Lebanese Studies, Oxford, available athttp://www.bintjbeil.com/E/shii_mallat.html , Silvia Naef, “La Presse en tant que moteur du renouveau culturel et litteraire: La revue Chiite Libanaise al-Irfan“ in Asiatische Studien-Etudes Asiatique, 50:2, 1996, and Tarif Khalidi, “Shaykh Ahmad `Arif Al-Zain and al-`Irfan“ in Marwan Buheiry (ed.), Intellectual Life in the Arab East 1890-1939 (Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, 1993). These articles themselves have useful bibliographic material. was founded in 1909 by Ahmad `Arif uz-Zain after the Ottoman constitution was founded in 1909 in Tyre, just outside Jabal `Amil, which for five hundred years served as a source of Shi`ite scholars. The articles in this periodical included, among other things, articles on specifically Shi`ite themes, A few random examples: The journal published an interesting obituary for Mullah Kadhim al-Khurasani, IV:1 (10 Kanun II, 1912), pp. 36-39, “Thawrat an-Najaf“ on the Najaf Uprising of 1920, VI:8, (date), pp. 358-9, “ash-Shi`a wa al-Hurriyya,” V:5 (March 27, 1914), pp. 168-72, “as-Sunna wa ash-Shi`a fi al-`Iraq,” XVIII:1/2 (date), p. 109, “Mokhtasar ul-Kalam fi Mu’alifi sh-Shi`a min Sadr ul-Islam,” II:5 (May 11, 1910), pages, “Hal nahzan aw nafrah fi yawm `Ashura?,” II:3 (March 12, 1910), pp. 176-7. It also serialized a translation with commentary on a book on Imam Husain’s uprising and Shi`ism by a German convert to Shi`ism (name). The translated article was titled “as-Siyasat ul-Husaini“ and its serialization began in Kanun I 1912. on Arab politics and culture, The journal regularly carried news articles raising the alarm over the Zionist colonization of Palestine. In addition, it carried more in depth pieces such as “Lamha min tarikh il-harakat is-Sahyuniyya,” VI:5/6 (Nisan 1921), pp. 268-270, a poem “ila al-hizb il-watani fi Falastin,” IX:10, (Haziran 1925), pp. 966-8, “Falastin,” XVIII:3 (Tishrin I 1929), pp. 42-4, “Falastin fi t-Tarikh,” (Tishrin II), 401-4, “as-Sahyuniyya,” XVIII:4 (Tishrin II 1929), pp. 463-6) international affairs, The journal was quite fascinated by the Japanese, and serialized an article “al-Yaban wa al-Yabaniyyun“ in VI:3/4 (Azar 1921), pp. 113-121 and 5/6 (Nisan 1921), 223-240. It also carried the following articles: “al-Madaris fi al-Yaban,” (volume):2 (December 29, 1913), pp. 49-51, “al-Majlis an-Niyabi al-Yapani,” III:13 (June 28, 1911), pp. 513-6, and a translation of an article “Japanese Latitudinarianism,” III:12 (date), pp. 461-4. and women’s liberation. Tarbiyyat ul-Mar’a ul-Yabaniyya,” VIII:8 (Ayyar 1923), p. 613, “Bain ol-Mar’a ash-Sharqiyya wa al-Gharbiyya,” XVIII:1/2, (Ab/Ilul 1929), pp. 23-30, “al-Mar’a fi waq`a Karbala,” XVI:4 (Tishrin II 1928), pp. 361-368, “an-nahdha an-nisa’iyya fi ash-sharq,” XIII:6 (Shabat 1927), pp. 603-15 and 866.

The journal carried many articles on Iran. In addition to its regular news coverage, see the articles translation from a Danish jurist, Georg Brandes, translated from Kave into Persian, “jinayat ur-Rus fi Iran,” X:9 (Ayar 1925), pp. 877-879, “Iran bilams wa al-yawm,” X:4 (Kanun I 1925), pp. 400-2, “ad-dawla al-Iraniyya al-farsiyya,” X:10 (Ayyar 1925), pp. 988-993, an interview with an anonymous Iranian liberal exile in the Ottoman empire, “Ahrar Iran,” I:3, (April 1909), pp. 125-30, “al-isti`mar ar-Rusi wa taqsim Iran,” IV:3 (Azar 1912), pp. 86-9, “matbu`at al`ajamiyya wa kitab “˜Rawdhat ul-Jinnat‘,” IX:3 (Kanun I 1925), p. 316-8, a translation from Persian of an treatise on democracy and tyranny, “al-istibdad wa ad-dimaqratiyya,” XVII:9 (Nisan 1929), p. 427 ff, Among them, Kasravi’s are the most prominent. These articles are:

  1. Al-lughat at-Turkiyya fi Iran (vol. 8, nos. 2-5, November 1922-February 1923)

  2. Adharbayjan fi thaniyya `ashar `aman (vol. 9, nos. 1-10, September 1923-July 1924)

  3. Miscellaneous reports:

  4. Maqtal safir Amirka fi Tihran (vol. 9, no. 1, September 1923)

  5. `Arabistan wa ash-Shaikh Khaz`al Khan, an unsigned piece almost certainly written by Kasravi (who was then in `Arabestan and dealing with Sheikh Khaz`al on a regular basis) summarized from a longer piece (vol. 9, no. 6, March 1925)

  6. Hawadis Iran fi sanat wahidat (vol. 9, no. 7, April 1924)

  7. Al-Mirza `Abbas al-Khalili, written anonymously but almost certainly by Kasravi (vol. 9, no. 9, June 1924)

  8. An untitled piece on the change of Iran from a monarchy to a republic, summarized from a longer piece (vol. 9, no. 4, January 1923)

Kasravi’s Arabic opus included other works, such as his translation from Esperanto of a work by Bernardin de St. Pierre, Mentioned in Zendeganiye Ma, p. 195. miscellaneous articles for Awqat Baghdad/Baghdad Times, Ibid., pp. 237-8. and his translation into Arabic of his Shi`agari, ash-Shi`a wa at-Tashayyu`.

We will now examine these three categories of articles.

The Turkish Language in Iran

After the reader overcomes his surprise at Kasravi’s writing in the Arabic he presumably considered soil from which Persian needed to be purified, he finds that Kasravi was advocating the revitalization of Azerbaijani Turkish while he was at it.

This work was sent to al-`Irfan while the author was in Mazandaran, some time in 1921-22. Zendeganiye Ma, p. 175.

Introducing his subject, the author laments A translation of this piece by Evan Siegel appears in The Journal of Azerbaijani Studies, vol. 1, no. 2 1998. An edited version of it appears at http://www.geocities.com/evan_j_siegel/IranTurk/IranTurkMain.html . how Iranian Turkish is overlooked by both Iranian and foreigner. “Compared to Persian, Turkish is like a beautiful girl who sits idly beside an unveiled second wife who enchants the heart with her jewelry and bewitches the mind with her adornments.” Al-lughat at-Turkiyya fi Iran (vol. 8, no. 2, November 1922), p. 121. In the second part, he declares, “It is difficult to decide these days whether there are more Turks than Persians.” Ibid., p. 122. He stresses the geographical spread of the language, i.e., that it is not limited to Azerbaijan.

