THE CONSTITUTIONALIST LANGUAGE AND IMAGINARY
Mohamad Tavakoli <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the 19th century Iranian society underwent a multitude of changes affecting its social structure, power relations, and political language. The increasing European penetration weakened the state, the local economy and the traditional elites, and brought Iran into closer contact with the expanding capitalist system. In the face of the European threat, the Qajar regime found it necessary to initiate a series of military, administrative, educational, and judicial reforms. These reforms resulted in the development of new institutions and a new social stratum of munavvar al-fikran (intellectuals). These developments coincided with attempts to simplify Persian prose and articulate a new system of historical narration no longer based primarily on Islam. The changes adversely affected the dominant discourse, the organizing element of which was the twinship of the state and religion, and resulted in the development of a new relation of power/knowledge. This new relation is reflected in the shift away from the usage of ?ulama (possessors of knowledge) to ruhaniyun (the spiritualist) in reference to the religious elites.
In its attempts to reform social institutions the Qajar regime failed to gain the support and sanction of the religious elites who were an important component of the power bloc. Conflict of interests among the organizing sectors of the power bloc hampered the pace of reforms. The slow pace of reforms increased the merchants' and the intellectuals' dissatisfaction with the existing order of things. This situation created a dilemma for the Qajars. The vested interests opposed the government because of its innovative reforms. The merchants and intellectuals opposed its slow pace. Both anti- and pro-reform forces blamed the problem on the despotism of the state. Consequently, the fight against despotism became a general slogan and was constituted as the nodal point of a populist discourse bringing together forces with diverse and often antagonistic demands and aspirations. In the emerging discourse the political space was divided into antagonistic poles of the millat and the dawlat (the people and the state). "Defense of the millat " was the unifying element of the of the oppositional forces.? With the transformation of language and literary style and the emergence of a new system of historical narration based on pre-Islamic Iran, the concept of millat became a highly ambiguous term signifying antagonistic social formations and strategies of power. This ambiguity made possible the alliance of secular and religious forces against the despotism of the state and the emergence of a Constitutional form of government.? In what follows I will explain the major trends in 19th century Iran which resulted in the formation of Constitutionalist language and imaginary and culminated in the Constitutionalist rupture.
European Penetration and Institutional Reforms
By the 19th century, the position of Iran in the system of international power relations had changed drastically. The invention of new techniques and methods of transportation in Europe increased contacts among various parts of the globe. Capitalist relations expanded beyond Europe and moved towards the emergence of a new world system. The European states, with their superior technology, brought different empires, nations, and peoples under their control. While, in the previous centuries, Iran was among the hegemonic forces in the Middle East, in the 19th century its territories became a terrain for Russian and British contestation for supremacy. The wars of 1813 and 1826 with Russia revealed Iran's military weakness. Following these wars, the Qajars were forced to sign the treaties of Gulistan in 1813 and Turchmanchay in 1828. As a result of the first treaty, Iran lost its Caucasian territories. With the Turkmanchay Treaty, on the other hand, Iran lost not only more territories, but also signed an unequal commercial agreement with Russia and established capitulation right for Russian subjects.?Unlike the Russians who sought territorial expansion, the British involvement in Iran was initially an attempt to defend India from Russian incursion. Consequently, Iran became a crucial site for the "Anglo-Russian Rivalry."
To preserve the territorial integrity of the country, the Qajars recognized the need for the adaptation of modern technologies and the initiation of military reforms. To facilitate the adaptation of Western technologies, Iranian students were sent to Europe and Europeans were employed in Iran. In 1811 the Crown Prince ?Abbas Mirza sent two students named Muhammad Ka˙im and Mirza Hajji Baba to England. Four years later in 1230/1815 five other students were dispatched to England to study modern sciences.?These students and others who were later sent to France, were instrumental in introducing modern sciences and European political thought in Iran. Mirza Salih Shirazi one of the five students sent to England in 1815, was instrumental not only in the establishment of a printing press but also in acquainting Iranians with modern European political thought.?Mirza Salih's memoir, Safar namah-?i Mirza Salih-i Shirazi, was among the first sources in which the French Revolution, the parliamentary system in England and the ideas of representative government were explained. He referred to England as the vilayat-i azadi (Land of Freedom), and constructed terms signifying European institutions and ideas such as mashviratkhanah (parliament), khanah-?i vakil-i ra?aya (House of Commons),? khanah-?i khavanin (House of Lords), intikhab (election), and balva-yi ?ammi (social revolution).? Mirza Ja?far, another student who accompanied Mirza Salih and helped him in the establishment of the printing press in Tabriz, later became the Iranian ambassador to the Ottoman court. He was also appointed as head of the newly established Shura-yi Dawlati, the Government Council, which was among the first attempts to reform the governmental structure.
New Relations of Power/Knowledge
Dispatching students to Europe and hiring foreign advisors was an important step towards alteration of the governmental apparatuses in Iran. While reform began as attempts to reorganize the army, it soon became clear that military reforms could not succeed without corresponding changes in the administrative, financial, educational, and judicial apparatuses of the state. The government also came to recognize the importance of educational reform and the necessity of the establishing of European style schools in Iran. The need for the establishment of such schools was felt especially when it was recognized that the foreign advisors to the Iranian Military could not act independent from their own government's policy.?In 1851, with the active support of Mirza Taqi Khan Amir Kabir, Dar al-Funun, the first modern school, was established in Tihran.??This school was modeled after the French St. Cyr and the Ottoman Mekteb-i Ulum-i Harbiye.?As the curriculum of Dar al-Funun indicated it was intended to serve as a military school.?It's curriculum, which was totally outside the control of the ?ulama, included subjects such as military sciences, engineering, mathematics, drafting, mining, physics, pharmacology, medicine and other technical subjects. Teachers were recruited from Europe and a new curriculum was developed for the education of a new class of military and governmental elites.?Dar al-Funun enjoyed Nasir al-Din Shah's special attention until he found out that some of the students of the school, who had been sent to Paris in 1275/1858, were in contact with Malkum Khan's freemasonry movement.?The school provided the basis for the establishment of Tihran University in January 1935/Bahman 1313.
With the establishment of Dar al-Funun the production of knowledge and culture shifted away from seminary schools under the control of the Shi?i clerics. According to the historian Murtiza Ravandi, in a period of forty years 1,100 students graduated from D?ar? al-Funun.?Most of the graduates of the school came to constitute the core of a new political elite of Iran. D?ar al-Funun played an important role not only in the education of a new generation of Iranian bureaucrats, educators, and thinkers, but also in the introduction of European sciences and technology. During this period many important scientific treatises were composed in Persian or translated into Persian.?The Publication and Translation Bureau of the school, Dar al-ﬂiba?ah va dar al-tarjumah-yi khassah-?i Humayuni, under the directorship of Muhammad Hasan Khan Sani? al-Dawlah compiled text books and translated the lectures of the European faculty into Persian. The Translation Bureau continued efforts which had begun earlier with the translation of European histories such as Voltaire's History of Peter the Great of Russia (1262/1846), History of Charles the Twelfth of Sweden (1263/1847), History of Alexander the Great (1263/1847) and Edward Gibbon's Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire (1247/1831). The translation movement which had begun prior to the establishment of the Dar al-Funun not only familiarized Iranians with political developments in Europe but also introduced them to modern critical historical thinking. The translation of European literary works such as Les Aventures de Telemaque of Fran篩s Fenelon,The Virgin's Kiss of George W. M. Reynolds, and Alexandre Dumas Le comte de Monte Christo , Les trois musquetaires, and La reine Margot and writings of many other authors contributed to the development of a politically critical and simple style of writing.?An important effect of the translation movement was the construction of Persian equivalents for medical, philosophical and political terminology. The publication of the French-Persian dictionary of Medicine in 1874 by Dr. Johann Louis Schlimmer and his Iranian assistants such as ?Ali Akbar Khan Na˙im al-Aﬂﬂiba? was a good example of such efforts.?This work like other scientific texts translated during this period also revitalized technical terms of classical texts such as Durrat al-taj, Zakhirah-?i Khvarazmshahi, Saydanah, Javahir shinasi and Sharh-i zij-i Sulﬂani.?
The Literary Renaissance
The translation of European texts led to the strengthening of a literary trend which had begun in late 18th century, a trend which ultimately altered the language of politics and provided the basis for the formation of a new social-national identity on the eve of the Constitutional Revolution.? The Safavids' attempt to establish Shi?ism as the state religion influenced the direction of the Persian language, literature and poetry. The literary texts under the Safavid's more than ever before were ornamented with Arabic terms and phrases, and verses from the Qur?an. In the prose of that period, "one finds a flowery, dallying, bombastic, often superfluously garrulous style, trifling and often even empty in substance. This causes an increase in the use of Arabic words in Persian to the utmost possible limits, so that only professional beaux-esprits are capable of understanding such literature. No regard is paid to the necessities of everyday life."?A characteristic of the poetry of Safavid period is its emphasis on religious motives and themes. Praising of Shi?i personalities, description of the Battle of Karbala and the suffering of Husayn and his family were among the often repeated themes. During this period the ghazal and masnavi gave way to the poetic genre marsiyah, elegy.?? Unlike previous rulers of Iran, the Safavids did not consider poets to be among the pious and honorable men and did not treat them well.?The poets of this period, therefore, did not panegyrize as much as the poets of previous periods when the court was the main supporter of poetry. The literary crisis of this period resulted in a search for a new paradigm of poetic expression. These pioneers called their endeavor ﬁarz-i Jadid and/or Tazah Gu?i. The ﬁarz-i Jadid or New Style poets of this period tried to break away from the conventional paradigm established by the classical poets of 10th and 11th century. By shifting the emphasis to content rather than form, these poets set themselves the task of creating new meanings out of the old phrases.?By creating new imagries or khayal bandi, poets such as Kalim Kashani (d. 1061/1650), Sa?ib Tabrizi (d. 1081/1670), Ghani Kashmiri (d. 1079/1668), Shawkat Bukhari (d. 1107/1695), Nasir ?Ali Sirhindi (d. 1108/1696), Juya-yi Tabrizi (d. 1118/1706), and many others developed a distinct style and language of expression.?The recognized characteristics of the New Style poets were their highly elaborate and abstract style with complicated and unreal imagries which were "beyond the bounds of understanding."?The twentieth century poets and literary critics have classified these poets not as poets of ﬁarz-i jadid, but as Sabk-i Hind?i (Indian School) poets.?These poets were labeled as such because many of them were among those who migrated from Iran to the East in search of support and a less hostile environment in the Timuri court of India. For many 19th century poets and 20th century historians of Persian language and literature Sabk-i Hind?i? signifies a decline of Persian poetic tradition.
In reaction to the "extravagance and prodigality" of New Style poets, a number of poets such as Sayyid Muhammad Shu?lah Isfahani, Mir Sayyid ?Ali Mushtaq, and Luﬂf ?Ali Bayg Azar Baygdili (1123/1711-1195/1780?) set themselves the task of returning to the great classical writers of the tenth and eleventh centuries such as Anvari, Manuchihri, Farrukhi, Firdawsi, Sa?di, and Hafi˙. While the forerunners of what has become known as the Junbish-i bazgasht (Return Movement) in the nineteenth century looked backward to the Golden Age of Persian poetry, their simplification of imagery and language of expression provided the basis for the construction a new poetic tradition and a modern prose style appropriate for the age of the press and international diplomacy.?This literary renaissance while leading to simplicity of expression went "hand in hand with transparency of substance and with a purging of the language of immoderate Arabising . . ."?The "Return Movement" revitalized the literary, cultural and historical elements for the emerging Iranian nationalism.?
Language and Historical Narration
Among all classical poets of Iran, Firdawsi and his masterpiece,the Shahnamah, provided valuable semantic and symbolic resources for simplification and purification of the Persian language. It also offered an alternative basis for the reconstruction of an Iranian national identity. In the course of 19th century more than twenty different editions of the Shahnamah were printed in Iran and India.?Increased accessibility contributed to the popularity of the Shahnamah in the coffeehouse gatherings. Recitation of the Shahnamah came to replace that of religious epics such as Husayn-i Kurd-i Shabistari, Iskandar Namah, Rumuz-i Hamzah, and Khavar Namah which seems to have been prevalent in the pre-nineteenth century coffee houses.?A number of 19th century poets such as Sayyid Abu al-Hasan Harif Jandaqi (d. 1230/1814), Hamdam Shirazi and Mirza Ibrahim Man˙ur were among the well-known reciters of the Shahnamah.?The Qajar shahs such as Aqa Muhammad Khan, FatH ?Ali Shah, Nasir al-Din Shah, and Mu˙affar al-Din Shah are known to have had their own Shahnamah'khvanan or Shahnamah-reciters.?It is reported that Amir Kabir, upon hearing from Nasir al-Din Shah that Sir John Malcom's History of Iran was being read to him at bed time, had suggested that instead he should have the Shahnamah recited to him: "Why don't you read the Shahnamah . . . . You should know that for all Iranians, for the highest to the lowest, the Shahnamah is the best of all books."?
The poetic style of the Shahnamah came to influence a large number of 19th century poets. For example, FatH ?Ali Khan Saba (d. 1238/1822) wrote a 5500 verse collection named the Shahanshahnamah. In this collection, Saba described the battles taking place during the reign of FatH ?Ali Shah in the time honored language of Firdawsi. The most important historical incident in Saba's Shahanshahnamah was the Irano-Russian war. Of course the heroic style of Firdawsi was inappropriate for an unheroic war in which the Iranian army was badly defeated. ?All its shortcomings aside, the most significant aspect of this work is the use of a large number of ancient Persian terms, concepts and allusions which were used in the Shahnamah.?At a time when both the poets and bureaucrats were looking back to the past in order to find a language appropriate for their age, this revitalization of terms had a significant impact. Visal Shirazi (1192 or 1193/1778 or 1779-1262/1845) and his son, Muhammad Davari (1238/1822-1283/1866), were also among the poets who imitated the poetic style of Firdawsi.?Davari was an able calligrapher and transcribed one of the most beautiful copies of the Shahnamah.?In a versified introduction to his transcribed edition, Dawari praises Firdawsi for glorifying the name of Iran and revitalizing ancient history.?According to Mahdi Hamidi Shirazi, Dawari was commissioned to write a versified history of Iran from the Mongol to the Safavid period.?This history which was molded after the Shahnamah remained unfinished because of Davari's early death.
