Poetry and Revolution: The Poets and Poetry of the Constitutional Era of Iran 9781032152639, 9781032152646, 9781003243335

Compiled by experts on the works of each individual poet, this book covers the poetry and poets of the Constitutional Re

310 86 6MB

English Pages 220 [221] Year 2022

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

Poetry and Revolution: The Poets and Poetry of the Constitutional Era of Iran
 9781032152639, 9781032152646, 9781003243335

Table of contents :
Half Title
Series Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of contributors
Chapter 1 Iraj, the Poet of Love and Humour
Chapter 2 The Silencing of Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri: Extravagance and Myth-Making in Iranian Historiography
Chapter 3 Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse and the Legacy of the Constitutional Revolution (1905–1911)
Chapter 4 Freedom’s Song: Women and the Canonization of Constitutional Era Poets
Chapter 5 Social Education through Satirical Verse: Ashraf Gilāni and Ali Akbar Dehkhodā
Chapter 6 Margins, Resistance and Transformation in Classical Persian Poetry: Yaghmā Jandaqi as Precursive Kernel of the Constitutional Revolution Poetry
Chapter 7 Politics, Prison and Poetry: Analysis of Farrokhi Yazdi’s Poetics
Chapter 8 Singing Modernity with the Language of Tradition: Situating the Literary Theory and Practice of Mohammad-Taqi Bahār
Chapter 9 Crying on the Stage: ‘Eshqi the Playwright

Citation preview

Poetry and Revolution

Compiled by experts on the works of each individual poet, this book covers the poetry and poets of the Constitutional Revolution of Iran. Following a two-pronged approach, this volume studies both those who were influenced by the Constitutional Revolution in their works and those who addressed the Revolution with their work, influencing it directly. Through the analysis of their works, this volume explores influential poets and writers from the period, including Iraj, Vaziri, Afrāshteh, Yazdi, Bahār and ‘Eshqi. It covers female poets who are often overlooked, as well as the major satirical poets whose work educated and entertained the readers and criticized socio-political events. Analyzing the mainstream and marginal poets, this volume argues the margins initiated the evolution of Persian poetry. As Persian poetry and its multifunctional legacy became the standard-bearer of the Constitutional movement, this volume is an important contribution to an understanding of Iran. This volume will be of interest to historians of the Constitutional Revolution and Iranian poetry, as well as to students and scholars of comparative revolutions. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate courses on Iranian history, Middle Eastern history and comparative studies of literature and revolution. Homa Katouzian is Roshan Institute Visiting Academic in Iranian Studies, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He is Editor of The International Journal of Persian Literature and co-editor of the Routledge Iranian Studies book series. His numerous publications include Sa’di, the Poet of Life, Love and Compassion (2006), Sadeq Hedayat, the Life and Legend of an Iranian Writer (2006), Iran: Politics, History and Literature (2013) and The Persians: Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Iran (2010). Alireza Korangy received his Ph.D. from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. His research is on Classical Persian and Arabic philology and literature; poetics, rhetoric, and Iranian and Semitic linguistics; and Kurdish folklore. He is (with Dr. Homa Katouzian) the editor of The International Journal of Persian Literature.

Iranian Studies Series editors: Homa Katouzian, University of Oxford and Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, University of Toronto

Since 1967 the International Society for Iranian Studies (ISIS) has been a leading learned society for the advancement of new approaches in the study of Iranian society, history, culture, and literature. The new ISIS Iranian Studies series published by Routledge will provide a venue for the publication of original and innovative scholarly works in all areas of Iranian and Persianate Studies. Persian Calligraphy A Corpus Study of Letterforms Mahdiyeh Meidani Iranian National Cinema The Interaction of Policy, Genre, Funding and Reception Anne Démy-Geroe Judeo-Persian Writings A Manifestation of Intellectual and Literary Life Edited and Compiled by Nahid Pirnazar Foreign Policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran Between Ideology and Pragmatism Przemyslaw Osiewicz Secularization of Islam in Post-Revolutionary Iran Mahmoud Pargoo Iran’s Green Movement Everyday Resistance, Political Contestation and Social Mobilization Navid Pourmokhtari Poetry and Revolution The Poets and Poetry of the Constitutional Era of Iran Edited by Homa Katouzian and Alireza Korangy For more information about this series, please visit: https://www​.routledge​.com​/ middleeaststudies​/series​/IRST

Poetry and Revolution The Poets and Poetry of the Constitutional Era of Iran

Edited by Homa Katouzian and Alireza Korangy

First published 2022 by Routledge 4 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2022 Homa Katouzian and Alireza Korangy The right of Homa Katouzian and Alireza Korangy to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-1-032-15263-9 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-032-15264-6 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-24333-5 (ebk) DOI: 10.4324/9781003243335 Typeset in Times New Roman by Deanta Global Publishing Services, Chennai, India


List of contributors Acknowledgements

vii x



Iraj, the Poet of Love and Humour




The Silencing of Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri: Extravagance and Myth-Making in Iranian Historiography




Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse and the Legacy of the Constitutional Revolution (1905–1911)




Freedom’s Song: Women and the Canonization of Constitutional Era Poets




Social Education through Satirical Verse: Ashraf Gilāni and Ali Akbar Dehkhodā




Margins, Resistance and Transformation in Classical Persian Poetry: Yaghmā Jandaqi as Precursive Kernel of the Constitutional Revolution Poetry FARSHAD SONBOLDEL


vi Contents 7

Politics, Prison and Poetry: Analysis of Farrokhi Yazdi’s Poetics




Singing Modernity with the Language of Tradition: Situating the Literary Theory and Practice of Mohammad-Taqi Bahār




Crying on the Stage: ‘Eshqi the Playwright



Index 205


Behrooz Mahmoodi-Bakhtiari (PhD, Linguistics, ‘Allāmeh Tabātabā’i University, 2004) is Associate Professor of Linguistics and Persian at the Department of Performing Arts, University of Tehran, Iran. His research focuses on second language acquisition and pedagogy, as well as Persian and Iranian linguistics and dialectology. He has published numerous articles in journals and edited volumes, such as The World’s Major Languages, The Oxford Handbook of Persian Linguistics, Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy of Persian and others. His recently published and current projects are Essays on Typology of Iranian Languages, Mouton Handbook of Tajik Linguistics and Mouton Handbook of Caspian Languages and Linguistics. Salour Evaz Malayeri graduated with an MA in Persian literature and language from Azad University of Tehran, Iran, in 2011. His thesis discussed the relationship between ideology and literature in mediaeval Persian poetry through analyzing the odes of Nāser-e Khosrow and Sa’di’s Boustan, which earned him a first-class grade. He has published several essays on cultural production in Iran, as well as film and book reviews in Iranian journals. Parvin Loloi was educated at the University of Tehran, Iran, and obtained her PhD from the University of Swansea, Wales, UK. She works as an independent scholar and writer. She has written extensively on English translations of Persian poetry and also Persian cultural and literary influences on English and American literatures. She has revised and edited 25 essays for The New English National Biography and acted as Editorial Consultant for the volume Contemporary World Writers, ed. Tracy Chevalier (Chicago/London, 1994). Among her publications are a critical and annotated edition (in two volumes) of Two Seventeenth Century Plays: Vol. 1, Sir John Denham, The Sophy; Vol. 2, Robert Baron, Mirza, A Tragedy (1998). She is also the author of Hafiz, Master of Persian Poetry, A Critical Bibliography of English Translations Since the Eighteenth Century (2004). She has translated Poems from the Divan of Hafez (Brixham, 2003) in collaboration with the poet William Oxley. She is a regular contributor to Encyclopeadia Iranica.

viii Contributors Nasrin Rahimieh is Howard Baskerville Professor of Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is currently the Director of the Humanities Core Program at UCI, former Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature (2016–2019) and Maseeh Chair and Director of the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture (2006–2014). Her teaching and research are focused on modern Persian literature, the literature of Iranian exile and diaspora, and contemporary Iranian women’s writing. Among her publications are Oriental Responses to the West: Comparative Essays in Select Writers from the Muslim World (1990), Missing Persians: Discovering Voices in Iranian Cultural History (2001), Forugh Farrokhzad, Poet of Modern Iran: Iconic Woman and Feminine Pioneer of New Persian Poetry (2010), co-edited with Dominic Parviz Brookshaw; and Iranian Culture: Representation and Identity (2015). She is the translator, into English, of the late Taghi Modarressi’s last novel, The Virgin of Solitude (2008). Leyla Rouhi is the Preston S. Parish ‘41 Third Century Professor of Romance Languages at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Rouhi is a graduate of Oxford University (BA) and Harvard (MA and PhD). Rouhi teaches and researches a wide range of topics in the areas of mediaeval and early modern Mediterranean, particularly Islam and Spain, Cervantes, translation history and theory, and Islam in the European Middle Ages. She also pursues interests in contemporary Iranian culture and politics. She has published extensively in these fields. She has served as Director of the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences at Williams College, and in 2010 was named Massachusetts Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation. She is a Founding Editor (with Irene Mizrahi and Sonia Pérez Villanueva) of ConSecuencias: A Journal of Spanish Criticism. Her latest book was The Other Martyrs: Women and the Poetics of Sexuality, Sacrifice, and Death (2018). Her most recent works have appeared in Decimonónica (2019), Brill (2018) and a volume co-edited by Felipe Rojas and Peter Thompson, IránMundo Hispánico. Saeedeh Shahnahpur is a lecturer in Persian and Iranian Studies at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), University in Leiden, Netherlands. Her research focuses on twentieth-century Persian literature, and the political, social, cultural and religious transformations through which literary discourse developed. She has published several articles on the Iran–Iraq war novels, focusing on Esmā’il Fasih and his contribution to Iranian war literature. Her monograph entitled Writing War in Contemporary Iran: The Case of Esmā’il Fasih’s Zemestān-e 62 was published in 2019. This was the first monograph in English offering a complete account of Esmā’il Fasih’s life, works and position in contemporary Iranian literature. As a case study, this book examines Zemestān-e 62 (the winter of 1983) from a narratological standpoint to showcase the politicization of culture and the culturalization of politics in wartime Iran, to interpret the author’s implicit opinion of the war and to analyze the importance and meaning of several key concepts adopted in Iranian literary and societal discourse during the Iran–Iraq war.



Farshad Sonboldel is a PhD candidate in Modern Languages at the University of St. Andrews, UK. Sonboldel has published three books in Persian, two books of poems, Metropolis (2015) and She’r-e Boland-e Sharāyet (2019), as well as a critical study: Gozāresh-e Nahib-e Jonbesh-e Adabi-e Shahin: Tondar Kia (2016). The latter engages the works of the avant-garde Persian poet Tondar Kia. He has published in both Persian and English literary journals and is currently working on a research project on marginal pioneer poetry Iran starting from the 1920s to 1960s, wherein he illustrates how avant-garde movements of the said span of time emerged and how they resisted the mainstream in order to most efficiently transfer their experiences to the next generations.


The editors would like to thank first the authors who not only were most patient in the long process of putting this important work on the map for scholar and non-scholar alike, but also encouraged us to be even more thorough in providing a valuable piece of scholarship. Thanks are also due to the numerous peer-reviewers whose attention to detail was exemplary and made everyone’s efforts more fruitful. Last but certainly not least, we would like to thank Dr. Jane Makkelson of the University of Chicago without whose help and close reading of the manuscript this book would have been a less worthy version of what it is now. Her brilliance and clear thinking was, to say the least, evidence that this young scholar is to be a scholarly force to reckon with in years to come. Homa Katouzian Alireza Korangy

Introduction Homa Katouzian and Alireza Korangy

The Constitutional movement of Iran originated in the 1850s when a small intellectual elite began to think, write and talk about the government based on law as opposed to the age-old arbitrary rule. It should perhaps be explained briefly to the uninitiated that throughout its long history Iran had been ruled not by law but by fiat, i.e., by a person or persons whose decisions were not bound by a body of law. There did exist a body of traditional rules and religious laws but, in its decisions, the state was not bound by them. For example, although both life and property were sacred in Islam, the state could and did violate them at will and without recourse to any legal framework. Naturally, this does not mean that the state had unlimited powers; it means that it could exert its will freely within its physical possibilities. The wish, and later struggle, for law was inevitably accompanied by aspirations for modernization and progress, which was part and parcel of their observation of European state and society. But the campaign for law had the upper hand, partly because it was simplistically believed that constitutionalism will inevitably yield social and political modernity, and partly because the main concern of the more conservative constitutionalists was the establishment of a legal framework. Qanun, or law, was indeed the password for progressive change. Hence, unlike Europe where liberty was often contrasted with law, in Iran it was virtually identified with it. As late as the early 1920s when, due to the anarchy that had followed the Revolution of 1906–1911, constitutionalism had lost much of its attraction, nevertheless Farrokhi Yazdi, the political lyricist, wrote in a quatrain: ‫چون موجد آزادی ما قانون است‬ ‫ما محو نمی شویم چون قانون است‬ ‫محکوم زوال کی شود آن ملت‬ ‫در مملکتی که حکم با قانون است‬ Since law is the cause of our liberty, We shall survive as long as there is law. A people will never be lost, In a land which is ruled by law (emphasis added).1 DOI:  10.4324/9781003243335-1

2  Homa Katouzian and Alireza Korangy And Iraj, one of the foremost satirists in the Iranian literary world, speaking of the misery of the deprived in his time says, ‫از آن گویند گاهی لفظ قانون‬ ‫که حرف آخر قانون بود نون‬ The reason why they occasionally mention qānun Is because the last letter of qanun is nun (colloquial for nān which means bread).2 Persian poetry and its multifunctional legacy became the standard-bearer of the Constitutional movement. Bāzgasht-e Adabi (literary return or restoration) of the Qajar period had virtually exhausted its limited capacity for poetical innovation, although, despite much subsequent criticism, it was not merely a case of emulation. With the decline of poetry in the eighteenth century, the works of some of the early Bāzgasht poets harbingered hope to the still decadence of the previous century, even though, by returning to the classical styles, not many of them had an innovative bent. The return was more to the classical prosody and genres, such as qasideh, ghazal and masnavi, as well as, though less, to familiar figures of speech or literary devices: the content, however, varied within a certain range. It is however essential to understand that the underpinnings of the Constitutional Revolution were long in motion, as early as the mid-nineteenth century, with the intelligentsia in Iran. Therefore, to truly understand the poetics of this era, poetics being a term used here to encapsulate predominantly poetry but also other forms of artistic expression within the paradigm of the Constitutional Revolution of Iran, is simultaneous with understanding the importance of some of what occurs prior and short time after the Constitutional Revolution. Persian poetry and prose were heavily immersed in the ossified and rigid constraints of the classical system of poetics. As such, these poetic systems represented a decrepit way of thought which was simultaneously representative of social ills and constraints which was an impetus for this social and intellectual movement. Therefore, this study has a two-pronged purpose, and although it is impossible to address all the poetics, or poets, of the Constitutional Revolution under one cover, it is under the rubric of the studies presented here that a common denominator can be established on two fronts: (1) there were those who were influenced by the Constitutional Revolution in their works and, thereafter, were somewhat reflective of that influence in their poetics and poetry or whatever else form of artistic expression they employed; (2) those who addressed with their work of the Constitutional Revolution and influenced it directly. As such a few of the studies herein address the proto-Revolution influences and post-Revolution influences. The former, of course, sets the foundation and hence affords a much better understanding of the latter poetries and expressions and explains how and why they influenced—or in some cases did not—as they did. The essays herein do not only speak to a tit-for-tat correspondence between revolution and poetry, poetics, song, etc. They speak to a time period that was essentially seeking change and was proactive in every sense of the

Introduction  3 word. Poetry of the period is commensurate with this change and does not necessarily have to establish a correspondence with the revolution directly, but at the very minimum, every chapter here speaks to a renaissance in thought, action and expression which fed into and was influenced by the Constitutional Revolution of Iran. Although most of the focus here is on poetry, a playwright and a singer are also discussed. This shows, in a limited way, that poetry was not in fact the only mode of intellectual weaponization, and as such many other forms of expression were influential as well. They are, for all intents and purposes, snippet views, nay proposals for future undertaking under the auspices of such studies. In case of what occurs after the revolution, they are testaments to its paradigm: future representing past, post-rationalizing it and as such further defining it. To do this faithfully, this work considers the logical timetable of these proactive ideas and ideals from 1850 to 1925, which will show a special stress on this work’s fealty to fledglings and results and not only the even, hence the Constitutional Revolution era. As milieu and its production are inextricably bound, we see that even those who did not participate, per se, in the revolution were influenced by its many facets, both social and literary. In step with presenting an intellectual prelude working towards social change, the works, both of poetry and prose of Qā’em-Maqām, and, though in a very different way, Yaghmā are distinct, though not so much Fathollāh Khan Sheibāni, the pessimistic poet, whom Farshad Sonboldel also speaks to in his chapter, ‘Margins, Resistance, and Transformation in Classical Persian Poetry: the Works of Yaghmā Jandaqi as an origin of the Constitutional Revolution poetry.’ This chapter sets the grounding for some of what follows as per poetics. Yaghmā can be considered an intellectual harbinger whose work resonates and yawps the coming of the intellectual upheaval that was commensurate with the Constitutional Revolution. However, come the Constitutional movement there was a great change, almost amounting to a revolution. The break was in content, but less in form, although even in this case not all the old structures and conventions were followed. These can be seen more in the works of Bahār (1886–1951) and Adib al-Mamālek (1860–1917)—and especially the latter, the form of whose revolutionary poetry was in the style of the Bāzgasht style—ranging from attacks on an arbitrary rule to patriotic nostalgia. Bahār, on the other hand, was a renaissance man, introducing new words and figures of speech and selecting less familiar classical content forms such as the mostazād. Much more can be said about these two poets, and some will be found in ‘Singing Modernity with the Language of Tradition: The Revival of Traditional Rhetoric in the poems of Mohammad-Taqi Bahār’ by Salour Evaz Malayeri. A most helpful vehicle for the budding new revolutionary poetry was the expansion of the public sphere and the emergence of numerous newspapers and journals. Unlike the past when the divans or collected works of prominent poets were published after decades of endeavour and were addressed to the literary elite, now poetry became a day-to-day product published in the newspapers and often read out to the illiterate in cafes and other public gatherings. This encouraged

4  Homa Katouzian and Alireza Korangy the writing of simple, sometimes colloquial, poetry at the hands of young men like ‘Ali Akbar Dehkhodā (1879–1956) and Seyyed Ashraf Qazvini (Gilāni, 1870–1934). Dehkhodā did not write much political satire in verse, his main strength being in his inimitable prose, whereas Seyyed Ashraf amassed a massive corpus of poetry in his newspaper Nasim-e Shomāl, in a facile—and frequently colloquial—language; and for the sheer weight of his work, he may be described as the poet laureate of the Constitutional Revolution as Parvin Loloi articulately elaborates in her chapter ‘Ashraf-e Gilāni: Satirical, Comic and Other Poems.’ Iraj (1874–1926) was a poet of a different ilk. A master satirist and lyricist, he, like Bahār, was a major poet who brought the technique of sahl-o-momtane’ (inimitable facility). In this, he was second only to Sa’di and, in his satire, matched solely by the fourteenth-century master of ribaldry Obeyd Zākāni. He was not as political as most others, but he did engage in social and cultural criticism. His relentless critique of hejāb is best known by the general public, but his mastery of his milieu did not end there, of course. The impact of the revolution on him was perhaps greater than the others in that the break between what he wrote before and after the revolution is quite pronounced as Katouzian highlights in ‘Iraj, the Poet of Love and Humour.’ It must be noted that the fact that he did not overtly dabble in politics should not undermine his immense role as a social guru. His social criticism is in turn a jab at the governmental and political machinations that promote and nurture such societal ills and hypocrisies. Women had written poetry almost since its foundation in the classical period, but, save for such renowned classics as Rābe’eh bent Ka’b, Mahsati (or Mahasti) Ganjavi and Jahān Malak Khātun, their voices had hardly been fairly resonated. The Constitutional Revolution allowed for a limited female participation, including poetry by Shams Kasmā’i, Sediqeh Dowlatābādi and ‘Ālamtāj Qā’emMaqāmi (nom de plume, Jāleh), albeit their voices were unfortunately not widely disseminated, and their true appreciation took form in later generations. Parvin E’tesāmi, an outstanding poet—somewhat mystical and an indefatigable social critic often via allegorical verse—who began her work at the close of the period was, however, appreciated in her short and tragic life. Matthew Smith’s notable chapter, ‘Freedom’s Song: Women and Canonization of Constitutional Era Poets’ underlines this faithfully. Foremost amongst these successful women was also the nightingale of the revolutionary songs, Qamar al-Moluk (1905–1959). Starting at a young age, she quickly became a legend in her own time. Iraj went as far as saying that there was a decanter full of sugar (tong-e shekar) in her mouth. Unfortunately, she was not so lucky later in life and ended her days in obscurity. Leyla Rouhi’s thought-provoking chapter, ‘The Silencing of Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri: A Re-assessment of the Woman Singer of Constitutional Poetry’ brings to the foreground the social impact of this no-doubt important figure within the paradigm of women’s emancipation. As such it highlights the resonance of the intellectual peripheries of the Constitutional Revolution. Qamar, though a young child round and about the time of the revolution, is no less a representative of the movement: she is the character born of that revolution in every sense of the word. Gilān was at the forefront of the revolution and without its effective support, the revolution would arguably find it difficult to succeed. Indeed, Shams Kasmā’i,

Introduction  5 mentioned above, was originally from Gilān. Inevitably, most poets of Gilān wrote in Gilaki as was the case with Azerbāijāni poets, writing in their Turkic language. One Gilaki poet that stands out, albeit quite neglected, is Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh, who, although a latecomer, wrote revolutionary poetry in both Gilaki and Persian. His further development led to his becoming an avid admirer of Reza Shah and still later a political satirist and member of the Tudeh party. His satirical newspaper Chelengar was well known and widely read by Tudeh members. A good deal of his Persian poetry has been written in a colloquial language of not very high quality. Nasrin Rahimieh’s ‘Mohammad Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse and Legacy of the Constitutional revolution’ delves deep into that ethos by arguing ‘that Afrāshteh’s writing in Gilaki preserved and re-animated the hopes of the constitutional revolutionaries in the idiom of the peasants who continued to live under a feudal order as Iran faced a difficult political transition into the twentieth century.’ This brings us to the pan-Iranian nationalist poets, Mohammad Farrokhi Yazdi, Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, ‘Āref Qazvini and—up to a point—Abolqāsem Lāhuti. Farrokhi began his poetical campaign for the Constitutional Revolution as a teenager, at one point paying a high price for it. It was, however, later after World War I when he became a political lyricist and vehement campaigner for freedom while singing songs of praise for ancient Persian glories which later was tinged with certain socialist tendencies, mostly in his journal Tufān. He was a fine lyricist, with a penchant for habsiyyāt (prison songs); although he occasionally wrote in other genres. His life was turbulent, and he saw all seasons including death in jail. Saeedeh Shahnahpour offers a wonderful study of his life and times. ‘Eshqi and ‘Āref were also inveterate pan-Iranian nationalists with a highly pessimistic view of their own situation as well as that of the country. ‘Āref was a notable musician and songwriter as well as player and singer. ‘Eshqi tried his hands at dramatic poetry and indulged in political journalism. Both of them were vehemently opposed to Vosuq-ol-Dowleh’s ill-fated 1919 agreement between Iran and Great Britain, which they incorrectly perceived as having turned Iran into a British protectorate. Addressing Vosuq, ‘Āref wrote a ghazal whose opening verse was: ‫ای خانه تو در به رخ جنده باز کن‬ ‫وز در برون زنت همه را جنده باز کن‬ O you, the door of whose home is open to whores While outdoor your wife turns everyone into whoremongers.3 Likewise, ‘Eshqi wrote: ‫ای وثوق الدوله ایران ملک بابایت نبود‬ ‫اجرت المثل زمان بچگی هایت نبود‬ O Vosuq-ol-Dowleh Iran was not your daddy’s estate Or the rent payments for when you were a youth.4

6  Homa Katouzian and Alireza Korangy They parted company over Reza Khan’s bid for a republic, ‘Eshqi vehemently opposing it and losing his life on the way, while ‘Āref passionately campaigning for it, though he later regretted it, finally dying in isolation and destitution. Lāhuti began as a nationalist poet but soon became a Marxist revolutionary, ending up in the Soviet Republic of Tajikistan where he largely wrote socialist poetry in a long poetical and educational career. Most of his verses follow the classical prosody while others are more modernized. On the whole, his poetry is on the simple side.

Notes 1 Farrokhi Yazdi, Divan-e Farrokhi (which also contains biographical material), ed., Hossein Makki, Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1978: 213. 2 ‘Āref Qazvini, Divan-e Kāmel-e Iraj Mirzā, ed. Mohammad Ja’far Mahjub (Los Angeles: Sherkat-e Ketāb, 1989): 94. 3 ‘Āref Qazvini, Divan-e ‘Āref-e Qazvini, ed. ‘Abd al-Rahmān Seyf-e Āzād (Tehran: n.p., 1948): 325. 4 Mohammadrezā (Mirzādeh) ‘Eshqi, Kolliyāt-e Mosavvar-e ‘Eshqi, ed. ‘Ali Akbar Moshir-Salimi (Tehran: n.p., 1943), 290–291.


Iraj, the Poet of Love and Humour1 Homa Katouzian

Iraj Mirza Jalāl al-Mamālek, popularly known as Iraj (1875–1926), the name and title which he himself preferred, was the son of Gholāmhoseyn Mirzā, grandson of Malek Iraj Mirzā and a great-grandson of Fath’ali Shah Qajar (r. 1797–1834). Fath’ali Shah himself was a poet of note and has a published divan. Both his son Malek Iraj Mirzā and many of his other sons, daughters and grandchildren— including the important and influential E’tezād al-Saltaneh (d. 1880), Minister of Science under Nāser al-Din Shah (r. 1848–1896)—were private or professional poets. Iraj’s own father was a professional poet and had been given the title of Sadr al-Sho’arā. Another grandson of Fath’ali Shah, son of Mohammadqoli Mirza Molk Ara was a professional poet: Shams al-Sho’arā, from whom descend the Qajar families, Shams and Shams-e Molk Ārā. Apart from Iraj, two other descendants of Fath’ali Shah became famous poets: Abolhasan Mirza, Sheikh al-Ra’is I and Mohammad Hāshem Mirza (Afsar), Sheikh al-Ra’is II. Both latter poets were Iraj’s contemporaries, and Iraj was a personal friend of Hashem Mirza. In an ekhvāniyeh or poetical fraternity, he said, addressing ‘Āref-e Qazvini: 2

‫نمی پرسی چرا احوال ما را‬ ‫عجب چیز بدی باشد وکالت‬

‫بگو شهزاده هاشم میرزا را‬ ‫وکالت گردهد تغییر حالت‬

Ask Shahzādeh Hashem Mirza, Why he does not get in touch. If being an MP changes one’s mood, Then being an MP is no good. But among all these Qajar family poets, including the two Sheikh al-Ra’is’s, Iraj far outdoes all of them as one of the most able and most eloquent Persian poets of all time. He did not write much. The whole of his divan is no more than 4,000 distiches. But much that he has written is of the highest quality, including in terms of social and political impact, and deserves to be preserved in the annals of Persian poetry. He belonged to a generation of poets, who, although not modernists, modernized neo-classical poetry within the existing classical structures and so have been designated by this author as, not modernists, but modern.3 They chose forms which were most appropriate for the expression of contemporary DOI:  10.4324/9781003243335-2

8  Homa Katouzian themes and ideas, and they often employed wholly new metaphors, puns, asides, allusions, imageries and other figures of speech and literary devices. Reading the poems they wrote after the Constitutional Revolution, it would be difficult for anyone familiar with classical and neo-classical Persian poetry to mistake them as such, in spite of the fact that they retained the basic neo-classical structures. There were, of course, many other poets, such as ‘Ebrat Nā’ini, Adib Pishāvari and Vahid Dastgerdi who remained almost completely faithful to the classics in both form and substance and so their works did not survive beyond their own time. Iraj more or less shared this kind of modernity with Bahār, Dehkhodā, ‘Eshqi, ‘Āref and Lāhuti, at least three of whom were his friends and collocutors. Bahār was seldom humorous, wrote only a few lampoons and his satire was normally subtle. Much of Dehkhodā’s poems are more like poetical jokes. Most of the nationalist poetries of ‘Eshqi and ‘Āref are either laments for the backwardness of contemporary Iran or offensive hajv and lampoons against the political establishment and foreign powers. But even—to a certain extent—Adib al-Mamālek Farāhāni’s poetry, in the same period, reflects the new mood of politics and humour in Persian literature. A good example of this is his humorous qasideh, which begins with the following couplets: ‫ببخشد جای او بر خلق احزاب سیاسی را‬ ‫دموکراسی و رادیکال و عشق اسکناسی را‬ …‫مجاهد ساختن افیونیان ریقماسی را‬ 4 … ‫کجا تعلیم دادند این گروه دیپلماسی را‬

‫خدا رحمت کند مرحوم حاجی میرزا آقاسی را‬ ‫ ارتجاعیون‬،‫ انقالبی‬،‫ اعتدالی‬،‫ترقی‬ ‫ وکالت کردن پیران‬،‫وزارت دادن طفالن‬ ‫اونیورسیته و فاکولته در ایران نبد یارب‬

God bless the late Hajji Mirza Āqāsi’s soul, And grant the public, instead, the political parties, all. Progressive, Moderate, Revolutionary, Reactionary, Democratic, Radical and Lover of Money. Making children ministers, old men members of parliament, Turning into mojāheds the slender and puny opiates. God, there were no universities and faculties in Iran, Where did they give instructions to this bunch of diplomats? Undoubtedly, the two most outstanding poets of the period were Iraj and PoetLaureate Bahār. Bahār, aside from his excellence as a poet, is better known as he lived longer and wrote in many more poetical genres and many more subjects. He was also both a politician and a scholar. He was a master of qasideh, in particular, and the last of the great poets who wrote in the Khorāsāni style. He wrote in his elegy upon the death of Iraj: 5

‫راستی سعدی شیرازی مرد‬

Without you, libertinism and loving died, Truly, Sa’di of Shiraz died.

‫بی تو رندی و نظر بازی مرد‬

Iraj, the Poet of Love and Humour  9 In many ways, Iraj’s poetry distinguishes itself from Bahār’s, particularly the poems he wrote in the Constitutional era that make up the most enduring part of his works. In fact, Iraj’s poetical career may be divided neatly between the period before the Constitutional Revolution when he was 34 and the period after it until he died prematurely in 1926 at the age of 51.6 In the first part of his career, Iraj was a traditional court poet, writing, mainly, though not entirely, panegyrics for princes and notables and poems in glorification of the Prophet Mohammad and the Shia Imams and martyrs. For example, he has a qasideh in praise of Imam ‘Ali written as though reporting on a dialogue, which is as good as any of what has been written on the subject before and since. It is in 30 couplets and begins as such: ‫گفتا حزین دلی که به مهری بود رهین‬ ‫گفتا اگر توانی رو زود تر گزین‬ ‫گفتا علی نتیجه ترکیب ماء و طین‬ 8,7 …‫گفتا خداش داند یک فرقه بر یقین‬

‫گفتم رهین مهر تو شد این دل حزین‬ ‫گفتم روم گزینم یاری به جای تو‬ ‫گفتم علی خالصه تشکیل کاف و نون‬ ‫گفتم خداش خوانده گروهی ز روی شک‬

I said this sad heart of mine is bound by your love, She said pity the heart which is bound by anyone’s love. I said I’ll go and choose another lover, She said try to find one soon if you find [one]. I said ‘Ali the summary of Kāf and Nun, She said ‘Ali the combination of water and dust. I said some sceptics have called him God, She said some believers regard him as God. The most remarkable aspects of Iraj’s poetry, both traditional and modern, are his clarity and fluency. He perfects the literary ‘sahl o momtane’ (inimitable facility) whose application was unsurpassed since Sa’di. It is through the use of such economy of words that the most complex of images and topics are rendered easy and predictable due to clarity. For example, in the ‘Ārefnāmeh, at one point he describes his own state of being drunk: …‫ مخلص می پرستم‬،‫چه باید کرد‬ …‫که دستم گم کند راه دهانم‬ ‫همی ترسم که چون الکل بسوزم‬ 9 ‫ آبم‬،‫مرا جامد مپندارید‬ Tonight, brother, I am blind drunk, What could one do, I just worship wine. At the dinner-spread I am so drunk, That my hand misses my mouth. If I try to strike a match, I’m fearful That just like alcohol I’d flame up. I am no longer Iraj but wine: No longer solid, water am I.10

‫من امشب ای برادر مست مستم‬ ‫کنار سفره از مستی چنانم‬ ‫اگر کبریت خواهم بر فروزم‬ ‫ شرابم‬،‫من ایرج نیستم دیگر‬

10  Homa Katouzian It was from the dawn of the Constitutional Revolution that Iraj’s poetry became modern as well as humorous such that he often wrote about serious subjects as well in a humorous manner. Like so many other things modern and Iranian, modern Persian humour begins with the Constitutional Revolution: indeed, to the extent that the new press, prose and poetry were political, they were also humorous. Revolutions normally escalate in tone as well as aspiration and violence. In the French Revolution, the elegance of Mirabeau’s rhetoric was duly followed by the violent language of Marat’s Ami du Peuple and Hébert’s gutter newspaper Père Duchesne. The Constitutional Revolution led to hopes, despairs and discharge of emotions lasting for almost a quarter of a century. A good deal of fashionable prose and poetry was political or social, humorous and often violent in tone. Of the poets who continued—indeed advanced—the writing of harsh political poetry in the period of post-revolutionary conflict and chaos, the most active were ‘Āref Qazvini (d. 1934), Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi (d. 1924) and Farrokhi Yazdi (d. 1939). Much of the effects of their political lampoons are due to the coarse language, although ‘Eshqi’s poetry is more mature, especially more so than ‘Āref’s. He may have become a far more notable poet had he not fallen victim to political assassination at 31. The young Abolqāsem Lāhuti (d. 1957) was also a fiery poet, but very seldom used coarse language. Iraj did occasionally raise social and political concerns in his poetry, but he was not a political poet per se or least to the extent of those contemporary with him. This later led a critic to assert that he did not deeply appreciate ‘social sufferings’ (by her definition) despite his ‘superficial’ discussions of them.11 He only wrote two political lampoons, one in 1907 against Sheikh Fazlollāh Nuri and another in 1921 lampooning Qavam al-Saltaneh (d. 1955) when the latter had put down the revolt of Colonel Mohammad Taqi Khan Pesyān (d. 1921), a personal friend of Iraj, and the highly popular gendarmerie chief in Khorāsān. At one stage in the ongoing conflict between Sheikh Fazlollāh and the constitutionalists, the Sheikh took bast against the Majlis in the shrine of Hazrat-e ‘Abd al-‘Azim. Iraj wrote a light and humorous qasideh attacking the Sheikh and defending the Majlis: ‘The Hojjat al-Islam will beat you quick / He will beat your head with a donkey stick’: ...‫بر سر و مغزت دگنک می زند‬ ‫ملتفتش باش که چک می زند‬ ...‫گوز یکایک به الک می زند‬ ‫شیخ در دوز و کلک می زند‬ ‫خیمه از آنجا به درک می زند‬ Hojjat al-Islam smacks you, He clubs your head and brain. A big slapper is this champion, Look out or he’ll slap you. Anyone he catches with a bowtie He’d beat his fart with a stick… Now in ‘Abd al-‘Azim’s shrine, The Sheikh is busy scheming

‫حجت االسالم کتک می زند‬ ‫چک زن سختی بود این پهلوان‬ ‫دستش اگر بر فکلی ها رسد‬ ‫حاال در حضرت عبدالعظیم‬ ‫ان شاءهللا دو روز دگر‬

Iraj, the Poet of Love and Humour  11 God willing in a couple of days From there he’d camp in Hell.12 Nevertheless, as noted, he hardly wrote any political poems despite the popularity of the genre in the Constitutional era, i.e., between 1905 and 1925. On the other hand, he was, and remained, the best modern humorous poet. Despite its frequently coarse, even obscene, language, his ‘Ārefnāmeh is a masterpiece. In 1920, when Iraj was a civil servant in the department of finance in Mashhad, ‘Āref, Iraj’s old and close friend, paid a visit to that city and, despite Iraj’s expectations that he would be his guest, he became a guest of Colonel Pesyān at the gendarmerie headquarters. Not only that, but he did not even go to see Iraj. Finally, he added insult to injury by holding a concert in which he himself sang and vehemently attacked the Qajars. It is clear from much of Iraj’s poetry, including his short lampoons about Ahmad Shah,13 that he did not have any family or clan prejudice;14 but under these circumstances, he took ‘Āref’s attack on the Qajars personally: ‫برون انداختی حمق جبلی‬ ‫ز اندامت خریت عرض اندام‬ ‫بسی بی ربط خواندی آن دهن را‬ ‫ز بی آزرمیت آزرمم آید‬ …15‫ ولی قدری زیادی‬،‫همی خوردی‬

‫شنیدم در تئاتر باغ ملی‬ ‫نمود اندر تماشاخانه عام‬ ‫به جای بد کشانیدی سخن را‬ ‫ شرمم آید‬،‫نمی گویم چه گفتی‬ ‫چنین گفتند کز آن چیز عادی‬

They said that in Bāgh-e Melli Theatre, You badly exposed your stupid nature. There in that public arena, You stood up like a hyena. You went too far this time around, And sang that misplaced song. Ashamed I’d be to repeat your discourse, Ashamed I feel of your lack of grace. They said that of that common thing [shit], You ate, but ate a great deal. That is how ‘Ārefnāmeh, or the ‘Āref saga, came into existence. It is a long poem and not just a lampoon against ‘Āref, although ‘Āref is there from the beginning till the end of the poem. There are parts of it, not least where he attacks hejāb, which cannot be repeated in polite society even though, like the rest of the poem, they are hilariously funny as well as being the zenith of poetic mastery: …‫رفیق سابق تهرانم آمد‬ ...‫ از در نرانند‬،‫که گر عارف رسد‬ 16 …‫که منزل می کند در باغ خونی‬ I heard that my dear ‘Āref has come, My old pal of Tehran has come. I told the servants so they would

‫شنیدم من كه عارف جانم آمد‬ ‫به نوکرها سپردم تا بدانند‬ ‫نمی دانستم این نامرد کونی‬

12  Homa Katouzian Not turn him away when he called... Little did I know, you caddish rent boy, That in Bāgh Khuni you’d take up abode. A very interesting aspect of ‘Ārefnāmeh is its ekhvāniyāt or fraternities. Ekhvāniyāt are a category, or rather genre, of classical Persian poetry whereby the poet writes to or about his friends in poetical forms. Often the addressee, or others who are named in the ‘fraternity,’ were themselves poets or men of letters. In fact, much of ‘Ārefnāmeh consists of such ekhvāniyāt addressed either to ‘Āref or to their mutual friends. For example, until recently, ‘Āref had been wearing a traditional headdress like a little turban which they used to call a mowlavi but then decided to become more fashionable and replaced it with a hat. Iraj pokes fun at this and says that it is too late for the likes of him and ‘Āref to become young and vogue by employing such tactics: ...‫کالهت رفته از مه تا به ماهی‬ ‫برایت نعل در آتش نمایند‬ ‫به خرجت می رود این نکته یا نه‬ 17 ‫به آن جفت سبیلت هر دو گوزیم‬

‫شنیدم تا شدی عارف کالهی‬ ‫زن و مرد از برایت غش نمایند‬ ‫گرت یک نکته گویم دوستانه‬ ‫من و تو گر به سر مشعل فروزیم‬

I heard ‘Āref that you now wear a hat, A hat that the sky is as high as that. Men and women die for you By superstitious practice they protect you. Even if we cover our heads with a torch, We shall both fart at your mustachios. He then turns to the praise Colonel Pesyān, the gendarmerie chief, who was a good friend of his as well as the one who hosted ‘Āref: ‫که صاحبخانه ای جانانه داری‬ ....‫که باشد بهتر از جان میزبانت‬ ‫خیانت کرده و برداشته مزد‬ 18 ...‫کمر شخصا به اصالحات بسته‬

‫ولی در بهترین جا خانه داری‬ ‫گوارا باد مهمانی به جانت‬ ‫چو دیده مرکزی ها را همه دزد‬ ‫ز مرکز رشته طاعت گسسته‬

But you are living in the best place, Because your host is so full of grace. May your stay be full of delight, As your host is dearer than life. Since the rulers at the Centre are all rogues, He’s betrayed them and taken the reserves. He has rebelled against the Centre, To personally carry out reforms. Iraj’s direct addresses to ‘Āref in this poem continue, and although the tone is one of complaint and criticism, he also manages to touch on the political arena. Also

Iraj, the Poet of Love and Humour  13 he has a miscellany of friendly and unfriendly remarks that follow one after the other: ‫که از من این سفر دوری نمودی‬ ‫که جاویدان در این عالم نمانیم‬ ‫که فردا می خوری بهر من افسوس‬ 19 ‫به قبرم الله و سنبل بکاری‬

‫تو عارف واقعا گوساله بودی‬ ‫بیا امروز قدر هم بدانیم‬ ‫بیا تا زنده ام خود را مکن لوس‬ ‫پس از مرگم سرشک غم بباری‬

You ‘Āref were really like a donkey, To stay aloof from me on this journey. Let us appreciate each other today, Since we’ll not be around forever. Come, don’t be silly while I’m living, Because tomorrow you’ll be sorry. You would shower down tears after my death, And plant tulips and hyacinths on my grave. At this point, Iraj writes the fullest and most authentic ‘fraternity’ of the whole poem.20 Addressing ‘Āref, he asks after their mutual friends in Tehran, nearly all of them literati and intellectuals. They include Ali Akbar Dehkhodā (‘Dakhow’), the future encyclopaedist; Poet-Laureate Bahār (‘Malek’); Yusef E’tesām-olMolk, scholar, critic and father of Parvin E’tesāmi; and Ahmad Kamāli, poet, critic and owner of a shop specializing in the sale of tea: …‫که می بینم همه شب خواب تهران‬ ‫دخو با اعتصام اندر چه شور است‬ ‫موفق شد به جبران خسارات؟‬ ...‫ اعتدالی‬،‫ انقالبی‬،‫دموکرات‬ …‫نداند لیک چای خوب از بد‬ …‫به هر سلک شریفی منسلک را‬ ‫که می خندد به قانون اساسی‬ 21 ‫که تعدادش به من هم گشته مشکل‬ Tell me, ‘Āref about our friends in Tehran, For every night I dream of friends of Tehran. Tell me how Kamal al-Saltaneh is doing, On what are Dehkhodā and E’tesām talking? What was Mister Kamāli pontificating: That democrat, moderate, revolutionary! Many good qualities has Kamāli, But he cannot tell good from bad tea… Give my best regards to Malek (Bahār), Who keeps this and that thing in check Malek with that political brain, Who laughs at the Constitution. Malek who has so many merits That even I find difficult to count….

‫بگو عارف به من زاحباب تهران‬ ‫کمال السلطنه حالش چطور است‬ ‫ادیب السلطنه با آن مرارات‬ ‫چه می فرمود آقای کمالی‬ ‫کمالی را کماالت است بی حد‬ ‫ز من عرض ارادت کن ملک را‬ ‫ دارای آن مغز سیاسی‬،‫ملک‬ ‫ملک دارای آن حد فضائل‬

14  Homa Katouzian Finally, he advises ‘Āref to exchange his little headdress or mowlavi for a big turban and become a rowzeh-khān, a religious figure who addresses Shia congregations on the life and sufferings of Shia Imams and martyrs but who might also speak on various social, even political, topics. Making fun of ‘Āref, who like himself was very intolerant of Shia ulama, he tells him to wear a big turban, mount the pulpit and speak highly of ministers and Majlis deputies so that, instead of being persecuted for his political views, he would be rewarded with the good life: ‫همیشه دیگ بختت بار باشد‬ ‫خودت را روضه خوانی معتبر کن‬ ‫ بوده ست‬،‫سوادت هم اگر کم بوده‬ …‫تو را این موهبت تنها ندادند‬ ‫ از روی ریا کن‬،‫به صدق ار نیست‬ ‫که در این فصل پیدا می شود ماست‬ …‫که سالم تر غذا نان و پنیر است‬ ‫ببیند هر چه گه کاری بلیسد‬ ‫ پابند زمین اند‬،‫ز عرش افتاده‬ 22 …‫ورم کردند از بس غصه خوردند‬

‫اگر خواهی که کارت کار باشد‬ ‫دو زرعی مولوی را گنده تر کن‬ ‫چو ذوقت خوب و آوازت ستوده ست‬ ‫تمام روضه خوان ها بیسوادند‬ ‫سر منبر وزیران را دعا کن‬ ‫بگو از همت این هیات ماست‬ ‫ز سعی و فکر آن دانا وزیر است‬ ‫شب و روز آن یکی قانون نویسد‬ ‫وکیالن را بگو روح االمین اند‬ ‫ مردند‬،‫غم ملت ز بس خوردند‬

If you want to be in good business, And luck would be with you always, Get yourself a turban, two meters longer, And turn yourself into a worthy preacher. With a good taste, and singing well, Your little knowledge would not be an obstacle. All preachers have little knowledge, They did not give you alone this privilege. On the pulpit pray for the ministers, Even if it is hypocritical and dishonest. Say it is due to the efforts of this cabinet, That we enjoy yoghurt this season. It is due to the actions of that minister, That the best dinner is cheese with bread. The other one is drafting laws all the time, Licking all the shit that he comes by. Say the Majlis deputies are sacred spirits, Fallen from the sky, now earth’s citizens. They almost died of caring for the people, Caring so much that they are about to explode… Iraj has other ekhvāniyāt, many of which are likewise light and humorous. One of these is addressed to the brothers ‘Abd al-Hossein and Abolhasan Sabā. They were sons of Kamāl al-Saltaneh, a descendant of Poet-Laureate Sabā of Fath’ali Shah’s court. He was also a physician and a personal friend of Iraj. Abolhasan Sabā, then a young man, went on to become a great composer and instrumentalist.

Iraj, the Poet of Love and Humour  15 They lived in Tehran while Iraj was then working for the Finance Department in Mashhad. Both they and their father wrote poetry and greatly admired Iraj’s work. They had written a joint letter, perhaps in verse, to Iraj and he wrote back an ekhvāniyyeh in reply. ‘Abd al-Hossein suffered from migraines, and Abolhasan had gone completely bald at a young age. In his humorous reply, Iraj made plenty of the fact that both had something odd about their heads. He began by addressing the elder brother, ‘Abd al-Hossein, making fun of his migraines, and saying that he suffers from it because his physician father was a lazy bum: ‫شاعر سالم المشاعر ما‬ ...‫صاحب نظم و دفتر و دیوان‬ ‫چه کنم من که قافیه کون است‬ ‫باشد از کون گشادی پدرت‬ ‫رفته بود از سر تو بیرون درد‬ 23 ‫سگ زرد و شغال هم مثل است‬

‫ا ی تو عبدالحسین شاعر ما‬ ‫عربی دان و انگلیسی دان‬ ‫ سرت چون است‬،‫ اوال‬،‫باز گو‬ ‫گرنگشته هنوز خوب سرت‬ ‫پدرت گر مواظبت می کرد‬ ‫ برادرت کچل است‬،‫تو علیلی‬

O you, ‘Abd al-Hossein, our poet. And one whose mind works well. Tell me first how is your head, alas The rhyme happens to be ass. If your head has not yet been cured, It’s due to that lazy bum father of yours. You are sickly and your brother is bald, They say yellow dog is the brother of jackal. He then changes the address to Abolhasan. And since he has been poking fun at his baldness, he tells him that, ironically, bald people are very important, that some of the prophets were bald and that the Germans were beating the Russians (in World War I) because they had many bald soldiers in their army: ‫کچل آقا ابوالحسن خان را‬ ‫کچالن عاقلند و با تدبیر‬ ‫بعضی از اولیا کچل بودند‬ ...‫غالبا دیده ام سرش کچل است‬ ‫در قشونش کچل فراوان است‬ ...‫همه عالم بدی مسخر روس‬ I am a humble servant of my khan, I mean the bald master Abolhasan Khan. Do not underrate bald people. They happen to be wise and able. I have read that prophets were bald, And holy men were likewise bald. Most clever and enlightened sorts, In my experience happen to be bald. The reason Germans are winning the war,

‫بنده ام بنده خان ذی شأن را‬ ‫کچلی را تو کار خرد مگیر‬ ‫زانبیا خوانده ام که کل بودند‬ ‫هر که با مکر و دانش و حیل است‬ ‫فتح دانی چرا ز آلمان است؟‬ ‫گر کچل بود جمله لشکر روس‬

16  Homa Katouzian Is that many of their soldiers are bald If all the Russian soldiers were bald, They would have conquered the world. What up till now has been cited from Iraj’s poetry are all post-constitutional except for the few verses of the qasideh for Imam Ali as a sample of his preconstitutional works. It may be observed that in the latter part of his career (that is, the last 18 years of his life), he wrote lighter, more fluent and more humorous poems on modern subjects, mainly in the masnavi form, whereas his traditional poems are largely qasidehs and ghazals. Hejāb is a prevalent theme in Iraj’s works. This, at the time, included the covering by women of their faces and hands as well. He is explicit on this point when he says in a verse: ‘Covering the hands and the face, without a doubt / Is against what the Holy Koran has talked about’: ‫که ضد نص قرآن مبین است‬


‫حجاب دست و صورت خود یقین است‬

The story in ‘Ārefnāmeh against hejāb, although brilliant, is too explicit to be directly quoted in polite society. Briefly, the narrator says that as a young man he had once invited a woman into his home on a bogus pretext. He had then asked the woman to take off her hejāb and the woman had severely rebuked him: ‫ز جا برخاست با تندی سخن گفت‬ 25 ...‫برو این حرفها را دور انداز‬

‫پری رو زین سخن بی حد برآشفت‬ ‫که من صورت به نا محرم کنم باز‬

She was highly incensed by my offer. And rose and spoke to me in anger: You ask me to show my face to strangers? Get lost and throw away such nonsense… As a result, he had to change tactics and, instead, make physical passes at the woman. The woman then responds positively, and they end up copulating while she was holding fast onto her hejāb, refusing to show her face: ‫ولی آهسته بازویش فشردم‬ …‫بغرد همچو شیر ماده در غار‬ ‫ اما نه بسیار‬،‫تحاشی می کند‬ ‫ مومن به حلوا‬،‫چو مال بر پلو‬ …‫دویدم زی اسافل از اعالی‬ 26 ‫از اول تا به آخر چهره نگشود‬ I stopped asking to show her face, But gently pressed her arm instead. I was sure that this time to my face, She would growl like a leopardess…

‫دگر اسم حجاب اصال نبردم‬ ‫یقینم بود کز رفتارم این بار‬ ‫ آن ماه رخسار‬،‫ به عکس‬،‫ولی دیدم‬ ‫گشادم دست بر آن یار زیبا‬ ‫چو گل افکندمش بر روی قالی‬ ‫ولی چون عصمت اندر چهره اش بود‬

Iraj, the Poet of Love and Humour  17 But I sensed that the pretty dame, Resists a little but does not complain. For all that howling and rancor, She said ‘behave yourself’ without anger … I put my hands on that pretty dame, As mullahs do on free food unashamed. I threw her on the carpet like a flower, And rushed from the upper parts to the lower… Since, though, her chastity was in her face, She hid it from beginning to the end… Holding her face-veil with both hands, So that her chastity remained intact. The poet then concludes that ignorant women wearing the burka are far less capable of defending their honour compared with liberated women: ...‫زن مستوره محجوبه این است‬ ...‫زند بی پرده بر بام فلک کوس‬ ‫رواق جان به نور بینش آموخت‬ ‫به دریا گر بیفتد تر نگردد‬ ‫اگر آید به پیش تو دکولته‬ 27 ‫تو هم در وی به چشم شرم بینی‬

‫حجاب زن که نادان شد چنین است‬ ‫اگر زن را بیاموزند ناموس‬ ‫چو زن تعلیم دید و دانش آموخت‬ ‫به هیچ افسون ز عصمت برنگردد‬ ‫ دیده فاکولته‬،‫زن رفته کلژ‬ ‫چو در وی عفت و آزرم بینی‬

To an ignorant woman this is what hejāb means, This is what a chaste woman is supposed to be… When a woman learns as she is educated, And the depth of her soul is enlightened. No amount of seduction would take her chastity, She wouldn’t get wet even if she fell into the sea. A woman educated in collége and faculté, Even if the dress she wears is décolleté, When you see she is virtuous and chaste, You too will treat her with due respect. Criticizing hejāb, he says in another poem that they once drew the picture of a woman above the gate of a caravanserai. The ulama, whom he calls ‘turban-masters,’ hear of it and arrive at the scene quickly. They mix the dust with water, make a burka for the picture and thus save the faith—he comments—with a fistful of mud: ‫تصویر زنی به گچ کشیدند‬ ‫از مخبر صادقی شنیدند‬ ‫روی زن بی حجاب دیدند‬ ‫تا سر در آن سرا دویدند‬ ‫می رفت که مؤمنین رسیدند‬ ‫یک پیچه ز گل بر او بریدند‬ …28‫با یک دو سه مشت گل خریدند‬

‫بر سر در کاروانسرائی‬ ‫ارباب عمائم این خبر را‬ ‫ خلق‬،‫گفتند که واشریعتا‬ ‫آسیمه سر از درون مسجد‬ ‫ایمان و امان به سرعت برق‬ ‫ آن یکی خاک‬،‫این آب آورد‬ ‫ناموس به باد رفته ای را‬

18  Homa Katouzian Above the gate of a caravanserai, They chalked the picture of a dame. The turban masters heard the news, From a reporter honest in fame. God be praised, said they, the people, Have seen the face of a neqab-less dame! Alarmed, they ran from the mosque, Until they reached the caravanserai’s gate. Faith and propriety were about to leave, When the faithful reached there. One of them got water, another dust, And they made a face-veil for it. They saved decorum and chasteness, With one or two fistful of dirt… Iraj also maintained his highly effective humour in poems and pieces where he talks about his own life and experiences. And unlike many Iranian poets, only very rarely does he display self-pity and anger at his lot. Enqelāb-e Adabi is one of his best poems, containing scattered autobiographical remarks. In it, he talks, sometimes hilariously, about his life, his poverty, his jobs, his misfortunes and his disappointments. But there is not a single word of serious complaints as even such words, otherwise, are couched and coated in fun and humour. First, he talks generally about how he ended up being penniless after 30 years of work: ...‫ مالئی‬،‫ کیسه بری‬،‫نوکری‬ ...“‫ بله قربان” گفتن‬،‫بله قربان‬ ...‫همسر لوطی و رقاص شدن‬ ‫کیسه ام خالی و همت عالی ست‬ 29 ‫دان ما پش ایل نیا مام ان سل سو‬

‫بعد سی سال قلمفرسائی‬ ‫گرد سرداری سلطان رفتن‬ ‫مدتی خلوتی خاص شدن‬ ‫باز هم کیسه ام از زر خالی است‬ ‫با همه جفت و جال و تک و پو‬

After thirty years of scribing, Serving, pickpocketing, preaching. Turning around the Sultan’s coat, Saying yes Sire, yes of course… My purse is still empty of gold, (Empty purse, but I remain bold). Despite the antics, jests, and somersaults, Dans ma poche il n’y a mȇme [pas] un seul sou. (There isn’t a penny in my pocket). He then proceeds to describe his job situation: ‫در ادب داد تجدد دادم‬ ...‫هرخری هم به وکالت نرسد‬

‫همه گویند که من استادم‬ ‫هر ادیبی به جاللت نرسد‬

Iraj, the Poet of Love and Humour  19 ‫ نه خائن بودم‬،‫نه غلطکار‬ ‫سه مه آواره و بی پولم کرد‬ ‫همگی کاسه بر و کیسه برند‬ ‫الیق خادم محبوب نشد‬ ...‫انسپکتر ژنرالم کردند‬ ...‫پرورش دیده در امعاء شهان‬ ‫کار اهل دل از او مشکل شد‬ 30 ...‫پس بگو هیچ معاون نشود‬

‫من از این پیش معاون بودم‬ ‫جاکشی آمد و معزولم کرد‬ ‫ مرکزیان رشوه خورند‬،‫چه کنم‬ ‫بعد گفتند که این خوب نشد‬ ‫پیش خود فکر به حالم کردند‬ ‫یک معاون هم از آن کج کلهان‬ ‫آمد از راه و مزن بر دل شد‬ ‫چه کند گر متفرعن نشود‬

They all say I am a master, And have modernized Persian literature. Not every writer would be titled Jalāl al-Mamālek, Nor would every ass be a Majlis deputy. I used to be a deputy director, And was not dishonest or a wrong doer. A pimp showed up and gave the sack, For months making me jobless and penniless. What could I do the authorities are bribe-takers? All of them are thieves and pickpockets. Then they thought they had mistreated me, Mistreated a popular civil servant like me. So, they put their heads together, And made me general inspector. Later an opinionated deputy minister, inside the kings’ tummies, Arrived and behaved with arrogance, Making life difficult for people of grace. What could he do but be arrogant, How could he then be a deputy minister? And he ends this part of the poem by describing his daily office duties with great fun, peppering it with French words, which indeed yields a masterpiece in good humour: ‫دوسیه کردم و کارتن ترته‬ …‫اشتباه بروت و نت کردم‬ ‫هی تپاندم دوسیه الی شمیز‬ …‫خاطر مدعی ارضا کردم‬ ‫از شر و شور و شعور افتادم‬ 31 ‫نیست در دست مرا غیر زرو‬ Working hard in l'hiver and l'été, Making dossier and carton traité, Holding enquȇte and passing note. Mixing up note with breute…

‫بس که در لیور و هنگام لته‬ ‫بس که نت دادم و انکت کردم‬ ‫هی نشستم به مناعت پس میز‬ ‫هی پاراف هشتم و امضا کردم‬ ‫تو بمیری ز آمور افتادم‬ ‫چه کنم زین همه شیفر و نومرو‬

20  Homa Katouzian Believe me I totally lost amour, Lost all zest, passion and goal. Despite all the chiffres and numeréaux, Nothing is left for me except zéro. Iraj’s brilliant use of a few French words in this poem (reminiscent of the molamma’āt of Hāfez and Sa’di and some other classics) has misled a critic into believing that that is how he was trying to bring about a ‘literary revolution’.32 This is partly due to a more general misunderstanding of this poem’s title which (if indeed it was so named by the poet himself) simply is intended to poke fun, only if in a couple of verses, of those of his contemporaries who were debating about the necessity of a literary revolution, and by which they meant a revolution in writing poetry.33 But what had necessitated that verse was the one before it, ending with a word (qalil-ol-kherad) coined by Iraj himself which mixed Persian with Arabic in an unconventional way: ‫کار انسان قلیل ا لخردی ست‬ ‫فارسی با عربی توأم !شد‬

‫کار امروزه من کاربدی ست‬ ‫انقالب ادبی محکم شد‬

My current job is not a good one, It really suits a half-witted person. This reenforces the literary revolution, As it blends Arabic with Persian. On the other hand, not seeing the connection between these two verses, some critics have missed the point and thought that Iraj had simply committed a linguistic error by using the word qalil al-kherad (dumb). Finally, mention must be made of Iraj’s long poem Zohreh o Manuchehr, which is probably an unfinished piece and likely the last important poem he wrote before his untimely death. This masterpiece is based on Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis which was, in turn, based on a famous piece of ancient Greek mythology.34 Iraj has taken the basic idea that Venus sees Adonis and falls madly in love with him and then develops into a totally original work, which flows beautifully, is clear and is quite humorous with a wealth of clever imageries and metaphors. Manuchehr is a young army officer: a prince of love. When he first turns down Zohreh’s approach, the goddess is shocked and in a very long soliloquy tries to entice him to embrace her: …‫بلکه ز من خوبتری یافتی‬ …‫هیچکس این طور به من بر نخورد‬ ‫ قرضم بده‬،‫مفت نخواهم ز تو‬ ‫گر تو به من قرض دهی بوسه ای‬ …‫لحظه دیگر به تو پس می دهم‬ ‫زحمت پای تو فراهم کنم‬ ‫گیرم و در سینه کنم جا به جا‬

‫گفت ز من رخ ز چه برتافتی‬ ‫جز تو کس از بوسه من سر نخورد‬ ‫ گوش به عرضم بده‬،‫اخم مکن‬ ‫نیست در این گفته من سوسه ای‬ ‫بوسه دیگر سر آن می نهم‬ ‫من نه شکارم که ز تو رم کنم‬ ‫تیر بینداز که من در هوا‬

Iraj, the Poet of Love and Humour  21 ‫موش گرفتار در آغوش تو‬ ‫ول ده و پرتم کن و بازم بگیر‬ ‫بوسه بزن بر دهن ناف من‬ 35 ‫گاز بگیر از لب شیرین من‬

‫باش تو چون گربه و من موش تو‬ ‫گربه صفت ورجه و گازم بگیر‬ ‫دست بکش بر شکم صاف من‬ ‫ماچ کن از سینه سیمین من‬

Why, she said, did you turn away from me, Maybe you’ve found one better than me… Don’t be cross, listen and hear me, I don’t want a free kiss, lend it to me. What I suggest is far from a fraud, If you give me a kiss as a loan, I shall add another kiss to your loan, And instantly return them to you both … I am not a game that would run away from you, And make hunting me difficult for you. Try and shoot an arrow in the space, For me to grab and put it in my chest. Play the cat and I’ll be your mouse, A mouse caught up in your embrace. Just like a cat jump and bite me, Let me go and then again catch me. Touch my soft belly with your hand, Kiss the mouth of my navel grand. Kiss my silver-white breasts, Bite my mouth which is sweetest. After a long resistance, in the end reason gives way to love, Manuchehr surrenders and there follows the subtle scene of their lovemaking: ‫بوسه خود از سر فرصت گرفت‬ ‫کرد دو پا حلقه بر او چون کمر‬ ...‫به به از آن متکی و متکا‬ ‫لب به لبش هشت و مکیدن گرفت‬ ‫بوسه مگر آتش سوزنده بود‬ ‫رفت دگر باره به ناف اندرون‬ 36 ‫هر دو فتادند در آغوش هم‬ When Zohreh was allowed a kiss, She took her time for a long kiss. She grabbed him from the back, Put her legs around him like a belt. She put his head on her breasts: A soft pillow for his head to rest! She began to pull his hair apart, Put her lips on his and began to suck. And stole a kiss from his ruby,

‫زهره پی بوسه چو رخصت گرفت‬ ‫جست و گرفت از عقب او را به بر‬ ‫داد سرش را به دل سینه جا‬ ‫تار دو گیسوش کشیدن گرفت‬ ‫زهره یکی بوسه ز لعلش ربود‬ ‫بوسه ای از ناف در آمد برون‬ ‫هوش به هم برده و مدهوش هم‬

22  Homa Katouzian A kiss that was hot and fiery. A kiss came out of the navel, And again, it went into the navel. Both of them lost consciousness, And fell into each other’s embrace. There is much more to Iraj’s poetry than the present compass would allow to be cited and discussed. The whole of his works, and especially those written between 1906 and 1924, are poetical gems and deserve to remain permanently alive. Every one of the long pieces cited here is worth studying at least in article length. He has a charming masnavi written especially for his gravestone which visitors can read at his grave in the grounds of the tomb of Zahir al-Dowleh, in the elevations of Darband in Shemirān: ‘Buried here is the love of the world / A world of love is hidden in this abode’. 37

Notes 1 Extensively revised and expanded edition of chapter published in Homa Katouzian, Iran, Politics, History and Literature, Routledge, 2013. 2 Divan-e Kāmel-e Iraj-Mirza (hereinafter, Iraj), ed., Mohammad-Ja’far Mahjub (USA: Sherkat-e Ketab 1986): 90. 3 Homa Katouzian, ‘Persian Literature from Romantic Nationalism to Social Criticism, 1914–1950’ in Robin Ostle (ed.) Modern Literature in the Near and Middle East, 1850–1970 (London and New York: Routledge 1991). 4 Zendegi va She’r-e Adib-ol-Mamālek Farāhāni, vol. 2, written and ed., Seyyed Ali Musavi Garmarudi (Tehran, Qādiāni, 1987), 29–30. 5 Divan-e Ash’ār-e Shādravān Mohammad Taqi Bahār, Malek al-Sho’rā, ed. Mehrdād Bahār, vol. 2 (Tehran: Tus, 1989), 1016. 6 For accounts of the life and works of Iraj Mirza, see Mohammad Ali Sepānlu, Sharh-e She’r-e Iraj: Zendegi va Nemuneh-ye Āsār-e Iraj Mirzā Jalāl al-Mamālek (Tehran: Nashr-e ‘Elm, 1997); the entry in Encyclopaedia Iranica, http://www​.iranica​.com​/articles​/iraj​-mirza​-jalal​-al​-mamalek. 7 Iraj, 48. 8 Iraj, 48. 9 Iraj, 86–87. 10 Some of Iraj’s poetry have been translated and published in Paul Sprachman, trans. and intro., Suppressed Persian: An Anthology of Forbidden Literature (Costa Mesa, California: Mazda, 1995). However, this author takes responsibility for all the translations in this chapter except when stated otherwise. 11 See, Shahrāshub Amirshāhi, ‘har cheh hast zabān-e tiz ast o resā’, Āyandegān-e Adabi, September 1974. 12 See Iraj, 12–13. 13 See, for example, Sa’id Nafisi, ‘Khaterāti as Iraj Mirzā’ in Khāterāt-e Siyāsi, Adabi, Javāni be Revāyat-e Sa’id Nafisi, ed. Alirezā E’tesām (Tehran: Nashr-e Markaz, 2002). 14 See, for example, ‘Ahmad-e lāyansaref’ in Mahjub (ed.) Divan-e Kāmel, p. 168. 15 Iraj, 92. 16 Iraj, 75. 17 Iraj, 86. 18 Iraj, 87. 19 Iraj, 89.

Iraj, the Poet of Love and Humour  23 20 For a full discussion of the ekhvāniyāt in ‘Ārefnāmeh, see Homa Katouzian, ‘ekhvaniyāt-e ‘Ārefnāmeh-ye Iraj’, in Jashn-nāmeh-ye Ostād Zabihollāh Safā, ed. Seyyed Mohammad Torābi (Tehran: Nashr-e Markaz, 1998), reprinted in Irānshenāsi, Spring 1999, reprinted in Katouzian Hasht Maqāleh dar Tārikh va Adab-e Mo’āser (Tehran: Nashr-e Markaz, 2008). 21 Iraj, 90; Katouzian, Ekhvaniyāt. 22 Iraj, 95. ‘Arefnāmeh’ badly hurt ‘Āref, but his later reflections on it were nevertheless balanced and fair. See M.R. Hezār, ‘Ārefnāmeh-ye Hezār (‘Āref’s correspondence), Shiraz: Hezār, 1935. 23 Iraj, after page ‘‫ ’ت‬under the title ‘‫سگ زرد و شغال‬.’ 24 Iraj, 84. 25 Iraj, 80. 26 Iraj, 82. 27 Iraj, 83. For a ‘moral’ criticism of Iraj’s description of such scenes and use of obscene words, see Taqi Binesh, ‘She’r-e Iraj’, Nashriyyeh-ye Farhang-e Khorāsān, 5, 1964, reprinted in Seyri dar Zendegi va Āsār-e Iraj Mirzā, ed. Ali Dehbāshi, Tehran: Nashr-e Akhtarān, 2008. 28 Iraj, 177–78. 29 Iraj, 121. Dans ma poche, il n’y a même [pas] un seul sou. 30 Iraj, 122. 31 Iraj, 124. 32 See Afkār o Āsār-e Iraj Mirza, ed. Seyyed Hādi Hā’eri (Kurosh), second edition (Tehran: Jāvidān, 1985). See also his Ganjineh-ye Zowq o Honar, Iraj (Tehran: Hā’eri, 1991). 33 Regarding the debate on ‘the literary revolution’ then proceeding between the journals Dāneshkadeh and Tajddod see, for example, Yahyā Āriyānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā, vol. 2 (Tehran: Zavvār, 1993). 34 See further, Abolfath Hakimiyān, ‘Tahqiq Pirāmun-e Afsāneh-ye Zohreh o Manuchehr’, Honar-e Mardom, No. 165–166, 1976. According to Lotf’ali Suratgar, Iraj’s poem was based on his own unfinished translation of Venus and Adonis, see his Adabiyāt-e Towsifi-ye Irān (Tehran: Suratgar, 1968). 35 Iraj, 102. 36 Iraj, 117. 37 Iraj, 152. For a relatively short but interesting review of Iraj’s poetry, see Nāder Nāderpur, ‘Iraj, Nāmāvar-e Nā-shenākhteh’, Sokhan, 23, 4, March 1973.