The author then turns to the politics of the matter. No. 3, p. 209. On the one hand, nationalist Turkey propagated pan-Turkism and on the other, the newly-established Republic of Azerbaijan targeted them, since “[T]hey did not suspect that the people of Azerbaijan were zealously upholding the torch of Iran, but believed that they bore it reluctantly and unwillingly and that they would not hesitate to separate from Iran and unit with them because of their common bond of language and faith and their unity of race and descent”“ This led to a battle in which “the illustrious, talented writer[s]” Mohammad Amin Rasulzade and Malek osh-Sho`ara Behar emerged as champions of the Azerbaijanist and the Iranist camps. Kasravi wryly observes, “The two” polemicized with each other and debated, going at each other this way and that, this one answering that one and laying waste to all its accomplishments, that one going after this one and demolishing all it had built.” At issue was 1) whether or not the people to the north of the Aras River had enough in common with the people south of it to call their republic “Azerbaijan” and 2) if the people to the south of the Aras were Turks or Turkified Persians. Kasravi blamed both sides for being unscientific, and demonstrated to his satisfaction that indeed the people south or the Aras were, if not pure Turks, then of generally Turkish stock. After all, he argued, if the Arabs couldn’t make the Persians forget their language, how could the Turks? Ibid., p. 213. On the other hand, he rejected the idea that that part of Iran had been a cradle of Turkish culture since very remote times. This was a blatant falsification of history.

In the next section, vol. 8, no. 4, January 1923. he argues that Turkish is much richer grammatically than Persian.

In the final section, he discusses the revitalization of Azeri Turkish. “Turkish in Iran is a spoken and not” a literary language.” al-`Irfan, vol. 8, no. 5, February 1923, p. 364. He adds, “[I]n recent times, it has been despised and reviled as the language used by foreigners, and this contempt and dislike of it persisted even until the days of the kings who arose from those who spoke it, the Safavids and the Qajars.” Indeed, during the Safavids, Turkish was the language of the Ottoman foe. During the Constitutional Revolution, “over thirty magazines were founded and published in Tabriz and the other cities of Azerbaijan, but only three of them were written in Turkish” since “most of [the Turks] are not able to read it well either, and consider it easier to write in Persian.” There follows a list of journals and authors whose medium was Turkish. The material doesn’t add much to studies by Feraidun bey Kocherli’s Azarbayjan Adabiati or Mohammad `Ali Tarbiat’s Daneshmandan-e Azarbayjan, which were written at around the same time, but indicates that Kasravi was quite knowledgeable about his topic.

The Eighteen Year History of Azerbaijan

Kasravi is perhaps best known for his monumental Tarikh-e Mashruteye Iran, which has formed the Iranian view generations of Iranians’ view of the constitutional revolution. It is not generally appreciated that this work was published in three different versions and went through a considerable evolution in the process. The first version was the one serialized in Arabic in al-`Irfan. The second, Tarikh-e Hejde Saleye Azarbayjan, was serialized in Kasravi’s magazine Paiman between and . It took the history up to , before Kasravi stopped the serialization. The rest of this second version was published as the conclusion of Tarikh-e Mashruteye Iran and overlaps what was serialized in Paiman, taking the history up to the crushing of Simqo’s last revolt in ----, and misnamed Tarikh-e Hejde Saleye Azarbayjan. We will refer to the first version as 18A, the second version as serialized in Paiman as 18P and as published in book form as 18B. Tarikh-e Mashruteye Iran will be referred to as TMI. It would be more useful to compare 18A with 18P and 18B, than with TMI, despite the latter’s greater availabiltity, since by the time TMI was written the text had been further reworked. Moreover, we can get a more precise idea of when different sources were incorporated into the History by using this comparison.

Kasravi describes the circumstances which led him to write the History in his introduction (dibache) to 18P, pp. 8-12. a summary of which appears in 18A. This introduction is very likely dates back to the original work. It includes gratuitous poetry and an accolade to E. G. Browne; the Kasravi of the mid-thirties took a dim view of the latter and was positively hostile to the former. In this piece, he recalls how in September 1921, he had left Tabriz for Tehran, weeping over the death of his young wife and the catastrophes afflicting his native province. Soon after reaching Tehran, he was sent to Mazandaran, where the news of the disastrous campaign against the Kurdish revolt, in which a dear friend of his died, reached him. After returning to Tehran in the spring of 1922, he was dispatched to Damavand, where tidings of victory over the rebels reached him, and he determined to write about these events. In his biography, he mentions Zendeganiye Man (np, Tehran, 1333/1954), pp. 141-3. that he spent his time beginning to write the Arabic history (presumably, if we accept the version of events given in 18P, summarized from an already-existing work in Persian) at that point after receiving letters about the fighting with Simqo. He also mentions here that he did not have access to books or newspapers. In his introduction to 18P he says that he worked on it for three months. While considering this fighting, he continues, he found himself going back to earlier events, ultimately leading to the Constitutional Revolution of 1905. Moreover, this revolution showed the bravery of Azerbaijanis and was the pride of the Iranians and had so far not been written about.

In his memoirs, he continues, Ibid., pp. 175-6. he spent his “idle hours” while head of the court in Zanjan rewriting and improving this Arabic history “which I wrote in Damavand” using newspapers (there is no mention of books) which he had sent away to Tabriz for. From this we can see that he was rewriting an already completed work. This would have happened no earlier than the spring of 1923, and indeed the first part of the work was published in September of that year.

According to the introduction to 18P, Kasravi had consulted the following material:

  1. Nazem ol-Eslam, Tarikh-e Bidariye Iranian

  2. Haj Mohammad Baqer Vijuye’i, Balvaye Tabriz

  3. Morgan Shuster, The Strangling of Persia

  4. E. G. Browne, The Persian Revolution

  5. E. G. Browne, A Brief Narrative of Recent Events in Persia

  6. E. G. Browne, The Reign of Terror at Tabriz

  7. E. G. Browne, The Persian Crisis

  8. E. G. Browne, The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia

  9. The Blue Book

  10. Anjoman

In fact, the first source, which informed so much of the later versions, has little influence in 18A. There, Kasravi made use of it his material on Tehran politics, something which did not interest the author of 18A. The second source has much more of a presence. The rest are not much in evidence at all, and were probably consulted between the time 18A was written and the development of the later versions. Indeed, by the time TMI is written, the Blue Book and Anjoman along with Nazem ol-Eslam and Vijuye’i the text’s major props.

In any case, the result was a ten-chapter work plus an introduction. The first eight chapters were ten to twelve pages in length, the last abridged so that they covered only three pages between them. 18A is organized very differently from that of the later versions. While the later versions are chronological, breaking off a story in the middle to resume it later, 18A is arranged by subject, as we will see. In some ways, this makes reading it simpler. In his preface, Kasravi says that the work he is presenting in Persian was the original text of an article he had summarized and translated into Arabic for al-`Irfan, ibid., p. 4. only adding some polemics against Westernization. ibid., p. 7. In fact, it appears that 18P was heavily reworked, and 18A does not generally read like a summary of it, as we will see.

We now proceed to review these chapters.

The Introduction

In addition to our comments above, we note the following:

  1. The introduction lacks the encomium to Reza Khan included in the preface to 18P, where he links Reza Khan’s rise with the Constitutional Revolution as two brilliant end pieces in an otherwise grim period of Iranian history. (The introduction in 18P which I believe was published intact from the time it was summarized to be the introduction to 18A does include a reference to Reza Khan, but it could have been added.)

  2. 18A mentions only Balvaye Tabriz as a source and Browne’s The Persian Revolution, which he has at least heard of. Unlike 18P, he only mentions having read the former, and makes no mention of using newspapers as sources, nor is there any indication of them in the body of 18A. Introduction:51. Here and in what follows, the page numbers refer to the page numbers in al-`Irfan. The Roman numerals refer to the chapter of the history.

Otherwise, as we have said, the introduction reads very much like a summary of the introduction to 18P.

Chapter I

This chapter covers the rise of the constitutional movement in Tabriz. We note the following:

  1. There is some influence of Tarikh-e Bidariye Iranian in the description of how the Tehran protests which would lead to the constitutional movement as such were “infiltrated” by an elite (khawass) who introduced the idea of constitutionalism as a demand to the protesters. II:149. Compare Tarikh-e Bidariye Iranian, I:---.