The popularity of Firdawsi was not limited to the traditional poets.? While very critical of the poetic tradition of Iran, especially the insensitivity of the poets to the social environment, the leading nineteenth century intellectuals such as Akhundzadah, Mirza Malkum Khan, and Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani, had a great deal of respect for Firdawsi and his Shahnamah. According to Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani the Shahnamah of Firdawsi provided a firm foundation for the preservation of the Iranian nation: "If it was not for the Shahnamah of Firdawsi, the language and the race of the Iranian nation/people would have been at once transformed into Arabic after the domination by the Arab tribes in Iran.? Like the residents of Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, the Persian speakers would have changed their race and nationality."?Imitating Firdawsi's Shahnamah , Mirza Aqa Khan, in cooperation with Shaykh Ahmad Adib Kirmani, wrote a short versified history which was a synthesis of the pre-Islamic and contemporary histories, entitled Namah-'i Bastan (The Book of Ancients) also known as the Salar Namah.?In the introduction his Namah-?i Bastan, while accusing the classical poets of stimulating falsehood in Kings and Vazirs, idleness, moral corruption and promotion of sinful practices, Mirza Aqa Khan concluded that: "Yes, the proper effect of poetry is the stirring of men's hearts, the moving of their compassion, and the quickening of their understanding and thoughts; but it must impel them to virtues, piety and moderation, not vile, evil and mean deeds, and the like. Of the Persian poets the only one whom European men of letters praise is that same Firdawsi of Tus, the verses of whose Shahnamah, although in some places they are not free from hyperbole, do nevertheless in some degree inspire in the hearts of Iranians patriotism, love of their race, energy and courage; while here and there they also strive to reform their characters."?Akhundzadah, who was also very critical of Persian poetic tradition, viewed Firdawsi as one of the best Muslim poets.?
The importance of the Shahnamah in 19th century Iran can also be ascertained from the increased adaptation of personal names used in the Shahnamah. For example an increasing number of Qajar princes were given names such as Farhad, Faraydun, Nushafarin, Isfandyar, Ardashir, Bahman, Kaykavus, Kayumars, Jamshid, and Khusraw. Adaptation of ancient Iranian names, instead of Arab-Islamic names, signified an important shift in the constitution of both personal and national identities. Personal names derived form pre-Islamic history not only contributed to the individuals' perception of the self, but also to an increased interest in a period of history which had been largely forgotten. This awakening of interest in the pre-Islamic history of Iran provided the formative elements of the Constitutionalist Discourse.
The "Return Movement" in poetry, which in some instances led to 'mindless imitation' of the works of 11th and 12th century poets and to the rise of "false Sa?dis, false Sana?is, [and] false Manuchihris,"?expanded the semantic resources of the Persian language and made possible the literary renaissance of the 19th century. In the 19th century an increasing number of Iranian authors and bureaucrats came to recognize that a style of writing full of allusions and ambiguities was not appropriate for the age of diplomacy where political negotiations, agreements, contracts, and correspondences could determine the fate of a people and their degree of control by outside powers.? Contact with the West, especially the necessity of using a language with clear intentions and easy comprehension in political correspondences, made necessary, more than ever before, the simplification of the bureaucratic style of writing. It is not surprising that Qa?im Maqam Farahani (1193/1779-1251/1835 or 6) was a leading figure in the simplification of Persian prose. Qa?im Maqam, who was the minister of Prince ?Abbas Mirza (d. 1249/1833) and later became the prime minister of Muhammad Shah (1250/1834-1264/1848), was the forerunner of an attempt to simplify Persian prose. Qa?im Maqam's writings abound with new terms and concepts which opened a new semantic field for the expression of political ideas and institutions.?With his easy to comprehend and simple style, Qa?im Maqam set the precedent for the development of Persian political language in the years to come.?His writing style provided a model for many 19th century bureaucrats and historians such as Mirza Muhammad Ibrahim Badayi? Nigar (d. 1299/1881), Mirza Muhammad Khan Sinki Majd al-Mulk (1224/1809-1289/1879),?Hasan ?Ali Khan Amir Ni˙am Garusi (1236/1820-1317/1899), Nadir Mirza Qajar (1242/1826-1303/1885),?and Amin al-Dawlah (1845-1907).? These writers, by moving away from "sheer display of rhetorical cleverness and skill"?and adopting a style geared towards clarity of meaning and comprehension, helped to close the gap between the written language of the elite and the spoken language of the masses.
At the same time that the need for clarity of meanings and intentions resulted in the? simplification of bureaucratic language, there also began a more radical attempt to purify the Persian language from Arabic words and concepts. Yaghma Jandaqi (1197/1782-1276/1859), a man of humble origins, was among the first 19th century literary figures arguing for purification of the Persian language. In many of his correspondences he preferred to use forgotten Persian terms instead of the widely used Arabic equivalents.?He called this "recently appeared new style" (tazah ravish-i naw didar) Farsi-yi basiﬂ or Parsi'nigari (pure Persian).?He encouraged his students and followers to practice in Parsi'nigari. By revitalizing forgotten but easy to comprehend Persian words, Yaghma was not only one of the first writers in introducing a new semantic field for every day discourse, but also in shifting the poetic discourse from the traditional panegyric and elegiac to a style of social criticism.?His poetic style provided a model for the revolutionary songs of the Constitutional period. The increased sensitivity to the social environment is also witnessed among poets such as Qa?ani. Qa?ani (b. 1223/1808-1853), who was one of the first Qajar poets to learn French and was forced to translate a text book on botany,?in his Kitab-i Parishan, "attempts to find themes in reality of everyday occurrences and to expose faults and defects in the social order of time (hypocrisy of the priesthood and magistrates, corruption of police, swindling on the parts of artisans, etc.)"
The attempt to purify the Persian language of Arabic words and concepts seems to have been a rather popular movement in the 19th century. In a letter Yaghma Jandaqi points out that there are writers and reporters in Qazvin, Ray, Jay and Isfahan who have adopted the method of Parsinigari, and are "highly determined in their endeavor and have written valuable materials."?This point is of crucial historical importance, because many scholars have tended to view the purist movement in language as a twentieth century phenomenon.?Very little is known about the individuals who are referred to in this letter. More research and archival work is needed to identify these individuals and their work. But among the 19th century writers who are well know for their attempt to write in pure Persian are: Mirza Razi Tabrizi,?Farhad Mirza (1818-1888),?Ahmad D?ivan Baygi Shirazi,?Jalal al-Din Mirza, Isma?il Khan Tusirkani, Gawhar Yazdi, Mirza Riza Bagishlu Ghazvini,?Makinji Parsi, and Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani. Furthermore, Amin al-Dawlah in the introduction to his memoirs demonstrates his ability to write in pure Persian prose. But he refrained from the use of pure Persian in the body of the text. He argued that children of Iranian descent will understand his text better in the contemporary language which is mixed with Arabic.
The movement for simplification and purification of the Persian language coincided with the movement for simplification of Ottoman Turkish. These struggles were intimately tied to the struggle for what later became known as constitutionalism and nationalism. It is important to emphasize that the language reform was not a by-product of the Constitutional Revolutions in Iran and the Ottoman Empire but a prelude to them. The Purist movement in language, while initiated by people closely tied to the Qajar Court, by providing the constitutive elements for formation of a new identity, made possible the subversion of the dominant political discourse.? This movement by revitalizing old Persian concepts, provided the semantic field for the emergence of a new system of signification and political imaginary which was no longer based primarily on Islam and Islamic identity. The attempt to purify the Persian language, while initially begun as a stylistic trend among the ruling elites, could not remain neutral to Islam and Islamic political discourse. The protagonists of the Purist movement provided a language which made possible articulating Islamic and Iranian identities as antagonistic. The authors who became concerned with the state of Persian language could not remain neutral towards Arabic, the language of the Qur?an. For example Riza Quli Khan Hidayat, in the introduction to Farhang-i Anjuman Ara-yi Nasiri, which was printed in 1288/1871, states that during the course of his research he found the Persian dictionaries in a very disorganized state. He explained this in the following manner: "In the 1286 years since the hijra of Muhammad, the Arabic language has continuously developed and evolved, but because of religious enmity and opposing natures, the Persian language has become obsolete, disordered, and obliterated, and nothing remains of the Ancient Persian texts."?It is no wonder that the resurrection of the Persian language became a matter of concern for many politically conscious Iranians in the 19th century. In an attempt to revitalize the language a number of Persian dictionaries were compiled and grammar texts were written. Among the compiled dictionaries, the Farhang-i Anjuman Ara-yi Nasiri of Riza Quli Khan Hidayat published in 1288/1871, the Farhang-i Anandraj of Muhammad Shah published in 1307/1889, and the Farhang-i Na˙im al-Aﬂﬂiba? of Mirza ?Ali Akbar Khan Nafisi were the most important. Besides these dictionaries, Burhan-i Qaﬂi? by Muhammad Husayn Khan Khalaf Tabrizi, which was written in 1062/1651, became very popular because it contained a large number of supposedly ancient Persian dasatiri? words.?Qajar poets such as FatH Allah Shaybani (d. 1308/1890), Fursat-i Shirazi (1885-1920), Surush Isfahani (d. 1285/1868), Qa?ani (d. 1271/1854), Furughi Bistami (d. 1274/1857), Yaghma Janadaqi (d. 1271.1854), and Mirza Sadiq Amiri Adib al-Mamalik Farahani (d.1336/1957) used many of the unknown terms which were listed in this dictionary.?Abu al-Hasan Yaghma Jandaqi owned a personal copy of this dictionary which he used extensively in his pursuit of Parsi nigari. Many Dasatiri terms have entered into other 19th century dictionaries such as Anjuman Ara-yi Nasiri. While many of these words have been found to be fake, their wide-spread usage is an indication of the increased importance of pre-Islamic Iran in the 19th century political discourse.
Consciousness of language did not stop with attempts to purify the Persian language and substitute Arabic terms with their Persian equivalents. There were also attempts to study the structure of Persian language. While the early grammar texts were modeled after studies of Arabic grammar, they provided the ground for development and identification of the rules of Persian language. Among important books written on Persian grammar were: Qava?id-i sarf va naHv-i Farsi of ?Abd al-Karim ?ravani written in 1262/1848, Sarf va naHv-i Farsi of Hajj Muhammad Karim Khan Kirmani written in 1275/1858, Tanbiyah al-sibyan of Muhammad Husayn Ansari written in 1296/1878,?Dastur-i Sukhan and Dabistan-i Parsi of Mirza Habib Isfahani which were respectively published in 1289/1872 and 1308/1890,?Kitab-i lisan al-?Ajam of Mirza Hasan ﬁaliqani written in 1305/1887,?Dastur-i Kashif of Ghulam Husayn Kashif, and Zaban Amuz-i Farsi of Mirza ?Ali Akbar Khan Nafisi written in 1316/1898. These scholarly attempts in the realm of language and grammar were crucial for the formation of an identity organized around Persian language and a past identified with that language. While in the pre-19th century, the use of Arabic words and concepts was an indication of one's high social status, 19th century intellectuals moved increasingly towards a style of writing which would pride itself on the use of forgotten and unknown Persian words. This movement went hand in hand with the attempt to recover and resurrect the pre-Islamic history of Iran.
The protagonists of the Constitutional order in Iran were conscious of the importance of language in their struggle for change. The reconstruction of history could not be possible without the transformation of the language. Mirza Aqa Khan argued that language is in reality "a history which signifies the general and specific characteristics, behaviors, manners, and forms of belief of a people."?He held the view that "the strength of the millat depends on the strength of the language".?Aqa Khan conceived of writing as a creative act. He argued that nivishtan, the Persian concept for writing, signifies newness, "it means creating something original."?The writing of the Mirror of Alexander for Aqa Khan involved not only subversion of the dominant system of narration but also a political practise in creating a new system of signification.
The Constitutionalist intellectuals viewed writing as a crucial but problematic element for the progress and development of Iran. Some like Akhundzadah, Mirza Riza Khan Bigishlu and Mirza Malkum Khan argued that the proliferation of scientific thinking was not possible as long as the Arabic script was used.?"In the inadequecy of the Arabic alphabet, Malkom Khan saw the root cause of all the weakness, the poverty, insecurity, despotism, and inequity of the lands of Islam."?Akhundzadah argued that the reforms in Iran could not bring about the desired changes without the dissemination of modern sciences which, in his view, was only possible with the change of the alphabet.?Akhundzadah felt that the change of the alphabet was necessary because scientific terms had to be borrowed from European languages: "How can we translate European books into Arabic, Persian, or Turkish when our three languages lack scientific terminologies? We have no choice but to adopt those terms into our language."?Akhundzadah devised a new alphabet based on Latin and Cyrillic arguing that, "the old alphabet should be used for the affairs of the hereafter, and the new alphabet for the affairs of this world."?Mirza Aqa Khan's attempt to redefine the old terms, and Jalal al-Din Mirza's "purification of Persian" proved to be much more practical solutions, solutions which involved re-search and re-thinking of the Iranian past. Jalal al-Din Mirza argued that the Persian language must be cleared of foreign elements. He viewed purification of language as a jihad for the preservation of independence and national integrity.? He proposed that a committee and a journal should be formed for the "formation of new words".?
