Persian Voices: Reza Shah Pahlavi

[video-player]

Persian Voices: Reza Shah Pahlavi

A soldier gives his life for his country on the battle field. You should do the same thing. You must sacrifice yourselves for the prestige of your country.

—Reza Shah Pahlavi

 

Edited by Albert , Hourani, Philip Shukry Khury and Mary Christina Wilson. The Modern Middle East: A Reader. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press , 1993. Page 688. Print.

Najmabadi A. (1991) Hazards of Modernity and Morality: Women, State and Ideology in Contemporary Iran. In: Kandiyoti D. (eds) Women, Islam and the State. Page 53. London: Palgrave MacMillan, A division of St. martin’s Press LLC, 1991. Print.

 

Editor’s Note 1: At a ceremony in 1933 for the newly established National Bank of Iran, Reza Shah demanded the bank employees to act as soldiers.

Editor’s Note 2: During Reza Shah’s reign, since national literacy levels were still quite low, many of the clerks employed across government institutions were from the religious establishment.

Persian Voices: No Medical Books at That Time in Persian

[video-player]

Persian Voices: No Medical Books at That Time in Persian

Until 1309 (1930) he practiced mostly old medicine [Islamic medicine]. When it was time to take the exam, he went to Tabriz. There he studied with Dr. Tofiq who had studied medicine in Switzerland. Because there were no medical books at that time in Persian, he used Istanbul-Turkish translations of European medial texts. He studied both theory and practice [modern medicine]. He learned from him how to use a stethoscope, to take blood pressure, and do examination of women. He then took the licensing exam and passed.

—Son of One Hakim

 

Ervand, Abrahamian. “The Iron Fist of Reza Shah.” A History of Modern Iran. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. 90. Print.

Persian Voices: Modern Civilization

[video-player]

Persian Voices: Modern Civilization

I told the king that modern civilization, which has become famous in the world, has two faces. One is manifested in boulevards and the other one in laboratories. I thought [Reza Shah] would get the point, but what emerged was more of the civilization of boulevards.

—Prime Minister Mehdiqoli Khan Hedayat

 

Farhang, Rajaee. “The Politics of Revival, 1920s-1960s.” Islamism and Modernism the changing Discourse in Iran. Austin: University Of Texas Press, 2007. 31. Print.

Persian Voices: A Fourth Power

[video-player]

Persian Voices: A Fourth Power

Among the powers of the state there is a fourth power which, if it should disappear would greatly harm freedom and the Constitution, for it represents public opinion… Of course, a power is required which is external, which may alert the public to current instances of both corrupt and good practices and educate people in regard to the good and the evil, and generally direct public opinion toward rightful ideas. Of course, I mean the press which represents political parties and groups and not the ideas of a single person…

—Ali-Akbar Davar, the Klub-e Mah, October 1922

 

H., Enayat. Law, STATE, AND SOCIETY IN MODERN IRAN Constitutionalism, Autocracy, and Legal Reform, 1906-1941. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, A division of St. martin’s Press LLC, , 2013. Page 120. Print.

 

Editor’s Note: Ali Akbar Davar constructed the modern judiciary under Reza Shah importing French judicial models to Iran, and even introduced a statistics division designed to improve the efficiency of the trial processes.

Persian Voices: Our Younger Intellectuals

[video-player]

Persian Voices: Our Younger Intellectuals

Our younger intellectuals cannot possibly understand, and thus cannot possibly judge Reza Shah. They cannot, because they were too young to remember the chaotic and desperate conditions out of which he arose.

—Ahmad Kasravi

 

Ervand, Abrahamian. “Chapter 3. “Ahmad Kasravi”. A History Of Modern Iran. New York, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Page 96. Print.

Shireen, T. Hunter. “Assessing Reza Shah.” Iran Divided: The Historical Roots of Iranian Debates on identity, Culture, and Governance the Twenty-First Century. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield , 2014. Page 49. Print.

