Readings in Mullah Nasr od-Din and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution through 1908

III:24June 16, 1908

p. 3 The Elimination of the Unclean

We, along with our Iranian brothers, are grief-stricken by Iran's disasters and prostrate ourselves before the writers and other pure-spirited mojaheds who were martyred at the command of the cowardly butchers. We wish from the bottom of our hearts that your Iran will pass from these calamities into prosperity.

You did not think it was necessary for Molla Nasr od-Din to have uttered its witticisms or written its satirical pieces all this time. I.e., that there was no substance to all this writing. If you would ask me again about the reason for this, I would repeat what I said in the first place:

That the first and last reason Iran is in this state is that now in Iran, every single Muslim, before doing anything, says, "Who is your religious guide?"

I conclude my remarks by addressing my Iranian brothers with two pieces of advice:

My first piece of advice is that surely, a thousand times surely, those subjects of foreign nations living in Iran be treated in such a way that none one of them be offended, both out of humanitarianism and so as not to give enemies an excuse.

My second piece of advice is that in the age of Mohammad 'Ali Shah, it has become difficult for those living in the land of Iran and they should consider ridding themselves of Mohammad 'Ali Shah as a form of the elimination of the unclean, for it has become well-nigh impossible to breath in such a fetid atmosphere.

--From the Editors

III:26June 30, 1908

p. 2 Babis

There is at this very hour a famine in Tabriz. People are pining for their bread. The water has been cut off from those living in the villages so that they might burn. Horsemen prowl the city and loiter. On the part of the constitutionalists, girls are dying and they are taking refuge in the Armenian quarter. Baghmishe, Bilmisku, Puransku, Khiaban, Bazar-e Chai, and Maralan are all scattered and looted.

There is something behind all this.

Those who are not in the know might imagine that the fighting in Tabriz is a political fight, i.e., they might imagine that the constitutionalists are few and have been overcome and the royalists are many and have won.

This is not so.

In Iran, Mohammad 'Ali Shah is supported only by those who are out for their own interests, i.e., have been bribed and have thus promised to help the Shah. For example, in Tabriz, Mojtahed Hajji Mirza Hasan, the Friday Imam, Mir Hashem, Hajji Ebrahim Sarraf, A member of the anti-constitutionalist Anjoman-e Eslamiye which he saw as a force for stability and an obstacle to anarchy. (Fathi) Bankrolled this anjoman and was an intimate of the Shah since his years as Crown Prince. (Kasravi) Hajji Mir Manaf, A sayyed of Devechi and an ally of Mir Hashem. His Honor Nezam od-Dawle, A former governor of Tabriz and a landlord member of the Tabriz Anjoman who began breaking with the constitution after the Majlis began attacking land entitlements. He led an attempt to drive out the more militant constitutionalist agitators such as Sheikh Salim, in league with the Mojtahed of Tabriz. He left Tabriz when the Mojtahed was driven out. (Fathi) Shoja'-e Nezam, From Marand. Led an outlaw band of cavalry in terrorizing Azerbaijan. His services to the monarchy included leading an army against the constitutionalist boroughs of Tabriz. (Kasravi, Fathi) Their Honors [Hajji] Faramarz and Zargham[-e Nezam], Two tribal cavalry leaders who terrorized the villages of Azerbaijan in league with another outlaw cavalry band, that of Rahim Khan (who seems to have been forgotten by our author!) Luti Kazem, Luti Hasan and Luti Asghar, Tofangchis of Devechi. (Vijviyei) "Kazem Davatgaroghli and Hasan Kababpoz lived in the borough of Devechi and were very brave and renown. They were enemies of Sattar Khan." (Kasravi, p. 491) i.e., in all of Tabriz, only 11 people.

But now, see how all of Tabriz has attacked the constitutionalist boroughs, torn them to pieces, and drunken their blood!

Let no one say that the aim of the attackers was to wipe out the Shah's enemies and restore the old order. No; aside from the above 11 people, not one person can be found in all of Tabriz who would want this.

So what is this tumult about?

If we look at this matter a bit closely, we will see that there is a commandment involved.

His Honor Mirza Hasan's flock of zealous Muslims have been convinced that the constitutionalists are all Babis.

And that settles that.

