Persian Voices: Shrouds for the Dead


Persian Voices: Shrouds for the Dead

What are these unbecoming cloaks and veils?

They are shrouds for the dead, not for those alive

I say: “Death to those who bury women alive”

If a few poets add their voices to mine

A murmur of discontent will start

With it women will unveil

They’ll throw off their cloak of shame, be proud

Joy will return to lives

Otherwise, as long as women are in shrouds

Half the nation is not alive.

—Mirzadeh Eshqi


Milani, Farzaneh. “The Concept of Veiling.” Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers. London: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, p.29. Print


Editor’s Note: Sayed Mohammad Reza Kordestani with the pen name, Mirzadeh Eshqi was an Iranian political writer and poet.

چیست این چادر و روبنده نازیبنده؟
گر کفر نیست پس بگو! چیست این روبنده؟؟
مرده باد انکه زنان زنده به گور افکنده
با من ار یک دو سه گوینده هم اواز شود
کم کم این زمزمه در جامعه اغاز شود
با همین زمزمه ها روی زنان باز شود
زن کند جامه شرم ار و سرافراز شود
لذت زندگی از جامعه احراز شود
ورنه تا زن به کفن سربرده..
نیمی از ملت ایران مرده…
میرزاده عشقی

Persian Voices: Longings for Future Mixed with Image of Now


Persian Voices: Longings for Future Mixed with Image of Now

What is woman?

The years of her life grow slack, while the branch of her intellect matures late,

Mixing longings for the future with the image of now.

—Alam Taj Zhaleh, Qa’em-Maqami


Alam Taj Zhaleh, Qa’em-Maqami. Mirror of Dew. Translated with an Introduction By Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, 2014. Print. Page 59

او در طول زندگی خود دیر است و شاخش طولانی است
پشیمانی از آینده با این نقش مخلوط است
عالم تاج ژاله قائم مقامی است

Persian Voices: Break Down the Walls


Persian Voices: Break Down the Walls

Where are we?

In the prison of injustice

What must be done?

We must break down the walls of this prison.


With what power?

With the power of humanity.


What is the basis of the power of humanity?

The power of humanity rests on the basis of those truths that the Prophets have placed in the repository of universal knowledge.


Where is that repository of knowledge?

In the noble Sharia of Islam.

—Malkum Khan


Sajo Andras (2004). Human Rights with Modesty. Balaghi, Shiva, Chapter 14, Constitutional and Islamic law in Nineteenth-Century Iran: Mirza Malkum Khan and Qanun. Leiden: M. Nijhoff Publishers, p.327.


Editor’s Note: Malkum Khan was among the first Iranians to articulate a notion of parliamentary government in Iran. His views were central to the emerging revolutionary fervor that resulted in the Constitutional Revolution called, Mashruteh, in Persian.

Persian Voices: Face of Love


Persian Voices: Face of Love

Now I’ve chosen the path that leads through longing to nothingness:

there, perhaps, I can open the door to the face of love.

—Alam-Taj Zhaleh Qaem-Maqami


MIRROR OF DEW, The Poetry of Alam Taj Zhaleh Qaem-Maqami. Translated by: Asghar, Seyed-Gohrab. “Longing For Love.” Boston: tlex Foundation, 2014. Page 111. Print.


Editor’s Note: Alam-Taj used her penname, Zhaleh (Dew), in her collected poetry. She was a witness to pivotal social and political development in Iran during late nineteenth century. Her poems were discovered and published by her son, Pezhman Bakhtiyari, a renowned poet after her death.

اکنون بسیج راه عدم میکنم به ذوق
انجا مگر دری بگشایم به عشق