Persian Voices: Victorious Army

Monday 2 Nov 1856

Four in the afternoon, I was in the outer court. I had just finished my lunch. His Excellency the Sadr A’zam was present. It was rainy. I was sitting in the Mirror Hall [Talar-i A’ina] next to the Crystal Fountain [Hawz-i Bulur].

Suddenly Yaullah Khan, servant in waiting, entered and presented the good tiding of the Herat conquest. I stood up. Ghulum Husayn Khan Yuz-bashi Shahsavan, the official news writer [vaqayi’-nigar] of the campaign, who had traversed [from Herat] in nine days, reported that the city had surrendered to the victorious army.

Thanks to Murtaza ‘Ali’s blessings, peace be upon him, this was a praiseworthy victory and the eyes of the enemy, particularly the British, turned blind [with jealousy]. Hundred and ten gun salutes were fired in honor of his holiness ‘Ali. The Naqara-khana, too, performed.

One thousand tumans was awarded to Yadullah Khan for the good news. By a fateful coincidence, at that very hour the crown prince who was six years of age departed from this world in a coma caused by chronic fever. We didn’t know whether to be merry or to mourn. Surely we belong to God and to Him we return.

—Naser al-Din Shah


Amanat, Abbas. Pivot of the universe: Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar and the Iranian monarchy. I.B. Tauris, 2008.


Editor’s Note: To preserve this moment, Naser al-Din Shah recorded this journal entry in the margins of a biography on Napoléon Bonaparte in Persian.