The Silencing of Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri Extravagance and Myth-Making in Iranian Historiography1 Leyla Rouhi

The lights dim and the film begins on the big screen. We find ourselves in the mid1930s Tehran, on Lalehzār Avenue, known for its theatres, cafés and concert halls frequented by secular-minded and predominantly male audiences. A covered horse-drawn carriage stands still at night-time. After a few seconds the carriage door opens slowly, and a dashing young officer steps out, obviously pleased with an amorous encounter just held in the carriage. As he looks back with a grateful smile, a beautifully manicured hand emerges from the carriage and flirtatiously offers some money to him which he accepts with a coy look. The same elegant hand then softly closes the door as the driver signals the horse to move. This was the proposed opening scene for a film thought up by my father, a passionately avid fan of the Iranian singer Qamar al-Molu Vaziri (1905?–1959)— often referred to as Qamar—told to me more than once in our home in Tehran. My father’s descriptions of the singer, whose tantalizing hand we saw on the imagined screen, were saturated in extravagant adjectives and images. According to him, the blend of her dazzling vocal technique and sensual appetites created an ideal femininity unique to her; other women’s loose behaviour obviously demeaned them, but Qamar was allowed such assignations, for they further glorified her. Added to the singer’s exceptional talent and the generally accepted narrative of her tragic death, the descriptions easily froze her as an icon in my young mind. The same rhetorical extravagance can be found in every source on Qamar.2 Before the consideration of this phenomenon and its implications, however, an explanation is due on the place of this study in a volume on the poetry of the Constitutional Revolution. The volume obviously centres on the Constitutional period (1905–1911), while this essay does not focus on that era. Qamar was too young to have participated in the Constitutional Revolution, and her career covers the 1930s and 1940s. But she lived in an era that was marked heavily by Constitutional thought and rhetoric, and most importantly was a revered singer of numerous poems and songs composed in its spirit. She was also acquainted with the leading poets of the movement. Her recordings and her mythology brought the poems to Iranian homes and public spaces for decades after the actual movement, and she became the archive and repertoire of this poetry for generations. In this light, her place in a volume on the poetry of the Constitutional Revolution is both justified and appropriate. DOI:  10.4324/9781003243335-3

The Silencing of Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri  25 For all her contributions to the legacy of the poetics of the Constitutional Revolution, the effusiveness that is marked by intense sentimentality and an undisguised use of personal emotion emerges again and again in the construction of her life and career, objectifying her intensely. This begs an analysis of the nature and function of the hagiography that is constructed under the guise of biography—and more broadly speaking historiography—inasmuch as her story is always linked to political and cultural events deemed important. This essay is not a study of Qamar, but rather the key narrative strategies that are used to tell her story. It does not deny that she was important or talented; it is concerned with the construction of her image by her contemporaries and by subsequent generations. In particular, and for the purposes of this volume, it foregrounds the image of Qamar as a singer of patriotic and Constitutionalist verse; although this image is so deeply intertwined with the overall myth of Qamar, the broader construct of the singer naturally comes into play. Qamar performed and recorded political verse in the genre of patriotic poetry that lamented the backwardness of Iran. Her collaborations with poets known for their Constitutionalist fervour aligned her with modern-leaning ideas, bolstered by her persona of a taboo-breaking, unveiled singer. She sang verses by ‘Āref Qazvini (1880–1934), Mohammad-Taqi Bahār (1886–1951), Mohammad’Ali Amir-Jāhed (1896–1977), Iraj Mirza (1874–1926) and Pejmān Bakhtiyāri (1900–1974), and she knew most of these poets personally. While her repertoire was largely composed of lyric poetry, she did sing at least two of the most famous songs of patriotism and Constitutionalism, ‘Morgh-e Sahar’ and ‘Mārsh-e Jomhuri,’ (‘The Bird of Dawn’ and the ‘March of the Republic’), whose lyrics are by Bahār and ‘Āref, respectively. Coupled with her by now mythical public unveiled performance at the Teheran Grand Hotel in 1934, where she is said to have been the first woman to appear in public unveiled and as a singer—though this is far from ascertained—for many secular-minded Iranians Qamar has become an emblem of progress and women’s emancipation in the period following the Constitutional Revolution. The narrative paradigm that governs the telling of Qamar’s story is replete with uncontested assumptions about a certain kind of idealized femininity. The rhetorical strategies that construct her image rely overwhelmingly on the notion that she was the perfect singer and the perfect Iranian woman, as several examples will show; as well-intentioned as these are and as invaluable the primary sources, the insistence on her perfection ultimately leaves no room for her as a full-fledged subject. Equally importantly, because of the unresolved attitudes of mainstream Iranian historiography towards gendered constructions—of which Qamar is a glaring example—her image as a singer of iconic Constitutionalist verses raises questions about the interpretation of her femininity in the context of her political significance. Any narrative by definition re-appropriates its subject, but narratives have vastly different relationships with their own rhetorical strategies. Of significance in the numerous stories told about Qamar is, precisely, the absence of attention to the tellings’ own rhetorical decisions, all of which privilege specific ideas

26  Leyla Rouhi about gender; the biographies and anecdotes offer scores of evaluations of how she lived, whom she saw, who she was or what she believed, yet in the process, they metaphorize Qamar into an icon of taken-for-granted ideas on patriotism, courage, genius, charity and sensuality in the service of music and country. This process of metaphorization has never been acknowledged as such, nor unpacked and interrogated. A number of essential attributes establish themselves as one reads through textual and online sources on Qamar. Heavily biographical and drawing for the most part on anecdotes, the books, articles, special issues of journals, documentaries, YouTube montages and memoirs are filled with lavish praise for the singer. The highs and lows of her life are presented with impassioned admiration for her talents and deep melancholy for her sad end. Anecdotes by musicians and art lovers abound, duplicating one another until oral and written histories begin to form a hall of mirrors in which the same points are repeated, always with deep feeling. The salient facts are presented as follows: Qamar was orphaned very young, brought up by her grandmother who sang at religious ceremonies for women and took her along. The young girl displayed extraordinary vocal talent, and at the age of 15 or so was spotted by Mortezā Ney Dāvud (1900–1990), the great tar master.3 After receiving lessons in traditional Persian music from him, she became an unparalleled singer of impressive range and ability, blossoming into a much sought-after and courageous singer of both patriotic and love songs, was close to prominent poets of the Constitutional movement and progressive thinking, and gave voice to several of their verses. Most biographies stress the 1934 Grand Hotel performance, at which she appeared on stage unveiled and sang, purportedly the first woman ever to have done so, amidst scandal and excitement; many give examples of a period of glory in which money and jewels were lavished on her by the modern-minded male élite of early twentieth-century Iran; some mention short marriages and amorous encounters; several indicate she was drawn to love and to the freedom to choose whom she would love—and in this too, she broke moulds—as poets exalted her infinite talent. Almost every account stresses her monumental charitability, with anecdotes of money spent on orphans, stray animals and poor families, with no concern for her own material well-being. She might have had a child but s/he died shortly after birth. At 54, a stroke (some sources mention opioid addiction) and society’s indifference destroyed her, leaving her to die destitute and abandoned.4 Qamar’s musical talent of course plays a large part in this image, but while technical points on range and ability are made by a number of musicologists and musicians such as Sepantā, Ney Dāvud and Maleki, the panegyric mode that governs the assessments privileges above all the notion of her genius.5 Among the most detailed accounts are her god-daughter Zobeydeh Jahāngiri’s narrative of numerous personal episodes in Qamar’s life, titled Qamari keh Khorshid Shod (The Moon That Became a Sun) and Zohreh Khāleqi’s Āvā-ye Mehrabāni (The Music of Kindness).6 Jahāngiri tells the story of Qamar’s life and work through personal recollections and eye-witnessed episodes. The testimonial biography is premised on correcting ‘brutal judgments’ in spite of ‘all the

The Silencing of Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri  27 descriptions and praise.’7 These include passionate refutations of issues such as Qamar’s alleged opioid addiction and her behaviour in matters of love. Khāleqi’s Music of Kindness is an invaluable, highly detailed compilation of memories, poems and anecdotes, as well as excerpts from different newspapers and journals on Qamar. In addition, there are transcribed personal conversations and correspondence with various figures, alongside photos, a discography and a list of radio appearances, as well as a number of death announcements for Qamar and lyrics to her songs. Another detailed source is the 2008 issue of the diasporic journal of culture, Daftar-e Honar (Journal of Art), dedicated entirely to Qamar: a meticulous effort to gather as much material as possible, the issue is packed with extolling poems, interviews, reminiscences, illustrations, photos and accounts of Qamar’s influence on artists and musicians who either knew her personally or were touched to the core by her recorded voice.8 As for online sources in both Persian and English, these tend to be video montages of Qamar’s photos set against her music or biographical notes, the tone of both contents and comments highly panegyric, though on occasion close listening proves that the voice is often not that of Qamar, and that an old scratchy recording has mistakenly been thought to be her voice. A number of examples effectively encapsulate the rhetorical features that have shaped the hagiography of Qamar to foreground the recurrent themes. Of note is the tendency to fictionalize and to fill gaps in information with romanticized speculation: Zohreh Khāleqi’s biography begins with a lyrical journey, ‘like a sleepwalker on a foggy road’9 in search of a lost Qamar, as the author laments the Iranian tendency to erase history and to forget its own past: Slowly I began to see her, with different faces, luminous and soft skin, a mouth full of the beauty of loving and a throat full of freshness that perhaps knew of a quest for a great future. I saw her at the house of an old grandmother, a tiny orphan who opens the door and gives grandmother’s money-purse to a beggar, she grows up, she falls in love, she marries, she is disappointed. I saw her in a carriage on dusty streets, on paved streets, looking for compassion, for a hand. Her own hands, hands that give gifts for a lifetime. For a whole life she is kind, she brings homeless children home, she feeds stray dogs and cats, on foot or in a car, wanders the city […] She gets older. I see her: at the Grand Hotel, amidst flowers and terror and light and tiaras and threats and a courage that, whatever its motivation, compelled her to open doors and to transform whispers and fear and shame into a powerful song that is released into light […] At times she goes into history, on the dark and cold days when ‘Āref and ‘Eshqi and Darvish Khan and … are struggling to find an opening into light. She sings patriotic songs and her face is mingled with theirs.10 The imagined biography creates configurations that favour intense highs and lows: glamour and terror, poverty and generosity, light and darkness, and Qamar’s body becoming a vehicle of beauty, charity, courage and suffering. The motifs set up here are then taken up in the numerous anecdotes and vignettes that build a

28  Leyla Rouhi chronology of her life from childhood to death. The same elegiac and celebratory tone commands the special issue of Daftar-e Honar in which occasional poems in the margins frame the texts: ‘Every blue star / is a violet / that blossoms from your throat. / From the meadow of your voice / the dawn of spring / is heralded. / Trees bloom / from your voice / and birds soar / to the peak of flight.’11 These scattered poems appear next to the many interviews, memories and notes on Qamar that reinforce the admiring tones: ‘the arrival of Qamar constituted such a development in Persian vocal music that, in spite of numerous efforts by many, no-one has been able to come close to her singing. Qamar’s voice mixed power with gentleness and firmness with brilliance.’12 ‘In addition to having an unequalled voice and a generous soul, Qamar was a noble and free spirit and time after time all witnessed her poise and humanity;’13 I saw Qamar on stage once. I have not seen the respect and glory given to her for even a Queen. But that same Qamar with all that glory and reverence died in the depths of anonymity and misery and proved that in our country nothing counts except money or lineage.14 Two works of fiction also portray Qamar as a beautiful patriot with modernizing zeal.15 Of all the sources, the 2003 documentary Sedā-ye Māh (Moon’s Voice), directed and edited by Farahnāz Sharifi, stands as an exception for while it records the worshipful tone of several musicians and music historians—interestingly, all men—it makes editing choices that at least begin to point towards problematic narrations.16 The short documentary begins with the participants highlighting the lack of valid sources and the reliable recording of history in Iran as well as the impossibility of public singing for women before Qamar’s time. Once this context is set, the participants reiterate the familiar biographical points and exalt her talent: ‘There is not one fault in her singing;’ ‘before any consideration of whether she is a man or a woman, there is the spirituality of the voice that matters;’17 ‘no-one has been able to sing those modulations with the brilliance and sonority of Qamar.’18 But Sharifi’s editing decisions quietly highlight problem areas, introducing a shade of critique into the received wisdom on her life. The first alludes to the lack of actual data about basic facts, and the confidence with which unsubstantiated information is nonetheless uttered: in a scene about the salary allocated to her by the government, each man specifies a completely different sum with absolute certainty, immediately contradicting the information on the salary that has been given by the interviewee before or one before or after him.19 This editorial choice points to biographical uncertainties: clearly, significant facets of Qamar’s life are speculation at best.20 The second editorial choice centres on moral judgements on Qamar’s private life. Around minute 13:41, the men begin a discussion of Qamar’s marriage and her attitudes towards love. Confident, generalized statements set the scene: ‘She understood love very well, and she chose for herself;’21 ‘she loved beauty. It was not an issue of man or woman. She was in love;’22 ‘She had no problem telling anyone if she fancied them. She would just tell them.’23

The Silencing of Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri  29 But soon, one of the participants, having declared earlier that Qamar had ‘two defects,’ one of which was her unusual generosity, is shown saying: ‘Shall I tell you what her second defect was?’ There begins a series of comments and gestures by different participants: ‘it will be censored if I say;’ ‘our collective consciousness is still not used to this, to not misinterpreting and then issuing a moral judgment, and that is a bad thing to do;’ ‘either we get very affected or we completely deny. And both are because of lack of knowledge;’ ‘Qamar marries who she likes, she becomes the wife of the man she loves;’ ‘Shhh;’ one participant is shown drying his brow as though in awkwardness.24 Here, no concrete examples are given, and speech remains on the level of aphorisms and general evaluations, indicating that while there seems to be a characteristic worth talking about—namely sexual appetite—it is impossible either to endorse or to develop it fully. The best that can be offered here is a confused blend of cultural criticism and reticence that struggles to make sense of this aspect of her image, all this brought out quietly in the editing of the scenes. The issue of her private life, inextricably linked with her femininity, is not better developed elsewhere or at other times: a light-hearted poem by her contemporary Iraj Mirza (1874–1926) describes an evening of wine and signing on a Friday night, presenting a run-through of the beautiful ladies in attendance, one of whom is Qamar. After a few verses on sensuality and beauty that make her ‘look like the Mademoiselles of Berne and Berlin,’ Iraj mentions that, as the night ended and all the guests retired, the host Haj Amin slept in the same place with Qamar, ‘even though there were plenty of other beds available.’25 The poem leaves it at that, though its playful tone and its facile objectification of female beauty militate against any emancipatory impulses behind its narration of this scene. In fact, it reads more like a slightly malicious outing than an endorsement of behaviour. Elsewhere, an interview with another famous singer Moluk Zarrābi (1910?–1999)—and incidentally the only source that portrays Qamar in a negative light—casts her love of men as cruel rivalry with other women and shallow lust. In her memoirs, Qamar’s god-daughter Jahāngiri denies this and, in a chapter titled ‘Speakables and Unspeakables of Qamar and Others,’ presents the singer as highly romantic though not interested in marriage. The poet Amir-Jāhed, known to have been in love with either Qamar or her lover, and whose patriotic and love verses she sang, remembers his first meeting with the singer: That night there was a banquet, and a few artists and art-lovers were there. Qamar was the star of the night. Her warm singing and her young and attractive face enchanted everybody. In those days ladies wore the hejāb, but that night Qamar removed her hejāb and the beauty of her face alongside the enchanting quality of her voice made the intoxication of our hearts exceed that of our heads, finished us off, and ensnared some of the young ones more than others.26 Another account of evenings spent with Qamar mingles the sensual with the moral, attempting to stave off any notions of impropriety:

30  Leyla Rouhi What made those nights […] beautiful and respectable was the grace and purity of Qamar. Even though at that time narrow-minded gossip-mongers attributed a thousand things to this free-thinking woman, a clear and pure truth existed beyond these accusations. Qamar was not a wanton woman … she was a free thinker, a seeker of independence … maybe rebellious and proud.27 Linked to the question of private choices is the unveiled status of the singer, often connected to her modernity in love as well as politics. Her Grand Hotel performance usually functions as the core of her image in that regard. Mahmud Khoshnām writes: Qamar herself said that she did this at a time when ‘whoever had no chādor would be arrested’ […] Another importance of the ‘Grand Hotel incident’ is that freedom-loving and innovative musicians, relying upon her vocal abilities, turned to new techniques in composing songs. The intellectuals of the time became passionate about Qamar. Poets wished that she would sing their verses.28 Guisu Shākeri broadens the implications in a piece titled ‘The Umm Kulthum of Iran:’ Qamar grew up in the period of transition from Qajar to Pahlavi. She witnessed the uprisings of Constitutionalists and their repression. In those same days of prohibition she sang the ‘March of the Republic’ by ‘Āref. They destroyed her records but she continued to sing her protest over injustice. Through performances of patriotic songs with political content, with her celestial voice she conveyed to the people the injustice that rulers of the time and religious classes inflicted on women and oppressed peoples. She was a companion to the ‘Ārefs and the ‘Eshqis. She gave concerts in the memory of Iraj and Darvish Khan. She sang for the poor and dedicated her whole income to those same impoverished ones. She preferred to go to an orphan girl’s wedding rather than official parties given by the powerful. Starting in 1951 there were no more announcements for her concerts. The radio no longer mentioned her in its programming; they even destroyed her recordings to erase all trace of her! They isolated her until she died of grief! They were even afraid of her dead body and no mosque accepted it! Contemporary artists and cultural authorities did not take part in her funeral […] When Umm Kulthum died, Egypt declared national mourning; but our Qamar departed in isolation and in silence.29 All such passages on her private life and her unveiledness show the usual structure of binary opposites so dear to Qamar biographers: moral versus immoral, modernity versus backwardness, gossip versus truth. But more importantly, they rely on a relentless eroticization of Qamar, be it repressed, denied or flaunted.

The Silencing of Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri  31 This eroticization fetishizes the established tenets of Qamar’s identity in terms of her body and projects her ideal femininity across an impossibly wide range of identities, all of which have to do with being a woman in a monolithic yet undefined sense. For every narrative that celebrates her sensuality, there is one that adamantly denies her immorality; for every account of the wealth lavished upon her by men, there is one of her boundless charity with children and destitute families. Beauty, talent and modernity are pitched against poverty and backwardness to create a spectacle in which the gaze is on a vulnerable yet courageous sensual object in any number of feminine capacities. A desire to prove this body’s moral or artistic purpose becomes the main foundation of telling: wanted by intellectuals and poets, looked at and listened to by predominantly male audiences while being unveiled,30 rejected by the mosque: these narratives are all governed by a desire for a feminine ideal that comes to life in acts of extravagant telling filled with intense and recurrent emotional highs. The focus is the jouissance of the diegesis itself: the real woman is removed and the pleasure is all in the narration. The political dimension of Qamar as a singer of Constitutionalist and patriotic poems is not exempt from this format, and here too the construct of ideal femininity—as well as the great gusto derived from its telling—come at the expense of the real figure and her subjectivity. In her biographies, Qamar’s Constitutionalist lineage comes to fruition through her talent as singer and her public appearance as unveiled. But unveiling itself was not such a clear-cut sign of women’s liberation in Qamar’s time, nor the moment that immediately preceded it. As Afsaneh Najmabadi has shown, Constitutionalism did not always mean a push towards unveiling: in that regard, Qamar’s unveiled singing would not necessarily have been endorsed by all progressive minds. Accepted narratives of late nineteenth-century Iran have tended to collapse all modernizing instincts into one. Yet as Najmabadi points out, not only were many modernizing thinkers against unveiling, but also the currents that led to a call for unveiling were themselves questionable, as they had to do with anxieties that did not necessarily stem from a concern for women, namely unease about perceptions of Iran by the West, and a repression displacement of non-heterosexualized behaviours. Furthermore, the modern public space carved out and encouraged for women via unveiling ‘became invaded by male intrusion’ subject to ‘regulatory harassment.’31 Najmabadi underscores the streets as the theatre for this intrusion, and one can add that such intrusion and regulation are also a part of the narrative of Qamar’s unveiling: the event is projected with a confused linkage to an alleged private life that hovers on the brinks of immoral, admirable and tantalizing. For some of her contemporary poets, her physicality happens in negation: ‘We never heard that she danced naked / nor that she danced for just a handful of money.’32 For others, progressive thinking and sensuality appear together: ‘Qamar ripped the veil with the blade of visibility / in those days when all women wore the neqāb / Her aim was to reconcile modern with old / […] the beauty of her features / had lovers strewn all over the place;’33 ‘under this ugly veil is a houri / inside this dark cloud is a light;’34 ‘Remembering you, of moon-faced beauty, in the dead of night / What secrets there are, between me and the moon.’35 In all these representations,

32  Leyla Rouhi Qamar exists as a screen for the projection of fantasies of sensuality that cast a woman’s freedom from the point of view of her body’s effect on the male gaze. The unveiled public singing is thus re-appropriated erotically to conform either to a fantasy of sexual tantalization or a denial of improper consequences. To quote Najmabadi, ‘The work of the veil as a sign of cultural difference has been closely linked with becoming a signatory of the modern: dressing up for modernity has been fashioned through undressing women.’36 That she appeared unveiled on stage, then, is one thing; how this event is reappropriated to underscore her body as commodity is another, even though the stated intention of most narratives is to hail the significance of this act for women’s emancipation. The range of functions Qamar fulfils in her biographies offers another fantastic ideal in line with Constitutionalist discourse. When we consider the many personae projected onto Qamar, Najmabadi comes to our help again: In her journey through the twentieth-century modernist imagination, the new de-eroticized woman became many characters: the well-educated mother, the compassionate wife, the capable professional woman often at the service of the state institutions, the sacrificing national heroine, the selfless comrade. Yet this construct could not do away with her complementary/conflicting Other: the sexual woman, seething with appetites and desires, previously held in check by the veil. This figure also appears in many garbs: the fallen woman who gets pregnant and commits suicide (or dies in childbirth), the demonized woman who seduces men out of wedlock.37 We have seen that in all retellings, Qamar is at once eroticized and de-eroticized. She is constructed as ‘national heroine’ but also as ‘sexual woman, seething with appetites and desires.’ At least one anecdote describes the loss of a child after birth due to drug use (hence tragic mother), while the single negative portrayal of the singer draws attention to her arrogance and her habit of seducing men away from their rightful betrothed one. Her love of orphaned children and boundless charity make of her an ersatz loving mother.38 She is even cast as one who transcends her sex, itself an assertion that focuses attention on femininity as a flaw: ‘Qamar herself was a man, really. Disappointment in love never broke her.’39 That no-one ever was nor can ever be like Qamar is an oft-repeated refrain in many of the narratives on her, creating an impasse for patriotic femininity: Qamar’s uniqueness and her wide range of feminine functions in fact disqualify her as an agent of real change, for if all women were like her, surely the imperatives of marriage, chastity and child-rearing would fly out the window. We are therefore caught in an insoluble tension: the iconic singer of ‘The March of the Republic’ and ‘The Bird of Dawn’ is perfect, but the obvious underlying message, like the imaginary opening scene evoked at the beginning of this essay, is that she must not be imitated. The eroticization of Qamar parallels in some ways the feminization of Iran in Constitutionalist poetry. Classical poetic genres that until the Constitutionalist movement had been used to speak of human love were readjusted to express love

The Silencing of Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri  33 for country while maintaining an erotic tenor, projecting Iran as a desired female body in need of possession and protection.40 Qamar’s status as a singer of patriotic verse and Constitutionalist poetry is so feminized by the dominant narrative project that it is denied any possibility of actual agency or dynamism. Linguistic excess and repetition compulsion bulldoze over ambivalence or ambiguity, which are the fundamentals of subjectivity.41 Thus, Qamar, the female voice of the bards of the Constitution, becomes a gendered spectacle for consumption. Again, it is important to recall that Qamar’s actual talent, courage and actions are not being studied or critiqued here; what is at stake in this essay is her intense metaphorization that has become a refrain, dictating only one way to tell her story.42 Famous women have often been metaphorized to represent specific attributes in projects of national identity construction.43 More broadly, the ‘emotionally and ideologically charged discourse’ that leads to the ‘hyper-semiotization’ of any famous figure is also common, and in particular a feature of Iranian historiography and biography.44 Ali Ferdowsi has aptly shown, for example, how the poet Hāfez (1315–1390 CE) came to be reappropriated by a wide spectrum of ideological leanings in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to the point of becoming synonymous with the very essence of Iran, itself a massive construct. Indeed, other poets such as Sa’di or Ferdowsi are highly semiotized in Iranian literary hagiographies, but their gender rarely if ever come into play in their metaphorization.45 Famous women, however, always fulfil the functions of national identity construction in terms of gender, and in his study of the Lebanese icon Fairouz (b. 1935) Christopher Stone rightly points out that this process is filled with ‘assumptions and important ellipses.’46 Tracing Fairouz and her family’s trajectory in detail, Stone concludes that with all the projections that have been made on Fairouz at different times in Lebanon’s history, ultimately the singer is a captive of her family and of her nation, at times within a ‘prison of allegory.’47 The Egyptian diva Umm Kulthum (1904?–1975) came to represent the ‘Mother of Egypt’ and the ‘Star of the East,’ and while she did much to craft her own image, her mythologized status continues to be read as a sign for a range of ideas about Egypt and its history.48 In Iran, Googoosh (b. 1950), the pop diva whose career has spanned pre-and post-Revolutionary Iran in the country and abroad has also been re-appropriated for different ends. The scholar Farzaneh Hemmasi aptly asks: ‘[for] which Iran does she perform, and for whom?’49 Interestingly, while showing how the ‘impulse to reconstruct and re-narrate Googoosh’ by the exiled Iranian diaspora appropriates her for different purposes, the scholar links her to ‘her female progenitor Qamar.’50 We can now appreciate that the genealogical link of Qamar to Googoosh is not limited to the fact that both were ground-breaking female Iranian singers. Equally significant is their use as screens for all kinds of projections: feminist, musical, nationalist, nostalgic. Add to that the current confusion about women and public singing in Iran—an issue that is by no means as clear-cut as the Western media would have it—and the biographies become even further fodder for ideology. With such strong tendencies for the gendered projection of divas in mind, Qamar’s trajectory as a narrative object really should come as no surprise. In fact,

34  Leyla Rouhi as we trace the increasing erasure of her subjectivity through linguistic excess and mythification, we come to realize that the ornate ‘raconteur’ style that so marks her biography writing privileges the teller more than the told. Panegyric and excess praise become performances by the raconteurs and serve to enact their emotions much more than the realities of the subject being studied. In other words, Qamar was indeed an important singer and a performer, but her life history has in effect become a vehicle for ornate linguistic performances by her biographers.51 The increasing erasure of Qamar’s subjectivity under the weight of rhetoric is consistent with the mainstream historiography of the Constitutional era. The Constitutional Revolution is by most accounts one of the most important events of recent Iranian history, and its often uncontested significance brings with it a parade of men who are clearly its heroes; the irrelevance of women, or the notion of their presence only as exceptions, is inscribed into this tradition and only slowly being dismantled.52 In such a landscape, some women are named and some of their work acknowledged, but the critical unpacking of gender issues and representation has yet to be consistently realized. Qamar’s objectified and exalted hagiography fits well into the existing landscape. This level of elaborate performance by the raconteurs is not limited to Qamar’s historiography but pervasive where women are concerned; witness the beginning of a short book titled Naqsh-e Zan dar Musiqi-e Manāteq-e Irān (The Role of Woman in the Music of Iran’s Regions): The music of women is the description of laments that interpret union, a thousand springs could not rival one spring of these improvising singers, the music of women is a candle in the corner of the heart’s night, it shines for the heart, it is a silent whimper from a heart filled with tumult, a tear that makes an shining meteor appear every time it falls on the suffering heart of the instrument […] The music of women is the union of the human with the world above, for two reasons, connection and need.53 Moreover, this historiography itself relies on the repeated lament that Iranians do not know how to honour their own nor record their history properly.54 This complaint is repeated enough that in effect it becomes a contradictory badge of honour, an immutable marker of Iranian identity. Its overdetermined quality further solidifies Qamar’s erasure as a character in what is declared, by the narrators themselves, to be an always-already-bankrupt historiography. The question arises, of course, of what a non-objectifying history of Qamar might look like. Is it even possible, now that she has been frozen into such an icon, to revisit her story and present a new way of telling that does not so melodramatically hail her in the terms critiqued throughout this essay? To some extent, Qamar (perhaps all famous dead women?) cannot, in fact, be represented without a visible degree of objectification. Her conversion into metaphor and symbol is so embedded in the historiography of her life that dismantling it may not be too successful if only done in academic writing; how many people will read this essay, after all? Perhaps a novel or a feature film about Qamar might make sufficient

The Silencing of Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri  35 room for ambiguity, texture and diverse narrative voices to allow for her complexity to come across. All hope should not be lost in a rigorous academic study, however, because Qamar is just one case study among many that highlights the rather unfortunate state of much of Iranian historiography’s tendency to mythologize or demonize figures using unexamined ethical assumptions. It is not in the scope of this article to provide such a narrative, but at the very least a methodology that might deobjectify Qamar to some extent should be proposed. As we have seen, histories of Qamar are told either through emotionally charged anecdotes or in surveys that summarize a few supposedly key facts. What is needed is a scientific and rigorous approach to the archival material left of her. Today, an abundance of studies in biography, nostalgia, memory and the archive provide scholars with the tools to reconstruct the aspects of a life and a career from a rigorously theoretical framework. Qamar’s photos and recordings should be theorized and interpreted by experts in such fields as Women’s and Gender Studies, Anthropology, Biography and Music History, to allow the three-dimensional human to emerge; and not to mention highlight a correct facet of Iranian historiography that is in dire need of repair.55 As the documentary Moon’s Voice ends, the last known recording of Qamar is transmitted first on a black screen and then while the credits roll. The fragment is from a tribute paid by Radio Iran towards the end of Qamar’s life, with the singer present, now post-stroke and unable to speak coherently. It makes—to say the least—for excruciating listening. Gasping and clearly very emotional, barely able to say a few formulaic words of thanks and incoherent phrases, Qamar attempts to respond to the overly mellifluous and controlled voice of the presenter. The latter not only piles rhetorical extravagance on Qamar while describing her tears to the listeners, but also asks bizarrely tactless questions such as ‘You have no illness, have you? You are well?’ We are informed that musicians have gathered in the studio for this homage, and as one of them begins to play the violin we hear Qamar crying. As she cries, the speaker recites poetry about her, muffling Qamar’s whimper. The stifling of her weak, plaintive voice beneath such ornate speech recalls the very dynamics of her representation throughout the decades since her death. Laudatory noise suffocates Qamar’s helpless efforts to respond or even to participate in telling her own story. She is again erased, ensuring the successful performance of the narratives that created her.

Notes 1 I could not have completed this essay without the invaluable help of Farahnaz Sharifi, the director of the short documentary on Qamar titled Moon’s Voice (Sedā-ye Māh), for patiently answering my questions on her film and providing valuable insights that informed some of the core ideas of the essay. Sincere thanks are due to Sepideh Raissadat, who aided me in thinking through the issues and directed me towards several crucial sources including, importantly, Ms. Sharifi’s film. I am indebted to Aria Fani for his inestimable role as interlocutor. My thanks also to Julie A. Cassiday for characteristically careful reading and a key suggestion on the role of performance in the construction of

36  Leyla Rouhi Qamar. Finally, I am most grateful to the anonymous readers of the essay for extremely helpful recommendations and generosity in reading. All opinions and any errors are solely mine. All translations from Persian are also mine unless otherwise indicated. 2 By far the only unmarked written text on Qamar is a very brief entry by Parvaneh Pourshariati in The Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, eds. Philip Mattar, Charles E. Butterworth, Neil Caplan, Michael R. Fischbach, Eric Hoogland, Laurie King-Irani, John Reudy (New York: Macmillan, 2004), 2311. 3 This encounter is heavily fictionalized and romanticized by Afshin Bozorgān in a column from 5 July 1976 in Keyhān newspaper. Quoted in Zohreh Khāleqi, Āvā-ye Mehrabāni (Tehran: Donyā-ye Mādar, 1994), 28–33. 4 Other LPs were lost, according to several sources such as Sāssān Sepantā, Chashmandāz-e Musiqi-e Irān (Tehran: Mash’al, 1990) and Farahnaz Sharifi’s documentary Moon’s Voice (Sedā-ye Māh), in bombardments of Polyphon records in Germany during World War II (minute 10:52). https://www​.youtube​.com​/watch​?v​=TlBoDfE8krs. 5 Khāleqi gathers several comments by musicians and experts on Qamar’s technique and style (Khāleqi, Āvā-ye Mehrabāni, 115–130), while Sāssān Sepantā (Chashm-andāz-e Musiqi-ye Irani) also offers a number of technical analyses. These stress technical aspects of her talent but always in a laudatory mode. 6 Zobeydeh Jahāngiri (Shabnam), Qamari keh Khorshid Shod (Los Angeles: Sherkat-e ketāb, 2015). It should be noted that many other articles and book fragments on Qamar draw heavily on Khāleqi’s book. 7 Jahāngiri, Qamari keh Khorshid Shod, 344. 8 Other sources to mention are: Tuka Maleki, Zanān-e Musiqi-e Irān (Tehran: Ketāb-e Khorshid, 2001) in which biography and talents, mostly taken from Khāleqi’s book, are added to the assertion that ‘“History” gave Qamar the title of “The Lady of Iran’s Song”.’ It is not clear why ‘history’ appears in inverted commas; see Parvin Farid, Qamar (London: Satrap, 2016), for a compilation of memoirs and anecdotes from sources already seen elsewhere. Farid narrates in the following register: ‘With her unparalleled voice, alongside her greatness and charitable soul which represented her purity of heart and her kindness, she has become eternal and shining’ (10). 9 Khāleqi, Āvā-ye Mehrabāni, 6. 10 Khāleqi, Āvā-ye Mehrabāni, 10. 11 Daftar-e Honar, vols. 14 and 15, No. 18 (2008): 2647, poem by Reza Ghalajuri. Another example among many: ‘With hair blowing in the wind, and freshness of breeze on her face/ standing tall/ the triumph of her presence/ lit up the palace of art,’ 2632, poem by Aghdas Zolfonun. 12 Daftar-e Honar, 2670. 13 Daftar-e Honar, 2642. 14 Daftar-e Honar, 2744. The legendary status of Qamar is assumed in academic studies as well though these are valuable and concise sources. H.E. Chehabi, ‘Voices Unveiled: Women Singers in Iran,’ in Iran and Beyond: Essays in Middle Eastern History in Honor of Nikki R. Keddie, eds. Rudi Mathee and Beth Baron (Washington DC: Mazda Publishers, 2000), 151–166. The Encyclopedia Iranica entry offers information such as dates, recordings and accompanying musicians, but upholds the standard of high praise for Qamar’s vocal ability, her progressive tendencies and ‘legendary passion for the poor.’ http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/qamar​-vaziri. 15 These are an operetta by Rezā ‘Allāmehzādeh titled ‘Āref va Kolonel (‘Āref and the Colonel) (Koln: Forough Publications, 2017); and a play by Firuzeh Khatibi based on a short story, titled Māh dar Āyeneh (The Moon in the Mirror). The former features Qamar briefly as an ardent patriot singing freedom songs, and the latter concerns her love for a violinist. In the Voice of America report on the play, all comments centre on Qamar’s larger-than-life charity, humanity and talent as well as her bravery and her ‘role as a woman in a closed society.’ https://www​.youtube​.com​/watch​?v​=rSaORPNSOTk.

The Silencing of Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri  37 16 The interviewees are ‘Abdollāh Tāle’ Hamadāni, ‘Ali Tajvidi, Sāssān Sepantā, Hossein ‘Alizādeh, ‘Alirezā Mir-’Alinaghi, Hessāmeddin Khorrami and Ahmad Ebrāhimi. In private correspondence, the director explained to me that she made every effort to solicit women’s opinions but was unable to and none would participate. 17 Sedā-ye Māh, 8:04, 8:30. 18 Sedā-ye Māh, 9:25. 19 Sedā-ye Māh, beginning at 11:49. Doubt about her apprenticeship is also raised, again through the juxtaposition of scenes. If one musician—Hossein ‘Alizādeh—states that ‘Qamar became Qamar because of Ney Dāvud,’ another claims that ‘[the singer] Tāherzādeh was her master,’ while a third observes that ‘although she never learned directly with Tāherzādeh, she was influenced by his style,’ and finally, a fourth asserts, ‘In reality Qamar invented herself’ Seda-ye Māh, 7:00 to 7:48. 20 The Encyclopedia Iranica entry on Qamar recognizes the ‘anecdotal and speculative accounts,’ at least of her childhood. 21 Sedā-ye Māh, 14:04. 22 Sedā-ye Māh, 15:06. 23 Sedā-ye Māh, 15:1. 24 This sequence begins at minute 13:40. 25 Iraj Mirza, ‘Shab-e Jome’eh Khedmat-e Hāj Amin,’ from Divan-e Iraj Mirza, Muhammad Jaffar Mahjub, ed. (Los Angeles: Khāneh-ye Ketāb, 1989). 26 Daftar-e honar, 2644. This is reported by his son. 27 Quoted in Khāleqi, Āvā-ye Mehrabāni, as told by Parviz Naqibi, 193. Ellipses in the original text. 28 Daftar-e Honar, 2600. 29 Daftar-e Honar, 2633. 30 Most sources specify that women hardly if ever could attend public concerts such as the one at the Grand Hotel. 31 Afsaneh Najmabadi, Women with Mustaches, Men Without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 155 and 154. 32 Khāleqi, Āvā-ye Mehrabāni, 288, from a poem by Mo’ini Kermānshāhi. 33 Khāleqi, Āvā-ye Mehrabāni, 283, from a poem by Shahriyār. 34 Khāleqi, Āvā-ye Mehrabāni, 281, from a poem by Pejmān Bakhtiyāri. 35 Khāleqi, Āvā-ye Mehrabāni, 279, from a poem by Bāstāni Parizi. I have not attempted to translate the pun on Qamar’s name, which in Arabic means ‘moon,’ a definition accessible to many Iranians even though the Persian word for ‘moon’ is different. 36 Najmabadi, Women with Mustaches, 133. As Mostafa Abedinifard has argued elsewhere: women’s veiling and bodily visibility and expression are as yet unresolved issues within the influential socio-political factions and discourses attentive to Iranian society and culture. This tension over women’s bodies and sexuality is perhaps nowhere as obvious as in the foregoing discussion of early Iranian modernists’ quick replacement of the external veil with yet another, internal, veil—i.e., the veil of ‘effat—hence revealing their major anxiety over women’s loss of chastity[.] Mostafa Abedinifard, ‘Persian “Rashti jokes”: Modern Iran’s Palimpsests of Gheyratbased Masculinity,’ British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (2018): 1–19 (16). 37 Najmabadi, Women with Mustaches, 154. 38 The attribution of intense maternal feeling to a childless woman is also a part of the image of the Egyptian icon Umm Kulthum. See Laura Lohman, Umm Kulthum: Artistic Agency and the Shaping of an Arab Legend, 1967–2007 (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2010).

38  Leyla Rouhi 39 ‘Qamar khodash yek mard bud.’ ‘Ali Tajvidi, quoted in Khāleqi, Āvā-ye Mehrabāni, 221. A more contextually accurate translation would be ‘Qamar was like a man,’ but I insist on replicating the Persian as closely as possible to draw attention, precisely, to the assumptions on gender. 40 Afsaneh Najmabadi, ‘The Erotic Vatan [Homeland] as Beloved and Mother: To Love, To Possess, and To Protect,’ Comparative Studies in Society and History 39, no. 3 (1997): 442–467. 41 ‘Biased accounts of artists’ lives—whether glowing or critical—often emerge in an attempt to “keep at bay the ambivalence and ambiguity of individual subjectivity”.’ Lohman, 10, quoting from Anthony Elliot, The Mourning of John Lennon (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 33. 42 It is important to mention that some records of Qamar’s own words about her career and life are available to us. One is an interview with Sāssān Sepantā, quoted in Khāleqi (Āvā-ye Mehrabāni, 177–179), in which the singer focuses mostly on the history of her singing in a matter-of-fact and straightforward manner, providing rather laconic answers or even silence to such questions as her salary or her opinions of other singers. For this reason, certain paraphrases of her words can appear incongruous, as they display the ornate and baroque style seen in the biographies. Thus, if Sepantā’s aforementioned transcribed conversation conveys a forthright way of speaking, a paraphrase that follows by Jalāl Mizbān is in a highly melodramatic register (Āvā-ye Mehrabāni, 179–181). Many memories of Qamar by different people quote her directly or indirectly, and interestingly make it difficult to ascertain how she spoke, for they vary wildly in register. 43 Christopher Stone, Popular Culture and Nationalism in Lebanon: the Fairouz and Rahbani Nation (New York: Routledge, 2008), 144. 44 Ali Ferdowsi, ‘The “Emblem of the Manifestation of the Iranian Spirit”: Hafiz and the Rise of the National Cult of Modern Persian Poetry,’ Iranian Studies, 41, no. 5 (2008): 667–691. The scholar argues compellingly that in the phase of national self-fashioning that began a decade or so after the 1906 Constitutional Revolution a new form of nationalism was articulated in Iran which rehabilitated many ‘religious’ features such as sacred texts, prophets, priest’s liturgies, rites and ceremonies into a heterodox cult of the veneration of Persian literature as national scripture. This national self-fashioning was centered on Persian poetry as the locus of its labor of sanctification. This eventually gave rise to a national cult of Persian poetry, with Hafiz increasingly emerging as the ‘seal of its prophets’ (669). I am grateful to Aria Fani for bringing this source to my attention. 45 Ferdowsi, ‘The “Emblem of the Manifestation of the Iranian Spirit”: Hafiz and the Rise of the National Cult of Modern Persian Poetry,’ 670 and 672. For the modern construction of the poet Ferdowsi’s image see Afshin Marashi, ‘The Nation’s Poet: Ferdowsi and the Iranian National Imagination,’ in Iran in the 20th Century: Historiography and Political Cultures, ed. Touraj Atabaki (London: I.B. Tauris, 2009), 93–111. Incidentally, the International Conference of Orientalists convened in Iran for Ferdowsi’s millennium in 1934, confirming the project of making Ferdowsi Iran’s national poet. This was the same year as the unveiled performance of Qamar at the Grand Hotel. 46 Stone, Popular Culture and Nationalism in Lebanon, 1 and 5, respectively. 47 Stone, Popular Culture and Nationalism in Lebanon, 172. She too has had to assume roles: in her old age, that of ‘mature lover suffering the vicissitudes of romantic love’ after having sung ‘as a child, as a savior, or as the Virgin Mary.’ (172). 48 Laura Lohman, Umm Kulthum. 49 Farzaneh Hemmasi, ‘Iran’s Daughter and Mother Iran: Googoosh and Diasporic Nostalgia for the Pahlavi Modern,’ Popular Music 36, no. 2 (2017): 157–177 (157).

The Silencing of Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri  39 Unpacking the singer’s trajectory, Hemmasi points out that ‘for many Iranians Googoosh became an object of both nostalgia and political metaphorisation’ (158). For some, she is ‘the most visible and audible representative of the kind of “modern,” unveiled, singing, dancing woman that publicly emerged during Pahlavi rule’ (159). 50 Hemmasi, ‘Iran’s Daughter and Mother Iran: Googoosh and Diasporic Nostalgia for the Pahlavi Modern’ 166, 167. 51 The performative nature of utterances that construct reality through language has been studied from many angles. See for example, J.L. Austin, How to do Things with Words (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975); Peggy Phelan, Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (New York: Routledge, 1993); Judith Butler, A Politics of the Performative (New York: Routledge: 1997). 52 ‘The seeming irrelevance of women as actors and gender/sexuality as analytic result from the way our historiographies constitute the past.’ Mana Kia: Also see Afsaneh Najmabadi and Sima Shakhsari, ‘Women, Gender and Sexuality in Historiography of Modern Iran,’ in Iran in the 20th Century: Historiography and Political Cultures, ed. Touraj Atabaki (London: I.B. Tauris, 2009), 177–197 (178). 53 Hushang Jāvid, Naqsh-e Zan dar Musiqi-e Manāteq-e Iran (Tehran: Sureh-ye Mehr, 1994), 9. 54 Examples of this are many, some cited earlier in the paper. An article in the Keyhān newspaper from 10 August 1959 chastises readers and artists for ignoring Qamar’s death and reminds them angrily of the Classical Arabic tradition of celebrating musicians, which Iranians today are incapable of upholding. Quoted in Daftar-e Honar, 2744. 55 Of help here would be, for example, Diana Taylor, The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas (Chapel Hill: Duke University Press, 2003).

Bibliography Abedinifard, Mostafa. “Persian ‘Rashti Jokes’: Modern Iran’s Palimpsests of GheyratBased Masculinity.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 46, no. 4 (2018): 1–19. ‘Allāmeh-Zādeh, Rezā. ‘Āref va Kolonel. Koln: Forough Publications, 2017. Asadipur, Bijan, ed. Daftar-e Honar, Vizheh-ye Qamar. Vols. 14 and 15, No. 18. 2008. Chehabi, H. E. “Voices Unveiled: Women Singers in Iran.” In Iran and Beyond: Essays in Middle Eastern History in Honor of Nikki R. Keddie, edited by Rudy Mathee and Beth Baron, 151–66. Washington, DC: Mazda Publishers, 2000. Farid, Parvin. Qamar. London: Satrap, 2016. Ferdowsi, Ali. “The ‘Emblem of the Manifestation of the Iranian Spirit’: Hafiz and the Rise of the National Cult of Modern Persian Poetry.” Iranian Studies 41, no. 5 (2008): 667–69. Hemmasi, Farzaneh. “Iran’s Daughter and Mother Iran: Googoosh and Diasporic Nostalgia for the Pahlavi Modern.” Popular Music 36, no. 2 (2017): 157–77. Jahangiri, Zobaideh (Shabnam). Qamari keh Khorshid Shod. Los Angeles: Sherkat-e ketāb, 2015. Jāvid, Hushang. Naqsh-e Zan dar Musiqi-e Manāteq-e Irān. Tehran: Sureh-ye Mehr, 1994. Khāleqi, Zohreh. Āvā-ye Mehrabāni. Tehran: Donyā-ye Mādar, 1994. Kia, Mana, Afsaneh Najmabadi, and Sima Shakhsari. “Women, Gender and Sexuality in Historiography of Modern Iran.” In Iran in the 20th Century: Historiography and Political Cultures, edited by Touraj Atabaki, 177–97. London: I. B. Tauris, 2009. Lohman, Laura. Umm Kulthum: Artistic Agency and the Shaping of an Arab Legend, 1967–2007. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2010.

40  Leyla Rouhi Maleki, Tuka. Zan-e Musiqi-e Iran. Tehran: Ketab-e Khorshid, 2001. Marashi, Afshin. “The Nation’s Poet: Ferdowsi and the Iranian National Imagination.” In Iran in the 20th Century: Historiography and Political Cultures, edited by Touraj Atabaki, 93–111. London: I. B. Tauris, 2009. Mirza, Iraj. Divan-e Iraj Mirza. Edited by Muhammad Jaffar Mahjub. Los Angeles: Khāneh-ye Ketāb, 1989. Nakjavani, Erik. “Qamar al-Moluk Vaziri.” In Encyclopaedia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 2008. Accessed March 2, 2018. http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/ articles​/qamar​-vaziri. Najmabadi, Afsaneh. “The Erotic Vatan [Homeland] as Beloved and Mother: To Love, To Possess, and To Protect.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 39, no. 3 (1997): 442–67. Najmabadi, Afsaneh. Women with Mustaches, Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. Pourshariati, Parvaneh. “Vaziri, Qamar al-Moluk.” In The Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, edited by Philip Mattar, Charles E. Butterworth, Neil Caplan, Michael R. Fischbach, Eric Hoogland, Laurie King-Irani, and John Reudy, 2311. New York: Macmillan, 2004. Sepantā, Sāssān. Chashm-andāz-e Musiqi-e Irān. Tehran: Mash’al, 1990. Sharifi, Farahnaz. Sedā-ye Māh. 2003. Accessed January 23, 2020, https://www​.youtube​. com​/watch​?v​=TlBoDfE8krs. Stone, Christopher. Popular Culture and Nationalism in Lebanon: The Fairouz and Rahbani Nation. New York: Routledge, 2008.


Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse and the Legacy of the Constitutional Revolution (1905–1911) Nasrin Rahimieh

Mohammad Ali Afrāshteh (1908–1959) was a poet, satirist and journalist who wrote poetry both in Persian and in his native dialect, or, according to some linguists, language, Gilaki.1 He was born in Rasht, the capital of Gilan Province, during the Constitutional Revolution (1905–1911) and grew up during a time of political turmoil and transformation from absolutist to Constitutional monarchy— as well as the transition from the Qajar to the Pahlavi dynasty (1911–1925). His early life coincided with the Jangal (forest) uprising (1914–1921) and the creation of a short-lived socialist republic in his native Gilān (1920–1921). Afrāshteh’s own life was equally tumultuous. He interrupted his education because of his need to make ends meet and as such he tried his hands at many vocations including construction work, driving and teaching. He joined the Tudeh Communist Party formed in 1941. After the 1953 coup, he went into hiding before fleeing Iran for the Soviet Union and ultimately moving to Bulgaria where he lived under the pseudonym Hasan Sharifi until the end of his life. He is buried in Sofia. Afrāshteh’s exile and the political climate after the 1953 coup, Hasan Javadi argues, led to his relative obscurity in literary history: Though Afrashte was very popular when he published Chalangar, after the 1953 coup and his escape from Iran he was forgotten. His works were not allowed to be reprinted until very recently. After the revolution, when the Tudeh party was still in favor with the Islamic government of Iran, five different editions of his works were published.2 Even as his work in Persian was forgotten, his verses in Gilaki continued to circulate orally and, in some instances, were integrated into the native idiom. What made Afrāshteh’s Gilaki poetry unforgettable was its memorialization of the frustrated hopes and ideals of the revolts against tyranny from the Constitutional Revolution to the Jangal uprising, the struggle to wrest control of Iran’s oil resources from the British and the nation’s repeated attempts at political autonomy. As a child of the Constitutional Revolution, Afrāshteh was steeped in the ideals of—and demands for—justice. The Constitutionalists’ objectives of ending the arbitrary rule of law, eliminating widespread corruption, instituting social justice and establishing a DOI:  10.4324/9781003243335-4

42  Nasrin Rahimieh representative government infused the poetry of the Constitutional era and continued to resonate with Afrāshteh’s generation. Armed with the knowledge he acquired through his maternal side of the family of the plight of Gilān’s villagers, Afrāshteh developed a poetic and political sensibility, which attuned him to the exigency of resistance to feudalism, autocracy and despotic rule. Afrāshteh’s Gilaki poetry highlights his active integration of Constitutionalist language into his writing and so unabashedly makes it common parlance. He does so to keep alive the memory of a revolution whose ideals he transmutes long after Gilān’s failed attempts at defying political subjugation. What Afrāshteh’s verses in Gilaki convey is the inextricability of the unmet demands of the Constitutionalists and the lamentable conditions under which the peasants continued to live in the decades following the revolution. Afrāshteh’s own political trajectory mirrors the fate of his home province, to say nothing of the nation. The work of compiling and publishing Afrāshteh’s poetry in Gilaki began in earnest after the 1979 revolution. The published collections rely on handwritten manuscripts as well as previously published works. Despite these efforts, some of his poems remain undated, and in some editions of his works the poet’s own preface—or commentary—is not included. Interestingly, at least two editions of his works in Gilaki, namely Ebrāhim Fakhrā’i and Mahmud Pāyandeh Langerudi’s, are bilingual and parallel Persian translations by the compiler and/ or the editor. They are accompanied by glossaries for terms and concepts that are difficult to translate into Persian or are specific to the region. While the bilingual editions make his verses accessible to Persian speakers, with a few exceptions, the Persian does not carry the same poetic resonance as the original Gilaki. The availability of Afrāshteh’s works in print has not led to an increased interest in scholarly studies of his poetry, in Persian or Gilaki. The few brief analyses of his works focus on his writings in Persian and highlight his affiliation with the Tudeh Communist Party. Javadi and Sholehvar, for example, underscore his membership in the Communist Party and write that he followed the ‘social realist’ school of writing; thus he was opposed to ‘art for art’s sake’—literature had to be used as a political tool to promote class consciousness and fight oppression. He defended this viewpoint at the 1945 Congress of Iranian Poets and Writers.3 Ehsān Tabari, a founding member of the Tudeh Party, in a short essay entitled, ‘A Century of Conflict between Thought and Tyranny: Afrāshteh, Neither His Hand Nor His Pen Broke,’ invokes the motto of the satirical journal Chalangar, ‘Let this pen, this hand break / If they shirk the cause of the poor,’4 affirming Afrāshteh’s steadfast commitment to the cause of the underprivileged. Tabari writes that he stayed in touch with Afrāshteh after he had left Iran and visited him in Sofia. In his personal reminiscences, he includes a noteworthy assessment of Afrāshteh’s verses in Gilaki: ‘My friend, Behāzin, the famous writer and translator who is also a Gilāni, held [Afrāshteh’s] Gilaki poems in high esteem, even more so than his poetry in Persian.’5 Tabari’s juxtaposition of the poetic and the political import

Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse (1905–1911)  43 of Afrāshteh’s writings suggests a productive approach for a study of the latter’s work, particularly the poems he wrote in Gilaki which in some instances predate his turn to communism. It goes without saying that Afrāshteh’s politics, after joining the Tudeh Party, cannot be bracketed from the rest of his poetry, in which he also decries feudal domination, lack of social justice and women’s subjugation. He was both the voice of his fellow Gilānis and a translator of sorts who connected their fight and struggles against injustice with that of other Iranians at a time when in smaller towns and isolated villages Persian was not the medium of communication, nor did there exist a means of mass communication that could facilitate a line of communication for the rural with the urban; or the seat of the government in Tehran. Afrāshteh makes an interesting allusion to his role as mediator between Persian and Gilaki in the Persian preface to his poem ‘āy pābaraneh gilimard’ (O, Barefoot Gilāni Man) composed in 1951: Due to lack of space, I have not provided the Persian equivalent. Persian speakers should visit the home of a Gilāni friend or acquaintance to have the poem translated.6 Readers who do not know any Gilānis, please visit the home of … (the gentleman in question is not home!).7 The simultaneous offer and withdrawal of the services of a mediator underscores the Persian speakers’ need for a translator and Gilān’s linguistic autonomy. This jibe raises the spectre of the Jangal uprising and Gilān’s unfulfilled dream of sovereignty. But this undertone does not prevail in Afrāshteh’s works, giving way instead to the common goal of achieving freedom from oppression. The mutual dependency of Persian and Gilaki speakers, humorously mentioned in this preface, reflects the cross-linguistic, ethnic and regional collaborations that had characterized the Constitutional Revolution. One such instance is the Gilānis’ response to the threat of a coup in 1907 to which the local ‘anjoman [society, Anjoman-i Melli] reacted to events in Teheran and other provinces by closing the bazaar, when necessary, or in political speeches delivered in mosques or other public places.’8 There were also specific aspects of political activism in Gilān that left an imprint on the Constitutional movement: An interesting feature of Gilan’s Anjoman-i Melli was the unprecedented tolerance shown by the Muslim population toward religious minorities—Jews and Christian Armenians—[…]. In June 1907 the Mojahed party in Resht, responding to a provocative tract intended to rouse religious strife and to sow dissention among the constitutionalists, declared that Jews and Armenians, despite their religious beliefs, were all Iranians and therefore under the protection of Islam.9 The inclusion of religious minorities in the Iranian constitution might well reflect the precedent set in Gilān. Section III of the New Electoral Law of 1 July 1909 lists under the qualifications of candidates for elections that they must profess Islam ‘unless they represent the Christian, Zoroastrian, or Jewish communities, in which

44  Nasrin Rahimieh case also they must be sound in their respective beliefs.’10 The recognition of the rights of non-Muslims to representation in the Iranian parliament is a particularly noteworthy legacy of the Constitutional Revolution.

Literary Context and Reception Afrāshteh’s tongue-in-cheek deferral of translation of his poem into Persian points to linguistic particularities that correspond to differences in cultural expression and practice, which would have been more pronounced in the first half of the twentieth century as Iran lurched from one political crisis to another. Notwithstanding the linguistic and cultural differences he explored in his Gilaki poetry, Afrāshteh was equally well-versed in Persian literary tradition, particularly the style of poetry that emerged at the time of the Constitutional Revolution, and it is in this context that his work is most frequently placed. The late Iranian poet and literary critic, Mohammad Ali Sepānlu, in a 1982 review of four books, among which were the collected works of Afrāshteh, compares Afrāshteh (but does not equate him) to the renowned poets of the Constitutional era such as Mohammad Taqi Bahār, Iraj Mirza and Ashrafoddin Gilāni, whose poetry Sepānlu venerates for their deft delivery of social and political critique. In contrast, he finds Afrāshteh’s poetry aesthetically inferior and prosodically flawed. Sepānlu’s critique is also directed at what he sees as Afrāshteh’s inconsistent political positions, for instance, vis-à-vis the government of Mohammad Mosaddeq. It is worth noting Siyāvosh Randjbar-Dā’emi’s explication for Afrāshteh’s and, by extension, Chalangar’s lack of support for Mosaddeq: In its first verses on Mossadegh, published five days after the start of his premiership in Spring 1951, the publication decried the nationalization of the oil industry as a ruse designed to consolidate British and American interests, a position it pursued as previous pledges for the granting of a Northern oil concession to the Soviet Union were not met. Mossadegh’s insistence on selling Iranian oil only to Western customers was also the subject of one of Chelengar’s many notorious cartoons, in which he dons the attire and tools of a traditional itinerant tea seller, but refuses to provide oil to a queue of expectant Third World clients, prominently including men from Poland, Czechoslovakia and China.11 Nonetheless, Sepānlu declares: ‘such a person [i.e. Afrāshteh] has no principles, is an opportunist and a demagogue’ and does not merit inclusion in the annals of Persian literature.12 The lapses Sepānlu identifies in Afrāshteh’s political positions are not the only reasons for which Sepānlu criticizes the poems’ potential for raising political consciousness. He argues that the infelicities of style and diction he identifies in Afrāshteh’s poems prevent them from being readily committed to memory. The emphasis Sepānlu places on the poems’ potential for oral recitation and memorization is, in his estimation, integral to their political import.

Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse (1905–1911)  45 He maintains that for the poems to gain currency among the masses, particularly those who are not literate, they must be easy to remember. In other words, if Afrāshteh’s targeted audience is the non-literate in society whose rights he advocates, he fails to reach them because of his poems’ formal shortcomings. Perhaps tellingly, Afrāshteh’s Gilaki verses appear to have not suffered the same fate. On the contrary, some of the turns of phrases he uses in his verses have entered Gilaki as memorable expressions often cited by the literate and non-literate alike. In the preface to his edition of Afrāshteh’s Gilaki verses, Mahmud Pāyandeh Langerudi takes pains to annotate verses which either draw on Gilaki sayings or particular sayings used by Afrāshteh that subsequently became common idioms. Sepānlu’s dismissive assessment is in itself a revealing testimonial of the political inflections of the times. Writing some three years after the 1979 revolution, he concludes: ‘We are not a court of law. And we do not quarrel with the dead. Afrāshteh is deceased. The people do not forget, but they have a house of oblivion. Afrāshteh belongs there.’13 His invocation of the trope of the revolutionary courts of the time, which delivered hasty verdicts culminating in summary executions, betrays his wish to banish Afrāshteh from the annals of Persian literature. Claiming that political ordeals and exile are responsible for Afrāshteh’s inflated reputation, Sepānlu says, ‘Now that he has lost the halo of the champion to the oppressed, it is possible to forgo expressions of sympathy and solidarity and to carry out a critical analysis of his journalistic and political works.’14 Sepānlu’s criticism is an apt reminder of the perils of judging the literature of an earlier era in light of one’s own time: the follies of post-rationalization. To contextualize Afrāshteh’s Gilaki poetry in the literature of the Constitutional Revolution, we turn to the Kadkani’s history of modern Persian poetry and his overview of the poetry of the Constitutional era: ‘The core concerns of the poetry of the Constitutional Revolution, in comparison with the preceding era, are issues such as liberty, nation, women, the West and Western industry, [and] social critique.’15 Afrāshteh’s Gilaki poems are indeed concerned with the peasants’ dependence on the landowner, their lack of access to representative governance envisaged in the constitution, women’s subjugation under a patriarchal order, their desire for freedom and education, the necessity of new forms of knowledge and the lures of modern life. To shed light on Afrāshteh’s treatment of these concepts, the following analyses focus on the following poems: an undated poem entitled ‘Sohbat-e Kadkhodā va Mashti Safar’ (Exchange between the Village Head and Mashti Safar), ‘Das Khwakhorān’ (Female Companions) published in 1930, ‘Efrāt-o-Tafrit’ (Immoderation) also undated, a three-part poem entitled ‘Moftkhor-e A’yān’ (Noble Parasite) composed in 1943, and ‘Kablā Soleymān,’ a poem in two parts published in 1951. These poems are of varying lengths: ‘Sohbat-e kadkhodā va Mashti Safar’ consists of 48 lines of verse, ‘Das khwakhorān’ 75 lines and ‘Efrāt-u Tafrit’ is 92 lines long. ‘Moftkhor-e A’yān’ is in three parts (pardeh), while ‘Kablā Soleymān’ consists of two parts and is a longer composition. Written primarily in tarji’band or qet’ah content form, the poems have a dramatic quality and, as importantly, draw on the genre of monāzereh (debate) which dates back to the pre-Islamic era.16

46  Nasrin Rahimieh Monāzereh gained popularity in New Persian and can be found ‘in a wide range of contexts such as romances, panegyrics, religious and political literature in both prose and poetry.’17 The main purpose of ‘such verbal contests for supremacy is to persuade the reader of the crucial function of both parties in this world. These debates are didactic, teaching the audience about topical issues in a playful manner.’18 As we shall see, Afrāshteh finds the genre a particularly apt vehicle for communicating the urgency of social and political change.

Analyses of the Poems ‘Sohbat-e kadkhodā va Mashti Safar’ revolves around the idea of an elected representative assembly, its uneasy adoption at the level of village life and the transition from traditional methods of farming to new scientific and mechanized ones. An engaging dialogic poem revolving around the conversations of a villager, Mashti Safar, returning from a visit to Rasht, and the village head, the poem highlights the abrogation of the rights of the villagers to a representative form of governance and points to anxieties that attend the adoption of new forms of knowledge and modes of life. The poem begins with greetings between Mashti Safar and the village head: Kadkhodā! Baleh … ti ahvāl chituyeh … ey guzarih Jih kuyi āyii? Jih rasht … kub bugu; shahr chi khabarih? Ti jān-e sāqi, bushubum izah sudā bukunam Village Head! Yes … How is it doing? … O, it’s going. Where are you coming from? From Rasht … Good, tell me; What news do you have from the city? Just your good health, I had gone to shop and barter.19 This casual dialogic tone is maintained throughout the poem. The speakers’ use of the informal second-person pronoun underscores the familiarity between the two and the absence of hierarchies that would normally mark their different social standing. When asked about news from Rasht, Mashti Safar reports that the landlord had sent someone to inform the villagers who work his land to vote for him in the elections. The concept of voting is juxtaposed with the landlord’s decree, hokm, that every villager, young and old, must go into town to cast a ballot in his favour. The village head responds ‘qadaghanih alan dih ujur’ (that approach is now forbidden); i.e., the landlord is no longer permitted to dictate to his vassals to elect him. Strikingly Mashti Safar does not deign to take up this point, as if the dictates of the landlord are the only law he recognizes. His silence is more troubling than any foreseeable response he may have uttered; the constitution so arduously fought for exists in form only and is not sufficiently safeguarded against absolute power.

Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse (1905–1911)  47 Mashti Safar is subject to a power that considers itself above the law and knows how to manipulate it in its own favour. Sidestepping the question of the election, Mashti Safar enquires about the book the village head is carrying. It is the latter’s turn to act evasive, but Mashti Safar’s persistence forces him to reveal that the book is on the subject of the cultivation of silkworm. This time the villager betrays his surprise by asking ‘kaj magar ketāb khwāyeh? (Does silk cultivation require a book?).’ The pace of the exchange between the two picks up with speakers switching from one to the other within the same line of verse: ‘vela kon, shukhi koni? … rāsti gam, jān-e mi gedā’ (come on, are you joking? ... I am telling you the truth, I swear by the life of my child Gidā). Having succumbed to Mashti Safar’s reticence before, the village head does not retreat and instead chastises his interlocutor for suggesting that his farming tools are all the knowledge and method he needs. Returning to the kind of temporal division between the present and the past he had invoked in the discussion of free elections, the village head reminds Mashti Safar that times have changed: ‘alan u ayyām dih niyeh’ [Now is not those times].20 This time the village head exploits the disjuncture between now and the past to his advantage and shames Mashti Safar by the turn of phrase, ‘tireh ‘iybeh’ [it is shameful for you], to reject new knowledge. Faced with Mashti Safar’s disbelief in the wonders of farm machinery and mechanized irrigation system for the rice fields, the village head proceeds to list other marvels like automobiles and airplanes he has seen on movie screens. For Mashti Safar, these are not nothing short of sleight of hand and evidence of the ways in which inhabitants of Rasht are devouring everything in sight, while he and others in the village are left with a comforter for cover and a couple of bamboo mats for mattress. The consumption habits of the Rashtis and, by extension, those of the inhabitants of large cities are embodied in the introduction of new techniques of farming and underscore the villagers’ fear that the new modes of production and consumption would undermine the already pathetic control they had over their livelihood. Not surprisingly, Mashti Safar’s anxieties about mechanization are echoed in Jalāl Āl-e Ahmad’s 1962 critique of Iran’s approach to modernization and its culmination in Iran’s enslavement to the West, a condition he described as gharbzadegi, translated as westitis or westoxification: In order to answer the call of machine or urbanization, the rural people are uprooted so that they can migrate to the cities, where there is neither work for the new arrivals nor shelter; and at the same time the machine has also made its way to the villages. Although the machine takes the place of ten men or oxen in the village, it still needs someone to service it there: someone skilled. And where do you find him? You see how messed up things are!21 The problems Āl-e Ahmad observes in Iran’s economic, political and cultural institutions, among others, are anticipated in Afrāshteh’s poem: problems that continued to haunt Iran’s path to modernization. The conversation shifts to Mashti Safar’s anxieties about the transformations taking place in Rasht: ‘nah barār, begam Rasht-e khiyābān zarareh’ [no, brother,

48  Nasrin Rahimieh let me also tell you what lurks in the streets of Rasht].22 The objects of Mashti Safar’s concern are the flowery fabric of women’s chādors, the height of the heels on women’s shoes and the fact that in contrast to the village children who work in rice fields from morning to dusk, young girls in Rasht, or ‘Rasht-e dokhtar khwakhorān’ [the girls and sisters from Rasht], spend their time on outings to local shrines. This displacement of the anxiety about modern knowledge, science and technology onto the appearance and dress of young women encapsulates a concern over the loss of labour, although when discussing working in the rice fields, the word used is ‘ami zākān,’ our children, rather than merely girls or young women, and a more profound worry about loss of control over women. The absence of similar concerns about men indicates a division of labour that requires women to work in the fields rather than attend to their appearance and leisure. But, as I have suggested, there exists a deeper worry about women not observing the unstated expectation that they remain subject to the same patriarchal hierarchy, which demands Mashti Safar’s total allegiance to the landlord. His silence on exercising his right to vote freely points to the peasants’ reluctance to upset the structures of power that permit them to exert control over women within their own household. Women’s subordination to male power is even more boldly depicted in the poem entitled ‘Das khwākhorān’ (female companions). The title is a reference to the traditional practice of khwahar khwandegi, ‘a ritual of sisterhood or companionship’23 which consisted of women taking vows of friendship with other women. In its earlier iterations, the bond between women could also encompass samesex desire. But as Afsaneh Najmabadi has uncovered, in Iran’s encounter with European modernity homoerotism was deemed inappropriate and, as a result, the ‘openly celebrated nineteenth-century “vows of sisterhood” seem to have given way to spatial masquerades, such as rooming in the same house, or heteronormative screens, such as two women marrying the same man.’24 In Afrāshteh’s poem, there is no indication of an erotic relationship between the two women. They are both married and appear to serve as each other’s confidante. The poem opens with an enthusiastic, albeit sarcastic, greeting one woman offers to her long-absent friend upon her arrival. The first speaker feels slighted that her friend has not come to see her sooner. The opening verses of the poem are among commonly cited Gilaki lines of poetry recited when someone drops in for a visit after a long absence: ‘das khwakhurjān! chi ‘ajab? La’nat-e shaytān bukudi / chi bubu, chutur bubu, yād faqirān bukudi?’ [What a surprise, sister! Did you curse the devil? What happened, what changed to make you remember the poor (of lower social standing)?].25 The visiting woman, the second speaker, brushes aside her friend’s criticism and launches into an enumeration of the challenges she faces at home: her husband’s tyranny furthered and sustained by her mother-in-law and sister-in-law: ‘itā mard-e mār daram saga mānih / māshāllah mard-e khawkhur tā chi kunam khabar barih’ [I have a mother-in-law who is like a dog / God be praised, my sister-in-law reports anything I do].26 When her friend suggests that she gives her in-laws too much credence, the second speaker retorts that her husband is under the influence of his mother and sister and threatens to

Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse (1905–1911)  49 divorce her when she complains about their behaviour. The conversation lays bare other sources of the second speaker’s discontent such as her husband’s other wife and his threat of marrying another woman or divorcing her, should he find himself displeased with her conduct. Polygamy, legal and socially acceptable, is yet another extension of the concentration of male power and a means of setting women against one another. As in the previous poem, Afrāshteh’s critique is leveled at institutions, religious and social, that bolster and perpetuate the prevailing dynamics of power. But in contrast to ‘Sohbat-e kadkhodā va Mashti Safar,’ also presented as a dialogue, the exchange between the two women is confined to the interior of a home rather than an open, public space. This symbolizes women’s spatial confinement, which is not to say that women are absent from public spaces. In fact, as we saw in the previous example, women take an active role in farming, particularly in the arduous labour of working in rice fields. In ‘Das khwākhorān,’ the woman’s visit to her friend’s house implies freedom to leave her home to visit her friend, but the urgency she feels about returning home suggests limits both spatial and temporal. The poem’s delineation of the subjugation of women in marriage is a remarkable critique of the diffusion of patriarchal power within the family through not only men’s domination but also women’s complicity. The female friend offers sympathy and suggests consulting with gypsies and fortune-tellers for a remedy that would incline the husband more favourably toward his wife and spending the husband’s money so as to make it more difficult for him to marry yet another woman. But none of the suggestions offers her friend a way out of her predicament. Her lack of economic independence brings into focus the regime of oppression that privileges men with power and perpetuates itself by co-opting women to do its bidding in exchange for power over other women. The female friend she visits is an exception in that she has taken a vow of friendship and will not betray her. As she prepares to leave her friend’s house, she asks her friend to keep her secrets: ‘rāsti mi dard-a dilah hich kasihri gab nazani? Rād-e Bāzqalihiy-rih siāh kalāch khabar barih / ādama rusvā kunih, hichchi una tābnavarih!’ [By the way, don’t tell anyone my confidences / black crows deliver news to Rād-e Bāzqalihi / he gives you a bad name / no one can get the better of him].27 Rād-e Bāzqalihi is Afrāshteh’s family name and its mention in the last lines of the poem invokes the poet’s own social standing. The mention of the poet’s name both breaks the intimacy between the two women and reinstitutes a system of surveillance that monitors and controls all her actions at home and in public. The conflation of the poet and the crow, a symbol of rumour mongering, turns the humour back on the poet and at the same time underscores his role as a busy body and social critic. In another dramatic poem entitled ‘Efrāt-u tafrit’ [Immoderation], presented for the most part as a dialogue between a mother and her daughter, the concern about fulfilling the expected gendered roles takes the centre stage: Mādar: Kur javānmarg bibi, ipchih biā ayā binish chanta kalamih gap bazan, dunih miamrā baj dujin

50  Nasrin Rahimieh chaqadar kaghaz-e sar, naqshih kashi, siā kuni? Chaqadar shi sarajir, hay sarajur kitāb khāni Dukhtar: Abji jan vaqt azizih, man timanastan nukunam Ipchih qalyān chakunam, ipchih bayam baj pākunam Man vasi dars bakhānam sahib ma’arifit babam Bilā nisbat ti manastan ayā tanbil nakafam28 Mother: Girl, may you die young, come over for a minute and sit down Say a few words, clean the rice with me Why do you draw and blacken the paper so much? Why do you pace up and down, reading your book? Daughter: Mother dear, time is precious, I don’t do what you do Spend a little time to set up the hookah, a little more to clean the rice I have to study and become learned Not to be like you, lazing about. This poem, more than the others cited here in this essay, delves into the question of women’s education and the tensions it creates within the space of home and society. It foregrounds the need for new forms of learning as a necessary step toward modernization and exposes an older generation’s anxieties about the consequences for the familial and social order. The poem opens with the mother demanding that her daughter set aside what she is doing and join her in carrying out the household chores. The mother is particularly irked by the amount of time her daughter spends on her books instead of lending her mother a hand. Not surprisingly, the daughter’s response takes up the question of time as well: if I waste time now, I will end up lazing about as you are. The mother, who takes pride in fulfilling her domestic responsibilities of cooking, washing and sewing, is offended and reminds her daughter that, before marrying her father, she lived at home and took part in the household chores. She asks rhetorically if her daughter should not know how to cook, wash or mend clothes, as is expected of all young women. Rejecting her mother’s definition of work, the daughter asks to be left in peace to concentrate on her study of algebra. She taunts her mother with her new discoveries: she asks if her mother is aware that water is called H2O and or if she knows the properties of hydrogen. The mother retorts that she supports education, but she questions the usefulness of subjects such as geography. Attempting to rise to the challenge, she asks: ‘Gi zamin rāh shih, ki bavar bukunih, vallah kisih?’ [You say the earth moves, but who is to believe that?].29 The generational divide hardens over what constitutes knowledge and, even more specifically, what is useful knowledge for a young unmarried woman. For the mother, knowledge is defined as the poetry of Hāfez, prayers, how to prepare charms and cast spells. The daughter, in contrast, rejects what she sees as unscientific beliefs in prayers and spells. Later on the daughter also chastises her

Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse (1905–1911)  51 mother for not adhering to modern standards of hygiene, for instance she faults her for dipping her hands in the murky waters of the small pool in the courtyard and not using soap. Confident with her new forms of learning, she advises her mother that she avoid sitting on the floor so as not to have rheumatism. The gap between the two generations, one formed within traditions meant to prepare young women for marriage and the running of a household, the other eager to embrace modern scientific learning, reflects the fundamental debates that took place in Iran in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and galvanized reformers and intellectuals whose encounters with Europe made them aware that Iran lagged behind Western nations in education, science and technology. The need for overhauling Iran’s educational system was well established by the time Afrāshteh began his career as a journalist and writer. What was less commonly accepted was the need to extend education to women. Nevertheless, countless men and women, particularly the more affluent members of society, championed women’s right to educate themselves. What Afrāshteh contributes to the debates about women’s education is to place it across the generational divide and to introduce a moderate father figure who represents the voice of reason. The mother first mentions the father in her frustration with her daughter: ‘ti pirah chi bagam bibih? / tā tirih gab zanam shab ayih mi kallah kanih / dukhtarā ki guyih hay tār bazanih raqs bukunih / birun shih ru nigirih, mu a lā garsun bazanih’ [what should I say of your father who spoils you / as soon as I say something to you, he reprimands me / who says to a girl to play the tar and dance endlessly? / who doesn’t cover her face when she goes out or cuts her hair à la garcon?].30 We see the mother’s concern shift quickly from her daughter’s preoccupation with her studies to changes in appearance and behaviour that are not, at least in her view, becoming for a young girl. Widening the scope of her concerns beyond how the daughter conducts herself at home when she goes to cafes and theatres, the mother, like Mashti Safar, is duly anxious about her daughter’s reputation. The daughter matches the escalation in her mother’s rhetoric by challenging the conventions her mother upholds. She insists that dancing and music are good means of reviving one’s spirits while covering her face is oppressive. She says that she is jealous of Armenian and Russian women who do not veil themselves. The altercation between mother and daughter also touches on class issues, or to be precise the distinction between the rural and the urban. Calling her mother a fanatic, ‘tu fenātiki’ [you are a fanatic],31 the daughter takes issue with being set against the lower classes and espouses an idealized type of social equality that would give her the same privileges as the Russian and Armenian women. Interestingly, as if to mark the necessity to adopt new ideas foreign to Gilān and Iran, the word fanatic is transliterated and usurps native vocabulary, further widening the gap between mother and daughter. The dispute is ultimately halted when the father enters the room and is faced with the mother and daughter’s spat. Embodying the ideals of a just patriarch capable of maintaining the best of familial and social traditions and espousing new forms of knowledge, the father becomes the just arbiter, the type of enlightened and fair head of the family and, by extension, the nation, the Constitutionalists advocated. He reminds his wife that she must not prevent

52  Nasrin Rahimieh their daughter from learning and implores his daughter to be sensitive to her mother. He introduces the balance he believes they both lack in their views: ‘dars tirih lāzimih, ammā khānihdāri vajibih / ‘effāt-u sharm u hayā ham vasi ti amrah bibih / tu ziyād julu dari, tu ham ziyād ‘aqab dari / dād az ah dujuri, afghan az ah bi khabari’ [Learning is necessary for you, but so is homemaking / you must also retain modesty, shame, and humility / you are too far ahead and you are too far behind / save us from this duality, save us from this lack of knowledge].32 The order restored by the father nonetheless places a heavy burden on the young woman whose education, she is told, is not to fundamentally change the expectation that women embody purity and chastity while adopting a modern education. The norms endorsed by the father represent the ideals of the Constitutional Revolution, corroborated by Shafi’i Kadkani in his lectures to a group of male and female university students, subsequently published as Advār-e She’r-e Fārsi. He asserts that there does not appear to be a problem with young men and women sitting together in the same space of learning, and yet he warns that beneath the surface of the same society, in contemporary Iran, there exist elements who believe women’s learning should be limited to the Qur’an as learning to read and write is feared to facilitate deviancy (enherāf).33 Shafi’i Kadkani’s collapse of the present and the early twentieth-century Iranian cultural history aptly reminds his audience that a very fine line separates them from the debates of the Constitutional era on the subject of women’s education. In her history of women’s writing, Farzaneh Milani expounds on the inextricable intertwining of women’s education and the demands of maintaining ideals of women’s purity. She points out that the founding of the first schools for girls stirred up fears about women’s chastity being compromised: ‘Girls’ schools were considered “dens of iniquity,” “centers of corruption,” and a curious reverse relationship between female chastity and education was established more forcefully than ever before. […] soon, women’s education became a symptom of sexual corruption and defilement.’34 As we have seen, Afrāshteh attempts to strike a balance between diametrically opposed views to carve out a space for a style of modern education for women in which traditional expectations of purity and modesty are also safeguarded. Far from representing radical revolutionary views, Afrāshteh adheres to the principal tenets and ideals that originated during the Constitutional era but were not necessarily or smoothly implemented across the nation. While the major cities benefited from the reformist thought of the time, small towns and villages lagged far behind in adopting modern-style schooling. The audience Afrāshteh reaches out to still need to be persuaded about the benefits of modern education, to say nothing of their basic rights to freedom and justice. By writing in their language and staging the pros and cons of espousing change, Afrāshteh shines a light on the possible paths forward without glossing over the contradictions, ambivalences and ruptures that characterize a tumultuous period of political and social reform. His preference for poems written in the form of a dialogue speaks to his commitment to informed debate. As we have seen, he does not always present his readers with ready-made solutions, preferring instead to

Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse (1905–1911)  53 also delineate the intractable problems, which continued to plague Iranian society and culture after the fall of the Qajar dynasty and during the reign of the Pahlavi’s. Afrāshteh’s focus on social inequality and arbitrary rule of law might have become keener after he joined the Tudeh Party, but his style of poetry did not alter drastically. A brief examination of a poem, in three parts, ‘Moftkhor-e A’yān’ [The Parasitic Noble],’ which explicitly mentions the party and communist tendencies in Gilān, will elucidate the continuity in Afrāshteh’s preoccupation with the landlords’ abuses of power and the peasants’ abject poverty and suffering. Published in 1943, ‘Moftkhor-e A’yān,’ is presented in three acts (pardeh). In one edition, it is accompanied by a preface in Persian that reads: The Qajars, like the Safavids, continued their predatory methods, as did Sardār Sepah [Reza Shah] who offered no salve for the weary and battered shoulders of the rice workers. The Khans hang, beat, and hound [their subjects] and … the scattered uprisings of the oppressed of Gilān lead nowhere and are subdued.35 The language of the preface, like much of what is depicted in the three acts, while adhering to Afrāshteh’s primary concern with the oppression of the underprivileged, exhibits an intensification in tone and an increased belligerence on the part of the landowner. The first act begins, as in other examples we have seen, with an encounter between the landowner and Mashti Hasan, one of his sharecroppers. The landowner accosts Mashti Hasan about the inferior quality of his crops and his failure to have paid his expected instalment. When the latter reasons that he does not have enough good quality rice to cover his dues, the landlord shrugs off his responsibility, reminding him that he lives and prays on his land and thus has a duty to pay him. Mashti Hasan’s pleas that he cannot feed and provide clothing for his family produce the absurd response that, as Mashti Hasan and his family are used to going hungry and ill-clad, they should be grateful for not experiencing the hardships a pampered individual like himself would have to endure under similar circumstances. Following this logic, he rehearses imagined hardships he would have to endure, were Mashti Hasan to fail to make his payment. Unlike Mashti Hasan, for example, he argues, he will easily catch a cold if he does not dress properly. Forced to rest at home, he is then obliged to receive visitors, who in turn will be unable to work: ‘chan ruz ki khusam, haftā mahal bih uchināstih / mardum mi ‘ayādat va baiyd dastih bih dastih’ [when I rest for a few days seven counties fall apart / people have to come in droves to pay me a visit].36 The first act becomes an enumeration of the many ways in which the landowner’s potential deprivation would wreak havoc on others who depend on him, i.e., the peasants. And yet toward the end of the first act, the landlord admits that he lives in fear of the day the sharecroppers recognize their rights: ‘chun muft bukhurdam natānam kari basham pas’ [because I have been freeloading I could not possibly work].37 The second act consists of a visit Mashti Hasan pays the landlord at his home. Initially welcoming and polite, even inquiring about Mashti Hasan’s ailing dog,

54  Nasrin Rahimieh the landlord shows himself to be far more concerned about the demise of the dog than the hardships the peasants have endured: symbolic of the state of the serf class. His demands for payment remain unchanged, but he now resorts to an argument on religious grounds: he maintains that Mashti Hasan’s prayers will be for naught if he does not pay his dues for living on land owned by the landlord. He reminds Mashti Hasan that he will not go unpunished in this world and beyond. He proceeds with the distinction between what is right and wrong (haqq and nāhaq), playing on the multiple meanings of the word haqq, which is also a reference to God, to accuse Mashti Hasan of abrogating both worldly and divine laws. While pleading his case, the landlord intimates that he is aware of his peasants’ denunciation of their masters as well as their having become a party sympathizer, without mentioning the name of the Tudeh, demanding land reform. When Mashti Hasan finally responds, he is not cawed and challenges the landlord. The altercation between the two becomes fully blown in the third act and revolves around the Jangal uprising, its defeated leader, Mirza Kuchak Khān, the Tudeh Party and the landlord’s faith in all such efforts always proving futile. The poem ends with a warning that they will meet again, if only in another world. These are by far the most overtly political of Afrāshteh’s poems in Gilaki and expose a wrath not palpable in other poems. They are also the most dramatic of his compositions. Other poems, as we have already seen, stage exchanges. But the exchanges in ‘Moftkhor-e A’yān’ have the tenor of a mock trial far from the reality of the time. Thus, the poems compensate for the absence of justice and give voice to Afrāshteh’s and his fellow Gilānis’ frustration with the repeated unfruitfulness of attempts at righting the wrongs they had long witnessed. It is important to remember that Afrāshteh did not continue to write poetry in the same tone. His lighthearted and satiric style is evident in later poems such as ‘Kablā Soleymān,’ a poem in two parts, which was published in 1951 and pertains to the chaos that ensued when the Allies invaded Iran in 1941 and forced Rezā Shah Pahlavi to abdicate. It is set in 1941 and is composed in the form of two letters a peasant has handwritten by a scribe about his first visit and stay in Tehran. In a note preceding the poem, Afrāshteh tells his readers what occasioned the composition of these poems: The events following September 11, 1941 upset many social values. Villagers, suffering under the yoke of the landowners and stewards, abandoned their villagers and scattered across cities. The poet, himself from a village he fled to his chagrin and plight, cautions his fellow countrymen against following the same path.38 The first poem, i.e., the first letter written by the speaker to his cousin, Kablā Suleymān, underscores the visiting peasant’s sense of wonder at the capital city. Addressing his cousin, he reports the exact date of his arrival in Tehran and proceeds to set Tehran and Rasht as diametrically opposed: ‘tara dil ayih? Tihrān bihishtih / murdihshur bashūrih shandarah Rashtah / afsūs amih ‘umr bikhūd būgūẕashtih / ū chalah galah ū barf ū bārān / da’iy pasar jān, kablā Suleymān’

Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse (1905–1911)  55 [Can you fathom it? Tehran is paradise / forget tawdry Rasht / Pity that our life was wasted / in that mud, rain, and snow / O dear cousin, kablā Suleymān].39 This contrast between the two cities sets the tone for what ensues in the poem which is a devoted painstaking description of the novelties the speaker experiences in Tehran. He reports that he befriended someone whose expenses he pays in exchange for his serving as his guide. He brags about being able to take a hired car, to go to movies, restaurants, opium dens and taverns: he even finds the air quality in Tehran superior, which seems a stretch but also alludes to a fantastical notion of what urban is. Bedazzled with the sights and sounds of Tehran, the speaker begins to become aware of the differences in his language and that of the residents of the capital city. Rather than being dismayed, however, the speaker maintains: ‘mara khūsh ayih ashana zabān’ [I like their language].40 After asking his cousin to convey his greetings to his friends and relatives, he ends his letter with: ‘harkas bashad az hali mā pursān / salām barasān, d’ua barasān / būgū bizāram az shimi Gilān / nāzanin guẕarān daramih tihrān / da’iy pasar jān, kablā Suleymān’ [whoever asks about me, give them my best / tell them I loathe your Gilān / I am having a beautiful time in Tehran / O dear cousin, kablā Suleymān].41 The second-person possessive pronoun signals the speaker’s distancing himself from his native Gilān, as he has earlier suggested that he likes Persian. The enthusiasm and joy of the first letter are jettisoned in the second letter with regret and distress. Gone are the speaker’s confidence, boastfulness and appreciation of Tehran. Having spent money on himself and the so-called friend he made in Tehran, he reveals that he is now living in poverty, barely able to eat a decent meal. He asks his cousin whether he should return to his native Gilān and regrets that he did not heed the advice of those who warned him against moving away. The city that dazzled him before is now radically transformed in his eyes: ‘Tihrān chi manih? Kāfirastānih / qismat nūkūnih hich mūsūlmānah’ [What is Tehran like? It is the abode of unbelievers / may it never be fated to a Muslim].42 Working at construction, living on dry bread and water, he visits a fellow Gilāni to ask for help to be told he might as well die. He now beseeches his cousin to sell his share of the mare he co-owns to send him the money to return home. He closes this letter with the request that whoever asks about him could give a little money to assist with his return fare. In the peasant’s trajectory, Afrāshteh traces the lures and the disappointments of a migrant in search of a better fortune. He could not have predicted that his own fate would see him displaced from Iran to Bulgaria where he needed to adjust to a new language and culture. By all accounts in the four short years he lived in Bulgaria, he learned enough Bulgarian to join forces with the satiric journal Stershel. He wrote prose pieces he had translated from Persian into Turkish and, subsequently, Bulgarian with the help of a Bulgarian writer/journalist who was fluent in Turkish, Dimitr Blagotev.43 It is not clear whether the original Persian texts of the stories have been preserved. The collection of stories was first published in 1959 after Afrāshteh’s death and was translated back into Persian in 2010 by Behzād Musā’i with assistance from the Bulgarian embassy in Tehran.