The debates over language and writing style were important political debate which involved rethinking of the culture, history, and national identity. The emphasis on pre-Islamic history and the attempt to change the script and purify the Persian language of foreign elements were in part a reaction against the Arab/Islamic influence. They were also important bases for the construction of a new identity which no longer was based primarily on religious identity. These debates affected the development of the Constitutionalist language, a language best characterized by the simple style of the Constitutionalist newspapers such as Qanun, Sur-i Israfil, Musavat, ?ran-i Naw, and by writers such as Talibuf, Akhundzadah, Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani, Zayn al-?Abidin Maraghah?i, Mahdi Quli Hidayat, Hajj Muhammad ?Ali SayyaH MaHallati, and ?Ali Akbar Dihkhuda.?The rethinking of language, history, and literature provided the necessary components for the construction of a new revolutionary identity and emergence of the Constitutionalist discourse in the late 19th century.
The revitalization of language, the medium of communication and signification and the locus of cultural memory, had a corresponding effect on history.?The rethinking of Persian language coincided with the rethinking of Iranian history. The protagonists of the Constitutional order in Iran recognized the importance of history and memory in their struggle.?According to Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani, a leading nineteenth century intellectual, "No instrument is better than history for the stability of the foundation of the millat."?A large number of late 19th century Iranian intellectuals broke away from the Islamic system of historical narration in which the rise of Muhammad is constituted as the beginning of a new era and a new civilization, and the period prior to it as the age of darkness and ignorance (jahiliyah). In turn, with the help of new findings of archaeologists and historians, they came to view the pre-Islamic period as an "enlightened age" (?asr-i munavvar), and the desperate conditions of their day as a result of the Islamic conquest.?In opposition to the "weak" and "despotic" state which claimed to be the protector of Islam and the Shari?a, the protagonist of the new order looked back to the pre-Islamic era with great nostalgia and borrowed from it myths and images for the construction of a new political identity.? In the emerging Constitutionalist discourse Islam came to be viewed as the religion of Arabs, and the cause of Iran's backwardness.?Looking back to the utopian construct of pre-Islamic Iran, Mirza FatH ?Ali Akhundzadah addressing his country stated: "What a shame for you, Iran: Where is your grandeur? Where is that power, that prosperity that you once enjoyed? It has been 1,280 years now that the naked and starving Arabs have descended upon you and made your life miserable. Your land is in ruins, your people ignorant and innocent of civilization, deprived of prosperity and freedom, and your King is a despot."?While the pre-Islamic era was constructed as an utopia with just rulers like Anushirvan, the Islamic period was constituted as a period of misery, ruin, ignorance, and despotism.?Fictionalization of history as such, according to Mirza Aqa Khan, "is necessary for the overthrow of the malicious tree of oppression, and revitalization of the power of milliyat (nationalism) in the character of the Iranian people."?In his attempt to articulate a new history, Mirza Aqa Khan gave words new meaning and connotations. He speculated that the French term "histoire" is derived from the Persian concept "ustuvar", meaning firm and sturdy.?
In an attempt to articulate a new system of historical narration and construct a new national identity, Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani, like the other intellectuals of his time became deeply interested in pre-Islamic history.? He probed into a period of history which, according to him, had been viewed by the religious authorities "as a sign of dualism, atheism, and an indication of blasphemy and apostasy."?The result of his research was the Ayinah-?i Sikandari (Mirror of Alexander), a book which effectively used the 19th century Orientalists' study of pre-Islamic Iran in order to construct a new system of historical narration. This book is also one of the first analytical histories of Iran in Persian. During the same period a number other texts on pre-Islamic era such as Bani Ashkan, Tarikh-i ?ran, Tarikh-i Kaldah va Ashur, Tarikh-i ?ran az qabl az milad ta Qajariyah, Tarikh-i salaﬂin-i Sasani, and Namah-?i Khusravan were written.?Namah-'i Khusravan (The Book of Kings), written by Jalal al-Din Mirza in 1870 was one of the most important attempts at rearticulation of pre-Islamic history.?This historical text turned out to be very popular because of its attempt to use "pure Persian" and break away from the ornamented courtly language which heavily relied on Arabic. Akhundzadah praized Jalal al-Din Mirza's use of pure Persian in this text. "Your excellency has freed our tongue from the domination of the Arabic language."?Namah-?i Khusravan was also important in its attempt to recreate a visual memory of the past through imaginative drawings of the pre-Islamic Iranian kings. It is reported that the images and drawings from Namah-'i Khusravan were used for plaster-molding and the decoration of walls.
In an attempt to construct a new identity, the Constitutionalists integrated in their discourse pre-Islamic myths and symbols. These symbols, which were regenerated because of the focus on pre-Islamic history, played an important role in the displacement of Islam and the disarticulation of the hegemonic Islamic discourse. Images of the past helped to provide a new basis for the identity of the millat. For example, arguing against the adaptation of the picture of a mosque as the logo of the newspaper Millat-i Saniyah-'i ?ran, Akhunzadah, in a letter to the editor pointed out that "if by millat-i ?ran you mean the specific connotation prevalent today, the mosque, which is a general symbol for all Muslims, is not an appropriate logo."?He suggested that the newspaper should use a combination of pre-Islamic symbols such as pictures of Persopolis and an icon of the Safavid buildings in order to capture the spirit of the millat-i ?ran (the people/nation of Iran).?The pre-Islamic figures and symbols provided the resources for revolutionary imaginary. The tale of Kavah the Blacksmith (Kavah-i Ahangar) became very popular.?According to Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani, "Because of the courage and nationalist aspiration of Kavah-?i Ahangar, who uprooted from Iran the rule of the Chaldean Dynasty which had lasted for 900 years, Iranians can truthfully be proud that they have taught the nations of the world how to remove oppression and repel the repression of despotic Kings."?Kavah, so defined, became an important figure in the Constitutional discourse. Furthermore, against the despotic Qajar Shah, Anushirvan the Just (Anushirvan-i ?adil) provided a useful image of the pre-Islamic Iranian king in the course of the Constitutional Revolution.
Power and Press
The simplification and purification of the Persian language was strengthened by the development of the printing press. The establishment of the printing press and newspapers also made possible the proliferation of scientific knowledge and European political views, and the dissemination of new concepts signifying European political institutions and social organization. The first Persian newspaper, Kaghaz-i Akhbar, was published in 1253/1837 by Mirza Salih Shirazi.?It is important to point out that the phrase Kaghaz-i Akhbar was constructed by Mirza Salih in order to account for British newspapers that he first saw during his residence in England.? In a pamphlet announcing the publication of this newspaper it is indicated that the task of Khaghaz-i Akhbar is to educate the residents of Iran and inform them about the affairs of the world, which were provided under two categories of Eastern and Western news."?Fourteen years later in 1267/1851 Amir Kabir encouraged the publication of Iran's first official Gazette entitled Ruznamah-'i vaqayi?-i ittifaqiyah.?A decade later this newspaper was renamed Ruznamah-?i ?aliyah-?i ?ran.? Soon after, a series of other newspapers appeared in Tihran, Tabriz, and Shiraz such as Akhbar-i Dar al-Salﬂanah-?i Azarbayijan, Ruznamah-?i ?Ilmiyah-?i Dawlat-i ?Aliyah-?i ?ran, Ruznamah-?i millat-i saniyah-?i ?ran, Vaqayi?-i ?adliyah, ?ran, Tabriz, Fars, Vaﬂan (La Patrie), Ruznamah-?i Ni˙ami, Ruznamah-?i ?Ilmiyah va Adabiyah Mirrikh, Sharaf, Shirafat, and Danish. These newspapers, while containing local news, also provided information about political developments and scientific advances in Europe. ???????
While the first generation of Persian newspapers and journals were, in one way or another, organs of the state, with the heightening of political consciousness and increased dissatisfaction among the new intellectuals, a series of influential Persian newspapers were established abroad. Akhtar, which began publication under the editorship of Aqa Muhammad ﬁahir Tabrizi in Istanbul in 1292/1875, was among the first Persian newspapers published abroad. This newspaper, which enjoyed contributions from prolific writers such as Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani, Ahmad RuHi, and Mirza Mahdi Tabrizi focused on the necessity of legislation and constitution and translated the Ottoman Constitution of 1876 into Persian. Under the pressure of the Iranian government, the Ottoman authorities stopped the publication of the newspaper in 1896 and two of its contributors Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani and Ahmad RuHi were deported to Iran, where they were executed. The satirical Shahsavan (The Shah Lovers), published in 1306/1888-9 under the editorship of Mirza ?Abd al-RaHim ﬁalibzadah (ﬁalibuf) and Sayyid Muhammad Shabistari (Abu ˛iya?) in Istanbul, was another important paper which is considered the mother of political satire journals in Iran. Qanun, which began publication in Rajab 1307/Feb. 1890, was another important exile newspaper, edited by Malkum Khan. Qanun gained prominence for its role in the dissemination of the idea of Azadi (freedom) and the demand for the establishment of a government based on qanun (law) rather than Islamic Shari?ah. Qanun is one of the first examples of journalistic writing with a simple prose. The slogan of this influential newspaper was: Ittifaq (unity), ?Adalat (justice), and Taraqqi (progress). There were also exile constitutionalist newspapers such as Hikmat, Akhtar, ?urayya, and Parvarish which were published in Egypt. Mirza Muhammad ?Ali Khan Tarbiyat, whose essay Persian Press and Poetry is translated by E. G. Browne, had this to say about Parvarish: "The fiery utterance and sweet eloquence of this paper had an extraordinary effect on public opinion, and in truth effected an intellectual revolution."
The Rise of Modern Intellectuals
Educational reforms, and the development of the printing press and telegraphic communication, which became well developed in Iran by 1287/1870, altered the relations of power/knowledge and brought into being a new social stratum. This new social stratum, munavvar al-fikran (intellectuals), was the product of modern reforms and education. Unlike the ?ulama, who were educated in madrasas and possessed Quranocentric knowledge, the new intellectuals were educated in the European and European-style schools and had become masters of the empirical and human sciences. The printing press provided a medium of communication which enabled the intellectuals to undermine clerical hegemony. While the pulpit was a site for the dissemination of religious knowledge, the printing press became a site for the proliferation of secular knowledge. With the emergence of a modern educated stratum, the social imaginary making possible the symbolic organization of society was challenged. The Clerics, the custodians of tradition, now encountered not the men of the sword but the intelligentsia, the protagonists of a new social order.
As was pointed out in the previous chapter, the clergy was an important component of the power bloc. Their role in the society was not limited to religious functions. They occupied important administrative, judicial, and educational positions. The educational and judicial reforms profoundly affected the traditional realms of clerical influence. Religious schools and seminaries were the principal sites of the education of governmental employees and political elites. The introduction of educational reforms, the establishment of Dar al-Funun, and the dispatching of students abroad not only created a new realm for the proliferation of knowledge, but it also exposed the modern intellectuals, who were no longer under the close scrutiny of the religious hierarchy, to secular world views.
Increased contact with Europe in the 19th century familiarized some Iranians with scientific and intellectual developments in Europe and made them conscious of the relative backwardness of their own country. This small group became very influential in introducing the ideas of reform and revolution in Iran. Some such as Amir Kabir and Mirza Husayn Khan, initiated reforms; others such as Riza Quli Khan Hidayat and Mirza ?Ali Khan Amin al-Dawlah (1259/1843-1322/1904) led new institutions such as Dar al-Funun and Majlis-i Vuzara (Dar al-Shura-yi Kubra); some such as Mirza Yusuf Khan, Mirza Malkum Khan and Mirza FatH ?Ali Akhundzadah introduced new political ideas; and still others such as Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani and Sayyid Jamal al-Din (al-Afghani) organized oppositional political movements.
Nineteenth century Iran saw a few enlightened prime minsters who set themselves the task of transforming Iran through military, educational, judicial, and bureaucratic reforms. The most important among these high officials were Mirza Taqi Khan Amir Kabir (Nasir al-Din Shah's reformist minister) and Mirza Husayn Khan Mushir al-Dawlah (Minister from Dec. 1870-September 1873 and Iranian Ambassador in Istanbul), who had traveled abroad and were familiar with technological developments in the West. Amir Kabir had visited Russia as a member of a mission to Moscow. He spent 18 months in Moscow along with Mirza Salih Shirazi and visited various military academies and scientific institutions.?He also spent four years in the Ottoman Empire and represented Iran at the Erzurum Conference, which was called in order to resolve the border conflict between Iran and the Ottoman Empire.?During this conference Mirza Taqi Khan was accompanied by Ja?far Khan, one of the first Iranian students who was sent to England to study in 1815. Mirza Taqi Khan seems to have developed a close relationship with Ja?far Khan, who like Mirza Salih, was among the Iranians best informed about European systems of government.?This important reformist prime minister of Iran was killed by order of the Shah in 1851, a few days before the official opening of Dar al-Funun which he had master-minded.
Mirza Husayn Khan (1243/1827-1298/1881) was another European-educated Iranian who had entered government service during the period of Amir Kabir's premiership. He was educated in France and was responsible for some of the most important judicial, military and political reforms in the 1870's and 1880's.?It is important to point out that the period of his stay in France coincided with the Revolution of 1848 which resulted in the establishment of the short-lived Second Republic. According to Gobineau, during that Revolution of 1848 an Iranian student with the name of HusseﮭKouly-Agha lived in France and had actively participated in the defense of the National Assembly.?It is not clear whether the above named student was in fact Mirza Husayn Khan. But there are factors which indicate that Mirza Husayn Khan, who was appointed as Sadr al-A?˙am in 1870 and was influential in introducing the idea of governmental reforms and constitutionalism, is possibly the young revolutionary student who was in Paris in 1848. Muhammad Hasan Khan I?ﬂimad al-Salﬂanah, who was the Head of the Publication and Translation Bureau and was responsible for informing the Shah on European commentaries, in his Khvabnamah (Dream Report), in which a number of high governmental officials including Mirza Husayn Khan are put on an imaginary trial, writes that, "Mirza Husayn Khan is wrongly known as qabil (capable). The readers might become puzzled by this statement. But for the well-informed people and scholars this is not puzzling. In order to properly uncover the issue, foreign histories must be consulted."?It is very likely that Muhammad Hasan Khan in this statement had in mind Gobineau's description, which was published in 1866, which coincides with the period that he served as a military attache to the Iranian Embassy in Paris (1280/1866-1284/1867). Mirza Husayn's Khan's reforms led to an intensification of opposition against him both in the court and among the ?Ulama, who accused him of planning to convert Iran to Christianity.?