  2. In this chapter as in others, the sufferings of the common people are depicted in much harsher and angrier terms. The recollection of mass starvation and plagues which carried off hundreds at a time, the tribal depredations which depopulated the countryside were still fresh in the author’s mind. The foreigners transgressed against the people’s rights. The country was like a flock of sheep left alone against a bunch of wolves. As much as he had read about absolutism, he had never read anything as bad as what Iran was suffering. The people’s grievances were that there was no limit between the weak and the powerful, the tyrants followed no shariat or law. The governors ruled over their subjects’ lives and blood. The bad clergy made a mockery of their faith and beliefs. I:149-50.

  3. The account of the rise of the constitutional movement in Tabriz is not significantly different from that found in 18P. One difference is interesting: In 18P I:41. it is said that when Mohammad `Ali Mirza heard about the constitutionalist agitation, he ordered the price of bread be reduced. In 18A, the detail is added that the constitutionalists sent people to the bazaar to declare that bread would be sold at the old inflated price! I:152. Compare TMI, ---.

  4. Kasravi took a dim view of the revolution’s prospects. He expected troubles after the constitution was granted because it had been given before the people were ready. I:153. The Iranians had raised the ceiling before putting up the columns and walls. Thus, only a few days after the constitution was established in Tabriz, fighting broke out with Mir Hashem, who, along with “some of the clergy” incited the common people against the constitution by declaring it an “innovation.”

In 18P, I:74. by way of contrast, Kasravi insists that the Iranians were ready for freedom and, indeed, there was no disorder. I:89. The success of Mir Hashem’s agitation among the common people is downplayed. I:56. (We note that these comments were made in the context of a polemic with unnamed Iranian Europeanizers who held that Iranians had to Westernize themselves in order to be prepared for emancipation, these being the main focus of Kasravi’s wrath in the period the first volume of 18P was published.)

  1. Kasravi took a dim view of the revolution’s prospects. He expected troubles after the constitution was granted because it had been given before the people were ready. I:153. The Iranians had raised the ceiling before putting up the columns and walls. Thus, only a few days after the constitution was established in Tabriz, fighting broke out between Mir Hashem and the other leaders.

  2. There are some surprising omissions.

    1. Mohammad `Ali Shah’s death is passed over in silence. Compare 18P, I:67-73.

    2. Most of the names of the activists go unmentioned, in stark contrast to the later versions, in which preserving the memory of these fighters becomes one of the history’s goals.

    3. The departure of the Majlis representatives for Tehran is not mentioned, although it is treated almost like an epiphany in 18P. I:62-66.

    4. Atabak, whose premiership was said in later versions to have turned Iran’s politics in a baleful direction, See, for example, 18P, I:114-22. is passed over in silence.

Chapter II

This chapter discusses the rise of the mojahedin, the fighting squads who would take on the constitution’s foes both within and without Tabriz.

  1. Like 18P, Kasravi places the religiosity of the Tabrizi constitutional agitation front and center. The first two of the fifteen pages of this chapter report how the Muslim clergy called on the people to arm themselves and learn the military arts. This is all the more surprising since the religiosity which pervades the first volume of 18P is very much a function of his polemic of the day against the Westernizers, in which he was trying to ally himself with the Muslim clergy. Thus, in 18P, he presents a labored defense of the anti-constitutional mojtahed of Tabriz. Vol. I, chapter 11. From this we can see that his declaration in 18P I:106. that it was the clergy who brought about the constitutional revolution in Iran was not just a convenient claim to attack his enemies.

  2. Kasravi reports that the anti-constitutionalists ridiculed the mojaheds””the constitutionalist fighting squads””as “a rabble, a flock of noisy crows who would scatter when fired upon.” II:244. In 18P, Kasravi belabors the point that mojaheds were actually from the respectable classes. I:101.

  3. Also along sociological lines, this chapter has an interesting discussion II:245-7. about lutes, their fractiousness, and the roll they played in setting off the civil war in Tabriz.

  4. The Qaracham Affair, which led the constitutionalists to exile the Mojtahed of Tabriz, is not mentioned, indicating that Kasravi had not yet studied Anjoman, the voice of the Tabriz constitutionalists.

  5. The Two Sayyeds (Sayyed `Abdollah Behbehani and Sayyed Mohammad Tabataba’i) are first mentioned in a footnote in this chapter II:250. as being responsible for the constitution having been established. This is marked contrast with 18P, where their role takes up much of the first chapter, including the memorable line, I:19. “When G-d wants a people to advance, he bestows upon them skillful leaders.”

  6. Kasravi mentions in a matter-of-fact way that some Majlis representatives who were fleeing persecution after the Majlis was bombarded took refuge in the British embassy. II:251. This would became a major objection of Kasravi’s to his political foes centered around Sayyed Hasan Taqizade. See, for example, 18P, II:32-3, 74.

  7. As noted above, Kasravi is comfortable with stressing the ease with which the common people could be wooed by the Muslim clergy, II:252. something which is downplayed in the later versions. But see the observation in 18P, II:106 that most Tabrizis were not constitutionalist.

  8. The details of the conflict which led to the death of Sharifzade, the constitutionalist orator, are spelled out in 18A. II:253. Compare 18P, II:99. The story is murky in the later versions. It appears from 18A that he had launched into a diatribe against the clergy which offended many of his listeners.

  9. Finally, Kasravi’s portrait of Sattar Khan is more complex than in the later version. In 18A, II:255-6. we get the following mini-biography:

Sattar Khan was the son of Haji `Ali Khan of Qaredagh. He traveled with his son to Tabriz and settled there. He was well-known during his youth for his horsemanship and his daring and became one of the most important of the lutis”. He rose against the government more than once and “ killed a policeman when they tried to arrest him and fled from them. He occupied himself for a time as a highway man attacking caravans. He traveled once to Tehran and to Khorasan, and then to Karbala and Najaf. But he recently abandoned these ways and repented and worked by buying and selling horses. He became respected among the people in this and when the mojaheds arose early in the constitutional period, he enlisted among them to the delight of the mojaheds, who showed appropriate gratitude towards him. His stature kept increasing until he became their leader: he was skilled in the military arts and in horsemanship and expert in the use of firearms”. It was a sign of the purity of his character that he was not ashamed to confess the waywardness and error and crimes of his youthful days. One day, one of the clerics of the [anti-constitutionalist] Eslamiyya reproved him and he said, “Pooh! I was an illiterate highwayman and saw no shame in it. But when I learned that our clergy in Najaf gave a fatwa declaring it an obligation to defend the constitution and come to the aid of the House of Consultation, I took the obligation upon myself to act in accordance with their fatwa and wage a jihad for the sake of the constitution.”

It is strange how he believed that Abul-Fadhl `Abbas, son of Imam `Ali appeared to him to give him strength and and take care of him and that he would not forsake him. I’ve been told that he once said that “The mojaheds were dispersing from me in battle with the Kurds [of Maku””Kasravi], and no one remained before the enemy but me and His Holiness `Abbas.”

Chapter III

This chapter discusses the civil war in Tabriz.

As we saw above, the author of 18A was more prosaic than the author of the more heroic versions. We can see this in 18A’s depiction of the role of Baqer Khan, Sattar Khan’s comrade-in-arms, in the removal of the white flags: With Rahim Khan’s tribal cavalry advancing and poised to occupy Tabriz, Baqer Khan is convinced to put up white flags indicating that the occupants were going under Russian protection and should be spared by the plundering tribesmen. But while 18P II:107. indicates (in convincing detail) that this idea was promoted by the Russian consul and his local allies (a wealthy banker and a wealthy merchant), in 18A III:327 the Russian presence is no where apparent. Instead, Kasravi gives the following explanation of what happened: III:326-7.