56  Nasrin Rahimieh This remarkable trajectory is a befitting legacy for a poet and writer who devoted himself to translating and transferring ideas from one setting to another. The stories that date from his time in Bulgaria are set both in Iran and in his new home and demonstrate that while adjusting to a new country, language and customs, Afrāshteh continued to write about Iran in his inimitable satiric style. He shuttled between languages, although he became far more dependent on intermediaries and wrote about the perils of crossing from one language to another. Nowhere is this more evident than in a short story, entitled ‘Qofl’ [lock], which offers a remarkably fitting metaphor for Afrāshteh’s perennial linguistic nomadism and its requisite nimbleness. ‘Qofl’ is told in the first person by an unnamed protagonist living in Bulgaria who sets out in search of a pocket calendar. At the outset the narrator points out that at the time his knowledge of Bulgarian was rudimentary: ‘My spoken Bulgarian was rather hazy.’44 Not realizing that his pronunciation of the word pocket calendar sounds to native speakers like the word lock, he inquires at a bookstore where the helpful owner, puzzled as to why he is asking for a lock in a bookstore, takes him by the hand to the nearest hardware store. The narrator is mystified but attributes his confusion to his unfamiliarity with Bulgarian stores. When the shopkeeper at the hardware store asks the narrator what size lock he has in mind, the latter points to the pocket of his jacket. After climbing a ladder to locate an appropriate lock, he presents the narrator with a sizeable lock. Embarrassed by the trouble he has caused the shopkeeper, the narrator resigns himself to purchasing the lock. He takes the lock home where he hides it from view, hoping he will forget about it. But he continues to ruminate about his mistake and tries in vain to find a purchaser for it. When this attempt fails, he continues to think of ways of dispensing with the lock. At long last, he decides that on the occasion of his Bulgarian language teacher’s birthday, he could gift it to her. At the birthday party, his gift stands out as an odd choice. Faced with questions about his reasons for choosing a lock as a birthday gift, he weaves together a story about locks being tokens of good fortune in Iranian culture and thus a customary gift. Caught in his own web of lies, he is subsequently forced to buy another lock as a present for another acquaintance and thereafter he himself receives locks as gifts from Bulgarian friends who believe to be acting in a culturally sensitive manner. Having acquired a plethora of locks, one day the narrator retraces his steps to the hardware store where the owner has become accustomed to serving him. This time, however, the narrator tells the shopkeeper that he does not need to purchase a lock and, in fact, he has such a large inventory of locks that he is thinking of opening up his own store. Having been written in Persian and subsequently translated into Bulgarian via Turkish, this story underscores Afrāshteh’s desire to reach out to a new audience of Bulgarian readers through his signature humour. By writing about a linguistic mishap and the torments it produced, particularly in the narrator’s obsessing with and scheming about how to make up for his innocent mistake, Afrāshteh exposes his own vulnerability as a writer in exile. Some of the same dynamics are at work in the ‘Kablā Suleymān’ poems that detail a Gilāni’s arduous adjustment to life

Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse (1905–1911)  57 in Tehran. Unlike the speaker of this two-part poem, the narrator of ‘Qofl’ cannot plead for money to return to his home. Nor could Afrāshteh find a path back to Iran. But 50 years after it was first published in Bulgarian, his story worked its way back into Persian and became available to Iranian readers. Reading the works Afrāshteh wrote in exile is itself a reminder of the heavy price many Iranian intellectuals and writers have had to pay for their political ideals from the Constitutional era to the present. Afrāshteh’s writings in Gilāki as well as his journalism and prose in Persian offer a rich site for the examination of the afterlife of the Constitutional Revolution and its unachieved ideals. His deft use of humour and satire, particularly in his writings in Gilāki, contributed to the popularity of his poetry and their widespread circulation among his fellow Gilānis. Despite the impressive range of his works, however, Afrāshteh has not received adequate scholarly attention. Criticism of the kind voiced by Sepānlu, begrudging Afrāshteh’s membership in the Tudeh Party and his eventual exile have obscured the significance of his contributions to Gilāki and Persian poetry and prose. Living in the shadow of another unfinished revolution, perhaps now Afrāshteh’s readers can begin to take a fresh, dispassionate look at his works and engage with them earnestly.

Notes 1 In his Dastur-e Zabān-e Gilaki, Ja’far Bakhshzād Mahmudi argues that from the point of view of its grammar Gilaki is a language with its own regional dialects. This proposition is affirmed in the collaborative work published in Russian in 1971 and translated by Ronald M. Lockwood in 2012 under the title of The Gilaki Language. Drawing primarily on Western sources, Ahmad Mar’ashi’ traces Gilaki to Dari and/or Middle Persian (Pahlavi). In his preface to Gozideh-ye Adabiyāt-e Gilaki, Ebrāhim Fakhrā’i, like other editors and compilers of Gilaki poetry, traces the origins of the language to Middle Persian (Pahlavi) and maintains that research into the history and development of Gilaki was first and foremost undertaken by non-Iranian scholars. J’afar Bakhshzād Mahmudi in Ahmad Mar’ashi’s grammar and vajihnāmih guyishi Gilaki suggests that local scholars have taken an interest in the subject. Ironically the more recent interest in the study of Gilaki coincides with the increasing dominance of Persian in Gilān. Already in 1971 the authors of the above-mentioned Russian study remarked: “The teaching in the schools is conducted in Persian. On account of this and also on account of the bilingualism widely developed among the Gilaks, the Gilaki language is subject to the strong influence of the Persian language, especially in its vocabulary (and partially in its phonology).” The introduction of radio and television also led to the adoption of Persian vocabulary and the erosion of some differences between the two languages. 2 Javadi, Satire in Persian Literature, 189. 3 Javadi and Sholevar, Accessed on July 22, 2018. 4 This translation is by Javadi and Sholevar. Unless otherwise noted, all translations from Gilaki or Persian are my own. 5 Tabari, A Century of Conflict between Thought and Tyranny: Afrāshtih, ‘Neither His Hand nor His Pen Broke’ (accessed). 6 The original Persian reads: ‘to have them read the poem to them.’ I have put in ‘read’ for ‘translation.’ 7 Afrāshteh, She’r-hāy-e Gilaki-e Afrāsheh, 154, ellipses in the original. 8 Chaqueri, The Soviet Socialist Republic of Iran, 31.

58  Nasrin Rahimieh 9 Ibid. 28. 10 Browne, The Persian Revolution of 1905–1909, 387. 11 Siyāvosh Randjbar-Dāemi, ‘Satire under a Bright Red Star’ (accessed). 12 Sepānlu, ‘Naẓari bih chahār kitab,’ 162. 13 Ibid. 14 Ibid. 159. 15 Shafi’i Kadkani, Advār-She’r-e Fārsi, 35. 16 Abdullaeva, ‘The Origins of the Munāẓara Genre in New Persian Literature,’ 254–256. 17 Seyed-Gohrab, ‘The Rose and the Wine: Dispute as a Literary Device in Classical Persian Literature,’ 69. 18 Ibid. 70–71. 19 Afrāshteh, She’r-hāy-e Gilaki-e Afrāshteh, 2, ellipses in the original. 20 Ibid. 21 Āl-e Ahmad, Plagued by West, 43. 22 In my translation, I have opted for the verb ‘lurk’ instead of the verbatim ‘harmful, or “detrimental”.’ 23 Babayan, ‘“In the Spirit We Ate Each Other’s Sorrow” Female Companionship in Seventeenth-Century Safavi Iran.’ 241. 24 Najmabadi, Women with Mustaches and Men with Beardsi, 245. 25 Afrāshteh, She’r-hāy-e Gilaki-e Afrāshteh, 12. 26 Ibid. 27 Ibid. 28 Ibid. 166. 29 Ibid. 30 Ibid. 170. 31 Ibid. 172. 32 Ibid. 180. 33 Kadkani, Advār-She’r-e Fārsi, 39. 34 Milani, Veils and Words, 56–57. 35 Afrāshteh, She’r-hāy-e Gilaki-e Afrāshteh, 183. 36 Fakhrā’i, Guzideh-ye Adabiyāt-e Gilaki, 171. 37 Ibid. 175. 38 Afrāshteh, She’r-hāy-e Gilaki-e Afrāshteh, 75, ellipses in the original. 39 Ibid. 76. 40 Ibid. 84. 41 Ibid. 86. 42 Ibid. 92. 43 This is my transliteration of the name from the Persian introduction of the collection of stories, Damāgh-e Shah. 44 Afrāshteh, ‘Qufl,’ 17. The original reads: ‘My spoken Bulgarian was like light in a fog.’

Bibliography Abdullaeva, F. “The origins of the munāzara genre in New Persian literature.” In Metaphor and Imagery in Persian Poetry, edited by Ali-Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, 249–73. Leiden: Brill, 2012. Afrāshteh, Mohammad ‘Ali. “Qofl.” In Damāgh-e Shah, edited by Behzād Musā’i. Rasht: Iliyā, 2014: 17–24. ———. She’r-hā-y-e Gilaki-e Afrāshteh. Edited and translated by Mahmud Pāyandeh Langerudi. Rasht: Gilakān, 1996. Āl-e Ahmad, Jalāl. Plagued by West (Gharbzadegi). Translated by Paul Sprachman and Bibliothetca Persica. Modern Persian Literature Series, 4. New York: Delmar, 1982.

Mohammad ‘Ali Afrāshteh’s Gilaki Verse (1905–1911)  59 Babayan, Kathryn. “‘In the Spirit We Ate Each Other’s Sorrow’: Female Companionship in Seventeenth-Century Safavi Iran.” In Islamicate Sexualities: Translations across Temporal Geographies of Desire, edited by Kathryn Babayan and Afsaneh Najmabadi, 239–74. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008. Bakhshzād Mahmudi, Ja’far, ed. Dastur-e Zabān-e Gilaki: Sarf va Nahv va Ā’in-e Negāresh. Rasht: Gilakān, 2006. Browne, Edward G. The Persian Revolution of 1905–1909. Edited by Abbas Amanat. Washington, DC: Mage, 1995. Chaqueri, Cosroe. The Soviet Socialist Republic of Iran, 1920–1921: Birth of the Trauma. Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh University Press, 1995. Fakhrā’i, Ebrāhim, ed. Gozideh-ye Adabiyāt-e Gilaki. Rasht: Enteshārāt-e Tā’ati, 1998. Javadi, Hasan. Satire in Persian Literature. Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1988. Lockwood, Ronald, M., trans. The Gilaki Language [Giljanskij jazyk 1971]. Original by V.S. Rastorgueva, A.A. Kerimova, A.K. Mamedzade, L.A. Pireiko, and D. I. Edel’man. Uppsala: Uppsala University Library, 2012. Consulted on March 4, 2019. https://uu​. diva​-portal​.org​/smash​/get​/diva2​:560728​/FULLTEXT02​.pdf. Mar’ashi, Ahmad, ed. Vājehnāmeh-ye Guyesh-e Gilaki beh Enzemām-e Estelāhāt va Zarbolmasalha-ye Gilaki. Rasht: Enteshārāt-e Tā’ati, 1984. Milani, Farzaneh. Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1992. Najmabadi, Afsaneh. Women with Mustaches and Men with Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. Randjbar-Daemi, Siavush. “Satire under a Bright Red Star.” 2017. Consulted on July 23, 2018. https://www​.wilsoncenter​.org​/blog​-post​/satire​-under​-bright​-red​-star. Seyed-Gohrab, Asghar. “The Rose and the Wine: Dispute as a Literary Device in Classical Persian Literature” Iranian Studies 47, 1 (2013): 69–85. Sepānlu, Mohammad ‘Ali. “Nazari beh Chahār Ketāb.” In Cherāgh, 5 vols, edited by Simā Kubān, 148–62 (Spring 1982). Tehran: Damāvand, 1982[1985]). Shafi’i Kadkani, Mohammad Rezā. Advār-e she’r-e Fārsi. 6th ed. Tehran: Sokhan, 2011. Sholehvar, Bahman, and Hasan Javadi. In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 2014. Accessed July 22, 2018. http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/afrasta​mohammad​-ali. Tabari, Ihsan. A Century of Conflict between Thought and Tyranny: Afrāshtih, ‘Neither His Hand nor His Pen Broke’ Accessed on July 24, 2018. http://www​.rahetudeh​.com​/ rahetude​/Tabari​/Maghaleh​/Afrashteh​.html.


Freedom’s Song Women and the Canonization of Constitutional Era Poets Matthew C. Smith

In literary studies of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (1905–1911) and its aftermath, female poets have largely been overlooked.1 As has been well documented, the status of women in Iranian society was fundamental not only in a political or social sense but also as a foundational aspect of linguistic and literary changes taking place within Persian poetry. Furthermore, women were active participants in this transformation, establishing newspapers and journals which not only addressed ‘domestically-focused knowledge’2 but also provided a venue for politically-minded female poets to publish their work. Prominent figures in the movement for women’s independence, like Seddiqeh Dowlatābādi, the political activist and publisher of Zabān-e Zanān (Women’s Voice), were often poets in their own right. Many, if not nearly all, of these voices were neglected in the early scholarly efforts to collect and document the biographies of poets and poetry of the Constitutional period, whether from lack of interest on the part of biographers, government censorship, or from lack of access to ephemeral publications. Today, we rarely see poets like Fāni or Fātemeh Soltān Farāhāni ranked alongside their male colleagues though they spoke with equal or even greater vigour in defence of political and social freedom. Investigating the structural reasons female voices were left behind can assist in uncovering and recovering this lost body of work. Highlighting the poetry of authors like Homā Mahmudi, Shams Kasmā’i and Nimtāj as per their treatment of political and nationalistic topics of the Constitutional era demonstrates the urgent need for expanding the boundaries of what we consider to be transformational literature.3 As Rakhshān declared in her poem entitled simply ‘Freedom’ (Āzādi): Shout at the top of your lungs this news to those who are lost Science and learning are the guides to freedom You will prevail, Rakhshān, with the aid of God And then you will dance to freedom’s song4 Until the end of the nineteenth century, the tazkerah genre (biographical notices of poets) was an important factor in the formation of a literary canon but, with a few exceptions, ‘women poets remained a novelty at the margins of the literary communities or were appropriated by a male tradition’ throughout the DOI:  10.4324/9781003243335-5

Freedom’s Song 


eighteenth century. It was not until the genre accelerated in the nineteenth century, in a ‘scramble to retrieve lost voices,’ that examples of tazkerah focused on women authors (or in some cases, notable historical and contemporary female figures) appeared, such as Kheyrāt-e Hesān, a three-volume dictionary composed by E’temād al-Saltaneh, the Qajar statesman, scholar and Minister of Press and Publication under Nāssereddin shah.5 The Constitutional Revolution was a disruptive event not only in the politicosocial sense but also in the literary realm, bringing new challenges to the process of compiling and evaluating poetic works. The question of how women fit into the new social paradigms was at the core of the Constitutional discourse. As Afsaneh Najmabadi points out, male dominance in the ‘religious, cultural and political’ spheres dictated that expressions of modernity ‘would be articulated through a male-centered language.’ As such, male voices ‘would thus define the center of the text; women would be there, marking the margins.’6 It is certainly true that the Revolution created a space for new female voices just as it did for male ones, yet the male dominance Najmabadi speaks of contributed to the suppression of works by female authors in retrospective studies while elevating male poets. Writers of biographical dictionaries were slow to adapt to the changing status of women in literature. Though a few names, notably Parvin E’tesāmi,7 appeared in most of the early examples of Constitutional tazkerah in the 1930s and 1940s, little indication was given of the surge in literary activity by women in journalism and poetry just a decade or two before. At the same time, the tazkerah genre was being confronted by modern forms of communication such as newspapers and the telegraph, which, with their ability to rapidly disseminate a poet’s work to a wider audience, had rendered the tazkerah redundant as an authoritative marker of literary stature. By the time scholars began compiling biographies of Constitutional era poets in the 1930s, the standard for inclusion in the canon had been basically established; in short, male nationalist voices who opposed the monarchy and expressed themselves (in varying degrees) outside the bounds of traditional poetic themes and forms in ways which spoke to contemporary social concerns. The fiery rhetoric of Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, Maleh al-Sho’arā Bahār’s adaptation of classical themes to current social ills, and the popular songs of ‘Āref Qazvini are just a few whose work falls easily within this broad generalization. Edward G. Browne’s The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia (1914), ‘the first important study of modern Persian poetry and its connection with the political and social life of the country,’8 echoed aspects of the tazkerah genre in its selections from prominent poets who had been brought to his attention by his Iranian correspondent, Mirzā Hosein Kāzemzādeh, or found among the ‘bound volumes of newspapers’ in his possession. The text remained a rare example of an account of Constitutional period literature for nearly 20 years, in part because of the lack of published collections of poems (divan) by individual authors. According to some accounts, there was a ‘dearth of book and monograph publication by scholars and creative writers in the [first] four decades’ of the twentieth century in Iran and newspapers and literary journals predominated.9 This delayed the production of divans for years or even decades

62  Matthew C. Smith and eventually favoured those poets who had the attention of devoted friends or scholars willing to track down poems from among the varied and rapidly disappearing periodicals in which they were originally published. Of the poets already mentioned, ‘Eshqi’s collected works were published by a friend, Ali Akbar Moshir Salimi, sometime in the 1940s. Bahār’s divan was published, even later, by his brother in 1956. ‘Āref Qazvini differed in that the first edition of his works came out quite early in 1924 but only with the intervention of an admirer in Berlin who had access to a printing press. A notice at the front of his divan notes that the honorable Mr. Seyf Āzād, the editor and manager of the newspaper Āzādi-e Sharq and the journal Sanāye’-e Ālmān va Sharq of the Berlin Press has agreed to voluntarily print and publish the divan of ‘Āref and has endured the difficulties that confront every Iranian author and publisher.10 The pattern continues: Iraj Mirza’s son was responsible for the first edition of his father’s collection sometime after the poet’s death in 1926. Parvin E’tesāmi, one of the few, if perhaps only female poets of the era whose name is recognizable to a broader audience, published her divan in 1935, just six years before her death. Parvin’s divan is a case in point; like the other poets mentioned, she benefitted from having access to publishers and printers through her father, the journalist and publisher Yusof E’tesāmi. The compilations of divans can be viewed as a winnowing out process, as the poets who had not published frequently or had not captured the public imagination were left behind in the pages of journals and newspapers while the publication of a divan both imbued the author with status and preserved their work for future researchers.11 Women, of course, suffered the additional penalty of gender discrimination and were denied the attention afforded to male authors. It was not till decades after Browne’s work that the compilation of comprehensive biographical dictionaries of the Constitutional poets began. The task was made more difficult by the fleeting existence of the periodicals in which the poems originally appeared. Citing the experience of historian Mohammad Sadr Hāshemi, Avery writes How ephemeral many of these repositories of Iranian literary output in the first forty years of the 20th century were, was proved when their historian and cataloguer began his work. He discovered that of some no trace could be found. There were instances when, after a lapse of several years, not even former editors and publishers could remember anything about their defunct enterprises.12 The process was also affected by government policy targeting women’s organizations and publications. Throughout the 1920s, women’s journals, as well as other publications espousing democratic ideals, had faced censorship and closures by the government and by 1935 Rezā shah ‘banned the last surviving women’s

Freedom’s Song 


journals and organizations and established the state-run Ladies’ Centre (Kānun-e Bānuvān),’13 greatly reducing the availability of material to researchers However, the restricted publishing environment in Iran was paralleled by ‘a growing interest in contemporary Persian literature’14 in India, facilitated by that country’s long history of printing Persian works. Two major works on Persian poetry were published in India between 1933 and 1937. The first, Poets of the Pahlavi Regime, was composed by Dinshāh Jijibhoy Irani, a philanthropist and scholar of Zoroastrianism and Persian literature from Bombay who had amassed a collection of ‘poems that were carefully selected … to reflect the political, cultural, and literary transformations that were characteristic of Iran’s post-constitutional era.’ Irani acquired the bulk of his collection through letters he exchanged with Iranian literary figures such as Sa’id Nafisi, ‘Āref Qazvini, Sādeq Hedāyat, Bahār ‘and many others’:15 In 1928, I published the English translation of the poems of Prof. Pour-e Davoud with his Persian Divan. The warm welcome accorded to these humble efforts of mine made me decide to gather the poems of the Poets of the Pahlavi Regime and bring out if possible, a volume which might supplement the work of Browne; and three years ago I began making my collection. To my request to send me their poems, there was such a lively response that in the course of two years, I made a most surprising collection of poems of over a thousand persons. From a few poems to whole divans I received, from cultured Persians in all the strata of society.16 He also gathered ‘various journals and newspapers, specially the valuable literary journal, the Armaghān, which makes it a point to publish the poems of all wellknown authors.’17 The authors in his collection are arranged alphabetically and the biographies for most of the entries are sparse, consisting of only a few lines of basic information. Irani’s work differs from his contemporaries in that he provides English translations for the biographical information and many of the poems. He includes an introduction in both English and Persian which discusses the history of Persian poetry with a strong focus on pre-Islamic and Zoroastrian influences and a timeline which begins with the ‘Early Avestan’ period and ends with the Pahlavi era, which Irani calls ‘The Renaissance.’18 Despite the enormous historical scope of his introduction and the inclusion of poets who by today’s terms would be considered fairly obscure, Irani includes only one example of a female poet in his work.19 Surprisingly, it is not Parvin, but Nimtāj Khānom (aka Nimtāj Khākpur and also Nimtāj Salmāsi). The poet’s biographical details are somewhat sketchy, but it seems certain she was born in Lākistān, a village near the city of Salmās in West Azerbaijan. During the late Qajar period, the region was subject to disputes between Turks, Russians and Kurds. Nimtāj’s father and other family members were among those killed in a massacre of the population of Salmās, the result of a dispute between Kurds and Christians.20 In the wake of this tragedy, Nimtāj moved to Tehran and made her home there.

64  Matthew C. Smith The poem that Irani includes in his entry on Nimtāj originally appeared in the journal Āyandeh under the title ‘Women’s Message to Men’ (Payām-e Zanān beh Mardān).21 Irani provides three different introductions to Nimtāj’s poem, one in Persian and two in English, all of which differ slightly in their details.22 Below are Irani’s titles, introductions and translation: This patriotic poem was written by the poetess when the northern provinces of Persia were raided by the Turks during the Great War. I have been unable to trace the date of birth and birth-place of this lady.23 ‫پیام زنان بمردان‬ ‫باید نخست کاوه خود جستجو کنند‬ ‫تا حل مشکالت به نیروی او کنند‬ ‫صد بار اگر بظاهر وی رنگ و رو کنند‬ ‫اینک بیاورید که زنها رفو کنند‬ ‫تشریح عیب‌های شما مو بمو کنند‬ ‫در یوزگی ببرزن و بازار و کو کنند‬ ‫تا لکه‌های ننگ شما شستشو کنند‬ ‫بهتر بود ز مردی خود گفتگو کنند‬ ‫مردان همیشه تکیه خودرا بدو کنند‬ ‫هر ملتی بر راحتی و عیش خو کنند‬

‫ایرانیان که فر کیان آرزو کنند‬ ‫مرد بزرگ باید و عزم بزرگتر‬ ‫ایوان پی شکسته مرمت نمیشود‬ ‫شد پاره پرده عجم از غیرت شما‬ ‫نسوان رشت موی پریشان کشیده صفت‬ ‫دوشیزگان شهر ارومی کشاند رو‬ ‫نوح دگر بباید و طوفان وی ز نو‬ ‫آنانکه گه احتجاب زنان کرده اند ورد‬ ‫آزادگی بدسته شمشیر بسته‌اند‬ ‫قانون خلقت است که باید شود ذلیل‬

A Message from Women to Men24 The Iranians, who wish to regain the crown of the Kiyānian, must first of all, find out for themselves a leader like Kāveh. He must be a great man, with a resolute will still greater, so that the nation may solve its problems through his strength and support. A tottering terrace cannot be repaired if it be cleaned and swept merely from the outside a hundred times The veil of Iran has been rent by your petty jealousies, here! bring it, that women may darn and repair it The women of Resht with dishevelled ringlets have arrayed themselves, to probe and dissect, hair by hair, your faults and deficiencies The girls of the town of Orumiyyeh with open faces, are now begging in the markets and roads and lanes of their city A fresh Noah is required and a fresh deluge of his too, so that the stains of your shame may be thoroughly washed away Those who constantly talk about the veiling of women, should better speak about their own manliness first Thy liberty, O Iran, is linked with the handle of the sword; brave men always rely upon its hilt It is natural for a nation to be reduced to poverty, once it addicts itself to luxury and pleasure This poem is a prudent example of the way in which political poetry, written from an explicitly female perspective, both adopted the nationalistic sentiments

Freedom’s Song 


of the time and turned those masculine themes of strength and self-sufficiency back onto themselves, demonstrating that the female role as a caretaker of the domestic environment is the foundation of the male function of nation-building.25 Kāveh, the legendary blacksmith of the Shāhnāmeh who helped overthrow the tyrant Zahhāk and fought to put Fereydun on the throne, sparked the imagination of many Constitutionalist writers. Here, he bookends the poem, appearing as a strong leader in charge of a tottering edifice and closing the piece sword in hand, a picture of manliness. The centre of the poem, however, is dominated by women, unnamed but doing the tedious work of unravelling the tangled mess of the nation’s problems and then stitching them back together. Kāveh’s manliness is a rebuke to the lazy and neglectful menfolk who allow their wives and daughters to go begging in the street. As Najmabadi writes: Where women were subject to such treatment and men did not respond, the oppression became a sign of men’s unmanliness. Men were thus called upon to set right the political injustice, and to reconstitute their manhood, to salvage national and sexual honor, to save the nation and manhood in one act of justified revolt. The association between national and sexual honor, alternating from one to the other, would regenerate Iran as a manly nation.26 The second work to come out of India was Sokhanvarān-e Irān dar ‘Asr-e Hāzer by a Lecturer in Arabic and Persian from the University of Calcutta named Mohammad Eshāq. The author visited Iran twice, once in 1930 and again in 1934, during which time he ‘became personally acquainted with many of the thirty-three poets [in volume one] from whose writings he has given extracts accompanied by portraits and short critical biographies.’27 Eshāq’s collection was published in three volumes, the first two dealing with poetry and the final volume focusing on prose literature. The first volume was published in 1933, the same year as Dinshāh Irani’s Poets of the Pahlavi Regime, yet the works differ in their focus. Eshāq’s inclusion of more detailed and critical biographical information gleaned from his travels and the addition of portraits plays more towards an Iranian audience, whereas Irani’s collection comes across more as a primer of Persian poetry. Eshāq demonstrated an interest in promoting the work of female poets, publishing a separate study entitled Four Eminent Poetesses of Iran (1950), yet his female subjects in Sokhanvarān include only Parvin E’tesāmi and Irān al-Dowleh Jannat, known for her mystical ghazals. He included a separate entry for Parvin in both volumes, the latter because Rezā Shāh’s controversial policy of forced unveiling (kashf-e hejāb) made it possible to publish her photograph. He wrote: Since the woman’s movement of Iran, their freedom is no longer shackled and the veil having been abolished with the printing of this book, I saw that under these circumstances, the photograph of the khānom could be printed … [it is] the first time since the appearance of Persian language and literature that a picture of an Iranian woman, who, it so happens, is a master among poets and a genius of her age, had been published.28

66  Matthew C. Smith In the original entry for Parvin, Eshāq provides an optimistic rationale for the exclusion of other female poets which nevertheless smacks of tokenism: As the history of Iran’s literature has made clear, this nation has nourished fine poets in every generation and in the same manner, possesses women who have written charming and eloquent poetry. In this era too, where we have gathered together its literature, so many female poets exist that if we wished to mention all their names, a separate tazkerah would be required, which is why we have only included herein a description of Parvin Khānom E’tesāmi and a selection of her poetry. The paragraph includes a footnote which seems to indicate that Eshāq had little intention of expanding his entries to include more female voices: Of the female poets of this era, one is Irān al-Dowleh, known as ‘Jannat,’ whose poetry has mostly been printed in the journal Armaghān and another is Nimtāj Khānom Salmāsi, of whose work I have included in the margin a sample which was written at the time of massacre of Orumiyyeh, Salmās and Rasht where her father and kinfolk were murdered by Kurds. This poem expresses the emotions of a young, chaste woman who has suffered oppression.29 The poem by Nimtāj is the same Women’s Message to Men mentioned above. Unlike Nimtāj, Jannat does receive a separate entry in volume two of Eshāq’s work which includes a photograph and a single ghazal. Eshāq’s apparent familiarity with poetry produced by female authors and his expressed interest in promoting such work seems at odds with his neglect of the women’s voices in this work. It may be that he was unable or unwilling to personally interview female poets during his travels and that his reliance on literary journals like Armaghān would have limited the scope of his research. From the quote above in which he mentions how numerous female poets are, it seems fair to speculate that Eshāq considered female poets an auxiliary topic to his primary focus on male voices. It is worth noting that nowhere else in his collection does an author share Nimtāj’s fate of being consigned entirely to a footnote. Several Iranian collections were also published around the same time and, in fact, relied in part on Irani and Eshāq’s work. Golhā-ye Adab (Flowers of Literature) by H. Sa’ādat Nuri was published in 1933 and mentions the efforts of ‘patriotic Iranians in India.’ Rashid Yāsemi explicitly mentioned the two Indian biographers in his Adabiyāt-e Mo’āser published in 1937.30 Another work Yāsemi referenced was Behtarin Ash’ār (Best Poets) by the poet Pezhmān Bakhtiyāri. Bakhtiyāri, however, explicitly declared his work not a tazkerah: It must be known that this collection was not intended to be a tazkerah and there was no goal in the writing other than to compile some fetching lines from ghazals. Writing a tazkerah in any era, but especially the current one,

Freedom’s Song 


when publishing and research have taken on new forms requires a prodigious memory of a vast amount of information.31 Bakhtiyāri’s work lacks biographical information but does include a few contemporary female poets (whose work falls outside the scope of this chapter), which he indicates with the phrase ‘az nesvānast (‘is from a woman’). Another work referenced by Yāsemi is Asrār-e Khelqat by Sarhang Ahmad Akhgar. This is also not a tazkerah in the common sense, but a collection of poems and newspaper articles weighing in on a poetic debate that Akhgar had engaged in with another poet by the name of Bahmani. The argument over mankind’s relationship to God attracted a great deal of attention among the literati. Many poets, including Bahār and Parvin, composed works supporting Akhgar. Fascinating in itself, the work is only relevant to the current topic in that it gathers together the works of prominent authors of the day, including a few female poets besides Parvin; it tells us nothing of the poet’s themselves or their work. It wasn’t until more than two decades later, in 1956, that ‘Ali Akbar Moshir Salimi published his three-volume tazkerah entitled Zanān-e Sokhanvar (Women Writers), which became an important source of biographical information for future scholars.32 Moshir Salimi (the same scholar who compiled ‘Eshqi’s works) was a journalist and the editor of several journals, among them Golhā-ye Rangārang, a monthly literary magazine. His intent was to collect the works of female authors ‘who had recited poetry a thousand years ago until today,’ and he complained that most biographers had ‘concerned themselves with recording the biographies and collecting the verses of men.’ He did so not just out of an appreciation of the literature but so women could reap the educational benefits: [Poetry composed by women] must be gathered in a large and worthy volume so that it becomes well-known and foreigners discover the artistic worth and intellectual worth of Iranian women, realizing that they are at least equal to the advanced countries and civilized world. And they can advance shoulder to shoulder in the light of the new education and learning and stride boldly forth. In Moshir Salimi’s telling, the lack of attention paid to women’s literature was a modern phenomenon: In times past when the women of the world lived in poor conditions, suffering in darkness and ignorance and not benefitting from social freedoms; among Iranian women, with all the restrictions placed on them, the Rābe’ehs, the Mahastis, the Nur Jahāns, the Makhfis, the Mihris and the Pādshāh Khātuns were given their due in equal measure with men. And so Iranian women of today must study this book and read the eloquent memoirs of accomplished women, and they will advance, step by step, down the path of acquiring knowledge and art until they achieve even more brilliant accomplishments.33

68  Matthew C. Smith Moshir Salimi complained of the difficulty of acquiring material ‘for a book that has so few predecessors and so little source material’ compared to a tazkerah focused on male authors ‘that include mentions of two or three female authors like Mahasti, Rābe’eh and Mastureh.’ In addition, he was forced to cope with ‘illiteracy, the stagnant book market, neglect, or an unwillingness lest they subject themselves to mockery.’ A more fundamental problem was ‘society’s disregard and contempt for women,’ and the author reminded himself to maintain ‘a keen intellect and hopes for the advancement of society in mind’ and to hold on to ‘the faith that social betterment is connected to the education and training of women.’34 The majority of the authors mentioned in Moshir Salimi’s work are his contemporaries and therefore fall outside the scope of this discussion. In addition to the introductory remarks of the first volume, volume 2 includes an essay by the author entitled ‘Particulars of Life and the Advancement of the Women of the World and Iran’ (Chegunegi-e zendagāni va pishraft-e zanān-e jahān va Irān), which discusses the historical treatment of women around the globe from ancient times until the present day. Volume 3 includes authors from Afghanistan, India and Pakistan and concludes with testimonials by Moshir Salimi’s colleagues attesting to the excellence of his work. Photographs are provided when available and, in the case of some earlier authors, hand-drawn sketches.

Songs of Freedom A few examples will illustrate that female voices were actively engaged in the debate over Constitutional government and the future of the nation. Bānu Badr al-Daji, known as Mehrtāj Rakhshān, was born in 1881 in Tehran. Her father was ‘Alavikhān Imām al-Hokm, a progressive cleric35 and doctor who went on to receive a law degree and work in the Ministry of Justice. Her mother, Hamideh Dokhtar Hakim Sinā, ‘although illiterate, would have excelled the literate and on her own initiative memorized verses from the Qur’an and many lines of poetry from the Masnavi, Sa’di, Ferdowsi, Hāfez and Qā’āni.’36 In 1911, Rakhshān graduated from the American Presbyterian school for women in Tehran known as Iran Bethel, which produced many famous graduates, including Parvin E’tesāmi.37 By the time Rakhshān graduated, Iran Bethel had shifted away from a curriculum which emphasized household management towards subjects such as ‘astronomy, pedagogy, and literature,’ even as the student body was drawn increasingly from an ‘upper-middle-class’ clientele.38 After graduating, Rakhshān was active in education and founded two schools, first with Seddiqeh Dowlatābādi in Isfahan and then with her father in Tehran, but both met with opposition from the government and were shut down. Rakhshān worked for a time in the Ministry of Education and taught at schools in several different cities, until resigning over a dispute with a local authority and retiring to her garden in Damāvand. Moshir Salimi tells us Rakhshān, though versed in music, painting and other arts, was ‘above all, a poet, a writer, a teacher, and an astronomer.’ Her divan of

Freedom’s Song 


over 1000 bayts, or lines, remains unpublished and scattered in various newspapers and journals, along with an autobiography which records her life until the year 1936:39 ‫آزادی‬ ‫ای دل غمین بر خیز کن ثنای آزادی*تا زنی همی جوالن در فضای آزادی‬ ‫ در کشا کش دوران*خون دل بباید داد در بهار آزادی‬,‫هان غمی نباید بود‬ ‫جهدها و کوشش‌ها بایدت در این میدان*تا کنی اسیران را آشنای آزادی‬ ‫کرد گار رحمن را مسئلت نما هر دم*تا شود ترا هادی در بنای آزادی‬ ‫ از برای آزادی‬,‫ تا شوی رها ازتن*جان و سر بنه بر کف‬,‫کن رها تو این تن را‬ ‫هر دم از جنان آید نغمه طرب انگیز*نیست زاهدا چیزی جز غنای آزادی‬ ‫جز بقای آزادی نیست خواهش یزدان*جهد میکند شیطان در فنای آزادی‬ ‫هیچ دانی ای مجنون در همه جهان از خون*نهرها شده جاری در بقای آزادی‬ ‫در روان آزادی زندگی جاوید است*هان تو جسم فانی را کن فدای آزادی‬ ‫ای دل حزین تا کی زیر پرده‌ای بخروش*پرده را نما پاره در رضای آزادی‬ ‫همچو کرم ابریشم پیله را رها بنما*تا پری چو پروانه را هوای آزادی‬ ‫صبر و حوصله تا چند در رهائیت زین بند*نیست چاره دیگر هم سوای آزادی‬ ‫با صدای اعلی ده این خبر بگمراهان*علم و معرفت باشد رهنمای آزادی‬ ‫چیره میشود رخشان با حمایت یزدان*رقص میکند آندم در نوای آزادی‬ Freedom O grieving heart, rise up, sing praises to freedom So you can stride proudly through freedom’s lands You must not despair in the struggles of the age The heart’s blood must be given in freedom’s springtime You must work and strive in this arena to make freedom known to all the prisoners Pray to the merciful creator at every moment that He guide you to an eternity of freedom Free this body, so that you may be free of this body Relinquish your heart and soul, all for freedom At every moment comes a joyful melody from the gardens of Paradise It is no ascetic or hermit, it is nothing but the lyric of freedom God wants nothing but for freedom to always remain Satan struggles against the space of freedom You know nothing, O Majnun, in all the world, from blood a stream becomes a river, in the preservation of freedom

70  Matthew C. Smith In the soul of freedom, life is eternal Listen, sacrifice your mortal body to freedom O sorrowful heart, how long will you roar beneath a veil Tear the veil to shreds in the name of freedom Like the silkworm, break free of the cocoon till you fly like the butterfly [up]on the winds of freedom How can patience last in the face of freedom from these bonds There is no cure other than the equality of freedom Shout at the top of your lungs this news to those who are lost Science and learning are the guides to freedom You will prevail, Rakhshān, with the aid of God And then you will dance to the song of freedom Karāchi writes that Rakhshān’s poetry was ‘a product of the Constitutional era when women were searching for a human identity of their own:’ The axis of her work is social and her goal was to stir women to an awareness of their own fate and to inform them.40 While that description certainly applies to the poem above, we can also read it in the context of the broader Constitutional debate. The poem was composed in 1917, when the country was occupied by British and Russian forces. The words āzādi (freedom) and barābari (equality) were key concepts in the debate over how to conceptualize the new nation as ‘a people with diverse languages and religions all equal before the law.’41 Through the use of a pun in the first line on the word zan(i) (woman), Rakhshān signals that the revolutionary imagery of blood and self-sacrifice for the greater good can be read both as striking a blow for women’s rights and for the nation as a whole. It is an argument for recognizing the struggle for gender equality as an integral part of the fight for national freedom and selfgovernance. The strong religious language gives her claim further credence: God values freedom at both the national and the personal level, and therefore equality of the sexes is divinely sanctioned. Another important poet in Moshir Salimi’s collection is Shams Kasmā’i, perhaps more well known than Rakhshān thanks to her stylistic innovations. She pioneered new poetic forms and wrote about social and political topics. Shams Kasma’i (1883–1963) was the first Iranian poet ever to break the metric rules of Persian classical prosody. Her poetry was combined with a fiery political disposition. She was a pioneering poet with articulate political and social themes making her thoughts widely responsive to the tumultuous events of her time.42

Freedom’s Song 


Born in Yazd, Kasmā’i moved to Russia with her first husband, a merchant named Hosein Arbābzādeh, and remained there for 10 years until returning to Iran following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and settling in Tabriz. At that time, Iranian women wore the chador and though there were bigots in Tabriz and advancing beyond traditional norms seemed an impossibility, Shams Kasma’i did not wear a chador. Her house in Tabriz was a gathering place of writers and intellectuals.43 Her work was published in early women’s newspapers such as Shokufeh, and also Āzādestān, a short-lived newspaper published in Azerbaijan during the period when Sheikh Mohammad Khiyābāni declared the region an independent entity.44 Salimi writes that ‘she was always travelling and in addition to [visiting] Iranian cities, she travelled the whole of the Soviet Union as well as Iraq.’45 Though the selections of her work he provides do not demonstrate her stylistic innovations, he describes her wish for ‘the advancement of poetry and after that, the progress of Iran.’46 The poem below is one provided by Salimi, for which he does not provide a date of composition: ‫صدها هزار مردان لشکری‬ ‫آنها که قرنها کردند سروری‬ ‫رسم بزرگی و آئین برتری‬ ‫از مهر خواهری لطف برادری‬ ‫ما را کالم حق کرده است رهبری‬

‫در کهنه ملک جم خوش دیده میشود‬ ‫آیا کجا شدند زنهای کشوری‬ ‫شاید که در جهان بر چیده میشود‬ ‫چون نیست معرفت هستم بیخبر‬ ‫از ضر زید و کم سنجیده میشود‬

In Jamshid’s ancient land, it was joyful to see hundreds of thousands of proud soldiers: But where have the women gone?; [Where have they gone]Those who have provided leadership for centuries? Perhaps the standards of greatness and traditions of excellence have been plucked out of the world Because knowledge is lost, I know nothing of sisterly kindness or brotherly love The scales of gain and loss always show a deficit The word of truth will be our guide Though the form adheres fairly closely to traditional strictures (it is possibly a fragment of a longer piece), the content is radical in its reimagining of the social structure. The poet implies that women are the true leaders of the nation but have been unjustly removed from that position of power by force. The male soldiers, despite their traditions of chivalry and militarism, have neglected to uphold the true social order. By invoking the mythical king Jamshid, Kasmā’i connects the struggle of women to the historical mythos of Ferdowsi’s epic poem, the Shāhnāmeh, a touchstone of nationalism during the Constitutional era and beyond. The king’s virtues of kindness, wisdom and, ultimately, truthfulness are the legacy she sees behind the boastful, petty male narrative of conflict and war.

72  Matthew C. Smith A second poem, dated 1920, will demonstrate Kasmā’i’s playfulness with the poetic form: ‫پرورش طبیعت‬ ‫ز بسیاری آتش مهر و ناز و نوازش‬ ‫از این شدت گرمی و روشنایی و تابش‬ ‫گلستان فکرم‬ ‫خراب و پریشان شد افسوس‬ ‫چو گلهای افسرده افکار بکرم‬ ‫صفا و طراوت و کف داده گشتند مایوس‬ ‫بلی پای بر دامن و سر به زانو نشینم‬ ‫که چون نیم وحشی گرفتار یک سرزمینم‬ ‫نه یارای خیرم‬ ‫نه نیروی شرم‬ ‫نه تیر و نه تیغم بود نیست دندان تیزم‬ ‫نه پای گریزم‬ ‫از این روی در دست همجنس خود در فشارم‬ ‫ز دنیا و از سلک دنیا پرستان کنارم‬ 47 ‫بر آنم که از دامن مادر مهربان سر بر آرم‬ From the great heat of the sun, its endearments and caresses from the intense warmth and glaring, bright light The garden of my thoughts is laid to waste, alas Like withered roses, my virgin thoughts relinquish purity and freshness and despair Yes, I sit in the corner, my head on my knees for I am no wild thing, I am captured by a nation I have neither the strength of goodness nor the power of evil I have no arrow, I have no sword, nor a single sharp tooth I lack the power to flee I am crushed in the hand of my peers I am removed from the world and those who worship it and I peer out from beneath the skirts of my loving mother Kasmā’i’s penchant for writing concise yet meaning-laden lines as displayed in the first poem made her forays into modern verse fluid and unforced, lacking the artificial quality some poets displayed when first moving outside the classical conventions. The opening lines have the rhythm and rhyme scheme of classical poetry, but the third line ‘Golestān-e fekram’ shatters the metre and the rhyme shifts to one round of an ABAB pattern before turning back to the monorhyme, the monotony broken by the lines shifting between short and long to create a

Freedom’s Song 


sing-song rhythm: nah yārā-ye kheyram, nah niru-ye sharram, nah tir o na tigham, bovad nist dandān-e tizam. The motion of the verse belays, to a certain extent, the underlying personal angst of the poem, emphasized by the rhyme on ‘-am’ (me, I). In short, the poem is modern in every sense but retains a connection to the classical kernel. Moshir Salimi’s Zanān-e Sokhanvar was used as a reference point and as a source of biographical information in many, if not most, of the studies and collections of women’s poetry which emerged in the 1960s and beyond. One exception is Badr al-Moluk Bāmdād’s Zan-e Irāni az Enqelāb-e Mashruteh tā Enqelāb-e Sefid (later translated into English as From Darkness into Light: Women’s Emancipation in Iran by F.R.C. Bagley, d. 1997), a history of the early women’s movement, combined with the personal reminisces of the author and biographical sketches of influential women. Bāmdād was an educator and journalist and a member of the first class of women to be admitted to Tehran University in 1936. Her work is interesting for its first-hand account and also for highlighting certain poets who escaped the attention of other biographers. One in particular is Homā Mahmudi. In a chapter entitled ‘The Weapon of the Pen and the Battles of Women in Magazines and Newspapers’ (Mobārezāt-e qalami-e zanhā dar majallāt va ruznāmeh-hā), Bāmdād describes Homā Mahmudi as ‘an eloquent writer and poet, with a restless temperament,’ and as an activist who helped lead the massive demonstrations by women’s groups against the Russian ultimatum of 1911, which sought to remove the American treasurer-general Morgan Shuster and undo his financial reforms. Most of her literary work comes to us from the pages of the women’s newspaper ‘Ālam-e Nesvān (Women’s World), published by the Iran Bethel Girl’s School in Tehran.48 Though ‘Ālam-e Nesvān was not the first newspaper devoted to women’s issues, it is notable for its longevity, publishing continuously from 1920 until 1934, ‘surviving longer than any other Iranian women’s journal of the 1920s and 1930s and longer than most general-interest Iranian periodicals of the period.’49 The newspaper was an important voice for women, arguing for ‘family-law reform, women’s employment, and unveiling’ in addition to coverage of education and health issues.50 Mahmudi was a lively writer, and she used the newspaper as a platform to attack individual opponents. Even though Mahmudi had a modern content, she did not hesitate to adapt classical prosody to meet her polemic needs. In the example below, she uses the mukhammas form (a stanzaic form in which the refrain is a single hemistich which varies in rhyme from the stanza) creating a fast-paced and punchy rhythm. She uses this form to good effect in attacking a journalist named Dabir-e A’zam Bahrāmi who ‘had written a series of newspaper articles signed with the pen name F. Barzagar [“farmer”], cruelly mocking and reproaching Iran’s veiled and illiterate women,’ as a way of ‘explaining and condemning the harm to Iranian families (and the nation) when their upbringing and behavior remains in the hands of ignorant women.’51 Mahmudi’s poem was composed in 1923 and published in the newspaper Irān:

‫‪74  Matthew C. Smith‬‬ ‫به بیحرمتی نام نسوان میار‬ ‫تو با صحبت بانوانت چه کار‬ ‫تو برزگری بیلت آید به کار‬

‫ز گفتارت ای برزگر شرم دار‬ ‫ز فرش خودت پا فزونتر مدار‬

‫شکسپیر چه دانی تو ای برزگر‬ ‫تو از منفلوطی نداری خبر‬ ‫تو را با نبرد دلیران چه کار‬

‫تو با رهنما کی شوی سر بسر‬ ‫حدیث چغندر نما تو ز بر‬

‫تو با کعبه و کعبه سازت چه کار‬ ‫بروداس و کج بیل و شن کش بیار‬ ‫تو برزگری بیلت آید به کار‬

‫تو با مطرب دلنوازت چه کار‬ ‫سخن گو ز بذر وز گاو و شیار‬

‫بکن صحبت از حال میش و بره‬ ‫به کام تو یونجه بود چون تره‬ ‫تو برزگری بیلت آید به کار‬

‫و کشک وز پشم و و شیر و کره‬ ‫بکن یاد مرحوم مال خره‬

‫درخت چنارت بیاورده بار‬ ‫تو را مظهر عشق ناید بکار‬ ‫تو برزگری بیلت آید به کار‬

‫االغت شده خر خرت چون حمار‬ ‫تو با صحبت بانوانت چه کار‬

‫تو را مظهر عشق کاهست و جو‬ ‫ز گفتار بی مغز غره مشو‬ ‫تو برزگری بیلت آید به کار‬

‫برو مزرع خویش بنما درو‬ ‫سخن را ز برهان ناطق شنو‬

‫ندانم تو را برزگر کسی بزاد‬ ‫بخوان این ترانه بهر بامداد‬ ‫تو با صحبت بانوانت چه کار‬

‫نبودی یقین مادرت زین نژاد‬ ‫که لعنت بر این نام مجعول باد‬

‫به نظم و به نثرت بگفتم جواب‬ ‫چو مغلوب گشتی ز ما رخ متاب‬ ‫تو برزگری بیلت آید به کار‬

‫به میدان نسوان میا با شتاب‬ ‫نمایند نسوان تو را این چه خطاب‬ ‫‪F.R.C. Bagley provides the following translation:52‬‬

‫‪You, Farmer, shame on you, why do you speak‬‬ ‫?‪of women with such rudeness and contempt‬‬ ‫‪No lady would consent to speak to you.‬‬ ‫‪You should not move your muddy feet off your‬‬ ‫‪own carpet.‬‬ ‫!‪Farmer, go back to your spade‬‬ ‫‪What do you know of Shakespeare? How can you,‬‬ ‫?‪a Farmer, be the peer of such a guide‬‬ ‫‪Have not you heard of Manfaluti? No?53‬‬ ‫‪Well, what you need to learn is more about‬‬ ‫!‪beetroots. Not yours, the struggles of the brave‬‬ ‫‪Be prudent! Farmer, go back to your spade!54‬‬ ‫?‪What do you know of God or of God’s house‬‬ ‫?‪What do you care for minstrels or the friend‬‬ ‫!‪Bring out your sickle, rake and crooked hoe‬‬

Freedom’s Song 


If you must speak, then speak of cows and seeds and furrows! Farmer, go back to your spade! Your talk should be of ewes and lambs and wool, of milk and butter, and of curds and whey. The things you care about are hays and leeks. The mollā, bless him, was as stupid as his donkey. Farmer, go back to your spade! Your plane tree has borne fruit. Your ass is just a braying donkey. The phenomenon of love means nothing to a boor like you. No lady would consent to speak to you. Save your breath! Farmer, go back to your spade! The things you love are straw and barley. Go back to your farm and reap your harvest there! Do not be fooled by your own brainless talk! Start listening to the voice of reason. It will tell you, Farmer, go back to your spade! I do not know who bore you, but I’m sure your mother was of better stock than you. Remember every morning this refrain: Shame and disgrace on the fictitious name! No lady would consent to speak to you. In verse and prose I have replied to you. Never again rush into war with women! Having been vanquished, cease to spurn us! This is the advice which women send to you. Accept it! Farmer, go back to your spade! The mukhammas form, and stanzaic forms in general, was often employed by Constitutional era poets. Bahār, for instance, began one mukhammas with the line: ‫که از این کار جز ادبار نگردد مشهود‬

‫پادشاها ز استبداد چه داری مقصود‬

O Shah, what do you hope to gain from this tyranny when all that you will reap is misfortune?55

76  Matthew C. Smith ‘Eshqi also used the form in his well-known narrative poem, Seh tāblo, 139 stanzas of five hemistichs each.56 Mahmudi alters the form slightly, repeating the refrain ‘Farmer, go back to your spade’ in every verse except the second and seventh (sixth in Bagley’s rendition, see note 61). This simplifies the verse but makes the satirical jab all the sharper. She uses Bahrāmi’s pen name to paint him an uneducated buffoon and flaunts her own education. Her touchstones of a proper education are not Ferdowsi, Sa’di or the Qur’an but Western authors like Shakespeare and writers of modern literature like the Egyptian author, Manfaluti (d. 1924). Mahmudi is not mocking the ‘Farmer’ only for being poorly educated, but more importantly, for being unworldly and unsophisticated. Bagley translates the line ‘to bā sohbat-e banvānat cheh kār,’ which appears in the first stanza, fourth hemistich and in the refrain of the seventh stanza of the original, as ‘No lady would consent to speak to you.’ In the first instance, this is appropriate, given the image of the Farmer marking up the carpet in his dirty boots, suggesting his uncouth and ill-mannered nature. In the second instance, however, the tone of the original is fiercer, echoing the refrain in the second stanza of the original: ‘Not yours, the struggles of the brave!’ (to rā bā nabard-e dalirān cheh kār). There is no doubt Mahmudi is drawing a parallel between ‘bānvān’ and ‘dalirān,’ ‘women’ and ‘the brave,’ and the poet has dropped all pretense of social decorum. ‘How could an ignoramus like you,’ she seems to be saying, ‘have anything of value to say to women who have suffered so much?’ The larger argument in which the poem is engaged is revealing; Bahrāmi’s criticism of veiling and the lack of education for women, while in keeping with the reform movement for which Mahmudi fought so vigorously, nevertheless misses the mark. Mahmudi excoriates him for blaming women for the deplorable conditions imposed upon them. Taken together, these poems demonstrate that women were engaged in the democratic discourse of early twentieth-century Iran but also aware of their marginal status both politically and socially. The authors were pushing back against the nationalist narrative of male dominance, of men as the sole standard-bearers for what it meant to be Iranian. Beyond simply inserting women into the tale of struggle and sacrifice, they insisted that the fight for gender equality, which was taking place at both the individual and the social level, formed the foundation for democratic government. They recognized the appeal of masculine heroes like Jamshid and Kāveh but pointed out that the efforts of these champions would have come to nothing without the women who stitched together the very fabric of society. These poets championed women as intellectual equals to their male colleagues, and, as in Mahmudi’s poem above, demonstrated a world view far more cosmopolitan than that of their critics. Kasmā’i’s innovations in poetic form, meanwhile, add an important facet to our understanding of poetry’s transition from classical to modern. Though some contemporary male poets wrote in support of greater freedom for women, none of them spoke with such sincerity, honesty and truthfulness as did the women themselves. The efforts of scholars like Moshir Salimi, Irani and Eshāq give us a glimpse of vibrant literary debates as well as insights into individual poets’ personal reflection yet also provoke a sense of frustration when one considers how much has been left behind.

Freedom’s Song 


Conclusion The loss and neglect of poetry by female authors of the Constitutional Revolution and its aftermath left a gap, perhaps irreparable, in our understanding and appreciation of the literature of that era. The few publishing opportunities which existed in early twentieth-century Iran were rarely put at the disposal of female authors, pushing them to less persistent forms of publication such as newspapers, journals and other ephemera. Iranian and foreign biographers and bibliographers experienced great difficulties in their attempts to recover this scarce material, discouraging later scholars from pursuing these particular authors. The examples that do exist point to important avenues of research so far left untrodden. The path towards rectifying the injustice done to these authors begins with basic bibliographical and archival research. There are frequent references in the biographies to unpublished collections of poetry, articles and poems published in obscure periodicals, and individual poems existing in private collections. Modern technology can assist in this process. Since the 1970s, reprinted copies of Constitutional-era women’s journals have become available, while digitization has further expanded opportunities for scholars to access the material.57 Historians, particularly in women’s studies and gender studies, have delved into vast amounts of literature, prose and poetry, some of which remains largely untouched by literary scholars. These neglected authors deserve to be recognized not only as a subset of Constitutional-era literature but as poets who risked as much, sacrificed as much and enriched the literary culture as much as their male colleagues—if not more.

Notes 1 This essay includes poetry composed after the Constitutional Revolution but before the rise of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1925 as well as biographies of Iranian poets written in the mid-twentieth century. While those biographies included poets of the Pahlavi era both male and female, I focus here on those poets who wrote during the Revolution or in its aftermath. 2 ‘A cursory look at the themes addressed in Dānesh suggests that family and home management concerns dominated discussion of women’s roles in early-twentieth-century Iranian society, despite the political awareness that resulted from women’s involvement in creating Iran’s first parliament and constitution.’ Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, ‘Patriotic Womanhood: The Culture of Feminism in Modern Iran, 1900–1941,’ British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 32, no. 1 (2005): 31. 3 The Constitutional era is considered here to begin with the creation of the first Majlis in 1906 and end in 1925 with the beginning of the Pahlavi regime. 4 Ali Akbar Moshir Salimi, Zanān-e Sokhanvar: Az Yek Hezār Sāl Pish Tā Emruz Keh Be Zabān-e Pārsi Sokhan Gofteh-and (Tehran: ʻElmi, 1958), 3, 150. 5 Sunil Sharma, ‘From ʿĀʾesha to Nur Jahān: The Shaping of a Classical Persian Poetic Canon of Women,’ Journal of Persianate Studies 2, no. 2 (2009): 161. 6 Afsaneh Najmabadi, ‘Zanhā-yi Millat: Women or Wives of the Nation?’ Iranian Studies 26, no. 1/2 (1993): 56. 7 Parvin’s work has been addressed in other studies and will be mentioned here only in passing in order to focus on less well-known and more overtly political voices. 8 Hasan Javadi, ‘E.G. Browne and the Persian Constitutional Movement,’ Iran 14 (1976): 138.

78  Matthew C. Smith 9 Peter Avery, ‘Printing, the Press and Literature in Modern Iran,’ in The Cambridge History of Iran, edited by P. Avery, G.R.G. Hambly, and C. Melville (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 7:815. 10 Mirza Abol-Qāsem ʻĀref Qazvini, Divan-e Mirza Abol-Qāsem ʻĀref Qazvini (Berlin: Machriqui, 1924). 11 This period also saw a surge in the publication of the divans of classical poets. A contemporary observer wrote: ‘In recent years, through the efforts of scholars and patriotic Iranians in India, many poets’ divans have been published and collections of poetry by Ferdowsi, Sa’di and other poets have been made available to the public in great numbers.’ (Huseyn Saʻādat Nūr, Golhā-ye Adab (Esfahān: Matba’-e Akhgar, 1933), iii. For a discussion of how these publications affected the discourse on the canonization of classical poets, see Ali Ferdowsi. ‘The “Emblem of the Manifestation of the Iranian Spirit”: Hafiz and the Rise of the National Cult of Persian Poetry.’ Iranian Studies 41, no. 5 (2008): 667–691. 12 Avery, ‘Printing,’ 815. Women’s journals were sometimes included as supplements of other publications and therefore may have escaped notice. 13 Jasamin Rostam-Kolayi, ‘Expanding agendas for the “new” Iranian woman: family law, work, and unveiling,’ in The Making of Modern Iran: State and Society under Riza Shah 1921–1941, ed. Stephanie Cronin (London; New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003), 158. 14 R.A. Nicholson, review of Sukhanvarān-e-Īrān dar ‘asr-e-hāzir (Poets and Poetry of Modern Persia), Vol. I by M. Ishaque, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, No. 2 (April 1935): 395. 15 Afshin Marashi, ‘Irani, Dinshah Jijibhoy,’ Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2015, available at http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/irani​-dinshah (accessed on 28 January 2015). 16 Dinshah Irani, Poets of the Pahlavi Regime (Bombay: Hosang T. Ankiesaria, 1933), v. 17 Irani, Poets, v. 18 He writes in the English preface: ‘Startling though the proposition may seem, the first poet as well as the first prophet of civilization was a Persian, as history proves, and this great Persian was Zoroaster.’ Irani, Poets, 8. Afshin Marashi argues that Irani’s audience was Indian, not Iranian: ‘The significance of Irani’s 1933 anthology was not in working to canonize a modernist tradition of Persian poetry. The process of canonizing Iran’s twentieth century Persian poetic tradition was certainly underway as early as the 1930s, and Irani’s anthology may have played a role in that canonization. More important, however, is the significance of Irani’s Poets of the Pahlavi Regime for the production of a broad introductory anthology that would present the cultural and political changes taking place in Iran to the reading public of Bombay Parsis.’ Afshin Marashi, ‘Patron and Patriot: Dinshah J. Irani and the Revival of Indo-Iranian Culture,’ Iranian Studies 46, no. 2 (2013): 204. 19 Irani did plan a second volume which would include ‘reputed poets whose poems were not received by me in time, and of those whose selections are yet to be made from the voluminous material at hand.’ The work never came to fruition. 20 Rūhangiz Karāchi, Andisheh-negārān-e Zan Dar Sheʻr-e Mashruteh (Tehran: Dāneshgāh-e Al-Zahrā, 1995), 114. 21 Nimtāj Khākpur, ‘Payām-e Zanān beh Mardān,’ Āyandeh 2, no. 16 (1926): 322. The editor included the heading ‘The author is a woman’ (Guyandeh zan ast) at the head of the poem. The poem is commonly referred to as Kāveh. 22 The Persian introduction reads: ‘This was written at the time of the massacre of “Orumiyyeh” during the Turkish raid on Salmas and Rasht when Nimtaj’s father and family members were killed.’ Irani, Poets, 638. 23 Irani, Poets, 638. This is the English-language introduction to the Persian poem. The English translation also has an introduction in English which reads: ‘This poem was written at Resht when the Bolshevists had invaded Persia and had set fire to the city before the advent of Reza Shah Pahlavi.’ Irani, Poets, 639.

Freedom’s Song 


24 This poem was written at Resht when the Bolsheviks had invaded Persia and had set fire to the city before the advent of Reza Shah Pahlavi. 25 Najmabadi points to the tension between a ‘discourse of parity,’ which envisioned ‘women designated as man’s partner in the newly imagined nation of Iran,’ and a ‘discourse of woman subject to man’s possessive protection,’ where ‘woman was subordinate to man.’ We can see the conflict plainly in this poem, where women are strong political actors but also require the menfolk to step up and fulfil their traditional role of leadership. However, it should also be noted that many contemporary male poets were also calling for a strong leader to take charge of the nation and doing so in language similar to that of Nimtāj. Afsaneh Najmabadi, Women with Mustaches and Men without Beard: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 207. 26 Najmabadi, Women with Mustaches, 218. 27 Nicholson, review of Sukhanvarān, 395. 28 Mohammad Eshāq, Sokhanvarān-e Irān dar ‘Asr-e Hāzer (Calcutta: The author, 1933– 1937), 92. 29 Eshāq, Sokhanvarān, 38n. 30 See C.A. Storey, Persian Literature; a Bio-bibliographical Survey (London: Luzac & Co., 1927), 2 p.919n. 31 Pezhmān Bakhtiyāri, Behtarin Ashʻār (Tehran: Borukhim, 1934), 11. 32 Other biographers published works focused solely on female poets before Moshiri Salimi but they lacked Moshir Salimi’s scope and are rarely cited. See Mohammad ‘Ali Keshāvarz Sadr, Zanāni keh beh-Fārsi Sheʻr Gofteh-and: az Rābeʻeh tā Parvīn: arn-e 3-qarn-e 14 (Tehran: Chāp-e Kāviyān, 1955) and Hādi Hā’eri, Zanān-e Shā’er-e Mo’āser-e Irān (S.l.: Qāsem Hādiyān, 1954). 33 Moshir Salimi, Zanān-e Sokhanvar, 1, iv. 34 Moshir Salimi, Zanān-e Sokhanvar, 1, vi. 35 Jasamin Rostam-Kolayi, ‘From Evangelizing to Modernizing Iranians: The American Presbyterian Mission and Its Iranian Students,’ Iranian Studies 41, no. 2 (2008): 234. 36 Moshir Salimi, Zanān-e Sokhanvar, 3, 147. 37 Moshir Salimi writes that ‘she graduated from the American school in the city of Esfahān,’ but Rostam-Kolayi lists her as a graduate of Iran Bethel, which seems more likely as there is no record of an American school for women in Isfahan at that time. Rostam-Kolayi, ‘Evangelizing,’ 234. 38 Rostam-Kolayi, ‘Evangelizing,’ 224. 39 Moshir Salimi, Zanān-e Sokhanvar, 3, 148. 40 Karāchi, Andisheh-negārān, 111. 41 Tavakoli-Targhi, ‘Refashioning Iran,’ 99. 42 Hamid Dabashi, The World of Persian Literary Humanism (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012), 274. 43 Karāchi, Andisheh-nigārān, 123. 44 Karāchi, Andisheh-negārān, 124. 45 Najmabdi writes that ‘Kasma’i lived a number of years in Ashkabad [Turkmenistan], at this time a strong center of Bah’i faith’ and in reference to a poem published in Shokufeh, v.4, no. 8 (2 April 1916), 8–9, notes that ‘Kasmai’s language and imagery in this poem have much in common with the Baha’i language of the time.’ Women with Mustaches, 302, n.82 46 Moshir Salimi, Zanān-e Sokhanvar, 1, 103. 47 Banafsheh Hejāzi, Zanān-e Moʼaddab: Tārikh-e Sheʻr va Adab-e Zanān-e Irānzamin az Āghāz tā 1320 Shamsī (Tehran: Qasidehsarā: Āshiyān, 2017), 610. 48 Badr al-Moluk Bámdád, From Darkness into Light: Women’s Emancipation in Iran (Hicksville, N.Y.: Exposition Press, c1977), 72. 49 Rostam-Kolayi, ‘Expandings agendas,’ 158. 50 Rostam-Kolyai, ‘Expanding agendas,’ 159. 51 Bámdád, From Darkness into Light, 72.