Another important reformist of the late 19th century was Mirza ?Ali Khan Amin? al-Dawlah (1259-1322 [1843-1904]), son of Majd al-Mulk Sinki, who had learned French from his father. He was appointed in 1304/1886 as the head of Nasir al-Din Shah's Majlis-i Vuzara (Council of Ministers) or Dar al-Shura-yi Kubra. (The Great Consultative Council)). Later in 1306/1888 he was appointed by the Shah to draw up a Qanun like the Ottoman constitution of 1876. His reform measures went as far as proposing a fixed salary for the Shah. He was accused of atheism and clerical opposition, which finally led to his dismissal as Prime Minister in 1316/1898.
Besides the prime ministers who initiated reform movements from above, there were a number of individuals who were responsible for carrying out these reforms and were in a way responsible for the success of institutional reforms. Riza Quli Khan Hidayat Lalahbashi (1215/1800-1288/1871), the first director of Dar al-Funun, is one such individual. Riza Quli Khan was a highly educated teacher, historian, and linguist. He is the author of numerous works among which are Sifaratnamah-?i Khvarazm, Majma???? al-FusaHa, Rawzat al-Safa-yi Nasiri, Shams al-Haqayiq, Ajmal al-Tavarikh, Riyaz al-?Arifin, and the valuable Persian dictionary, Farhang-i Anjuman Ara-yi Nasiri. Hidayat played an important role in making possible the translation of numerous European texts into Persian. The contribution of Hidayat to Iranian literature and politics deserves a careful study.
Hidayat's son, ?Ali Quli Khan Mukhbir al-Salﬂanah, who was a student of Dar? al-Funun, became a leading industrialist and a pioneer of telegraphy in Iran.?Murta˙a Quli Khan Sani? al-Dawlah, ?Ali Quli's son, studied in Germany, accompanied Nasir??? al-Din Shah during his trip to Europe, worked in the telegraph company, introduced new factories, was elected to the Majlis, and became the president of the Majlis. Mahdi Quli Khan Mukhbir al-Salﬂanah, another grandson of Hidayat, was sent to Europe and studied in Switzerland at age 14 along with his brother Murta˙a Quli Khan Sani? al-Dawlah. He taught German in the Dar al-Funun in 1885. He accompanied Mu˙affar al-Din Shah on his trip to Europe in 1901. Mahdi Quli Khan also played an important role during the Constitutional Revolution and was influential in convincing the Shah to sign the Constitutional Verdict in 1906. He is the author of numerous books including Afkar-i ummam, Guzarish-i ?ran, Khaﬂirat va khaﬂarat, TuHfah-yi Mukhbiri, and Safarnamah-?i tasharruf bih Makkah-?i mu?a˙˙amah.?Muhammad Hasan Khan I?timad al-Salﬂanah (1259-1313 [1843-1895]), another student of Dar al-Funun, who became the Minister of the Press and a historian,?had studied in France and accompanied Nasir al-Din Shah during this trip to Europe. These individuals, unlike the traditional Iranian elites, had traveled or studied in Europe and/or were educated in the Dar al-Funun.
While many of the modern educated intellectuals became initiators of reform in Iran many others provided the groundwork for a revolution. Among those who contributed to the development of the Constitutionalist discourse are Mirza Husayn Khan Sipahsalar, Mirza Y?usuf Kh?an Mustashar al-Dawlah (d. 1322/1888),? Mirza FatH ?Ali Akhundzadah (d. 1812-1878), ?Abd al-Rahim ﬁalibzadah (d. 1834-1911), Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani (1853-1896),?and Mirza Malkum Khan (1833-1908).?Each of these individuals has introduced and/or propagated an element of the constitutionalist world view.?
The constitutionalist discourse and imaginary can be perceived from two angles. It challenged the twinship of the state and religion which provided the basis for political legitimacy. Furthermore it undermined the symbolic role of the Shah as the locus of power and authority. In the Constitutionalist discourse the source of sovereignty was no longer God but the millat. With the constitution of the millat as the source of sovereignty, it became crucial to redefine the signifier millat and the entity it signified. With the subversion of the dominant discourse, fixation of the meaning of millat became the locus of political and ideological struggles in Iran.
It should be noted that the subversion of the dominant discourse was not the outcome of an ideological struggle alone. Institutional separation of the state and religion which was made possible by the state sponsored military, educational and judicial reforms in the ninteenth century provided the institutional bases for the disintegration of the dominant ideological discourse.? These reforms institutionally separated the realm of the state and religion, and by cutting into the realm of clerical influence, antagonized the clergy who were an important component of the power bloc in Qajar Iran.
An important element which came to constitute the basis of the counter-discourse of constitutionalism was the idea of qanun.?In the dominant Islamic discourse the Shari?ah was viewed as the legal basis of the society. Since the Shari?ah is derived from the Qur?an, it quite naturally empowered the clerics with the safeguarding of the legal affairs of society. But increased familiarity with Europe led many Iranian intellectuals to ponder the causes of European progress and the relative backwardness of their own homeland. Comparing their own country with European nations some intellectuals such as Mirza Yusuf Khan came to view a government based on secular civil law as the major factor contributing to the superiority of Europe. Yusuf Khan argued that the establishment of a government based on qanun was the only solution to Iran's backwardness. This idea was advanced by him in an influential essay entitled Yak Kalimah (One Word), which was written in 1287/1870.?Like Young Ottoman Musﬂafa Fazil's letter to Abd?z which became the manifesto of liberals in the Ottoman Empire, Mirza Yusuf's essay became the manifesto of Constitutionalists in Iran.?In this essay, Mirza Yusuf wrote that, "Qanun is a word in which all orders of Europe are inscribed... And the state and the people [ummat] together are the guardians of its perpetuity. The King, the beggar, the peasant, and military officers are bound to qanun and no individual has the power of opposing it."??He explained that qanun is what the French call 'loi', which includes a few texts known as 'code', and is equivalent to the Muslims Shari?ah. But he explained that there is a basic difference between the French code and the Islamic Shari?ah. The French code "only contains matters of worldly affairs which people of all religions and millats agree with."?But the Muslim Shari?ah, on the other hand, includes both the affairs of the world and the hereafter, which is "greatly harmful for public policy."?Yusuf Khan seems to have been the first of his contemporaries to express that sovereignty belongs to the people: "Choice and acceptance of the Millat is the basis of all decisions of the government."?Consequently, he argued that "the King and the beggars are equal."?
The idea that sovereignty belongs to "the people" radically altered the political imaginary. By constituting the millat as the source of sovereignty, Mirza Yusuf Khan undermined the centrality of God in the political discourse and consequently challenged the basis of the state's legitimacy. While in the dominant discourse God was constituted as the site from which power disseminated, in the evolving counter-discourse "the people" were conceived as the ultimate source of power. This view not only challenged the symbolic power of the Shah, but also the function of the clerics as the guardians of the legal basis of the society. The newly conceived society was to be based not on the God given Shari?ah but on the qanun legislated by the representatives of the people.
This idea of qanun was further elaborated by Mirza Malkum Khan a close friend of Mirza Yusuf during his residence in Europe. The term Qanun was adopted by Malkum Khan as the title of a very influential journal which was published in London between 1890-1906. Malkum Khan sent the first issue of the paper with a letter to Nasir al-Din Shah indicating that: "Since we heard that your Highness is inclined towards a government of qanun, the writers of the paper have decided to formulate a constitution for Iran which will be sent to you gradually ."? In the emerging oppositional discourse qanun was constituted as an element unifying diverse forces dissatisfied with the existing order of things in Iran. In the second issue of the paper, after enumerating the problems arising from the lack of order and law in Iran, the demand for qanun was presented as a populist slogan unifying a diverse ensemble of social forces and classes:
If you have a religion, demand qanun.
If you are detained by the state, demand qanun.
If your home is destroyed, demand qanun.
If your salaries have been plundered, demand qanun.
If your positions and rights have been sold to the others, demand qanun.
If you have a family, demand qanun.
If you possess something, demand qanun.
If you are poor, demand qanun.
If you are human, demand qanun.
The demand for the establishment of a government based on qanun was constituted as the organizing element of the constitutionalist discourse.
The idea of Constitutionalism (mashruﬂiyat) seems to have been first introduced in Persian in the correspondence of Mirza Husayn Khan, who was influenced by the Young Ottomans.?Constitutionalism appeared in the the Ottoman political discourse in the 1870's. The Ottomans first used the ambiguous concept of me?veret? and only later, in an attempt to fix the meaning of constitutionalism which was also used in an Islamic sense, the term me?rutiyet? was adopted.??
Before discussing the idea of Constitutionalism and its transformation from a political imaginary to a social movement, it is important to discuss the discursive conditions making possible the emergence of a populist political movement which unified an ensemble of forces with diverse needs, demands, and aspirations.? Increased contact with Europe, while leading to positive changes, had negative effects as well. While European science and technology were desired, European domination and control of the Iranian government was very much disliked. It was the comparison of the Iranian-self with Europe that provided the milieu for the emergence of the Constitutionalist movement. The advancement and progress of the West were attributed to the European systems of government. But contact with the politically hegemonic West also led to the intensification of conflicts such as the European contest for influence and "concession hunting" in Iran.??
Facing a severe financial crisis in the 1870's, the Qajar Regime began a policy of granting concessions to foreign subjects and companies. For instance, the Reuter Concession, signed on 25 Jumada I 1289/25 May 1872, granted to a British subject, Julius de Reuter, the monopoly to exploit all mines (with the exception of precious stones), collect the customs, build railroads, and purchase the needed land for a period of seventy-five years. The concession united individuals and forces whose interests and positions of power had been undermined by the Westernizing reforms. The opposition to the Reuter concession included three leading princes, the Shah's wife, and two prominent members of the ?ulama. Summing up the concerns of this group Amin al-Mulk states that, "They mentioned many reasons for opposing the concession except the real reason: that it was a real threat to the country's sovereignty. This proved that they had not been motivated by concern for the welfare of the state or by love of their country, but that personal motives had promoted them to create the disturbance."? While opposition to the Rueter concession was limited to the leading elites, the Tobacco Concession which granted the monopoly for the marketing and sale of tobacco for a period of fifty years to a British company triggered extensive popular opposition.? The Tobacco Concession was viewed as a "selling out" of the country and the "Islamic millat" to the non-Muslim Europeans. The concession was articulated as an attack against Islam and a serious threat to the independence of Iran's millat-i Musalman (Islamic nation).
The Tobacco Movement, which was organized by the merchants, began with a protest against the complacency of the clerics and their silence in the face of "non-Muslim's domination of Iran."? The clergy were damned for "non-cooperation with the millat", and their lives were threatened if they allowed the situation to continue.?Due to intense popular pressure, some leading Mujtahids were forced to support the anti-concession movement.?The merchants forged a fatva (religious edict) in the name of Mirza Hasan Shirazi, a leading Mujtahid, declaring the use of tobacco to be equivalent to "war against Islam and the Twelfth Imam."
In the course of the tobacco movement the concept of millat was brought into the center of political contestation. The concession was articulated as a selling-out of the Shi?i millat to the anti-Muslim Christians of Europe. Jamal al-Din al-Afghani wrote against the granting of the Tobacco Concession stating that: "This criminal [the Shah] has offered Persia to auction among the powers, and is selling the realm of Islam and the abode of Muhammad (on whom be greeting and salutation) to the heathen."?Cancellation of the concession was perceived as a necessary step for the defense of the Shi?i millat.? By constituting the defense of the Shi?i millat as the focal point of the oppositional discourse, the grievances of the merchants and cultivators were anchored to the religiosity of the masses and to religious apparatuses. Consequently, the defense of religion and millat which was the prerogative of the state, was integrated into the oppositional discourse. The religious connotation of millat was crucial for anchoring to the support of the movement the religious apparatuses. With the articulation of the millat as the focal point of the anti-concession movement, religion and religious organizations were mobilized in opposition to the regime. Through the mobilization of these resources the Shah was forced to cancel the Tobacco concession. In order to neutralize the opposition's attempt to depict him as anti-Islamic, Nasir al-Din Shah took the position that the weakness of the state and the penetration by Europeans had not been his fault, but were due to the declining influence of the concept of millat (za?f-i nufuz-i kalamah-'i millat). With the cancellation of the Tobacco concession, according to the Nasir al-Din Shah, "Islam once again has come to life, and the spirit has returned to the body of the country (vaﬂan)."?Karbala?i Husayn in his unique report on the Tobacco Movement concluded that: "once again the concept of millat has become influential in Iran, and the Shari?ah business has become profitable and its staff has become prosperous."[134
In the aftermath of the Tobacco movement many people came to recognize that the Europeans were not the only source of the country's weakness. Most critics came to view the despotism of the state, lack of law (Qanun) and a well established legislative body as determining elements contributing to the weakness of Iran and to increased foreign penetration. Most intellectuals (munavvar al-fikran) came to view the establishment of a constitutional form of government as the only way to resolve the ills of the country.?With the emergence of the Constitutional discourse the focus of the opposition shifted from a struggle against non-Muslim Europeans to a struggle against the despotism of the state. Consequently the interpellative category of millat that signified the collective identity gained a new meaning and connotation. The meaning of millat increasingly shifted from the Shi?i people to the people of Iran. This new meaning made possible the subversion of the dominant discourse. The former connotation of millat had emerged from a paradigm in which the state and religion were articulated as twin brothers, and the social images and ideals were drawn from the realm of Islamic history.? The new meaning in turn emerged with the construction of the state as despotic (mustabidd) and antagonistic to the millat, and with the articulation of pre-Islamic Iran as a period of glory and honor. The revitalization of pre-Islamic history and stylistic trends for the purification of the Persian language came to provide the necessary components for the formation of a new identity no longer based primarily on Islam.