Persian Voices: Fires of Norwuz

[video-player]

Persian Voices: Badr ol-Moluk Bamdad

Two or three years after the admission of girls to the university, some boy and girl students clubbed together in the days before Nowruz (the Iranian New Year on 21 March) and worked long and hard to organize a convivial celebration with the traditional bonfire on Chaharshanbe-ye Suri (the Wednesday before Norwuz). The bonfire symbolizes the end of dark days and the burning away of past evils. It was arranged that the bonfire should be lit in a certain large courtyard, and that the girl students, whose number had now risen, should form a ring round the fire and the boys should stand behind them and all should sing a Nowruz song. Probably at the suggestion of an agitator outside the university some boy students acting in concert stationed themselves just behind the girls and joined hands and all at once, pushed, with the intention of driving the girls so close to the fire that they would get scorched or burned.

—Badr ol-Moluk Bamdad

 

Farzaneh Milani, (1992). Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers, Contemporary Issues in the Middle East (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1992). Page 26

Persian Voices: Peacock of Paradise

[video-player]

Persian Voices: Peacock of Paradise

She would decorate her assembly room like a bridal chamber and her body like a peacock of Paradise. Then she summoned the followers of the Bab and appeared unveiled in front of them. First she ascended a throne, and like a pious preacher reminded them of Heaven and Hell and quoted amply from the Qur’an and the traditions She would then tell them: “Whoever touches me, the intensity of Hell’s fire would not affect him.” The audience would then rise and come to her throne and kiss those lips of hers which put to shame the ruby of Ramman, and rub their faces against her breasts, which chagrined the pomegranates of the garden.

Mirza Muhammad Taqi Sepehr

 

Farzaneh Milani,(1992). Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers, Contemporary Issues in the Middle East (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1992). Page 81

 

Editor’s Note: The writer describes Tahereh Qorratol’Ayn, a modern female writer cursed for her involvement in the Bahai’s Babi Movement.

Persian Voices: Persian is Sugar

[video-player]

Persian Voices: Saints and Sinners Treated Alike

In no other place on the face of the earth but in Iran are saints and sinners treated alike. Finally, after five long years of suffering and homelessness, I was returning home.

—Sayyid Muhammad Jamalzadeh, Persian Is Sugar

 

Sayyid Muhammad Jamalzadeh, from the collection: Once Upon a Time. Translated by Iraj Bashiri.

 

Editor’s Note: Persian Is Sugar is a known literary work famous for encapsulating the Constitutional Movement in Iran in which western-educated intellectuals participated in a revolution to transform Iran from autocratic rule to a constitutional monarchy with a parliament. Literary elites were often educated abroad and upon returning home could take up liberal causes though found themselves repeatedly up against larger forces from Iran’s government and conservative Islamic clergy.

Persian Voices: The Tale of the Sands

[video-player]

Persian Voices: The Tale of the Sands

My destiny is to cross the desert.

The Wind crosses the desert and so can you.

But whenever I try, I am absorbed into the sand; and even if I dash myself across, I can only go a little distance.

The Wind does not dash itself… Allow yourself to be absorbed by the Wind… Today you call yourself such and such a river only because you do not know which part of it is even now your essence.

Sufi poem

 

The Tale of the Sands, The Sufis Idries Shah. Introduction by Robert Graves. Page 292 and 293

 

Editor’s Note: Sufism is a branch of Islam which shares a relationship to the practice of alchemy or chemistry in the west. In Iran, the Sufis played a role in bringing about the first shia Islamic State in the form of the Safavid Dynasty in 1501 by Shah Ismail who was the head of a Sufi order, and later the revival of Sufism factored in the founding of the constitutional monarchy in 1906. Sufism also uses the discipline of dance as a form of spiritual conquest.

Persian Voices: Face of Iran

[video-player]

Persian Voices: Lack of Success

The greatest pain which burns my heart is lack of success. In addition to that, our actions were responsible for the damages made to the country and its people… I am constantly burning in the through as to how it would be possible for us to remove this blot of shame which today has darkened the beautiful face of Iran, and which will be registered in our names. Or will this collar of damnation hang around the necks of Taqizadeh and Mosavat till the Day of Judgement and, until the end of time Iranians will remember them like they do Shimr of Kufa and Yazid of Syria.

 

-Sayyed Hasan Taqizadeh, April 1920

 

Homa, Katouzian. “The revolution for law.” IRAN Politics, History and Literature. Abingdon, Oxon: Rutledge, 2013. 53. Print.