80  Matthew C. Smith 52 I have changed the outline of the translation slightly by separating the repeated refrain from the stanza preceding it for greater clarity. 53 Bagley annotates this: ‘An Egyptian short-story writer whose works were very popular throughout the Middle East (1876–1924).’ 54 Bagley combines two stanzas into one here, perhaps to compensate for the fact that the second stanza of the poem has a unique refrain: ‘Not yours, the struggles of the brave’ (to rā bā nabard-e dalirān cheh kār). Bagley then adds an additional line which does not appear in the original: ‘Be prudent! Farmer, go back to your spade.’ I have retained Bagley’s translation. A translation closer to the original would read: What do you know of Shakespeare? How can you, a Farmer, be the peer of such a guide? Have not you heard of Manfaluti? No? Well, what you need to learn is more about beetroots. Not yours, the struggles of the brave! What do you know of God or of God’s house? What do you care for minstrels or the friend? Bring out your sickle, rake and crooked hoe! If you must speak, then speak of cows and seeds and furrows! Farmer, go back to your spade! 55 Mohammad Taqi Bahār, Divan-e Ashʻār-e Shādravān Mohammad Taqi Bahār Malek al-Sho’arā. Moshtamal Bar Qasāyed, Mosammatāt, Tarkib-Bandhā, va Tarji’-Bandhā (Tehran: Enteshārāt-e Tus, 1380), 1, 169. 56 Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, Kolliyyāt-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi (Tehran: Sāzmān-e Enteshārāt-e Jāvidān, 1996), 368. 57 For example, an incomplete but extensive collection of Shokufeh, along with issues of Dānesh was published in 1998 (Shokufeh: Beh Enzemām-e Dānesh; Nokhostin Ruznāmeh va Majalleh-ye Zanān-e Irān (Tehran: Ketābkhāneh-ye Melli-e Jomhūri-e Eslāmi-e Irān, 1999)). Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran (www​.qajarwomen​.com) has made publicly available issues of Zabān-e Zan in digital format, not to mention a treasure trove of texts, photographs and physical artefacts. Even with these efforts, there is much to be done in preserving and making accessible much of this material, particularly in discovering divans of individual poets. Private libraries and family archives may be one source that would produce results.

Bibliography Avery, Peter. “Printing, the Press and Literature in Modern Iran.” In The Cambridge History of Iran, edited by P. Avery, G. R. G. Hambly, and C. Melville 7:815–69. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. doi: 10.1017/CHOL9780521200950.023. Bahār, Mohammad Taqi. Divan-e Ashʻār-e Shādravān Mohammad Taqi Bahār Malek al-Sho’arā. Mushtamal Bar Qasāyed, Mosamatāt, Tarkib-bandhā, va Tarjiʻushtama. Tehran: Enteshārāt-e Tus, 1380. Bahār, Muhammad Taqi. Sabkshenāsi: Yā, Tārikh-e Tatavvor-e Nasr-e Fārsi. Tehran: Vezārat-e Farhang, 1942. Bakhtiyāri, Pezhmān. Behtarin As’ār. Tehran: Burukhim, 1934. Bámdád, Badr al-Moluk. From Darkness into Light: Women’s Emancipation in Iran. Hicksville: Exposition Press, c1977. Browne, Edward Granville. A Literary History of Persia: From the Earliest Times Until Firdawsi. London: Fisher Unwin, 1900.

Freedom’s Song 


Browne, Edward Granville, and Tarbiyat, Murbiyat ʻAlī Khān. The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia: Partly Based on the Manuscript Work of Mírzá Muhammad ʻAlí Khán “Tarbiyat” of Tabríz. Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983. Dinshah Irani. Poets of the Pahlavi Regime. Bombay: Hosang T. Ankiesaria, 1933. Ferdowsi, A. “The “Emblem of the Manifestation of the Iranian Spirit”: Hafiz and the Rise of the National Cult of Persian Poetry.” Iranian Studies 41, 5 (2008): 667–91. Retrieved from http://www​.jstor​.org​.ezp​-prod1​.hul​.harvard​.edu​/stable​/25597508. Hā’eri, Hādi. Zanān-e Shā’er-e Mu’āser-e Irān. S.l.: Qāsem Hādiyān, 1944. Hejāzi, Banafsheh. Zanān-e Moʼaddab: Tārīkh-e Sheʻr va Adab-e Zanān-e Īrānzamin az Āghāz tā 1320 Shamsī. Tehran: Qasidehsarā: Āshiyān, 2017. Ishaque, M. Four Eminent Poetesses of Iran; with a Brief Survey of Iranian and Indian Poetesses of Neo-Persian. N.p.: Iran Society, 1950. Ishaque, M. Sokhanvarān-e Irān dar ‘Asr-e Hāzer. Calcutta: The Author, 1933–37. Javadi, Hasan. “E. G. Browne and the Persian Constitutional Movement.” Iran 14 (1976): 133–40. doi: 10.2307/4300549. Karāchi, Rūhangiz. Andisheh-negārān-e Zan Dar Sheʻndisheh-negār. Tehran: Dāneshgāh-e Al-Zahrā, 1995. Kashani-Sabet, Firoozeh. “Patriotic Womanhood: The Culture of Feminism in Modern Iran, 1900–1941.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 32, no. 1 (2005): 31. http:// www​.jstor​.org​.ezp​-prod1​.hul​.harvard​.edu​/stable​/30037660. Keshāvarz Sadr, Mohammad ʻAli. Zanāni keh beh Fārsī Sheʻanāni keh beh Fārsī Shee​. com​?id= ​​misc"arvard​.edu​/stab14​. Tehran: Chāp-e Kāviyān, 1955. Khākpur, Nimtāj. “Payām-e Zanān beh Mardān” Āyandeh 2, no. 16 (1926): 322. Marashi, Afshin. “Irani, Dinshah Jijibhoy.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 2015. Accessed 28 January 2015. Available at http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/ articles​/irani​-dinshah (28 January 2015). Marashi, Afshin. “Patron and Patriot: Dinshah J. Irani and the Revival of Indo-Iranian Culture.” Iranian Studies 46, no. 2 (2013): 185–206. Mirza Abol-Qāsem ‘Āref Qazvini. Divān-e Mirza Abol-Qāsem ʻĀref Qazvini. Berlin: Machriqui, 1924. Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, Rezā. Kolliyyāt-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi. Tehran: Sāzmān-e Enteshārāt-e Jāvidān, 1996. Morrison, George, Muhammad Riz̤ā Shafiʻhafimad R, and Julian Baldick. History of Persian Literature: From the Beginning of the Islamic Period to the Present Day. Handbuch Der Orientalistik. Erste Abteilung, Nahe Und Der Mittlere Osten; 4. Bd., 2. Abschnitt, Lfg. 2. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1981. Mohammad Hasan Khān, E’temād al-Saltaneh. Ketāb-e Kheyrāt-e Hesān. Tehran: Pazhuheshgāh-e ʻOlūm-e Ensāni va Mutāleʻātāle​.com​?id​=, 2015. Moshir Salimi, Ali Akbar. Zanān-e Sokhanvar: Az Yek Hezār Sāl Pish tā Emrūz keh beh Zabān-e Pārsi Sokhan Gofteh-and. Tehran: ʻ hra, 1958. Najmabadi, Afsaneh. Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. Najmabadi, Afsaneh. “Zanhā-yi Millat: Women or Wives of the Nation?” Iranian Studies 26, no. 1/2 (1993): 51–71. http://www​.jstor​.org​.ezp​-prod1​.hul​.harvard​.edu​/stable​/43 10824. Nicholson, R. A. “Review of Sukhanvarān-e-Irān dar 'asr-e-hāzir (Poets and Poetry of Modern Persia). Vol. I by M. Ishaque.” The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, no. 2 (1935): 395. Rostam-Kolayi, Jasmin. “Expanding Agendas for the ‘New’ Iranian Woman: Family Law, Work, and Unveiling.” In The Making of Modern Iran: State and Society under

82  Matthew C. Smith Riza Shah 1921–1941, edited by Stephanie Cronin, 157–80. London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. Rostam-Kola’i, Jasmin. “From Evangelizing to Modernizing Iranians: The American Presbyterian Mission and Its Iranian Students.” Iranian Studies 41, no. 2 (2008): 213– 39. http://www​.jstor​.org​.ezp​-prod1​.hul​.harvard​.edu​/stable​/25597450. Saʻādat Nur, Hoseyn. Golhā-ye Adab. Esfahan: Matba’-e Akhgar, 1933. Sharma, Sunil. “From ʿĀʾesha to Nur Jahān: The Shaping of a Classical Persian Poetic Canon of Women.” Journal of Persianate Studies 2, no. 2 (2009): 148–64. Shokūfeh: Beh Enzemām-e Dānesh: Nokhostin Ruznāmeh Va Majalleh-ye Zanān-e Irān. Tehran: Ketābkhāneh-ye Melli-e Jomhuri-e Eslāmi-e Irān, 1999. Tavakoli-Targhi, Mohamad. “Refashioning Iran: Language and Culture during the Constitutional Revolution.” Iranian Studies 23, no. 1/4 (1990): 77–101. http://www​. jstor​.org​.ezp​-prod1​.hul​.harvard​.edu​/stable​/4310728.


Social Education through Satirical Verse Ashraf Gilāni and Ali Akbar Dehkhodā Parvin Loloi

Introduction The ideas and resources of satire are culturally distinct. This is certainly true in the case of Persian satire. Hajv (invective) and hazl (lampoons) have a long and involved history in Persian literature. Both forms were adopted into Persian from the Arabs, both pre- and post-Islamic. There are examples of hajv as early as the eighth century. Both hajv and hazl are written in a variety of poetical content forms such as qet’eh (fragment), robā’i (quatrain) and the mono-rhyme qasideh (ode). The early court poets of the ninth to twelfth centuries employed invective and the poetic lampoon using obscene language, mainly to shame and dishonour their rivals, at court so as to seek greater favour from their patrons. The patrons themselves were also attacked vehemently if they ignored their poets and failed to honour or treat them generously. A remarkable example of hajv in the tenth century is that of Ferdowsi against his patron Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna (r. 990–1030). Most court poets were required to write madh (praise) poetry. Madh and hajv as well as hazl and jedd (serious poetry) are essential opposites in the Persian literary canon, and poets were expected to be skilled in the composition of all of them. There were treatises written on the use of poetical forms such as the Qābusnāmeh of ‘Onsor al-Ma’āli, an eleventh-century ‘mirror for princes,’ which ‘acknowledges the complementary nature of praise and insult in Persian poetry: ‘if your aim is abuse and you don’t know how, merely say the opposite of what one says to praise.’1 Both hajv and madh employ eghrāq, grossly exaggerated language, as per poetic and satirical protocols to which they adhered. The distinction between hazl and hajv in Persian poetry is slight, although the obscenities in hazl can at times be mistaken for bordering pornographic. Traditionally, the very early fragments of obscene poetry have been left out of anthologies and poets’ divans and were often bowdlerized heavily: as indeed, is still the case today. The fact is that almost all classical poets from the ninth century to the fifteenth century composed hajv and hazl. Among the earliest practitioners of obscene invectives and lampoons, Suzani of Samarqand (d. 1173) stands out. One of his targets was the poetry of his contemporary Sanā’i of Ghazna (d. ca 1131) whose poetry he parodies and attacks

DOI:  10.4324/9781003243335-6

84  Parvin Loloi in a very offensive language. Sanā’i himself, although he expresses little interest in composing hazl2 nevertheless praises the use of hazl in poetry: Jedd expressions with no hazl are bland food requires salt to be truly savoury,3 As Persian poetry developed, by the beginning of the twelfth century the crude language of hajv gave way to a ‘mannered – albeit often obscene – arrow in a poet’s quiver. Insult poetry had, in fact, become an effective means of extortion in Persian.’4 By the early thirteenth century, a specific type of invective and lampoon became an accepted part of a poet’s skillset; so much so that Kamāl al-Din Esfahāni (d. 1237) wrote ‘The poet who does not insult is like a lion without claws and teeth.’5 The development of mystical poetry, from the twelfth century onward, found didactic and moral functions in hajv. Sanā’i, Rumi and the great didactic thirteenth-century Sa’di all praised hazl as almost all of them indulged in obscene language: Sa’di’s Hazliyyāt is well known in Persian literature.6 The fourteenth-century master of hajv and hazl ‘Obeyd Zākāni (d. ca. 1370) took these forms to another level and although for many centuries he was dismissed as a pornographic poet his work has been reassessed by scholars in both Iran and the wider world by Persian scholars.7 His lampooning is now considered the start point of the genre as a social and political influencer. Zākāni aspired to Suzani and Sa’di.8 He wrote both obscene hazls and several philosophical treatises.9 Sprachman argues that in some of his treatises Zākāni goes far beyond traditional hazl and hejā. Not only do ‘Obayd’s methods differ from those of Suzani, in that he writes hazl in the form of a serious treatise on ethics but the range of his targets is qualitatively different from that of his predecessors. He is not concerned with an individual literary rival or his works, but with a class of people, the ruling elite of post Mongol Iran.10 Hazl, despite its evolution into social satire, never could shake its negative past. Today its revival is its reiteration of themes in tanz which itself was a classical genre. It can encompass the socio-political and philosophical dimensions of hazl with less of a crude bite.11 In the early twentieth century, Persian satire became a mode of insurgency against the political system and its operatives. Often these individuals were those whom the poets cast as power-mongering feudal rulers with a penchant for debauchery. Foreign powers and their proxies were not immune to these poetical attacks. Above all, by means of satire, poets now made their poems available to the ordinary folk to inform, educate and entertain.12 The latter was a necessity as it prolonged the poets’ intended impression on the psyche of the general uneducated public. Seyyed Ashraf al-Din Hosseini (1870–1934), known as Ashraf-e Gilāni,13 was an established journalist, and even more so, a poet of the Constitutional period (1909–1911).14 He published his poetry in his newspaper Nasim-e Shomāl (Breeze

Social Education through Satirical Verse  85 of the North). At that time, newspapers played a significant role in the literary and socio-political modernization of Iran. Nasim-e Shomāl was initially published at irregular intervals in Rasht Province of Gilān—and then later in Tehran. It is generally considered to have been the most popular newspaper of its time. The folk liked it so much so that the author became known as Mr. ‘Nasim Shomāl,’ leading to his choice of that title as one of his pen names. The popularity of this paper, which ran for an astonishing 27 years, can be attributed to several factors. First, the author considered himself to be one of the many in Iran existing below the poverty line and as such was qualified to be a spokesperson for the downtrodden. Second, for the first time in Iran, a newspaper espoused the usage of Persian with the idiom of the people, although a few short-lived papers appeared earlier in Tabriz and Tehran. Lastly, but perhaps most significantly, the author’s satirical poetic language aroused the nationalistic and socio-political emotions en masse. An overview of his life can prove helpful in understanding his popularity. Ashraf was born in 1870 to a religious family. His family, according to his own testimony, was one of the local ‘olamā. In a long biographical poem entitled ‘dar ta’sis-e Nasim va Bāgh-e Behesht’ (in establishing Nasim and the Garden of Eden), he describes his lineage, the early days of his paper. His poetical works are said to number 20,000 verses.15 His father died when he was only six months old. Soon after, the family fell into the hands of an unscrupulous sheykh who drove them to destitution. Thus, his childhood was spent in penury while he was being raised as a devout Muslim. To escape his poverty, as a youth, he had a brief stint in Karbalā and Najaf, where he may have studied divinity (ilāhiyyāt). He then returned to Qazvin, albeit for a very short time. At the age of 22 he went to Tabriz, where he met ‘an enlightened Sufi elder whose mystic influence is traceable in some of his poetry’:16 ‫خدمت پیری رسیدم نیمه شب‬ ‫در ره تبریز با سوز و تعب‬ ‫طالبان راه حق را دستگیر‬ ‫وه چه پیری صافی روشن ضمیر‬ ‫مست از جام می جانانه دید‬ ‫آن قلندر چون مرا دیوانه دید‬ ‫کرد تعلیم همه اسرار فقر‬ ‫گشت روشن روحم از انوار فقر‬ With ecstasy and tribulation on the way to Tabriz, I met an elder in the middle of the night. O! What a pure and enlightened elder! A guide to the searchers of the way of the Truth! When that qalandar17 saw me ecstatic, and drunk from the cup of the Beloved’s wine. He instructed me on all the mysteries of mystic poverty: My soul was enlightened by the rays of that poverty.18 In Tabriz he studied Arabic, grammar, logic and geography.19 After finishing his studies, probably around the age of 28, he moved to Gilān and settled in Rasht. We do not have much information about his personal life in Rasht except for his modest lifestyle and his firm support of the Freedom Movement, not to mention his vociferous fealty to Shiite Islam. At the beginning of the Constitutional Revolution, he became involved in the political movement. He first worked as

86  Parvin Loloi a scribe, but prompted by his frustrations with the social ills of the time and the encouragement of some friends,20 he set up his own weekly newspaper Nasim-e Shomāl on 10 September 1907. It appeared intermittently until the Russian occupation of the north of Iran (June 1909) when, like many other newspapers, it ceased publication in November 1911. After a three-year hiatus, following his escape to Tehran, he says in a mokhammas21 ‫سر برهنه پا برهنه رو به تهران می رویم‬ ‫از برای نون سنگگ توت شمران میرويم‬ ‫گر وطن بر باد شد ما روز و شب می می‌خوریم‬ ‫باده با مه طلعتان کشور ری می خوریم‬ ‫از شراب کشمش قزوین پیاپی می خوریم‬ ‫پای بطری همدگر را جمله قربان می رویم‬ ‫سر برهنه پا برهنه رو به تهران می‌رویم‬ With a naked head and bare feet, we go to Tehran: We go for sangak bread and Shemirān’s sweet mulberry. If our nation has been wind-blown, we drink wine day and night. We drink wine with the moon-faced residents of the country of Ray, We constantly drink wine which is made with Qazvin’s grape. Bottle by us, we praise one another repeatedly, With naked head and bare feet, we go to Tehran. In the fifth stanza, he questions the invaders thus: ‫ما نمی‌دانیم دین و مذهب و ناموس چیست‬ ‫رشت چه مازندران چه گنبد قابوس چیست‬ ‫اندرین دعوا خیال انگلیس و روس چیست‬ ‫ما برای منصب و القاب و فرمان می‌رویم‬ ‫سر برهنه پا برهنه رو به تهران می رویم‬ We do not know what is piety, religion and chastity? What of Rasht, Māzandarān and Gonbad-e Qābus? In this turmoil, what is the Russian and English intention? We go to seek position, title and commands, with naked head and bare feet, we go to Tehran.22 Subtly and reflectively, by means of the ironical and ambiguous use of first-person plural, he not only criticizes the elite, who through their wasteful life and mismanagement have placed the country into the greedy fangs of foreign invaders, but also contrasts their extravagant lifestyle with his and that of the majority of the population who suffer greatly. It is as if he is saying that if we are all the same, the same nation, then why is there such a disparity? Ashraf resumed publishing his paper in Tehran in 1915. Just as in Rasht, his popularity soared quickly. Fortunately, there are first-hand accounts of his personal life in Tehran from a few of his close friends, among them the renowned

Social Education through Satirical Verse  87 Sa’id Nafisi (1896–1966). Nafisi, in an article published in the periodical Sapid o Siyāh (September 1945), writes warmly and sympathetically about his friend. Nafisi starts his article by asserting that this man grew up among the people, lived with them, sunk with them, and perhaps he is still with them. This man did not become a minister, or a manager (ra’is). He did not become rich, neither did he build a house or own any land. He did not usurp anyone’s wealth, nor did he have anybody’s blood on his hands. Nobody celebrated his birthday and I was a witness myself that they did not [even] mourn his death.23 Nafisi was 11 years old when he memorized some poetry from Nasim-e Shomāl, but he became Ashraf’s firm friend when Ashraf was in his fifties and Nafisi was a mere 24 years of age. Nafisi writes that he, Yahyā Reyhān, Seyyed AbolQāsem Zarreh and ‘Abd al-Hoseyn Hesābi were the only people who were the poet’s loyal and regular visitors and friends in Tehran. Nafisi describes Ashraf as a middle-sized man with no beard or moustache. He wore very simple clothes and only in the cold weather did he put on an ‘abā (religious cloak), which had large pockets. He lived in a small dark room in the madreseh-ye Sadreh (Sadreh school). His room was furnished very modestly, with a samovar constantly on the boil. He read his poetry to his friends in a deep bass voice, soft and low. He was rather shy and self-conscious when reciting his own poems. Nafisi writes: I have not seen a more generous and sincere man …. He was very polite and humble. He loved his friends and was always generous. He did not care for the riches of the world and preferred the beggars in the street to the man in the palace …. Whatever he did or said was for the poor people.24 In his later years, according to Nafisi, the government, being unable to silence him, committed him to an asylum. Others, however, have stated that he did genuinely suffer from acute mental illness. He died soon afterwards; his death was not publicly announced and the whereabouts of his grave are unknown.25 For over 20 years, Nasim-e Shomāl was published in Tehran, initially by some Jewish print shops. The sole distributors of the paper were boys ranging 10 to 12 years in age. Of the approximately 4000 copies produced per issue—a considerable number were soon sold.26 Ordinary people could empathize with what he wrote since he empathized with their situation. Indeed, the poems became so popular that they were memorized; and then recited and sung at festivals.27

Satirical and Comic Poems On its first run in Rasht, the first two issues of Nasim-e Shomāl engaged predominantly with current political affairs, largely in prose. Soon, however, Ashraf discovered the satirical newspaper Mollā Nasr al-Din which was published and

88  Parvin Loloi edited by the Azarbaijani poet ‘Ali Akbar Sāber (1862–1911) in collaboration with Mohammad Jalil Qotbzādeh in Tiblisi. Ashraf translated, and in accordance with the trends of the time, domesticated some of the satirical poems in Mollā Nasr al-Din and published them in his own paper without acknowledging his use of Sāber’s original. And when he wasn’t interested in any particular poem from the Caucasian paper, he composed satirical poems of his own on Iranian political and social affairs. Issues dealt with by the newspaper in Rasht and Tehran established it as a ‘firm defender of the cause of the impoverished, a staunch advocate of social and political reforms and modernization and a vocal admirer of Islam, … it was also very patriotic and a zealous supporter of the Constitutional Movement.’28 E.G. Browne considers Nasim-e Shomāl to be ‘one of the best literary papers’29 of the period.

Satirical Poems His experiences with hunger and penury very early in his life and also in his youth, and the plight of the poor, prompted Ashraf to write ironic poems addressing different types of food; or more precisely the lack of such foods. The corrupt ruling class and exploitation by the two imperialist powers of Russia and Britain had led to a severe shortage of food for the ordinary people.30 Soroudi explores this theme in Ashraf’s poetry: [n]o one among the poets of the Constitutional period has so plainly voiced the aspirations and discussed the daily problems of the deprived masses …. In many of his poems, he portrays the unfulfilled desires of the poor as a craving for delicious, sweet-smelling Persian dishes, candies, and fruits, found in abundance at the tables of the rich.31 In one poem he writes: One night a daughter asked her mother As she was going to bed. O my kind and educated mother, Noble, and witty writer… Tell me when you write correctly, Is qeymeh written with gheyn or qāf?32 … After laughing, her mother said, O, the light of my eyes, Know that qeymeh is neither with qāf or gheyn. Nobody has eaten qeymeh with qāf or gheyn, The necessary ingredients are only meat and cooking oil! … I wrote this sweet honey-like poem, only to be an example.

Social Education through Satirical Verse  89 The second half of the poem, like so many others by Ashraf, becomes a scathing political criticism. In the following poem, the lack of an organized army which could ‘…keep order in the country’ is criticized. The poem ends by invoking the Shāhnāmeh of Ferdawsi: ‫به شهنامه از گفته زال زر‬ ‫وزوعده دشمنان کاستن‬ How well has the celebrated Ferdowsi said, From the golden Zāl’s mouth in the Shāhnāmeh: Gold can raise instead an army Which would decrease the enemies’ numbers.33

‫چه خوش گفت فردوسی نامور‬ ‫به زر می‌توان لشکر آراستن‬

Here, Ashraf presents a description of Zāl, Rustam’s father, who was born an Albino, though Ferdowsi describes him with the adjective ‘zar’ (gold/golden). This poem resonates with Ferdowsi’s nationalistic and heroic couplet. The masnavi genre (rhyming couplet), in fa’ulon fa’ulon fa’ol metre, was one of the content forms of choice in the Constitutional period. Its simple and versatile metrical patterns and language yielded a suitable genre for socio-political subjects. Many of Ashraf’s ‘food’ poems are masnavis. ‘A daughter asks her mother to teach her how to cook samanu’ is such a poem. In this masnavi, the first stanza consists of five distichs where the daughter pleads with her mother to teach her how to cook samanu, and the longer second stanza of 13 distichs is the mother’s retort where she tells her daughter ‘cooking samanu is not for you alone / There are no cauldron and utensils here.’34 Soroudi concludes that ‘[t]he poor are always offered empty promises and asked to put up with the existing reality’: Be patient my darling, be patient! Be patient my darling, be patient! Tehran will become like a rose garden soon In the shops bread will abound for sure. Meat for shish-kebāb will be very cheap: By patience problems are solved with much ease,   Be patient my darling, be patient. Don’t worry, next year you’ll eat bread And sweet fruits to suit your taste. You’ll lunch dear with roasted chicken Fesenjān will be your share for dinner. Be patient my darling, be patient.35 One must add to Soroudi’s comment that Ashraf, despite his sometimes-desperate criticism and despair, did not despair and, what is more, worked hard to convey the possibility of hope to the common people as well.

90  Parvin Loloi E.G. Browne quoted and translated several of Ashraf’s political poems as published in Nasim-e Shomāl in his The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia. The following poem was published on 12 July 1909 in Nasim-e Shomāl, the day when the Nationalist army entered Tehran. Ashraf’s poem is a free translation of Sāber’s poem entitled ‘Satiram’ which appeared in Mollā Nasr al-Din (1909); and Paul Sprachman quotes a section of Browne’s translation and writes that ‘Browne’s translation admirably conveys the colloquial force of the poem’s attack on the willingness of certain clerical element to sell out their country.’36 It satirizes Sheykh Fazlollāh, a reactionary jurisprudent who rushed to betray Persian independence and was ready to auction off the country. It is in 11 stanzas and the first stanza consists of four distichs; the others are three distichs each. The second line of the first distich ‘ku kharidār: harāj ast harāj’ (where is a buyer? It is on sale—on sale!) is a refrain repeated in the last line of the first stanza and thereafter as the last line of each stanza. It weaponizes the poem with robust angst and anguish. Here are the first three stanzas as translated by Browne: (1) Hájji, the market’s brisk, the bidding high; Here comes the auctioneer! Who’ll buy? Who’ll buy? I’m here the Persian land to sell or pawn, The pride and honour of each Musulmán, Both Qum and Rasht, both Qazwin and Káshán, Yazd, Khwánsár, every city of ĺrán. All’s up for auction at a figure fair: Come, gentlemen, where is a bidder, where? (2) Of liberals I am the stalwart foe: I’d like to kill them all, as well you know! I represent Shaykh Faẓlu’lláh and Co., Brokers, who hawk Religion to and fro, Here is the carcase. Gentlemen, draw near! Who’ll buy? Here comes the auctioneer! (3) My countrymen I loathe and execrate; My country is the object of my hate! I represent our Monarch wise and great, ‘Tis time for breakfast. Put this business through! Who bids? Who bids? Come Sir, a bid from you!37 A poem which appeared in Nasim-e Shomāl (48:1909) impressed Browne so much so that he wrote:

Social Education through Satirical Verse  91 [It] celebrates the Nationalist victory and capture of Tihrán, the deposition of Moḥammad Ali and the accession of his young son Sulṭán Aḥmad Shah … only a fortnight after these stirring events. According to Browne, this poem and another one by Bahār, are remarkable not only for their spirited words and metre and the wonderful lilt of lines, but for a note of triumph and optimism which too rarely reveals itself in these poems. The beauty of these poems lies in the euphony of the phrases and the splendour of the rhythm and rhymes, which I have despaired of rendering adequately into English, even in the freest paraphrase.38 The poem is, in fact, a counsel, a kind of ‘Mirror for Princes’ offered to the young Shah, advising him to be just and to rid the country of traitors like Sheykh Fazlollāh whose execution was, in fact, announced in the same issue of Nasim-e Shomāl.39 For the sake of illustration: ‫در نگر عالمی دیگر نگر‬ ‫در نگر عالمی دیگر نگر‬

‫ای شهنشاه جوان شیران جنگ آور نگر‬ ‫ملتی را راحت از مشروطه سر تا سر نگر‬

O! young king, look at the warring lions! Look! Look at a different world! Look at a nation from end to end, relieved by the Constitution! Look! Look at a different world!40 The failed attempt to recover the throne by Mohammad ‘Ali (July of 1911), who was aided by Russian forces, prompted Ashraf to write some biting poems. One of these speaks through the defeated king, a qasideh, and ‘is an imitation of the heroic rajaz (mock-heroic verse), but it does more than depict the king’s bravado; it reflects the passionate feeling of the poet.’41 It was published in Nasim-e Shomāl (30 July 1911). The poem is in fact entitled rajaz:42 I am that infamous, shameless libertine Whose days and nights were passed twixt sleep and wine! Although my belly larger grows, My strength is waning like melting snows. Could I to Ṭihrán once an entrance gain Its people butcher-like I’d cleave in twain, As for the Regent, off his head should go, Who caused my projects to miscarry so; And with my penknife out the eyes I’d bring Of Sultán Aḥmad Sháh, the reigning king;

92  Parvin Loloi Out the Sardár-i As’ad’s heart I’d take, And the Sipahdár into mincemeat make; The parliament with cannons I would shake, For freedom’s balm to me’s a poisoned snake; And, by my worthless Northern Friend’s advice, I’d crush the folk, as though they were but lice; The Deputies to one long rope I’d tie, And topsy-turvy turn the ministry. … But cruel fate has tied my hands, alack! And fortune sinister doth break my back! I’m poor, I’m poor, I’m poor, I’m poor indeed; I have not, have not, have not, aught I need! O belly, belly, belly, belly mine, ‘Tis you who cause me thus to grieve and pine! … This time, for all my bulging paunch, I feel That on the gibbet I shall dance a reel! With empty purse and brains of sense bereft, I’ve neither foot to fly nor refuge left!43 Such mock-heroic poetry in the style of the Shāhnāmeh became very popular in 1909 and it was employed by poets to write boastful poems allegedly from the mouth of the defeated Shah and/or his generals. What made them even more effective was their simple and easily comprehended colloquial language. Many of Ashraf’s satirical poems are in the form of epistles: maktub.44 Some are addressed to real people and some to imagined characters, some of whom are reactionaries remonstrating with Ashraf for his zeal.45 The influence of the Persian (Islamic) epistolary tradition is evident in these letters. ‘Maktub-e Qazvin’ is addressed to Dakhaw (‘Ali Akbar Dehkhodā) who was a compatriot of Ashraf and also a staunch constitutionalist and writer of a satirical column, Charand parand (balderdash), in the newspaper Sur-e Esrāfil which was published weekly from 30 April 1907 to 20 June 1908. Thereafter, Dehkhodā published just three further issues in Switzerland. An accomplished scholar and writer, Dehkhodā was educated in Political Science and knew French. Having travelled in Europe, he also had a sophisticated understanding of world affairs. He was thus able, through his well-reasoned and clearly written articles in Sur-e Esrāfil, to attract a wide audience, particularly for his satirical series Čarand parand, which was the main reason for the rise in the number of printed copies of the newspaper to a high of 24,000 … far higher than those of even the best contemporary publication.46 Sur-e Esrāfil was established by Mirza Jahāngir Khān Shirāzi and Mirza Qāsem Khān Tabrizi and Dehkhodā was employed as its editorial secretary. The first

Social Education through Satirical Verse  93 issue of the paper was published in April 1907 in Tehran, five months before the first issue of Nasim-e Shomāl was published in Rasht in September 1907. Dehkhodā’s satirical writing in Charand parand is mainly in prose but he did also write some poetry, including poems in imitation of the classical poets, using the same style and diction. He also wrote poems in mosammat and masnavi forms in both Turkish and Persian: ‘because of his ingenious use of slang expressions his poetry includes the best examples of popular Persian verse ever written.’47 Dehkhodā, however, employs an allegorical style with complicated allusions— in an archaic language—in some of his masnavis to express his socio-political views, although this is typical of poetry composed by lexicographers. These poems were presumably written with the educated class of the time in mind. On the other hand, his simple and colloquial poems in support of the Constitution are on par with those of Ashraf and in this sense the two poets complement one another. One of the Dehkhodā’s poems which is often quoted and translated is entitled ‘Ā kablā’i’, which is the colloquial expression for Āqā Karbilā’i. It is a sobriquet given to those who made the pilgrimage to Karbalā to visit the shrines of the martyred Shi’i Imams. Paul Sprachman quotes the first four lines of Browne’s translation48 and regards them as a cutting satire on the hypocrisy of the Qajar king Mohammad ‘Ali Shah, but the poem could equally be applied to any deceitful zealot. Another of Dehkhodā’s poems which appeared in the last issue of Sur-e Esrāfil (8 March 1909), published in Yverdon-les Bains, Switzerland, is in effect an elegy, a mosammat, for his friend Mirzā Jahāngir Khān who was hanged by the agents of the government in 1908: Oh bird of the morning, when this gloomy night puts aside its dark deeds, And, at the life giving breath of Dawn, besotted slumber departs from the heads of those who sleep, And the Loved One enthroned on the dark blue litter loosens the knots from her goldenthreaded locks, And the God is manifested in perfection, while Ahriman of evil nature withdraws to his citadel, Remember, O remember, that extinguished Lamp!49 This poem has been praised as stylistically novel and in terms of its diction by both Iranian and European scholars. Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak after discussing some of the poem’s rhetorical, structural and lexical characteristics, in order to illustrate the way in which the poem departs from the traditional methods of poetic composition writes that it is an exploration … [which] can serve as an illustration of how a poet can take over the fields of discourse previously thought external to his craft and use

94  Parvin Loloi them to modify, expand, or otherwise alter the tradition in search of meaning that he or she perceives as relevant. Ashraf’s poem addressed to Dehkhodā was published in the 5 March 1908 issue of Nasim-e Shomāl. It is a ghazal, which was typically employed to convey the socio-political woes of the time.50 It not only highlights the way the classical forms were employed to comment on the modern socio-political landscape of early twentieth-century Iran but also paves the way for an ambitious emerging poetical system. It was published two months prior to the Coup d’etat (23 June 1908) when the first Parliament was shut down and the free press banned, with editors who had not escaped, executed. It laments Dakhaw’s escape from this fate to Switzerland with a strong nationalistic message: ‫مکتوب قزوین‬ ‫بسوخت از غم مشروطه استخوان دخو‬ ‫بعرش می‌ رسد امروز االمان دخو‬ ‫ز یاد رفت بیکبار خانمان دخو‬ ‫در این والیت قزوین ز ظلم استبداد‬ ‫بگشت روشن از اشراق او روان دخو‬ ‫چو گشت تیر مشروطه طالع از ایران‬ ‫همیشه صحبت او بود بر زبان دخو‬ (‫طلوع کرد چو خورشید (کنستی تو سیون‬ ‫خلل فتاده بارکان پارلمان دخو‬ ‫بریده باد زبانم کنون که می شنوم‬ ‫وزیده باد خزانی به بوستان دخو‬ ‫نهاده پای به مجلس سفیر استبداد‬ ‫شکسته نسترن وسرو و ارغوان دخو‬ ‫میانه وکال اجنبی نهاده قدم‬ ‫زنند اهل غرض شعله ها بجان دخو‬ ‫خدا نکرده اگر پارلمان خلل یابد‬ ‫امام جمعه قزوین بدودمان دخو‬ ‫فکند آتش ظلم و عناد و استبداد‬ ‫بسنگ کرده اثر ناله و فغان دخو‬ ‫ز ظلم و کینه این مستبد میش نما‬ ‫یکی ز حلقه بگوشان اشرف الدینم‬ ‫اگر که درج شود شعر خونفشان دخو‬ To-day the appeal of Dakhaw ascends to the Throne of God; with grief for the Constitution the bones of Dakhaw are burned. In this land of Qazwín, through the tyranny of despotism, the household of Dakhaw is utterly forgotten. When the luminary of the Constitution arose from Persia the spirit of Dakhaw was illuminated by its dawning. When the sun of the Constitution arose talk of it was ever on Dakhaw’s tongue. May my tongue be cut out now that I hear that harm befalls the pillars of Parliament! The ambassador of Autocracy hath set his foot in Majlis; an autumnal blast hath blown over Dakhaw’s garden. The foreigner hath stepped into the midst of the Deputies; Dakhaw’s gelderrose and cypress and Judas-tree are broken! If (which God forbid!) the Parliament suffers hurt, Dakhaw’s enemies will set fire to his soul. The Imám-Juma’a (Chief Priest) of Qazwin hath cast the fire of tyranny, malice and despotism on the family of Dakhaw. On account of the tyranny and spite of this autocrat in sheep’s clothing the wailing and lamentations of Dakhaw affect the very stones. I will become one of the humble servants of Ashrafu’ d-Din if this piteous poem of Dakhaw’s should be inserted [in his paper].51

Social Education through Satirical Verse  95 Another content form employed by Ashraf was the mostazād which is ‘an ordinary quatrain, from an ode or ghazal whereof each hemistich is followed by a short metrical line. The short line has the effect of a refrain (r a, r a …).’52 These poems are often signed ‘Faqir’ (poor/impoverished) perhaps to show Ashraf’s state of mind and his lack of ability to do anything positive as a poet. They can be construed as lamentations on the state of Iran prior to the full establishment of the Constitution in 1911: ‫ایوای وطن وای‬ ‫ایوای وطن وای‬

‫گردید وطن غرقه اندوه و محن وای‬ ‫خیزید روید از پی تابوت و کفن وای‬

Our country is flooded with sorrow and woe, Arise, and for coffin and cerements go! With the blood of our sons for the fatherland shed The moon shines red; Hill, plain and garden blood-red glow:

O, for our land woe! O, for our land woe! O, for our land woe!53

The use of popular ballads (tasnif) was an effective way of communicating to the people the various aspects of social and political life. Tasnif, like ghazal, was historically composed to be sung accompanied by an instrument, therefore it was easy to memorize. Many of the Constitutional poets wrote in this form.54 Ashraf’s work, however, differs from others by its use of colloquial—and at times even slang language. Brown speaks to a tasnif that was printed in 18 June 1908 in Nasim-e Shomāl: it is written in a very simple and somewhat colloquial style. Mi-shé and namishé (‘will it be?’ ‘it cannot be!’) are common colloquial contractions for mi-shawad and nemishawad; siyá (black) = siyáh; …. yárú (‘that friend’ of ours) refers to some person, known to the speaker and hearer only, whom it is not desired to name. It is often used contemptuously, and here, presumably, refers to Muḥammad ‘Alí Shah.55 It is well-nigh impossible to translate Persian colloquial and slang language into English and Browne refrains from doing so. Here, however, are the first and last stanzas of the Persian text and this author’s translation of the poem by way of illustration: ‫نگو هرگز نمیشه های های‬ ‫نگو هرگز نمیشه های های‬ ‫نگو هرگز نمیشه های های‬

‫میشه دولت بملت یار گردد‬ ‫اهل مملکت غمخوار گردد‬ ‫شبیه نادر افشار گردد‬

‫نگو هرگز نمیشه های های‬ ‫سیا قرمز نمیشه های های‬ …..

‫نگو هرگز نمیشه های های‬ ‫نگو هرگز نمیشه های های‬

‫میشه ایران ویران گردد آباد‬ ‫شود ظالم از این مشروطه دلشاد‬

‫یارو راضی نمیشه های های‬ ‫پشه قاضی نمیشه های های‬

96  Parvin Loloi Will it be that the rulers become the people’s friend? Don’t say it won’t, never! Hey ho, hey ho! The whole population is afflicted, Don’t say it won’t, never! Hey ho, hey ho! Will it become like Nāder-e Afshār? Don’t say it won’t, never! Hey ho, hey ho! Don’t say it won’t, never! Hey ho, hey ho! Black will not become red! Hey ho, hey ho! … Will the ruined Iran prosper again? Don’t say it won’t, never! Hey ho, hey ho! Will the tyrant rejoice by the Constitution? Don’t say it won’t, never! Hey ho, hey ho!: That fellow won’t be satisfied! Hey ho, hey ho! The mosquito won’t become a judge! Hey ho, hey ho!56 Hope is ambiguous and ironic, lingering between the states of the possible and the impossible as can be clearly highlighted in ‘black will not become red’ and as per the latter, ‘the mosquito won’t become a judge.’ Just as the new Constitution was response to, and compliance with, Western ideas of democracy, so was the new movement on behalf of, and by women. Many poets of this period questioned the position of Iranian women in society, in particular the wearing of the veil, their education and their marital rights.57 Although Ashraf was a modernizer, he was also an orthodox Shiite Muslim and the majority of his audience were illiterate and of the working class: [He] wanted to combine women’s participation in society and acquisition of knowledge with the preservation of religious and traditional values. Wearing a veil and learning are not mutually exclusive. Ashraf certainly differed from poets who encouraged the idea of unveiling by presenting the examples of European women’s progress. Ashraf emphasizes that the veil … is a symbol of women’s chastity and honour. He sees unveiling as against Islamic tenets and the traditional culture of his readers.58 Ashraf was against polygamy, not to mention marriage between young girls and older men. Whatever his beliefs may have been on the veil, he was a staunch supporter of women’s education: ‘an uneducated girl is degraded (base) / O, my daughter study; it is Spring.’59 For Ashraf education is a right—not a privilege— for all: ‫مرد و زن را رهنما علم است علم‬ ‫در جهان واجب به ما علم است علم‬ ‫آشکار و بر مال علم است علم‬ ‫آنچه پیغمبر به ما واجب نمود‬ ‫باعث نشو و نما علم است علم‬ ‫کودکان را در زمان کودکی‬ In this world, knowledge is necessary, A guide for men and women is knowledge.

Social Education through Satirical Verse  97 The prophet obliged us Clearly and openly, to acquire knowledge. Children, in their childhood, Will thrive and grow through knowledge.60

Translations Some of Ashraf’s early poems were free translations, as mentioned earlier, of Sāber’s poems published in Mollā Nasr-od-Din. Yahyā Āriyānpur has compared some of Sāber’s originals with Ashraf’s versions.61 He writes that some of Ashraf’s translations are superbly euphonious and observes that ‘[a]lthough the material is borrowed from Sāber’s political satires, the style and mode of expression are original.’ He concludes that ‘sometimes he takes too much freedom in translations and adds several lines of his own to the poem.’62 Ashraf translated two of Sāber’s poems in the form of lullabies: Almost all poets of the period used one or more lullabies. In the lullabies, the poet usually speaks in the person of the mother, while the baby represents the nation or country …. Ashraf al-Din Gilâni, adapted this genre into Persian, producing two lullabies, which he translated from Azeri. They depict the situation of Persia after the Constitutional Revolution.63 Adopting the lullaby form was effective in that it was better suited for the illiterate audience he wanted to reach, in line with the trend to write poetry and prose in the popular idiom. Ashraf, like many other poets of the Constitutional period, translated from other languages, mainly European, and did not acknowledge the original author in his work. This was a trend common in a society on the brink of transition: West or the East. The Romantic poets (with the exception of Goethe) borrowed extensively from Persian, Arabic and Turkish classical poets without acknowledging the source. Conversely, a large number of twentieth-century Arab, Turkish and Persian writers tapped into Western literature’s vast reservoir in order to modernize an outdated poetical system. Such translations were domesticated, so much so that no trace of the original remained in the translated work.64 One of Ashraf’s translations, a romance, is ‘‘Aziz va Ghazāl.’65 This seems to be a version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.66 Since Ashraf did not know English (or French), we cannot be certain of his specific source. His romance takes place in Aleppo (Hallab) and one can only assume that he adapted his version from an earlier Arabic translation. It is written in an intermittent mixture of prose and poetry. As an introduction to the story, he offers a ghazal which starts thus: No story for the ease of the soul Is sweeter than ‘Aziz va Ghazāl, The story of these heart-broken lovers Is no less [moving] than that of Leyli and Majnun.

98  Parvin Loloi …. This auspicious moral book Is like a garden: strong and enduring! This new auspicious building Has no door or gate. And finishes as follows: This notebook of the poor lovers Is a legacy from Ashraf.67 His collection of animal fables entitled Golzār-e Adabi (The Literary Orchard) contains, in its second edition, 33 fables by La Fontaine (1621–1695) and JeanPierre Florian (1755–1794): he imitates La Fontaine thoroughly. Ashraf’s book was approved by the Ministry of Education for use in the second and third years of primary schools. In the introduction he writes since there was no comprehensive book which included tales in simple verse for school children and they were left without such educational advantages, I have prepared this small book and offered it to schools. Most of these tales have been extracted from the works of the famous French writers, La Fontaine and Florian and have been versified in Persian.68 Ashraf’s determined efforts in support of education are reflected in these allegorical fables. In many of his poems he praises himself for succeeding in awakening the ordinary people. In one poem he uses the French word bon soir (good night) ironically: O Nasim you awakened these people, bon soir! You made the drunken ignorant sober, bon soir!69

Conclusion The satirical verse can have myriad essential functions. Writing in the Princeton Dictionary of Poetry and Poetics, Edward A. Blooms defines satire thus: Satire, as generally defined, is both a mode of discourse or vision that asserts a polemical or critical outlook (‘the satiric’), and also a specific literary genre embodying that mode in either prose or verse, esp. formal verse s. From earliest times s[atire]. has tended towards didacticism … Despite the aesthetic and often comic or witty pleasure associated with much s[atire]., their authors incline toward self–promotion as judges of morals and manners, of behavior and thought. The franchise is theirs, they assume, to pass and execute verbal sentence on both individuals and types. Numerous satirists ridicule or berate shortcomings of their own times within a context whose values – ideally – will

Social Education through Satirical Verse  99 outlast the occasions or crises of the moment. Whatever they diagnose as corrupt, they confidently venture to ‘heal’—in Pope’s phrase—albeit severely, ‘with morals what [their s.] hurts with wit.’70 We can certainly see many of these characteristics in the poetry of Ashraf and Dehkhodā. The evoking of laughter speaks for itself; however, sometimes laughter can be a particularly even more tragic phenomenon when no tears are left to shed. The poetry of both Ashraf and Dehkhodā, with its simple style and colloquial language, engaged people emotionally. Their aspiration for freedom, education and general social improvement contributed to their popularity. Their vision of a modern and liberated Iran included a desire to emulate the social justice which was believed to exist in the West. This was not what the Iranian elite called modernization, by which they sometimes meant no more than mere freedom to gamble and drink. At the same time, both were certainly very patriotic and opposed to any kind of submission to foreign powers. These are perhaps the most important reasons why Nasim-e Shomāl thrived as a source of both entertainment and education for the ordinary Iranian. When, in imitation of Zākāni, Ashraf says, ‘chon eqtezā-ye zamāneh maskharegist to ham maskhareh sho / rafti beh shahr-e kurān, didi hameh kurand / to ham kur sho’ (since times demand buffoonery, you become a buffoon too / If you go to the city of the blind and everybody is blind/ you be blind too).71 He crystalizes, in his poetry, the essence of his persona as regards social rights. Katouzian points out that Satire … has two faces, one looking out, the other looking in. Perhaps more than any other literary genre, satire brings together the interior and exterior, often in a covert manner. Not infrequently, it tells us more of the interior, inside the author’s psyche, than the author intends.72 It is well known that Ashraf suffered frequently from bouts of stress, and possibly depression, as he himself mentions in some of his poems. Despite such difficulties, many of the poems he and Dehkhodā wrote are rewarding both as poems and as important documents for historians, while also having a personal—often psychological—significance. All, without fail, are interesting and deserve to be widely read, being outstanding non-elitist texts.

Notes 1 Paul Sprachman, ‘Hajv and Profane Persian’, in Persian Lyric Poetry in the Classical Era, 800–1500: Ghazals, Panegyrics and Quatrains, vol. II of A History of Persian Literature, edited by Ehsan Yarshater. London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2020. 2 Ricardo Zippoli, Irreverent Persia: invective, Satirical and Burlesque Poetry From the origins to Timurid Period (tenth to fifteenth centuries), (Leiden University, 2015), 23. 3 Ibid, 24. 4 P. Sprachman, ‘Hajv and Profane Persian.’ 5 P. Sprachman, ‘Hajv and Profane Persian.’

100  Parvin Loloi 6 Sanā’i in this line taken from a poem says ‘My hazl is not simple hazl, it is instruction! / My poems are not simply poems but a universe?’ and Rumi, borrowing the line from Sana’i writes ‘Hazl is instruction: consider it equal to jedd,’ and Sa’di writes ‘I didn’t say these things for pure amusement, / leave their hazl side and look to their jedd!’ For more see R. Zippoli, Irreverent Persian, 26. 7 Zākāni was born in Qazvin probably sometimes before 1319 to an erudite state official of Arab descent. He was well educated and wrote in both Persian and Arabic. He travelled widely and eventually settled in Shiraz, the native town of Hāfez (d. 1390). For further information on Zākāni’s life see Daniella Meneghini, ‘‘Obayd Zākāni’ in Encyclopedia Iranica (EIR). They both satirize the ills of the society of their time in Shiraz despite their widely different diction. Although Hāfez is not known as a satirist, his incense with the hypocrisy of certain cliques and elements of society became an impetus for a few such poems of his own: Priests who at altar and pulpit appear holiest / Of such rectitude in private often divest! / And I have this question for the assembled wise / Why is it these sermonizers repent the least? For more see Parvin Loloi and William Oxley, translators, Poems from The Divan of Hafez, translated from the Persian (Acumen Publication, 2013), 48. 8 Zākāni looked to the great works of Sa’di in his ethical discussions and like Sa’di he successfully transitioned from a lampoonist to a genuine social satirist. 9 Paul Sprachman asserts that ‘[i]n spite of ‘Obayd’s influence on later authors of Persian satire and his popularity, his reputation has suffered because he indulged in hazl,’ and his profane language does not conform with the didactic and ethical ideals of Islam. He further notes that ‘‘Obayd did not in fact reject the concept that literature must be fundamentally didactic and morally prescriptive; he merely believed that it could be entertaining. In one of his most imaginative works, Sad pand (The treatise of one hundred counsels, 1350), ‘Obayd mocks the type of aphoristic and gnomic wisdom literature, which was so popular with classical Persian authors, and in doing so, creates a work designed to instruct as well as amuse.’ Sprachman, ‘Persian Satire, Parody and Burlesque: A General Notion of Genre,’ in Ehsan Yarshater, ed., Persian Literature (Columbia University, 1988), 226–248; quotation is taken from p. 231. In two of his treatises, Resāleh-ye delgoshā (Delightful treatise, please if possible add date?) and Akhlāq al-Ashrāf (The ethics of the nobles, 1340). Zākāni expresses the same views as Sanā’i and Rumi quoted above; he ‘argues that hazl is suspect, but the writer has no choice. He must use the language of the city to show the hypocrisy of the age.’ See ibid., 228. 10 Sprachman, ‘Persian Satire …’, 227–228. 11 Tanz never could compete with the success of hazl and hajv. Both Sa’di and Zākāni employ tanz in their poetry to criticize and taunt ironically a lover / beloved. Tanz did not find its rightful place as a literary genre until the twentieth century when the term tanz has been employed to refer collectively to satirical works and is akin to a nuanced definition of satire in European literary circles. It is within this rich background that the satirical newspapers and pamphlets of the early twentieth century were published. Their aim was mainly to inform and educate as well as entertain the general and mainly illiterate public. 12 For more detailed information see Homa Katouzian, ‘Satire in Persian Literature, 1900– 1940’ in Ali-Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, ed., Literature of the Early Twentieth Century: From Constitutional Period to Reza Shah, vol XI of a History of Persian Literature (London/New York: I.B. Tauris, 2015). 13 Ashraf used various assumed names such as Faqir (poor) and, Mollā Nādān (ignorant Mollā), Mirzā Ahmaq (Stupid Mirzā) as indeed, Dehkhodā and others wrote under assumed names too. 14 Yahyā Āriyānpur thinks Ashraf ‘was the most popular and best-known nationalist poet of the revolutionary period. He was in all senses a supporter of the working class and despised the elite classes in any form or shape.’ Yahyā Āriyanpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā (Tarikh-e Sad-o Panjāh Sāl Adab-e Fārsi), 2 vols. (Tehran: Tajaddod, 1971). II, 61.

Social Education through Satirical Verse  101 15 Ahmad Edārehchi Gilāni, ed., Kolliyyāt-e Seyyed Ashraf al-Din Gilāni (Nasim-e Shomāl) (Tehran: Negāh, 1996), 63–65. (Kolliyyāt, hereinafter. Unfortunately, I have not been able to see a copy of Bāgh-e Behesht. According to the editor (p. 42), there were two volumes, one entitled Nasim-e Shomāl). 16 Āriyānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā (Tārikh-e Sad-o Panjāh Sāl Adab-e Fārsi), II, 61. 2 vols. 17 Qalandar: A mendicant; in Sufi terminology, a wandering dervish. 18 Kolliyyāt, 63 (lines 16–19). 19 M. Rahman, ‘Āšraf Gīlānī’, in EIr. 20 For a comprehensive account of the history and background of Nasim-e Shomāl see Nāsereddin Parvin, ‘Sargoẕasht-e Nasim-e Shomāl’, Irānshenāsi 14, no. 2 (2002), 379– 392. Also, N. Parvin, ‘Nasim-e Šemāl’ in EIr. 21 A stanzaic form in which the first distich is repeated at the end of each stanza as a refrain for emphasis and to give the poem a strong emotive impact. 22 Kolliyyāt, 380-81. 23 Sa’id Nafisi, ‘Seyyed Ashraf al-Din Gilāni’, reprinted in Hoseyn Namini, ed., Jāvdāneh Seyyed Ashraf al-Din Gilāni (Nasim-e Shomāl) (Tehran: Ketāb-e Farzān, 1984), 7–14. 24 Ibid. 25 Both Hoseyn Namini and Ahmad Edārehchi Gilāni recount various aspects of their friendship with Ashraf with some biographical information in their introductions to their respective editions of Ashraf’s poetry. 26 The boys would then give the proceeds directly to Ashraf himself and it is said that he would put the money in his pocket without even counting it. The day of publication was very exciting for ordinary people. They would gather in groups on the street corners, in the bazaars and in coffee houses, where the literate would read the contents to the illiterate. Women were also staunch supporters of the paper in their neighbourhood gatherings; while they drank tea and cracked seeds and nuts, a literate woman or young girl would read the paper to the others from cover to cover. Nafisi asserts ‘that this paper was neither pleasing to the eye nor was it very well printed. Its editor was not a lawyer or a senator or an ex-minister, … but it was so popular that it came to be known as the people’s paper and as mentioned earlier, its editor was popularly known as Mr. ‘Nasim-e Shomāl.’ For more see Nafisi, ‘Seyyed Ashraf’, 9. 27 Mohammad Sadr Hāshemi, Jarā’ed va majallāt, 4 vols. (Esfahān, 1948–1953), IV, 295– 301. See also Parvin, ‘Nasim-e Šemāl,’ in EIr. 28 Ibid. 29 Quoted in ibid. 30 For an overview of the historical and socio-political background to this period in Iranian history see Seyed-Gohrab, ‘The Political and Social Background of the Literature of the Period (1900–1940)’, in Literature of the Early Twentieth Century, 1–28, where Seyed-Gohrab provides ample references to more comprehensive sources. 31 Sorour Soroudi, ‘Poet and Revolution: The Impact of Iran’s Constitutional Revolution on Social and Literary Outlook of the Poets of the Time: Part I’, in Iranian Studies, Vol., XII, nos. 1–2 (1979): 32 (This source has been reprinted with part II in H.E. Chehabi (ed.), Persian Literature and Judeo-Persian Culture: Collected Writings of Sorour S. Soroudi (Boston: Ilex, 2010), 89–93). 32 Qeymeh is a Persian dish cooked with meat and split peas; qhayn and qāf are letters of alphabet. 33 Kolliyyāt, 260. 34 Kolliyyāt, 132–133. Samanu is one of the main sweet dishes cooked for the Persian New Year (Nowruz). It is cooked with the juice of wheat sprouts for a long time and overnight, and traditionally it was either cooked within the larger family. In the poorer areas, people of one street or even the residents of the same locality came together and cooked samanu en mass and shared the proceeds in the morning. 35 Soroudi, ‘Poet and Revolution’, 32–33.

102  Parvin Loloi 36 P. Sprachman, ‘Persian Satire, …’, in E. Yarshater, ed., Persian History, 239. 37 E.G. Browne, Press and Poetry of Modern Persia: partly based on the Manuscript Work of Mírzá Muḥammad ‘Alí Khán ‘Tarbiyat’ (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 191), 213–215. 38 Browne, Press and Poetry, 216–218. 39 Browne, Press and Poetry, 217, n.1. 40 Browne, Press and Poetry, 216. 41 Hasan Javadi, Satire, 51. 42 The rajaz metre and its variations were employed in classical epic poetry, but in the twentieth century it came to embody the genre of ‘mock-heroic’ poetry. 43 Browne, Press and Poetry, 242–246. 44 Epistolary literature has a long tradition in Persian, in particular, and in Islamic culture in general. For further information see, Parvin Loloi, ‘Essay Writing in the Islamic Culture’, in Dorothea Flothow, Markus Oppolzer, Sabine Coelsch-Foisner (eds.), The Essay: Forms and Transformations (Heidelberg, Universitätsverlag, 2017), 289–302. 45 See Browne, Press and Poetry, 191–194. 46 A.A, Sa’īdī Sīrjānī, ‘Dehḵodā, Mīrzā ‘Alī-Akbar Qazvīnī’, in EIR. 47 Sa’īdī Sīrjānī, ‘Dehḵodā, …’ 48 P. Sprachman, ‘Persian Satire …’, 238–239 49 Browne, Press and Poetry, 6–9. 50 For a more detailed analysis of the classical poetical forms employed by the Constitutional poets see Seyed-Gohrab, ‘Poetry as Awakening: Singing Modernity’, in Literature of the Early Twentieth Century, 97–110. 51 Browne, Press and Poetry, 190–191. 52 Javadi, Satire, 309. 53 Browne, Press and Poetry, 183–185. 54 Seyed-Gohrab, ‘Poetry as Awakening’, in Literature of the Early Twentieth Century, 103–110. (See particularly n. 143 on page 103 for more sources on tasnif). 55 Browne, Press and Poetry, 199. 56 Browne, 199–200. The Persian text is from Kolliyāt, 485–486. 57 Seyed-Gohrab explores Ashraf’s position on this subject: ‘Ashraf was influenced by the ideas in the Education of Women, as a number of his recommendations are identical to this pamphlet.’ For more see Seyed-Gohrab, ‘Poetry as Awakening’, in Literature of the Early Twentieth Century, 52. For more information on this topic see ibid., 49–78. Also see Sirus Mir, ‘Nasim-e Shomāl va Mas’aleh-ye Zan dar Nezhat-e Mashruteh’, Irānshenāsi 11, no. 3, 427–450. 58 Seyed-Gohrab, ‘Poetry as Awakening’, in Literature of the Early Twentieth Century, 59. 59 Kolliyyāt, 216. 60 Kolliyyāt, 297. 61 Āriyānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā, 64–72. 62 Parvin Loloi, ‘Translations of European Poetry and Their Reception’, in Literature of the Early Twentieth Century, 338. 63 Seyed-Gohrab, ‘Poetry as Awakening’, in Literature of the Early Twentieth Century, 118. 64 For further information see, Parvin Loloi, ‘Translations of European Poetry and Their Reception’, in Literature of the Early Twentieth Century, 342–351; also, Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, Recasting Persian Poetry: Scenarios of Poetic Modernity in Iran (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1995). 65 Seyyed Ashraf al-Din al-Hoseyni ‘Gilāni’, ‘Aziz va Ghazāl (Tehran, 1930. This is appended to Namini, Jāvdāneh, 241–876). 66 Parvin Loloi, ‘Translations of European Poetry and Their Reception,’ in Literature of the Early Twentieth Century, 347. 67 Ashraf, ‘Aziz va Ghazāl, in Jāvdāneh, 443.

Social Education through Satirical Verse  103 68 Loloi, ‘Translations of European Poetry and Their Reception’, in Literature of the Early Twentieth Century, 347. Ashraf’s Golzār-e Adabi has been appended to Namini, Jāvdāneh, 792–876. 69 Kolliyyāt, 204. 70 Edward A. Bloom, ‘Satire,’ in Alex Preminger and T.V.F. Brogan (eds.), The New Princeton Encylopaedia of Poetry and Poetics (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993), 1114. 71 The refrain is ‘ro maskharegi kon va motrebi āmuz’ (Go be a fool and be a minstrel!) Kolliyyāt, 146–147. According to Āriyānpur, this poem and the parody on Sheykh Fazlollāh are a version of Sāber’s poetry. 72 Katouzian, ‘Satire in Persian Literature, 1900–1940’, 161.

Bibliography Āriyānpur, Yahyā. Az Sabā tā Nimā; Tārikh-e Sad-o Panjāh Sāl Adab-e Fārsi. 2 vols. Tehran: Tajaddod, 1971. Bloom, Edward A. “Satire.” In The New Princeton Encylopaedia of Poetry and Poetics, edited by Alex Preminger and T. V. F. Brogan, 1114. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993. Browne, E. G. Press and Poetry of Modern Persia: Partly Based on the Manuscript Work of Mírzá Muḥammad ‘Alí Khán “Tarbiyat.” Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983. Chehabi, H. E., ed. Persian Literature and Judeo-Persian Culture: Collected Writings of Sorour S. Soroudi. Boston: Ilex, 2010. Dabirsiyāqi, Seyyed Mohammad, ed. Divan-e Dehkhodā. Tehran: Mazdak, 1982. Edārehchi Gilāni, Ahmad, ed. Kolliyyāt-i Seyyed Ashraf al-Din Gilāni (Nasim-e Shomāl). Tehran: Negāh, 1996. Javadi, Hasan. Satire in Persian Literature. London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1988. Karimi-Hakkak, Ahmad. Recasting Persian Poetry: Scenarios of Poetic Modernity in Iran. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1995. Katouzian, Homa. “Satire in Persian Literature, 1900–1940.” In Literature of the Early Twentieth Century: From Constitutional Period to Reza Shah, vol XI of a History of Persian Literature, edited by Ali-Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, 161–239. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2015. Loloi, Parvin. “Essay Writing in the Islamic Culture.” In The Essay: Forms and Transformations, edited by Dorothea Flothow, Markus Oppolzer, and Sabine CoelschFoisner, 289–303. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2017. Loloi, Parvin. “Translations of European Poetry and Their Reception.” In Literature of the Early Twentieth Century: From Constitutional Period to Reza Shah, vol XI of a History of Persian Literature, edited by Ali-Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, 311–52. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2015. Loloi, Parvin, and William Oxley, trans. Poems from the Divan of Hafez. Devon: Acumen Publication, 2013. Meneghini, Daniella. “‘Obayd Zākāni.” In Encyclopaedia Iranica. Ehsan Yarshater, ed. New York: Columbia University, 2008. Mir, Sirus. “Nasim-e Shomāl va Mas’aleh-ye Zan dar Nezhat-e Mashruteh.” Irānshenāsi 11, no. 3 (1993): 427–50. Nafisi, Sa’id. “Seyyed Ashraf al-Din Gilāni.” In Jāvdāneh Seyyed Ashraf al-Din Gilāni (Nasim-e Shomāl), edited by Hoseyn Namini, 7–14. Tehran: Ketāb-i Farzān, 1984.

104  Parvin Loloi Namini, Hoseyn, ed. Jāvdāneh Seyyed Ashraf al-Din Gilāni (Nasim-e Shomāl). Tehran: Ketāb-e Farzān, 1984. Parvin, Nassereddin. “Nasim-e Šemāl.” In Encyclopaedia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 2000; last updated 2010. www​.iranica​.com​/nasim​-shemal. Parvin, Nāsereddin. “Sargoẕasht-e Nasim-e Shomāl.” Irānshenāsi 14, no. 2 (2002): 379–92. Rahman, M. “Āšraf Gīlānī.” In Encyclopaedia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 1987; last updated 2011. http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/asraf​-gilani​-poet. Sadr Hāshemi, Mohammad. Tārikh-e Jarā’ed va Majallāt-e Irān. 4 vols. Esfahān: N.p., 1948–53. Sa’īdī Sīrjānī, A.A. “Dehḵodā, Mīrzā ‘Alī-Akbar Qazvīnī.” In Encyclopaedia Iranica. Ehsan Yarshater, ed. New York: Columbia University, 1994, last updated, 2011. Seyed-Gohrab, Ali-Asghar, ed. Literature of the Early Twentieth Century: From Constitutional Period to Reza Shah, vol. XI of a History of Persian Literature. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2015. Seyed-Gohrab, Ali-Asghar, “Poetry as Awakening: Singing Modernity.” In Literature of the Early Twentieth Century: From Constitutional Period to Reza Shah, vol. XI of a History of Persian Literature, edited by Ali-Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, 30–132. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2015. Seyed-Gohrab, Ali-Asghar. “The Political and Social Background of the Literature of the Period (1900–1940).” In Literature of the Early Twentieth Century: From Constitutional Period to Reza Shah, vol. XI of A History of Persian Literature, edited by Ali-Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, 1–29. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2015. Soroudi, Sorour. “Poet and Revolution: The Impact of Iran’s Constitutional Revolution on Social and Literary Outlook of the Poets of the Time: Part I.” Iranian Studies XII, nos. 1–2: 3–41 (winter-Spring 1979). Sprachman, Paul. “Hajv and Profane Persian.” In Persian Lyric Poetry in the Classical Era, 800–1500: Ghazals, Panegyrics and Quatrains, vol. II of a History of Persian Literature, edited by Ehsan Yarshater. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2020. Yarshater, Ehsan, ed. Persian Literature. New York: Columbia University, 1987. Zippoli, Ricardo. Irreverent Persia: Invective, Satirical and Burlesque Poetry from the Origins to Timurid Period (10th to 15th Centuries). Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2015.


Margins, Resistance and Transformation in Classical Persian Poetry Yaghmā Jandaqi as Precursive Kernel of the Constitutional Revolution Poetry Farshad Sonboldel

Unexpected changes in the poetic forms and themes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries suggest that in contrast with what Bāzgasht-e adabi (the Literary Return Movement) promoted in this era, a group of poets were keen to create more topical poems. Some of these poets attempted to depict the socio-political crises of the Qajar period in works which can be considered as early examples of poetry committed to socio-political change. Although these poems do not represent the modern sense of society and liberty, one may identify them as the origin of the innovative, revolutionary poems composed during the 1905–1911 Iranian Constitutional Revolution. Indeed, the socio-political poetry of the prerevolutionary era, regardless of the perspective it takes on the crisis, can be seen as first attempts paving the way for social commitment in the works of the next generation. However, the primary concern of this paper is to show how these committed poems contributed to a trend of modernization and reformulation of poetic forms in Persian poetry. Among the poets of early and mid-nineteenth century Iran, three poets are particularly renowned for political poems in which they criticize or maintain an advisory position in relation to the corruption of the clergy, lower state officials and the government itself. They are: Mirza Abolqāsem Qā’em Maqām Farāhānī, Mirza Fathollāh Khan Sheibāni of Kāshān, and Mirza Abolhasan Yaghmā Jandaqi. The following pages will introduce the political dimensions of Qā’em Maqām and Sheibāni’s works and will then proceed to focus on Yaghmā, who produced the forms of poetry that had the most significant impact on the poets of the following generation. Yaghmā’s oeuvre contains both poems indifferent to the cruelty of the ruling class, and poems in which he criticizes the socio-political status quo. This chapter defends the view that the later part of Yaghmā’s poetry contains the hidden language of the subordinate people, suppressed by the common, public language promoted by the hierarchical power. Therefore, raising this hidden language against the public one might be the Yaghmā’s motivation in creating innovative poetical forms.

DOI:  10.4324/9781003243335-7

106  Farshad Sonboldel

Qāem Maqām Farāhāni and Fathollāh Khan Sheibāni; from didactic poetry to political criticism Mirza Abolqāsem was born in 1779 in Farāhān. After completing his education, he was introduced to ‘Abbās Mirza’s court (1789–1833), where his father, Mirza Bozorg (The Grand Secretary), was working as the minister and advisor to the crown prince. Mirza Abolqāsem was Abbās Mirza’s secretary for several years before his father retired and Fath-Ali Shah chose him as the new minister of the crown prince.1 The substitution of Mirza Abolqāsem for his father provoked some animosity from Hāji Mirza Āqā (Grand Vizier of Mohammad Shah between 1835 and 1848) because he preferred Mirza Mūsā, Qā’em Maqām’s brother, for the position. This animosity, coupled with Qā’em Maqām’s loss of the Shah’s support immediately before the start of the last Russo-Persian war (1826–1828), was prescient of the pitfalls yet to come.2 Disillusioned by this unfair treatment, Qā’em Maqām composed a number of qasidehs (occasional odes or poems of purpose) in a critical tone (shekvā’iyyeh). In these poems, he sets out to expose the hostility of the courtiers and regional governors towards logical thinking. Qā’em Maqām attempts to illustrate the general corruption of the court while advising his addressees to change their attitudes towards this situation. In other words, although he maintains a critical position in relation to court corruption, he ends his arguments with some practical advice. For instance, in the following qasideh, he demonstrates how members of the government and courtiers conspired to undermine his position in the court, and he asks his addressee and patron to help him confront the activities of his enemies: 3 ‫ای بخت بد ای مصاحب جانم‬ ‫ای وصل تو گشته اصل حرمانم‬ O, my bad fortune, O, my soul mate O, you, whose companionship has become the origin of my deprivation … ‫ای شاه جهان نه حد من باشد‬ ‫کاین گونه سخن به بزم تو رانم‬ O, you King of the world, it is not appropriate for me To talk in this way in your banquet ‫لیکن به خدا نمانده با این حال‬ ‫امکان سکوت و جای کتمانم‬ However, by God, it is no longer possible with these conditions to stay silent and deny ‫صد گریه نهفته در گلو دارم‬ ‫در ظاهر اگر چه شاد و خندانم‬ I have a hundred cries in my throat looking happy and laughing though in appearance

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  107 ‫گر رای تو بود اینکه من یک چند‬ ‫زان تربت آستان جدا مانم‬ If you thought I should for a time be separated from the soil of your court ‫بایست به من نهفته فرمایی‬ ‫زان روز که بود عزم تهرانم‬ You should have told me in confidence on the day I was about to set off for Tehran ‫نه اینکه به کام دشمنان سازی‬ ‫رسوای فرنگ و روم و ایرانم‬ Not like this, that you made me lose my reputation Everywhere in Europe, Byzantium and Iran, as my enemies wished5


After Fath-Ali Shah’s death, Qā’em Maqām became the Grand Vizier in Mohammad Shah’s court. However, Mohammad Shah feared Qāem Maqām’s power and waited for an opportunity to eliminate him. Also, other courtiers noticed a duality in Qā’em Maqām’s behaviour. According to Rezā-Qoli Khan Hedāyat, he was not obedient to the Shah, and his relatives interfered in some of the court’s daily affairs.6 However, his attempts to devise a compromise with Iran and Russia and another with Afghāni insurgent groups, as well as his constant resistance against colonizers, are illustrations of his ability to manage internal and external crises successfully.7 Finally, in the second year of his rule, the Shah decided to have Qā’em Maqām killed. He invited Qā’em Maqām to Negārestān Park where the Shah’s guard strangled and buried him the same night.8 During the last years of his life, Qā’em Maqām continued to compose critical poems about the structure of power in Iran. These were, however, limited to his critical views of governors and military officers. One poem, for instance, is concerned with the governors of Tabriz: ‫دلی دیوانه دارم وندران دردی نهان دارم‬ ‫که گر پنهان کنم یا آشکارا بیم جان دارم‬ I have a frantic heart and therein a latent grief Whether to hide or reveal it, I fear for my life. ‫مرا تبریز تب خیز است و لب از شکوه لبریز است‬ ‫چه آذرها به جان از ملک آذربایجان دارم‬ Tabriz is the cause of my fever, and my lips are full of complaints What flames are in my soul because of the land of Azarbaijan. ‫چرا از ضابطان ارونق صد طعن و دق بینم‬ 9 ‫که قدری آب و ملک آنجا برای آب و نان دارم‬

108  Farshad Sonboldel Why should I suffer the insults and invectives of the assigned rulers of Arvanaq. Only because I have some land and a share of water providing my daily ration. His critical comments remain personal in tone and thus bear comparison to the habsiyyāt (prison poems) of the Khorāsāni style, particularly the poems of Mas’ud Sa’d Salmān (1046–1121) in the Ghaznavid period, in which the poet talks about his lost position and wealth whilst accusing his colleagues of chicanery and deceit. The main difference between a habsiyyeh and a committed socio-political poem might be that the acute objection in habsiyyeh remains personal rather than social or political. In this poem and others of its kind, the poet is still at the centre of the narrative and does not address the affliction of the marginalized lower-class or represent the suppressed voice of society in his work. One can argue, therefore, that as an advocate of Bāzgasht-e adabi, which approved of adopting the diction and poetic qualities of the fourth-century Khorāsāni or Irāqi styles of poetry, Qāem Maqām made a conscious attempt to imitate classical poetry in his critical poems, but the chaotic conditions in that society and his tendency to use a relatively straightforward language, in comparison to that of earlier poetry, made them sound more realistic and political. This difference, however, is not reflected in other formal properties of these poems, which are not refashioned in structure and remain the same. Although the context and, to a lesser extent, the language have moved towards modernity, the poetic form of Qā’em Maqām’s poems remains classical. He composed a masnavi (couplet),10 Jalāyer-nāmeh (the letter of Jalāyer), which was taken as a model for satirical, classical-like masnavis by poets of the next generation, such as those of Iraj Mirza in his A̅ ref-nāmeh (the letter of ‘A̅ ref).11 In this long poem, Qā’em Maqām tries to free his work from the language and occasionally the conventions of classical poetry, whose over-emulation was all but cliché. The poem is composed from the perspective of Jalāyer, the poet’s servant, and seeks to demonstrate his critical view of governors through quips in a relatively simple language and style. In addition, he criticises people lower down the totem pole of power. As seen in the first example above, the voice is soft and gentle towards Abbās Mirza and merely grumbles quietly like a supplicant. In the second poem, the voice is bolder, but only addresses the flaws of the lower-level governors. Therefore, although Qā’em Maqām managed to change Persian prose through the simple eloquence of his letters, which functioned as models for later writers,12 he seems to have failed to establish a similar style in his poetry. A critic of this perspective, Shams Langrudi claims that the Qajars wiped out 30,000 verses of Qā’em Maqām’s works after his death.13 Nevertheless, even if this claim has some basis in fact and Qā’em Maqām composed poems with unconventional forms, they could not have had any impact on later developments within Persian poetry as they could not have been read by the public before they were destroyed.