In the aftermath of the Tobacco movement the despotism of the state came to be viewed as the cause of all social problems. The combat against the despotism of the state provided the focal point for the unification of diverse social forces, ranging from modern intellectuals, educated in modern European style schools, to traditional intellectuals (?ulama) who were the guardians of tradition and religious orthodoxy, to bazaar merchants and craftsmen who were adversely effected by the European penetration and by the inability of the state to protect the local economy. With the intensification of the struggle against despotism, the political space became divided into two antagonistic camps of the millat (the people), and the dawlat (the state).?
The polarization of the political space resulted in the emergence of a new alignment of political forces. The clergy, an important element of the power bloc up to this point, were either neutralized or integrated into the millat camp. The new line up situated them in a powerful but precarious position, a position on the borderline of hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourses. In the dominant discourse the clergy were both the "soldiers of prayer" and the leaders of the millat. As soldiers of prayer they were involved in the active construction of consensus and ideological support for the Qajar regime. As the leaders of the millat they were expected to provide the moral leadership of the society and guarantee ideological/religious orthodoxy. To maintain orthodoxy, they often allied themselves with the state in suppressing the oppositional movements by branding them as heretical and anti-Islamic. At times of deep social crisis they legitimated their alliance with the regime under the maxim, 'Sixty years of tyranny is preferable to an hour of chaos.' But with the division of political space into the antagonistic poles of millat and dawlat the ?ulama could no longer side easily with the state. In the emerging populist Constitutional discourse dawlat was articulated as despotic (mustabidd) and unjust (˙alim), and millat (the people) as oppressed (ma˙lum) and justice-seeking (?adalatkhvah). Under such circumstances the leaders of the millat could not openly support the dawlat, the enemy of the millat. The clergy's dual position at this juncture explains its contradictory roles during the events that led to the Constitutional Rupture. It was because of this contradictory position that the clerics were viewed as amphi-politicos or people of double politics (zulriyasatayn). The arch-Mujtahids who coordinated their position with the millat camp were given the honorary title of Ayat Allah (the sign of God).?This title was discursively important since it was articulated in opposition to the Shah's title of ?ill Allah (the Shadow of God). Those members of the clergy who did not support the millat camp were conceived as fakers and seekers of worldly privileges.
"The millat," according to Mahdi Quli Khan Hidayat, "is like an electrical accumulator which slowly collects energy and eventually gets fired up."?The social dislocations of the 19th century had provided the conditions for a popular revolution. A stimulator was needed to trigger the revolutionary movement. The Russo-Japanese War, and the Russian Revolution of 1905 which resulted in a shortage of goods and a sharp rise in the price of basic commodities such as sugar, provided such a stimulus. Faced with a financial crisis, the government raised tariffs on Iranian merchants and delayed loan repayments to its creditors.?This policy antagonized the Iranian merchants, who in protest called for the dismissal of Monsier Naus, Iran's Belgian Custom Administrator. A picture of Naus in clerical garb was used by the merchants in order to gain the support of the leading ulama for their cause.? In a controversial pamphlet signed by the "Supporters of the People" (havakhvahan-i millat), the clerics were warned that if they did not support the people, "The people will soon break away from their faith. As they break away, they will elect either a representative and a leader...like Kavah-?i Ahangar, or will take refuge in embassies or churches. Then some people will do to the ?ulama that which is done to the ministers."?It should be noted that the image of Kavah is important because he symbolized a non-religious, non-military popular leader who rose from the ranks of the people seeking justice.?
In an attempt to prevent popular protest the government blamed the rise of prices on greedy merchants, and? on 14 Shavval 1323/Dec. 11, 1906 two leading sugar merchants, Sayyid Hashim Qandi and Sayyid Husayn Qumi, were bastinadoed for causing the rise in the price of sugar.?In protest the merchants closed down shops and gathered in front of the houses of Bihbahani and Sangilaji, two leading clerics of Tihran. The events following this incident resulted in a clash among the protestors and troops and resulted in the death of a theology student in a shoot out. This incident unified the merchants and the clerics. In protest, on 16th of Shavval/Dec. 13, 1905, they took sanctuary at the shrine of ?Abd??? al-?A˙im near Tihran. The protestors demanded the replacement of the governor of Tihran, the dismissal of Naus, the execution of the Shari?ah and the establishment of a house of justice.?Under pressure, the Shah finally accepted their demands and promised to establish an ?Adalatkhanah-?i Dawlati (State House of Justice).?But the Shah failed to keep his promises. Instead the government began to arrest the leaders of the protest movement. This resulted in the formation of secret revolutionary societies and the issuing of revolutionary pamphlets and fliers. Pressure was brought upon the leading ?ulama who were accused of having compromised with the government. In a flier (shabnamah) the ?ulama were blamed for the failure of the Shah to keep his promises. "The ulama are not willing to enforce justice. Because if there was justice, how could they issue an unjust verdict or receive bribes . . . The ulama's uproar of patriotism and the so called support for the millat in the past year and half, have been only for profit and receiving money."?The mounting of public pressure resulted in the ?ulama's renewed activism. Tabaﬂaba?i in a letter to the prime minister wrote: "Where are all those secrets, covenants and agreements? It is certain that you are aware of the damages to the country and the extreme poverty of the people and the dangers which are surrounding this realm. It is also certain that you know that the reform of all ills depends upon the establishment of a Majlis and the unity of dawlat and millat and the heads of the government with the ?ulama. It is surprising that you have identified the problem and the way for its resolution but have failed to act upon it."?Misreading of a word in this letter resulted in a crack down on the clerics.?In the course of these events a student was shot. On the following day the city of Tihran went on strike and telegrams of support poured into Tihran from various parts of the country. In protest, some leading ?ulama left the city for Qum (23 Jumada I 1324/ ), while on the next day merchants and shopkeepers sought refuge in the British embassy. On the 9th of Jumada II/August 5, 1906 Mu˙affar al-Din Shah dismissed ?Ayn al-Dawlah and appointed Mushir al-Dawlah as the new prime minister. A continued general strike finally led to the Shah's acceptance of the protestors' demands.
While in the previous strike the ?ulama had demanded the establishment of a House of Justice (?Adalatkhanah), in the course of the refuge in the British Embassy this demand was transformed into a demand for a Majlis-i Shura-yi Milli (National Concultative Assembly).?Since the last general strike a large number of revolutionary councils were formed. The leadership of the movement unlike the earlier period was not in the hands of the ?ulama. The protestors at the British legation included not only the merchants and guilds and shopkeepers but also a number of students from Dar al-Funun and the School of Political Science who were lecturing on republicanism and freedom.?Their demand for the Majlis-i Shura-yi Milli was radically different form the ?ulama's demands issued from Qur?an for Majma? va majlis-i ?adalat which was issued from Qum.?
Popular pressure and the fear of defection of the soldiers and military leaders finally led Mu˙afar al-Din Shah to issue an edict, on the occasion of his birthday on August 5, 1906, calling for the convening of a National Constituent Assembly.?It should be noted that in the course of negotiations which led to the drafting of this edict, the Prime Minister proposed the establishment of a Majlis-i Islami (Islamic Assembly).?But the protestors disagreed and indicated that, "With the power of the millat, we will obtain a Majlis-i Shura-yi Milli." In the Edict which was written to the newly appointed prime minister Nasr Allah Mushir al-Dawlah, the Shah called for the convening of an assembly in which the representatives of "crown princes and Qajars, Ulama and theology students, nobles and notables, landowners, merchants and craftsmen" were to participate.?While the Edict included the constitutionalist demand for the formation of a Majlis, it failed to make mention of the millat. The exclusion of the concept of millat from the "Constitutional Edict" proved to be unacceptable to the Constitutionalists.? The text of the Shah's letter which was widely distributed was torn off the walls, and protestors who had taken sanctuary in the British Embassy refused to leave until the concept of millat was added to the Constitutional Order.?Consequently a few days later, Mu˙affar al-Din Shah issued a supplementary farman noting, "I have explicitly ordered the establishment of a Majlis, an assembly of the representatives of the millat."
Although the Shah was forced to recognize the millat as a political reality, he made an important strategic move to subvert the Constitutionalist discourse. In the supplementary letter he changed the name of the majlis from Majlis-i Shura-yi Milli (National/Popular Consultative Assembly) to Majlis-i Shura-yi Islami (Islamic Consultative Assembly). At that enthusiastic moment the importance of this shift went unnoticed by the Constitutionalists. The Constitutionalists organized a celebration for the convening of the Majlis.?On the day of the inauguration of the Majlis (27th of Jumada II, 1324) the crowds for the first time chanted "zindah bad millat-i ?ran" (Long live the people of Iran). According to YaHya Dawlatabadi the sound of the slogan echoed all over the Royal palace.
Recognition of the millat in the Constitution was crucial in many respects. In Iranian political discourse prior to this period civil society was viewed as an ensemble of various classes, ranks, professions, and religious formations.?This was clear from the Shah's farman dividing the society into six classes.?But the Constitutionalist discourse broke away from the hierarchical language of politics and introduced the millat as a unified force, the source of sovereignty, and with the right to determine the policies of the government through its representatives to the Majlis.?In the Constitutionalist discourse millat signified everyone regardless of their professional, social or religious status.?This was one the most important achievements of the Iranian Constitution of 1906, which provided the discursive terrain for the expansion of democratic rights. This view of millat radically differed from the dominant Islamic view which considered the Muslims superior to the others millats. In an editorial in the ?ran-i Naw? newspaper the division of the people into separate millats was viewed as the work of despots, designed to isolate the people from one another. "Despotism has isolated us from one another for different reasons, under different pretexts it has made us hate one another. We have become alienated from one another because we have been given different identities. [The despots] have named some as Zoroastrians and have made the shedding of their blood permissible by the Muslims. They have named others Jews and with the help of diverse interpretations of life their hatred has been cultivated in our hearts. Others are named Armenian and made to look as if they were not of our kind and therefore should not enjoy the same level and status as Iranians." The editorial ends by stating that , "Iranians are of one people, a people who speak in different dialects and worship God in various ways."?This new conception of the millat, a conception which became increasingly prevalent during the constitutional movement, provided the discursive terrain for the articulation of an Islamic counter-discourse , which came to be known as mashru?ah.??
Mashruﬂah vs Mashru?ah
Soon after the convening of the Majlis and the ratification of the Fundamental Laws on 14 Zu?l-qa?dah 1324/Dec. 30, 1907, the ailing Mu˙affar al-Din Shah died.?His son Muhammad ?Ali moved to Tihran as the new shah. A new antagonist to the Constitutionalist movement, Muhammad ?Ali refused to invite the deputies of the Majlis and the representatives of the millat to his coronation. In his coronation speech he spoke not of mashruﬂah, but of mashruﬂah-i mashru?ah, a government based on the Shari?ah By using Mashruﬂah-'i mashru?ah, Muhammad ?Ali set out to utilize Islam as a mechanism for the subversion of the Constitutionalist discourse.
The establishment of the Majlis did not in itself mean that Iran had established a Constitutional government. In the next stage of the struggle the Majlis deputies set themselves the task of the obtaining an edict from the new Shah explicitly recognizing Iran as a Constitutional government. The deputies from Azarbayjan, who did not trust Muhammad ?Ali Shah, the former governor of Azarbayjan, became the protagonists of Constitutionalism. The deputies drafted a set of seven demands the first item of which was that the Shah must issue an edict explicitly declaring Iran as a constitutional government.?The Shah initially refused to accept this demand. He argued that, "We are an Islamic government. Our reign must be Mashru?ah."?But the pressure of the deputies finally led the Shah to approve on the 27th of Zu?l-Hajjah/1907 that when the former "Shah's edict was issued and the establishment of the Majlis-i Shura-yi Milli was ordered, the government of Iran has joined the ranks of the Constitutional governments possessing a Kunstitusiyun."?The inclusion of the French word constitution instead of the commonly used mashruﬂah reveals the importance of language in the political struggle. The Shah abstained from the use of the concept of mashruﬂah because of the ambiguity of the concept and its contradictory usage among opponents of the state. For some, mashruﬂah meant a form of government under which the people were free and equal. Others viewed mashruﬂah as a conditional government based upon the Islamic Shari?ah.? It was this ambiguity which made possible the unified action of diverse forces such as merchants, clerics and intellectuals in the first place. In order to break up this alliance, it was suggested to the Shah that he should include the concept of Mashru?ah instead of Mashruﬂah. But this was also problematical for it would have empowered the clerics. So the Shah decided to use the concept of the constitution. instead of the controversial concept of mashruﬂah.
The debates in the Majlis over the drafting of Supplementary Fundamental Laws that included controversial issues such as the curbing of royal authority and the equality of all citizens, provided the terrain for the articulation of two distinct Mashruﬂah and Mashru?ah discourses. The Mashruﬂahkhvah's demanded a Mashruﬂah form of government and supported the formation of a Majlis-i Shura-yi Milli to legislate Qanun (law). For the Constitutionalist camp, "The goal of the oppressed Iranians' struggle has been to obtain the title of mashruﬂiyat (Constitutionalism) and of the National/Popular Assembly...The success of the Majlis depends on the legislation of Qanun. Qanun is the principle goal and demand of the oppressed Iranians . . . Any Iranian who wants the welfare of the country and comfort of his/her kind should shout 'We need Qanun. We demand the legislation of Qanun from the National Assembly [Majlis-i milli]."?In the Constitutionalist discourse the signifier millat did not signify the Shi?i people but the people of Iran. The rearticulation of millat in the Constitutionalist discourse expanded the realm of democratic rights. In theory, if not in practice, all citizens regardless of rank, order, and religious affiliation were constituted as equals. Jews, Christians, Armenians, Zoroastrians, and Muslims were viewed as members of the millat of Iran.????