Daddy said to me, "Son, don't let them get away, grab that Babi son of a bastard. Beat him! Grab him! Hey, don't let him get away! Come on, get him! Cut those Babis! Hurrah! Hurrah!"

This is what the fighting in Tabriz is all about.

At first, I didn't now about this myself. For example, I would be told that someone or other was a Babi, i.e., an apostate. I, for my part, knew that killing him was a religious obligation. And that settles it. Otherwise, I would have taken the trouble and gotten into an exchange with him, asking, "Is it true that this guy was a Babi?" or raise the issue of freedom of conscience. I even thought a bit.... What does Devechi have to do with freedom of conscience? This sort of thing would never happen in our province.

And that's that.

This is what the Tabriz fighting is over.

Mojtahed, yes, Mojtahed.

In Mojtahed Hajji Mirza Hasan's eyes, if one Muslim's boy does something wrong, it's an offense against the Laws of Islam.

A thousand Muslim girls fled to the Armenian quarter to take refuge in the homes of foreigners right in front of Mojtahed Hajji Mirza Hasan's eyes.

But the Russian bank president Bidolovich spent 5000 tumans and gave the hungry, abandoned Muslim girls bread so that they would not die of starvation.

We have written in the past the the mojtaheds ride on the backs of porters.

They were offended at us. Rather more than offended. According to his wife's memoirs of him, several Mashhadis came from Iran on a mission to murder Mirza Jalil over the cartoon which appeared on the front page of the issue of January 20, 1908 (III:3). (Hamide Mohammadqolizade, p. 30)

Now I hope that they look at Mojtahed Hajji Mirza Hasan Aqa.

They will see that such lutis and qoldors can exist in the world.

p. 6 The Very Same Man

Mohammad 'Ali Shah sent a letter to Tabriz on the fourth of this Jamadi II July 4, 1907. as follows:

Oh people of Tabriz!

Oh people of Azerbaijan who are unhappy with me! I hear that you are angry with me for having sworn by the Koran not to betray the government and the nation every again and rally the enemies around me and destroy the country.

Oh people of Tabriz, let anyone else say that all these words were the truth and let them saw what they want this time around, but I cannot understand what you are saying and what you want from me and what you expect from me. By God, by God, I am amazed at you. If it was someone from any other province who was complaining about me, they had the right, but I cannot understand what you people of Tabriz expected of me.

I mean, don't you know me? Let others say what they will, but, well, my son, you who know me, you who are so well-acquainted with me, who know from the egg of what species of bird I am hatched, you who are aware of what I did!

Oh people of Tabriz! Remember again that it wasn't so long ago, only a year ago, when I was the Crown Prince, that you watched me throw away my promise to you and you didn't say a single word.

Once again, recall the Prince's Park! No doubt you all recall what I was doing there, how respectable people would bring their boys to that park and how I indulged my pleasures. How they sent those pretty girls to that park on my command before your very eyes. And you remember well how, when I was Crown Prince, such boys and girls were sacrificed for my dear person.

Well, you never had any objection in those days, so what are you going on about today?

From whom did I hear that what I was doing in those days in the Prince's Park were not nice things?

When did any of my mojtaheds or other scholars of mine give any indication of the vileness of my deeds?

One month, the masters of the clergy published a treatise on how many times it is necessary to cough, or how many times it is necessary to rub (?), or else, "Any woman who puts on her underwear standing up, her wishes will not be answered for three days, and when she puts them on, she should say the following prayer." In Persian.

Oh people of Tabriz!

After my training as Crown Prince was finished, you hailed me as your king, and with what pomp you sent me off to Tehran!

Well, what did you want from me?

I am that same man, but "the saddle has changed" In Persian. a little bit.

Let the people of some other province see me as a human being and seek royal qualities in me.

Well, what are you going on about? You understand me.

Don't you remember what went on in the Prince's Park?

So what are you going on about?


III:26July 24, 1908

p. 3 Telegrammed News

When news of the destruction of the Tehran Majlis reached Ardebil, there were three days of celebrations and illuminations. The Shah was telegrammed that they would offer their lives, property, and honor to help him. The Shah answered by bestowing on the members of the Ardebil Anjoman the following titles: to the Khadembashi, Yazid b. Mo'aviye; to the Sheikh ol-Eslam, Shemr b. Zil-Jushan, Incited the people of Kufa to betray Imam Hosein. etc.

--Chalafan ulture.

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