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  109 Another political poet in this era is Mirza Fathollāh Khan Sheibāni, who was born in 1825 in Kāshān. His grandfather served under several Zand kings (1751–1794) and Āqā Mohammad Khan Qajar (r. 1789–1797) as the governor of some major cities. His father, too, was a high-ranking clerk and a minister of finance in the court of Mohammad Mahdi Bāmdād also states that Sheibāni was the grandson of Mohammad Hossein Khan Andalib, son of Malek al-Sho’arā Sabā, and one of the prominent leaders of Bāzgasht-e Adabi (Literary Return) during Fath-Ali Shah’s period of governance.14 Sheibāni entered Mohammad Shah’s court when he was 16 and was soon appointed as one of the companions of the crown prince. Later, he became an influential governor during the premiership of Mirza Taqi Khan Amir Kabir. However, following Amir Kabir’s assassination in 1852, like the rest of Amir’s entourage, he experienced a long period of isolation in Kāshān.15 After a while, his close friends, including some influential people and princes such as Mo’ayyed al-Saltaneh Tahmāsb Mirza, Fereydun Mirza Farmānfarmā as well as Hesām al-Saltaneh, managed to get him appointed as the special Clerk of Mashhad in 1872. 16 Some argue that the isolation, state pressure and penury that Sheibāni suffered after the assassination of Amir Kabir (1807–1852) exposed him to the low standards of the lives of ordinary people.17 Langrudi argues that Sheibāni reflects on his experiences of living like and among the subalterns, which created some of the early modern prototypes of committed poetry. In these poems, the critical gaze of the poet is directed not only towards members of the government, including the ministers and regional rulers of the time, but also towards the Shah himself. At times, these poems have a political, advisory tone, but, in most cases, they are directly critical of the political establishment. ‫دادگر آسمان که داد به شه داد‬ ‫داد که تا خاکیان رهند ز بیداد‬ When the Sky’s judge entrusted the right of judgement to the Shah He wanted to save earth-dwellers from injustice ‫گر ندهد داد خلق دادگر خاک‬ ‫دادگر آسمان بگیرد از او داد‬ If the judge of the earth (the Shah) does not grant justice to people the Sky’s judge will revenge ‫داد تو را داد تا که داد دهی تو‬ ‫گر ندهی داد داد از تو کند داد‬ He gave you the right of judgement so you would give justice to people If you do not grant justice, Justice will object ‫داد ده امروز تا که داد دهندت‬ ‫فردا کانجا یکی ست بنده و آزاد‬ Grant justice today so you are granted justice tomorrow, where the master and serf are equal ‫گوش به فریاد دادخواه ده امروز‬ 18 ‫تات به فردا نکرد باید فریاد‬

110  Farshad Sonboldel Listen to the cries of supplicants today If you don’t want to cry tomorrow The language clearly echoes the didactic poetry of the Khorāsāni style, written between the ninth and twelfth centuries, with moral messages similar to those of Rudaki, Kasā’i or Daqiqi. The low percentage of Arabic words of the poetic diction and less complicated rhetorical figures show that the poem is modelled after the classical masters of that era. In terms of meter, too, the poem is based on a very popular prosodic meter for the ghazal template, Monsareh-e Mosaman-e Matvi-e Manhur (- / - u u - /u – u - / - u u -). In this poem, Sheibāni speaks to the concept of justice, but not as a modern concept born of the Constitutional Revolution. Niku-Hemmat believes that the political aspect of Sheybāni’s works is related to the last years of his life and, except for this portion, the majority of Sheibāni’s poems are his Bāzgasht poems. However, he does not clarify what he means by “last years” or indicate the source of this claim. Thus, one could consider Sheibāni a rigorous advocate of Bāzgasht-e adabi in so far as (1) he was encouraging other poets to join that movement; and (2) his political works can be considered a kind of poetical experiment under the rubric of that literary movement to the end of this life.19 Justice in this poem is still a holy covenant between the ruler and God. In clarifying the criticism embedded in it (justice), one must investigate the poem’s references to socio-political events and figures. In the following poem, Sheibāni is speaking about the realm’s governors and in the last two distichs addresses the Shah himself as the culprit: ‫والیان را غم والیت نیست‬ ‫ظلمشان را حد و نهایت نیست‬ Governors do not mind the country’s grief Their cruelty has no limits or end ‫وز جهاندار سوی خلق جهان‬ ‫نظر رحمت و عنایت نیست‬ And the kings of the world do not look upon their subjects with mercy and favour ‫یک سرائی نماند در همه ملک‬ ‫که در او فتنه را سرایت نیست‬ There is no house in the whole country Which is not infected by misery ‫وندرین کافیان حضرت شاه‬ ‫بخدا ذره ای کفایت نیست‬ Moreover, there is not even a bit of competency in the ranks of the competent at the court ‫وین سخن های مجلس وزرا‬ ‫به جز از قصه و حکایت نیست‬ And the blabber of the ministers in the parliament Are nothing if not fantastical tales and anecdotes

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  111 ‫این حکایت ز من به شاه برید‬ ‫که مرا از کسی شکایت نیست‬ Take this tale of mine to the Shah As I have no complaints against anyone else ‫چکنی والی آن کسی کورا‬ 20 ‫غم و اندیشه والیت نیست‬ Why do you assign someone as a governor who does not care about the land and the people? The poet is aware of the ministerial shortcomings within the country, and accordingly, he addresses the highest ear in the land. Therefore, the appealing (complaining) language of the poem is not that of the common folk idiom. The addressee in this poem is treated as a sublime figure and the language is commensurate with the discourse of court poetry. In most verses, the poet uses the third person to address the Shah indirectly.21 Although the critical perspective of the poem refers to a broad, public issue, the poem’s form remains elitist. Like Qā’em Maqām, Sheibāni’s shortcoming is that he did not harmonize the formal features of his political poems, such as the rhythmic system and poetic form with the topical content. Although he establishes a convincing voice to criticize the government, he is not successful in adapting the structure of the text to the subject matter. His critical ideas are, therefore, adversely affected by his penchant for old conventions—with an added redundancy that was his own.22 Mohammad Mokhtāri states that varying degrees of change as per different aspects of culture stem from an incompatibility between the desires of individuals, which accords with the means society or the political establishment provides for the fulfilment of those desires. He stresses that this holds particularly true in the case of Persian poetry, pointing to a culture that suffers from the asynchronous evolution of social groups, which in turn can be conducive to inharmonious cultural products:23 Sheibāni’s poetry, then, speaks of two different societal demands. On the one hand, he wants to reform Persian poetry so that it is able to expose the tyranny of the age, and on the other hand, he wants to preserve inherited poetical conventions. This ambivalent approach towards literary change is also visible in the works of both the traditionalists and the gradualist modernists of the next generation. In this situation, on the one hand, the work is loyal to the traditional poetic standards, and on the other hand, struggles with traditional and hierarchical systems in social reality. Thus, choosing a moderate corrective approach towards the past, the poet attempts to reform and improve some aspects of the traditional aesthetic instead of destroying it. Sheibāni employs the ghazal content form primarily used for lyrical expression to illustrate his critical (political) views. Although lyrical poetry, with its scope for expressing the poet’s personal feelings, is able to carry political subject matter, qasideh is oft more suitable for conventionally more societally relevant and critical subjects. By changing the medium of criticism from the qasideh to a more intimate and personal poetic form (ghazal), Sheibāni also attempts to

112  Farshad Sonboldel free his poetry from complex classical figurative devices.24 Sheibāni’s message to his readers is unburdened by convoluted imagery and rhetoric in comparison to former poets. This has made him, however, be more cautious when it comes to criticizing the Shah himself as even in his most critical poems, his tone is more didactic than critical: ‫شاه ما چشمه ایست عذب و زالل‬ ‫که دور او خفته شیر و پیلی چند‬ Our King is like a fountain, sweet and clear Around which some lions and elephants are asleep ‫می نگردد اگر چه تشنه بود‬ 25 ‫گرد آن چشمه مرد دانشمند‬ A wise man does not walk around that fountain even if he is thirsty. While praising the Shah, the poet criticizes the Shah’s inner circle. One can consider this a zamm-e shabih be madh, or asteism, where a complaint is clad in the clothes of intense praise. The poet uses this rhetorical figure to generate a courteous sarcasm through which he is able to criticize the Shah covertly: whilst praising the Shah for being gracious and honest, the poet warns wise people not to engage with him closely. Whereas Qā’em Maqām and Sheibāni’s innovations were mostly limited to content, Yaghmā’s were mostly limited to form. In his poetic protestations, he espouses elements from ta’ziyeh (passion plays) and the nowheh (dirge) religious tradition. He also experiments with the folk idiom in an attempt to broaden the range of his readers to include ordinary people and not only the usual educated elite and courtiers. Thus, although Qā’em Maqām, Sheibāni and Yaghmā often address the same issues, in Yaghmā’s poetry the language and the tone are not conciliatory, and there is little space for advisory gestures. Yaghmā is not a court poet, and his political criticism is mostly addressed to the people of his class rather than the court. He therefore composed some of his poems in forms more familiar to ordinary people. In contrast, the first two poets seem to have been interested in advising only the ruler and could not find a common tenor with ordinary folk, the masses. As such, the inclusion of Qā’em Maqām and Sheibāni amongst pioneering poets who were harbingers of new pathways for changing the neglectful social climate of their time is somewhat erroneous. Yaghmā’s poetry has the ironic distinction of being both a poetics that garners common societal elements in its expression and one that weds elitist learnedness with centuriesold embedded traditional folk cognizance. His form seems to engage an idiom of nagging amongst the common folk: earthy per se. Conscientious of the function of religious rituals as theatrical spaces well-equipped for expressing frustration, Yaghmā embarked on writing poetry that combines poetic religious dogma with social protest. A social crisis often impacts artistic production in two phases. In the first phase, when the crisis is still in progress, the artistic voice is concerned with the topical

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  113 turmoil. The second phase is when long-term pressures prevalent in the foundation of the crisis may translate into the form and structure, as in pre-war and postwar poetry: the crisis is an impetus for transforming the poetic forms. Yaghmā, whose life and works will be analysed in the following section, dedicated a significant part of his oeuvre to translating the moments of crisis into new forms.

Mirza Abolhasan Yaghmā Jandaqi: A Wanderer Rebel Yaghmā, son of Hāj Ebrāhim-Qoli, was born in 1782 in Khur and Biyābānak, a small village in the environs of Jandaq, Esfahān province. He came from a lowincome family and had to work as a camel herder from the mere age of six.26 Almost all Tazkarehs (biographical dictionaries) include an anecdote about an event that drastically changed his life. Apparently, Yaghmā encountered Amir Esmā’il Khan Arab Āmeri, one of the most powerful local rulers of that era, at some point early in his life.27 At first, Yaghmā became one of Esmā’il Khan’s carriers (letter and such), but, after a while, Esmā’il Khan discovered his talent in writing and promoted him to the position of the scribe. It was during these early formative years that Mirza Rahim Yaghmā, who had changed his first name to Abolhasan, began to compose poetry with Majnun as his nom de plume. In 1801, the central government waged war against Esmā’il Khan. Bāqer Khan Enzāni, who was the commander of the state forces in that conflict, defeated Esmā’il Khan and appointed Sardār Zolfaqār Khan as the governor of Semnān and Dāmghān.28 Consequently, Esmā’il Khan’s wealth and staff were transferred to Zolfaqār Khan. After a short stint as a soldier, Yaghmā managed to convince Mohammad Ali Māzandarāni, Zolfaqār Khan’s brother-in-law, to return him to his former post as the scribe. It did not take long before his intellectual and artistic capacity attracted the attention of Zolfaqār Khan, who made him his special secretary. Zolfaqār Khan’s victory in Khorāsān’s war (1817–1818) made him an essential commander to Fath-Ali Shah, which, in turn, had an enormous impact on Yaghmā’s social climb.29 This did not last as when, in the 1820s, the Shah sent a governor named Hāj Aziz Semnāni to the region to gather taxes, the governor who envied Yaghmā’s position forged a letter in Yaghmā’s name, defaming Zolfaqār Khan. this led to the Yaghmā’s arrest further leading to the confiscation of his wealth and detainment of his family.30 After his release, he changed his pen name to Yaghmā (booty, despoliation). He became enthralled with mystical ideas and travelled to different parts of the country: journeys as a mystic wayfarer. However, it seems these mystical journeys served another purpose as well: avoiding his enemies. For a short period, Yaghmā also lived in Qom, where he established a literary group under the name of Anjoman-e Mofākeheh (Facetiae Community) with Mohammad Ali Māzandarāni and Mirza Mahdi Malek al-Kottāb, Qā’em Maqām’s son-in-law. This group, as the name suggests, consisted of a group of poets and writers composing satirical poems and texts. Khan Malek Sāsāni’s essay, which is the best chronicle of this group says this:

114  Farshad Sonboldel Every evening those three gathered together in the tomb of Mostowfi al-Mamālek in the ‘Old Yard’, and as Yaghmā called it, they conducted the business of Anjoman-e Mofākeheh. Mirza Mohammad Ali read orisons, Mirza Mahdi taught calligraphy to Mirza Khanlar Khan, and Mirza Mahmud Khan, sons of Mirza Mohammad Mahdi, and Yaghmā composed Sardāriyeh on behalf of Sardār Zolfaqār Khan.31 One possible implication of Sāsāni’s essay is that Anjoman-e Mofākeheh was merely a series of informal gatherings rather than a professional literary group. There is no evidence to suggest that it had any published outcome except for Sardāriyeh. One may argue that, regardless of the activities in which Anjoman-e Mofākeheh engaged, the members’ founding of a private, marginal literary organization indicates their intention to act against the institutionalized literature of the mainstream men of letters—and court poets. Forming such a group can be considered the beginning of a period in which several secret intellectual groups and societies started to be shaped. The members of Anjoman-e Mofākeheh, at that time, had been driven out of the Qajar court. Both Āqā Mohammad ‘Ali and Malek al-Kottāb were people whose lives had been adversely affected by their conflicts with the state. Yaghmā had problems with governors who were his enemies or showed cruelty to the masses. As such he created one of the earliest intellectual societies of Iran, the intention of which was to oppose the unjust behaviour of those in power through satirical poetry. Besides, it is not clear if Yaghmā composed Sardāriyeh for Zolfaqār Khan since as he probably moved to Qom to put distance between himself and Zolfaqār Khan. It seems, therefore, an unlikely postulate that he would dedicate a work to the Khan. Thereafter he headed to Tehran where he came across Hāji Mirza Āqāsi (d. 1848), the prime minister. According to ‘Ali Āl-e Dāvud, Hāji Mirza Āqāsi, who dabbled in mysticism, became Yaghmā’s advocate even though Yaghmā did not like him and had even composed a couplet criticizing his management of country’s affairs as a minister.32 Āl-e Dāvud does not delve into the chronological order of these events, and it is not clear when the said couplet was composed. Yaghmā’s biographers clearly imply that his relationship with the prime minister led him to the court of Mohammad Shah Qajar’s (r. 1834–1848) and Hāji Mirza appointed him as the minister of Kāshān (vezārat-e hokumat-e Kāshān), during which ministership he composed, Kholāsat-ol-Eftezāh (Synopsis of messing-up), a narrative poem about the scandal of a famous family.33 Āl-e Dāvud says that after the circulation of Kholāsat al-Eftezāh in Kāshān, the offended party tried to weaken and ruin Yaghmā’s reputation by depicting him as a debauched drunkard. They even forced the leading preacher of the city to disseminate this information. This yielded a forceful and insincere repentance from Yaghmā. Although he composed some poems as to his devotional sincerity, he could no longer live in Kāshān. Indeed, if it were not for the renowned clergyman, Mollā Ahmad Narāqi (1771–1829), Yaghmā could have been killed.34 Having survived this crisis, in 1838, he travelled to Afghanistan as a member of Mohammad Shah’s entourage. Immediately after this trip, he became familiar

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  115 with Sheykh Ahmad Ahsā’i’s discourse and the ‘Sheykhiyyeh’ branch of Shi’ism through his son, Esmā’il Honar. Reading Ershād al-Avām (Guidance for ordinary people) by Mohammad Karim Khan Kermāni, he was further immersed in Sheykhiyyeh teachings. According to Āl-e Dāvud, Mohammad Rahim Khan (d. 1890), the leader of Sheykhiyyeh of Kerman, wrote a book entitled Khan-e Yaghmā (Yaghmā’s feast), in which he focused solely on answering Yaghmā’s enquiries about the religious practices of that denomination.35 The fact that a book was written specifically to convince Yaghmā to follow that denomination suggests the importance of Yaghmā for the leaders of Sheykhiyyeh and probably his later position in the hierarchy of this sect. Yaghmā’s interest in Sheykhiyyeh also caused a rift with Hāji Seyed Mirza Jandaqi the mujtahid and the judge of Jandaq. This fight may have been the reason why, on several occasions, he had to leave Jandaq and live in other cities for long periods of time. Yaghmā was a wanderer by nature and the thought of settling down in one place did not sit well with him. During the last years of his life, at his children’s insistence, he stayed in Khur for a few years. Thereafter, he set out on his last journey all across the country, with a short stay in Herat, before coming back to his birthplace.36 He died on 12 November 1859 in Khur, where he was buried in a small shrine. He asked his second son, Safā’i, to devote his whole wealth to the establishment of a ‘Hosseini’ (a hall for Shiite lamentation ceremonies).37 According to most anthologists and biographers, Yaghmā himself did not collect his poems and letters.38 However, one of his closest friends, Hāj Mohammad Esmā’il took it upon himself to gather Yaghmā’s works. This collection was published by Mirza ‘Abd al-Bāqi Tabib, Hāj Mohammad Esmā’il’s son, in 1866 in Tehran.39 Hāj Mohammad Esmā’il and his son went so far as to change some of the Yaghmā’s poems because they were worried about revealing the poet’s unconventional thoughts in a society governed by conventional ideas. Āl-e Dāvud points to the fact that they specifically changed the lines in which the poet criticized religious figures. For instance, they substituted ‘ābed’, ‘zāhed’, ‘Sheykh’ with ‘kāfer’, ‘bābi’ as well as ‘nāseh’.40 One may argue that by changing these words, they attempted to hide Yaghmā’s interest in Sheykhiyyeh and to avoid accusations of apostasy. Soltān Seyf al-Dowleh mentions Yaghmā’s anxiety about the projected consequences of Hāj Mohammad Esmā’il’s efforts.41 Yaghmā himself claimed that none of the works Hāj Mohammad Esmā’il had gathered was his. In a letter to his son, Ahmad Safā’i, in 1852, he states: Except for Sardāriyeh and a few old Persian letters, as well as some ghazals which are clearly mine, style-wise, other poems are incorrect or distorted. […] Please add these worthless poems which [do not belong to me and] are attributed to my works incorrectly to [the collection named] Ahmadā (O Ahmad),42 because this collection is, also, devoid of beauty and poetic conventions and, if not for its rhyme, is not poetry.43 In a letter to his friend Mollā Mohammad Hasan Esfahāni,44 he explains how he attempted to destroy a substantial amount of his work. However, one can argue

116  Farshad Sonboldel that Yaghmā’s claim about the number of poems mistakenly attributed to him is exaggerated. For instance, based on almost every text about Yaghmā’s life and career, Khoāsat al-Eftezāh is his work. Also, Seyf al-Dowleh in his letter to Esmā’il Honar about the errata in the published divan, emphasizes that a considerable number of those poems are his except for a few. He was one of Yaghmā’s closest friends and students and was in his inner circle during the composition of these works. Seyf al-Dowleh explains that Yaghmā had composed poems under different pen names in Ahmadā and Qassābiyyeh (Letter of a butcher). However, different pen names are not justification for omitting these works from the divan.45 According to Esmā’il Honar, Yaghmā stopped composing satirical poems in the middle of working on the Tarji’band46 Hajv-e Belā Mālek (a satire not attributed to anyone). Having decided to stop composing satirical poems, Yaghmā seems to have tried to destroy the earlier ones, or he may have compiled them in another book under a different pen name.47 He also composed several robā’is (quatrains) in Enābat-nāmeh (the letter of regret) to absolve himself of the evil influence of his satires. There is no evidence that external pressures prompted him to stop composing satires. It may be that after years of composing critical poetry against the authorities to no avail he decided to quit. One may also argue that he was worried that his children’s future would be adversely affected by his radical, critical points of view about the political and religious establishment. Although Yaghmā worked hard to disclaim his satirical works, they were considered influential by some of his contemporaries and by later generations. Rezā-Qoli Khan Hedāyat argues that some of Yaghmā’s satirical poems had innovative poetic forms and introduced new nuances into Persian poetry.48 In contrast, based on an unfortunate post-rationalization that deemed base all poetical works between the fifteenth and late nineteenth century, some recent scholars consider these satirical poems nothing short of harmful, with little literary value.49

Yaghmā’s Satirical Poetry: Publicizing the Hidden Transcript Yaghmā’s abstention from any contact with the ruling class may explain his disclaiming of his satirical works. The low number of qasidehs in his divan also shows that he did not want to be known as a panegyrist. It can be assumed that he composed some panegyric qasidehs for the Qajar kings in the early stages of his career. However, almost none of these are available in his divan or anthologies and Tazkarehs (biographical dictionaries). The only panegyric in his divan is a qasideh about Mirza Seyed Mohammad Khan-e Tubā (1868), one of the Sufi leaders of the time. In addition to his immersion in Sufi ideas and ideals in the second half of his life, his conflict with the authorities might also have been a reason for destroying these panegyric poems.50 A poem composed in his later years points to this lack of interest in panegyrics: ‫تا کنون کم سی گذشت از روزگار شاعری‬ ‫کافرم یک حرف اگر مدح کسم در دفتر است‬

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  117 Until now it has been thirty years since I became a poet: Call me an infidel if you find one panegyric word in my divan.51 This aversion to panegyric poetry is also corroborated by Mahmud Mirza Qajar, one of Fath-Ali Shah’s many sons who was a poet and a writer himself. Mahmud Mirza refers to Yaghmā as a hot-blooded and outspoken person, who constantly runs away from taking service. He recounts his first meeting with Yaghmā in which the latter was taciturn and gloomy because one of the attendants had told him that his clothes were not suitable for that occasion.52 In contrast, his behaviour towards his friends, and generally those of the same social rank, was completely different. While he tried to perpetrate an aloof and unattainable demeanour and persona to the members of the ruling class, he was quite the opposite with those lower in the social hierarchy. For instance, the daughter of Adib al-Mamālek Marāghi, who was one of Yaghmā’s closest friends in Tehran, and who shared many of his beliefs (Sheykhiyyeh) and passions53 describes Yaghmā as an agreeable and cheerful man who was a bottomless treasure-trove of poetry and satire.54 Yaghmā’s lifestyle, together with his deliberate act of omitting satirical and panegyric poems from his repertoire, suggests that he was aware of the trend of the considerable clash between the ruling class and the subalterns: Yaghmā naturally empathized with the latter due to his own experiences. Although he comprehended the crisis of his time, since his social resistance was devoid of premeditated discourse and his mindset was traditional, his attacks were limited to local rulers and lower-level officials. Yaghmā’s angst unveils itself in an unconventional form in his satirical works, to the extent that his critique of the hierarchy of power in society is embodied also in his resistance to the conventions of literary language. In Sardāriyeh, a collection of satirical ghazals, Yaghmā tries to use Sardār Zolfaqār Khan’s rude catchphrase, “zan qahbeh” (cuckold), in every single verse. By reflecting the harsh and impolite language of Sardār Zolfaqār Khan, Yaghmā, for the first time in his career, is reacting to the corruption of his age. His harsh tone and choice of impolite words mean to reflect badly on those he invokes in his poems. This acutely ironic poetry is a dark stage imbued with swearing and harassment. It portrays the atmosphere of the era, while attacking the hierarchy of values. He rebels against the presumptuous correlations between high-value subjects and haughty mannerisms that come with fancy words. Instead, he deems filthy language as more suitable for such high-minded folk. Nevertheless, his approach toward the poetic language does not, in itself, make the poem, as a literary work, a perfect example of the newly changed structure of poetry. He represents a radical corrective approach towards the ossified grips of traditional poetics. His position suggests the power of political anxieties in advancing individuation in poetics—and poetry. Kholāsat al-Eftezāh is an apparent attempt at structural innovation, where he has tried to use some nowheh-like (lament) monologues to direct the narrative’s language towards ordinary people. In doing so, he creates a nowheh-like discourse and develops it by a built-up colloquial language. Nowhehs with colloquial idiom

118  Farshad Sonboldel and different arrangements of rhyme and prosodic patterns point to his rigour in breaking the monotony of classical Persian poetry. Nowhehs are used as a sort of poetic respite during the course of the narration and add a theatrical nuance. The content of the poem is compatible with Yaghmā’s persona as a political insurgent: he is the first to unveil, poetically, the regrettable social divide in the country, without hiding behind symbols and metaphors. The story is set in Kāshān and describes a big party at which an attack is carried out by a group of bondswomen. In this poem, Yaghmā attempts to illustrate violence committed by the ‘lower class’, the bondswomen, against a group of men considered to be of higher rank. The bondswomen assault these drunk and affluent men. They beat them as punishment, saying that they have suffered at the hands of such men of leisure. Yaghmā does not evaluate any of these groups and does not try to depict these bondswomen as revolutionaries. Instead, he affords a theatre of retribution that is both utterly uncensored and unabashed. As James C. Scott states in his book Domination and the Arts of Resistance, every subordinate group creates a ‘hidden transcript’ representing a critique of power, spoken when proponents of the dominant rule are absent.55 That is to say, every social class has its idiom in facing the dominant rule, although only understood by its own members. In moments of crisis or when these subordinate groups are under pressure, this language may turn aggressive and radical. It stands to reason, however, that cautiousness is key when the dominant class is face to face. Scott also argues that the ruling class develops its own hidden transcript to represent the practices and claims of its rule. Not openly avowed, non-disclosure of information helps maintain a gap between the upper and lower classes. Scott demonstrates how a comparison of the ‘hidden transcript’ of the subordinates with that of the masters, and the two ‘hidden transcripts’ with the ‘public transcript’ offers a new way of understanding resistance to domination. By ‘public transcript,’ he means the general manner or behaviour of people from different social classes or with a different scale of possessions towards each other in a public and otherwise normal context: Here we may perhaps say that the power of social forms embodying etiquette and politeness requires us often to sacrifice candor for smooth relations with our acquaintances. Our circumspect behavior may also have a strategic dimension: this person to whom we misrepresent ourselves may be able to harm or help us in some way. George Eliot may not have exaggerated in claiming that ‘there is no action possible without a little acting.’ […] Public here refers to action that is openly avowed to the other party in the power relationship, and transcript is used almost in its juridical sense (process verbal) of a complete record of what was said. This complete record, however, would also include non-speech acts such as gestures and expressions.56 Yaghmā’s oeuvre is two-pronged thematically: poems that are neutral and unbiased, and those expressing social cruelties as per the injustice incurred by the master class, the feudal lord, the king. Yaghmā’s poetry is the frontier between public

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  119 and hidden transcript: the mediator if you will. In fact, in certain parts of his work, the public transcript succumbs to the ‘hidden transcript’. Yaghmā becomes the voice of the subordinate: a voice markedly different from the other voices of Bāzgasht-e adabi. In addition, Yaghmā’s innovations in form are in communication with his agenda for the public and the hidden transcript, as will be further elaborated. The new conception of poetic expression presents a pathway to thinking of modern issues in also a novel way: classical poetics are no remedy for modern pains. Esmā’ilzādeh argues that portraying the real world was the most critical problem for the literature of Yaghmā’s period, and he was continuously looking for an innovation to transcend or solve this problem. Esmā’ilzādeh claims that Yaghmā’s rigour in offering innovation is evident in all dimensions of his thoughts.57 Two works in particular, Āsār-e Morādiyyeh (Moradi’s works), and Seyed Abud, are ideal for illustrating how Yaghmā tried to change poetry. Āsār-e Morādiyyeh (Moradi’s works), a satirical poem about ‘Ali Morād Khan Tuni, one of the rulers of Khorāsān in the Qajar era is one of the said works. Unfortunately, there is little detail available as to the date of, and the reason for, the poem’s composition. However, according to Āl-e Dāvud’s, Ali Morād Khan had attacked a caravan on its way to Jandaq and Biyābānak in which there were some of Yaghmā’s belongings. Personally affected by the cruelty of Ali Morād Khan Tuni and depicting himself and those in the working class as underdogs, Yaghmā composes a poem that echoes the pangs of a ta’ziyyeh passion play, knowing full well the societal impressions this type of performative art will yield. By adopting the theme of banditry and loss, he is, in fact, addressing societal ills to the people, revealing corruption at the governmental level. According to Peter Chelkowski, the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries were the apex of development for the ta’ziyyeh based on its popularity and the radical changes it went through: Despite criticism by the majority of the religious authorities who considered it sacrilegious for mortal men to portray any holy personage, ta’zieh became more and more beloved by the people. Performances, no longer restricted to the first ten days of the month of Muharram, lasted until the end of the following month of Safar. Plays commemorating the birthday of a saint or a prophet provided an excuse to extend the dramas to other months. Eventually, popular demand induced troupes to perform ta’ziyyeh throughout the year as an act of thanksgiving, celebrating such occasions as the happy conclusion of a journey, the recovery of health after sickness, or the return from a pilgrimage. At the end of the nineteenth century, ta’ziyyeh was on the verge of giving birth to an Iranian secular theatre.58 Āsār-e Morādiyyeh is a dialogue simulating the form of a typical ta’ziyyeh to the extent that the first verse of the poem states this is a shabih or ta’ziyyeh of a real incident.59 It contains 503 verses and, just like a ta’ziyyeh play, it starts with

120  Farshad Sonboldel the monologue of chāvosh-bāshi (the corps’ guide, frontman) and continues with monologues and dialogues by characters. Āl-e Dāvud claims that a ta’ziyyeh with dialogue as its platform was controversial and not yet established in those years. In other words, he suggests that it was Yaghmā who introduced dialogue into the thematic fold of a ta’ziyyeh. 60 However, late Zand period (1751–1794) European travelogues illustrate that there were already ta’ziyyeh of the kind in Iran before Yaghmā. In addition, writing ta’ziyyeh dialogues as a text for future performances can be traced to the Zand period. It should also be noted that there is evidence showing that there was a book of ta’ziyyeh, Jong-e Shahadat (Collections on Martyrdom), written between 1800 and 1834, and accessible in Fath-Ali Shah’s court library.61 He may have been influenced by this book as he had access to Mohammad Shah’s library. Saeed Talajooy also states that there were always speaking parts in ta’ziyyeh plays in the style of narration or announcements, but the intermittent dialogue was introduced during the reign of Karim Khan (r. 1751–1779), reaching its zenith in the 1840s.62 At the very least, Āsār-e Morādiyyeh was unique in that it introduced the polyphony of drama into the primarily monophonic discourse of Persian poetry. The importance of this innovation is most aptly highlighted when one notes the rigorous experimentations to the same effect in the era leading to the Constitutional Revolution and later leading to the poetic styles of Mirzadeh Eshqi, Nimā Yushij and Tondar Kiā, who are among the more stellar poets of the period. However, it must be noted that it is not clear if these poets were influenced by Yaghmā, particularly because they had their own vision of drama, which was more Western in its nuances and philosophical dimensions. One may argue that Yaghmā too, had the opportunity to become familiar with the Western sense of drama through travelogues written by contemporary writers. He may have read Masir-e Tālebi (Tāleb’s Route), published 1813, a travelogue by Mirza Abutāleb (d. 1806), who was in Europe between 1798 and 1803, and Safarnāmeh-ye Mirza Sāleh63 (Mirza Sāleh’s Travelogue), who was in Europe between 1815 and 1819: both talk about the theatre. However, one can find nothing in Yaghmā’s divan to suggest his familiarity with Western drama, even though certainly reading other people’s works had a significant role in shaping his ideas about dramatic poetry. During Yaghmā’s lifetime, another type of ta’ziyyeh, shabih-e mozhek (quasi-buffoonish ta’ziyyeh), was invented and evolved. This comic form of ta’ziyyeh probably began in the 1810s but reached its full potential in the 1870s. As Sādeq Āshurpur states, this kind of ta’ziyyeh was necessary for enhancing people’s morale after two months of mourning. It was performed from about the eleventh day of Moharram. The narrations often revolved around the avenging of Imam Hossein by Mokhtār (1225–1289) and his subsequent victories to that end.64 After a time, the contents of these works started to change gradually. A number of ta’ziyeh plays, mostly relating to the second half of Fath-Ali Shah’s reign (1815 onwards), are about religious figures involved in comic situations. For instance, a ta’ziyyeh play named Arusi-e

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  121 Qoraysh (Qoraysh tribe wedding) about Fātemeh, daughter of the Prophet Mohammad, going to a wedding party is mentioned by E’temād al-Saltaneh in his memoirs.65Although there was a considerable backlash against such works, shabih-e mozhek became one of the proper types of ta’ziyyeh in Nāser al-Din Shah’s era (r.1848–1896).66 Thus, one can consider Āsār-e Morādiyyeh a shabih-e mozhek that is not only based on a new form of dramatic art in that age but also innovative in making this kind of ta’ziyyeh political. A regular shabih-e mozhek still dealt with religious and semi-religious figures and issues, while Yaghmā was directly concerned with secular and political subjects. ‫مژده دادن صفرقلی مراد را‬ Safar-Qoli’s glad tidings to Morād: ‫مژده ای دزد طبس قافله تون آمد‬ ‫مستعد باش که هنگام شبیخون آمد‬ Glad tidings, O the thief of Tabas: Tun’s convoy just arrived Get ready because that is camisado time ‫بارشان سنجد و انغوزه و جوز است و مویز‬ ‫برک و موزه و عناب و زریر و همه چیز‬ They are carrying Persian olive, asafetida, walnuts and Zante currant and walnuts. Woollen fabric, shoes, Jujube, Reseda and all sorts of goodies. ‫پای بر راه نه و بر سرشان شبخون آر‬ ‫شکم ریقوی خود را ز عزا بیرون آر‬ Let’s go, attack them camisado style. And make your weepy belly happy ‫خطاب مراد به صفرقلی‬ Morād’s address to Safar-Qoli: ‫ایا جوان به چه منزل عبور قافله بود‬ ‫میان تو و ایشان چه قدر فاصله بود‬ O young man from which place are they passing? How long was the distance between you and them? ‫بگو ز عدت ایشان که بس به تشویشم‬ ‫مخالفت بگذار ای گه تو بر ریشم‬ Tell me about their numbers because I am so nervous Stop opposing me as your shit is on my beard. ‫مباد آنکه خبر نادرست پوچ بود‬ ‫نه کاروان طبس لشکر بلوچ بود‬ I hope the information is not wrong And your Tabas convoy becomes the Baluch army. ‫جواب صفرقلی مراد را‬ Safar-Qoli’s response to Morād: ‫به ریش تو که خودم اهل کاروان دیدم‬ ‫چنان شدم که ز شادی به خویشتن ریدم‬

122  Farshad Sonboldel I swear on your beard that I myself saw the convoy I was so happy that I pooped my pants. ‫رسیده اند کنون که تا حوالی طشتاب‬ ‫شتر شده به چرا چشم کاروان در خواب‬ They are in the proximity of Tashtāb now [this night] Their camels are grazing and the convoy is sleeping tight ‫نهاده با برک تنگ تنگ بر سر هم‬ ‫فدای ریش تو انغوزه نیست از گه کم‬ They have stacked tons of woollen fabric on top of one another it appeared May your lovely beard be blessed: asafetida is akin shit when it comes to your beard. ‫سپه بساز که اینک زمان تاراج است‬ 67 ‫کسی که با تو نیاید به دزدی اخراج است‬ Prepare your army because it is time to loot Anyone who does not join you in the loot should be sacked By his critique of society, Yaghmā slams the opportunistic governors of his period. His Ali-Morād Khan type is not a specific class. Abuse of power and pillage comes in many shapes and forms. To portray the pressures on the common people, Yaghmā utilizes their hidden transcript, their idiom, and the most popular form of art among them to make his criticism public.68 Thus he utilizes ta’ziyyeh, supported by the Shah and the upper class, but still maintains its popular forms of expression. He infuses an idiom that is folkish while observing all classical and elite poetic conventions. By token of its idiomatic appeal, a poem like this sets itself apart from a typical satirical poem such as fourteenth-century Obeyd Zākāni’s Mush-o-Gorbeh (Mouse and Cat). Obeyd also created enigmatic dialogues and transgressed the standard diction of Persian poetry to make it colloquial. However, the language of Obeyd’s work finds proximity to the idiom of the common folk by following the traditional mode of monāzereh (argumentation(. Therefore, the purpose of colloquial language or dialogue is not to communicate with common people but to adhere to the conventions/forms of the traditional form of monāzereh. Āsār-e Morādiyyeh, however, is an experiment geared to finding a new way of using colloquial language by innovating a new form—a new genre per se. While a narrative poem like Mush-o-Gorbeh is imbued with symbolic and veiled depictions, Āsār-e Morādiyyeh yawps on behalf of the common folk and names the actual governors of the era. 69 The importance and influence of Yaqmā’s satirical, political, and ta’ziyyehlike poems have been overlooked. Histories of literature and theatre in Iran identify Mohammad Ali Afrāshteh (1908–1959)70 as the first person who combined poetry and comic ta’ziyyeh to mock the government and the members of the ruling class.71 Although Afrāshteh’s works were instrumental in advancing this type of poetry and he peppered them with his insightful critical views, his works were merely a matured version of Yaghmā’s Āsār-e Morādiyyeh.

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  123 For instance, in one of his most famous works, Ta’ziyyeh dar Bakhshdāri (Ta’ziyyeh in the Sheriff’s Office), he describes how a sheriff, the town commissar and the village overlord try to confiscate ordinary people’s belongings and imprison Mashadi Hasan, who is the villagers’ representative. Notwithstanding the historical differences in the settings of these dramatic works, there are ample similarities between Yaghmā’s Mohammad Shah Qajar era and Afrāshteh’s early 1920s. A difference is that Yaghmā uses real names and events to highlight societal cruelty, while Afrāshteh’s characters are symbolic of various people in his milieu. One can argue that Afrāshteh’s familiarity with modern drama and, in fact, the prominence of modern drama in his literary landscape yields non-objective comparisons. Another notable difference between Āsār-e Morādiyeh and the works of Yaghmā’s predecessors and successors is its attempt to change both the traditional, monotonous rhythmic system and the solidified rhyme patterns in the conventional poetic forms. In Āsār-e Morādiyeh, each side of the dialogue is placed in a separate stanza. In order to reflect a more natural tone of speech based on the situation of each persona, all stanzas follow an independent meter. For instance, in the previous sample, in the first stanza containing SafarQoli’s glad tiding to Morād, the poet has used the meter Ramal-e Mosamman-e Makhbun-e Mahzuf (- - / - - u u / - - u u / - - u -). Then he moves on to Mojtas-e Mosamman-e Makhbun-e Mahzuf (- - / - u - u / - - u u / - u - u) to reflect the change in the tone: from initial excitement to a doubtful and anxious dialogue between the two personas. Indeed, morakkab (alternate), multiplicative meters used in these stanzas harmonize the rhythm of the poem with the natural tone of speech. In some other parts of the poem, he also uses monfared meters to reflect the sadness and disappointment in the tone of the personas. For instance, at the end of the poem the broken forces of Morād sing in a Rajaz-e Mosamman-e Sālem meter consisting of a sequence of the same foot (- u - - / - u - - /- u - - /u - -), which is mostly used for laments and elegies. In terms of rhyme patterns, most stanzas consist of more than three distichs and follow the rhyme scheme of a masnavi, or independently rhymed couplets. However, later in the poem, to show the pace of events and the desperation of the personas, he reduces the length of each stanza to a quatrain and changes the masnavi template to alternate rhyming. Another little-studied work by Yaghmā which illustrates his approach towards changes in the formal aspects of Persian poetry is Seyed Abud. This poem is a satire written on behalf of Hossein Jandaqi, who was a friend of Yaghmā’s and a clerk in the court of the governor of Kāshān. The target of the satire is Seyed Abud, who apparently plotted to confiscate Hossein’s wealth after a dispute in the court of Khorāsān’s governor. This poem has never been included in Yaghmā’s divan, and it has only been published once in the journal Yaghmā in 1954.72 According to the short preface to this poem, Hossein was himself an inferior poet. Thus, Yaghmā, who adopts Hossein as his persona, reflects his predicament, but in a poetic style that reflects his flaws as a poet.

124  Farshad Sonboldel Since the poem was intended to support Hossein and deride Seyed Abud, it seems odd that the poet mocks his friend while lampooning his enemy, but he successfully strikes a balance between a friendly metapoetic commentary on his friend’s poetic skills and a heavy-handed satire against Seyed Abud. In addition, his use of uneven verses, adoption of common idiom and irregular prosodic rhythm makes this more than a simple lampooning satire. Although the subject matter of the poem does not differ greatly from that of his other satire, his innovative poetic form makes this poem unique to the extent that none of Yaghmā’s editors have included it in their books of his compiled poetry: ‫هیزم تر بس که بر من میفروشی در دلم پیچیده دود‬ You have sold so much wet wood to me that smoke has reached my stomach ...‫زآتش هجو منت اندیشه نیست ای سید ابود ای سید ابود‬ Don’t you fear the flames of lampoon, O Seyed Abud, Oh Seyed Abud ‫بعد هفده سال خدمت می تو بدهی چیزها نسبت به من‬، After seventeen years of service, you accuse me of deeds .‫که نگوید بعد هفتصد سال عودت موسی را یهود‬ That the Jews did not attribute to Moses when he returned after seven hundred years ‫باشد آنروزی که من خود از تو پیش افتم مگر نشنیده ای‬، There will come a day when I get ahead of you, have you not heard [you stupid cow], :‫ای کم از گوسفند از طنبور نظم مثنوی مولوی معنوی این خوش سرود‬ The nice daddies from the Tanbur-sounding verses of Rumi’s Masnavi: ‫چونکه گله بازگردد از ورود‬ When the herd is coming back from watering place ‫پس فتد آن بز که پیش آهنگ بود‬ the goat which was the scout will fall behind [...] .‫ بری‬... ‫ به به به قربان‬،‫گفته ای چشم حسین جندقی شور است و شعرش بی نمک‬ You have said Hosein has evil eyes and his poetry is banal. Go fuck yourself! .‫رو فدای چشمهای مست همچون نرگسم گردی تو ای لوچ حسود‬ My beautiful narcissus eyes are worth more than your whole being, O you jealous, cross-eyed nobody .‫ میگریزد از منک ده برو که رفتی بمبولی‬،‫میرزا یغما که در انشاء و شعر امروز بعد از معتمد بیش از همه است‬ Mirza Yaghmā who is nowadays better than everyone in prose and verse apart from Mo’tamed, run away from me, run … run you trickster 73 .‫ کوتاه کن گفت و شنود‬،‫ گم شو برو‬،‫ طولش مده‬،‫ تا چند مس و مس و مس‬،‫تو کجا و طعن و دق بر نظم و نثر چون منی‬ You are not in a position to taunt and moan about my prose and verse, how much delay, delay, delay, don’t extend your stay, get lost, and stop your jibber-jabber

One can see that from the second hemistich of the poem, the prosodic rhythm has been disturbed by extra syllables. According to classical conventions of prosody, the arrangement of the prosodic meter in the first hemistich should be maintained in every other hemistich. However, the prosodic pattern (- u -/ - - u -/ - - u -/ - - u -/ - - u -) in the first line, which in turn is an irregularly long variation of Ramal-e Mahzuf, with five subsequent feet, has changed to a slightly deviated form of the

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  125 same meter in the second hemistich (- u/ - - -/ - u - -/ - - u -/ - - u -/ - - u -). In the sixth hemistich, the Ramal-e Mahzuf meter has become even longer. Although in the seventh and eighth hemistichs, recalling a verse from Rumi’s masnavi, the meter turns to the conventional form of Ramal-e Mosaddas-e Mahzuf, with three feet, the next hemistich contains five feet as well as two extra feet at the end in mostazād format (increment poem). This format repeats in the semi-final hemistich with six feet in the first portion of the verse and four in the extra part. The final hemistich is the longest one with ten subsequent feet in the Ramal-e Mahzuf meter. According to Mohammad Dabirsiyāqi, bahr-e tavil is a poetic form in classical Persian poetry with uneven hemistichs which may contain up to 20 or even more prosodic feet. The number of feet may ‘vary from line to line of a particular poem.’74 One may argue that in Seyed Abud Yaghmā attempts to combine, probably for the first time, bahr-e tavil with mostazād, which is another template with unequal hemistichs commonly used for folk songs and religious laments. Mostazād, indeed, is a ghazal or robā’i in which the second hemistich of the verse is shorter than the first. Also, in the most common form of mostazād, the shorter hemistich adheres the first and last feet to the full metrical pattern. Despite the conventional form of mostazād, in this poem, the shorter hemistichs are only added to two verses and also vary in length. Besides, Yaghmā’s excessive use of the metrical exemptions in almost half of the verses makes the rhythm, and consequently the template, less recognizable. Mehdi Akhavān Sāles refers to some other experiments by Yaghmā with unconventional forms of mostazād appearing mostly in his nowhehs. Although Akhavān Sāles tends to portray Yaghmā’s work as a mere playing with the rules of existing traditional templates with uneven verses, he admits that Yaghmā’s attempt to vary the length of the hemistichs in a particular poem is a step towards an infrastructural change in classical poetics.75 Yaghmā has attempted to reflect the anger and anxiety—and dismal poetic ability—of the persona in the prosody. In fact, the dangerous process of making the hidden transcript public is the main reason behind disrupting the traditional conventions. Personalizing the natural rhythm and rhymes of the narrator/persona under constraint and pressure is more important than the conventions of poetic forms for him. In other words, in this work, Yaghmā consciously does as he did in his ta’ziyyeh-like poetry, this time adapting rhythm and poetic form to the mood. By individuating the persona he individuates the poetics of the poem. In doing so, he parses common idiom even further, getting down to the ‘nitty-gritty’ of the character’s natural speech; meanwhile addressing a broader audience.

Nowheh and the Hidden Transcript In addition to satires, the poems in which Yaghmā tried to approach, sympathetically, the hidden transcript of the subordinated masses are of two kinds. The first type, which bemoans social conditions with him as a member of that society, is similar to the poetry of Qā’em Maqām and Sheibāni. The second type consists

126  Farshad Sonboldel of religious poems, which are composed in a new style of ‘nowheh’ (religious lament), written to be recited or sung in religious ceremonies as dirges for Hosein ebn-e Ali, the third Shiite Imam. Edward Browne believes that Yaghmā is the founder of this new type, which is called nowheh-ye sineh-zani (breast-beating dirge).76 Jan Rypka also mentions this type of poetry in Yaghmā’s work as one of the innovations in the poetry of the Qajar era.77 These poems are also significant due to the influence they had on the revolutionary poetry of the Constitutional Revolution (1905–1911) as they provided a new system of poetic expression to yawp the hidden transcript in the public space. Referring to the colloquial language in some of Yaghmā poems, Āriyānpur argues that he could have played an important role in shaping the language of Constitutional poetry.78 Indeed, one may consider this new poetic language as the basis for the poetry of the Constitutional Revolution where the primary goal of the poet was to publicize the revolutionary ideas of the age. Doing so, they needed to use the poetry as a media to convey their message. Thus, they required a simplified literary language which is capable of carrying modern ideas of the revolution. Yaghmā’s innovative style is the best model as it was experienced for similar objectives before and speaks to a time that similarly is setting the stage for a social-minded political upheaval. To prove his idea, Āriyānpur mentions one of Yaghmā’s poems which reminds him of Iraj Mirza’s work in every facet of its poetic make-up.79 Yaghmā writes: ‫در خواب شهید کربال را‬ ‫[ دیدم که ز دیده اشکریز است‬...] I have seen the martyrdom of Karbala (Hossein b. ‘Ali)— I saw tears dropping from his eyes ‫گفتا نه ننالم از اعادی‬ ‫بر من ز احباب رستخیز است‬ He said I do not cry because of my enemies My resurrection is for my ‘supporters’ ‫خاصه خرکی که در تکایا‬ ‫هر شام و سحر به عر و تیز است‬ Specially [for punishing] that little donkey Who is screaming and farting every day to morn me Iraj Mirza writes: ‫زن قحبه چه میکشی خودت را‬ ‫[ دیگر نشود حسین زنده‬...] O, cuckold why you are killing yourself? Hossein would not become alive anymore ‫من هم گویم یزید بد کرد‬ ‫لعنت به یزید بد کننده‬ I say Yazid has done a terrible thing as well: Curse be Yazid the oppressor!

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  127 ‫اما دگر این کتل متل چیست‬ ‫]…[ وین دسته خنده آورنده‬ However, what are these ensigns; Moreover, what is this ludicrous squad. ‫در جنگ دو سال قبل دیدی‬ ‫شد چند کرور نفس رنده‬ Have you seen in the war, two years ago? Millions of people were minced ‫از این همه کشتگان نگردید‬ 80 ‫یک مو ز زهار چرخ کنده‬ That many victims could not pain the world: Even as much as a detachment of a hair from its genitals. There are several similarities between Yaghmā’s poem and that of Iraj. In fact, we can consider the language and rhyme in Iraj’s work as a consequence of Yaghmā’s experiments. The aggressive and straightforward language of Yaghmā’s work reflects the ‘hidden transcript’ among ordinary people against the corrupted religious figures of the era. Similarly, the language of post-revolutionary poets, such as that of Iraj, whose intention was to criticize extreme religious behaviour in Iranian social life is based on that ‘hidden transcript.’ However, the perspective of these two poets is not precisely the same. Yaghmā criticizes a certain preacher for his extreme behaviour in the condolence ceremonies held yearly for Hossein B. ‘Ali, whereas Iraj addresses ordinary people who attend these ceremonies. Besides, Iraj’s position on religious demonstrations is entirely different from that of Yaghmā. Iraj, just like most of the intelligentsia of his era, sees religious demonstrations as a sign of backwardness, whereas Yaghmā merely criticizes the dogma displayed by the folk as per these demonstrations. As we said before, although Yaghmā is not a religious person in his private life he has a considerable number of nowhehs that were used in public condolence ceremonies. In fact, one can argue that nowheh in Yaghmā’s oeuvre is a form of folk poetry rather than a religious one. Seeing nowheh as a folk template, Yaghmā uses it as a space for the dissemination of the ‘hidden transcript.’ It is using the effective passion play nowheh that lends to his ability to resonate the private voice of the folk in a public sphere. Scott suggests that cultural products directly conversant with the masses could develop the idea of resistance against dominance by expressing the idea of resistance in the form of an anonymous folk work of art: I suggest, along these lines, how we might interpret the rumors, gossip, folktales, songs, gestures, jokes, and theatre of the powerless as vehicles by which, among other things, they insinuate a critique of power while hiding behind anonymity or behind innocuous understandings of their conduct.81 Concealing the hidden transcript of the subordinate masses in an anonymous folklike poem is a form of insubordination which Scotts refers to as the ‘infrapolitics of the powerless.’82 Indeed, this process of insubordination by breaking the

128  Farshad Sonboldel hierarchy of discourses, and dominating a common discourse of the lower class in a poem is a political or infrapolitical act. Also, the target audience in nowheh were changed from the upper social class as the readers of classical poetry to the common people. On the other hand, one may argue that folk-like formats might be a more familiar space for ordinary people to face new ideas. This stratum of society is inclined to remember the sufferings of the saints in moments of crises in order to self-heal, as such a remembrance provides them with a fraternal theatre, where their problems dissipate in the face of anxieties of guilt and sin. Choosing nowheh and ta’ziyyeh as the structural basis for his political poetry, Yaghmā incites a departure that gives rise to the revolutionary poetry of the next generation.83 Indeed, Yaghmā’s movement towards freer poetic forms and colloquialism in literary language, particularly in his nowhehs, paved the way for the Constitutional poets’ corrective efforts directed at the hierarchical and autocratic system of classical poetics. In the following nowheh, even though the poet portrays the events at Karbalā, he presents himself as the martyr: ‫دلم از زندگانی سخت سیره‬ ‫بمیرم هر چه زوتر باز دیره‬ My heart is so tired of this life Even if I die as early as now, it is too late ‫زنان را دل سرای درد و ماتم‬ ‫تن مردان نشان تیغ و تیره‬ Women’s hearts are the houses of pain and grief Men’s bodies are targeted by swords and arrows ‫پسر در خون تپان دختر عزادار‬ ‫برادر کشته و خواهر اسیره‬ Boys are drenched in their blood and girls are mourners Brother is murdered, and the sister is captured ‫به کام مادران لخت جگر خون‬ ‫به حلق کودکان خوناب شیره‬ Mothers have congealed blood of their livers in their mouths; Infants suckle serum in lieu of milk ‫اسیران را به جای اشک و افغان‬ ‫شرر در چشم و آتش در ضمیره‬ In the eyes and souls of the captives There are flames and fire instead of tears and wailing […] ‫بدین ماتم کجا باشم شکیبا‬ ‫کجا زخمی چنین مرهم پذیره‬ How could I be patient with this grief? How is such a wound treatable? ‫ترا آنان که تن در خون کشیدند‬ ‫ خاکشان با خود نگیره‬،‫الهی‬ O God, I wish the earth would reject them

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  129 Those who drenched your body in your blood […] ‫ آسمان دور‬،‫ زمین سخت‬،‫جهان دشمن‬ ‫ مادرت بمیره‬،‫غریب کربال‬ The world is your enemy, the earth is so hard and the sky so far Hey, you, the stranger in Karbalā, your mom would prefer to die rather than see you like this Many verbs, mostly those placed at the end of each verse as the rhyming words appear in their broken colloquial form. Also, some words such as zutar and mār, which are the shortened versions of zudtar (sooner) and mādarat (your mother) are written in their common expressions. The poem is composed in the Hazaj-e Mosaddas-e Mahzuf (- - u/ - - - u/ - - - u) which is the standard meter of tarāneh or dobeyti (folk quatrains). The poem has a very personal tone in the first distich and a sympathetic one, specially when talking about the suffering of men and women. It seems that the poet is in pain because he is in a state of empathy with the characters at Karbalā. Yaghmā gives voice to the personas of Karbalā with the tone and register of the folk considered to be the lower strata of society: he is using their language to illustrate their ‘hidden transcript’ more convincingly. In contrast, in Qā’em Maqām and Sheibāni’s poetry, the addressee is the aristocracy. That is why, in their works, ‘the hidden transcript’ remains hidden, and their critical views remain personal, mechanical, and artificial as they attempt to imitate traditional forms such as habsiyeh and bas-o-shekvā.84 To conclude, the above discourse highlights the effects of internalizations crisis by some of the poets in pre-Constitutional era, some of whom had an immense influence on the make-up of the poetics recognized as those of the Constitutional Revolution. It speaks to the means and degrees by which they reflected the voice of the suppressed using their poetic innovations. The concept of resistance against corrupt power in Qāem Maqām and Sheibāni is not as internalized as that of Yaghmā, as the infrastructure of their poetry shows that they still defend the hierarchical and autocratic order of traditional poetics. Thus, although they attempted to reflect the crisis of the era, they did not move away from their ‘regular’ readers with their penchant for classics: the elite. In contrast, Yaghmā started a corrective movement in order to make his poetry more appealing and accessible to the non-elite. Thus, he did what his two contemporaries could not: he gave voice to the repressed. Publicizing the ‘hidden transcripts’ of the ordinary people through experimentation, Yaghmā subverted the hierarchical systems of subject matter and poetic form. He addressed the topical issues facing his society and spearheaded a movement to a colloquial poetic lexicon. He also attempted to break with the solidified standard poetic forms through experimenting with metrical patterns and folk templates. His attempt to remodel the erstwhile autocratic aesthetic poetics led to a trend of politicizing Persian poetry, a daring act, the fruits of which were to be savoured by the poets of the Constitutional Revolution.

130  Farshad Sonboldel

Notes 1 Seyed Badr al-DIn Yaghmā’i, ed., Divan-e Ash’ār-e Qā’em Maqām Farāhāni (Tehran: Sharq, 1988), 5. 2 In a meeting with the principal members of the government and regional rulers, who were inclined to continue the war with Russia, the Shāh asked Qā’em Maqām’s opinion, and he expressed his opposition by comparing the wealth of Iran unfavourably to that of Russia. The Shāh was none too plussed by this argument, and the attendants accused Qā’em Maqām of supporting the enemy. Yaghmā’i (ed.), Divan-e Ash’ār-e Qā’em Maqām Farāhāni, vi-vii. 3 According to Āriyānpur, ‘Abbās Mirza is the addressee of this poem. Yahyā Āriyānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā (Tehran: Franklin, 1976), 62. 4 Yaghmā’i (ed.), Divan-e Ash’ār-e Qā’em Maqām Farāhāni, 104. 5 All poems have been translated by the author of this paper. 6 Jamshid Kiyānfar, ed., Rowzat al-Safā-ye Nāseri, vol. 15 (Tehran: Asātir, 2001), 8164–167. 7 Āriyānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā, 63–65. 8 Yaghmā’i (ed.), Divan-e Ash’ār-e Qā’em Maqām Farāhāni, 8. 9 Yaghmā’i (ed.), Divan-e Ash’ār-e Qā’em Maqām Farāhāni, 99. 10 “Masnavi, also mathnavī. Also referred to as muthannā (doubled), athnayn athnayn (two by two), masnavi is one of the oldest poetic forms in the Persian-speaking world. Its most prevalent uses historically have been in epic-narrative, epic-romantic, epicdidactic and homiletic expressions. It is a prosodic form (rhyme scheme) in which each distich (bayt) consists of two metrically identical rhyming hemistichs (misra’)’. For more see J.S. Meisami and A. Korangy Isfahani, “Masnavī,” in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, edited by Roland Green, Stephen Cushman, and Clare Cavanagh. 4th ed. (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2012). Accessed January 20, 2020, URL: https://search​-credoreference​-com​.ezproxy​.st​-andrews​.ac​.uk​/ content​/entry​/prpoetry​/masnavi​/0​?institutionId​=2454. 11 ‘Ārefnāmeh is a long satirical masnavi by Iraj Mirza. It is known for its overly homoerotic content addressed to Abol-Qāsem ‘Āref Qazvini, a contemporary poet and musician friend of Iraj. According to Āriyānpur, Iraj Mirza composed this 515-verse-long couplet to ease the irritation caused by ‘Āref’s discourteous behaviour during his stay in Mashhad in 1920. Āriyānpur gives various historical accounts as per the creation of ‘Ārefnāmeh, most of which blame ‘Āref for affronting his old friend, Iraj, purposefully. Apparently, ‘Āref went to Mashhad in support of the semi-independent government of Colonel Mohammad-Taqi Khan Pesyān. He not only insulted Qajar family in his concert but also behaved disrespectfully when met Iraj in public. Āriyānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā, 391–99. 12 Yahyā Āriyānpur, As Sabā ta Nimā, 65-66. 13 Mohammad Shams Langrudi, Maktab-e Bāzgasht (Tehran; Markaz, 1993), 175. 14 Mahdi Bāmdād, Tārikh-e Rejāl-e Irān (Tehran, Zavvār, 1969), III, 55. 15 Ibid, 3. 16 Ahmad Karami, ed., Divan-e Ash’ār-e Mirza Fathollāh Khan Sheibāni (Tehran: Ma Publication, 1992), 2. 17 Langrudi, Maktab-e Bāzgasht, 224. 18 Karami (ed.), Divan-e Ash’ār-e Mirza Fathollāh Khan Sheibāni,139. 19 Karami (ed.), Divan-e Ash’ār-e Mirza Fathollāh Khan Sheibāni, 23-29; See also A. Niku Hemmat, “Sheibāni,” in Divan-e Ash’ār-e Mirza Fathollāh Khan Sheibāni, Ahmad Karami, ed. (Tehran: Ma, 1992), 23–29. 20 Karami (ed.), Divan-e Ash’ār-e Mirza Fathollāh Khan, 15. 21 This is a rhetorical technique which signifies the respect of the speaker to the noble addressee and, in turn, shows the hierarchical distinction between the Shāh and the masses (khalq). Also, the poet refers to the Shāh as Jahandār (Keeper of the World), which is a common complimentary sobriquet in court literature.

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  131 22 Metrically, the poem is composed in a popular prosodic meter for classical didactic poetry (Khafif-e Mosadas-e Makhbun - - u / - u – u / - - u -). The poetic form is also that of a conventional ghazal with its usual rhyme scheme. 23 Mohammad Mokhtāri, Cheshm-e Morakkab (Tehran: Tus, 2009), 38. 24 Poets such as Obeyd Zākāni (d. 1371), famous for his satires and even Hāfez (d. 1390) criticized their contemporary rulers using the ghazal. 25 Mokhtāri, Cheshm-e Morakkab, 18. 26 Āriyānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā, 109. 27 It has been said that Esmā’il Khan recognized Yaghmā’s talents after a brief conversation and attempted to raise him as his son. According to a version, considered to be implausible, he exchanged his real son, Rafi’ Khan, with Yaghmā because he thought the latter would be more successful in his court than his own son. Seyyed ‘Ali Āl-e Dāvud, ed., Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā-ye Jandaqi (Tehran: Tus, 1988), I, 25. 28 Āriyānpur made a mistake about this period. He considers Ja’far Soltān, who was the deputy of Zolfaqār Khan, to be the ruler of Semnān in that period. However, he was only Zolfaqār Khan’s representative in Semnān when he was on his way to Khorāsān to help Shojā’ al-Saltaneh, the Khorāsān ruler, to defend that region against Afghansans in 1817 (1233 AH). 29 Āl-e Dāvud (ed.), Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā Jandaqi, 26. 30 Āl-e Dāvud (ed.), Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā Jandaqi, 27. 31 Khan Malek Sāsāni, “Mirza Abolhasan Yaghmā of Jandaq”, Yaghmā, no. 213 (1966): 26. 32 Āl-e Dāvud (ed.), Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā Jandaqi, 30. ‫نگذاشت به ملک شاه حاجی درمی‬ ‫شد صرف قنات و توپ هر بیش و کمی‬ ‫نی مزرع دوست را از آن آب نمی‬ ‫نی خایه خصم را از آن توپ غمی‬ Hāji did not leave even a penny in the Shah’s land— The whole country’s wealth was spent for irrigation channels and guns. However, neither did our friends’ fields receive a drop of that water, Nor did our enemies’ balls/testicles feel the pang of those guns. 33 Āl-e Dāvud, ed., Majmu’ye Āsār-e Yaghmā-ye Jandaqi, 29. 34 Having become a leading Mojtahed, Mollā Ahmad became more powerful than most high-ranking governors of his period. He is also famous because he was the first to introduce the concept of ‘velayāt-e faqih’ into the political sphere. This concept technically suggested that the leading faqih of the time is the ideal candidate for becoming the monarch. A large number of followers all over the country enabled him to force the government to endorse and follow most of his decrees. He was even able to fire the regional rulers who acted as the Shāh’s representatives in provinces. Mirza Mohammad of Tonekāboni states, he had recurring disputes with regional governors, who accused him of interference in governmental matters. He mentions the time when Mollā Ahmad was accused of wilful disposal of a provincial ruler. He also goes to condemn Fath-Ali Shāh by using a religiously significant term that suggested ‘cruelness’ on the Shāh’s part and forces him to apologize. Mollā Ahmad Narāqi was also one of the first protestors against the Qajar kings. After the first war between Iran and Russia in 1813, Iran was forced to sign the Golestān agreement, which forced Iran into giving up a considerable number of its Northern regions to Russia. However, some of the most powerful Mojtaheds tried to force the government to break the agreement and attack the Russian army to reclaim the lost territories. Demonstrations started in 1825, a year before the second Russo-Persian War(1826–1828). These uprisings were led by Seyyed Mohammad of Esfahān and Mollā Ahmad Narāqi. Yet defeat in this war led many people to voice their angst against Mollā Ahmad. Even Yaghmā questioned Mollā Ahmad’s unrealistic political aspirations and thoughts; nonetheless, Yaghmā’s initial entry into the world of

132  Farshad Sonboldel political protest and resistance is in fact the result of his relationship with Mollā Ahmad. See Mirza Mohammad Tonekāboni, Qesas al-Olamā (Western Azerbaijan, Shajareh-ye Tayyebeh ebooks), pp. 321–324; See also Bāmdād, Tārikh-e Rejāl-e Irān, vol. VI, 21. 35 Āl-e Dāvud (ed.), Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā Jandaqi, 30. 36 Āriyānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā, 111. 37 ‘Husaynia, buildings specifically designed to serve as venues for Moharram ceremonies commemorating the martyrdom of Hoseyn b. ‘Ali (q.v.), and to accommodate visiting participants (Dehkhodā, Loghatnāmeh, s.v.). This name has also been used for certain branches of early Shi’ism and as a place name.’ Jean Calmard, ‘Ḥusaynia,’ Iranica, vol. XII, Fasc. 5, 517, URL: www​.iranicaonline​ .org​/articles​/hosayniya 38 Āl-e Dāvud, ed., Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā Jandaqi, 35. See also Mahmud Mirza Qajar, Bayān al-Mahmud; Falak al-Merrikh, Tazkereh-ye Delgoshā, Hāshem Mohaddesi, ed. (Tehran: Ettelā’āt, 2015); Besmel of Shirāz, Tazkereh Delgoshā, Mansur Rastgār Fasā’i, ed. (Shirāz: Navid, 1992); ‘Abd al-Razzāq Danbali, Negārestān-e Dārā, ‘Abd al-Rasul Khayyāmpur, ed. (Tabriz: n.p., 1963); and Ahmad Divān Beygi, Hadiqat al-Sho’arā, ‘Abd al-Hossein Navā’i, ed. (Tehran: Zarrin, 1984). 39 As Soltān Mohammad Mirza Seyf al-Dowleh states, Hāj Mohammad Esmā’il was a middlebrow man who was extremely interested in Yaghmā’s works. He had, therefore, included in his collection every single poem that he thought might belong to be Yaghmā, even those which Yaghmā denied writing. Ahmad Golchin Ma’āni, ‘Soltān-e Qajar va Yaghmā Jandaqi,’ Yaghmā, no. 198 (1965): 475. 40 Āl-e Dāvud (ed.), Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā Jandaqi, 8. 41 Golchin Ma’āni, ‘Soltān-e Qajar va Yaghmā Jandaqi,’ 475. 42 Ahmadā is a collection of satirical ghazals with the pen name Ahmadā. See E’tezād al-Saltaneh and ‘Ali-Qoli Mirza, eds., Kolliyyāt-e Yaghmā-ye Jandaqi (Tehran: n.p., 1921), 234–49. 43 Habib Yaghmā’i, ‘Sharh-i Hāl-i Yaghmā va Jughrāfiyā-ye Jandaq,’ Armaghān 5, nos. 7–8 (1918): 404–15. 44 Āl-e Dāvud (ed.), Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā Jandaqi, vol. I, 38. 45 Golchin Ma’āni, ‘Soltān-e Qajar va Yaghmā Jandaqi,’ 475. 46 Tarji’band is a form of Persian poetry which consists of several ghazals of the same meter and different rhyme: between each stanza there is a single verse with an independent rhyme. 47 Āl-e Dāvud (ed.), Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā Jandaqi, 51. 48 Mazāher Mosaffā, ed., Majma’ al-Fosahā, 6 vols. (Tehran: Amir Kabir, 2006), vol I, 1786. 49 Jalāl al-Din Homā’i goes further and states that Yaghmā’s works and those of some other poets, such as Shahāb Tarshizi (1752–1802), Mosāheb Nā’ini (1904–1942), and Suzani (1100–1166), are just collections of abusive language (Jalāl al-Din Homā’i, Havāshi bar Majma’ al-Fosahā, (Tehran: Homā, 2006), 144–88. Jalāl al-Din Homā’i, Havāshi bar Majma’ al-Fosahā (Tehran: Homā, 2006), 144–88. 50 Although Yaghmā did not compose panegyric poetry, he and, later his sons received a considerable salary from the court. According to Āl-e Dāvud, this salary was paid until the establishment of the parliament after the Constitutional Revolution. However, one may argue that we cannot consider Yaghmā’s salary as that of a court poet because, firstly, he did not compose eulogies for the governors and secondly, he did not have a royal nickname to that end. Even during the Amir Kabir period, when governmental payments to poets were forbidden, Yaghmā’s salary was paid. Furthermore, this salary was either a kind of retirement payment related to his governmental job; or it was part of the Qajar royal family aid to support poets and their families, especially in the provinces. These payments could probably have been for the nowhehs (dirges) he composed. Āl-e Dāvud (ed.), Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā-ye Jandaqi, 90. 51 Āl-e Dāvud (ed.), Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā-ye Jandaqi, 119.

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  133 52 ‘Abd al-Rasul Khayyāmpur, ed., Safineh-ye Mahmud, 2 vols. (Tabriz: University of Tabriz, 1967), vol. I, 246. 53 According to Khan Malek Sāsāni, Adib al-Mamālek of Marāqi was the coordinator of weekly poetry meetings in Tehran. The members had regular meetings every week and, in the evening, they were supposed to meet the Shāh and share their newest works with group. Sāsāni mentions Qā’āni, Yaghmā, Tarāz of Yazd, Mirza Moshtari of Khorāsān, Seyhun and Jeyhun of Yazd, Māyel Afshār as members of the group. Ahmad Khan Malek Sāsāni, “Mirza Abolhasan Yaghmā of Jandaq,” Yaghmā, no. 213 (1966): 26. 54 Khan Malek Sāsāni, “Mirza Abolhasan Yaghmā of Jandaq,” 27. 55 James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance (New Haven: Yale University press, 1990), xii. 56 Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance, xii-1. 57 G. Esmā’ilzādeh, “Vijehgihā-ye Honarvari dar She’r-e Yaghmā Jandaqi,” translated by Hosein Mohammadzādeh, Yaghmā, 322 (1975(: 240. 58 Peter J. Chelkowski, ed., Ta’zieh: Ritual and Drama in Iran (New York: New York University Press & Soroush Press, 1979), 8. 59 ‫ اینک “شبیه” اوست که آورده‌ام برون‬/‫خواهی اگر مشاهده تفصیل ماجرا‬ If you would like to see the incident in full details/here is a shabih that I created based on that. 60 Āl-i Dāvud, ed., Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā Jandaqi, 53. 61 Bahrām Beyzā’i, Namāyesh Dar Irān (Tehran: Rowshangarān va Motāle’āt-e Zanān, 2001), 117–19. 62 I am indebted to Dr. Saeed Talajooy for these historical details. 63 Died Circa 1839. 64 Sādeq Āshurpur, Namāyesh-hā-ye Irān, 2 vols. (Tehran: Sūreh Mehr, 2010), vol. II, 242. 65 Āshurpur, Namāyesh-hā-ye Irān, vol. II, 241. 66 Āshurpur, Namāyesh-hā-ye Irān, vol. II, 242. 67 Āl-e Dāvud, ed., Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā Jandaqi, 53. 68 This notion of veiling the message by not doing so is accentuated in the cultural veins of Iran. In fact, the poetic representations implying the importance of this technique are highly visible in the Sufi poetics of the Persian-speaking world as early as the 13th century. ‫وگر از عام بترسی که سخن فاش کنی‬ ‫سخن خاص نهان در سخن عام بگو‬ ‫ور از آن نیز بترسی هله چون مرغ چمن‬ ‫دم به دم زمزمه بی‌الف و الم بگو‬ If you are afraid of revealing your thoughts in public, Say your special thoughts in common words And if you are afraid of that too, just like the nightingale Sing constantly without using a single word Mohammad Rezā Shafi’i Kadkani, ed., Gozideh-ye Ghazaliyāt-e Shams (Tehran: Sherkat-e Sahāmi-e Ketāb-hā-ye Jibi, 1981), 449. 69 The closest work of Yaghmā to these kinds of typical satirical poems is Shabih-e Hojjāj-e Kāshi (a ta’ziyyeh about pilgrims of Mecca) which is consistent with a number of satirical nowhehs and monāzerehs, yielding, a no doubt, symbolic intent. See Āl-e Dāvud, Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā-ye Jandaqi, vol. 1, 57. See Ibid, vol 1, 57. 70 Afrāshteh, a writer and journalist in the Pahlavi period, composed a number of critical dramas about societal issues and ills in the form of ta’ziyyeh. He was also the chief editor and the main contributor of Chalangar (The Blacksmith, 1950–53), a leftist newspaper, which was characterized by political satires in anecdotes and poems. Afrāshteh quit writing and had to leave Iran after the 1953 coup, whence was toppled the popular premier Mohammad Mosaddeq.