Unlike the constitutionalists who moved towards a secular articulation of politics, the Mashru?ahkhvah's emphasized the importance of Islam as the legal basis of the society. In the anti-Constitutionalist discourse, because of the centrality of Islam, millat had a clearly religious definition.? The equality of Muslims and non-Muslims was viewed as a heretical stand. Shaykh Fazl'allah Nuri, the intellectual leader of the Mashru?ah camp, argued against the idea of equality as articulated by the Constitutionalists.? Pointing to the Mashruﬂahkhvahs he stated: "Oh you who lack integrity and honor, the founder of the Shari'a has granted you integrity and privileges because you belong to the [community of] Islam! But you disenfranchise yourself, and demand to be brother of and equal with Zoroastrians, Armenians, and Jews!"?Arguing against the conception of freedom (azadi),?which was a key element in the Constitutionalist discourse, Shaykh Fazl'allah stated that: "The strength of Islam is due to obedience and not to freedom. The basis of its legislation is the differentiation of groups and the summation of differences, and not equality."?
Equality of Muslims and non-Muslims and their articulation as the members of the same millat was one of the most controversial issues which rallied the clerics against constitutionalism. This issue became a crucial subject of discussion in a gathering for the election of the Majlis deputies in the city of Yazd, a city with a large Zoroastrian population. One of the clerics present in the session pointed out that: "We should not allow Zoroastrians to become dominant. I hear that one of the articles of the laws of the Majlis is equality. Zoroastrians must be wretched and held in contempt. According to reports, in other cities Zoroastrians ride horses, mules, and donkeys. They wear elegant and colorful clothes and hats. This behavior is against the Shari?ah. The Zoroastrians , even if they are wealthy, can only wear milla cotton garments."?Like Shaykh Fazl'allah Nuri, who is now celebrated by the leaders of the Islamic Republic as the vanguard of the Islamic movement, the ulama of Yazd shared the view that, "In Islam the verdict of equality is impossible."?
With the articulation of mashrutah as anti-Islamic, most of the clerics joined with Muhammad ?Ali Shah in the fight against Constitutionalism. The campaign against Constitutionalism was articulated as an attempt to "protect the citadel of Islam against the deviations willed by the heretics and the apostates."?The discursive articulation of Constitutionalism as anti-Islamic and the demand for an Islamic Majlis, instead of the Majlis-i Shura-yi Milli demanded by the Constitutionalists, resulted in an intensification of the antagonism between Islam and millat. As a result, the millat, an interpellative element signifying collective identity, gained the meaning of 'the people' of Iran with secular, national, and non-Islamic connotations. In response, the high ranking Shi?i clerics, who were sympathetic to Constitutionalism earlier, joined the Shah and set themselves the task of defending Islam from the onslaught of the "apostates, nihilists, socialists, and Baha'is," an ensemble of forces considered to be Constitutionalists.
The two camps of the Constitutionalists the Shari?atists clashed in the Civil war of June/July 1908. In the final clash the Constitutionalists captured Tihran, deposed the Shah, and executed some of the leading anti-Constitutionalists among them Shaykh Fazl'allah Nuri.?This seems to be the first time in the history of Iran that an orthodox Shi?i cleric was hanged from the gallows in public. This marked a radical departure from the past.
Periodicals provided a crucial site for the dissemination of political knowledge during the Constitutional movement. In 1324/1907 alone approximately 84 new newspapers began publication.?According to Muhammad ?Ali Khan Tarbiyat's study the total number of Persian newspapers and journals published up to 1911 approximate 371 titles. One of the most important publications of this period was Majlis which published the proceedings of the National Consultative Assembly. With a circulation of 7000 to 10,000 it was one of the most widely read journals in Iran. Another widely circulated newspaper was Sur-i Israfil which had a circulation of 5000 to 5500. Sur-i Israfil was by far the most influential Constitutionalist newspaper. Edited by Jahangir Khan Shirazi, Mirza Qasim Tabrizi and ?Ali Akbar Dihkhuda, "[i]t is reckoned one of the best of the Persian papers, old and new, and in particular the comic or satirical portion, entitled Charand Parand ("Charivari"), is the best specimen of literary satire in Persian."?As the selected list below indicates, the title of most periodicals published in this period reflected Constitutionalist hopes and ideals: Adamiyat (Humanity), Azad (Free), Azadi (Freedom), Azadi chah chiz ast (What is freedom), IttiHad (Unity), Ittifaq (Concord), Ittifaq-i Kargaran (Worker's Union), Ukhuvvat (Fraternity), Istiqlal-i ?ran (Independence of Iran), IslaH (Reform), Umid-i Taraqqi (Hope of Progress), Anjuman (Council), Anjuman-i Asnaf (Council of Guilds), Anjuman-i Milli-i Vilayati-i Gilan (Popular Provincial Council of Gilan), Insaniyyat (Humanity), ?ran, ?ran-i Naw (New Iran), ?ran-i Navin (Modern Iran), Bidari (Awakening), Paykar (Struggle), Tarbiyyat (Education), Taraqqi (Progress), Tafakkur (Thought), Tamaddun (Civilization), Jarchi-yi Millat (The People's Herald), Jarchi-i Vaﬂan (The Nation's Herald), Jaridah-?i Milli (The National Magazine), Hurriyat (Liberty), Huquq (Rights), Haqiqat (The Truth), Danish (Knowledge), Divan-i ?Adalat (The Court of Justice), Ruznamah-?i Milli (The National Journal), Zaban-i Millat (The People's Tongue), Shura-yi ?ran (The Council of Iran), SubH-i Sadiq (The True Dawn), Sur-i Israfil (The Trumpet-call of Israfil), ?Adalat (Justice), ?Asr-i Jadid (The New Age), Fikr-i Istiqbal (The Thought of the Future), Majlis (The Assembly), Musavat (Equality), Nalah-?i Millat (The People's Cry), Najat-i Vaﬂan (The Nation's Salvation), Nida-yi Vaﬂan (The Nation's Call), and Vaﬂan (Nation).?As it is evident from this partial list Millat and Vaﬂan were among the popular periodical titles. Some other titles reflected Constitutionalist ideals such as "justice," "equality," "freedom," "rights," and "assembly." These concepts, which were among the most frequently used in the newspapers and publications of this period,? introduced the basic elements of constitutional discourse.
The journals published during this period marked a change in the Persian literary tradition. What had began earlier as an attempt to simplify the Persian prose, became the working paradigm of constitutionalist newspapers. With the emergence of the millat into the political arena, the sharp distinction between the written and spoken language began to disappear. The spoken language found its way into these journals. Simplification of the written language strengthened the struggle for political democratization. The communication barrier between the educated elite and the illiterate masses began to be removed.? With the Constitutional Revolution, the Persian language which was underdeveloped in social and political spheres, began a process of transformation and modernization. What the purists hoped to do through the revitalization of forgotten terms and concepts was made possible through the use of colloquial phrases and the construction of new terms to express new experiences.? Persian poetry likewise left the royal palace and entered the streets and work-places. Revolutionary songs replaced the panagyric poetry of previous times. The praising of the Shah and courtiers was replaced by the glorification of the millat, vaﬂan and Azadi. The poets of this period seem to have followed the new guideline for poetic expression set by Adib al-Mamalik Farahani who suggested that the love of vaﬂan (nation) should be replaced with that of the beloved.?Poets such as Shaybani, Bahar, ?raj Mirza, Adib Pishavari, Adib Nayshaburi, ?Ali Akbar Dihkhuda, ?Arif, ?Ishqi, Lahuti and Farrukhi, established a new paradigm for poetic expression by emphasizing social and national themes.?
Another interesting development during the Constitutional period was the establishment of a large number of libraries in Tihran and other major cities.?Among the reading-rooms established in Tihran were: Kitabkhanah-?i Milli-i Markazi (1316/1898), Qira?atkhanah-?i vaﬂaniyah (1325/1907) Kitabkhanah-?i Milli (est. 1324/1906), Qira?at khanah-?i Vaﬂaniyah (1325/1907), Qira?at khanah-?i Jamaliyah (1328/1910), Qira?at khanah-?i ?ran (1328/1910). Some of the reading-rooms established in other cities included: Qira?at khanah-?i Sa?adat-i Mashhad (1325/1907), Qira?at khanah-?i MuHammarah (1327/1909), Qira?at khanah-?i Shuja? al-Sadat-i Shiraz (1327/1909), Qira?at khanah-?i Danish-i Kirman (1327/1908), Qira?at khanah-?i Anjuman-i Javid-i Bandar ?Abbas (1325/197), Qira?at khanah-?i Khalq-i Kirmanshah (1327/1909), Qira?at khanah-?i Milli-i Rasht (1327/1909) Qira?at khanah-?i Najat (1327/1909), and Qira?at khanah-?i Vaﬂaniyah-?i Hamadan (1328/1910). These reading-rooms functioned as both educational and political establishments.? Some reading-rooms offered language and science classes. For example Qira?at khanah-?i Vaﬂaniyah which belonged to the Democratic Party offered Persian, Arabic, Turkish, French, English, and Science classes. It also offered literacy classes to the city police. Of course these libraries were also an important gathering place for people with the same political views and organizational affiliations. These reading rooms, which lasted for a short period of time, provided the basis for the development of National and Public libraries in the years after the revolution.??
With the rise of revolutionary committees and councils the basis for the emergence of new forms of political organization was established.?During this period, over fifty five anjumans (societies) and committees were formed. Among these anjumans some such as Adamiyat, Azadi, IttiHad va taraqqi, Inqilab and Milli were organized around ideological and political ideals. Some anjumans such as Azarbayjan, Isfahan, Tabriz, Shiraz, Fars, Gilan, Rasht, Khalkhal, and Kirmanshahan were provincial organizations entering to national political life for the first time. This was a radical departure from the paternalistic and tribal forms of alliance prevalent in the pre-Constitutional period. These Committees and anjumans provided the basis for the emergence of political parties during the second Majlis.?Among the political parties appearing in that period are: Hizb-i Ittifaq va Taraqqi (Party of Union and Progress), Hizb-i Ijtima?iyun-i I?tidaliyun (Social Democratic Party), Hizb-i IslaHiyun-i ?Ammiyun (Social Reformist Party), Hizb-i Dimukrat (Democratic Party), and Hizb-i Taraqqi'khvahan-i Libiral (Liberal Progressive Party). These parties remained important forces in Iran's parliamentary experience for some time.
The Constitutionalist movement made possible the construction of a new identity which no longer was based primarily on Islam. This was made possible by attempts to simplify and purify the Persian language and revitalize pre-Islamic history. The emphasis on pre-Islamic history, myths, and symbols provided the basis for the transition of the meaning of millat from a predominantly religious to a relatively secular interpellative category.? The division of the political space into antagonistic camps of millat and dawlat also made possible the subversion of the political discourse organized around the twinship of the state and religion. Consequently the Constitutional Rupture made possible the political isolation of the clergy, the increasing secularization of politics, and the strengthening of cultural modernism.?
By breaking away from a religious political imaginary, the constitutional movement led to the shaping of a new political imaginary. "The people" as a new social agent and political imaginary not only isolated the clerics but also seriously curtailed the power and prerogatives of the Shah, the Shadow of God on Earth. The millat was constituted as a new source of sovereignty. The Majlis, representing the will of the people, became a new component of the state. Legislation become a prerogative of the Majlis. Qanun came to replace the Shari?ah.? The control of the clerics over the affairs of the state was curbed drastically. While in the Supplementary Law a committee of five Mujtahids were designated to oversee that the laws passed in the Majlis corresponded with the Shari?a, in actuality the committee never met. The secularizing effects of the revolution brought to an end a chapter of the ?ulama's domination of political life in Iran.
Firuz Kazemzadeh, Russia and Britain in Persia, 1864-1914: A Study of Imperialism (New Heaven: Yale University, 1968), pp. 5-6.
Ann K. Lambton, "Persia: Breakdown of Society," The Cambridge History of Islam, ed. P. M. Holt, A. Lambton and B. Lewis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 1: 339-440.
Mujtaba Minuvi, "Avvalin karvan-i ma?rifat," Yaghma 6, shumarah 5 (Murdad l332 [July/Aug. l953]): l84-l85.
Faraydun Adamiyat, Fikr-i azadi va muqaddamah-?i nahˇat-i mashrutiyat (Tihran: Intisharat-i Sukhan, 1340 ): 36; idem, Amir Kabir va Iran (Tihran: Intisharat-i Khvarazmi, 1348 ): 363. Consering the establishment of the first printing press see: Yahya Aryanpur, Az Saba ta Nima : tarikh-i 150 sal-i adab-i Farsi (Tihran: Amir Kabir, 1357 ), pp. 228-234.
Muhammad MuHiﬂ ﬁabaﬂaba?i, "Dar al-Funun va Amir Kabir," in Amir Kabir va Dar al-Funun, ed. Qudrat Allah Rawshani Za?faranlu (Tihran: Danishgah-i Tihran, 1354 ), pp. 186-187.
Unfortunatly Dar al-Funun was inaugurated 13 days before the execution of Amir Kabir on Jan. 10, 1952.
On Ottoman educational reform which was the guiding principle for Amir Kabir see: Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, 2nd ed. ( London: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp. 83-84, 113-114; Robert Ward and Dankwart Rustow, Political Modernization in Japan and Turkey (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964), pp. 213-214.
ﬁabaﬂaba?i, "Dar al-Funun va Amir Kabir," p. 188.
The teachers were mostly recruited from Austria and not from Russia or England. Among the first group of teachers who came to Tihran were Zattie, Gumones, Kreziz, Nemiro, Carnotta, and Polak. Among the teachers recruited for the school Edward Jacob Polak, the medical teacher and the author of the Persian des Land und seine Bewohner is the most famous. For a list of the teachers see: Adamiyat, Amir Kabir va Iran, pp. 353-361.
ﬁabaﬂaba?i, "Dar al-Funun va Amir Kabir," p. 191.