The people” were severely shaken, particularly the wealthy. Rahim Khan was famous for his the severity of his cruelty. Moreover, as we have mentione,d many of the common people despised the constitution and hated it as an innovation, according to the fatwas delivered by the Eslamiyya‘s clergy, and they blamed the liberals and the mojaheds and harshly criticized them, blaming them for the catastrophe. And some of the wealthy among them Note that these wealthy were included among the common people, the `awamm; here, common was not strictly a class term, but a term indicating ignorance or a lack of refinement, as connoted by the word "œvulgar." went to Baqer Khan and "blamed him for the destruction and bloodshed which had befallen the city."

Otherwise, the stories are very similar for the balance of the chapter, particularly the material which is taken from Balvaye Tabriz.

The following is an amusing discrepancy: Since the anti-constitutional forces were being told that the constitutionalist Tabrizis were Babis and had abandoned Islam, the constitutionalist Tabrizis called the azan at all hours. 18A includes the clergy’s response to this: They issued a fatwa declaring all who call the azan at any but the appointed hours a non-Muslim. III:330; compare the account in 18P, II:145.

On a grimmer note, the death in combat of the constitutionalist hero Karbala’I Hosein Khan is written differently in 18A than in the later versions. In 18P’s account, II:235-6. the anti-constitutionalist forces mourned his death along with the constitutionalists. In 18A, III:336-7. however, the anti-constitutionalists celebrated his death, and this lay the groundwork for an attack on the anti-constitutionalist stronghold of Devechi, an attack which never materialized because the enemy surrendered first, thus ending the civil war in Tabriz.

Chapter IV

This chapter discusses takes us from the end of the civil war in Tabriz through the siege of this city to the relief of the city by the Russian forces. It generally corresponds to the narrative presented in 18P, II:245-338. with some more or less interesting differences in the details:

  1. 18A but not 18P tells us IV:429. that the tribal forces attacked foreign as well as Iranian merchants. This would become an important excuse the Russians would use to intervene and militarily occupy much of northern Iran.

  2. We note that Esma`il Yekani, an important source for Kasravi, is used at this point in 18A, the only oral source acknowledged by Kasravi in this version. 18A, IV:429. Compare with 18P, II:255-9. In 18P, III:62, footnote 1, he is identified as Sattar Khan’s secretary and confidant, as well as the mojaheds’ paymaster.

  3. Sattar Khan’s saving Hokmavar from the invading Kurdish forces which had occupied it is presented in a characteristically more sober light than the exuberant depiction in the later versions. In 18A, IV:434. Sattar Khan, on having heard of the defeat, raced to Homavar, dressed down the deserters, and ordered them to pass on to the attack, only joining the fighting himself towards evening. In 18P, II:306-7 and 327-8. he is depicted as single-handedly rushing into battle and driving the invaders into a rout.

  4. After the Kurdish forces were driven out, the Kurds left stranded in Hokmavar were rounded up and slaughtered. This is reported in 18A IV:434. as having been done by the mojaheds and is reported on without comment. In 18P, Kasravi deplores this massacre. II:328. It can be imagined that with Simqo’s crimes fresh in mind, Kasravi had little sympathy for the fate of these murderers and robbers.

Chapter V

This chapter discusses the Russian occupation of Tabriz. Again, the narrative generally corresponds with that related in 18P. The following discrepancies should be noted.

  1. After the Russians entered Azerbaijan, supposedly to relieve Tabriz and to open the roads, they levied increasingly severe restrictions on the city. 18P III:51-4. notes the relation between the constitutionalist Anjoman, which consisted of the local constitutionalist social elite, and the Russians. 18A V:526. omits this, in keeping, perhaps, with its relative tendency to minimize the role of the Anjoman in favor of the mojaheds. This might not have been so much a political choice as a reflection of Kasravi’s access to sources, which were more acquainted with the common fighters. We recall that Kasravi had no access to Anjoman, the voice of this assembly.

  2. 18A reports Yekani’s claim that he had gone out with a band of mojaheds to stop the Russian invaders at Julfa, a claim so preposterous that Kasravi does not repeat it in the later versions.

  3. 18A V:527. reports that Sattar Khan was sent into battle with “hundreds” of troops to put down the turbulent tribesmen who were supposedly attacking Ardebil. It laconically notes that he failed and was forced to return. 18P sets up a different context: After the victory of the constitutionalist forces in Gilan, they sent fighters to restore the constitution in other cities, including Ardebil. However, these forces acted with such brutality against their enemies that the Ardelilis, themselves not enthusiastic about the constitutional order, rebelled. 18P, III:114-5. It then relates that Sattar Khan was sent to Ardebil by the governor, Mokhber os-Saltane, to mediate. 18P III:116-24. has him (on the authority of Kasravi’s source Yekani, who was the mojaheds’ paymaster and thus in a position to know) going off to use his influence to stifle the conflict between the constitutionalists and their enemies. It paints a dramatic picture of Sattar Khan being caught in a trap, valiantly holding off the might of the entire Shahsevan confederation until his bullets ran out and being dragged off the battle field by his comrades against his will to escape with his life.

What are we to make of this discrepancy? Presumably Yekani had been the source for both stories, but 18A, written by a Kasravi who had just seen his city put through a decade and a half of hell by marauding tribesmen, understood the events as simply a case of Shasevan tribesmen versus Ardebili townsmen and ignored the context provided by his source. One might imagine that the context supplied by Yekani was an attempt by him to explain away Sattar Khan’s failure, but the same context is provided by another source who confirmed it in passing in Paiman. Vol? no? pp. 573-575. This letter is all the more convincing because its author had many negative things to say about Sattar Khan’s own brutality in trying to settle the conflict, which Kasravi deleted from the letter although he had the honesty to report what was being deleted.

  1. The crushing of the marauding tribesmen in Ardebil was accomplished with decisive help of Samad Khan, the scourge of the constitutionalists. This is duly reported in 18P. III:138-41. But the Kasravi of 18A could not so easily overcome his recollections of Samad Khan’s ruthlessness towards the constitutionalists on the one hand and his slavishness towards the Russians on the other and so mention the fact that he was, however briefly, the people’s hero. III:141 and 259. This is entirely omitted in 18A. V:527.

  2. In the Shuster affair, W. Morgan Shuster was an American advisor invited by the Iranian government in February 1911 to reorganize Iran’s financial condition. Shuster is congratulated for his courage in 18A V:528. In 18P, he is criticized for his recklessness and lack of understanding of how Orientals work. III:298.

  3. Similarly, in the battle to defend Tabriz’s Citadel, where the city’s munitions were stored, from the Russians, Kasravi in 18A seems upset with the mojaheds for allowing the Russians to seize this site. V:528. In 18P, he expresses second thought about the wsdom of their returning to seize the Citadel from the Russians. III:348-50. Again, in 18A, he blames the mojaheds’ decision to disperse for the Russians’ reoccupation of the city. V:530. Contrast 18P II:362, 363, 369.

  4. Kasravi surprisingly allows himself to comment that for the three months between the time the Russians and Samad Khan occupied Azerbaijan and the beginning of the World War, Azerbaijan enjoyed order. V:532. The tribes were quite. Samad Khan would punish the people who required it by drawing his sword and shedding their blood. This, in addition to the Russian presence, kept the peace throughout the province.