134  Farshad Sonboldel 71 Āshurpur, Namāyesh-hāye Iran, vol. II, 248. 72 ‘Seyed Abud (a description of one of Yaghma’s poems)’, in Yaghma 2, (1954), 76–77. 73 Habib Yaghmā’i, “Seyyed Abud”, Yaghmā 7, no. 2 (1916): 76–77. 74 Muhammad Dabirseyāqi, ‘Bahr-e ṭawil’, in Encyclopædia Iranica, URL: http://www​ .iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/bahr​-e​-tawil​-type​-of​-persian​-verse (Accessed 5 July 2020). 75 Mehdi Akhavān Sāles, Bed’at-hā va Badāye’-e Nimā, (Tehran: Zemestān, 1997), 204. 76 Edward G. Browne, A Literary History of Persia, 5 vols. (Cambridge: The University Press, 1959), vol. 5. 339. 77 Jan Rypka, The History of Iranian Literature (Dordrecht: D. Reydel), 333. 78 Āriyānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā, 117. 79 Āriyānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā, 123. 80 Iraj Mirza, Divan-e Kāmel Iraj Mirza, Edited by Mohammad ja’far Mahjoub (Tehran: Andisheh publication, 1975), 202. 81 Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance, xiii. 82 Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance, xiii. 83 Zarrinkub identifies the root of poetic innovations of Constitutional poetry in the experiential works of the pre-Constitutional poets, particularly elegies and nowhehs composed by Yaghmā. See ‘Abd al-Hossein Zarrinkub, Naqd-e Adabi, 2 vols. (Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1983), vol. 2. 639. 84 Bas-e-shekvā is a rhetorical term also known as Shekvā’iyyeh (gripe poetry): poems in which the poet complains about the his/her life or life in general. Dandāniyyeh (tooth poem), a qasideh by Rudaki might be the oldest bas-e-shekvā in Persian poetry.Qadamali Sarrami, ‘Bas-e-shekvā’ in Encyclopaedia of the Islamic World (online version), URL: http://rch​.ac​.ir​/article​/Details​?id​=5881 (Accessed 30 September 2019).

Bibliography Āl-e Dāvud, Seyed ‘Ali, ed. Majmu’eh-ye Āsār-e Yaghmā Jandaqi, 2 vols. Tehran: Tus, 1988. Āriyānpur, Yahyā. Az Sabā ta Nimā. Tehran: Franklin, 1976. Āshurpur, Sādeq. Namāyesh-hā-ye Irān, 2 vols. Tehran: Sureh Mehr, 2010. Bāmdād, Mahdi. Tārikh-e Rejāl-e Irān, 6 vols. Tehran: Zavvār, 1969. Besmel of Shirāz. Tazkereh-ye Delgoshā. Edited by Mansur Rastgār Fasā’i. Shirāz: Navid, 1992. Beyzā’i, Bahrām. Namāyesh dar Irān. Tehran: Rowshangarān va Motāle’āt-e Zanān, 2001. Browne, Edward G. A Literary History of Persia, 5 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959. Calmard, Jean. “Husaynia.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 2004. Accessed April 30, 2016. www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/hosayniya. Chelkowski, Peter J, ed. Ta’zieh: Ritual and Drama in Iran. New York: New York University Press & Soroush Press, 1979. Danbali, ‘Abdolrazzāq. Negārestān-e Dārā. Edited by ‘Abdolrasul Khayyāmpur. Tabriz: N.p., 1963. Divan Beygi, Ahmad. Hadiqat al-Sho’arā. Edited by ‘Abdolhossein Navā’i. Tehran: Zarrin, 1984. Esmā’ilzādeh, G. “Vijegihā-ye Honarvari dar She’r-e Yaghmā Jandaqi.” Translated by Hosein Mohammadzādeh, Yaghmā 322 (1975): 239–47. E’tezād al-Saltaneh, Ali-Qoli Mirza, ed. Kolliyyāt-e Yaghmā Jandaqi. Tehran: N.p., 1921. Ghani, Qāsem. “Fathollāh Khan Sheibāni.” In Divan-e Ash’ār Mirza Fathollāh Khan Sheibāni, edited by Ahmad Karami, 12–18. Tehran: Mā Publication, 1992.

Margins, Resistance and Transformation  135 Golchin Ma’āni, Ahmad. “Soltān-e Qajar va Yaghmā Jandaqi.” Yaghmā 198 (1965): 473–79. Homā’i, Jalāl al-Din. Havāshi bar Majma’-ol- Fosahā. Tehran: Homā, 2006. Karami, Ahmad, ed. Divan-e Ash’ār-e Mirza Fathollāh Khan Sheibāni. Tehran: Mā, 1992. Khayyāmpur, ‘Abd al-Rasul, ed. Safineh-ye Mahmud, 2 vols. Tabriz: Dāneshgāh-e Tabriz, 1967. Kiyānfar, Jamshid, ed. Rowzat al-Safā-ye Nāseri. Tehran: Asātir, 2001. Langarudi, Mohammad Shams. Maktab-e Bāzgasht. Tehran: Markaz, 1993. Mahjub, Mohammad Ja’far, ed. Divan-e Kāmel-e Iraj Mirza. Tehran: Andisheh, 1975. Meisami, J. S., and A. Korangy Isfahani. “Masnavī.” In The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, edited by Roland Green, Stephen Cushman, and Clare Cavanagh. 4th ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. Accessed January 20, 2020. https:// search​-credoreference​-com​.ezproxy​.st​-andrews​.ac​.uk​/content​/entry​/prpoetry​/masnavi​/ 0​?institutionId​=2454. Mosaffā, Mazāher, ed. Majma’ al-Fosahā. Tehran: Amir Kabir, 2006. Qajar, Mahmud Mirza. Bayān al-Mahmud. Edited by Hashem Mohaddesi. Tehran: Ettelā’āt, 2015. Rypka, Jan. The History of Iranian Literature. Dordrecht: D. Reydel, 1956. Sarrāmi, Qadam-‘Ali. “Bas-o-shekvā.” In Encyclopaedia of the Islamic World (online version). Accessed September 30, 2019. http://rch​.ac​.ir​/article​/Details​?id​=5881. Sāsāni, Khān Malek. “Mirza Abolhasan Yaghmā Jandaqi.” Yaghmā 213 (1966): 24–27. Scott, James C. Domination and the Arts of Resistance. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. Shafi’i Kadkani, Mohammad Rezā, ed. Gozideh-ye Ghazaliyāt-e Shams. Tehran: Sherkat-e Sahāmi-e Ketāb-hā-ye Jibi, 1981. Shāteri, ‘Alirezā. Āsār-e Fathollāh Khan-e Sheibāni. Tehran: Mirās-e Maktub, 2014. Tonekāboni, Mirza Mohammad. Qesas al-Olamā. Urmia Western Azerbaijan: Shajareh-ye Tayyebeh ebooks. Accessed September 20, 2016. https://archive​.org​/details​/3246578. Yaghmā’i, Habib. “Seyed Abud [A Description of Poem by Yaghmā].” Yaghmā 7, no. 2 (1916): 76–77. Yaghmā’i, Habib. “Sharh-e Hāl-e Yaghmā va Jughrāfiyā-ye Jandaq.” Armaghān 5, nos. 7–8 (1918): 404–18. Yaghmā’i, Seyed Badr al-Din, ed. Divan-e Qā’em Maqām Farāhāni. Tehran: Sharq, 1988.


Politics, Prison and Poetry Analysis of Farrokhi Yazdi’s Poetics Saeedeh Shahnahpur

Introduction The Constitutional Revolution of 1905 yielded what ultimately was a putsch in the poetry and poetics of Iran. It was during this time that poets became wittingly and woefully concerned about cultural and socio-political developments in their country, and used their craft as a medium to communicate their ideas and demands. Although Constitutionalist poets chose a variety of poetic forms, Farrokhi Yazdi, in his lifetime, composed chiefly ghazals (lyric poems) becoming the master of political ghazals. Despite the fact that Farrokhi and his poems are often part of any discussion on the poetry of the Constitutional Revolution, there has been no thorough examination, in English, of his political ghazals, especially his prison-poems (habsiyyāt).1 To date, Ali Gheissari’s article ‘The Poetry and Politics of Farrokhi Yazdi’ is the first comprehensive study of Farrokhi’s politics and poetry and also the first analysis of some of his poems in English.2 Having said that, not only does this analysis leave room for deeper and broader discussion, especially by means of thematic division, it also shuns discussion of Farrokhi’s prison poetry. The following discussion offers a linguistic, thematic, and aesthetic analysis of Farrokhi’s poems and treats his prison poetry as a means to illustrate the development of political events that correspond with his imprisonment. It also brings together the most important poems that Farrokhi composed during some of the most highly sensitive political moments in Iranian history in order to expose the relationship between two key facets of human expression and interaction: written art and ideology.

Farrokhi Yazdi’s Political and Literary Life Mirza Mohammad Yazdi, better known by his pen name Farrokhi Yazdi (1889– 1939), was born in the province of Yazd in central Iran, where he completed his primary education. As a student in Yazd’s British missionary school, Farrokhi used poetry, for the first time, as a platform to denounce the teaching staff for promoting Christianity. After the circulation of one of these poems, in which he defended Islam and attacked the ‘devilish designs of the Christians,’ Farrokhi was dismissed from the school.3 At that time, Farrokhi considered the implementation DOI:  10.4324/9781003243335-8

Politics, Prison and Poetry  137 of Christian religious rituals (i.e., daily Bible reading) in the educational system to be one of the key factors in Iran’s social and cultural backwardness. When Farrokhi learned about the Constitutional Revolution, a movement that advocated freedom and individual rights, he joined the Yazd branch of the Democrat party, which endorsed nationalism, protection of the lower-class strata, and secularism. Farrokhi gained a special position among both the democrats and the constitutionalists by publishing a good number of influential poems (mainly quatrains) in periodicals, such as Ettehād (Unity) and Safineh-ye Nejāt (The Rescue Vessel), to voice his longing for freedom and democracy and to criticize the despotic ruling class.4 His poems were so well received by the supporters of the Constitutional Revolution, they earned him the symbolic title of Tāj al-Sho’arā (Crown of Poets).5 Despite this acclaim, Farrokhi experienced his first incarceration in the spring of 1909. When many poets and intellectuals gathered to read their panegyrics in praise of the governor of Yazd, Zeyham al-Dowleh Qashqā’i, Farrokhi refused to take part in this gathering, instead of reciting a political poem against the governor in a congress organized by the democrats of Yazd. In this long poem, mosammate vatani (Patriotic Mosammat), Farrokhi asks Zeyham al-Dowleh to put an end to his oppression of the people of Yazd, and implement the constitutional laws paving the way for a progressive society.6 Upon receiving Farrokhi’s condemnation, he ordered his arrest, and his lips were sewn together with needle and thread.7 In prison, Farrokhi continued writing anti-establishment poems, which were circulated among his fellow constitutionalists. He was eventually released when Hāj Fakhr al-Moluk was appointed the new governor of Yazd.8 Farrokhi’s anti-government sentiment grew remarkably following the 1919 Anglo-Persian Agreement signed between Iran, under the premiership of Vosuq al-Dowleh, and Britain. While the agreement guaranteed Iran’s independence, it did give Britain the right to provide Iran with loans, and advisors for its faltering post the First World War economy.9 Farrokhi and other patriotic elites condemned the accord as a profound step towards the extension of foreign domination in Iran. Farrokhi deemed Vosuq al-Dowleh ‘a demonic prime minister.’10 Parliament denounced the agreement following Rezā Khan’s coup d’état of 1921, which led to the resurgence of political activities by the constitutionalists and created a window of hope. A new chapter began in Farrokhi’s political life when he joined the Socialist Party (Ferqeh-ye Ejtemā’iyyun) founded by Soleymān Mirza Eskandari (1875– 1944). The party’s agenda included, but was not limited to, a call for the establishment of an ‘egalitarian society,’ equal justice for all citizens, and the elimination of urban and rural unemployment.11 As a member of the party, Farrokhi founded its newspaper, Tufān (Storm), which offered a critical analysis of contemporary political issues and socialist ideals by defending the working class and attacking the new Pahlavi state.12 Due to his harsh criticism of the new established despotic government, Tufān was banned and confiscated several times. Farrokhi, however, simply published his works in other newspapers during these crackdowns, including in Setāreh-ye Sharq (The Star of East), which also was published under the

138  Saeedeh Shahnahpur poet’s editorship. Eventually, after seven years of productivity, Tufān stopped its presses in 1928.13 Farrokhi also became a statesman for a short time: he was elected as a deputy of the people of Yazd during the parliamentary election of the Seventh Majlis (parliament) in 1928. Opposed to Rezā Shah Pahlavi (1925–1941), the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, and his policies, Farrokhi’s principles made him a minority in majlis, and he was frequently abused by the members, who called him ‘corrupt’ (fāsed) and ‘enemy of homeland and freedom’ (doshman-e vatan va āzādi).14 Farrokhi’s life was at risk, so he opted to stay in the parliamentary building until the end of his term in 1930. Subsequently, with the help of Russian officials, Farrokhi left Iran for Moscow and later Berlin, where he published his writings in an anti-Pahlavi biweekly newspaper, Peykār (Battle). Rezā Shah had good relations with Germany, and therefore when his court minister ‘Abd al-Hossein Teymurtāsh went to Germany to convince German authorities to close down Peykār, the newspaper was warned against the publication of any incendiary material. While in Germany, Teymurtāsh asked Farrokhi to return to Persia and ensured him complete immunity and protection on behalf of the Shah. The closure of Peykār and the pangs of homesickness led Farrokhi to return home in 1932.15 In Iran, the head of the police, General Ayram, offered Farrokhi a job in the police department. He refused, which led the poet to be placed under the strict surveillance of the police. Under this pressure, Farrokhi secretly moved into a garage at a friend’s house, and devoted his time to writing and publishing socially critical and political poems.16 In early 1936, Farrokhi was again jailed because of a small debt owed to Rezā Ketābchi, from whom the poet had bought papers during the publication of Tufān.17 In prison, Farrokhi wrote a ghazal, titled Khodāhāfezi (Farewell) insulting Rezā Shah. This worsened his political record and earned him another three years of imprisonment.18 In the spring of 1939, a rumour surfaced in the prison that on the occasion of Crown Prince Mohammad Rezā Pahlavi’s marriage general amnesty would be granted to all prisoners, except those with political crimes. Disappointed at the exception, Farrokhi composed several ghazals; one of them, which is considered to be his last poem, reached the head of the prison, who then forwarded it to the imperial palace. This poem made Rezā Shah furious and he ordered Farrokhi to be executed. The poet’s short life came to an end on 18 October 1939, when he was murdered by air injection under the supervision of the prison’s physician, Ahmad Ahmadi.19 Before the summer of 1941, no one knew what had happened to Farrokhi. However, the invasion of Iran by the Allies during the Second World War (1939–45), which led Rezā Shah to abdicate, resulted in new freedom of speech. Many stories were then published about the lives and careers of poets during Rezā Shah’s reign, including that of Farrokhi.20

Farrokhi’s Poetry: An Overview In his lifetime, Farrokhi witnessed several major political events that were pivotal to Iran in the early decades of the twentieth century, including the Constitutional

Politics, Prison and Poetry  139 Revolution of 1905, the First World War, the coup d’état of 1921, and the enthroning of Rezā Shah Pahlavi. These events deeply and profoundly shaped his political and social ideology, which were in turn reflected in his writings. Additionally, Farrokhi’s poems were inspired by the 1917 Russian Revolution that resulted in the establishment of the new communist regime in Russia, and with it the dissemination of communism/socialism, ideals of a classless society, and a successful model of a revolutionary struggle against an all-powerful state.21 Poems published during the Constitutional Revolution are coloured with constitutionalist ideals, such as freedom, democracy, nationalism, patriotism and so on, which were imported from the West, while those stirred by the Russian Revolution focus on socialist ideals, including equality, social justice and classless society. This is to say, Farrokhi was a nationalist and constitutionalist poet, but as a communist/ socialist poet subsequent to the spread of communist activities in Iran. In other words, Farrokhi was celebrated as a nationalist poet during the Constitutional era, during which the concept of nationalism gained momentum in literary discourse and became one of the integral themes in his poetic writings; after the spread of communism in Iran, however, the poet focused solely on socialistic themes, earning him the revised label of a socialist poet. During the Constitutional Revolution poets adopted themes concerned with the social, cultural and political ills of the nation. The Constitutional Revolution, which chiefly aimed at liberating people from arbitrary rule by introducing codes of law, resulted in the establishment of the first Iranian Parliament in 1906, as well as a democratic constitution in Iran. Revolutionary poets, who supported constitutionalism, used classical forms of poetry, such as ghazal, qasideh (ode), quatrain, masnavi (rhyming couplet), and mosammat in order to express new and modern themes introduced by the Revolution, including nationalism, patriotism, human rights, individual freedom, criticism of despotic rule and prejudice, an improved status for women, and the need for modernization with particular emphasis on education. The poets adhered, both figuratively and rhetorically, to the eighteenthcentury literary movement known as ‘literary return’ (bāzgasht-e adabi) which opted for a return to the simple poetic style of the tenth and eleventh centuries.22 However, unlike classical poetry, which was associated with royalty and court patronage, the poetry of the Constitutional Revolution communicated with a large and diverse audience who were keen to identify their country’s socio-political stance. In this respect, literature of this era introduced innovative poetic forms into the body of Persian literature, such as ‘political ballade’ (tasnif-e siyāsi), ‘patriotic ode’ (qasideh-ye vatani), and ‘political ghazal’ (ghazal-e siyāsi). Abolqāsem ‘Āref of Qazvin (1882–1934) and Mohammad Taqi Bahār (1886–1951) are renowned composers of political ballade and patriotic ode, respectively, whereas Farrokhi Yazdi is considered to be the master of political ghazal. Farrokhi composed a large body of political ghazals dealing with the aforesaid themes. For many centuries, ghazal had been associated with love, eroticism and mystical subjects, and it was replete with rich imageries and rhetorical devices.23 By the turn of the twentieth century, ghazal, like some other content-forms, gave voice to patriotic, nationalistic and democratic objectives and addressed themes

140  Saeedeh Shahnahpur related to liberty, law and constitutionalism as the usual object of affection in the ghazal was jettisoned in favour of one’s nation.24 Shafiʻi-Kadkani praises Farrokhi’s political ghazals and claims that after Hafez no one has composed political ghazals like those of Farrokhi’s.25 Farrokhi’s choice of the ghazal as a vehicle for the expression of socio-political themes was based on the popularity of this genre among Iranians, especially the members of the middle and lower strata of society, who felt a strong affinity for the ghazals of Hafez. Farrokhi, as a revolutionary and socialist, intended them to be the main audience of his expressions. Additionally, in terms of length, feature and formal structure, ghazals in which ‘individual verses are independent units of meaning,’26 enabled Farrokhi to compose incongruous verses, as is typical in a ghazal: a method that, when well applied, can more effectively encapsulate the message.27 Farrokhi’s ghazal benefits from a poetic unity that makes his poems clear and cogent. Furthermore, ghazal ‘is more closely associated with specific topoi and motifs and with a certain rhetoric of presentation than any other Persian form, and therefore has a more sharply delimited horizon of expectations than perhaps any other Persian poetic convention.’28 What further distinguishes Farrokhi’s ghazals from those of his contemporaries derived from his use of familiar topos of classical Persian ghazals, and his art in blending them with up-to-date themes. The use of such tropes and imagery exponentially grew in his post-1920 ghazals as the government heightened their hawkish censorship of any reference to socio-political themes. Therefore his poetic rhetoric doubled as an aesthetic function and a means of evading the state’s strict censorship.29

Ghazals with Revolutionary Themes Farrokhi began his political life by joining the Democrat faction of Yazd (hezbe demokerāt-e Yazd). Formed in 1909, the party was led by Heydar Khan and Mohammad Amin Rasulzādeh who sought to fight against post-industrial age aristocracy. They were weary of Western imperialism and the Anglo-Russian Agreement of 1907, which divided Iran into three zones.30 Additionally, the party also focused on social reform and economic development, which were based on three pillars: ‘centralism, parliamentarianism, and democracy.’31 A number of civil rights ranked among the priorities of their programme, especially freedom, which comprised for them freedom of speech, thought, publication and organization, and, moreover, the abolition of forced labour.32 As a member of the Democrat Party, Farrokhi honed in on nationalistic and patriotic ideals of freedom and democracy based on Western political philosophy. By freedom, as Homa Katouzian states, many constitutionalists, including Farrokhi, meant the creation and maintenance of law itself. They wanted the establishment of a government based on law, which could make ‘private property safe and powerful, official positions less insecure and more responsible, and life and limb less in danger of arbitrary violation.’33 The following poem, Farrokhi’s first political ghazal (published in 1906), highlights these characteristics. ‘The eve

Politics, Prison and Poetry  141 of freedom’ (shām-e āzādi) is placed in contradiction to ‘the dawn of despotism’ (sobh-e estebdād) to reflect the topsy-turvy ethos of his milieu: I swear by the dignity, worth and value of freedom, For the very name ‘Freedom’ is life-enhancing. The truly revered person, in the eyes of the world, is he who with his heart and soul revered freedom. For the oppressed, the eve of freedom is a thousand times superior to its dawn [to the dawn of despotism].34 A resurrection will appear in the world on the day When laborers stand up for freedom. If God gives me an opportunity, one day I will take revenge for freedom on the reactionaries. You will never free yourself from your master’s bondage, Unless like Farrokhi you become a slave of freedom.35 Topos of ‘eve’ versus ‘dawn’ in the classical Persian ghazal, and their political connotations are noteworthy. In the classical Persian tradition, sunset brings about union and joy for lovers; at a time when they can meet and libations can be drunk without being judged, fined or arrested.36 Dawn, on the other hand, is described as ‘the enemy’ because it puts an end to the ‘night of union,’ and foretells of disunion.37 In this poem, the temporal ‘eve’ is associated with freedom and a positive and essential element befitting a developed country. By contrast, ‘dawn’ symbolizes authoritarianism. In analyzing this and other of his ghazals, the deployment and function of radif (refrain) as a formal and crucial feature of the ghazal stands out. Refrain, on the one hand, is used for aesthetic and unifying purposes, as it ‘gives a semantic coherence of some kind to the lines of the poem, which are often only loosely connected.’38 This unity of rhyme yields a melodious tone and, moreover, facilitates its remembrance. On the other hand, refrain can serve to emphasize the central theme or message, and in most poems of the Constitutional period, it often carries a certain socio-political concept or idea. In the poem discussed above, the noun ‘freedom’ is meaningfully repeated to stress the necessity of its introduction and implementation in all sectors of Iranian society. The opposition of ‘freedom’ and ‘despotism’ can be widely seen in other of Farrokhi’s patriotic poems: ‘When I dedicated my life to freedom/I washed my hands of my life for the sake of freedom’; Farrokhi describes freedom and despotism as two forces, which are in a constant struggle in Iran’s upheaval.39 He uses ‘cynical autocracy’ (nākhodā-ye estebdād) against ‘rightful freedom’ (khodā-ye āzādi) to illustrate the huge gap that exists between liberty and autocracy and to emphasize the need for authoritarianism to be replaced with democracy.40 In the last verse of the ghazal, Farrokhi expresses his willingness to sacrifice his life for the sake of freedom and independence. Farrokhi’s fervour in his beliefs coined him a ‘freedom poet’ (shā’er-e āzādi). It is worth mentioning that there is a linguistic subtlety regarding the binary oppositions khodā and nākhodā. Such binaries can be seen frequently in

142  Saeedeh Shahnahpur Farrokhi’s other poems as can be seen in the aforementioned discourse and the poetic examples given. The Persian word khodā, which means God, is often used in literary contexts to refer to the righteousness of a person or a thing. Farrokhi elevates the position of freedom to God to highlight the rightfulness and necessity of having a democratic society. Nākhodā, on the other hand, which is translated as ‘pilot,’ may also mean ‘godless,’ ‘impious,’ or ‘infidel.’41 Farrokhi employs this word to deem the despotic rulers as ‘infidels’ for depriving people of their freedom to choose, particularly as pertains to their government. The use of khodā and nākhodā reflects the poet’s strong religious/Islamic sentiments that directly or indirectly influence his poems. Farrokhi, unlike many of his contemporaries, did not attack Islam but kept to his own religious beliefs during and after the Constitutional Revolution. The establishment of the first parliament was a major achievement for Farrokhi and other constitutionalists, who witnessed the fruits of their revolutionary endeavours. However, after coming to power, in 1908 Mohammad Ali Shah ordered an attack on parliament. This marked the beginning of the so-called estebdād-e saghir (the Lesser Autocracy) period, which ended in 1909 when the constitutionalists conquered Tehran, leading to the reopening of parliament. During this Lesser Autocracy, the Shah dismissed the governor of Yazd, E’tezām al-Molk ʻArab-Āmeri, and many revolutionary leaders of the city were arrested at his behest.42 Farrokhi denounces the Shah’s action in the following line: As a result of the order of a hasty boy in the city of Rey We will destroy the Ka’ba of hope roots up.43 This same denouncement can be seen in the works of many other poets, including Bahār. In one of his famous poems, known as qasideh-ye mostazād (tail-rhyme ode) and published in 1908, the poet criticizes Mohammad Ali Shah for ignoring the demand of the constitutionalists, and for having bombarded the parliament. He laments a country dominated by despotic rule, and where freedom has lost its meaning. He suggests that justice is the only cure for this wretched country: It is a mistake to speak to the Shah about freedom Iran’s destiny is in the hand of God The creed of the Shah of Iran differs from all others Iran’s destiny is in the hand of God Every moment, from the sea of despotism Deadly weaves appear From this turbulence, the nation’s ship is in the whirlpool of calamities Iran’s destiny is in the hand of God The country is like a ship, events a sea, and despotism a straw [a symbol of abjection] Justice is the captain [of this ship], and this is sufficient [for ruling the country].44

Politics, Prison and Poetry  143 Farrokhi’s poetry does not shy away from his position as a supporter of the Constitutional Revolution. He considered constitutional law as an integral component of, and prelude to, freedom and democracy. He criticizes the superpowers, especially Great Britain, and to a lesser degree Russia, for their interference in Iran’s political, social and economic affairs since the nineteenth century, blaming them for the country’s backwardness. To many constitutionalists, Iran’s freedom was not presupposed by just constitutional law, but also on its independence from foreign powers. Therefore, during the Constitutional Revolution, anti-British and anti-Russian sentiments grew remarkably among nationalist intellectuals.45 Before the 1917 Russian Revolution, Russia had an overwhelmingly negative image among nationalists as it was seen as a self-serving culprit in Iran’s nixed territories in the nineteenth century.46 With the dissemination of Marxist ideas and ideals in 1920’s Iran, the previous disdain for Russia was substituted with a greater momentum as per disdain for the British and their occupation of the country from 1918 to 1921. Suffice to say the resulting coup of 1921 which brought Rezā Khan to power, architected by the British, made matters even worse. Farrokhi’s early poetry is replete with anti-British and anti-Russian sentiments. He makes use of a number of national-mythical protagonists and antagonists in the Ferdowsi’s Shāhnāmeh to advocate his nationalistic ideals under the auspices of anti-imperialism and the critique of foreign interference. For instance, Kāveh, the blacksmith, is one of Shāhnāmeh’s prominent mythical figures, who leads an uprising against the oppressive king, Zahhāk. During the Constitutional Revolution, Kāveh became the symbol of a national hero, whose quest for justice put an end to a tyrannical period in pre-Islamic Iran. Farrokhi refers to Kāveh, thereby emphasizing the necessity of launching a revolution that could liberate contemporary Iran from the claws of imperialism and overthrow the despotic ruling class. In his early poems Farrokhi likens Zeygham al-Dowleh to Zahhāk due to his dictatorship; constitutionalists, on the other hand, are compared to Kāveh as they have the same objective of eliminating oppression and injustice.47 The following lines taken from mosammat-e vatani, composed following the AngloRussian Agreement, show the poet’s lamentation about Iran’s captivity in the hands of two superpowers. Farrokhi suggests that Iran’s only solution in breaking this yoke of subservience is constitutionalism: Now that like Salm and Tur, Russia and Britain have their shares, The Iraj of Iran is captive and imprisoned from head to toe. It is better if you could leave cruelty for the sake of civilization, Like Manuchehr, step on the path of constitutionalism.48 Is this the same Iran which was (once) the halting place of Kai-Kā’us, The resting-place of Darius and the peaceful abode of Cyrus, The land of Zāl, Rustam, Gūdarz, Gīv, and Tus? Never was it so trampled upon as it is now by British and Russian oppression.49

144  Saeedeh Shahnahpur Farrokhi initially blames the Anglo-Russian Agreement for the nixing of Iran’s territories. Farrokhi compares the division between Russia and Britain with Fereydun’s division of his kingdom between his three sons: Salm, Tur and Iraj. Based on a story in Shāhnāmeh, China and the domain of the Turks were given to Tur, the Western part to Salm, and Persia, which was the land of warriors, to Iraj. Tur and Salm were not content with their portions and thus conspire and kill Iraj. Subsequently, Manuchehr, Iraj’s grandson, kills both Salm and Tur and takes revenge for his grandfather’s blood.50 Russia and Britain, in his poem, are Salm and Tur while there is a need for a Manuchehr to stand against imperialism. In these lines, Farrokhi glorifies pre-Islamic Iran, which he idealized as a place of welfare, safety and independence.51 The poetry of this period capitalizes on utilizing the societally nostalgic ethos, embodied in Persian historical and mythical characters and motifs. In its attempt to modernize, the Constitutional Revolution put forth a rigorous effort to revive a sense of nationalism via a glorious past to further its efforts in achieving independence; and to afford the folk foresight for particularism. The nationalist poets emphasize a return to pre-Islamic Iran, which had powerful empires (Achaemenid, Parthian and Sasanid) and religions (Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism), as the hallmark of Iranian identity.52 In 1927, Farrokhi was invited to attend the tenth-anniversary celebration of the Russian Revolution in Moscow. This was an impactful journey as it advocated for him the necessity of such a revolution in Persia. The Russian revolution had seriously affected Iran’s socio-political climate, and it helped cement Farrokhi’s socialist ideas. Upon his return, he published articles praising the Soviet regime, which embarked on accentuating the need for increased governmental care for social issues.53 Inspired, Farrokhi composed a ghazal with the refrain ‘revolution’ (enqelāb), a word novel in the literary discourse of the time: In the workers’ festival, when I took augury for the revolution, I saw good fortune for the revolutionary situation. A day will come when the foundation of oppression in the universe Will be demolished by you and me for the sake of the revolution. The world will be desirable for peasants and workers By the effort of the active members of the revolution. Come enthusiastically to the pure soil of ‘Lenin’ To see his tomb, the icon of the revolution.54 As the refrain ‘revolution’ implies, both the success of the Russian Revolution and the poet’s desire for socio-political change would lead to a more successful and prosperous Iran. Farrokhi wants Iran to replicate the 1917 Russian Revolution and remove class divisions. The refrain echoes his disdain for feudalism.55

Socialist Trends in Farrokhi’s Ghazals Class struggle (jang-e tabaqāti/senfi) and syndicalism are the foundations of his revolutionary poetry.56 It should be taken into account that the dominant classes

Politics, Prison and Poetry  145 in Iran during the Constitutional Revolution and most of the Pahlavi period consisted of the bourgeoisie (aristocratic families, enterprising aristocrats, elder politicians, senior civil servants and high-ranking military officers), the propertyowning class (merchants and landowners); and the working class (wage earners).57 The enormous gap between classes, especially between the bourgeoisie and the working class, was not welcomed by many intellectuals who regarded it as a major defect that arose from the absence of social justice in Iranian society. These intellectuals argued that equality and social justice were the only things that could remedy the class gap and lead the country towards prosperity and development.58 In the following lines, in a call to revolt, Farrokhi uses the hyperbole-inducing dichotomy between ‘poverty and wealth,’ ‘the rich and the poor,’ and ‘the king and the beggar’ to accentuate the enormous disparity between the classes in contemporary Iran: The masses must be familiarized with the fight of classes, There must be a struggle over poverty and wealth. The rich have placed themselves in the row of the poor’s party, These two rows must be separated from each other completely (…) To make justice and equality prevalent among people, A big revolution must be erected in the world. Poverty must be eliminated between the young and the old. Justice must be applicable to both the king and the beggar.59 The adoption of these binary oppositions in this ghazal conveys Farrokhi’s utopia where social distinctions no longer carry political connotations. Ahmad KarimiHakkak says that this binary presentation makes us able ‘to conceive of any difference in terms other than utter opposition, [for] they illustrate a far larger issue.’60 ‘Proletarian poetry’ (sheʻr-e kārgari), a new genre, took to task in highlighting the struggles of the working class. Proletarian poets, such as Farrokhi and Abolqāsem Lāhuti (1887–1957), stressed that the ranjbar (burdened) class was in fact the pillar and foundation of the country’s economy.61 In urging the proletariat to action, Farrokhi points his finger at the deceitful lawyers, acquisitive capitalists and unjust landlords, among others.62 Lāhuti also had strong socialist tendencies and was among the first revolutionary poets to describe ‘poor peasants’ as protagonists in his poems.63 He devoted many of his writings to praising the ideals of communism and the leadership of Lenin during the Russian Revolution. In the following lines, the poet highlights the impact of the Revolution on the working class and encourages the members of this class to follow in the footsteps of Lenin by uniting in order to change to a socialist society: We peasants that have become wise and intelligent have become potent as well. We all were the longstanding blinded who have become now found sight We all have become wise. (…)

146  Saeedeh Shahnahpur The victory of October occurred, as a result of which we have become young We all have become wise. (…) We are a group of laborers who on the path of Lenin on this earth, Have become united for the sake of changing the world We all have become wise.64 Farrokhi sees justice as both an ethical and a socio-political concept. He is the first revolutionary poet to interpret the socio-political implications of justice in Persian poetry.65 In one of the issues of Tufān that led to the closing of its publication he called for equality based on qualification. Farrokhi, moreover, criticizes the authorities for their unequal distribution of positions among the citizens: Alas prosperity and joyfulness! What had we written? […] We had written that breaking the law would bring responsibility, and this responsibility would designate punishment for the lawbreaker. We had written that despite the existence of the parliament, martial law is meaningless. We had written that offering various positions to one person in this country, in which people are fed up with unemployment, is beyond justice.66 The following ghazal highlights a broken system of social justice and its resulting retardation of social development in the working class. Iran’s earnest path to justice for him was synonymous with being and being seen as a developed country. From his perspective, instead of importing Western ideology and concepts, Iran can export its own ideology and ruling method to other nations. Additionally, Farrokhi suggests that in a democracy, not only is it essential to have laws and a constitution, but it is also crucial for the laws to be based on guiding principles of social justice: It is pleasant to walk on the path of justice As with this manner, we can raise our own flag—in the universe. This way of living is not enduring, Therefore, it would be beneficial to destroy this ill system. We should constitute laws more just, We can then abrogate all the other existing laws—we must. We should shake hands with the architect of justice and equity We should step on worlds of tyranny and oppression.67 ‘Raising a flag’ (‘alam zadan) symbolizes victory and triumph and universality of social justice, which goes beyond the boundaries of a nation can and does reach a global scale.68 In the fourth distich, he rallies support for the architect of Iran’s modern justice system, Ali Akbar Dāvar, who during the Constitutional period began his career in the Ministry of Justice and was appointed to the district court.69 Although in this ghazal (published 1921) the poet subtly admires Dāvar for his efforts towards modernizing Iran’s judicial system, five years later, when Dāvar

Politics, Prison and Poetry  147 had completely overhauled the judicial structure (which came as a shock to many constitutionalists), Farrokhi openly criticized him in another ghazal for the illegal dissolution of the judiciary.70 The constitutionalist fundamental demand was the establishment of a ʻedālatkhāneh (House of Justice) to curb the king’s absolute power and to facilitate and expedite a socially broader sense of justice in Iran. Although after the establishment of the first Iranian Parliament, the constitutional laws ‘gave citizens a bill of rights including protection of life, property, and honor; freedom of speech, assembly, and organization, equality before the law; habeas corpus; and safeguards from arbitrary arrest,’ soon after the coup of 1921 social equality was again diminished and existed only in theory rather than in practice.71 In various poems published after the coup, Farrokhi points out that all his efforts towards this envisioned justice was in vain, as Rezā Khan’s coup instigated another phase of despotism and dictatorship. In the following lines of a ghazal, in which the adverb hanuz (still) repeats in the second hemistich of each line, Farrokhi decries the continuity of the class gap, injustice, and prevalence of ignorance: The landlord is drowned in wealth, dignity, and respect Whereas the peasant is still captive in his hardship, disaster, and trouble. In the century of knowledge and the golden age, We are still imagining the transformation of copper into elixir. While the era of equality has arrived (globally), in this ominous land, There is still a difference between a king and a beggar.72 When Rezā Shah came into power in 1925, the socio-political stance of the country did not see any profitable changes. During his reign, the class divisions were widened; parliamentary immunity was taken away; electoral law was retained; all political parties were banned; freedom of speech and thought were completely restricted; and, in general, ‘parliament ceased to be a meaningful institution.’73 The justice minister, Dāvar, ushered in a judicial calamity by dissolving the ʻadliyyeh (Court of Justice) and deconstructed the judicial reforms of the constitutionalists in 1909. The constitutionalist reforms had banned judicial torture, protected the independence of the judiciary by forbidding external interference, and limited execution methods to hanging and death by firing squad, which were considered more humane than other means.74 Prior to this, the traditional judicial system in Iran consisted of ‘Orf (conventional) and Sharia (Islamic) courts, which promoted public execution and ‘the corporal punishments that produced limbless and thus unproductive citizens.’ The intellectuals saw such punishments as barbaric, and demanded judicial reform.75 Under Dāvar the justice ministry was now called the Dādgostari, new courts (at municipal, county, provincial and federal levels) were found, and he formulated a basic judicial law, criminal code and commercial code according to Napoleonic, Swiss and Italian models.76 Although Dāvar ushered in major reforms to the Iranian judicial system, he was occasionally criticized for affording himself the power to ‘intervene in the judgments of the courts and to remove disobedient judges.’77

148  Saeedeh Shahnahpur Among the harshest critics of Dāvar’s judicial reforms was Farrokhi, who condemned Dāvar for violating the constitutional law and consequently the independence of the judiciary. The following satirical ghazal composed by him, especially on the occasion of the dissolution of the Court of Justice, he attributes this calamity to the deep Western influences and Dāvar’s general bewitchment by these Western laws and the ‘other’: The country has lost its independence all at once, The falcon of superiority flew off Iran’s rooftop. Take a glimpse at the Court of Justice to see what Dāvar has done, Despite all his hue and cry, promises and threats. If people take off the mask from the façade of this justice, They will see the unveiled train in the hands of foreigners. This hue and cry was not for the sake of Iran, Eventually, this policy took away our hopes. I heard the year [of this incident] from the hidden angle, he said: ‘An unjust arbitrator has made the Court of Justice filthy.’78 ‘Dāvar’ literally means ‘arbitrator’ or ‘judge’ when combined with the adjective ‘unjust’ in the last hemistich, a kind of sarcastic irony. In Farrokhi’s opinion he betrayed his title and so a pervasive outcry against this resonates throughout his divan. For instance, in the following lines from a ghazal composed in 1928, Farrokhi questions the actual role of the ministry, condemning it not only for being unable to eliminate injustice, tyranny, and oppression but encapsulated them all in a newly found entity: O God! What kind of house of justice is this that due to its injustice Both friends and strangers have raised their complains of unjust to the heaven? From the doors and walls of this Court of Justice rains oppression and cruelty: Such a house of justice must be entirely demolished.79 Farrokhi’s poems, some analyzed herein, played a large role in the dissemination of socialist sentiments as well as a central role in the creation of the communist Tudeh Party (1942), which momentarily cultivated a platform for free speech and new political opportunities. Iranian intellectuals, many of whom became either founders, or members, or sympathizers of the Tudeh Party, developed a good relationship with Farrokhi. For example, Soleymān Mirza Eskandari, who presided over the formation of the Tudeh Party, supported Farrokhi in establishing his own newspaper Tufān and in disseminating his socialist ideas and anti-monarchic sentiments. Eskandari was invited to travel along with Farrokhi to Moscow and participate in the tenth-anniversary celebration of the Russian Revolution, but upon returning home, Eskandari was shunned from politics due to his interaction with the renowned communist author Bozorg ʻAlavi

Politics, Prison and Poetry  149 (1904–1997), who launched an anti-Pahlavi campaign in Berlin.80 He resumed his political activities after the fall of Rezā Shah, and designed the party’s programmes that were almost correlated favourably with Farrokhi’s socialist ideas—both promoted social justice and the improvement of the status of the workers—and thus attracted many from amongst the urban and rural middle and lower-class strata.

Farrokhi’s Prison Poetry (Habsiyyāt) As outlined in this chapter’s introduction, Farrokhi composed many of his ghazals while incarcerated in the course of the Constitutional Revolution and its aftermath, primarily during Rezā Shah’s reign. Habsiyyāt or zendān-nāmeh is a genre well documented in the long history of Persian literature. In classical and medieval literature, prison narratives were associated with royalty; poets composed these works while imprisoned in order to redeem their status at court or at the very least be pardoned. At the turn of the twentieth century, Persian prison literature, like many other genres, was no longer produced in the service of the court and courtier. Instead, it entered the public sphere as a vehicle to incite social and political reform. Mas’ud Sa’d Salmān (d. 1122) first brought attention to this genre. Farrokhi alongside Bahār is considered to be the most outstanding composers of prison poetry in modern Iran, whose poems are tightly interwoven with the country’s social, political, economic and intellectual developments.81 According to Valiollāh Zafari, prison writing in Persian literature can be classified into two categories: the entreaty poem (puzesh-nāmeh), in which the poet makes his demands for intercession and lawsuits on his behalf during imprisonment; and the complaint poem (shekvā’iyyeh), which is known as the poet’s autobiography (hasb-e hāl), and is the genuine depiction of the poet’s feelings void of flattery and adulation.82 Medieval poets composed entreaty poems to obtain sympathetic attention from patrons who were potentially in a position to either annul the punishment or decrease the prison sentence. Contemporary poets, like Farrokhi, use their prison poetry to express their sorrow at the circumstances that led to their imprisonment and their current situations. Farrokhi does not shy away from expressing his misery, sadness, anger about the country’s political and social landscape, and his incarceration. In this vein, Farrokhi’s prison poetry can be classified as complaint poems: he does not wish to curry favour and cares little for an early release. He instead attacks the depot who put him where he is. One of the most significant political events of Farrokhi’s time was the 1919 Anglo-Persian Agreement, which granted Britain a measure of permanent control over Iran’s military and financial affairs. Many Iranian nationalists believed that the Agreement was designed to give Britain the power to turn Iran into a British colony. Subsequently, many famous political and literary figures, including Farrokhi, began to campaign against the Agreement and Vosuq alDowleh, the agreement’s Iranian signatory.83 In his opposition campaign, Farrokhi composed many influential poems which, once again, landed him in prison, to no avail as he continued his campaign. In one of his prison poems, Farrokhi sends a

150  Saeedeh Shahnahpur message to Vosuq al-Dowleh to stop mistreating nationalists, who have nothing except for the ‘love for the motherland’: Take this message to Vosuq-ol-Dawleh, O’Morning Breeze, It is not nice to treat Iranian patriots badly. He whose only offence is love for the motherland No creed would condemn to a dark cell … The one who affirmed our independence in the Agreement Means none but to appropriate [Iran] by those ominous points [of the Agreement].84 Farrokhi employs a number of motifs from classical love ghazals in a political context, for example ‘Morning Breeze’ (bād-e Sabā). Sabā has a prevalent lyrical appearance, and it is often identified with its softness and fertility. In Persian literature, Sabā plays a communicative role between the lover and the beloved, and often carries good news; a perfume-drenched message of a lover’s promise and good tidings.85 However, in the above poem, in a departure from how it is often used, the breeze is asked to take a harsh political message to Vosuq-ol-Dowleh to stop committing unacceptable deeds against patriots. Like many nationalist poets, Farrokhi made abundant use of vatan (motherland) in his poems. He calls himself a patriot who has branded upon his heart a ‘love for the motherland’ (hobb-e vatan). During the Constitutional Revolution, vatan was utilized in the context of safeguarding Iranian territory and returning to an idealized ancient past in which Iran was an autonomous state (no intrusion by the British and/or Russian ‘riff-raff’), and always victorious over her enemies. ‘Love for the motherland’ thus became a trope in the poetry of the time, reinforcing the concept of nationalism and nationalistic discourse. Additionally, the concept of love, which in classical ghazals often referred to as the erotic or spiritual relationship between the lover and the beloved, is now used to describe the relationship between the lover (usually a nationalist) and the motherland, for which the lover, true to its classical construct, is ready to sacrifice his life.86 Farrokhi’s longest period of imprisonment (1937–1939) was after the establishment of the Pahlavi state in 1925. Soon after coming to power, Rezā Shah put forth a massive effort into consolidating his power. This meant suppressing opponents, among whom were intellectuals considered to be a major threat to the regime’s sovereignty. To this end, in 1931, Rezā Shah issued a law which forbade all communist and socialist activities in Iran. To silence the voices of the intellectuals, especially those who were members of or sympathized with the communist party, the regime resorted to censorship, imprisonment and execution. Rezā Shah also increased the number of prisons and jettisoned long-term incarcerations in favour of corporal punishment.87 Although censorship and imprisonment influenced the quantity and quality of literature, they did not put an end to the production of prison literary works; many poets, including Farrokhi, continued criticizing Iran’s social and political circumstances and the regime’s policies while serving out their prison terms.

Politics, Prison and Poetry  151 Farrokhi was in Berlin when this law came into effect. Subsequent to his return to Iran in 1932, when the authorities were none too happy about the danger his poems posed for the regime, he was put under strict surveillance of the urban police (shahrbāni). Still, he went into hiding and continued publishing his dissent.88 To silence him, the authorities resorted to convicting him of having an outstanding debt, as recounted earlier. Subsequently, he was sent to a short-term jail (zendān-e shahrbāni). During his imprisonment, Farrokhi did not seek release; instead he continued promoting freedom and attacking the imperial family, and the concept of the monarchy to boot. The following ghazal, which Farrokhi wrote on the walls of the jail, criticized Rezā Shah’s rule. The word nākhodā implies, as per Iranian folk cognizance, Rezā Shah is an inherently unjust ruler by the token of being godless: To you who ask how long, shall we be bound, confined, So long as there is no freedom we shall be bound! (…) If such a day had not arrived, How would people know we are unparalleled among the humankind? Oh God, our ship has been shattered by an infidel. Though we alone are lords of that ship! (…)89 This and similar poems led Farrokhi to be transferred from the said short-term jail to Qasr prison built for political prisoners, the first long-term prison in Iran, which was established in 1929–1930 at Rezā Shah’s behest. Farrokhi became a political prisoner and was sentenced to three years of incarceration.90 In 1937, Farrokhi met with the members of the Group of Fifty-Three, who advocated socialist ideals, and were arrested and imprisoned on the basis of the 1931 decree against socialist and communist activities.91 Farrokhi’s interaction with the members emboldened him to carry on his anti-government campaign in the penitentiary. Farrokhi openly read and spread his poems denouncing the Shah fearlessly among his fellow political prisoners.92 Anvar Khāmeh’i (1917–2017), one of the members of the group, published his memoirs in which he describes Farrokhi’s attitude inside the prison walls: ‘[Farrokhi] talked openly to all prisoners, even to those who were known police informers, and he constantly criticized the regime and making abusive comments about the Shah, and finally he lost his life in this way.’93 After hearing Farrokhi’s harshly critical poems against the regime, a number of prisoners, informers for the regime, informed on him. The following ghazal, written in 1939 and noted above as Farrokhi’s last ghazal, was the straw that broke the camel’s back: soon after its dissemination he was murdered. This poem expresses his disgust and disdain at Prince Mohammad Rezā Shah’s upcoming marriage with Fowziyyeh, the sister of the Egyptian king: How can my heart be happy in the prison cell? Unless the day comes that it is released from the bond of this sorrow. The world cultivates due to freedom, and the wheel of Dara’s land, Will revolve around despotism after the Constitutional Revolution. (…)94 My heart trembles badly from this wedding, because, even Qāsem Become a groom when the battle of Karbala was about to take place.

152  Saeedeh Shahnahpur I am certain about the collapse of this situation because The foundation of tyranny and oppression will be shattered.95 Here Farrokhi first and foremost laments the limited success of the Constitutional Revolution insofar that it did not constrain the Shah’s tyrannical power. Additionally, the poet compares this marriage to Fowziyyeh with that of Qāsem ibn Hasan to Hoseyn’s daughter three days before the battle of Karbala (in 680 CE). After Qāsem’s wedding, the battle between Hoseyn, the third Shiite Imam, and Yazid, the Umayyad caliph, took place. Appositionally, the poet claims that Mohammad Rezā Shah’s wedding will likewise be followed by unexpected and disastrous events. Farrokhi foresees a short-lived rule for the Shah as it is based on tyranny. Although this poem led to his execution, his prediction indeed came true two years after its composition: Iran was occupied by the Allies in 1941, and Rezā Shah was forced to abdicate.

Conclusion The varied themes of Farrokhi Yazdi’s poems show that he is a poet of great range, and his poetry constantly evolves commensurate with his surroundings. The themes in his ghazals, in particular, parallel the zeitgeist of the era and society in which they were composed. In terms of linguistic expression, Farrokhi’s poems are void of complexity and ambiguity which rendered them comprehensible to people from different walks of life. Arbitrary rule dominated the Iranian state even after the Constitutional era and poets continued to fight against the status quo in their writings. Many of them were inspired by Farrokhi’s poems that spoke of socialist ideas that were not limited to the poet’s time. During the 1979 Islamic Revolution, for example, revolutionary poets combined ideas such as justice, revolution, freedom and independence with Islamic references to stimulate people into resisting the Pahlavi regime, and as such imperialism and despotism. Since Farrokhi, unlike many of his peers, did not harshly attack Islam, his poetry was very warmly—unsuspiciously—welcomed by many revolutionary poets, such as Salmān Harāti (1959–1986) and Nasrollāh Mardāni (1947–2003), whose poetry resonated with the same nationalist and patriotic sentiments as that of the Constitutional era. Further studies should examine the impact of Farrokhi Yazdi’s poetry on the development of a new literary movement in post-revolutionary Iran that aims at disseminating the revolutionary ideals and dogmas, such as martyrdom, antagonism against autocracy in Islamic countries, and anti-imperialist sentiments.

Notes 1 Ali-Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, ‘Poetry as Awakening: Singing Modernity,’ in A History of Persian Literature, vol. 11: Literature of the Early Twentieth Century from the Constitutional Period to Reza Shah, ed. Ali-Asghar Seyed-Gohrab (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015), 30–132; Homa Katouzian, Iran: Politics, History and Literature

Politics, Prison and Poetry  153 (London: Routledge, 2013); Hamid Dabashi, The World of Persian Literary Humanism (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2012), Chapter 8; Sorour S. Soroudi, ‘Poet and Revolution: The Impact of Iran’s Constitutional Revolution on the Social and Literary Outlook of the Poets of the Time,’ in Persian Literature and Judeo-Persian Culture: Collected Writings of Sorour S. Soroudi, ed. H.E. Chehabi (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2010), 63–112; S.R. Shafaq, ‘Patriotic Poetry in Modern Iran,’ The Middle East Journal 6 (1952): 417–28. 2 Ali Gheissari, ‘The Poetry and Politics of Farrokhi Yazdi,’ Iranian Studies 26, nos. 1–2 (1993): 33–50. 3 Soroudi, ‘Poet and Revolution,’ 89–90. For the surviving part of the poem that led to Farrokhi’s dismissal from school, see Farrokhi Yazdi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, eds. Mohammad Ali Sepānlu and Mehdi Okhovvat, 4th ed. (Tehran: Negāh, 2015), 265. All further references to this work are based on this edition. 4 Hoseyn Maserrat, Pishvā-ye Āzādi: Zendegi va Sheʻr-e Farrokhi Yazdi, 2nd ed. (Tehran: Sāles, 2017), 56. 5 Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 304. 6 Mosammat is a poetic form which has several stanzas, each of which consists of a fixed number of verses (beyts). The last verse of each stanza has a different rhyme scheme than the rest; see L.P. Elwell-Sutton, ‘ʻArūz,’ Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Columbia University, 1986; last updated 2011), http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/ articles​/aruz​-the​-metrical​-system. For Farrokhi’s mosammat-e vatani, see Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 266–70; Idem, Divan, ed. Hoseyn Makki, 7th ed. (Tehran: Nashr-e Ketāb, 1978), 186–89. This edition of Divan is used throughout. 7 The following lines are from mosammat-e vatani that led to the sewing of Farrokhi’s lips: (…)‫ نه ز دست‬،‫ این خو‬،‫مستبدی خوی ضحاکی ست‬ ‫ ای فریدون خو بت ایران پرست‬،‫عید جم شد‬ ‫ آزادی به خیل خاص و عام‬،‫تا دهد مشروطه‬ ‫تا که در ایران ز قانون اساسی هست نام‬ ‫هر زمان این شعر می گویم پی ختم کالم‬ ‫ سلب احترام‬،‫تا ز ظالم می نماید عدل‬

‫مجلس شورای ایران تا ابد پاینده باد‬ (...)‫خسرو مشروطه ی ما تا قیامت زنده باد‬ The feast of Jamshid (i.e., Nowruz) has come, O’ you who follow the ways of Fereydun and worship the land of Iran, Oppression is the trait of Zahhāk, abandon this trait. (…) As long as the name of the code of laws exists in Iran, So that if offers freedom to elites and ordinary people through the Constitutional Revolution, As long as justice disrespects the oppressor, I’ll compose this poetry as the final word: May the Iranian parliament last forever! May the king of our Constitutional Revolution live till the Day of Judgment. (…) 8 Mohammad Golbon and Yusef Sharifi, eds., Mohākemeh-ye Mohākemeh-garān: ʻĀmelān-e Koshtār-e Sayyed Hasan Modarres, Farrokhi Yazdi, Taqi Arrāni, Sardār Asʻad Bakhtiyāri (Tehran: Qatreh, 1984), 163; Farrokhi, Divan, 20. 9 Ervand Abrahamian, A History of Modern Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 60. Also see N.S. Fatemi, ‘Anglo-Persian Agreement of 1919,’ Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Columbia University, 1985; last updated 2011), http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/anglo​-persian​-agreement​-1919. 10 Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 21–22. 11 Abrahamian, Iran between Two Revolutions (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982), 128. 12 Rezā Āzari-Shahrezā’i, Farrokhi Yazdi: Saranjām-e Yek Ro’yā-ye Siyāsi (Tehran: Pardis-e Dānesh, 2014), 4–5.

154  Saeedeh Shahnahpur 13 Gheissari, ‘The Poetry and Politics,’ 46; Sepānlu, Chāhār Shāʻer-e Āzādi: Jostoju dar Sargozasht va Āsār-e ʻĀref, ʻEshqi, Bahār, Farrokhi Yazdi (Spågna: Afsāneh & Bārān, 1994), 424. 14 ‘Abd al-Rahmān Zāker-Hoseyn, Adabiyāt-e Siyāsi-ye Iran dar ʻAsr-e Mashrutiyyat, vol. 2 (Tehran: Nashr-e ʻElm, 1998), 217. 15 Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, ‘Farrokī Yazdī,’ Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Columbia University, 1999), http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/farroki​-yazdi. 16 Makki, Tārikh-e Bist-sāleh-ye Iran, vol. 5 (Tehran: Enteshārāt-e ʻElmi, 1995), 176. 17 Āzari-Shahrezā’i, Farrokhi Yazdi, 48. 18 Sepānlu, Chāhār Shāʻer-e Āzādi, 450. For this poem, see Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 142. 19 Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 10. 20 Nāser Rabiʻi and Ahmad Rāhro-Khājeh, Tārikh-e Zendān dar ʻAsr-e Qajar va Pahlavi (Tehran: Qoqnus, 2011), 222. 21 In theory, the term ‘communism’ signifies the same ideals as ‘socialism;’ both seek social and political equality. Ludwig Von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, trans. J. Kahane (London: Jonathan Cape, 1951), 56. On the impact of the Russian Revolution on the spread of communism and the creation of communist parties, see Sepehr Zabih, The Left in Contemporary Iran: Ideology, Organisation and the Soviet Union (London: Croom Helm, 1986); Cosroe Chaqueri, ‘Communism i. In Persia to 1941,’ Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Columbia University, 1992; last updated 2011), http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/ articles​/communism​-i​;Pezhmann Dailami, ‘The Bolshevik Revolution and the Genesis of Communism in Iran, 1917–1920,’ Central Asian Survey 11, no. 3 (1992): 51–82. 22 For this literary movement, see William L. Hanaway, ‘Bāzgašt-e Adabī,’ Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Columbia University, 1989), http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/ bazgast​-e​-adabi. 23 ‘Ghazal’ in the Persian literary tradition refers to a poetic form which follows a coherent structure. A ghazal’s length may vary from five to fifteenth couplets. Ghazals begin with an opening line (matlaʻ) rhyming in both hemistiches (musarra’), and ends with a line, called maqtaʻ, often inclusive of the poet’s signature. For a more comprehensive discussion of the ghazal genre in classical Persian literature, see Franklin Lewis, Reading, Writing, and Recitation: Sanā’i and the Origins of the Persian Ghazal (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 1995); Idem, ‘The Transformation of the Persian Ghazal: From Amatory Mood to Fixed Form,’ in Ghazal as World Literature II: From a Literary Genre to a Great Tradition, The Ottoman Gazel in Context, eds. Angelika Neuwirth et al. (Würzburg: Ergon, 2006), 121–39; Julie Scott Meisami, Structure and Meaning in Medieval Arabic and Persian Poetry: Orient Pearls (London: Routledge, 2003); Alireza Korangy, Development of the Ghazal and Khāqānī’s Contribution: A Study of the Development of Ghazal and a Literary Exegesis of a 12th c. Poetic Harbinger (Wiesbaden: Hassarssowitz, 2013). 24 Karimi-Hakkak, Recasting Persian Poetry: Scenarios of Poetic Modernity in Iran (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1995), 62. 25 Shafiʻi-Kadkani goes on to argue that despite the large number of political ghazals that appeared during and after the Constitutional Revolution, those of Farrokhi’s remained unsurpassed because they consistently steer clear of the major syntactic, metric, or grammatical errors seen elsewhere. Mohammad Rezā Shafiʻi-Kadkani, Bā Cherāgh va Āyeneh: dar Jostoju-ye Risheh-hā-ye Tahavvol-e Sheʻr-e Moʻāser-e Farsi, 5th ed. (Tehran: Sokhan, 2015), 431. 26 Lewis, Reading, Writing, and Recitation, 16. 27 A ghazal encompasses its own theme, which is often introduced in the first line; while the following lines unveil different issues with regard to the main subject matter. In political ghazals, for instance, lines usually reveal poet’s opinion about a certain sociopolitical event or idea. See Ehsan Yarshater, ‘Ḡazal ii. Characteristics and Conventions,’ Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Columbia University, 1990; last updated 2006), http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/gazal​-2.

Politics, Prison and Poetry  155 28 Lewis, Reading, Writing, and Recitation, 12. 29 For a comprehensive study of the censorship under Rezā Shāh, see Karimi Hakkak, ‘Censorship in Persia,’ Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Columbia University, 1990), http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/censorship​-sansur​-in​-persia; Karim Soleimani, ‘Press Censorship in the Reza Shah Era, 1925–41,’ in Culture and Cultural Politics under Reza Shah, eds. Christoph Werner and Bianca Devos (Oxon: Routledge, 2013), 181–98. 30 Esfahan and the northern provinces as a Russian zone, Sistān and Baluchestān as a British sphere, and the southern regions as a neutral zone. Abrahamian, Iran between Two Revolutions, 104–105. 31 Janet Afary, The Iranian Constitutional Revolution, 1906–1911: Grassroots Democracy, Social Democracy, and the Origins of Feminism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 269. 32 Ibid., 270. 33 Katouzian, Iran, 203. 34 The part in parentheses is added to the original translation. In two editions of Farrokhi’s divan used in this chapter, instead of sobh-e āzādi (the dawn of freedom), it is written sobh-e estebdād (the dawn of despotism). Farrokhi, Divan, 181; Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 15. 35 ‫که روح بخش جهان است نام آزادی‬ ‫قسم به عزت و قدر و مقام آزادی‬ ‫که داشت از دل و جان احترام آزادی‬ ‫به پیش اهل جهان محترم بود آن کس‬ ‫ شام آزادی‬،‫برای دسته ی پابسته‬ ‫هزار بار بود به ز صبح استبداد‬ ‫کنند رنجبران چون قیام آزادی‬ ‫ قیامت به پا شود آن روز‬،‫به روزگار‬ ‫کشم ز مرتجعین انتقام آزادی‬ ‫ یک روز‬،‫اگر خدای به من فرصتی دهد‬ ‫چو فرخی نشوی گر غالم آزادی؟‬ ‫ز بند بندگی خواجه کی شود آزاد‬ Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 15. Translation is taken from Seyed-Gohrab, “Poetry as Awakening,” 101. 36 Lewis, ‘The Semiotic Horizons of Dawn in the Poetry of Ḥāfiẓ,’ in Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: I.B. Tauris, 2010), 274. 37 Ibid., 254. 38 J.T.P. de Bruijn, ‘Ḡazal i. History,’ Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Columbia University, 2000; last updated 2012), http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/gazal​-1​history. 39 ‫آن زمان که بنهادم سر به پای آزادی دست خو       د ز جان شستم از برای آزادی‬ Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 16. Unless otherwise stated, translations of the Persian texts in this chapter are my own. 40 ‫ ماهرانه در جنگ است       ناخدای استبداد با خدای آزادی‬،‫در محیط طوفان زای‬ 41 Alessandro Bausani, ‘Europe and Iran in Contemporary Persian Literature,’ East and West 11, no. 1 (1960): 14. 42 Maserrat, Pishvā-ye Āzādi, 61–62. 43 ‫ خراب‬،‫گه به ملک ری به فرمان جوانی باشتاب        کعبه آمال ملت را کنیم از بن‬ Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 302. Kaʻba (God’s House in Mecca) is the most sacred place for Muslims, who are obliged to perform certain rituals during the annual hajj pilgrimage. In this line, Kaʻba is a metaphor for the House of Parliament. Kaʻba’s sanctity and centrality are comparable to those of the parliament, a place where revolutionaries hoped to fulfill their demands, especially with regard to the establishment of a democratic government. ‫کار ایران با خداست‬ ‫با شه ایران ز آزادی سخن گفتن خطاست‬ 44 ‫کار ایران با خداست‬ ‫مذهب شاهنشه ایران ز مذهبها جداست‬ ‫موجهای جانگداز‬        ‫هر دم از دریای استبداد آید برفراز‬ ‫کار ایران با خداست‬ ‫زین تالطم کشتی ملت به گرداب بالست‬ (...)‫ناخدا عدل است و بس‬ ‫ حوادث بحر و استبداد خس‬،‫مملکت کشتی‬

156  Saeedeh Shahnahpur Malek al-Sho’arā Bahār, Divan-e Ashʻār, 5th ed. (Tehran: Negāh, 2017), 124–25. 45 For the influence of Great Britain and Russia on Iran’s political affairs, see Ahmad Ashraf, ‘Conspiracy Theories,’ Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Columbia University, 1992; last updated 2011), http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/conspiracy​theories. 46 During the nineteenth century, the Iran-Russia relationship entered a critical phase due to constant wars between the two countries over territorial claims. Russia desired access to the Caspian Sea to facilitate trade, while Iran was desperate to regain Georgia, which was under Russia’s control. In order to put an end to these wars, both sides signed the Golestān Treaty (1813), under which Iran ceded many of its territories to Russia, including the Caucasus and present-day Turkmenistan; the treaty also gave Russia the exclusive right to have warships in the Caspian Sea. In return Iran was granted free access to Russia, but it failed to regain Georgia, and thus the treaty is regarded as one of the largest losses in modern Iranian history. Nikki Keddie, Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution, 2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 38. 47 For the story of Kāveh and Zahhāk in Shāhnāmeh, see Abolqāsem Ferdowsi, Shāhnāmeh, vol. 1, ed. Jalāl Khāleqi-Motlaq (New York: Bibliotheca Persica, 1987), 55–85. Also see Mahmud Omidsalar, ‘Kāva,’ Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Columbia University, 2000; last updated 2013), http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/ kava​-hero; Ferdowsi, The Persian Book of Kings: An Epitome of the Shahnama of Firdawsi, trans. B.W. Robinson (Oxon: Routledge, 2013), 13–16. For some of the poems in which Farrokhi refers to this story, see Farrokhi, Majmu’eh-ye Ash’ār, 91, 105, 107, 116, 266, 274. 48 These four lines are my own translation. ‫ایرج ایران سر اپا دستگیر و پای بست‬ ‫حالیا کز سلم و تور انگیس و روس هست‬ 49 ‫در ره مشروطه اقدام منوچهری کنی‬ ‫به که از راه تمدن ترک بی مهری کنی‬ ‫خوابگاه داریوش و مأمن سیروس بود‬ ‫این همان ایران که منزلگاه کیکاووس بود‬ (...)‫نی چنین پامال جور انگلیس و روس بود‬ ‫جای زال و رستم و گودرز و گیو و توس بود‬ Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 267. Translation cited from M. Ishaque, Modern Persian Poetry (Calcutta: n.p., 1943), 151. 50 For the elaborated account of Iraj and Manuchehr’s stories in Shāhnāmeh, see Abolqāsem Ferdowsi, Shahnahmeh: The Persian Book of Kings, trans. Dick Davis (New York: Penguin, 2016), 36–62. 51 In the late nineteenth century, many Iranian secular intellectuals such as Mirza Āqā Khan Kermāni (1853–1896) and Fath-Ali Ākhundzādeh (1812–1878) perceived Iran’s social, political, cultural and intellectual decay and claimed that this backwardness was the result of the Arabs’ conquest in the seventh century, under which the civilization of the Persians was destroyed. Resolution for this backwardness, as suggested by Kermāni, was a return to Zoroastrianism as the pre-Islamic religion of Iran, a period during which the country enjoyed welfare, law, justice and prosperity. For Kermāni’s ideas, see Farzin Vahdat, ‘Iran’s Early Intellectual Encounter with Modernity: A Dual Approach,’ in Society and Culture in Qajar Iran: Studies in Honor of Hafez Farmayan, ed. Elton L. Daniel (Costa Mesa: Mazda, 2002), 99–141; Mangol Bayat-Phillipp, ‘Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani: A Nineteenth-Century Persian Nationalist,’ in Towards A Modern Iran: Studies in Thought, Politics and Society, eds. Elie Kedourie and Sylvia G. Haim (London: Frank Cass, 1980), 64–95. 52 Shāhrokh Meskub, Dāstān-e Adabiyāt va Sargozasht-e Ejtemāʻ (Sālhā-ye 1300-1315) (Tehran: Farzān, 1992), 8–9. 53 Maserrat, Pishvā-ye Āzādi, 262–63. 54 ‫دیدم به فال نیک بود حال انقالب‬ ‫در جشن کارگر چو زدم فال انقالب‬ ‫ پامال انقالب‬،‫گردد به دست ما و تو‬ ‫روزی رسد که در همه گیتی اساس ظلم‬ ‫از ه ّمت عناصر فعّال انقالب‬ ‫دنیا شود به کام دهاقین و کارگر‬ ‫ تمثال انقالب‬،‫تا بنگری به مقبره‬ ‫با پای جان به تربت پاک “لنین” بیا‬ Ibid., 262.

Politics, Prison and Poetry  157 55 For Farrokhi’s anti-feudalist ideas, see Ali Karimzādeh, ‘Mizān-e Dehqān: Bahsi dar Ghazal-e Farrokhi Yazdi,’ Nāmeh-ye Pārsi 10, no. 1 (2005): 133–42; Mohammad Mehdipur and Mohammad Khākpur, ‘Sorud-e Zendegi: Ta’mmoli dar Mohtavā va Mabāni-ye Jamālshenākhti-ye Adabiyāt-e Kārgari,’ Nashriyyeh-ye Dāneshkadeh-ye Adabiyāt va ‘Olum-e Ensāni-ye Dāneshgāh-e Tabriz 53, no. 215 (2010): 110–11; Parvāneh Ramezāni et al., ‘Farrokhi Yazdi Monādi-ye Re’ālism-e Enqelābi dar ‘Asr-e Mashruteh,’ Pazhuhesh-hā-ye Naqd-e Adabi va Sabk-shenāsi 24, no. 3 (2016): 160–62. 56 Gheissari, ‘The Poetry and Politics,’ 48. 57 Mansoor Moaddel, ‘Class Struggle in Post-revolutionary Iran,’ International Journal of Middle East Studies 23 (1991): 317–18. 58 For further study on classes in Pahlavi Iran, see James Alban Bill, The Politics of Iran: Groups, Classes, and Modernization (Ohio: Charles E. Merrill, 1972). 59 ‫کشمکش را بر سر فقر و غنا باید نمود‬ ‫توده را با جنگ صنفی آشنا باید نمود‬ (...)‫این دو صف را کامال از هم جدا باید نمود‬ ‫در صف حزب فقیران اغنیا کردند جای‬ ‫انقالبی سخت در دنیا به پا باید نمود‬ ‫تا مگر عدل و تساوی در بشر مجری شود‬ (...)‫معدلت را شامل شاه و گدا باید نمود‬ ‫مسکنت را محو باید کرد بین شیخ و شاب‬ Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 45–46. Translation is taken from Gheissari, ‘The Poetry and Politics,’ 48–49. 60 Karimi-Hakkak, Recasting Persian Poetry, 25. 61 Shafiʻi-Kadkani, Advār-e Sheʻr-e Farsi: Az Mashrutiyyat tā Soqut-e Saltanat, 9th ed. (Tehran: Sokhan, 2016), 37–38. 62 Mehdipur and Khākpur, ‘Sorud-e Zendegi,’ 111. 63 Fatemeh Shams, ‘Village in Contemporary Persian Poetry,’ Iranian Studies 51, no.3 (2015): 456. 64 ‫هم توانا شده ایم‬ ‫ما فقیران که چنین عالم و دانا شده ایم‬ (…)‫همه دانا شده ایم‬ ‫همه کوران قدیمیم که بینا شده ایم‬ (...)‫همه دانا شده ایم‬ ‫فتح اکتبر به پیش آمد و برنا شده ایم‬ ‫در همه روی زمین‬ ‫توده ی رنجبرانیم که در راه لنین‬ ‫همه دانا شده ایم‬ ‫متحد بهر عوض کردن دنیا شده ایم‬ Abolqāsem Lāhuti, Divan (Moscow: n.p., 1975), 34-35. 65 Sepānlu, Chāhār Shāʻer-e Āzādi, 425. 66 Quoted from Qāsem Sāfi, ‘Farrokhi Yazdi: Shāʻer-e Sarafrāz-e Farhang va Adab-e Farsi,’ Majalleh-ye Dāneshkadeh-ye Adabiyāt va ʻOlum-e Ensāni (2000): 576. 67    ‫خوش آن که در طریق عدالت قدم زنیم         با این مرام در همه عالم علم زنیم‬ ‫این شکل زندگی نبود قابل دوام           خوب است این طریقه ی بد را به هم زنیم‬     ‫قانون عادله تر از این کنیم وضع           آن گاه بر تمام قوانین علم زنیم‬    (...) ‫دست صفا دهیم به معمار عدل و داد           پا بر سر عوالم جوروستم زنیم‬ Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 31. 68 Afshin Matin-Asgari, ‘The Left’s Contribution to Social Justice in Iran: A Brief Historical Overview,’ in Iran’s Struggles for Social Justice: Economics, Agency, Justice, Activism, ed. Peyman Vahabzadeh (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 256. 69 Ibid., 262; Bāqer ʻĀqelī, ‘Dāvar, ʻAli-Akbar,’ Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Columbia University, 1994; last updated 2011), http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/ davar​-ali​-akbar. 70 For a detailed account on Iran’s judicial system during the Constitutional period and Ali Akbar Davār’s role, see Majid Mohammadi, Judicial Reform and Reorganization in 20th Century Iran: State-Building, Modernization, and Islamicization (New York: Routledge, 2008), Chapters 3 and 4. 71 Abrahamian, A History of Modern Iran, 47. 72   ‫)…( مالک غریق نعمت و جاه و جالل و قدر       زارع اسیر زحمت و رنج و بال هنوز‬     ‫در قرن علم و عهد طالیی ز روی جه         ما در خیال مس شدن کیمیا هنوز‬ (...) ‫شد دوره تساوی و در این دیار شوم           فرق است در میانه ی شاه و گدا هنوز‬ Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 89. 73 Abrahamian, A History of Modern Iran, 73–74.