On the relation of Dar al-Funun and the University of Tihran see: Danishgah-i Tihran, Rahnama-yi Danishgah-?i Tihran (Tihran: Daftar-i Muﬂala?at-i Amuzishi-i Danishgah-?i Tihran, 1353 ), pp. 7-12.
Murtaza Ravandi, Sayr-i Farhang va tarikh-i ta?lim va tarbiyat dar Iran va Urupa (Tihran: Nashr-i Guya, 1364 ), p. 104.
For an incomplete list of the publications and translations by the faculty and students of Dar al-Funun see: Edward G. Browne, The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia (Cambridge: University Press, 1914), pp. 157-166. Also see: Adamiyat, Amir Kabir va Iran, pp. 372-377. For a list of medical texts translated into Persian see: Mahmud Najm'abadi, "ﬁibb-i Dar al-Funun va kutub-i darsi-i an," in Amir Kabir va Dar al-Funun, pp. 202-237.
One this issue see: Muhammad Riˇa Fashahi, "Nahˇat-i Tarjumah dar ?ahd-i Qajariyah," Nigin 9, no. 97 (1973): 18-25, 58; idem, "Nahˇat-i Tarjumah dar ?ahd-i Qajariyah," Nigin 9, no. 98 (1973): 29-33,55-58); Davud Navvabi, Tarikhchah-?i tarjumah-?i Fransah bih Farsi dar Iran az aghaz ta kunun (Tihran: Kaviyan, 1363/1984).
Joh. L. Schlimmer, Terminologie medico-pharmaceutique et anthropologique Fran硩se-Persane (Tihran: Lithographie d'Ali Goulikhan, 1874). For a description of Medicine in the curiculum of the school see: Najm'abadi, "ﬁibb-i Dar al-Funun va kutub-i darsi-i an," in Dar al-Funun va Amir Kabir, pp. 216-217.
ﬁabaﬂaba?i, "Dar al-Funun va Amir Kabir," pp. 192-193.
Jan Rypka, History of Iranian Literature (Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1968), pp. 312-313.
Marshall Hodgson, The Venture of Islam: The Gunpowder Empires and Modern Times (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1974), p. 37.
Iskandar Bayg Turkman, Tarikh-i ?Alam ara-yi ?Abbasi (Tihran: Amir Kabir, 1314 ), 1: 2.
On the development of "New Style" poetry in the Safavid period see: ?abiH'allah Safa, Tarikh-i adabiyat dar Iran, 3: 521-575.
Safa, Tarikh-i adabiyat dar Iran, 5: 531-538.
MuHammd Riˇa Shafi?i Kadkani, "Persian Literature (Belles-Lettres) from the Time of Jami to the Present," in History of Persian Literature: From the Beginning of the Islamic Period to the Present Day, ed. George Morrison (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1981), p. 167.
It is not clear when the label of Sabk-i Hindi was developed. But Malik al- Shu?ara Bahar seems to be among the the leading scholars of Persian literature who contributed to the the establishment of this label.
For reevaluation of this view see: Kadkani, "Persian Literature (Belles-Lettres) from the Time of Jami to the Present," p. 167. Also see: Safa, Tarikh-i adabiyat dar Iran, 3: 511-575.
For an interesting revaluation of the "Return Movevement" see: Ghulam ?Ali Ra?di Azarakhshi, "Darbarah-?i sabkha-yi shi?r-i Farsi va nahˇat-i bazgasht," in Namvarah-?i Duktur Mahmud-i Afshar, ed. Iraj Afshar and Karim Isfahaniyan (Tihran: Majmu?ah-?i Intisharat-i Adabi va Tarikhi, 1364 ), 1: 73-112.
Rypka, History of Iranian Literature, p. 323.
Nostalgia for the classical literature was also an important component of both Arab and Trukish nationalism. On this point S. Moreh writes, "The return to classical Arabic sources seems to have been inevitable especially among Muslim poets and writers not only because it suited admirably the poetry of the court and of religious and national revival (being a genre suitable for addressing rulers and crowds from a platform) but also to emphasize their cultural identity by recalling its glorious and profound classical heritage. This seemed to them the best answer to the alien European literature and the invading and aggressive Christian civilization of the West." See: S. Moreh "The Neoclassical Qasida: Modern Poets and Critics," in Arabic Poetry: Theory and Development, ed. G. E. von Grunebaum (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1973), p. 156. This article was brought to my attention by Paul Losensky.
For a list Shahnamahs printed in the 19th century see: Iraj Afshar, Kitabshinasi-i Shahnamah (Tihran: Anjuman-i Asar-i Milli, 1347 ), pp. 191-199.
For a valuable study of popular recitations see: Muhammad Ja?far Mahjub, "Sukhanvari," Sukhan 9, no. 6 (Shahrivar 1337/1958): 530-535; idem, "Sukhanvari," Sukhan 9, no. 7 (1337/1958): 631-637; idem, "Sukhanvari," Sukhan 9, no. 8, (1337 ): 779-786. Also see: Bahram Bayza?i, "Namayish dar Iran: Naqqali," Majallah-?i musiqi 3, no. 66 (1341 ): 15-33; Mary Ellen Page, "Professional Storytelling in Iran: Transmission and Practice," Iranian Studies 12 (Summer 1979): 195-215.
AHmad Divan Baygi, Hadiqat al-Shu?ara (Tihran: Intisharat-i Zarrin, 1364 ), pp. 425-427.
For a useful study of Shahnamah khvani see: Husayn Lisan, "Shahnamah khvani," Hunar va mardum 14, shumarah 159/160 (Day/Bahman 1354 ): 2-16.
Muhammad Ibrahim Bastani Parizi, "Shahnamah akhirash khush ast," Nay-i haft band (Tihran: ?Aﬂa?i, 1353 ), pp. 259-373.
Quoted in Lisan, "Shahnamah khvani," Hunar va Mardum 14, shumarah 160 (Bahman 1354/): 15. Also see: FatH al-Din Fatahi, Safar namah-?i Mirza Fatah Khan Garmrudi bi-Urupa, ed. FatH al-Din Fattahi (Tihran: Bank-i Bazargani-i Iran, 1347 ), p. 919.
On this point see: Malik al-Shu?ara Bahar, Sabk shinasi: tarikh-i taﬂavvur-i nasr-i Farsi (Tihran: Khudkar, 1337 ), 3: 348.
For influence of Firdawsi on Visal see his Bazm-i Visal.
According to Iraj Afshar, Davari's copy was in the possession of Farah Pahlavi and was held in her personal library. See his "Shahnamah, az khaﬂﬂi ta chapi," Hunar va Mardum 14, shumarah 162 (1354 ): 24.
For Davari's introduction see: Mahdi Hamidi, Shi?r dar ?asr-i Qajar (Tihran: Ganj-i Kitab, 1364), pp. 210-215.
Ibid, p. 175.
Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani, Ayinah-?i Sikandari (Tihran: [n. p.], 1324 ), p. 14.
The alternative title bears the name of ?Abd al-Husayn Mirza Farmanfarma Salar Lashkar who sponsored the publication of Namah-'i Bastan in 1316 in Shiraz. On this point see: Na˙im al-Islam Kirmani, Tarikh-i bidari-i Iraniyan: muqaddamah, ed. ?Ali Akbar Sa?idi Sirjani (Tihran: Intisharat-i Bunyad-i Farhang-i Iran, 1346 ), pp. 175-188.
With some minor changes in translation, see: Edward G. Brown, The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia (Cambridge: the University Press, 1914): xxxv. For the Persian original see: Na˙im al-Islam Kirmani, Tarikh-i bidari-i Iraniyan (Tihran: Intisharat-i Agah, 1362/1983), 1: 222-223.
Mirza FatH ?Ali Akhundzadah, Maktubat, ed. M. Suhdam [Mahjub] ([Paris]: Mard-i Imruz, 1364 ), pp. 33-35.
Mahdi Ikhvan Salis, Bid?at va badayi?-i Nima Yushij (Tihran: Intisharart-i Tuka, 1357/1978), p. 22.
Bahar, Sabk shinasi, 3: 361. Also see: Shakoor Ahsan, Modern Trends in the Persian Language (Islamabad: Iran-Pakistan Institute for Persian Studies, 1976), p. 34.
For a valuable study of Qa?im Maqam's style of writing see: ?Abbas Zaryab Khu?i, "Sukhani darbarah-?i munsha?at-i Qa?im Maqam," in Namvarah-?i Duktur Mahmud-i Afshar, ed. Iraj Afshar (Tihran: Intisharat-i Adabi va Tarikhi, 1366 ), 3: 1433-1455. It should be noted that prior to Qa?im Maqam, ?Abd al-Razzaq Dunbuli (1167/1753-1242/1826) had interest in simplification of historical narrative. For example see his Ma?asir-i Sulﬂaniyah (Tihran: Abu ?Ali, 1351/972). This book which was printed in Tabriz in 1241/1825 was among the first printed materials in Iran.
Mirza Muhammad Khan Sinki Majd al-Mulk, Risalah-?i Majdiyah, in Bist sal ba?d az Amir Kabir, ed. ?Ali Amini (Tihran: Iqbal, 1358/1979).
Muhammad ?Ali Ghawsi, "Nadir Mirza va tarikh-i Tabriz," Yadgar 5 (1965): 15-26.
Mirza ?Ali Khan Amin al-Dawlah, Khaﬂirat-i siyasi-i Mirza ?Ali Khan Amin? al-Dawalah, ed. Hafi˙ Farmanfarmayan (Tihran: Kitabha-yi Iran, 1341 ).
Ibid, p. 5.
For a collection of Yaghma's writings see: Abu al-Hasan Yaghma Jandaqi, Majmu?ah-?i asar-i Yaghma Jandaqi: Makatib va munsha?at, vol. 2, ed. ?Ali Al-i Davud (Tihran: Intisharat-i Tus, 1362 ).
Abu al-Hasan Yaghma Jandaqi, Kulliyat-i Yaghma Jandaqi (Tihran: Ibn Sina), p. 49; Aryanpur, Az Saba ta Nima, p. 114.
For example in a poem he writes:
The week of rancor, the month of evil,
the year of falsehood, the century of hypocrisy,
Blood spilled, property lost.
Night of sorrow, day of injustice,
evening of pain, morn of mourning
Blood spilled, property lost.
Calamity wakeful, security asleep,
enemies lying in wait. Marauders in ambush.
No guards in the marketplace, tables all set,
plunder [Yaghma] is the order
Blood spilled, property lost.
Traslated by Ahmad Karimi Hakkak, "The Idea of the Modern in the Literary History of Iran," (unpublished manuscript, Seattle, Washington), p. 11. For Persian original see: Aryanpur, Az Saba ta Nima, p. 126.
It is important to point out the Qa?ani's translation of this text was not as voluntary an act as is presented by Yahya Aryanpur (Az Saba ta Nima, p. 100). It is reported that after Amir Kabir was appointed to replace Mirza Aghasi as the prime minister, the panegyrist Qa?ani wrote an exulting poem for him. Concerning the replacement of his close friend and ally with Mirza Taqi Amir Kabir, he wrote: Bih ja-yi ˙alimi shaqi nishastah ?adili Taqi, kih mu?minan-i muttaqi kunand iftakharha (In place of a vicious oppressor, has sat a just and virtuous Taqi, and the pious believers are boastful). When Amir Kabir heard this poem he ordered to discontinue Qa?ani's salary and have him bastinadoed for lying. Amir Kabir is reported to have responded to Qa?ani that if this is true why did you praise that vicious oppressor. This seems to have been one of the rare occasions when a poet is punished for praising a ruler. With intervention of I?tiˇad al-Salﬂanah, Qa?ani was excused. Amir Kabir was also asked to reinstate Qa?ani's salary. Amir Kabir asked if Qa?ani knew any other art besides poetry. He told him that the poet knew some French. Consequently, Amir Kabir ordered Qa?ani to translate a French text on botany for his weekly salary. On this important incident which seems to be a turning point in the social position of poets in Iran see: Muhammad Ibrahim Bastani Parizi, "Chihrah-?i Amir Kabir dar Adab-i Parsi," in Amir Kabir va Dar al-Funun, pp. 33-35.
Rypka, History of Iranian Literature, p. 330.
Yaghma Jandaqi, Majmu?ah-?i asar, 2: p. 85; idem, Kulliyat (Tihran: Ufsit, 1339/1960), p. 56.
For example see: John R. Perry, "Language Reform in Turkey and Iran," International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 17 (1985): 295-301.
For a sample of Tabrizi's writing in pure Persian see his letter to Napoleon: Farhad Mirza, Zanbil (Tihran: Kalalah-?i Khawar, 1345 ), pp. 26-32.
For a sample of Farhad Mirza's pure Persian writing see: Zanbil, pp. 364-379.
See his Hadiqat al-Shu?ara (Tihran: Intisharat-i Zarrin, 1365/1987).
Bagishlu served in Constantinople as the Charg蠤?Affaires and Counsellor of Iran. He is the author of controversial essays Alifba-yi Bihruzi and Piruz-i nigarish-i Parsi. For more detail see: Hasan Taqizadah, "Luzum-i Hif˙-i Farsi-i fasiH," Yadgar 5, shumarah 6 (Isfand 1326/Feb. 1948): 14.
?Ali Khan Amin al-Dawlah, Khaﬂirat-i siyasi, ed. Hafi˙ Farmanfarmayan (Tihran: Kitabha-yi Iran, 1962), p. 5.
Riˇa Quli Khan Hidayat, Farhang-i Anjuman Ara-yi Nasiri (Tihran: Kargah-i ?Ali'quli Khan, 1288 ), p. .