  5. Kasravi’s description of the effect the Russian revolution had on Iran is worth noting: V:534.

    It is best to call the Russian revolution great and to say that the sun of liberty rose from its West.” The sun rising from the West is associated in Shi`ism with the dawn of the Messianic era. After admitting the chaos and confusion that reigned after the revolution, he declared that it saved Iran’s independence. “Iran and Russia and the revolution are like a prisoner whom the executioner had seated chained to the chopping block to strike his head off. But just then, his sword fell and someone got up and took the sword and struck off the executioner’s head and then broke the prisoner’s bonds.”

Chapter VI

This chapter discusses the Assyrian uprising. In this and the ensuing chapters, the amount connection with the later versions is less obvious. There are no passages which could be easily identified as translated summaries of anything which went into these later versions. In the case of the Assyrian revolt, it seems that the material was reworked after Kasravi gathered material from witnesses of the events in question.

It should be mentioned that this and the following sections were not published in al-`Irfan, but in Tarikh-e Hejde Saleye Azarbaijan.

  1. 18A makes more mention of Armenian fighters joining with the Assyrians, particularly Caucasian Armenian refugees. These are mentioned in 18B, pp. 605 and 710. but only episodically.

  2. In 18B, Kasravi singles out the Ottoman mountain Assyrians as being particularly cruel and vicious. This distinction is less apparent in 18A. Compare 18A, VI:615 with 18B, 620-1.

  3. In 18B, Kasravi shows some understanding of the plight of the Assyrian refugees, although it is tempered with much skepticism. 607-8, 672. He also distinguishes between Christians who collaborated in the massacres against their Muslim and Jewish neighbors and those who were more sensible and far-sighted or simply more humane. 762, 741

  4. 18A mentions VI:617, footnote 1. an article Kasravi had written in Tajaddod and Tali`at-e Sa`adat, organs of the Tabriz branch of the Democratic Party, on the role of American missionaries in this fighting. (It should be recalled that at this point, Kasravi was a teacher in the Memorial missionary school and had had some nasty run-ins with the Armenian students there. Zendeganiye Man, ------. This is inexplicably omitted in 18B.

  5. According to both versions, theAssyrian patriarch, Mar Shim`on, met with the Kurdish leader Simqo, and the latter treacherously assassinated the former. According to 18A, Simqo was frightened by the Assyrian forces and so lured Mar Shim`on into a trap and assassinated him. VI:618. In 18B, it is the Assyrian patriarch who took the initiative, proposing to Simqo to meet and form an alliance so that they could together take over eastern Azerbaijan. 725-7. In 18A, Mar Shim`on is accompanied by five French officers; in 18B, by 140 picked cavalry.

Chapter VII

This chapter discusses Simqo’s uprising. It shows even less of a relationship with the later version than the previous chapter did.

The section begins with a diatribe against the Kurds. They are savages and barbarians who live by raiding. They rebel against the government whenever they can. They bitterly hate the Iranians, calling them `ajam and rafidhi These words are Arabic for, respectively, “incapable,” i.e., of speaking Arabic, this being a pejorative term for Persian, and “apostate,” a pejorative word for Shi`ites. and consider their property and blood licit. After a digression into the scholarly literature on their situation, he returns to the “frightful” role they play in Iranian history. VII:720-2, 729. Compare 18B, 828.

Kasravi next relates the story of the assassination of Ja`far Khan, Simqo’s brother and then the head of the tribal confederation which Simqo would lead. VII:723-5. This is mentioned in 18P I:173. with a promise of discussing it in more detail later. This promise would have to wait until the publication of TMI to be fulfilled, 142-154. but this would be closely related to the story related in 18A.

18A contains more detail on the complex motivations behind Simqo’s alliances during the World War than in 18B. VII:725. Compare what follows with the perfunctory treatment this receives in 18B, 828. Although he had been an Ottoman client, Simqo introduced himself to the British and the Russians early in the war. The Russians helped him for a while, but grew wary of him and exiled him to the Caucasus. But he eventually gained in Russia’s trust and they brought him back to Iran. Simqo maintained his relationship with the Russians even after they left Iran: he had never forgiven Iran for his brother’s assassination. But the Ottoman success in crushing the Assyrian revolt where Simqo failed won them his support, although he stayed out of the fighting between the British and the Ottomans; the Ottomans didn’t feel the need for Kurdish volunteers. The rest of this part of the narrative is close to 18B, Compare 18A, VII:726 with 18B, 830. including the curious speculation that Simqo’s revolt had been instigated by the American missionaries who had instigated the Christians to revolt. In 18A, Kasravi even claims that the missionaries were making inroads into the Kurdish population, converting some of them to Christianity.

The story is dropped unresolved with Simqo, having been defeated, being allowed to slither away. In 18A, this is alleged to have been part of a conspiracy involving one Mozaffar Khan and a cashiered Russian officer Filipov. VII:731. In 18B, 835-7. this conspiracy is debunked.

Chapter VIII

This chapter discusses Khiabani’s uprising. Its relation with 18B is not as distant as the previous two chapters’. The chief distinction is that Kasravi is more generous to his former teacher in 18B, while his bitterness of his lost illusions seems to have been too fresh when he was writing 18A.

  1. The chapter opens with Kasravi recounting his acquaintance with Khiabani. The related passages in 18A and 18B are close indeed. But there are several things significant issues mentioned in 18B which are absent from 18A:

    1. Khiabani delivered courageous speeches in the Second Majlis. 676.

    2. When Khiabani returned to Tabriz, then under Samad Khan’s iron fist, he tried to regain his pulpit but was not allowed. 677.

    3. When Khiabani came to Kasravi’s circle which was carrying out underground activity of a bold nature, Khiabani disapproved of this. Indeed, in 18A, neither Kasravi’s activity nor Khiabani’s disapproval of it is mentioned. 677. Compare with Kasravi’s memoirs, Zendeganiye Ma, pp, -----, where he says----------.

    4. The Democrats carried out energetic and often effective efforts to ameliorate the effects of famine, drought, bloodshed, and general chaos. 690-701, 744-7. Compare with VIII:832.

  2. Throughout 18A, Kasravi lays great stress on how Khiabani from the start could only tolerate flatterers and sycophants, VIII:832. and that this weakness became more and more pronounced to the end. VIII:839. Indeed, he is portrayed as more of a monster, who cynically manipulated the poor and the weak to serve his own ends. loc. cit. In 18B, Khiabani comes off as more of a tragic figure.

  3. Kasravi claims in 18A that the opposition faction of the Democratic Party to which he belonged (the monaqqedin, or critics) were the majority by the time the Ottomans evacuated Tabriz and Khiabani was able to return. VIII:833. This is not an unreasonable claim, given the degree to which Khiabani had alienated people through his ruthlessness and brutality, but it is not asserted in 18B.

  4. As for Khiabani’s coup, although both versions describe the basic fact similarly, 18A gives a characteristically negative spin, claiming that a major impetus for Khiabani plotting the coup against the police was the fact that they had arrested some of his comrades for their murders. loc. cit. It also mentins that, among the malcontents Khiabani had drawn around himself was the small Communist movement. loc. cit. He also mentioned that Mirza Kuchek Khan had promised to aid him. VIII:834.

  5. Although both versions relate that Khiabani tried to manipulate the clergy to back him, 18B says that the maneuver failed when the latter realized that they were being used, 863. Compare the parallel passage in 18A, VIII:834. something not mentioned in 18A.

  6. In 18B, Khiabani’s renaming of the province of Azerbaijan as Azadestan is placed in its proper context, as a patriotic response to the perceived provocation of the Soviets’ renaming the Caucasian Muslim province Azerbaijan. 837. 18A links it to an assertion of freedom from the central government’s meddling, VIII:836. thus reinforcing the idea that Khiabani was some sort of separatist.