158  Saeedeh Shahnahpur 74 Idem, Tortured Confessions: Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 24. 75 Ibid., 23. 76 ʻĀqelī, ‘Dāvar, ʻAli-Akbar;’ Abrahamian, A History of Modern Iran, 88. 77 Ibid. 78   ‫)…( مملکت یکباره استقالل خود از دست داد        شاهبازی سروری از بام ایرانی پرید‬   ‫یک نظر بنما به عدلیه ببین داور چه کرد          با تمام آن هیاهو با همه وعد و وعید‬ ‫گر نقاب از چهره ی این عدل بردارند خلق         رشته را بی پرده دست اجنبی خواهند دید‬   ‫این هیاهو از برای خدمت ایران نبود            کرد از ما این سیاست عاقبت قطع امید‬  ‫”سال تاریخش شنیدم از سروش غیب گفت          “داوری بی دادگر عدلیه را بر گه کشید‬ Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 94. 79 ‫این بنای داد یا رب چیست کز بیداد آن            دادها باشد به گردون محرم و بیگانه را‬ ‫از در و دیوار این عدلیه بارد ظلم و جور          محو باید کرد یکسر این عدالت خانه را‬ Ibid., 97. 80 Maserrat, Pishvā-ye Āzādi, 258; Chaqueri, ‘Eskandarī, Solaymān (Moḥsen) Mīrzā,’ Encyclopædia Iranica (New York: Columbia University, 1998; last updated 2012), https://iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/eskandari​-solayman​-mohsen​-mirza. 81 For a comprehensive study on classical prison poetry in general, and those of Masʻud Sʻad Salmān’s prison poetry in particular, see Sunil Sharma, Persian Poetry at the Indian Frontier: Mas’ûd-i Sa’d Salman of Lahore (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2000). 82 Valiollāh Zafari, Habsiyyeh dar Adab-e Fārsi, vol. 1 (Tehran: Amir Kabir, 2009), 15–29. 83 Katouzian, Iranian History and Politics: The Dialectic of State and Society (London: Routledge, 2003), 160–64. 84    ‫با وثوق الدوله ای باد صبا گو این پیام         با وطن خواهان ایران بدسلوکی نیک نیست‬   ‫آن که تقصیری ندارد هیچ جز حبّ وطن         جای او در هیچ مذهب محبس تاریک نیست‬ (...) ‫آن که استقالل ما را در قرار انشاء نمود        مقصدش از آن مواد شوم جز تملیک نیست‬ Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 23. The translation of these lines is taken from Katouzian, Iranian History, 165. 85 Jaroslav Stetkevych, The Zephyrs of Najd: The Poetics of Nostalgia in the Classical Arabic Nasib (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1993), 123–25. 86 For a comprehensive study on the implication of the ‘homeland’ or ‘motherland’ during the Constitutional period, see Afsaneh Najmabadi, ‘The Erotic Vatan [Homeland] as Beloved and Mother: To Love, To Possess, and To Protect,’ Comparative Studies in Society and History 39, no. 3 (1997): 442–67; Mohammad Tavakoli-Targhi, Refashioning Iran: Orientalism, Occidentalism, and Historiography (New York: Palgrave, 2001), Chapter 7. 87 Abrahamian, A History of Modern Iran, 88. 88 Karimi-Hakkak, ‘Farrokī Yazdī.’ 89  (...) ‫ در بندیم ما‬،‫ای که پرسی تا به کی در بند دربندیم ما            تا که آزادی بود در بند‬   ‫گر نمی آمد چنین روزی کجا دانند خلق          در میان همگنان بی مثل و مانندیم ما؟‬ (...) ‫کشتی ما را خدایا ناخدا از هم شکست            با وجود آن که کشتی را خداوندیم ما‬ Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 133. The translation is taken from Bausani, “Europe and Iran,” 6–7. 90 Gheissari, ‘The Poetry and Politics,’ 41. 91 The Group of Fifty-Three was formed when a number of Iranian students such as Mohammad Bahrāmi and Taqi Arrāni returned to Iran from Berlin, where they had brushed shoulders with Marxism. For the list of all the members of this group see Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions, 48–55. Also, on their imprisonment, see MatinAsgari, ‘Twentieth Century Iran’s Political Prisoners,’ Middle Eastern Studies 42, no. 5 (2006): 689–707. 92 Makki, Tārikh-e Bist-sāleh, 179; Golbon and Sharifi, Mohākemeh-ye Mohākemehgarān, 176.

Politics, Prison and Poetry  159 93 Quoted from Gheissari, ‘The Poetry and Politics,’ 42. 94 Dara was one of the Achaemenid (r. 559–330 BC) kings before Cyrus. 95   ‫به زندان قفس مرغ دلم چون شاد می گردد     مگر روزی که از این بند غم آزاد می گردد‬ (...) ‫ز آزادی جهان آباد و چرخ کشور دارا        پس از مشروطه با افزار استبداد می گردد‬    ‫دلم از این عروسی سخت می لرزد که قاسم هم     چو جنگ نینوا نزدیک شد داماد می گردد‬   (...) ‫به ویرانی این اوضاع هستم مطمئن زآن رو     که بنیان جفا و جور بی بنیاد می گردد‬ Farrokhi, Majmuʻeh-ye Ashʻār, 157–58.

Bibliography Abrahamian, Ervand. A History of Modern Iran. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. ———. Tortured Confessions: Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. ———. Iran between Two Revolutions. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982. Afary, Janet. The Iranian Constitutional Revolution, 1906–1911: Grassroots Democracy, Social Democracy, and the Origins of Feminism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996. ʻĀqeli, Bāqer. “Dāvar, ʻAli-Akbar.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 1994; last updated 2011. Accessed April 25, 2018. http://www​.iranicaonline​ .org​/articles​/davar​-ali​-akbar. Ashraf, Ahmad. “Conspiracy Theories.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 1992; last updated 2011. Accessed August 10, 2017. http://www​ .iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/conspiracy​-theories. Āzari-Shahrezā’i, Rezā. Farrokhi Yazdi: Saranjām-e Yek Ro’yā-ye Siyāsi. Tehran: Pardis-e Dānesh, 2014. Bahār, Malek al-Sho’arā. Divan-e Ashʻār. 5th ed. Tehran: Negāh, 2017. Bausani, Alessandro. “Europe and Iran in Contemporary Persian Literature.” East and West 11, no. 1 (1960): 1–14. Bill, James Alban. The Politics of Iran: Groups, Classes, and Modernization. Ohio: Charles E. Merrill, 1972. Chaqueri, Cosroe. “Communism i. In Persia to 1941.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 1992; last updated 2011. Accessed May 1, 2018. http:// www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/communism​-i. ———. “Eskandarī, Solaymān (Moḥsen) Mīrzā.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 1998; last updated 2012. Accessed September 16, 2020. https:// iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/eskandari​-solayman​-mohsen​-mirza. Dabashi, Hamid. The World of Persian Literary Humanism. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2012. Dailami, Pezhmann. “The Bolshevik Revolution and the Genesis of Communism in Iran, 1917–1920.” Central Asian Survey 11, no. 3 (1992): 51–82. de Bruijn, J. T. P. “Ḡazal i. History.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 2000; last updated 2012. Accessed February 19, 2019. http://www​ . iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/gazal​-1​-history. Elwell-Sutton, L. P. “‘Arūz.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 1989; last updated 2011. Accessed May 4, 2018. http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/ aruz​-the​-metrical​-system. Fatemi, N. S. “Anglo-Persian Agreement of 1919.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 1985; last updated 2011. Accessed May 8, 2018. http://www​. iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/anglo​-persian​-agreement​-1919.

160  Saeedeh Shahnahpur Ferdowsi, Abolqāsem. Shahnahmeh: The Persian Book of Kings. Translated by Dick Davis. New York: Penguin, 2016. ———. Shāhnāmeh. Edited by Jalāl Khāleqi-Motlaq. Vol. 1. New York: Bibliotheca Persica, 1987. Gheissari, Ali. “The Poetry and Politics of Farrokhi Yazdi.” Iranian Studies 26, nos. 1–2 (1993): 33–50. Golbon, Mohammad, and Yusef Sharifi, eds. Mohākemeh-ye Mohākemeh-garān: ʻĀmelān-e Koshtār-e Sayyed Hasan Modarres, Farrokhi Yazdi, Taqi Arrāni, Sardār Asʻad Bakhtiyāri. Tehran: Qatreh, 1984. Hanaway, William L. “Bāzgašt-e Adabī.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 1989. Accessed May 17, 2018. http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/ bazgast​-e​-adabi. Ishaque, M. Modern Persian Poetry. Calcutta: N.p., 1943. Karimi-Hakkak, Ahmad. Recasting Persian Poetry: Scenarios of Poetic Modernity in Iran. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1995. ———. “Censorship in Persia.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 1990. Accessed February 19, 2018. http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/ censorship​-sansur​-in​-persia. ———. “Farrokī Yazdī.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 1999. Accessed February 3, 2018. http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/farroki​yazdi. Karimzādeh, Ali. “Mizān-e Dehqān: Bahsi dar Ghazal-e Farrokhi Yazdi.” Nāmeh-ye Pārsi 10, no. 1 (2005): 133–42. Katouzian, Homa. Iran: Politics, History and Literature. London: Routledge, 2013. ———. Iranian History and Politics: The Dialectic of State and Society. London: Routledge, 2003. Keddie, Nikki. Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006. Lāhuti, Abolqāsem. Divan. Moscow: N.p., 1975. Lewis, Franklin. “The Semiotic Horizons of Dawn in the Poetry of Ḥāfiẓ.” In Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry, edited by Leonard Lewisohn, 251–77. London: I.B. Tauris, 2010. ———. “The Transformation of the Persian Ghazal: From Amatory Mood to Fixed Form.” In Ghazal as World Literature II: From a Literary Genre to a Great Tradition, The Ottoman Gazel in Context, edited by Angelika Neuwirth, Michael Hess, Judith Pfeiffer, and Börte Sagaster, 121–39. Würzburg: Ergon, 2006. ———. “Reading, Writing, and Recitation: Sanā’i and the Origins of the Persian Ghazal.” PhD diss., University of Chicago, 1995. Mehdipur, Mohammad, and Mohammad Khākpur. “Sorud-e Zendegi: Ta’mmoli dar Mohtavā va Mabāni-ye Jamāl-shenākhti-ye Adabiyāt-e Kārgari.” Nashriyyeh-ye Dāneshkadeh-ye Adabiyāt va ʻOlum-e Ensāni-ye Dāneshgāh-e Tabriz 53, no. 215 (2010): 101–32. Makki, Hoseyn. Tārikh-e Bist-sāleh-ye Iran. Vol. 5. Tehran: Enteshārāt-e ʻElmi, 1995. Matin-Asgari, Afshin. “The Left’s Contribution to Social Justice in Iran: A Brief Historical Overview.” In Iran’s Struggles for Social Justice: Economics, Agency, Justice, Activism, edited by Peyman Vahabzadeh, 255–69. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. ———. “Twentieth Century Iran’s Political Prisoners.” Middle Eastern Studies 42, no. 5 (2006): 689–707.

Politics, Prison and Poetry  161 Maserrat, Hoseyn. Pishvā-ye Āzādi: Zendegi va Sheʻr-e Farrokhi Yazdi. 2nd ed. Tehran: Sāles, 2017. Meisami, Julie Scott. Structure and Meaning in Medieval Arabic and Persian Poetry: Orient Pearls. London: Routledge, 2003. Meskub, Shāhrokh. Dāstān-e Adabiyāt va Sargozasht-e Ejtemāʻ (Sāl-hā-ye 1300–1315). Tehran: Farzān, 1992. Moaddel, Mansoor. “Class Struggle in Post-Revolutionary Iran.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 23 (1991): 317–43. Mohammadi, Majid. Judicial Reform and Reorganization in 20th Century Iran: StateBuilding, Modernization, and Islamicization. New York: Routledge, 2008. Najmabadi, Afsaneh. “The Erotic Vatan [Homeland] as Beloved and Mother: To Love, To Possess, and To Protect.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 39, no. 3 (1997): 442–67. Omidsalar, Mahmud. “Kāva.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 2000; last updated 2013. Accessed October 18, 2019. http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/ articles​/kava​-hero. Rabiʻi, Nāser, and Ahmad Rāhro-Khājeh. Tārikh-e Zendān dar ʻAsr-e Qajar va Pahlavi. Tehran: Qoqnus, 2011. Ramezāni, Parvāneh, Rezā Forsati-Juybāri, Hoseyn Pārsā’i, and Mehr Ali Yazdan-Panāh. “Farrokhi Yazdi Monādi-ye Re’ālism-e Enqelābi dar ‘Asr-e Mashruteh.” Pazhuheshhā-ye Naqd-e Adabi va Sabk-shenāsi 24, no. 3 (2016): 151–71. Sāfi, Qāsem. “Farrokhi Yazdi: Shāʻer-e Sarafrāz-e Farhang va Adab-e Farsi.” Majalleh-ye Dāneshkadeh-ye Adabiyāt va ʻOlum-e Ensāni 51–51, no. 162–163 (2000): 569–84. Shafaq, S. R. “Patriotic Poetry in Modern Iran.” The Middle East Journal 6 (1952): 417–28. Shafiʻi-Kadkani, Mohammad Rezā. Advār-e Sheʻr-e Farsi: Az Mashrutiyyat tā Soqut-e Saltanat. 9th ed. Tehran: Sokhan, 2016. ———. Bā Cherāgh va Āyeneh: dar Jostoju-ye Risheh-hā-ye Tahavvol-e Sheʻr-e Moʻāser-e Fārsi. 5th ed. Tehran: Sokhan, 2015. Shams, Fatemeh. “Village in Contemporary Persian Poetry.” Iranian Studies 51, no. 3 (2015): 455–77. Sharma, Sunil. Persian Poetry at the Indian Frontier: Mas’ûd-i Sa’d Salman of Lahore. New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2000. Seyed-Gohrab, Ali-Asghar. “Poetry as Awakening: Singing Modernity.” In A History of Persian Literature, vol. 11: Literature of the Early Twentieth Century from the Constitutional Period to Reza Shah, edited by Ali-Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, 30–132. London: I.B. Tauris, 2015. Sepānlu, Mohammad Ali. Chāhār Shāʻer-e Āzādi: Jostoju dar Sargozasht va Āsār-e ʻĀref, ʻEshqi, Bahār, Farrokhi Yazdi. Spågna: Afsāneh & Bārān, 1994. Soleimani, Karim. “Press Censorship in the Reza Shah Era, 1925–41.” In Culture and Cultural Politics under Reza Shah, edited by Christoph Werner and Bianca Devos, 181–98. Oxon: Routledge, 2013. Soroudi, Sorour S. “Poet and Revolution: The Impact of Iran’s Constitutional Revolution on the Social and Literary Outlook of the Poets of the Time.” In Persian Literature and Judeo-Persian Culture: Collected Writings of Sorour S. Soroudi, edited by H.E. Chehabi, 63–112. Boston: Harvard University Press, 2010. Stetkevych, Jaroslav. The Zephyrs of Najd: The Poetics of Nostalgia in the Classical Arabic Nasib. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1993.

162  Saeedeh Shahnahpur Tavakoli-Targhi, Mohammad. Refashioning Iran: Orientalism, Occidentalism, and Historiography. New York: Palgrave, 2001. Von Mises, Ludwig. Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis. Translated by J. Kahane. London: Jonathan Cape, 1951. Yarshater, Ehsan. “Ḡazal ii. Characteristics and Conventions.” In Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University, 1990; last updated 2006. Accessed October 16, 2019. http://www​.iranicaonline​.org​/articles​/gazal​-2. Yazdi, Farrokhi. Majmu’eh-ye Ashʻār. Edited by Mohammad Ali Sepānlu and Mehdi Okhovvat. 4th ed. Tehran: Negāh, 2015. ———. Divan. Edited by Hoseyn Makki. 7th ed. Tehran: Nashr-e Ketāb, 1978. Zabih, Sepehr. The Left in Contemporary Iran: Ideology, Organisation and the Soviet Union. London: Croom Helm, 1986. Zafari, Valiollāh. Habsiyyeh dar Adab-e Farsi. Vol. 1. Tehran: Amir Kabir, 2009. Zāker-Hossein, ‘Abd al-Rahmān. Adabiyāt-e Siyāsi-ye Iran dar ʻAsr-e Mashrutiyyat. Vol. 2. Tehran: Nashr-e ʻElm, 1998.


Singing Modernity with the Language of Tradition Situating the Literary Theory and Practice of Mohammad-Taqi Bahār Salour Evaz Malayeri

Introduction Mohammad-Taqi Bahār (1886–1951) is one of the most prominent figures of the Constitutional-era literature. Apart from being a renowned socio-political poet, he was a significant literary scholar and journalist. His works helped shape the literary discourse of the post-constitutional period. In fact, what was later coined as ‘the Persian Literature and Language’ (zabān o adabiyāt-e fārsi) is highly indebted to the works of Bahār. His poems and literary views set the groundwork for conceptualizing the ‘national literature’ (adabiyāt-e melli) and make a significant impact on the discursive formation of ‘Persian literature’ and its institutionalization in academia during the first Pahlavi era. Current studies on Bahār’s literary views tend to ignore how they tie into the prevalent discourse of the pre-constitutional period, which is be found in the works of Mirza Fathali Ākhundzādeh (1812–1875), Mirza Āqā Khan Kermāni (1854–1896) and Mirza Malkam Khan (1834–1908). Moreover, they are not judicious in highlighting the traditional aspects of Bahār’s literary views. A focus on the literary views of Mohammad-Taqi Bahār highlights his contribution in establishing the standard and orthodox narrative of Persian literature and shows that Bahār’s modernist ideas are interposed and mediated by his traditional systematic thought and education while simultaneously in dialogue with the ideas of the proto-modernist Iranian intellectuals. In order to trace the influences of Persian modernity and traditional rhetoric in Bahār’s literary discourse, a thorough understanding of the influences of Ākhundzādeh, Kermāni and Malkam Khan on Bahār’s literary paradigm and revisiting the metaphysics of meaning in Persian literary tradition are foregone conclusions. The metaphysics of meaning results from the dichotomy of lafz and ma’ni (word and meaning) that has been the fundamental episteme of Perso-Islamic rhetoric in the medieval centuries.1 While some rhetoricians, such as al-Jāhez (d. 868), have emphasized the importance of lafz (word, the form of speech) over ma’ni (meaning),2 others have focused on striking the right balance between these two fundamental components. In the Persian philosophical– mystical poetry, word (lafz) is considered as the outer layer, a mere decorative device for a sublime, absolute and deeper meaning (ma’ni):3 Bahār reproduces DOI:  10.4324/9781003243335-9

164  Salour Evaz Malayeri such episteme in his literary criticism. Meaning, for him, although mostly about modern values and ideals, remains sublime and absolute. As such the reproduction of word and meaning dichotomy in Bahār’s works suppresses the politics of form and its role in literary modernism. Bahār continues to see poetry as a secondary didactic device, serving grand ethical values and humane ideals. Bahār believes in the evolution of the literature through epochs and the impact of the social environment on literature; nevertheless, he continues to see meaning as a metaphysical entity that pre-exists form.

Iranian Enlightenment and the Modern Literary Self-Consciousness: Bahār’s Predecessors in Literary Criticism Literary modernity in Iran was part of a more comprehensive project of enlightenment and modernization that found an unabashed and unignorable voice during the nineteenth century. The main concern of the proto-modernist intellectuals such as Ākhundzādeh, Kermāni and Malkam Khan was a pursuit of change and progress under poignant conditions of decline and decadence. The key rhetorical feature of their discourse was its appeal to change, revise and reconstruct. This discursive factor determined the tone and narrative structure of most of the pamphlets that modernist intellectuals wrote where they addressed the folk. Reconsidering millennium-old conventions, and a concerted rigour aimed at correcting socio-political ills, provided two discursive strategies: negative and affirmative. The negative condemned the tired and worn-out beliefs, structures, rituals and social relations that were recognized as hindrances to progress and reformation. The affirmative aspect, on the other hand, and ultimately the result of exposure to European enlightenment addressed new ideas, new socio-political relations, new institutions and new forms of literary and cultural production. The modernist intellectuals did not focus merely on socio-political issues. Literature and the Persian literary tradition became an indispensable aspect of their socio-political and cultural criticism. In this climate of change, the protomodernist intellectuals’ choice of literature as a means to enlightenment was not arbitrary. There was an overwhelming consensus that literary productions, both prose and verse, had a major role in nurturing historical decadence and social ignorance. Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak has succinctly summed up the emergence of such rhetoric, which he believes was ‘subversive’ according to the works of those he would call the ‘new intellectuals.’ Such rhetoric, he concludes, was formed by constructing the antagonism between the ‘old’ and ‘new’. The new intellectuals were fully aware of the power of poetry as a cultural medium of expression. This group found many of the classical poetic conventions too restrictive for the expression of its views and the description of the specific socio-political situation at hand … poetry was being refined in ways that would enable it to take an active part in the process of social realignment which the new intellectuals thought necessary if Iran were to catch up with the countries of Europe.4

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  165 Ākhundzādeh In furthering this precursor to this study, it is also necessary to examine how the negative and affirmative aspects of Iranian literary enlightenment are manifested in the works of the new intellectuals. Mirza Fathali Ākhundzādeh, also known as Akhundov, is recognized by some as the father of modern literary criticism in Iran.5 His literary views, as well as his rhetorical style, became a template of sorts for most of his successors, particularly Mirza Āqā Khan Kermāni. The act of defining is particularly important for understanding Ākhundzādeh’s contribution to the Iranian enlightenment. On numerous occasions, Ākhundzādeh emphasizes the necessity of knowing the nature and meaning of literature and poetry at an atomic level per se. He begins his seminal Maktubāt (Correspondences) with a set of definitions among which were included poesy and Littérature.6 He consciously uses the French word for each category, transliterated into Persian by himself, as he is eager for his readers to know the ‘original meaning’ of each word. He emphasizes that the act of defining and acknowledging is as important as the content he provides for each definition. This implied that before knowing in detail what literature is, it is important to treat it as an entity, an independent category, affording it a distinctive discourse. This can be very well observed in Ākhundzādeh’s letter to Mirza Āqā Tabrizi, who was the first Iranian playwright to write drama in Persian and who was influenced by the works of Ākhundzādeh. In his letter, Ākhundzādeh tacitly suggests that a successful and creative literary work is one whose author knows the techniques (fann) and aesthetic norms of the literary genre in which he/she is practising. Moreover, he adds that the reader must also realize that the author is fully aware of these techniques and principles.7 Establishing a literary self-consciousness and formulating it in the form of literary theory is significant in Ākhundzādeh’s emphasis on ‘knowing what poesy should be like.’8 This was an authentic influence from the European enlightenment. Recognizing literature as an independent and self-referential institution was an important part of the European enlightenment.9 Ākhundzādeh’s stress on definitions, given his acquaintance with nineteenth-century Russian literary criticism, as well as his knowledge of the French enlightenment, stands to reason.10 Realism also plays an important part in Ākhundzādeh’s literary discourse. It is highly influenced by the Hegelian perception of realism in the prevalent Russian literary criticism of the period.11 Social environment and nature are two major aspects of Ākhundzādeh’s realism. The former is an ‘expression of the conditions and character traits of a person or a group of people as it is in truth,’ and the latter is the ‘description of the circumstances of the world of nature.’ While the first focuses on social contradictions and social classes, the latter emphasizes the representation of the natural and objective world ‘as it is in truth.’12 The phrase as it is in truth (kamā hova haqq) remains to be vague and unclear as Ākhundzādeh does not give us any further explanation. It can have two meanings: one is the reality of things: things as are in their objective appearance. The other meaning can be ‘as it should be,’ which refers to the ideal state of things as opposed to their current state. According to the context of Ākhundzādeh’s discussion, it can be argued that the phrase as it is in truth refers to the objective and material representations of

166  Salour Evaz Malayeri human life (the first meaning) rather than subjective and exaggerated descriptions that can be found in Persian classical poetry. Ākhundzādeh’s realism formulated issues such as superstitions as part of the critical issues, which later formed the key principles of the so-called ‘literary criticism of the Constitutional Era’. He was the founder of Mashruteh Literary criticism, in the sense that he introduced critical notions which were positively received by other intellectuals. A staunch disgust for superstitions (supernatural beliefs), which had for centuries blinded the masses as concerns an objective reality, consequently stunting progress and the role of human force in shaping the condition of life, unabashedly drive his discourse and criticism. Pārsi-Nezhād has shown, by examining Russian sources, Ākhundzādeh’s materialist view is the major reason behind his emphasis on the material reality and natural world.13 The second factor that facilitates Ākhundzādeh’s justification of his realism is his radical criticism of Persian classical literature. He criticizes the supremacy of rhyme and rhythm in composing poetry and rejects infatuations with complex phraseologies. For the latter, he strikes against hyperboles and exaggerations in romantic poetry, panegyrics and the cliché expressions of the seasons and the natural world. As Pārsi-Nezhād has stated, it was Ākhundzādeh’s realist tendencies that demanded a radical debunking, a putsch, against the classical poetry and the ‘conventional, artificial and unreal nature of Persian poetry at that time which was supported by the conservative court poets and literati.’14 Ākhundzādeh’s materialist views and his criticism of Persian classical poetry, however, cannot be deemed odd and rather necessary for him to convey his notion of poetic realism. Another particularly important aspect of Ākhundzādeh’s literary discourse is his dichotomy of ‘beauty of words’ (hosn-e alfāz) and ‘beauty of content’ (hosn-e mazmun): in his famous pamphlet Critika, he criticizes the poems of Sorush-e Esfahāni to that effect.15 He regards the poems of Rumi as a perfect representation of beauty of subject without the beauty of form, while the poems of Qā’āni, Ākhundzādeh argues, can only be tolerated because of his verbal beauty. The works that represent the ideals of both the beauty of words and beauty of the subject, according to Ākhundzādeh, are Ferdowsi’s The Book of Kings (Shāhnāmeh), Nezāmi’s Quinary (Khamseh) and the Hāfez’s ghazals. Ākhundzādeh’s notions of word and subject benefit from two new aspects which distinguish his argument from the traditional theory of rhetoric. One is his realist and materialist approach towards meaning. Poetic subject (mazmune she’ri), for Ākhundzādeh, has less to do with moralities, mysticism, religious doctrines, useless descriptions of nature and clichéd romantic imageries. These subjects are against Ākhundzādeh’s doctrine of ‘criticism’ (Critika), according to which a literary work must aim at highlighting social ills and people’s superstitious beliefs in an effective way. Moral didacticism in literature, in Ākhundzādeh’s view, kills the enlightening and radical impact of literature on society, while mysticism and metaphysical themes are no longer pertinent to modern literature.16 The second aspect is that the beauty of form and beauty of content, according to Ākhundzādeh, must merge together as a unified structure. Like that of realism, the unification of and meaning in Ākhundzādeh echoes that of nineteenth-century

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  167 Russian literary criticism, particularly the then Hegelian thoughts of Belinsky.17 Form and meaning unified together in order to adopt a Hegelian perspective can be recognized as the most developed stage of the spiritual beauty, which follows the perfection of form and of meaning as separate stages in aesthetic development.18 This can explain why Ākhundzādeh preserves credibility for each of these elements (the beauty of words and beauty of content), but regards, simultaneously, the presence of both aspects in a literary work as an aesthetic ideal. He argues that Shāhnāmeh in its specific events, characters, rituals, customs and beliefs represents the true spirit and character of a nation. The move from particular (events, places and characters) to general (the spirit of a nation) in it, for Ākhundzādeh, was a significant achievement of a realist work. This can be compared with Hegel’s account on epic poetry which ‘presents spiritual freedom—that is, free human beings—in the context of a world of circumstances and events.’19 The relation between Ākhundzādeh and the Hegelian trend in Russian criticism is of course beyond the scope here, however, mere as it is, it provides a new platform for re-examining Ākhundzādeh’s literary views. Kermāni Although Mirza Āqā Khan Kermāni mostly rephrased Ākhundzādeh’s discussions on poesy, realism, criticism and moral edification (tahzib-e akhlāq), there are some aspects that give a distinctive character to his contribution to the literary discourse of Iranian enlightenment. There is a clear penchant for the classics and learnedness in that regard in his works. We know that he grew up in an environment where religion and religious reformist sects were powerful factors and that he had a traditional education before he started to learn French and English in Isfahan—and later in Istanbul. He also dedicated some years of his life to writing a book imitating the style of Sa’di’s Rose Garden (Golestān) which he named Rezvān (Paradise). The structure of the book is based on traditional short narratives (hekāyāt) with the linguistic characteristics of the medieval Persian prose literature. Each narrative boasts a critique of society and social dynamics with a twist of irony, emulating Sa’di and ‘Obeyd Zākāni.20 Sa’di’s Rose Garden was the literary criterion for most Iranian writers, including Kermāni, who later rejects that very same tradition. Apart from his literary writings, Kermāni’s style in his non-literary works, even in his most critical, still follows, to some degree, the conventional idiom of works like the Golestān, with rhymed phrases, palilogies and even tazmin (line citing). Another important aspect of his work is the emphasis on meaning rather than form. This stems from two major issues he discusses in detail. First is Kermāni’s criticism of complex phraseologies, hyperboles and rhymestering (qāfiyehpardāzi) in traditional literature: all part of pervading rhetorical superfluousness of the time. Kermāni’s criticism of traditional literature is not limited to words and rhymes, as he also ridicules the clichéd aesthetics of traditional poetic genres, including epic, panegyric, lyric and Sufi poetry. His gripe is with the complexity of the poetic language and how it does away with the ‘natural clarity’ of speech

168  Salour Evaz Malayeri and prefers form to meaning. He believes that formal and rhetorical elements are not essential to poetry, but accidental (‘arazi).21 Kermāni astutely illustrates how complex phraseology and hyperbole are hindrances to comprehension. He depicts how imagery stunts imagination in some poems, and the intent thus succumbs to verbal acrobatics (that created that very same imagery).22 The other trajectory in Kermāni’s work is uplifting public ethics (akhlāq-e mellat) and educating the masses (bidāri-ye afkār-e jāme’eh). Even when criticizing the traditional aesthetics of Persian poetry, this trajectory plays a major role in his discourse to that end. Kermāni sees hyperbole as lying, panegyric as enslavement and lyricism, just as he sees also satire, as an ethical corruption. He considers all of these proprietors of debauchery among young people. He considers Sufism a culture of indolence and mindless fealty.23 Kermāni’s work is always actively conscientious as pertains to the impact of literature on society.24 Malkam Khan Malkam Khan abhorred, as did many of his contemporaries, the jettisoning of meaning for aesthetics. For Malkam Khan efforts to ‘define’ poetry gradually lose their voice. Instead of philosophical concerns that engaged the nature of literature and poetry, he focuses on translatability as a criterion for literary assessment. His background as a diplomat and translator of official reports, as Pārsi-Nezhād has mentioned, enabled him to offer a focused and precise critique of traditional rhetoric. Complex (ta’qid-e alfāz) and empty phrases (alfāz-e bi-ma’ni), outdated and conventional poetic themes, cliché metaphors and imageries, obsession with rhymestering, hyperboles bordering on fantasia, circumlocution and repetition (etnāb o tekrār) are some of the recurring points in Malkam’s bold criticism of the Qajar period poetic culture. In his ‘A Traveler Narrates’ (Sayyāhi Guyad), a most exemplary instance of literary criticism during the Constitutional era, Malkam addresses the aforesaid from the viewpoint of a young Iranian expatriate who has come back to Iran and narrates his meeting with an assembly of literary, political and religious elites. The key theme of the dialogue is the manner of speech and the incomprehensibility of what the expatriate hears.25 Malkam concludes that discussions, communications and cultural discourses in Iran are in fact incapable of providing any concrete impact or function, mostly due to an obsession with linguistic embellishments that had become the only criterion for assessment of the speech. He argues that there must be a reason for any utterance, an intent before forming speech, since ‘in every language, the meaning supersedes the word’ and not vice versa.26 Malkam’s criticism of Persian literature, mirroring Kermāni’s scathing criticisms, transcends the literary domain and given his sharp rebuke of obsession with the tired (non-relevant) rhetorical techniques. As such, it is a pursuit of unencumbered language that best describes Malkam’s contributions to literature and literary criticism. His views towards literature and poetry are pragmatic and not burdened with flights of artistic fancy: the social and communicative function of speech trump all. There is, however, a difference between Malkam’s view on the

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  169 meaning and that of Kermāni. In Kermāni’s works emphasis on meaning derives from his moral and didactic concerns, and in Malkam’s works it is merely a natural and inevitable element of speech. Meaning for Malkam is discursively neutral without any ideological constraint, as he simply addresses the ‘necessity of meaning’ in discourse, not the content or subject of meaning. The ‘translatability of speech’ (tarjomeh-paziri-ye sohkan) is one of the significant issues in the literary criticism of the Constitutional era and both Malkam and Kermāni have discussed them to some degree. Below, they propose translatability as the new criterion for assessing the quality of speech. In his ‘The Garden Illuminating Flower’ (Reyhān-e Bustān-afruz), Kermāni argues, ‘If any European scholar examines our best books today, soon (s)he will discover numerous faults and flaws in phrases and meanings, the faults and flaws that even our most renowned literati cannot detect.’27 Kermāni’s remark can be compared with the below passage from Malkam’s ‘A Traveler Narrates’: Ideas must be expressed in such a way as to allow a piece of writing to preserve its good compositional attributes, whatever language it is translated into. You are unaware of the ugliness of your writings because you have, since your childhood, grown accustomed to broaching together absurdities. However, if you were to read the translation of your own writings in other languages and would contemplate their meanings without regard to the rhyme, then you would realize what nonsense you have woven together.28 The translations of inane similes, hyperboles and rhymed verses, devoid of a central idea or subject, for both Malkam and Kermāni, are testaments to the senseless and irrelevant nature of written literature in nineteenth-century Iran. In his critique of the literary language, Malkam states that for Iranian writers, being complicated in articulating the speech and applying rhetorical devices regardless of their function, become the only criteria for elevated speech. The arbitrary and despotic structure, along with supernatural and outdated religious beliefs as its ideological superstructure, have reduced literature and poetry to a ridiculous stage for verbosity, and a place where being subjugated to rhetorical rules and pre-designed patterns is the only measure of appreciating literary works. The translation, therefore, is a mirror to absurdity and meaninglessness. The idea of translatability suggests that a language must open itself to the ‘other’, so that it recognizes its own flaws and deficiencies. Translation for Kermāni and Malkam is a device for self-criticism, as it makes them examine their own discourse by seeing it from a novel vantage point. This chapter focuses on translation as a litmus test stems from the multilingualism of the new intellectuals, particularly Malkam and Kermāni. We know that Kermāni had some knowledge of Arabic, Turkish, French and English.29 He also studied ancient Iranian languages: Pahlavi and Avestan. His historical writings deduce an avid interest in comparative linguistics and original texts. Malkam was far more engaged with European languages and cultures. Sent to Paris at a mere age of ten, he finished his education in French and familiarized himself

170  Salour Evaz Malayeri with natural sciences, mathematics and works of the philosophers of the French Revolution, namely Voltaire, Rousseau and Montesquieu. He also worked in the Iranian Embassy in London for 16 years, during which time he studied and translated some of the works of British philosophers, among whom Jean Stuart Mill.30 He also spent ten years in Istanbul. Malkam was an official translator and diplomat, translating administrative reports and documents from and to Persian. The practicality and comprehensibility of language, which is the main argument in his criticism of Persian literature, is in fact the result of this career path; and what he suggests (translation as a criterion for literary criticism) is rooted in his professional experiences.

Bahār in Dialogue with the New Intellectuals Bahār’s literary views make up a major portion of post-Constitutional Revolution literary discourse. Since 1865, when Ākhundzādeh wrote his Correspondences, dramatical changes in Iranian society culminated in the decree of constitution (farmān-e mashrutiyat) by Mozaffar al-Din Shah in 1906 and the establishment of the parliament in Tehran. In the years between the success of the Constitutional Revolution and the years during which Bahār published his literary essays in his newspaper Nobahār, and later in Dāneshkadeh magazine, the new literary criticism found an audience, was interpreted and referred to widely by poets and literary figures. The event of revolution inevitably foregrounded the practical and linguistic aspects of this new literary discourse, as mobilizing the masses and building a connection with lower classes became a most urgent task for this new literature. From the perspective of the revolution, common, simple speech and content gained momentum as it shunned the more antiquated modes of expression. However, the long political instability and chaos after the revolution necessitated the presence of a powerful central state that could bring order and stability to a society faced with foreign threats stemming from internal political crisis.31 Postrevolution tumult and the urgency for order was the inspiring impetus for Bahār’s literary views. This stands to reason given that Bahār was a political activist who saw social stability and a powerful state as essential to freedom and modernity.32 His traditional education also played a major role in his poetry, most specifically in his style and mannerisms. His poems, all in the traditional style, display the prevalent style of Khorāsān (sabk-e khorāsāni) of the early centuries of Persian verse (ca. ninth century to fourteenth century).33 These aesthetic and stylistic norms continued to affect Bahār’s literary criticism and his interpretation of the newly devised literary discourse established by intellectuals just before him.

The Act of Defining Bahār’s earliest work on literature and poetry starts with a familiar question: ‘what is good poetry?’,34 reminding us of the earlier efforts to answer this question. Here, of course, Bahār adds a rather vague adjective, khub (good), to the question,

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  171 to which he does not offer any further explanation as to how he defines it in that context or its syntactic function in the question. This obliquity continues throughout his essay as he uses words such as ‘particular’ (makhsus, khāsseh), ‘delicate’ (latif), noble (‘āli), ethereal (raqiq), soul (nafs), brain (demāq), severe (shadid), efficient (kāfi), emotions (ehsāsāt) and passions (avātef) to define ‘good poetry.’ Early on, Bahār states that defining good poetry was considered a taboo by classical poets and literati: ‘it (=good poetry) can be perceived but not described.’35 To Bahār this implied either a shunning or an inability and as such stood diametrically opposed to the modern approach. In defining ‘good poetry,’ he offers several evaluative categories which, in fact, do not provide a significant intellectual or conceptual platform for the argument. He divides good poetry into public (she’re khub-e ‘omumi) and private (she’r-e khub-e khosusi). The former is highly regarded, even more regarded, for its ethical virtues, while the merit of the latter is it having been borne of the poet’s individual experiences and his psychological state. He also categorizes poetry into three types: ethical (akhlāghi), descriptive (vasfi) and narrative (revā’i): ethical trumping all. Ferdowsi’s Shāhāmeh for Bahār is what ‘good poetry’ should be, and Sa’di’s Bustān is the zenith of ‘ethical poetry’.

Words and Meaning Bahār’s views on meaning echo Kermāni’s moralist and didactic views. Highly praised moral virtues (akhlāq-e hamideh, sefāt-e pasandideh) that are shared by most people, according to Bahār, are key ingredients in influencing the public (she’r-e khub-e ‘omumi). To support his argument, Bahār compares Sa’di’s two major works, the Orchard (Bustān) and the Rose Garden (Golestān), arguing for the superiority of the former, since it speaks to social ethics. This, however, can easily be refuted, since not only Sa’di’s Rose Garden is about social ethics, but in terms of literary value certainly holds a loftier place in the Iranian folk cognizance. Maybe this was Bahār’s approach to self-evaluation as concerned his judgement when he later says that whatever is admired by modern sociologists and natural philosophers can be found in Sa’di’s Golestān. This belief contradicts Ākhundzādeh’s negative assessment of Sa’di’s didacticism as a pertinent mode of reaching the modern audience. He points to Sa’di’s works as being devoid of radical social criticism.36 As for the relationship between meaning and words (content and form), it seems, as regards meaning, Bahār seconds Malkam. He devises a paradigm where early stages of Persian and Arabic poetry enjoy a natural beauty: they were less burdened with figurative language. He believes that once the poetry developed and flourished, rhetorical devices, linguistic embellishments and poetic techniques became dominant, and meaning became secondary. Bahār argues that human beings are fundamentally, and by nature, attracted to meaning and not futile figures of speech. He believes word-mongers are as they are because they are unable to produce an authentic meaning (idea, thought, wisdom).37

172  Salour Evaz Malayeri Bahār’s ethical and didactive concerns as compared with Malkam’s pragmatism differ markedly. Malkam does not historicize meaning to conclude any possibility of suitability for traditional poetry as an ideal medium in a modern circumstance; whereas, Bahār’s thoughts on meaning do not deviate one iota from the classical discourse. He, like the ‘old masters’, sees meaning as a sublime kernel peppered with words.38 Bahār’s fetish for meaning is why the issue of form remains unsolved in his literary discourse (Bahār’s view on the relationship between mazmun and lafz). Eventually, he downgrades form so that it merely affords attraction to meaning and can ‘leave a permanent impression of the desired meaning into the mind of the audience.’39 The vacuum in his discourse is identifying the sources of meaning’s dynamism within the literature. If meaning is detached from the form, one can argue for its renewability. This approach also begs the question of how a poetic process can burden such machination: first choosing a meaning, and then appropriating the proper language and style. Bahār’s reductionist view sees literature as no more than an ethical device—and the poet no more than a teacher.

Translatability Bahār explicitly uses tarjomeh kardan (to translate) and qābel-e tarjomeh (translatable) on numerous occasions to define ‘good public poetry.’40 Because of its ethical niche, ‘good public poetry’ is translatable, since ethical and human noble values transcend geographical boundaries and cultural differences. To Bahār, translatability and ethics are synonymous. As ethical values are shared by all regardless of differences, then ‘good public poetry’ as the most perfect kind of poetry must be, and is, translatable. One can argue that for Bahār the more individual poetry becomes the less translatable it gets. Translatability for Bahār, unlike Kermāni and Malkam, is neither concerned with experiencing differences and communication with the ‘other’, nor is it a litmus test for clarity and pragmatism. For him it goes beyond differences and addresses a universal nuanced subjectivity. Translatability and simplicity work together so that meaning can manifest itself. Meaning, therefore, becomes ethical and necessarily needless of embellishments, and as such for Bahār real poetry is inherently translatable. Golestān, Shāhnāmeh and the early poems of the Bedouin Arab, according to Bahār, are good examples of translatability due to their rigour in instilling universal ethical values without over-embellishment.41

Bahār’s Contribution to Modern Literary Discourse A) The Agency of the Poet Bahār’s works on literary criticism are unique in that they often credit the poet. Granted his argument still suffers from vague vocabularies, generalities and lack of thorough analysis in some areas, however, as far as the modern literary criticism in Iran is concerned, Bahār is among the first who offers an author’s account of literature.

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  173 Bahār, particularly in two essays, ‘The Good Poetry’ and ‘Poetry and Technique’, focuses on the character of the poet. The poet’s personal life, his emotions and psychological state, his self-reliance and liberty, as well as his imagination and agency in representing nature, are central to his discourse. The personal experiences of the poet, according to Bahār, provide ‘delicate emotions’ that give that poet a special psychological insight, enabling them to depict noble ethical virtues with their poetry: The basis for good public poetry is the poet’s robust emotions and noble character (ehsāsāt-e shadideh o akhlāq-e āliyeh). And to estimate poets in a comparative sense, we study the poet’s biography and his character. We search and discover the moments in which the poet composed a poem, and then we realize the ethics in his poetry derive from his invigoration (hayajān), connecting the general (ethics) and particular (the poet’s passion). […] It is impossible for a poet to produce a body of poetical works that can be read and admired by everyone without having highly praiseworthy morality and admired attributes (akhlāq-e hamideh o sefāt-e pasandideh): not being covetous (bi-tama’i), having liberty of thought and belief (āzādi-e fekr o ‘aqideh), spiritual satiety (esteghnā-ye ruhi), and reasonable temperament.42 Bahār believes if a poet’s emotions and thoughts become too personal, then he cannot produce a type of ethical poetry that can be shared by different groups of people. The distinction between the author’s emotions, thoughts, personal experiences and psychological state in Bahār’s writings is unclear and vague. However, his emphasis on the poet’s independence from the political machine and his intellectual liberty are significant. Bahār cites the prominent medieval Persian poet, Sanā’i, arguing that his earlier poems, when under the patronage of the Ghaznavid king, have no literary value. His independence from the court was to change the whole aesthetics of Persian poetry. He then cites Ferdowsi. He believes that Ferdowsi’s ability to speak to universal virtues is the result of his independence and his shunning of centres of wealth and power. Bahār’s discussion on representation (mimesis) and the agency of artist is fundamental in understanding his paradigm of artistic expression. Bahār finds imitating natures no more than an exercise, a means to see art for what it is. However, according to him, being limited to imitating the natural environment would result in suppression of creativity and positing a refrain upon imagination. There is a surplus (hālat-e sānavi) in the process of imitation that stems from the thoughts and imagination of the poet.43 It is the interference of the poet during the process of imitation that makes the result unique and powerful. To make a poem influential, the poet must interfere and impose his own interpretation. But there is a limit to such interference, and that is the norm, which drives the mainstream rationality. One must not deviate from the logical and accepted perceptions of reality as this can result in incomprehensibility. As such creativity and imagination must remain within the boundaries of common sense and dominant knowledge. Thus, there

174  Salour Evaz Malayeri must be a balance between imagination and reality, whereby imagination only serves to present a veiled reality.

B) Literature as the Product of Environment Bahār’s ‘environment and literature’ (ta’sir-e mohit bar adabiyāt) puts on display his transliterary approach to literature.44 While it fits well within the Iranian modern literary discourse and contributes robustly to its naturalist and positivist origins, it harbours Bahār’s literary traditionalism: The environment of a nation consists of natural factors such as water, weather, food, geography, and then the consequences emerging from these factors, such as religious beliefs, scientific thoughts, political ideas, historical events and their consequences such as invasions, immigrations and mixture of nationalities. The above-mentioned factors, which we divide into material (māddi) and spiritual (ma’navi), determine the very nature of a nation’s literature, music, social behavior, public conversations and literary ideas.45 Bahār compares the literature of countries with no green fields, mountains and a typical spring season with those countries with natural beauties and wealth. He claims that in the former describing nature would be realistic, detailed and devoid of exaggerations, as observing the green forests and mountains for the writer is phenomenal and astounding. However, in the latter, literary descriptions will be rife with exaggerations and supernatural references, as natural beauties by themselves, and as they are, are commonplace for the writer. The literature of Northern European countries, Bahār believes, belong to the first group, while literatures of China, India and Iran belong to the latter. The second example compares the literature of an invaded and subjugated nation with the literature that emerges from a wealthy, powerful and stable country. In the first group, the tune is passive and deterministic, with lyricism and Sufism as dominant genres; whereas in the second group, the tone is epic and active, full of celebrations of bravery, triumph and human will. The next section of the article speaks to the paradox as per determinism in the naturalist approach and the urge for change in the Iranian modern literary discourse. If literature’s deterministic factors are nature and environment, how then can it be changed? And if changing the environment is the task, how are the forces for change shaped? To address this, Bahār speaks of variations and differences that occur within the environment. Just as spring is followed by winter, the subjugated nation can show resistance and seek a new season. The environment comprises a set of pre-existing factors, but it does not determine the limits of human action. The human action is a response deriving from experiencing a specific form of environment, it can therefore either stand against the forces of the environment or accept them:

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  175 The presence or absence of essential means and conditions of living (asbābhā-ye lāzem-e zendegāni), will morph a nation from a state of imperfection (naqs) into perfection (kamāl), or from perfection to decline (zavāl). Sometimes a conquest or historical success give a conqueror confidence (etminān) and ease (rāhat), while the conquered people are left to think of a countermeasure (chāreh-ju’i) and recovery (jobrān-e māfāt). […] It can be the case that the same conquest retains its original effect due to the conqueror’s competence (liyāqat) and awareness (bidāri); thence the conquered is led to be in a state of exhaustion (farsudegi) and ignorance: the first then becoming bolder and the latter more humiliated and terrified. Sometimes a poor nation becomes poorer because of the environment, but it is also possible for the same nation, as a result of overextended periods of poverty, to seek a solution (chāreh) and cure (‘alāj); and then it rescues itself rapidly from insolvency (darmāndegi).46 All in all, however, the role of literature remains to be passive for Bahār. He concludes that for change in literature, one must change the environment. Any change in the course of Persian literature’s long history always reflected the events that affected the environment and the folk. He implies literature does not contribute to change, rather it receives it and merely follows suit in accord with greater forces outside of it. The need for change in literature is not separated from the change in environment; therefore, any change in literature prior to the change in environment will be in vein. The article ends by focusing on literary change. Here, Bahār combines the materialist–naturalist doctrine with his cultural traditionalism. He divides literary reform into meaning and form (eslāh-e ma’navi, eslāh-e māddi). In both cases, Bahār states that change must originate from the needs of the Iranian society. This was meant to warn those with a heightened penchant for Western literature and those who adopt its formal elements without being mindful of their milieu in Iran. Their efforts, no matter how rigorous and dedicated to tenets of literary reform, are doomed to fail, as they disregard prior reforms also necessitated by the milieu. As for meaning, Bahār deems the content of Persian classical literature as ignorant of the contemporary environment. He believes that it cannot reformulate itself to explain the critical problems with which the current Iranian society struggles. As such, the literati must take on what the nation and folk have inherited in terms of delusions (owhām), superstitions (khorāfāt) and lies (dorugh) from the works of the past masters. In terms of form, conversely, Bahār believes we should stay loyal to the classical form, structure and language: But in lexicon (loghāt), style of expression and utterance, in rhythmic patterns and prosody, we should not lose what we have. Here, one must be classical to some extent (bāyasti qadri kelāsiki shod). We must, as far as we can, express and utter the new meanings and new demands (ma’āni-ye jadideh o ehtiyājāt-e lāzemeh) with the familiar classical lexicon and expressions. If,

176  Salour Evaz Malayeri however, the demand was urgent and there was no proper way of expression in the Classical lexicon, we must refer to folk literature and adapt ourselves with the words that the public is familiar with at the risk of not coming across alien. Imitating a rhythm which cannot be joined with the Iranian and eastern musical patterns to which public ears are not accustomed would be nothing if not trouble and inconvenience to the reader. These imitated rhythms and principles might jive with the Western environment, but they are not comprehended here and therefore they must be dropped.47 Here, a contradiction occurs in Bahār’s account of literary change. On the one hand, the content of literature must be changed since it is incapable of answering modern demands, on the other hand, the traditional form must be upheld as it has been practised through centuries and has become part of national cognizance and taste. The latter undermines Bahār’s naturalist thesis, in which changing the environment must take place prior to the literary change. Bahār’s discourse on literary change, in fact, contradcits such thesis, as it is based on this tacit belief that literature as an agent can change the environment. The entirety of this argument on criticizing the content but keeping the form, although based on the native environment, proves that a literary work on its own has a role in either changing or protecting its environment. Another issue with Bahār’s argument is the use of the word mohit (environment /milieu). It seems the environment has both natural and social aspects and he does not make any meaningful distinctions between the two. Such broad approach in using key terms results in vagueness and contradictions in his argument: a vacuum.

Bahār’s Literary Practice The relationship between tradition and modernity in Bahār’s poetry and analyzing those traditional literary features that are employed to address historical events, social issues and modern ideas are of utmost importance in understanding Bahār’s literary discourse. Each application of traditional rhetoric and literary aesthetics led to a reconciliation between traditional form and modern discourse in Bahār’s poetry, and such compromise brought about a new poetic language in which modern ideas are represented by the rhetoric and semiotics of classical poetry. Three of Bahār’s panegyrics, written in his early years, discuss the discursive dynamism which emerges as a result of the dialogue between tradition and modernity in his poetry. Panegyric (madh) as one of the major poetic genres of Persian classical poetry is noted for serving two particularly essential functions: lionize at the height of hyperbole and/or lionize while serving as an effective didactic too.48 Shafi’i argues that the ideal characteristics of the king in a panegyric indirectly reveal the picture of the ‘ideal state’ (madineh-ye fāzeleh) in the mind of the poet, i.e., a utopic state. They also uncover the ‘paragon of social values’ (me’yār-e arzeshhā-ye ejtema’yi). He argues that court poets indirectly guided the monarchs towards such a state by their panegyrics by making appealing the role of a monarch who

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  177 prompts social order, stability and peace.49 Anvari (d. 1189) in his praise of Soltān Sanjar (r. 1118–1157) deftly highlights some of the major themes in a panegyric that are also prevalent in some of Bahār’s works: ‫ُملک اکنون شرف و مرتبه و نام گرفت‬ ‫که جهان زیر نگین َملِک آرام گرفت‬ The kingdom basks in glory, grandeur and fame, [And]the world is now in peace under the jeweled signet of the king. ‫ وارث جم‬،‫ دارای عجم‬،‫خسرو اعظم‬ ‫رسم جم و ملک عجم نام گرفت‬ ِ ‫که ازو‬ The mighty Khosrow, the Persian Dara, the successor to the throne of Jam, The one who revived the customs of Jam and the Iranian kingship. ‫آن‌که در معرکه‌ها ملک به شمشیر ستد‬ ‫وان‌که بر منهزمان راه به انعام گرفت‬ The one who conquered at the edge of his sword swaths of land, [Yet] to the defeated and fleeing he showed nothing but his mercy. ‫ساقی همتش از جام ک ََرم جرعه بریخت‬ 50 ‫ راه در و بام گرفت‬،‫ دستارکشان‬،‫آز‬ The cupbearer of his resolve poured heartilyfrom the cup of his munificence, And greed hastily looked for a way out to flee. In the first distich, Anvari speaks to two features of an ideal state. One is the kingdom’s glory and prosperity, making it exemplary among other realms (Sharaf o martabeh o nām). The other is peace and security in the territories under the rule of the monarch (ārām gereftan). In the second distich, Soltān Sanjar is attached to the tradition of kingship which is recognized for its revered and mythologized characters such as Jamshid (Jam) and Dārā (Darius) known for their mercy, tact and majesty.51 He also refers to traditions and customs of Iranian lands (rasm-e molk-e ‘ajam) and claims that the Iranian kingship has now regained its valour (nām gereft) under the yoke of the Sultan. This proves the cultural and political power of the Iranian tradition of kingship and the ancient kings of Persia, both as a source of legitimacy and as the ideal form of kingship. In the third distich, the military triumph and imperial power are admired. In the fourth, moral virtues, generosity and munificence, in particular, are considered as the most noble virtues for a king. The picture of the king as the moral ideal enforces an ethical apparatus and establishes a rigid moral code by which the estimation of the king by the masses is measured: as long as he maintains moral virtues, his power is legitimate. Bahār opts for the traditional panegyric that is intent on reform and constitution. He praises monarchs that he hoped might serve the will of people and ideals of the Constitutional Revolution. Most of all, he admires Mozaffar-od-Din for signing the decree of the constitution in 1906. In a qasideh, he praises Mozaffarod-Din Shah for his decree authorizing the constitution and parliament (majles). The qasideh follows the structure and aesthetic norms of the panegyric genre in the Khorāsāni style. It begins with addressing the eastern wind, a common

178  Salour Evaz Malayeri metaphor in Persian classical literature, then followed by a lionization of the court and its monarch: ‫ایا نسیم صبا ای برید کارآگاه‬ ‫ز طوس جانب ری این زمان بپیما راه‬ O the eastern wind, the capable messenger! Set out upon a journey to Rey from Tus now. ‫ببر پیامی از چاکران درگه قدس‬ ‫به آستان ملک شهریار کار آگاه‬ Take the massage of the servants of the holy shrine, To the court of the competent Shahryār. ‫بهین شهنشه واالتبار ملک‌ ستان‬ ‫ مظفرالدین شاه‬،‫خدایگان سالطین‬ The greatest, the noblest, the conqueror Shāhanshāh, The lord of the sultans, Mozaffar-od-Din Shah. ‫دست معدلتش پای ظلم شد در بند‬ ‫ز پای تختگهش دست جور شد کوتاه‬ The hand of his justice chained the cruelty’s feet, And from his throne he repelled the hand of tyranny. ‫ بارش نیسان به گاه پاداش‬،‫ز جود‬ ‫ آتش سوزان به وقت پادافراه‬،‫ز خشم‬ In times of reward, his munificence pours like the spring rain, In times of punishment, his fury flames like the burning fire. ‫گرفته صیت جاللش چو مهر عالمتاب‬ ‫ز حد شام و حلب تا به قندهار و هراه‬ His glory shines over the world like the sun: From the Levant and Aleppo to Kandahar and Herat. ‫خرمی بود چو بهشت‬ ّ ‫ریاض ملکش از‬ 52 ‫در آن بهشت ز داد و دهش دمیده گیاه‬ The gardens of his kingdom, green and joyous as though heaven, Where flowers of justice and munificence blanket all abound. Bahār wrote this panegyric as a young poet in Mashhad leading to a decree that earned him the title of ‘Poet Laureate’ (malek al-Sho’arā). It follows the classical structure of panegyric and contains some of the themes of panegyric poetry discussed earlier. The qasideh starts with the sabā wind as the messenger between the poet/lover and his patron/beloved. In the third distich, Bahār praises three attributes in the king, all of which hark back to Medieval Persian poetry: being noble and well-born (vālā-tabār), being a conqueror in possession of majestic power (molksetān) and being the king of kings (shāhanshāh, khodāygān-e salātin). Justice (‘adl and ma’dalat) and tyranny (zolm o jowr) in the fourth distich are also such premeditated usages in classical Persian literature, mostly in the Mirror for Princes genre and panegyrics. The nuances, however, of these concepts can be markedly different in Bahār’s context. In the medieval context, justice refers to hierarchical social order and stability, and tyranny was any brutal attempt that threatened such

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  179 order.53 In the context of Bahār’s panegyric, justice and tyranny refer to social justice and the rule of law within the discourse of Constitutional Revolution.54 In other words, zolm might refer less to brutality and tyrannical behaviour of the king and more to despotism or arbitrary power (estebdād). Meanwhile justice has less to do with preserving the hierarchical order and it speaks rather to equality among people and democratic political power. Distich 5 refers to the balance between anger (khashm) and munificence. The emphasis on such political balance can be better understood in the discourse of justice. Anger without munificence threatens order and stability, just as does forgiveness without necessary authoritative power. Anger and forgiveness equally represent the king’s power and authority, and they are both the essential components of political power.55 Bahār’s second panegyric has a more direct and individual voice. It is written on the occasion of the decree of the constitution (farmān-e mashrutiyat) in 1906 by Mozaffar-od-Din Shah upon his blessing for the establishment of the parliament and the constitution. This panegyric, therefore, is not written for remuneration nor royal title, but for the constitution itself: ‫باد خراسان همیشه خرم و آباد‬ ‫دشت و دیارش ز ظلم و جور تهی باد‬ May Khorasan be wealthy and prosperous forever: May its plains and lands be devoid of tyranny. ‫دشت و دیار ار ز ظلم و جور تهی گشت‬ ‫ملک بماند همیشه خرم و آباد‬ If Plains and valleys are all devoid of tyranny, The country will flourish and stay prosperous forever. ‫ملک یکی خانه‌ایست بنیادش عدل‬ ‫خانه نپاید اگر نباشد بنیاد‬ The country is like a house, with justice as its foundation: Without foundation, a house will not stand. ‫داد ودهش گر بنا نهند به کشور‬ ‫به که حصاری کنند ز آهن و پوالد‬ Founding justice and munificence in the country Is better than building walls with iron and steel. ‫خصم ببستند و شهر و ملک گشودند‬ ‫شاهان از فر و نیروی دهش و داد‬ Kings overcame their enemies and conquered lands, Through their charisma and the power of justice and mercy. ‫شکر خداوند را که داد و دهش را‬ ‫طرفه بنائی نهاد پادشه راد‬ Praise be to God, for our bounteous king, Who built a new house of justice and munificence. ‫خسرو گیتی‌ستان مظفر دین شاه‬ 56 ...‫آنکه ز عدلش بنای ظلم برافتاد‬ The conqueror Khosrow, Mozaffar-od-Din Shah, By whose justice the edifice of tyranny fell apart…

180  Salour Evaz Malayeri One cannot distinguish between justice in the literary tradition (hierarchical order in the despotic and arbitrary regime) and justice as a revolutionary concept in the discourse of a constitution. In the fourth distich, justice is a weapon for defeating enemies and conquering lands. In other words, the imperialist notion of justice in literary tradition is still at work in Bahār’s qasideh. One reason for the reproduction of the premodern meaning of justice might be due to the imposing traditional form, which in turn suppresses the contemporary driving forces of the qasideh— including the Constitutional Revolution and its socio-political ideals. Using traditional literary conventions for praising the constitution leaves less room for the emergence of new poetic aesthetics which give voice to modern concepts: a kind of aesthetics capable of deconstructing the traditional understanding of justice, thereby providing a new perception synonymous with social experience. Bahār’s insistence on preserving the traditional form and accepting the modern content ignores the fact that with any application of traditional form comes traditional meaning since form and content cannot shun one another completely. Any application of the rhetorical strategies and narrative structures of tradition inevitably carry the cultural codes and epistemes of the premodern society. Therefore, without a deconstructive element, an element that can disturb the naturalness and certainty of traditional norms, ideology continues to reproduce itself in the text. Although the premodern notion of justice still holds its presence, there is a veiled notion in this poem, which historically contextualizes the panegyric and brings us to the third novel aspect of this qasideh. Bahār praises the king as a persona, rather than a ‘king’ as the head of the monarchical institution in Iran. If there is any credit attributed to the king, it comes from the event (the Constitutional Revolution). In other words, the event stands above the king and kingship, and it determines the politics of panegyric in this qasideh. In this context, the constitution and establishment of parliament represent justice and munificence by extension. The legitimacy of the king that derives is synonymous here with his recognition of the will of the folk and their quest for the rule of law. As such, farcical traditional explanations of legitimacy such as farr, or divine charisma, hold no sway over the panegyric. By emphasizing on the historical context of panegyric, Bahār succeeds to usher in new terms and expressions, while maintaining the traditional rhetorical strategies and conventions. In the following panegyric, the event of the establishment of the parliament and the triumph of the revolution are more unabashedly present as new ethical and political discursive elements are wed to aesthetic elements from the traditional discourse: ‫کشور ایران ز عدل شاه مظفر‬ ‫رونقی از نوگرفت و زینتی از سر‬ Iran is reinvigorated and is proud again From the justice exacted by Mozaffar al-Din Shah. ‫پادشاه دادگر مظفر دین شاه‬ ‫خسرو روشن‌دل عدالت‌گستر‬

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  181 The just king Mozaffar-od-Din Shah— The wise Khosrow who spreads justice. ‫انجمن عدل را به ملک بیاراست‬ ‫دست ستم را ببست وپای ستمگر‬ He ordered the assembly of justice in the country; [and with such action] he tied up the tyranny’s hand and the tyrant’s feet. ‫مجلسی آراست کاندرو ز همه ملک‬ ‫انجمن آیند بخردان هنرور‬ He arranged such an assembly: Capable sages coming together from all over the nation. ‫خواست به هم اتحاد دولت و ملت‬ ‫تا بنمایند خیر ملک وی از شر‬ He unified the state and nation, So that together they can rid the nation of any harm. ‫کشور آباد شد به نیروی ملت‬ ‫ملت منصور شد به یاری کشور‬ The country thrived upon the strength of the folk And the nation became victorious by support of the land. ‫یاری داور به عدل شاه قرین شد‬ ‫دولت و ملت از آن شدند توانگر‬ God’s assistance conjoined with the King’s justice, And that is why state and nation became strong. ‫دولت و ملت دودست و بازوی‌ شاهند‬ ‫شاه مر این هر دو را گرامی پیکر‬ State and nation are the hands and arms of the king: The kind the body that bears them. ‫دولت و دین هر دو توأمند ولیکن‬ ‫این دو پسر راست عدل و قانون مادر‬ Religion and state are two brothers; However, they have justice and law as their mother. ‫ملک تبه گردد از تطاول سلطان‬ ‫دهکده ویران شود ز جور کدیور‬ A country is no more if a king violates The village is no more if the chieftain cruel. ‫بنگرکاین ملک باستانی از آغاز‬ ‫جایگه عدل و داد بود و نه زیدر‬ Look into this ancient land: From the beginning it was the place of justice and munificence. ‫ملک کیومرث بود و کشور جمشید‬ ‫جای منوچهر بود و بنگه نوذر‬ It was the kingdom of Gayumart and the realm of Jamshid, The throne of Manuchehr and the house of Nowzar. ‫کرده هریک‬ ‫نام ٔه هریک بخوان و‬ ٔ 57 ‫وین سخنان مرا به بازی مشمر‬

182  Salour Evaz Malayeri Read their story, learn about their deeds, Do not part with my advice! The third panegyric has a more radical tone. Revival or renewal is the major theme of the poem. It now lucidly refers to the decree of the constitution and the establishment of the parliament. This revival is attributed to the king’s justice. The way Bahār relates the Constitutional Revolution to the king’s justice deconstructs the traditional notion of justice as compared with medieval poetic iterations of such a theme. Constitutional Revolution is posited as a text for the king as the first and second distichs clearly imply. Therefore, justice is no longer construed as a hierarchical order with the king overshadowing society. The rule of law and unification of nation and state are the thematic forerunners here. As such, the concept of justice adopts a democratic and modern meaning as fifth distich speaks to it. Justice and the rule of law—and parliament—are realized forces that put in check tyrannical and arbitrary power: God’s will is no longer the determinant as had always been the case. Of note is how Bahār, in this discursive encounter, is able to impose a modern democratic discourse without quite rejecting tradition altogether.58 Bahār reiterates the traditional political outlook, where state and religion are twin institutions and together they assure stability and order. He, however, adds that the balance should be ‘preserved,’ and the determining agent is the constitution, i.e., law (qānun). The constitution guarantees justice as it puts an end to arbitrary and tyrannical power and a disturbance of the balance between religion and state. Another novel aspect of this panegyric is the appearance of some terms which are particular to the discourse of the Constitutional Revolution. These new elements in the discourse of Bahār’s poetry don’t however affect the style or formal elements of the qasideh: words such as keshvar (country), mellat (nation) and dowlat (state) overshadow the traditional elements like molk (territory) and ra’yat (peasants). This new context is based on a modern nation-state (Constitutional Revolution era), and as such keshvar is no longer about an imperial territory, but a modern nation-state where despite ethnic differences there is national identity and culture. Dowlat also does not refer to kingship but a government elected by representatives of the people. Bahār’s emphasis on unity and alliance amongst people as a nation, and the legal government which represents justice, speaks to his fervent want for the formation of the modern nation-state, rather than imperial power and kingship. In the last three distichs, Bahār uses a familiar rhetorical strategy. Writing back to a collective historical past is one of Bahār’s signature figurative tools. It can be construed a hazy address: to either the monarch or his audience. He assumes the monarch aware and cordially wise: aware of such historical past and that is why he approves the establishment of the parliament.59 Constructing a collective history and referring to ancient kings in Bahār’s poetry derives from two factors. One is the tradition of referring to monarchs’ past in Persian classical poetry, and then the necessity of constructing a glorious and

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  183 sublime historical narrative for the modern nation-state discourse. Historically narrating the rise and fall of great empires functioned as an ethical discourse and a reminder of the temporality of life and mortality of all things otherwise considered worldly. 60 In Bahār’s poetry, this rhetorical strategy of awakening historical figures and events, is there to construct a narrative in favour of a homogenized national identity instead of advisories that warn of the material world’s transient nature. His audience is the nation by way of the monarchy.61

Conclusion The beginning of modern literary criticism in Iran predates the Constitutional Revolution. It started with radical and comprehensive criticism of Persian classical literature by redefining literature as an independent institution with its own norms and principles. Ākhundzādeh, Mirza Āqā Khan Kermāni and Malkam Khan are three major figures who, by including the form and content of classical literature in their discussions, aimed for conventionality and alienation of aesthetic and ossified linguistic patterns. For these intellectuals, form and content in literary criticism were not deemed detached. The traditional aesthetics and rhetoric were culprits in the general decline of Iranian society. The classical rhythm and prosody along with clichéd similes and metaphors, in their view, had blocked any space for both formal creativity and intellectual enlightenment. Being able to challenge common sense, ridiculing the oppressing power relations, addressing the social contradictions and adopting the language of lower classes were the main literary concerns of the new intellectuals. It can be argued that their references to European literature as the ideal alternative were vague and imaginary at times; nevertheless, their ability to define literature as an independent category, to include the critique of literary form in their cultural enlightenment project, and to emphasize on social realism was genuine and authentic. A poet in the tradition of classical masters, Bahār’s literary views are a marriage of his acquaintance with the discourse of enlightenment and his traditional education. His ideological attachment to the Khorāsāni style of the early centuries of Persian verse works as an active set of presuppositions, which interfere with Bahār’s interpretation of materialist and naturalist ideas. It is true that the modernity discourse enabled Bahār to define, categorize and historicize. It also enlightened Bahār as to the socio-political ideas of Iranian modernity, particularly freedom, progress, rule of law, justice and national independence. Bahār is always more interested in the socio-political aspects of enlightenment. His political activism and engagement with the events of Constitutional Revolution might have played a significant role in such political and idealistic understandings of modernity. The consequence of a reconciliation between the modern and classical was a meaning-centric and author-based approach to literature. Bahār’s idealistic perception of modernity, along with his ethical and didactic view, gave no allowance for revisions of longstanding formal structures of Persian poetry. In fact,

184  Salour Evaz Malayeri literature, as an institution, has no place in Bahār’s project of literary modernity. For Bahār, literature remains to be a mere medium for manifesting ‘meaning’. Literature lives under the rubric of meaning (moralities, wisdom, humane ideals, etc.) and its evolution depends on the politics of discourse (ethics, philosophy, politics, etc.)—not form. Form has no agency but to deliver the meaning in the most tangible and comprehensible way. When it comes to meaning, Bahār believes that it must be compatible with the demands of modern society. Meaning has a foothold in historical dynamism, anything from medieval superstitions to human rights, while form can have no connection with modernity as it is static and non-reflective. To him, being modern lies in discursive ideas, not formal innovations, because he thinks formal innovation interferes with public taste and proper reception as it undermines pre-existing nuances in a language firmly conceptualized by the folk, hence his insistence on modern nuances in the mould of classical form. What Bahār fails to see is that modern content without its relevant form will only reproduce the traditional epistemology. Replacing the old ‘superstitions’ with modern ideas within the same rhythmic structure and rhetorical logic will not lead to modernity in literature and society. Modernity cannot be dictated or instructed. The experience of modernity can only take place through experiencing a new form that occurs during the process of literary production and literary perception. The absolute detachment of form and meaning prevents Bahār to see form within the paradigm of modernity and change: both form and content are from the same environment and share the same episteme. All said, Bahār’s insistence on the priority of meaning and its universal and ethical nature does afford Persian literature a rejuvenated cultural entity and a source of national awareness. This is because Bahār succeeds in re-articulating and re-contextualizing premodern cultural statements in favour of the Constitutional Revolution discourse. For such re-articulation of meaning to take hold in his poetry, Bahār minimizes his application of traditional rhetoric techniques and adopts a literary language that can be considered less-ornate. The result is an enlightening didactic poetry which tries to propagate the ideals of Constitutional Revolution for the public with a language accessible by the folk.

Notes 1 In his book on ‘Abd al-Qāher Jorjāni, Kamal Abu-Deeb has specifically mentioned the dichotomy of word and meaning as the basic of arguments among literary critics during the early Islamic centuries. However, he excludes Jorjāni and regards him as the one who broke away from such dichotomy by articulating the concept of nazm (construction), see Kamal Abu-Deeb, Al-Jurjani’s Theory of Poetic Imagery (Sovar-e Khiāl dar Nazariyyeh-ye Jorjāni), trans. Farzān Sojudi and Farhad Sāsāni (Tehran: Nashr-e ‘Elm, 2014), 56. 2 ‘Abd-ol-Hossein Zarrinkub, Āshnā’i bā Naqd-e Adabi (An Introduction to Literary Criticism) (Tehran: Sokhan, 2004), 291. 3 Nāser-e Khosrow (ca 1004–1076), the prominent Ismaili poet of Khorāsān, has stated on numerous occasions that ma’ni (meaning) is the substance which one must seek,

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  185 while lafz (word) is a mere cover or manifestation. In the following line, he has compared the meaning with ‘scent’ and word with ‘musk,’ suggesting that without a sublime and enlightening meaning, word or the form of speech does not have any value on its own: ‫ُمشک باشد لفظ و معنی بوی او‬ ‫ُمشکِ بی‌بوی ای پسر خاکستر است‬ Word is like a musk and meaning is its scent, an unscented musk, my son, is nothing but ash. See Nāser-e Khosrow, Divan, ed. Mehdi Mohaqqeq and Mojtabā Minovi (Tehran: McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies in Cooperation with Tehran University, 1978), 35. The great Sufi poet, Mowlānā (1207–1273) (known as Rumi) has compared meaning with maghz (kernel) and word with pusteh (shell): ‫این سخن چون پوست و معنی مغز دان‬ ‫این سخن چون نقش و معنی همچو جان‬ The speech is like a shell and meaning is its kernel. The speech is like a picture and meaning is the soul. See: Mowlānā Jalāl al-Din Rumi, Masnavi, ed. Reynold A. Nicholson (Tehran: Mowlā, 1982), 68. 4 Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, Recasting Persian Poetry: Scenarios of Poetic Modernity in Iran (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1995), 25. 5 Iraj Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni va Naqd-e Adabi (Tehran: Sokhan: 2001), 49. 6 Mirza Fathali Ākhundzādeh. Maktubāt, ed. M. Sobhdam (Tehran: n.p., 1985), 9–14. It seems by Littérature Ākhundzādeh refers to any form of writing, as it was common in the nineteenth-century Europe. In this chapter, I have included Ākhundzādeh’s accounts on poesy and drama under the category of Literature to stay with the modern meaning of the word that has been used in literary theory and criticism. 7 Adamiyyat, The Life and Thought of Mirza Fatali Akhundzade, 67. 8 Ākhundzādeh, Maktubāt, 34. 9 Literature, in the modern age, has become discursively independent, and such independence was followed by certain institutions that have a degree of autonomy. Literature as an institution has its own politics, modes of production, productive forces, organizations, with regularized practices in places such as publication houses, media, literature departments in universities, schools, pubs and coffee houses, circles of literary scholars, etc. Therefore, the nature of literature and its definition is tied to our ‘institutional practices’ in social apparatuses. Theoretical discourses and doctrines on literature, today, work institutionally in the form of practice and within specific social relations. For more see Jeffrey J. Williams (ed.), The Institution of Literature (New York: State University of New York Press, 2002), 1–18. 10 For my thorough discussion on literary self-consciousness and Ākhundzādeh’s literary thoughts see Salour Evaz Malayeri, ‘Iranian Enlightenment and Literary Selfconsciousness: A Discussion about Modernity and Philosophy of Literature with regards to the Works of Mirza Fatali Akhundzade,’ in Iran’s Constitutional Revolution of 1906, Narratives of Enlightenment, ed. Ali M. Ansari (London: Gingko Library, 2016), 129–148. 11 Salour Evaz Malayeri, ‘Iranian Enlightenment and Literary Self-consciousness: A Discussion about Modernity and Philosophy of Literature with regards to the Works of Mirza Fatali Akhundzade,’ 144–146. 12 I am quoting Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak’s translation of Ākhundzādeh’s Maktubāt. Karimi-Hakkak, Recasting Persian Poetry, 34. 13 Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni va Naqd-e Adabi, 54–61. 14 Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni o Naqd-e Adabi, 61–62. 15 A complete and edited version of Ākhunzādeh’s Critika can be found in the appendix of Pārsi-Nezhād’s book, which is the version that was in use for this study. Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni va Naqd-e Adabi, 343–362.

186  Salour Evaz Malayeri 16 Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni va Naqd-e Adabi, 354. 17 Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni o Naqd-e Adabi, 64. 18 For a brief but useful account on major aspects of Hegel’s Aesthetics and his theory on poetry: ‘Hegel’s Aesthetics’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed June 07, 2019, https://plato​.stanford​.edu​/entries​/hegel​-aesthetics/​#IdeBeaSuc. 19 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ‘Hegel’. 20 Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni va Naqd-e Adabi, 119–124. 21 Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni va Naqd-e Adabi, 131. 22 Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni va Naqd-e Adab, 132. 23 Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni va Naqd-e Adab, 127–128. 24 Although Kermāni’s notion of ‘effect/impact’ (ta’sir) might speak to formal aspects of literature, it seems form is a secondary concern compared to the ethical and educational impacts. 25 The edited version of Sayyāhi Guyad has thankfully been published by Pārsi-Nezhād. See Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni va Naqd-e Adabi, 363–379. Also, one of the most comprehensive discussions on this book is by Karimi-Hakkak. Karimi-Hakkak, Recasting Persian Poetry, 44–53. 26 Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni va Naqd-e Adabi, 371. 27 Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni o Naqd-e Adabi, 123. 28 Karimi-Hakkak, Recasting Persian Poetry, 48. 29 Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni va Naqd-e Adabi, 142. 30 Pārsi-Nezhād, Roshangarān-e Irāni o Naqd-e Adabi, 156–157. 31 For a concise review of the Constitutional Revolution and its post-revolutionary political chaos: Homa Katouzian, ‘The Revolution for Law: A Chronographic Analysis of the Constitutional Revolution of Iran,’ Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 47, no 5 (October 2011): 757–777, DOI: 10.1080/00263206.2011.588797. 32 The best report on the political engagements and positions of Bahār, in this author’s view, is by Homa Katouzian: Mohammad-‘Ali Homāyun Katuziyān, Irān: Jāme’eh-ye Kutāh-Moddat (Iran: A Short-Term Society), trans. ‘Abdollāh Kowsari (Tehran: Ney, 2011), 111–141. 33 Bahār’s interests in the Khorāsāni style commensurate with the feverish literary movement of the nineteenth century (the literary return), which idolized the styles of old. However, it should be said that unlike that movement, he was innovative in his versifications and merely utilized the style’s unique sense of form and not meaning. In Bāzgasht poetry, those who were interested in epic mostly imitated the voice of Khorāsāni style, while those who were interested in Sufism and lyricism imitated the ‘Irāqi style (ca. twelfth to fourteenth centuries). As for Bahār, he certainly has qasidehs and ghazals in the latter style as well. However, his stylistic taste and literary tendency have always been towards the Khorāsāni literature. In fact, his literary world view is deeply rooted in the literary discourse of the Khorāsāni school. There are some factors that can support this: Bahār’s poetry, specially his earlier poems; Bahār’s views on lyric poetry and his criticism of Sa’di’s; Bahār’s historiography of Persian poetry in which Khorāsāni literature represents the zenith of Persian poetry; and Bahār’s valuable studies on early Persian poetry and prose, where he specially dotes on the style of Khorāsān. Shamisā speaks to Bahār’s fetish with the minutiae of the Khorāsāni style linguistically and stylistically. On the same token, he finds his world view antiquated and not proportionate with his times. See Sirus Shamisā, Sabkshenāsi-ye She’r (The Stylistics of Poetry) (Tehran: Mitrā, 2009), 297–311. 34 Mohammad Golbon (ed.), Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi, I (Tehran: Sherkat-e Sahāmi-ye Ketābhā-ye Jibi, 1976), 1–18. 35 Golbon, Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi, I, 1. 36 Golbon, Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi, I, 143–159. 37 Golbon, Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi, I, 18–22.

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  187 38 In fact, Bahār reproduces the same classical episteme in which meaning and words are two detached entities with meaning standing as a pure and sublime essence and words as subordinated, secondary and accidental. 39 Golbon, Mohammad-Taqi Bahār, Bahār o Adab-e Fārsi (Bahār and the Persian Literature), I, 20. 40 Golbon, Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi, I, 6. 41 Golbon, Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi, I, 6. 42 Golbon, Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi, I, 3. 43 Golbon, Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi, I, 25–29. 44 Mohammad Golbon (ed.), Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi, II (Tehran: Sherkat-e Sahāmi-ye Ketābhā-ye Jibi, 1976), 395–405. 45 Golbon, Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi, II, 395. 46 Golbon, Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi, II, 400–401. 47 Golbon, Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi, II, 400–401. 48 Mohammad Reza Shafi’i Kadkani, Mofles-e Kimiyā forush (The Impecunious Who Sells Elixir) (Tehran: Sokhan, 1993), 97–98. 49 Shafi’i Kadkani, 83. 50 Anvari, Divan, ed. Mohammad Taqi Modarres Rasavi (Tehran: Bongāh-e Tarjomeh o Nashr-e Ketāb, 1958), 96. 51 See Encyclopaedia Iranica, ‘Jamšid’, accessed November 1, 2020. https://iranicaonline​ .org​/articles​/jamsid. Jamshid is the fourth king of the mythological Pishdādiān dynasty of Iran according to Shāhāmeh. He taught the people dressmaking, shipping and medicine. He melted iron and made weapons. He is famous for building monuments and buildings. More importantly, he is recognized for giving order and structure to society by devising four different social classes and designing a hierarchical society in which each member of society knew not only their potential but also their limits. As such stability and peace were guaranteed. He symbolizes power and justice, i.e., a utopic philosopher-king. He is the king who brought prosperity and peace, while he maintained social order (= justice). 52 Mohammad Taqi Bahār, Divan (Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1975), 3. 53 See Mahmoud Omidsālār, ‘Mafhum-e ‘Edālat dar Siyāsat-nāmeh-ye Khājeh Nezām alMolk (The Concept of Justice in Khājeh Nezām al-Molk’s The Book of Government)’ in Irānshenāsi 6, no. 21 (spring 1994), 52–66. 54 This panegyric was written in 1904. Two years later, Mozaffar-od-Din Shah granted the establishment of constitution and parliament. 55 For a discussion on the concepts of ‘adl and zolm in the premodern Iranian cultural sphere, see Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Tajaddod-e Bumi o Bāzandishiyeh Tārikh (Indigenous Modernity and Rethinking History) (Toronto: IranNameh Books, 2016), 19–21. 56 Bahār, Divan, 15. 57 Bahār, Divan, 27. 58 The togetherness of religion and state (to’amāni-ye din o dowlat) has been one of the key statements in Iranian premodern political discourse; see Tavakoli-Targhi, 18. 59 Bahār, Divan, 28. 60 By referring to the figures and stories of Shahnameh, Nāser-e Khosrow (d. 1088) continuously asks his reader to remember the fact that all worldly affairs are transient and mortal, even the most grandeur personas past. His tone is cautious and even unhappy at some points, and he tries to present history as a moral lesson: ‫نامه‌ی شاهان عجم پیش خواه‬ ‫یک ره بر خود به تأمل برخوان‬ Go and find the stories of Persian kings: Read them and ponder them. ‫کوت فریدون و کجا کیقباد؟‬ ‫کوت خجسته علم کاویان؟‬ Now where is Fereydun and Keyqobād?

188  Salour Evaz Malayeri Where is the legendary banner of Kāviyān? ‫سام نریمان کو و رستم کجاست‬ ‫پیشرو لشکر مازندران؟‬ Where is Sām-e Narimān and where is Rostam— the leader of the army of Māzandarān? ‫بابک ساسان کو و کو اردشیر؟‬ ‫!کوست؟ نه بهرام نه نوشیروان‬ Where is Bābak of Sāsān and where is Ardeshir? Look, no sign of Bahram or Anushirvān! Nāser-e Khosrow, Divan, 13. 61 For more examples of such narrative strategy, see the qasideh of ‘payām-e iran’ (the massage of Iran) in which historical narrative works in favour of constructing a national identity; see Bahār, Divan, 566.

Bibliography Abu-Deeb, Kamāl. Sovar-e Khiyāl dar Nazariyyeh-ye Jorjāni, trans. Farzān Sojudi and Farhād Sāsāni. Tehran: Nashr-e Elm, 2014. Adamiyyat, Fereydun. Andisheh-ye Taraqqi va Hokumat-e Qānun. Tehran: Khārazmi, 1977. Adamiyyat, Fereydun. Andisheh-hā-ye Mirza Fath-Ali Ākhundzādeh. Tehran: Khārazmi, 1970. Ajand, Ya’qub. Tajaddod-e Adabi dar Dowreh-ye Mashruteh. Tehran: Farhangestān-e Honar, 2006. Ākhundzādeh, Mirza Fatali. Maktubāt. Edited by M. Sobhdam. Tehran: N.p., 1985. Anvari. Divan. Edited by Mohammad Taqi Modarres Rasavi. Tehran: Bongāh-e Tarjomeh o Nashr-e Ketāb, 1958. Bahār, Mohammad-Taqi. Bahār va Adab-e Fārsi. Edited by Mohammad Golbon. 2 Vols. Tehran: Sherkat-e Sahāmi-ye Ketābhā-ye Jibi, 1976. Bahār, Mohammad-Taqi. Divan. Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1975. Dehqāni, Mohammad. Pishgāmān-e Naqd-e Adabi dar Irān. Tehran: Sokhan, 2001. Evaz Malayeri, Salour. “Iranian Enlightenment and Literary Self-Consciousness: A Discussion about Modernity and Philosophy of Literature with Regards to the Works of Mirza Fatali Akhundzade.” In Iran’s Constitutional Revolution of 1906, Narratives of Enlightenment, edited by Ali M Ansari, 129–48. London: Gingko Library, 2016. “Hegel’s Aesthetics.” Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Accessed June 07, 2019. https://plato​.stanford​.edu​/entries​/hegel​-aesthetics/​#IdeBeaSuc. Karimi-Hakkak, Ahmad. Recasting Persian Poetry: Scenarios of Poetic Modernity in Iran. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1995. Katouzian, Homa. “The Revolution for Law: A Chronographic Analysis of the Constitutional Revolution of Iran.” Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 47, no 5. (2011): 757–77. doi: 10.1080/00263206.2011.588797. Kātuziyān, Mohammad-‘Ali Homāyun (Homa Katouzian). Irān: Jāme’eh-ye KutāhModdat (Iran: A Short-Term Society). Translated by ‘Abdollāh Kowsari. Tehran: Ney, 2011. Mowlānā Jalāl al-Din Rumi. Masnavi. Edited by Reynold A. Nicholson. Tehran: Mowlā, 1982. Nāser Khosrow. Divan. Edited by Mehdi Mohaqqeq and Mojtabā Minovi. Tehran: McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies in Cooperation with Tehran University, 1978.

Singing Modernity with Language of Tradition  189 Omidsālār, Mahmoud. Mafhum-e ‘Edālat dar Siyāsat-nāmeh-ye Khājeh Nezām al-Molk” Irānshenāsi 6, no. 21 (1994): 52–66. Pārsi-Nezhād, Iraj. Mohammad Taqi Bahār va Naqd-e Adabi. Tehran: Sokhan, 2010. Pārsi-Nezhād, Iraj. Roshangarān-e Irāni va Naqd-e Adabi. Tehran: Sokhan, 2001. Shafi’i Kadkani, Mohammad Rezā. Mofles-e Kimiyā forush. Tehran: Sokhan, 1993. Shamisā, Sirus. Sabkshenāsi-ye She’r. Tehran: Mitrā, 2009. Tavakoli-Targhi, Mohammad. Tajaddod-e Bumi o Bāzandishi-ye Tārikh. Toronto: IrānNāmeh Books, 2016. Zarrinkub, ‘Abd al-Hossein. Āshnāi bā Naqd-e Adabi. Tehran: Sokhan, 2004.


Crying on the Stage ‘Eshqi the Playwright Behrooz Mahmoodi-Bakhtiari

‘Eshqi: A Life in Protest The Constitutional period (1905–1911) was a time of turmoil with many modern movements coming to boil all over Iran. Synonymous with these movements was an increase in journalistic rigour, translation of European fictions and plays, and composition of dramatic texts. Iranian drama was expanding its passion plays for the religious dead (ta’ziyyeh) to include other themes as well. The tradition of composing classical poetry gradually evolved to some other genres, among which drama. The composition of poetry and drama, necessarily under the rubric of verse drama or opera, was expected to catch on, and how, in Iran, but to the surprise of many it did not. Mohammad-Rezā Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi (1894–1923) is perhaps the first Iranian to have composed versed drama while contributing to the modernization of poetry in Iran. Although he has written most of his works in the Post-Constitution era, due to the strong impact of this period on his works, he is usually, and prudently, studied within the framework of the literature of the Constitutional Revolution. Born in Hamedān, ‘Eshqi attended Olfat and Āliāns schools in his hometown, two European style schools in which French was also a language of instruction. This has perhaps been his very first encounter with the literary genres which were not actively engaged in Iran at that time. It is highly probable that his familiarity with the plays of Molière and other French playwrights takes its roots while there.1 He, apparently, did not finish his schooling and left Hamedān in the hopes of pursuing an education in Tehran.2 He returned home in 1915 intent on publishing the journal Nāmeh-ye ‘Eshqi,3 which is not enumerated in the lists of the periodical catalogues of that time. It is probable that he had a permit to publish but never managed to print or distribute it.4 When Northwestern Iran was occupied by the Russian forces during the first world war, ‘Eshqi joined the poet ‘Āref Qazvini (d. 1934) and some other Persian intellectuals and migrated to Istanbul, partly due to his interest in the Young Turk movement in that city. He is said to have attended classes in the faculty of social science and philosophy of the Bāb-e ‘Āli Institute of Technology in Istanbul.5 On his journey there, as he was travelling from Baghdad to Mosul, he happened to visit the ruins of the Sasanian Palace in DOI:  10.4324/9781003243335-10

Crying on the Stage  191 Ctesiphon, on the eastern bank of Tigris, and 35 kilometres southeast of presentday Baghdad. This short sojourn left a great impression on him and paved the way for his first Persian operatic verse drama, Rastākhiz-e Salātin-e Irān, the story of which takes place at the ruins of the said Ctesiphon. During his stay in Istanbul, ‘Eshqi associated with the Ottoman poets and men of letters, and was motivated to compose dramatic works.6 He also met with some Iranian men of letters residing there, such as ‘Āref Qazvini, Hassan Moqaddam, and Abolqāsem Lāhuti, and on his return to Iran after two years, he associated with writers and poets such as Heydar-’Ali Kamāli, Sa’id Nafisi, Rezā Kamāl Shahrzād, ‘Ali Dashti and Rashid Yāsami, among whom Moqaddam and Shahrzād were playwrights.7 On his return to Hamedān after two years, ‘Eshqi was a robustly radicalized young poet, who was full of enthusiastic energy and determined ideas: most of his poems were criticisms of the government. He slams the then ongoing political atmosphere. The following mostazād obliterates the state of affairs in the Fourth Majlis (Parliament): ‫این مجلس چارم به خدا ننگ بشر    بود دیدی چه خبر بود؟‬ ‫ ضرر روی ضرر   بود دیدی چه خبر بود؟‬،‫هرکار که کردند‬ This fourth parliament was a disgrace to human beings, I swear, Did you notice the mess? Whatever they did was loss over loss, Did you notice the mess?8 His hawkish overview of state’s affairs also leads him to write a decisively poignant poem against Vosuq-od-Dowleh, the Iranian prime minister of the time for his role in signing the Anglo-Persian treaty of 1919. This led to his imprisonment for a short stint.9 He vehemently opposed the idea of Iran as a republic, an idea suggested by Rezā Khan, who was yet to become the first Pahlavi monarch. He objected to Rezā Khan’s move to overthrow the Qajar king and likened him to the monarch Nāder Afshār (r. 1736–1747): ‫او میخواهد نشیند جای قاجار   همان طوری که کرد آن مرد افشار‬ He wants to take the place of the Qajar kings, Just as [Nāder Shah] Afshār did to his predecessors.10 He composed (and anonymously published) a long tarji’-band, Jomhurināmeh, in 40 stanzas. He violently criticizes him and his putsch, most probably inspired by Mirza Yahyā Dowlatābādi (d. 1940), the leading nationalist and poet.11 His many emotional articles published in journals such as Shafaq-e Sorkh, Siyāsat, and afterwards in his own weekly journal Qarn-e Bistom were fiery rebukes of the social injustices incurred by the public officials. Qarn-e Bistom was suppressed after four issues in 1921 and resumed publication in January 1923 and published 18 issues before its second suppression in June 1923. In his articles ‘Eshqi stood

192  Behrooz Mahmoodi-Bakhtiari boldly in opposition to the ruling system going as far as propagating what he called ‘id-e khun (feast of blood), encouraging people to attack the houses of the officials he believed to have committed treason against their public trust—and kill them12. The termination of Qarn-e Bistom came about shortly before ‘Eshqi’s own death. His final piece in the journal unabashedly defied the republican movement and criticized Rezā Khan for stirring mutiny against the Constitution. The resulting backlash led to ‘Eshqi’s assassination in his residence five days later (3 August 1924). He was buried in Ebn-e Bābuyeh cemetery the next day, and his funeral turned into an occasion for public protest against the rising power of Rezā Khan. In his mourning, Qamar-ol-Muluk Vaziri (d. 1959) sang an important song, which became a big event, and Seyyed Ashraf-od-Din Qazvini (Nasim-e Shomāl) said: ‫کشته شد میرزادۀ عشقی     داد بر اهل عشق سرمشقی‬ ‫آخر کار در وطن این است    همچو مردن چقدر شیرین است‬ 13 ‫هرکه عشق وطن به سر دارد    از مکافات خود خبر دارد‬ Mirzādeh-ye ‘Eshqi was shot dead, And became a symbol to the followers of love. This is the fate of working in one’s country, How sweet is this type of dying! Whoever has a love of his country in mind, Is surely aware of the awaiting doom. Some basic background is warranted on his poetics for a better understanding of his operatic compositions. As a patriotic poet,14 who advocates pure nationalism and displays immense passion, he squarely positions himself as a rebellious poet who does not dote on the suppressor, as did his predecessors with mindless and wanton panegyrics: ‫ که زنم خامه بهر آز    نی چامه ساز بهر د َِرم همچو عنصری‬،‫قاآنی ام نه من‬ I am neither Qā’āni to compose poetry for the sake of greed of money, Nor like ‘Onsori, to compose lyrics for the sake of money.15 He modestly considers himself a poet in training, but is unabashedly and adamantly hopeful in making a name for himself; although he does not live long enough to that end: ‫ سخن آن سان سروده ام    وای ار که کهنه کار شوم در سخنوری‬،‫من تازه شاعرم‬ I am a newcomer in poetry, and my composition is such, Wait and see what would happen when I become a know-how in rhetoric!16

Crying on the Stage  193 He raises the flag of his Aryan descent via the Achaemenids and glorifies the Zoroastrian past and its codes of modus vivendi.17As such, unlike his contemporaries, the likes of Nasim Shomāl and Bahār, he makes scarce use of religious references in his work, although he, himself is a descendant of the Shiite Imams:18 ‫ماتم ایران‬ ‫اجداد من از‬ ِ ‫ران کِی و ساسان    ریزند به سر خاکِ غم از‬ ِ ‫تاجو‬ َ My ancestors, all kings of Kiyāni and Sassanid dynasties, Are putting dust of misery on their heads to mourn for Iran.19 He laments the current state in Iran by highlighting a historical binary; ‫سر آن سلسله خون میریزد‬ ِ ‫کنم ار درد دل از ترب‬ ِ ‫ت اهخامنشی    از لحد بر‬ ‫ایران کنون میریزد‬ ‫ذلت‬ ‫و‬ ‫   نکبت‬ ‫قدیم‬ ‫ایران‬ ‫ت‬ ِ ‫آبروی و شرف و عز‬ ِ ِ In case I try to lament the Achaemenid tombs, Blood will be shed from the gravestone for that monarchy. The grace and dignity and reverence of the ancient Iran, Misery and disgrace of current Iran reveals.20 ‫تاریخی ایرانیان‬ ‫بود گهوارۀ ساسانیان      بُن َگه‬ َ ‫این‬ ِ ‫قدرت و علمش چنان آباد کرد    ضعف و جهلش همچنین برباد کرد‬ This is the cradle of the Sassanid empire, It is the historical threshold of the Iranians. Once its power and knowledge built it up that way, And now ignorance and weakness damages it this way.21 And incites fundamental change that requires useless boasting of a past filled with heroes and selfless folk. Instead, he begs his nation to live up to those images: ‫ تو خود فکر خود نما    با نام ُمرده مملک احیا نمیشود‬،‫کم گو که کاوه کیست‬ Talk less about who Kāveh (the blacksmith) was! Think for yourself!22 The name of the dead do not bring to life a nation. His poetics are under constant attack in terms of rhetoric and figurative language,23 and so are his unconventional innovations.24 He held that the real poetry should be unhindered and free of the classical conventions—imbued with hypercerebralized fashioning. As such he becomes a source of inspiration for Nimā Yushij (d. 1960), the father of the new Persian poetry. ‘Eshqi can be regarded as a romanticist, although it is possible to find traces of other literary schools in his works. In ‘Ehtiyāj’ (The need), ‘Sargozasht-e

194  Behrooz Mahmoodi-Bakhtiari Ta’assorāvar-e Shā’er’ (The sad story of the poet’s life), and ‘Marg-e Dokhtar-e Nākām’ (The death of the unhappy girl), he wears the garb of a realist poet and his poetics resonate his angst to a nation that is yet to be awoken.25 In ‘Ehtiyāj,’ a beautiful young girl is forced to marry an old man due to the poverty and ignorance of her mother. ‘Sargozasht-e Ta’assorāvar-e Shā’er’ taps into the pathetic penury of a homeless poet who fears even the ground upon which he sleeps: ‫ چه خاکی به سر کنم‬،‫گر اینچنین به خاک وطن شب سحر کنم    خاک وطن چو رفت‬ In my pathetic penury, if I only have my homeland’s dust to rest upon Now that the soil is no more: what on earth am I then to do?26 In poems such as ‘Se tāblo-ye Maryam’ (Three acts of Maryam), ‘Kafan-e siyāh’ (The black shroud) and ‘Barg-e Bādbordeh’ (The leaf taken away by the wind), his symbolic approach merely veils harsh criticisms against the ruling class. ‘Kafan-e Siyāh’ is clearly ‘Eshqi’s revolt against the compulsory hejāb of the Iranian woman, as it clearly compares the common black veil to a shroud by which they are buried—alive. Romanticism in Iranian poetics owes a huge debt to ‘Eshqi.27 Some of his works have also been labelled as ‘revolutionary romantic.’28 He can be considered a man of many garbs as ‘Eshqi is regarded by some as a pioneer of symbolic poetry of 20th c. Iran as well. His poem ‘Noruzi-Nāmeh’ composed for the 1297. New year, reflects the impact he has taken from the Ottoman modernist literature, which was highly romantic.29 Although ‘Afsāneh’ by Nimā Yushij is known as the starting point of Persian poetry’s dabbling in symbolism,30 some believe Nimā was influenced by ‘Eshqi in composing it, while accepting that ‘Eshqi’s work Ideāl is very close to his works in terms of discourse. The fact that Afsāneh was first published in ‘Eshqi’s journal, Qarn-e Bistom, further punctuates the close views of the two poets.31 ‘Eshqi’s later works, especially his verse plays, published in the same journal, speak to a piqued romantic tendency:32 his individualism, his revolutionary thoughts, his resistance against the political landscape of his time, his astute social gaze, his patriotic dogma, and his sympathy for the oppressed are the feed and fodder of his romanticized expressions.33

‘Eshqi as a playwright When ‘Eshqi started writing plays, playwriting was in its first stages of development in Iran. However, he was a quick learner and promptly familiarized himself with this new wave of Iranian playwriting. As such he immersed himself into the works of French dramatists, which added a new twist to his work, and created a never-before-seen in the existing works of his contemporaries. Like many other thinkers of his time, ‘Eshqi found a new abode for his expressions: drama. Consequently, he started writing and publishing these dramatic works in the Qarn-e Bistom, for which he was the chief editor.

Crying on the Stage  195 By the third decade of his short life ‘Eshqi had written seven dramatic works, out of which three were in verse.34 His dramas in prose Dāstān-e Bichāreh Zādeh, Halvā al-Foqarā, Bachcheh Gedā va Doktor-e Nikukār, and Te’ātr dar Mozu’-e Miting bombast the deviations from the accomplishments of the Constitutional Revolution, and express doleful regret over the isolation of the revolutionaries in favour of dictators. Dāstān-e Bichāreh Zādeh is ‘Eshqi’s first play and last to be discovered.35 In 2007, ‘Ali Mir Ansāri, a scholar of contemporary Persian literature, came across a manuscript of this work in the archives of National Documents of Iran and published it along with the rest of ‘Eshqi’s plays.36 In this play, ‘Eshqi highlights the deceived soul of the Constitutional movement. At the time, at the mere age of 20, he dedicates it to his brother, Mirza ‘Abdol’ali, who had committed suicide.37 Mirza ‘Abd al-‘Ali was one of the many Iranian students who fell into a state of penury in Europe during the First World War. He clearly points to the neglect of these young minds by the public officials.38 This four-act play represents Jamshid, the protagonist and a symbol of the revolutionary fervour, who is a student in Paris. When Meqrāz Mirza (symbolic of the feudal before the Revolution, i.e., ‘Mr. Scissors’) travels to Paris, he meets with Jamshid together with his companion Hāji Verrāj (‘verbose,’ i.e., convincer) Khan Velengārān, and persuades him to come back to Iran. A plot has been put into motion to murder Jamshid by a Saffāk-od-Dowleh (lit. Vicious killer of the regime). Jamshid comes back to Iran but the brutal pressures and injustices incurred result in his suicide. As these, the rest of the folk in the play have names that speak not only to their characteristics but also their societal function, i.e., governmental ills. ‘Eshqi conducts, in this play, a parallel study of two simultaneous, yet divergent, trends in his time: those in favour of the tenets of the constitution, and those who have deviated from those tenets: as far as he was concerned the movement had failed. As a first play, it is still considered the most structurally sound of his plays, whether it is the development of the plot and or the soundness of its characters. The unity of time and place are meticulously observed. It seems to have been never performed, and since it has been found among the ‘censored’ texts of the Iranian national archive, it leads one to believe it was confiscated upon submittal for performance permit. Halvā-ol-Foqarā (Poor man’s sweets) is Eshqi’s fourth play, published first in Qarn-e Bistom (1921). Initially performed in Isfahan under the name of Az Tāriki be Roshanā’yi (From Darkness to Light), it criticizes the mindless religious-based superstitions prevalent in Iran.39 At the outset, ‘Eshqi states that in a ‘modern Iran,’ there are still some who are ‘merchants of superstition,’ fanning the misery of the already miserable. It depicts the challenges posed to the intellectual by old superstitions. Jamshid Khan, who represents the educated and inquisitive young is rubbing shoulders, most likely reluctantly, with superstitious folk, whose names are devised as epithets as was the trend. Nadimbāshi (Mr. Attendant), Gereftār Khan (Mr. Otherwise engaged), Rammāl-bāshi (Mr. Fortuneteller), Mirza Yāveh (Mr. Jabberbox) and Kimiyāgar (the alchemist) are tell-tale names that speak

196  Behrooz Mahmoodi-Bakhtiari to a nation in dire straits. This namesake typology speaks to Jamshid’s frustration in a world of ‘characters’ and fabrications: a world marred by perpetually stunted social progress. Jamshid, the intellectual, has to suffer claims of perfection, power and alchemy tossed at him at every turn by otherwise half-witted buffoons. However, Jamshid challenges their claims but in a peculiar way: he does nothing on stage and simply talks. The dialogue tradition is not yet a matter of course in plays of the day. There is lots of talk and no performance, per se. The play, unfortunately, does not make the most of the capacities of drama in its narration, to the extent that Jamshid, as if his absence or presence in the play makes little difference in moving the plot forward. Bachcheh Gedā va Doktor-e Nikukār (the beggar kid and the doctor do-good), ‘Eshqi’s fifth play, was published in Qarn-e Bistom (issues 9–15, 1922). The Journal Shafaq-e Sorkh introduced this operetta as ‘namāyesh-e nimeh-āhangi’ (half-musical performance).40 Later on, the journal noted that the composer of the musical pieces of this work was Darvish Khan (1872–1926), a well-known musician of that time.41 This play is a relentless attack on fraud, corruption, theft and meanness in Iranian society. At the beginning of the play, ‘Eshqi states that he intended to depict misappropriation of talent due to societal ills42 and criticizes the un-becoming deeds which had become norms and social habits. In this two-act play, the audience meets a swindler named Qorbān ‘Ali, which literally means a sacrifice for ‘Ali and speaks to wide-reaching hypocrisy in the Iranian society of the time. He takes a boy named Akbar hostage and forces him to be a beggar for his own gain. Akbar becomes acquainted with a doctor and falls for him: Akbar is really a girl named Ghazal who marries the said doctor in the end. The dialogues are particularly dramatic especially in the first act where the narrative is ultimately more involved in the dialogues. Te’ātr dar Mozu’-e Miting (Theatre on the subject of meeting) is a dramatic conversation. The sixth work of ‘Eshqi was published in the fourth issue of Qarn-e Bistom (1922) and targets Qavām al-Saltaneh and his supporters, the then prime minister. ‘Eshqi coins Qawām as ‘a chāleh meydān resident, a rough and vulgar ruffian, and a straw-seller.’ This play was published two weeks after Qawām’s resignation from office. He pays minimal attention to principles of playwriting here in a sense that the play misses characterization, does not enjoy dramatic dialogues, the storyline is far from clear; and there is no climax to speak of. His versified plays, Kafan-e Siyāh, Rastākhiz-e Salātin-e Irān and Ide’āl are soliloquies in which ‘Eshqi taps himself as the primary voice of a glorious past. As it took a long time to learn how to write drama in Iran, Iranians were used to the diegetic method of storytelling (naqqāli) and did not know how to develop the story within dialogues in a drama. His soliloquies are then an effective way of narrating his nationalist plot. Soliloquies were quite impactful and effective within his discursive which held dear a ‘glorious-past.’ These dramas further highlight the new aesthetic tendencies that found their way to Iran by the Ottoman Empire. Kafan-e Siyāh (The black shroud) is Eshqi’s second play, a scathing commentary on the hejāb. Against the backdrop of ancient Iran, he discusses the freedoms (or rather lack thereof) afforded.43 ‘Eshqi wrote this play while visiting Ctesiphon

Crying on the Stage  197 on his way to Istanbul. He was enamoured by a nostalgic past and disgusted by the Arab invasion of Iran, which would lead to the downfall of the Sassanid empire. Akin to the sentiments expressed by Khāqāni (12th c.) in his Eyvān-e Madā’en (Portico of Ctesiphon) he deems his words tears and not ink upon the pages.44 Each of ‘Eshqi’s acts are concrete pitstops for his narrative: there is ideological continuity but under auspices of a new scene: the happenings of Meh Ābād Village, returning to the past Iranian history, the cemetery, ruined castle, the mysterious shrine, and the rural district. In this work, mostly a monologue by the poet, he reaches Meh Ābād, a village near Madā’en (Ctesiphon). He spends the night at the house of an old woman from whose window he sees the legendary ruins. He proceeds to query the woman. A mental journey overtakes him carrying him back to ancient Iran. The poet depicts the court of ancient Iranian kings; then he proceeds to go to a cemetery. After entering a ruined castle, he remembers the past again. Upon reaching a shrine, he talks to the ‘queen of shroud-wearers.’ Then he runs away from the shrine and he hits a column which renders him unconscious. The next day, when he comes to, he notices all the women of his time and how similar they are to the woman he had seen the night before—symbolic of a longstanding black fate of Iranian women. While in Istanbul, the Ottoman literary scholars encouraged ‘Eshqi to challenge his wits at writing opera. They found it odd that a rich literary culture such as that of Iran did not have opera texts. Armed with his Madā’en experience, ‘Eshqi decided to compose the versified Rastākhiz-e Salātin-e Irān (Resurrection of the Iranian kings) as the first fully musical Persian play,45 and the very first Persian text which can be deemed an opera.46 ‘Eshqi founded in Iran ‘nāmāyesh-e tamām āhangi’ (full musical performance), for the first time, with this work.47 It was first published in the numbers 6–9 of Qarn-e Bistom (1923), which was first performed in Isfahan, and later on, in the Great Hall of the Grand Hotel in Tehran.48 This performance was directed by Seyyed ‘Ali Nasr, a famous playwright and director of that time. At the end of the play, he stepped on the stage and in a short speech, compared the ruins of Tāq-e Kasrā with the Tehran of his time, and evoked the feelings of the audience by saying that in his eyes, those ruins were much more prosperous than Tehran.49 Rastākhiz-e Salātin-e Irān is a nationalistic operetta, which revives some mytho-historical characters from pre-Islamic Iran and carries them over to modern Iran. The legends of the past feel a misery, to no ends, when they see the country they left for Iranians’ safekeeping in such state as it was. This work of ‘Eshqi’s is considered his best where nationalistic ideology and hubris finds a voice through the European (mainly French and German) dramatic genres. The fairly explicit stage directions in the text, together with the arranged potpourri of Iranian, Turkish and Caucasian music make this play stand out.50 In the play, the narrator (‘Eshqi) enters the ruins of Madā’en and bursts into tears. He starts singing a ghazal as sleep overtakes him. In his dreams, a girl named Khosrodokht rises out from her grave and shares the narrator’s grief in seeing the ruins. Gradually, ancient Iranian figures like Cyrus, Darius, Anushirvān, Khosrow Parviz, and finally Shirin, come out of their tombs and lament in unison and ask Zoroaster

198  Behrooz Mahmoodi-Bakhtiari for help.51 Zoroaster answers their call, followed by good tidings for Iran, and then he disappears. At this moment, all the historical Iranian figures return to their graves, leave the narrator alone, paving the way for dwindling of the narrative into an awake state. The play finishes with ‘Eshqi praying for his dreams to come true. The performance was a great success, owing to its novel performative dimensions. Famous literary figures such as Mohammad Taqi Bahār and ‘Ali Dashti praised the work,52and the journal Shafaq-e Sorkh published several positive reviews about it. It was performed more than ‘Eshqi’s other plays and was specially revered among expatriate Persians, particularly those in India,53and was translated into English there.54 Later on, when ‘Eshqi decided to leave Iran fearing for his life, he advertised the final performance of his work in Shafaq-e Sorkh as his ‘final begging.’55 Ide’āl (ideal), also known as Ide’āl-e Piremard-e Dehqāni (The ideal of the old peasant man) or Se Tāblo-ye Maryam (Maryam’s three tableaux/acts), is the seventh and the last of Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi’s plays. It is the best-known of his long narrative poems (she’r-e revā’i),56 in which the first traces of a systemic change in Persian poetry are visible.57 It is the most pronounced manifestation of Romanticism in ‘Eshqi’s works.58 For all intents and purposes this work ‘makes’ him.59Both, in the beginning, and the end of this play’s manuscript, ‘Eshqi discusses the literary characteristics and the intention of his work. He says that his contemporaries have not been successful in creating a revolutionary form of expression: I believe that what my contemporaries have done for a revolution in Persian poetry has not yet been successful, and hold that in the first and second tableaux of this play, the poet has been successful in creating a new and charming method of composing poetry. [And] As the readers will see, the method of thinking and using the wit in the development of the poetic thoughts in this work is totally different from that of previous and contemporary poets.60 He further states the first and second sections of this play represent a new type of poetry that revolutionizes poetics and poetry in earnest.61 Ide’āl is composed of three independent, yet interrelated, acts. The first act describes a beautiful spring day in Shemirān, where ‘Eshqi declares his presence as a narrator and observer. Eventually Maryam the dramatic protagonist arrives. Then a young boy joins her and the romantic conversation between the two shapes the first act. ‘Eshqi, as a bystander, is still present and active in the play’s plot. ‫از آن به بعد بدیدم که هر دو خوابیدند    خدای شکر که آنها مرا نمیدیدند‬ After that, I noticed that they both slept. Thank God they did not notice me.62 The second act again takes place in Shemirān, this time in the fall. The narrator talks about Maryam’s fate, and her suicide after being mistreated by the boy who

Crying on the Stage  199 professed his love to her. The third act takes place in a cemetery where Maryam’s father tells the narrator about what had happened and his activities during the Constitutional Revolution. The discourse of the play becomes political and a type of slogan. However, it reflects the expectations that the Iranian folk had from this uprising. Ideʿāl is anchored in realism and although born of the mind of the playwright, it addressed a broader platform outside of him. ‘Eshqi’s story finds its roots in real people here—and it is as they say ‘in real time’: ‫هزار و سیصد و هجده ز جانب تهران    بشد جوانک جلفی حکومت کرمان‬ In the year 1318 (1939), a risqué youth was appointed as the governor of Kermān: with an order from Tehran.63 He goes on to pinpoint the location ‫سر سنگی کنار یک دیوار‬ ِ ‫اوایل گل سرخ است و انتهای بهار    نشستهام‬ ‫جوار درۀ «دربند» و دامن ُکهسار    فضای «شمران» اندک ز قرب مغرب تار‬ «‫هنوز بُد اثر روز بر فراز «اوین‬ It is the blooming time of the roses, and the end of the spring, I am sitting on a rock by a wall. It is by the Darband valley and the slope of the mountain, And Shemirān is getting dark sitting by the sunset, While traces of day were still present over Evin heights.64 And their general appearance: ‫مردمان باال بود‬ ‫ زیبا بود    ز حیث جامه هم از‬،‫ز آب و رنگ همی بد نبود‬ ِ ‫کاله ساده و شلوار و ژاکت و پوتین‬ He was not so bad in terms of appearance and he was charming; In terms of dressing, he also belonged to the upper-class people: With a plain hat, trousers, jacket and boots.65 Literary historians of Persian describe this play as a significant work among the realistic texts, in terms of the narrative style and the authenticity of the plot.66 Considering so many of the other dramatic works of the era, one realizes that the main idea of the play and the real lives of the people are predominantly blatant patriotic slogans, while ‘Eshqi weeps for his people on stage.

Conclusion The Constitutional Revolution era was not merely important for its drastic social changes. Persian literature also underwent a tremendous change during this time, and apart from the content of the poems, new itinerary genres were either introduced or strengthened. Iranian dramatic literature, which was still in its infancy,

200  Behrooz Mahmoodi-Bakhtiari experienced new topics and became an arena to express the social protests and the needs of the society, its audience and beyond. In such a time, Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi combined Persian Classical poetry with the emerging art of drama in Iran and became the author of the first opera texts in Persian. Having been a journalist as well, he had apparently come to this conclusion that informing people through media such as newspapers is not always possible, and sometimes there must be a cry for justice: to shout for justice and patriotism on the stage. He lived a short life and could not see the manifestation of his ideals in person, but he laid the foundation of opera and, more importantly, protest literature in Iran, and paid for it with his life.

Notes 1 A. Miransāri, Namāyeshnāmeh-hā-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi (Tehran: Tahuri, 2007), 32-33. 2 See Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, ‘ʿEshqi,’ in ed. Ehsan Yarshater, Encyclopedia Iranica VI: 638-40. 3 Karimi-Hakkak, ‘‘Eshqi’; See also Āryānpur, Y. Az Sabā tā Nimā (Tehran: Zavvār, 2003), 361. 4 Karimi-Hakkak, ‘‘Eshqi.’ 5 Moshir Salimi, “Sargozasht-e ‘Eshqi,” in Kolliyyāt-e Mosavvar-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi (Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1978), 26. 6 M. Qā’ed, ‘Eshqi: Simā-ye Najib-e yek Ānārshist (Tehran: Tarh-e No, 2001), 56. 7 S. Nafisi, Khāterāt-e Siyāsi, Adabi, Javāni, ed. ‘A. E’tesām (Tehran: Nashr-e Markaz, 2002), 136. 8 M. ‘Eshqi, Kolliyyāt-e Mosawwar-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, edited by A. A. Moshir Salimi (Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1971), 441. 9 ‘Eshqi, Kolliyyāt, 89. 10 ‘Eshqi, Kolliyyāt, 288. 11 Karimi-Hakkak, ‘‘Eshqi.’ 12 Karimi-Hakkak, ‘‘Eshqi’, 135-36. 13 F. Karimi-Moqāri, Zendegi va She’r-e Seyyed Ashraf ed-Din Qazvini (Nasim-e Shomāl) (Tehran: Sāles, 2003), 203. 14 ‫گنهکارم که انسانم؟ ز جان عاشق به ایرانم؟  و یا دائم پریشانم ز اوضاع پریشانش؟‬ Am I a sinner for being a human? Is it a sin that I wholeheartedly love Iran And am always distressed for its distressed condition?; For more see ‘Eshqi, Kolliyāt, 346. 15 ‘Eshqi, Kolliyyāt, 363. 16 ‘Eshqi, Kolliyyāt, 363. 17 S. Shafaq, ‘Patriotic poetry in modern Iran,’ Middle East Journal 6/4: 427). For other studies on ‘Eshqi’s patriotic works and styles, see Shafi’i-Kadkani, M.R. Shafi’iKadkani, Advār-e She’r-e Fārsi (Tehran: Qumas, 1980), 30–65; M. A. Sepānlu, Chahār Shā’er-e Āzādi (Tehran: Negāh, 1990), 147–200; Y. Āriyānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā (Tehran: Zavvār, 2003), 361–94; M. Ājudāni, Yā Marg, Yā Tajaddod: Daftari dar She’r va Adab-e Mashruteh (Tehran: Akhtarān, 2006), 173–200; and M. Sham’i and M. Bitarafān, “Tahlil-e Mafhum-e Vatan dar She’r va Andisheh-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi,” She’r Pazhuhi (Bustān-e Adab), 1 (2014): 137-60. 18 Mohseni, et. al, ‘Tahlil-e Tatbiqi-ye Āyāt va Ahādis dar She’r-e Mashruteh.’ Pazhuheshhā-ye Qor’ān va Adabiyāt 1/2 (2014): 90. 19 ‘Eshqi, Kolliyāt, 235. 20 ‘Eshqi, Kolliyāt, 233.

Crying on the Stage  201 21 ‘Eshqi, Kolliyāt, 233. 22 ‘Eshqi, Kolliyāt, 339. 23 See A. Soleymāni and M. Bashiri, “Barrasi-e ‘Oyub-e Fasāhat va Balāqat dar Ash’ār-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi,’ Motāleʿāt-e Zabāni-Balāqi 10 (2014): 49–75. 24 See Y. Bahmani-Motlaq and M. Najafi ‘Arab, ‘Barrasi va Tahlil-e Sabk-e Ash’ār-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi,’ Bahār-e Adab 9 (2009): 91–105. 25 Q.H. Yusofi, Chashmeh-ye Rowshan: Didāri bā Shā’erān (Tehran: Enteshārāt-e ‘Elmi, 1990), 379–80. 26 ‘Eshqi, Kolliyyāt, 316. 27 For a comparative study of Romanticism in ‘Eshqi’s Works with prominent romantic poets such as Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats, see M. Dāneshgar, ‘Takhayyol va Jāygāh-e Ma’refati-e ān dar Romāntisizm: Barrasi-e Tatbiqi-e Romāntisizm dar Orupā va Irān bā Ruykardi beh She’r-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi,’ Faslnāmeh-ye Naqd-e Adabi 5 (2009): 109-134. 28 See M.A. Sepānlu, Chahār Shā’er-e Āzādi (Tehran: Negāh, 1990), 159; Also see M. Qā’ed, ‘Eshqi: Simā-ye Najib-e yek Ānārshist (Tehran: Tarh-e No, 2001), 314. 29 Āryānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā, 367–8. 30 M. Ja’fari, Seyr-e Romāntiizsm dar Irān (Tehran: Markaz, 2007), 70. 31 M.Z. Hashtrudi, Montakhabāt-e āsār, az Nevisandegān va Sho’arā-ye Mo’āserin (Tehran: Brukhim, 1961), 263. 32 See Ja’fari, Seyr-e Romāntisizm dar Irān, 99. 33 According to Shafi’i-Kadkani, who considers him to be the most successful poet of his time, ‘Eshqi’s extreme nationalistic approach may also be justified in light of his tendency towards romanticism, as ‘romanticism and nationalism are twin sisters, that is why nationalism is in its peak in ‘Eshqi’s poetry.’ M. R. Shafi’i-Kadkani, Advār-e She’r-e Fārsi az Mashrutiyyat tā Soqut-e Saltanat (Tehran: Sokhan, 2001), 110–120. 34 These works, according to the date of their composition, are as follow: Dāstān-e Bichāreh Zādeh (in prose, 1914); Kafan-e Siyāh (in verse, 1915); Rastākhiz-e Salātin-e Irān (in verse, 1915), Halvā al-Foqarā (in prose, 1921), Bachcheh Gedā va Doktor-e Nikukār (in prose, 1921), Te’ātr dar Mozu’-e Miting (in prose 1922); and Ide’āl (in verse, 1923). All the said works espouse a critical tone under generic auspices of political (Dāstān-e Bichāreh Zādeh, Te’ātr dar Mozu’-e Miting, and parts of Ide’āl), nostalgia of glory gone by (Kafan-e Siyāh and Rastākhiz-e Salātin-e Irān), and satire (Halvā al-Foqarā and Bachcheh Gedā va Doktor-e Nikukār). 35 ‘Eshqi, Kolliyyāt, 194. 36 Nurmohammadi has published an advertisement of the Journal Iran, according to which a play named Khorāfāt-e Jādugari, Neyrang-e Hāji Tarrār is supposed to have been performed in December 1923 in Grand Hotel, Tehran. This is the only trace of this play, and no text of it is yet available. M. Nurmohammadi, Akhbār-e Mashāhir-e Adab-e Mo’āser dar Matbu’āt, az dowreh-ye Qajar tā ‘Asr-e Hāzer (Tehran: ‘Elmi, 2019), 64. 37 Nurmohammadi, Akhbār-e Mashāhir, 64. 38 Miransāri, Namāyeshnāmeh-hā-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, 50. 39 Miransāri, Namāyeshnāmeh-hā-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, 173. 40 Nurmohammadi, Akhbār-e Mashāhir, 53. 41 Nurmohammadi, Akhbār-e Mashāhir. 42 Moshir-Salimi, ‘Sargozasht-e ‘Eshqi,” 242. 43 Āriyānpur (2003:269). 44 Moshir-Salimi, ‘Sargozasht-e ‘Eshqi,’ 201. 45 Moshir-Salimi, ‘Sargozasht-e ‘Eshqi,’ 241. 46 Miransāri, Namāyeshnāmeh-hā-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, 144. 47 Nurmohammadi, Akhbār-e Mashāhir, 34. 48 Qā’ed, ‘Eshqi: Simā-ye Najib-e yek Ānārshist, 52.

202  Behrooz Mahmoodi-Bakhtiari 49 Miransāri, Namāyeshnāmeh-hā-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, 147. 50 Moshir-Salimi, ‘Sargozasht-e ‘Eshqi,’ 108. 51 He had already expressed his reverence for Zoroaster as a thinker and a savior in his poem ‘defā’ az Zartosht’ (defending Zoroaster). See Nurmohammadi (2019: 32). 52 Nurmohammadi, Akhbār-e Mashāhir, 62. 53 Nurmohammadi, Akhbār-e Mashāhiri, 5. 54 Nurmohammadi, Akhbār-e Mashāhir, 67. 55 Nurmohammadi, Akhbār-e Mashāhir, 65. 56 Yusofi, Chashmeh-ye Rowshan, 376. 57 Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, Recasting Persian Poetry: Scenarios of Poetic Modernity in Iran (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1995), 212. 58 See Qā’ed, ‘Eshqi: Simā-ye Najib-e yek Ānārshist, 203. 59 M. J. Yāhaqqi, Chon Sabu-ye Teshneh (Tehran: Jāmi, 1988), 73. 60 Miransāri, Namāyeshnāmeh-hā-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, 240. 61 Moshir-Salimi, ‘Sargozasht-e ‘Eshqi,’ 1-4. 62 Miransāri, Namāyeshnāmeh-hā-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, 253. 63 Miransāri, Namāyeshnāmeh-hā-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, 260. 64 Miransāri, Namāyeshnāmeh-hā-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, 240. 65 Miransāri, Namāyeshnāmeh-hā-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi, 252. 66 Āriyānpur, Az Sabā tā Nimā, 379–80.

Bibliography Ājudāni, M. “Tāblo-ye Maryam.” Āyandeh 12, nos. 1–3 (1986): 49–56. Ājudāni, M. “‘Eshqi: Nazariyyeh-hā va No-āvarihā.” Āvand: Nashriyyeh-ye Anjoman-e Honarmandān va Nevisandegān-e Irāni dar Beritāniyā 1, 1 (1988): 34–37. Ājudāni, M. Yā marg, yā Tajaddod: Daftari dar She’r va Adab-e Mashruteh. Tehran: Akhtarān, 2006. Āriyānpur, Y. Az Sabā tā Nimā, vol. 2. Tehran: Zavvār, 2003. Bahmani-Motlaq, Y., and M. Najafi ‘Arab. “Barrasi va Tahlil-e Sabk-e Ash’ār-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi.” Bahār-e Adab 9 (2009): 91–105. Bahmani-Motlaq, Y., and M. Najafi ‘Arab. “En‘ekās-e Makāteb-e Adabi va Siyāsi-ye Jahān dar She’r-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi.” Majalleh-ye Motāle’āt va Tahqiqāt-e Adabi 16 (2010): 7–32. Dāneshgar, M. “Takhayyol va Jāygāh-e Ma’refati-e Ān dar Romāntisizm: Barrasi-ye Tatbiqi-ye Romāntisizm dar Orupā va Irān bā Ruykardi beh She’r-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi.” Faslnāmeh-ye Naqd-e Adabi 5 (2009): 109–34. ‘Elm, M. R., and M. Ra’isi. “Mo‘allefeh-hā-ye Hoviyyat-e Melli dar Divan-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi.” Motāle‘āt-e Tārikh-e Farhangi 14 (2002): 53–74. ‘Eshqi, M. Kolliyyāt-e Mosavvar-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi. Edited by ‘A. A. Moshir Salimi (6th Print). Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1971. Hashtrudi, M. Z. Montakhabāt-e Āsār, az Nevisandegān va Sho’arā-ye Mo’āserin. Tehran: Brukhim, 1961. Ja’fari, M. Seyr-e Romāntisizm dar Irān. Tehran: Markaz, 2007. Karimi-Hakkak, A. Recasting Persian Poetry: Scenarios of Poetic Modernity in Iran. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1995. Karimi-Hakkak, A. “ʿEshqi.” In Encyclopedia Iranica, edited by Ehsan Yarshater. Facsimile VI: 638–640. New York: Columbia University, 1998. Karimi-Moqāri, F. Zendegi va She’r-e Seyyed Ashraf ad-Din Qazvini (Nasim-e Shomāl). Tehran: Sāles, 2003.

Crying on the Stage  203 Kheyrkhāh, S., and M. Rashidi. “Feminizm dar She’r-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi.” Bahārestān-e Sokhan 34 (2016): 191–212. Miller, D. Melliyyat. Translated by D. ʿEzāyāq Zand. Tehran: Mo’asseseh-ye Motāle’āt-e Melli, 2004. Miransāri, ‘A. Namāyeshnāmeh-hā-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi. Tehran: Tahuri, 2007. Modarresi, F., and ‘A. Samadi. “Ta’sir-e Romāntisizm dar Āsār-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi.” Fonun-e Adabi 7 (2012): 19–36. Mohseni, M., M. Rohāni, and E. Hassanpur. “Tahlil-e Tatbiqi-e Āyāt va Ahādis dar She’r-e Mashruteh.” Pazhuhesh-hā-ye Qor’ān va Adabiyyāt 1, no. 2 (2014): 101–29. Moshir-Salimi, A. A. “Sargozasht-e ‘Eshqi.” In Kolliyāt-e mosawwar-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi. Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1978. Nafisi, S. Khāterāt-e Siyāsi, Adabi, Javāni. Edited by ‘A. E’tesām. Tehran: Nashr-e Markaz, 2002. Ne’mati-Qazvini, M., and S. Asqarzādeh. “Ruykard-e Este’mār-setizi dar Ash’ār-e Hāfez Ebrāhim va Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi.” Motāle’āt-e Adabiyyāt-e Tatbiqi 32 (2014): 35–53. Nurmohammadi, M. Akhbār-e Mashāhir-e Adab-e Mo’āser dar Matbu’āt, az Dowreh-ye Qajar tā ‘Asr-e Hāzer. Tehran: ‘Elmi, 2019. Qā’ed, M. ‘Eshqi: Simā-ye Najib-e yek Ānārshist. Tehran: Tarh-e No, 2001. Sepānlu, M. ‘A. Chahār Shā’er-e Āzādi. Tehran: Negāh, 1990. Shafaq, S. “Patriotic Poetry in Modern Iran.” Middle East Journal 6, 4 (1952): 417–28. Smith, A. Nāsiyonālism: Nazariyyeh, Ide’oloji, Tārikh. Translated by M. Ansāri. Tehran: Mo’asseseh-ye Motāle’āt-e Melli. 2004. Soleymāni, ‘A., and M. Bashiri. “Barrasi-ye ‘Oyub-e Fasāhat va Balāqat dar Ash’ār-e Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi.” Motāle’āt-e Zabāni-Balāqi 10 (2014): 49–75. Shafi’i-Kadkani, M. R. Advār-e She’r-e Fārsi. Tehran: Qumas, 1980. Shafi’i-Kadkani, M. R. Advār-e She’r-e Fārsi az Mashrutiyyat tā Soqut-e Saltanat. Tehran: Sokhan, 2001. Sham’i, M., and M. Bitarafān. “Tahlil-e Mafhum-e Vatan dar She’r va Andisheh-ye Mirzādeh ‘Eshqi.” She’r Pazhuhi (Bustān-e Adab) 1 (2014): 137–60. Yāhaqqi, M. J. Chon Sabu-ye Teshneh. Tehran: Jāmi, 1988. Yusofi, Q. H. Chashmeh-ye Rowshan: Didāri bā Shā’erān. Tehran: Enteshārāt-e ‘Elmi, 1990.


Abdol’ali, Mirza 195 Adib al-Mamālek 3 Afrāshteh, Mohammad Ali 5, 41–43, 123; ‘Das khwakhorān’ 45, 48–49; ‘Efrāt-u tafrit’ 49–52; Gilaki 45; ‘Kablā Soleymān’ 54–55; literary context 44–46; ‘Moftkhor-e A’yan’ 53–54; ‘Qofl’ 56–57; ‘Sohbat-e kadkhodā va Mashti Safar’ 45–48 Ahmad, Mollā 131n34 ‘Ā kablā’i’ 93 Akhgar, Sarhang Ahmad 67 Akhundov 165–67 Ākhundzādeh, Mirza Fath‘ali 156, 165–67 Ālam-e Nesvān 73 Alavi, Bozorg 148–49 Āl-e Dāvud, Ali 114–15, 119–20 al-Mamalek, Iraj Mirza Jalāl see Iraj Amir-Jāhed, ‘Ali 29 Amir Kabir 109 Anglo-Persian Agreement 149 Anglo-Persian treaty 191 Anglo-Russian Agreement 143–44 Anjoman-e Mofākeheh (Facetiae Community) 113–14 Ansāri, ‘Ali Mir 195 Anvari 177 Āqāsi, Hāji Mirza 114 ‘Āref, Abolqāsem 139 ‘Ārefnāmeh (Iraj) 9, 11–14, 16–17 Āriyānpur, Yahyā 126 Armaghān 63 Arusi-e Qoraysh (Qoraysh tribe wedding) 120–21 Āsār-e Morādiyyeh (Moradi’s works) (Yaghmā) 119–23 Ashraf (Seyyed Ashraf al-Din Hosseini) 84–87, 99; satirical poems 88–97; translations 97–98

Asrār-e Khelqat (Akhgar) 67 Āvā-ye Mehrabāni (The Music of Kindness) (Khāleqi) 26–27 Avery, Peter 62 ‘Aziz va Ghazāl’ (Ashraf) 97 Az Tāriki be Roshanā’yi (From Darkness to Light) (‘Eshqi) 195 Bachcheh Gedā va Doktor-e Nikukār (the beggar kid and the doctor do-good) (‘Eshqi) 196 Badr al-Daji, Bānu see Rakhshān, Mehrtāj Bagley, F.R.C. 76, 80n54 Bahār, Mohammad Taqi 3, 8, 62, 139, 163–64; act of defining 170–71; modern literary criticism 172–73; naturalist approach 174–76; new intellectuals 170; panegyrics 176–83; translatability of speech (tarjomeh-paziri-ye sohkan) 172; words and meaning 171–72 Bāhrāmi, Dabir-e A’zam 73 bahr-e tavil 125 Bakhtiyāri, Pezhmān 66–67 Bāmdād, Badr al-Moluk 73 bans on women’s organizations and journals 62–63 bāzgasht-e adabi (literary return) 2, 108–9, 139 ‘The Bird of Dawn’ 32 Blooms, Edward A. 98 Browne, Edward G. 61, 88, 90–91, 126 burkas 17 Charand parand (Dehkhodā) 93 Chelengar 5 Chelkowski, Peter 119 class struggle 144–45 communism 154n21 Constitutionalism 31

206 Index Constitutional movement 2, 3, 43, 195 Constitutional Revolution 2–3, 41–42, 61, 126, 136, 139, 182 course language, ‘Ārefnāmeh (Iraj) 11–12 court poets 83 criticism: Ākhundzādeh, Mirza Fat’ali 166; Jalāyer-nāmeh (the letter of Jalāyer) (Qā’em Maqām) 108; see also political criticism Critika (Ākhundzādeh) 166 Dabirsiyāqi, Mohammad 125 Daftar-e Honar, Qamar 27–28 ‘Das khwakhorān’ (Afrāshteh) 46, 48–49 Dāvar, Ali Akbar 146–48 Dāvud, Mortezā Ney 26 Dehkhodā, ‘Ali Akbar 4, 8, 92–93, 99 Democrat Party 140 depotism 141 divāns 61–62 divas 33 dowlat (state) 182 Dowlatābādi, Mirza Yahyā 191 Dowlatābādi, Seddiqeh 60 ʻedālat-khāneh (House of Justice) 147 education for women, ‘Efrāt-u tafrit’ (Afrāshteh) 49–52 Efrāt-u tafrit’ (Afrāshteh) 49–52 eghrāq (grossly exaggerated language) 83 ‘Ehtiyāj’ (The need) (‘Eshqi) 193 ekhvāniyāt (fraternities), ‘Ārefnāmeh 14–16 Enqelāb-e Adabi (Iraj) 18–20 entreaty poem (puzesh-nāmeh) 149 environment and literature, Bahār 174–76 Enzāni, Bāqer Khān 113 eroticization, Qamar 30–31 Esfahāni, Kamāl al-Din 84 Eshāq, Mohammad 65–66 ‘Eshqi, Mirzadeh 5, 8, 10, 30, 62, 190–94; mukhammas form 76; as playwright 194–99; Seh tāblo 76 Eskandari, Soleymān Mirza 148 Esmā’il, Hāj Mohammad 115 Esmā’ilzādeh, G. 119 estebdad-e saghir (the Lesser Autocracy) 142 E’tesāmi, Parvin 4, 61–62, 65–66 Fairouz 33 famous women, national identity 33 Farāhāni, Adib al-Mamālek 8

Farāhāni, Qā’em Maqām 106–8 Fazlollāh, Sheikh 10, 90 female participation in revolution 4 female roles 65 femininity, Qamar 25, 29, 31 Ferdowsi, Ali 33 food, satirical poems 88–89 freedom 141 ‘Freedom’ (Rakhshān) 60, 69–70 gharbzadegi (westoxification) 47 ghazal 111, 154n23, 154n27; Yazdi, Farrokhi 140–49 Gheissari, Ali 136 Gilaki 5; Afrāshteh, Mohammad Ali 41–43, 45 Gilān 4–5, 43 Gilāni, Ashraf-e (Seyyed Ashraf al-Din Hosseini) 84–87, 99; satirical poems 88–97; translations 97–98 Golestān (Rose Garden) (Sa’di) 167, 171 Golha-ye Adab (Flowers of Literature) (Nuri) 66 Golzar-e Adabi (The Literary Orchard) 98 ‘The Good Poetry’ (Bahār) 173 Googoosh 33 Grand Hotel performance, Qamar 26, 30 habsiyyāt (prison poetry) 149–52 habsiyyeh 108 Hāfez 33 Hagiography (of Qamar) 34 hajv (invective) 83–84 Halvā al-Foqarā (Poor man’s sweets) (‘Eshqi) 195 Hazaj-e Mosaddas-e Mahzuf 129 hazl (lampoons) 83–84 Hedāyat, Rezā-Qoli Khān 116 hejāb 16–18 Hemmasi, Farzaneh 33 hidden transcript 118–19; nowhehs 125–29 historiography, Qamar 34–35 Honar, Esmā’il 116 Hosseini, Seyyed Ashraf al-Din (Gilāni, Ashraf-e) 84–87, 99; satirical poems 88–97; translations 97–98 humor 10; Iraj 18 hyper-semiotization 33 Ide’āl (‘Eshqi) 196, 198–99 impropriety, Qamar 29–30 India, Persian poetry 62–63 insult poetry 84

Index  invective (hajv) 83–84 Iraj (al-Mamālek) 2, 4, 7–9, 62, 126–27; ‘Ārefnāmeh 9, 11–14, 16–18; ekhvāniyāt 14–16; Enqelāb-e Adabi 18–20; hejāb 16–18; ‘The Hojjat al-Islam will beat you quick/He will beat your head with a donkey stick’ 10–11; humor 18–20; political lampoons 10; Qamar 29; Zohreh o Manuchehr 20–22 Irani, Dinshāh Jijibhoy 63–64 Iranian enlightenment 164–70 Iran-Russia relationship 156n46 Jahāngiri, Zobeydeh 26, 29 Jalāyer-nāmeh (the letter of Jalayer) (Qa’em Maqām 108) Jandaqi, Hāji Seyed Mirza 115 Jandaqi, Mirza Abolhasan Yaghmā see Yaghmā Jangal uprising 43 Jannat, Irān al-Dowleh 65 Javadi, Hasan 41 jedd (serious poetry) 83 Jong-e Shahādat (Collections on Martyrdom) 120 justice 142, 146–47, 180 justice system 147–48 ‘Kablā Soleymān’ (Afrāshteh) 54–55 Kadkani, Shafi’i 52 ‘Kafan-e Siyāh’ (The black shroud) (‘Eshqi) 194, 196–97 Karāchi, Rūhangiz 70 Karimi-Hakkak, Ahmad 93, 145, 164 Kasmā’i, Shams 70–73 Katouzian, Homa 99, 140 Kāveh, Shahnāmeh 65 Kermāni, Mirza Āqā Khān 167–68 Khāleqi, Zohreh 26–27 Khāmeh’i Anvar 151 Khān, Ali Morād 119 Khān, Darvish 196 Khān, Esmā’il 113 Khān, Malkam 168–70 Khān, Mohammad Rahim 115 Khān, Rezā 6, 191–92 Khān, Zolfaqār 113–14 Khānom, Nimtāj 63–64, 66 khodā 141–42 Khodāhāfezi (Farewell) (Farrokhi) 138 Kholāsat Al-Eftezāh (Synopsis of messing-up) (Yaghmā) 114, 116–18 Khorāsān (sabk-e khorāsāni) 170


Khorāsāni 177, 186n33 khᵂāhar khᵂāndegi 48 Kulthum, Umm 33 lafz (world, the form of speech) 163 Lāhuti, Abolqāsem 5–6, 10 lampoons (hazl) 83–84 Langerudi, Mahmud Pāyandeh 45 Langrudi, Shams 109 languages, mixing in poems 20 literary change 176 literary return (bāzgasht-e adabi) 2, 108–9, 139 literary revolution 20 literary self-consciousness 164–70 madh (praise) 83 Mahmudi, Ja’far Bakhshzād 57n1, 73–75 maktub 92 Maktubāt (Correspondences) (Ākhundzādeh) 165–67 ‘Maktub-e Qazvin’ 92 Malek al-Kottāb, Mirza Mahdi 113 ma’ni (meaning) 163 manliness 65 ‘March of the Republic’ 32 ‘Marg-e Dokhtar-e Nākām’ (The death of the unhappy girl) (‘Eshqi) 194 Mashruteh Literary criticism 166 Māzandarāni, Mohammad Ali 113 meaning 171–72 men/fathers, ‘Efrāt-u tafrit’ (Afrāshteh) 51–52 meter 123–25, 129 Milani, Farzaneh 52 Mirza, Iraj see Iraj modernity 163 modern literary criticism, Bahār 172–73 modern literary self-consciousness 164–70 ‘Moftkhor-e A’yān’ (Afrashteh) 53–54 Mojtas-e Mosamman-e Makhbun-e Mahzuf meter 123 Mokhtāri, Mohammad 111 Mollā Nasr al-Din 87–88, 90, 97 Monāzereh 46 Monsareh-e Mosaman-e Matvi-e Manhur (Sheybāni) 110 Moon’s Voice (Sedā-ye Māh) 35 morakkab 123 Moshir Salimi, Ali Akbar 67–68; Zanan-e Sokhanvar (Women Writers) 73 mostazād 125 motherland (vatan) 150

208 Index Mozaffar al-Din 177 mukhammas form 73, 75–76 Nafisi, Sa’id 87 Najmabadi, Afsaneh 31, 48, 61 nākhodā 141–42, 151 Nāmeh-ye ‘Eshqi 190 Naqsh-e Zan dar Musiqi-e Manāteq-e Iran (The Role of Women in the Music of Iran’s Regions) 34 Narāqi, Mollā Ahmad 131n34 Nasim-e Shomāl 4, 84–87, 94, 99 national identity, famous women 33 naturalist approach, Bahār 174–76 new intellectuals 164, 170 newspapers: Chelengar 5; Mollā Nasr al-Din 87–88, 90, 97; Nasim-e Shomāl 4, 84–87; Nobahār 170; Peykār (Battle) 138; Setāreh-ye Sharq (The Star of East) 137–38; Tufān (Storm) 137 Niku-Hemmat 110 Nobahār 170 nowhehs 117–18; hidden transcript 125–29 nowheh-ye sineh-zani (breast-beating dirge) 126 Nuri, H. Sa’ādat 66 obscenities 83–84 ‘Orf (conventional courts) 147 Pahlavi, Rezā Shah 138, 150 panegyrics 116–17; Bahār, Mohammad Taqi 176–83 Pārsi-Nezhād, Iraj 166 Pesyān, Mohammad Taqi Khān 10–12 Peykār (Battle) 138 ‘Poetry and Technique’ (Bahār) 173 Poets of the Pahlavi Regime (Irani) 63–64 political activism 43 political criticism: Qā’em Maqām 106–8; Sheybāni, Mirza Fathollāh Khān 109–13; Yaghmā see Yaghmā political lampoons, Iraj 10 praise (madh) 83 pre-Islamic Iran 144 The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia (Browne) 61, 90 prison poetry (habsiyyāt) 149–52 proletarian poetry (she’r-e kārgari) 145 public transcript 118–19 puzesh-nāmeh (entreaty poem) 149 Qā’em Maqām 3, 106–8, 112 Qajar, Mahmud Mirza 117

Qajar period, Bāzgasht-e Adabi (literary return or restoration) 2 Qamari ke Khorshid Shod (The Moon That Became a Sun) (Jahāngiri) 26–27 Qamar see Vaziri, Qamar al-Moluk; historiography, Qamar 34–35 Qarn-e Bistom 191–92, 194, 196 qasidehs (odes or poems of purpose) 106, 111; Farāhāni, Adib al-Mamālek 8; Iraj 9–10 qasideh-ye mostazād (tail-rhyme ode) 142 Qazvini, ‘Āref 5, 10, 12–14, 25, 27, 30, 61–63, 139 Qazvini, Seyyed Ashraf 4, 192 ‘Qofl’ (Afrāshteh) 56–57 Rahimieh, Nasrin 5 rajaz (Ashraf) 91–92 Rajaz-e Mosamman-e Sālem meter 123 Rakhshān, Mehrtāj 60, 68–70 Ramal-e Mahzuf 124–25 Ramal-e Mosaddas-e Mahzuf 125 Ramal-e Mosamman-e Makhbun-e Mahzuj 123 Randjbar-Dā’emi, Siyāvosh 44 Rastākhiz-e Salātin-e Irān (Resurrection of the Iranian kings) (Eshqi) 196–97 religious minorities 43 revolutions 10 Rezā Shah 147, 149–51 Rezvān (Paradise) 167 Rose Garden (Golestān) 167, 171 ruling class 118 Russia 143 Russian Revolution 139, 145 Rypka, Jan 126 Sabā 150 Sabā, ʻAbd al-Hossein 14–15 Sabā, Abolhasan 14–15 Sāber, ‘Ali Akbar 88, 90 Sa’di, Rose Garden (Golestān) 167, 171 sahl o momtane (inimitable facility) 9 Sāles, Akhavān 125 Salimi, Ali Akbar Moshir 62, 67 Salman, Mas’ud Sa’d 149 Sanā’i of Ghazna 83–84 Sanjar, Soltan 177 Sardāriyeh (Yaghmā) 117 ‘Sargozasht-e Ta’assorāvar-e Shā’er’ (The sad story of the poet’s) (Eshqi) 193–94 Sāsāni, Khān Malek 113–14 ‘Satiram’ (Sāber) 90 satire 83–85, 87–88, 98–99

Index  Scott, James C. 118 Sedā-ye Māh (Moon’s Voice) 28, 35 Seh tāblo (Eshqi) 76 Sepānlu, Mohammad Ali 44–45 serious poetry (jedd) 83 Setāreh-ye Sharq (The Star of East) 137–38 Seyed Abud (Yaghmā) 119, 123–25 Seyf al-Dowleh, Soltān 115 Seyf Āzād 62 shabih-e mozhek 120–21 Shah, Fath’ali 7 Shah, Mohammad Ali 142 Shah, Rezā 62 Shahnāmeh 65, 71, 89, 143, 144, 167 Shākeri, Guisu 30 Sharia (Islamic) courts 147 Sharifi, Hasan see Afrāshteh, Mohammad Ali Sheybāni, Fathollāh Khān 109–13 Sheykhiyyeh 115 Shirāzi, Mirza Jahāngir Khān 92 Sinā, Hamideh Dokhtar Hakim 68 sisterhood 48 Smith, Matthew 4 socialism 154n21; trends in Farrokhi’s ghazals 144–49 Socialist Party 137 social justice 146 social sufferings 10 ‘Sohbat-e kadkhodā va Mashti Safar’ (Afrāshteh) 45–48 SoKhānvarān-e Irān dar ʻAsr-e Hāzer (Eshāq) 65–66 Soroudi, Sorour 88–89 Sprachman, Paul 84, 90, 93 Stone, Christopher 33 subjugation of women, ‘Das khwakhoran’ (Afrashteh) 48–49 Sur-e Esrāfil 92–93 Suzani of Samarqand 83 Tabari, Ehsān 42 Tabib, Mirza Abd a-Bāqi 115 Tabrizi, Mirza Āqā 165 Tabrizi, Mirza Qāsem Khān 92 Tasnif 94 ta’ziyyeh 120, 128 ta’ziyyeh, shabih-e mozhek (quasibuffoonish ta’ziyyeh) 120 Ta’ziyyeh dar Bakhshdāri (Ta’ziyyeh in the Sheriff’s Office) 123 tazkerah genre 60–61, 66 Te’ātr dar Mozu’-e Miting (Theatre on the subject of meeting) (‘Eshqi) 196


Teymurtāsh, ‘Abd al-Hossein 138 translatability of speech (tarjomehpaziri-ye sohkan) 169, 172 translations, Ashraf 97–98 travelogues 120 Tudeh Party 42, 148 Tufān (Storm) 137 ‘The Umm Kulthum of Iran’ 30 unveiling, Qamar 31–32 vatan (motherland) 150 Vaziri, Qamar al-Moluk 4, 24–28, 33–34, 192; eroticization 30–31; femininity 29, 31; Grand Hotel performance 26, 30; impropriety 29–30; unveiling 31–32 Vosuq al-Dowleh 5, 149–50 voting, ‘Sohbat-e kadkhodā va Mashti Safar’ (Afrāshteh) 46 westoxification 47 women 67–68; ban on organizations and journals 62–63; ‘Das khwakhoran’ (Afrashteh) 48–49; ‘Efrat-u tafrit’ (Afrāshteh) 49–52; poets 60–61; ‘Sohbat-e kadkhodā va Mashti Safar’ (Afrāshteh) 48 ‘Women’s Message to Men’ (Khānom) 64–65 women’s movement 65 words and meaning, Bahār 171–72 Yaghmā (Jandaqi, Mirza Abolhasan Yaghmā) 3, 106, 113–16, 126–27; Āsār-e Morādiyyeh (Morādi’s works) 119–23; Kholasat-ol-Eftezah (Synopsis of messing-up) 117–18; nowhehs 128–29; Sardariyeh 117; satirical poems 116–25; Seyed Abud 119, 123–25 Yāsemi, Rashid 66–67 Yazd (hezb-e demokrāte-e Yazd) 140 Yazdi, Farrokhi 1, 5, 10, 136–38; ghazals 140–49; Khodāhāfezi (Farewell) 138; poetry overview 138–40; prison poetry (habsiyyāt) 149–52 Yushij, Nimā 193 Zafari, Valiollāh 149 Zākāni, Obeyd 4, 84, 122 Zanān-e SoKhānvar (Women Writers) (Salimi) 67, 73 Zan-e Irāni az Enqelab-e Mashruteh tā Enqelāb-e Sefid (Bāmdād) 73 Zarrābi, Moluk 29 Zohreh o Manuchehr (Iraj) 20–22