  7. In 18A, Kasravi accuses Mozaffar Khan (see page 17), who fought heroically against Simqo, of hoarding the soldiers’ money and then offering to pay them to win them over to Khiabani’s side. VIII:835. In the process, he accuses him of being a comrade in treason with Filipov in the above-mentioned “conspiracy.” This is not mentioned in the account in 18B. p. 867.

  8. On his relations with the Communists, 18A says he declared his leaning towards the Communists from the start, but that he went after them when the British put pressure on him. VIII:837. 18B says that Khiabani in fact had no such proclivities, 873-4 but was only interested in scaring the British and the central government. Again, the two depictions give directly opposite views of Khiabani. Instead of being a crypto-Communist and capitulating to the British as in 18A, in 18B he is shown as using the Communists against the British.

  9. 18A makes much more of the fighting between Khiabani’s forces and the Communists gathered around the German consulate, saying that it lasted for two to three days. VIII:838. 18B says that there was in fact no firefight and that it was all over very quickly, p. 885 which seems much more realistic.

Otherwise, the narratives presented in the two versions are very similar up to the tragic denoument. It is worth noting that after writing about Khiabani’s death, 18A calls down G-d’s mercy on him. 18B refers to Khiabani as shadravan (Blissful Soul), Kasravi’s usual epithet for departed heroes whom he is certain are now in Paradise.

Chapter IX

The last two chapters are abbreviated greatly, totaling three pages. The first is on Sayyed Zia od-Din’s coup. It begins with a paragraph on the disintegration of Iran over the previous two centuries sicne the death of Nader Shah (who would long remain one of Kasravi’s heroes.) Iran’s survival in such a state was a miracle. Kasravi continues that IX:919-20

one of [Iran’s] greatest catastrophes has been the formation after the revolution of parties and societies of deceivers who are ignorant of the meaning of politics. They are men of hope [amal] and not men of action [`amal].

To make matters worse, Bolshevism arose and its men made propaganda for it in Iran.

I have noticed that some of the clergy have called on the people to enter into this policy and declared a republic led by Mirza Kuchek Khan Sadiq ol-Balashiva [a fantastic title meaning “Friend of the Bolsheviks]”. In the meantime, four ministries fell and the result has been chaos throughout the country. Iran became like a sick man with his soul in his throat when the Cossacks led by Reza Khan marched on Tehran and entered it without resistance and seized the parliamentary representatives and the ministers with a good strong grip and threw them into the gloom of prison.

The people were amazed when they heard that this was done through the efforts of Sayyed Zia od-Din, the editor of Ra`d, who appointed himself Prime Minister and Reza Shah Minister of War. Sayyed Zia od-Din’s premiership was one of earnest and action, which knew no rest, night or dy. But this premiership lasted three months. Among its deeds was the forbidding of selling alcohol or opium, the order to close taverns and forbid the use of wine even in official meetins which were held by European embassies, and the order to close the bazaars on Fridays. He started to reform the bureaucracy and overturn laws which had been taken from Europe and did not agree with the spirit of the land. He forgave no evil-doer, nor did intercession benefit anyone. He founded municipal sanitation to clean the cities and life within them and founded a ministry of health and appointed doctors to treat the poor for free and a free poor house. It was in his time that the British troops no longer occupied Iran. These were among his substantial deeds. But before long, the Shah turned against him because of all the landlord ministers he had imprisoned and dismissed him, and he went to Europe and is still there. This was all done with the connivance of Reza Khan. [Presumably “This” refers to the moves against Sayyed Zia.] He was, among other things, the cause of the closing of Eqdam and the exile of its editor, our scholarly Arab friend `Abbas al-Khalili. This energetic man [presumably Sayyed Zia] was so praised that the Iranian press agreed to make his uprising a holiday in which their presses would close. As for Reza Khan’s biography and Iran’s army, old and new, I will discuss them elsewhere.

Sayyed Zia is nowhere mentioned in 18B. The lavish praise of Sayyed Zia is all the more startling because of 18A’s strong tendency to avoid dealing with Tehran politics.

Kasravi’s attitude toward Mirza Kuchek Khan mellowed in 18B, but remained negative. 800-1, 812-828.

As for al-Khalili, who is mentioned here, he became friends with an Arab youth named Sheikh `Ali Fati ol-Eslam when he went to Tehran the first time, after having fled Sheikh Khiabani in May 1920. The sheikh, who was then the translator for Sayyed Zia od-Din’s newspaper Ra`d, wanted to meet him, having been impressed with Kasravi’s writings in Arabic for al-`Irfan. Zendganiye Ma, p. 103. On his return to Tehran in late October 1921, he found that the young sheikh was in fact al-Khalili, who had fled Iraq after having been involved in a plot to assassinate the British governor of Najaf, an even which led to the British militarily occupying the city. ibid, pp. 127-8. Kasravi arrived in Tehran around October 21, 1921. (loc. cit.) With Sayyed Zia now in power, he was in good circumstances, something which might account for Kasravi’s generous attitude towards him despite the fact that Kasravi’s courts in Tabriz were closed by Sayyed Zia on his assumption of power.

Kasravi’s story of why al-Khalili was interested is puzzling. There is no evidence that Kasravi wrote for al-`Irfan before 1923. Indeed, his memoirs indicate that his first writings for the monthly were in that year. Referring to articles he wrote that year, he writes there than “After a while, I saw that [al-`Irfan] printed them unchanged, and this showed that I wrote Arabic well.” (ibid., p. 56) There is no indication in the memoirs of an earlier contact between Kasravi and that monthly. In any case, he credits al-Khalili with an improvement in his Arabic.

Chapter X

The last chapter deals with the last major uprising against the central government until Reza Shah’s removal by the Allies during World War II, anmely Simqo’s second uprising. The narratives in 18A and 18B are similar, although when Kasravi relates the machine-gunning of Iranian captives by Simqo’s men in Savojbolagh, 18A adds the interesting detail that he spared the Kurdish prisoners. Compare 18A, X:921 with 18B, 895. There is a brief mention of the uprising of Lahuti (whose Kurdish ancestry Kasravi does not neglect to mention) and his defeat and flight to the Soviet Union.

18A ends with Amir Lashgar’s chastisement of rebellious tribesmen “on orders from Sardarsepah,” i.e., Reza Khan. X:921. 18B ends as it began with lavish praise for Reza Khan for himself destroying Simqo and the tribal disturbances in general. In 18A, he is not mentioned in this connection.

The head of the Zanjan judiciary now rests his pen, not on a triumphalist note, as in 18B, but on a note of uncertainty.

Miscellaneous Articles

Maqtal Safir Amirka fi Tihran

Kasravi opens be describing the public drinking fountains which are abundant in the lanes and alleys of Terhan, fountains that have the quality of shrines. He then relates how it was rumored one day that a Bahai was walking past one such fountain, ridiculed it, and was struck blind by divine powers. On hearing this, thousands of people flocked to the streets, man and woman, to decorate the shrines.

That Friday, Major Emory and his American comrade drove to this fountain and took out a camera to photograph these goings on. The mob was not content that he photograph Muslim women and restrained him. But he would not be restrained and insisted on doing what he wanted to. This led to an argument. One of the mob cried out, “People! This is not a Westerner [ifranji] but a Bahai who wants to smuggle poison into the fountain and kill the Muslims.” The mob attacked the Major and his comrade. When the two saw this, they climbed into their car and tried to flee. The mob quickly caught up to the car and attacked it. They then beat the Major and his comrade, but the police drove the people back a little and a soldier settled in front of the car and set the car out. But the people caught up with it and went to the soldier who was escorting the car and beat him with sticks and knives and kicked him. They soon beat him to death. They then turned on the Major and his comrade, threw them to the ground and beat them. Ultimately, the Major was killed by the mob along with four or five soldiers and policemen. The soldiers had been forbidden to fire while the religious procession was in the streets.

This even caused much anxiety throughout the country because people were worried that the British would be angry and the Americans would be furious. The British newspapers wrote harshly-worded articles, but the Americans only asked that the body of the dead be turned over by the Iranian government, that the criminals be prosecuted according to the laws, and there has been stepped-up security at the American embassy in Tehran, and Iran’s enemies were frustrated.

`Arabistan wa ash-Shaikh Khaz`al Khan

This article is said to have been summarized in places from a letter from Khuzestan, i.e., where Sayyed Ahmad Tabrizi was stationed.

In the article, Sheikh Khaz`al is said to have played an important role in the Persian Gulf (al-khalij al-`ajam). Although he was only an agent of the Iranian government, he raised his station and became the ruler of `Arabistan or Khuzestan or al-Muhammara. The British exalted his station and he had vast wealth and a splendid castle in Muhammara. He had lofty ambitions. He telegrammed the Shah in Europe for him to return and offered to assist him (as the Qajar dynasty was being eased out of power by Reza Khan in 1925.) and telegrammed Reza Khan that he did not recognize him. A succinct statement of Sheikh Khaz`al’s politics can be found in Nikki Keddie, Roots of Revolution (Yale, New Haven and London, 1981), p. 91. It is known that Khuzistan is separated from Iran by high mountains and difficult passes in which live Lurish and Bakhtiari tribes who numbered no less than 100,000 under arms, and he stirred them up to protect him. But Reza Khan wasn’t one to be trifled with, and he sent an army from Isfahan via Shiraz to Behebehan against them from the south. There ensued a skirmish between the government troops and the Sheikh’s Arabs and the Bakhtiari cavalry, and the government forces won and took over the villages of Zaitan and Hendijan. A second army was sent against them from Khorramabad via the mountains of Luristan and headed for Khuzistan to enter from the north. Reza Khan and some of his ministers went to Shiraz to follow the fighting. When the Sheikh realized the difficulty he was in, he sent a telegram surrendering. When Reza Khan advanced to Ahwaz, he had a message apologizing, quoting `Omar Khayyam,

We hope that this Arab sheikh be allowed to stay in his emirate, but perhaps he will moderate his behavior. His magnificent palace was blown up. An agreement was reached between his interests and those of the government and the outcome was for the good.

`Hawadith Iran fi sanat wahidat

This article is a summary of the events in Iran from the beginning to the end of the previous Iranian year. The author first introduces the idea of the Iranian Naw Ruz.

At the beginning of the year, the prime minister was Qavam os-Saltane, and the Majlis was finished the last weeks of Spring and the representatives dispersed and became as corpses when they used to shine like chandeliers. Qavam os-Saltane’s cabinet fell a few days before the Majlis closed “for reasons which there is no room here to explain.” He was succeeded by Moshir od-Dawle. He had been prime minister more than once before. He had never accomplished much and the people did not have much hope in him.

The army had decided was beforehand to disarm the Shahsevans around Ardebil and Khalkhal. More than one war broke out. Because some of the tribesmen rebelled and refrained from handing in their weapons, and their leaders were arrogant, they arrested and hung them in Ardebil and the army accomplished its objective before the Spring ended. The author goes on to say that the Shahsavans were a rebellious tribe who made a living out of ambushes, robbery, plunder, destroying villages, banditry, and destroying agriculture and ruining villages. They had waged war against the government more than once. So it is obvious that gathering the weapons from these harsh tribesmen was not easy. The people were delighted with the army’s accomplishment and took this as a good omen for the future.

In the meantime, Iraq exiled some Shi`ite clerics living in Najaf and Karbala. The common people in Iran were shocked and angered over this. As soon as news of this reached Iran, the people closed their shops and gathered in the mosques. It was rumored among the common people that this could only have been done on orders of the British, and the preachers recounted their evil deeds and said that they were trying to suppress Islam all over the world. Telegrams were sent to London and to the British ambassador in Tehran. Demonstrations were held for months, with Tehran in the lead. In short, there were demonstrations for several months.

The exiled clerics was received hospitably when they reached they reached Iran. Tehran asked Iraq to let them return and to conciliate them. Iraq refused. The Iranian government then forbade its citizens to go to Mesopotamia, and this amounted to a break in economic relations. As those who have studied relations between Iran and Iraq know, at least an average of a hundred thousand Iranians go to Iraq to visit the graves of the twelve imams. If we assume that each of them spends a hundred rupees in Iraq (and it could be no less), the Iraqis make at least ten million rupees from the Iranian pilgrims every year, and this besides what they buy in Iraq to bring home and besides those who bring the bones of their dead to Karbala or Najaf. In short, this trade is of vital importance to Iraq. After a few months passed, Iraq felt what this ban was doing to it and started to complain. Ultimately, some of the Baghdad press said that Iraq had lost thirty million rupees since the ban on pilgrims was announced; although Kasravi says that he never saw these articles when he was in Baghdad, but he was told about them. This tells us that Kasravi had visited Baghdad, something we don’t know from other sources such as, for example, his memoirs. I think the Iranian government will only life the ban after Iraq feels the bitter consequences of its mistreatment of the clergymen and makes good what it had damaged.

On Ramadan 1342 For 1332, which is impossible./May 1924, troops left Esfahan for Khuzistan. They entered TSTR without resistance and stayed at the castle there. The people were delighted with this and celebrated, for this region had drifted away from the government and its shadow had shrunken from it these many years. Since because of the World War, the British occupied it and meddled in its affairs until they became the absolute rulers, appointing and dismissing at will, exacting taxes, and spending the proceeds as they wished. There had been terrible battles with the Turkish armies there for months in. When the British evacuated Khuzestan, some of the Arab tribes living there filled the vacuum and made themselves independed emirates. But [Sheikh Khaz`al, presumably] realized his weakness and inability and saw himself in need of becoming a client of the British and the Iraqi government and sent the latter messages of friendship. He also had representatives in Tehran who tried hard to keep the army from heading for Khuzistan. What made the matter more difficult is that the ways to Khuzistan passes through the Lurish or the Bakhtiari mountains, and they were in the hands of tough armed tribesmen. He sent a part of the army to Khuzistan via Isfahan via Bakhtiari territory, but when it reached certain valleys, the soldiers were surrounded by the cavalry of these toughs and they fought them. Some eighty soldiers were killed and the rest were captured and massacred. But Reza Khan (who was then Minister of War) was not one to be turned aside from what he was determined to do, and before long, he ordered another force to Khuzistan and it marched there and entered it, and the government’s influence was restored there and the rebels learned the limits of their rebellion.

Towards the end of Safar, as reported in al-`Irfan #3, Iran,” IX:3 (Kanun I 1923), p. 277. Qavam os-Saltane was imprisoned and then exiled to Europe after the coup against Reza Khan was exposed and Moshir od-Dawle became the Prime Minister. Reza Khan was then elected Prime Minister. He was famous among the people for his strong will and his courage and firmness. Indeed, as soon as he took control, a spirit and energy blew through the country never felt before; there was less talk and more action. Newspapers were closed whose publishers lived by insulting and smearing the people and who protested against everything whether it was beneficial or detrimental.

That month, he had hung twelve of the tribal chiefs of Ardebil and Khakhal and threw Sardar `Ashayer, chief of the Qaedaghh tribes, and Eqbal os-Saltane, chief of the Maku Kurds, into a prison in Tabriz.

The Shah then traveled to Qom to meet with the clergy and then headed for Europe. Reza Khan accompanied him by as far as Qasr-e Shirin and returned. The Shah traveled there for a cure, but there was not an absence of other reasons: As al-`Irfan correctly reported, there was a movement in Iran to change the monarchy into a republic, but the Shah very much preferred to relax in Europe and preferred this to ruling. He didn’t rave to be far from trouble [al-fitna], as al-`Irfan said, but to be close to women who drive him crazy [fatinat ul-`uqul].

Some Iraqi journals carried an article attacking Reza Khan and objecting to his sending troops against Khuzistan, saying that it is an independent Arab emirate and its ruler was Sheikh Khaz`al Khan, to whom the Iranian government bestowed the title Sardar Aqdas and that the Iranian army had surpassed its boundaries. This article is an indication of weak reasoning and is not worth answering. The government, though, paid closer attention to Khuzistan and realized that some of the Iraqis were not adverse to provoking such a disturbance, and so decided to devote itself more to this region than previously, and ordered that it should not be called anything but Khuzistan. It then decided to reform its administration by sending officials on whom it could rely. It also threatened to fortify its position by sending in more troops from Hamadan.

In Jumada I, the government succeeded in solving the issue of northern oil. Briefly, the Majlis granted in the winter of 1330 a concession to exploit the oil fields located in the northern regions, Azerbaijan, Gilan, Mazandaran, Astarabad, and Khorasan, to the American Standard Oil company. But this company gave have its concession over to the Anglo-Persian Southern Oil Company (?), despite what had been stipulated. The Majlis was not content with this, and voided the concession and submitted the plan to the American company Sinclair. The negotiations were prolonged and there was much discussion and wrangling and there was much debate and argument between the Majlis (?) representatives. The press entered the matter and published articles and ultimately, the Majlis passed a law granting the concession to an American company known for its wealth on the condition that we see no point in mentioning since this law was never implemented, and when Reza Khan became Prime Minister, the agreement between his government and Sinclair ended.

That month also, Kazem Qawshchi was killed around Urmia. There is on a rocky peninsula in Lake Urmia a strong fortification, and he gathered around himself a group of cavalry and infantry. He was deluded that his fort was impregnable and fought the government’s troops and he was killed and this people were scattered and the government took control over the fort.

In Jumada II, intense warfare broke out between the troops of Hamadan and the tribes of Luristan, who had rebelled against the government many times in previous years. They had over ten thousand cavalry and infantry. They would ambush and kill and rob. More than once they lay siege to Borujerd. The government’s troops fought them and beat them. The rebels were encouraged by the fact that Luristan is nothing but high and difficult mountains and steep cliffs and frightful ravines. They were in impregnable castles and strong fortresses. Moreover, there were many of them and were well0endowed with courage and steadfastness. But the army began its attack and advanced up to their region by the end of Spring, and there followed heavy fighting between the two sides, and the outcome was the defeat of the rebels and the army’s taking over the land of Khorramabad. Then, after a few days, other battles took place and this continued until early Rajab. The final result was a victory of the government troops and a scattering of the rebels and an opening of the roads to caravans from Hamadan to Khuzistan. The people celebrated this clear victory throughout the country. Some of the newspapers called it “the Conquest of Luristan.” Some dozen of the leaders of the rebellion were taken prison and hung in Khorramabad towards the end of Rajab.

On the sixth of Rajab, the fifth Majlis was opened.

The fifteenth of Sha`ban was Naw Ruz. Thank G-d for the beginning and the end.

Sayyed Ahmad Tabrizi

Chief of the Khuzistan Courts

al-Mirza `Abbas al-Khalili

This is a paragraph in which astonishment is expressed at Reza Khan’s banishment [to Kermanshahan, as it happens] of Mirza `Abbas al-Khalili, the owner of Eqdam (which, the author says, is in Persian despite the fact that its proprietor is an Arab), who is one of his greatest supporters. He is also the author of a qasida which is published in the same issue of al-`Irfan. The author of this paragraph insisted in the strongest terms to al-Khalili that he send what he sent, presumably the qasida.

This friend of Kasravi’s is mentioned in an earlier article in al-`Irfan. ath-Thawrat wa thawratan an-Najaf,” X:7, Nisan 1925, p. 629. According to this article, he was a descendent of a famous scholar who had to flee to Iran. He was condemned to death for unspecified crimes.

Untitled article

This is the summary of an article by Sayyed Ahmad Tabrizi on the dethronement of Ahmad Shah.

The article opens by mentioning that Naser od-Din Shah opposed many because they deviated from the Faith and judged according to the belief of the people [al-jumhuriyya]. Among these was “marhum Jamal ud-Din al-Afghani.” This idea has spread because Ahmad Shah is being dethroned and Reza Khan is being appointed president [ra’is al-jumhuriyya]. The people of Iran like the minister. Many cabinets fell since his appointment [as Minister of War]. He led the army and himself never fell. This was due to his will, his energy, his taking the reins of power in his hands of iron, while the Shah, like his ancestors before him, was steeped in pleasures, enamored of traveling, beguiled by beautiful women, seduced by treasures of gold and silver. One of the French newspapers published a picture of him in his felt cap with a beautiful French girl. The Tehran press picked up this picture and mounted a violent campaign and made a comparison between him and the Amir of Afghanistan. Amanullah Khan was crowned in Kabul was an ardent reformer. He demanded a revision of the Anglo-Afgha agreements, which left Britain in charge of Afghanistan's foreign relations in exchange for protection from unprovoked Russian aggression and a subsidy in money and military materiel. British reluctance to accept a change in the status quo led to the third Anglo-Afghan war on May 3, 1919. Peace was restored after lengthy negotiations, leaving Afghanistan free and independent from British control. He became a national hero and turned his attention to reforming and modernizing his country. He established diplomatic and commercial relations with major European and Asian states, founded schools in which French, German, and English were the major languages of education, and promulgated a constitution which guaranteed the personal freedom and equal rights of all Afghans. Social reforms included a new dress code which permitted women in Kabul to go unveiled and encouraged officials to wear Western dress.

They say that the Amir carries a pair of scissors with him, and whenever he sees an officer or government official wearing Western clothing, he cuts it with his scissors.

It happened that the Turks declared a republic and Greece dethroned their king, and this increased the Iranians’ enthusiasm. But when one examines Iran’s situation, one realizes that it never tended towards republicanism. For, while there were demonstrations for it, Haj Aqa Jamal al-Isfahani, a mojtahed of Tehran, stated that republicanism violates Islam and is nothing but an innovation and a deviation!!! So he gathered around himself the common people, who have made these priests and months their masters and not G-d, and the opportunity arose to get close to the Shah. So they helped their master. The government held a plebiscite and the majority was for a republic, particularly Azerbaijan, which nominated Sayyed Hasan Taqizade for the presidency, he being a famous statesman and one of the first activists in the demand for a constitution. He had chosen to live in Berlin for a few years and published there the journal Kave, and was then named as ambassador to Moscow, and is still there. After all this struggle and outcry, the republic failed and when Reza Khan went to bid farewell to the Iraqi clergy who were in Qom, they made an agreement that he would abandon the issue of the republic for the time being. It is possible that the Majlis will dethrone the Shah and Crown Prince Mohammad Hasan Mirza, his brother, but they will not declare a republic now that the clergy has banned the idea and place the Shah’s two-year-old suckling infant on the throne and have a regent rule until he reaches his maturity, and this regent would most likely be Reza Khan. We know that history does not repeat itself and it will not happen to this infant king and his regent what happened to Nader Shah and `Abbas Mirza “The Infant.” Here, Kasravi explains, Nader Shah appointed `Abbas Mirza as Shah after dethroning his brother, Shah Tahmaseb II, and unsheathed his sword and conquered lands in his name, and when he saw that the fruit had ripened, he yearned to pluck it, deposed him and reigned in his place. This, he continues, is better for Reza Khan than the presidency. One never knows what is hidden in it, whether it will delight the eyes or blind them. It is best for you that it be hidden.

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