Dasatir is claimed to be a "collection of the writings of the different Persian Prophets, who flourished from the time of Mahabad to the time of the fifth Sasan, being fifteen in number, of whom Zerdusht or Zoroaster was the thirteenth and the fifth Sasan the last" (The Desatir or Sacred Writings of the Persian Prophets [Bombay: Courier Press, 1818], p. iii). The Dasatir was collected by Mulla Firuz and was taken to India during the reign of Shah ?Abbas. This text included a glossary of older Persian terms. Scholars such as Purdavvud question the authenticity of the Dasatir. It should be noted that Dabistan-i Maˇahib also flourished during the same period with similar claims. These attempts seem to be a important component of the contestation for the construction of self identity in Iran. The focus on pre-Islamic religious makes sense in the context of the Safavids' policy of establishing Shi?ism as the religion of the state in Iran.
Ibrahim Pur Davud, "Dasatir," in Burhan-i Qaﬂi? (Tihran: Amir Kabir, 1362/1983), 1: lii-liii.
At end of this book there appears an essay on the problems of the scripts and the suggestiuons for its reform.
It is important to point out that Mirza Habib is the first individual using the concept of dastur for grammar. His writings on grammar are historicaly important for he tries to formulate the rules of Persian language without being constrained by the traditional categories of Arabic grammer.
This book was written as a text book for Dar al-Funun and was published in 1316/1898.
Faraydun Adamiyat, Andishah'ha-yi Mirza Aqa Khan-i Kirmani (Tihran: Payam, 1357 ), p. 162.
Kirmani, Ayinah-'i Sikandari, p. 118.
On Bigishlu's view on the reform of Persian alphabet see his Alifba-yi Bihruzi which is written in pure Persian.
Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, 2nd ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1969), p. 428.
Mirza FatH ?Ali Akhundzadah, Maqalat, ed. Baqir Mu?mini (Tihran: Ava, 1351/1972), p. 187.
Ibid, p. 193.
Letter to Mirza Muhammad Rafi? Sadr al-?Ulama (18 MuHarram 1129), appearing in Maqalat, p. 205.
Faraydun Adamiyat, Andishah'ha-yi ﬁalibuf-i Tabrizi, 2nd ed. (Tihran: Damavand, 1363 ), p. 85.
For a valuable study of the Constitutionalist literature see: Yahya Aryanpur, Az Saba ta Nima; E. G. Browne, The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia.
According to Michel Focault, "Having become a dense and consistent historical reality, language forms the locus of tradition, of the unspoken habit of thought, of what lies hidden in a people's mind; it accumulates an ineluctable memory which does not even know itself as memory" (Order of Things : An Archaeology of the Human Sciences [New York: Vintage Books, 1973], p. 297).
Bernard Lewis introduces Shaykh Musa's ?Ishq va Salﬂanat which was published in 1326/1908 as the first history of pre-Islamic Iran written in the modern Iran. (History: Remembered, Recovered, Invented [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975], p. 10). This is not accurate. In the late 19th century a number of writers treated the pre-Islamic period, the most important of which are Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani's Ayinah-?i Sikandari, Jalal al-Din Mirza's Namah-'i Khusravan, Muhammad Sadiq Tusirkani's Tarikh-i Salaﬂin-i Sasani, and Sani? al-Dawlah's Tarikh-i Ashkan.
Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani, Ayinah-'i Sikandari, p. 17.
Ibid, p. 9.
It should be pointed out that Persian chauvinism became a component of the new secular political strategy. This anti-Arab tendency was to some degree similar to the Shu?ubiyah movement which had developed as a reaction to the Muslim conquest of Iran. Concerning the Shu?ubiyah movement see: H. A. R. Gibb, "The Social Significance of the Shu?ubiyya," in Studia Orientalia Janni Pedersen dicata (Copenhagen, 1953), pp. 105-114. Also see: Husayn ?Ali Mumtahin, Nahˇat-i Shu?ubiyah: Junbish-i Milli-i Iraniyan dar barabar-i Khilafat-i Umavi va ?Abbasi (Tihran: Amir Kabir, 1975); ?Abd al-Husayn Zarrinkub, Du qarn sukut (Tihran: Amir Kabir, 1957).
Mirza FatH ?Ali Akhundzadah, Maktubat-i Mirza FatH ?Ali Akhundzadah, ed. M. SubHdam (Paris: Mard-i Imruz, 1364 [l985]), pp. 20-21.
In the mirror for princes, Anushirvan, the Sasanian King, is viewed as a just ruler.
Letter to Mirza Malkum Khan dated 15 Jumada I, 1311, quoted in Faraydun Adamiyat, Andishah'ha-yi Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani, p. 55.
Kirmani, Ayanah-'i Sikandari, p. 14.
Ibid, p. 17.
Adamiyat, Andishah'ha-yi Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani, p. 154-155.
According to Mumtahin al-Dawlah, Mirza Shaykh ?Ali and Mirza Muﬂﬂalib assisted Jalal al-Din in the writing of Namah-'i Khusravan. See: Mumtahin al-Dawlah, Khaﬂirat-i Mumtahin al-Dawlah, 2nd ed. (Tihran: Intisharat-i Firdawsi, 1362 ), p. 264.
Akhundzadah to Jalal al-Din Mirza, 15 June 1870 in Alifba-yi Jadid va Maktubat, p. 172; quoted in Hamid Algar, Mirza Malkum Khan, p. 92.
Dust ?Ali Khan Mu?ayyir al-Mamalik, Rijal-i ?asr-i Nasiri (Tihran: Nashr-i Tarikh-i Iran, 136 ), p. 54.
Mirza FatH ?Ali Akhundzadah, Maqalat, ed. Baqir Mu?mini (Tihran: Intisharat-i Ava, 1351 ), p. 44-45.
Ibid, p. 45.
A few years after the Constitutional revolution, a group of Constitutionalists exiled to Europe began to publish a newspaper with the title of Kavah. The title page of this news paper, the first issue of which was issued on January 24, 1916, bears an icon of the popular movement led by Kavah. Another post-constitutionalist newspaper was named Dirafsh-i Kaviyan.
Kirmani, Ayinah-?i Sikandari, pp. 75-76.
The first issue of this newspaper was published on Monday, 25 MuHarram, 1253/1839. Concering the establishment of the first printing press see: Aryanpur, Az Saba ta Nima, pp. 228-234. Also see: ?Ali Mushiri, "Avvalin ruznamah-'i Irani," Sukhan 14, shumarah 7 (1342 ): 609-611; ?Abbas Iqbal, "Nukhustin ruznamah-?i Farsi-i chapi dar Iran," Yadgar 1, shumarah 3 (1323 ): 49-59; Mahmud Nafisi, "Sayr-i tahavvul-i maﬂbu?at dar Iran," Kitab-i Sukhan 1 (Zimistan 1364 [Winter 1985/86]): 222-230.
Mirza Salih Shirazi, Majmu?ah-?i safarnamah'ha-yi Mirza SaliH, ed. Ghulam Husayn Mirza Salih (Tihran: Nashr-i Tarikh-i Iran, 1364 ), p. 289.
I?lam namah ist kih bijahat-i istiHˇar-i sakinin-i mamalik-i mahrusah-?i Iran qalami va tazkirah minamayad. Cited in: G?u?il Kuhan, Tarikh-i Sansur dar maﬂbu?at-i Iran (Tihran: Intisharat-i Agah, 1363 ), 2: 14.
The first issue of this newspaper was called "Ruznamchah-?i Akhbar-i Dar? al-Khilafah-?i ﬁihran." Hajji Mirza Jabbar Tazkirahchi was the editor of this newspaper. Mirza Jabbar was the founder of the Glass Company in Iran.
According to Isma?il Riˇvani Ruznamah-'i Rasmi-yi Kishvar, which is the official gazette of the government of Iran published by the Ministry of Justice, is the continuation of this newspaper. See: Muhammad Isma?il Riˇvani, "Ruznamah nigari dar ?ahd-i Amir Kabir," in Amir Kabir va Dar al-Funun, p. 154.
Browne, The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia, p. 58.
Amir Kabir was a member of the delegation which was sent to Russia to apologize for the death of Gribidov at the hands of the protestors in Tihran in 1244/1828-1829.
This conference was held from 1254/1844-1263/1848. For a description of the conference see: Ja'far Mushir al-Dawlah, Risalah-'i tahqiqat-i sarhaddiyah (Tihran: Bunyad-i Farhang-i Iran, 1348), p. 38. Also see: Guity Nashat, The Origin of Modern Reform in Iran, 1870-80 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982), p. 18a.
Husayn Mahbubi Ardakani, "Rabiﬂah-?i Amir Kabir ba rijal-i ?asr-i khud," in Amir Kabir va Dar al-Funun, p. 196.
Nashat, The Origins of Modern Reform in Iran, p. 27.
M. Le Comte de Gobineau, Les Religions et les philosophies dans L'Asie Centrale (Paris: Librairie Academique, 1866), pp. 132-134.
Muhammad Hasan Khan I?timad al-Salﬂanah, Yak pardah az asrar-i inHiﬂaﬂ-i Iran ya Khvabnamah (Tihran: Intisharat-i Tuka, 1357 ), pp. 97-98.
Nashat, The Origins of Modern Reforms in Iran, p. 96.
Mukhbir al-Salﬂanah was instrumental for the development of the telegraphic connection between Tihran, Tabriz, and Sulaymaniyah. See: Mirza Muhammad Hasan Khan I?timad al-Salﬂanah, al-Ma?asir va al-Asar (Tihran: 1306 ), p. 93.
For a useful introduction to his works and thoughts see: Ali Barzegar, "Mehdi Qoli Hedayat: A Conservative of the Qajar Era," Iranian Studies 20 (1987): 55-76.
Writing after the death of I?timad al-Salﬂanah, Mirza Ghulam Husayn Afˇal al-Mulk states that during the Nasiri Era he "prevented the growth of Science, art, and knowledge, and the national and state developments" (Afˇal al-Tavarikh [Tihran: Nashr-i Tarikh-i Iran, 1982], p. 286).
For a study of ﬁalibuf's works see: Adamiyat, Andishah'ha-yi ﬁalibuf-i Tabrizi.
For a valuable study of Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani's life see: Adamiyat, Andishah'ha-yi Mirza Aqa Khan-i Kirmani.
Hamid Algar, Mirza Malkum Khan: A Biographycal Study In Iranian Modernism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973). Also see: Firishtah Nura?i, Tahqiq dar afkar-i Mirza Malkum Khan Na˙im al-Dawlah (Tihran: Amir Kabir, 1352 ); Isma?il Ra?in, Mirza Malkum Khan: zindigi va kushish'ha-yi u (Tihran: Safi?alishah, 1350 ).
Qanun (pl. qavanin) was borrowed from Greeks (kanon) by the Arabs during the early period of Islam. The meaning of qanun had changed from a fiscal term to a legal term signifying man-made constitutions and laws in the nineteenth century. For a detailed explanation see: Ami Ayalon, Language and Change in the Arab Middle East: The Evolution of Modern Arabic Political Discourse (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 86-88.
It is important to note that Yusuf Khan served as the charg蠤'affairs in Paris from 1866 to 1870.
In the above mentioned letter, which was written in 1867, Musﬂafa Faˇil argued that constitutional government is the only legitimate government. See: Niyazi Berkes, The Development of Secularism in Turkey (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1964), pp. 208-209.
Faraydun Adamiyat, Fikr-i Azadi va muqaddamah-?i nahˇat-i mashruﬂiyat (Tihran: Instisharat-i Sukhan, 1340 ), p. 187.
Ibid, pp. 187-188.
Ibid, p. 188.
Quoted by Adamiyat in Fikr-i Azadi, p. 186.
Qanun?2 (Sha?ban 1308 [22 Mar. 1890]): 3.
This particular letter in which he refers to Constitution was written in 1284/1867. See: Adamiyat, Fikr-i Azadi, p. 66.
Berkes, The Development of Secularism, pp. 232-234. The term shura is used in the Qur?an on a few occassions. It is important to point out that the ambiguity of the term me?veret led to its use by both secular and Islamic Constitutionalists. According to Berkes during Abdul Hamid's reigin, "nobody did defend absolutism; everyone was for the reign of me?veret. The Kur'an was used now not to reject the constitutional regime, but to reject the kind of constitutional regime that the constitutionalists claimed to have discovered existing in the Kur'an" (The Development of Secularism in Turkey, p. 239).
Ali Amin al-Dawlah, Khaﬂirat-i siyasiyi Amin al-Dawlah, ed. H. Farmanfarmayan (Tihran: Kitabha-yi Iran, 1341 ), p. 52; cited in Nashat, The Origins of Modern Reform in Iran, p. 91.
The protest against the Tobacco monopoly was first organized by merchants of Tihran in Rajab 1308. For a valuable contribution to the study of this movement see: Faraydun Adamiyat, Shurish bar imtiyaz namah-'i Rizhi (Tihran : Intisharat-i Payam, 1360 ). For a different interpretation of these events see: N. Keddie, Religion and Rebellion in Iran: The Tobacco Protest of 1891-1892 (London: Cass, 1966).
A widely distributed flyer read: "Damn those ?ulama who do not cooperate with the millat . . . We will kill any of the clerics who do not support the people" (Adamiyat, Shurish bar imtiyaz namah-?i Rizhi, p. 34).
In Shiraz, for example, the protest was directed not against the government but the Mujtahids. The protestors refused to go to the mosque, and prevented the Mujtahids from doing so as well. According to a Shirazi merchant named Mirza Shafi?, since the ?ulama did not want to act against the demands of their followers, "they are not going to the Mosque . . . Sometimes they argue that if they go, there will be no follower to pray behind them. Some other times they argue that is because tobacco is rented to Europeans" (Adamiyat, Shurish bar imtiyaz namah-?i Rizhi, p. 20).
Adamiyat, Shurish bar imtiyaz namah-?i Rizhi, p. 104.
Sheikh Djemal ed-Din , "The Reign of Terror in Persia," Contemporary Review 60 (Feb. 1892): 243. Also see: Ervand Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), p. 65.
Hasan Karbala?i, Qarardad-i Rizhi 1890 m. ya tarikh-i inHisar-i dukhaniyat dar sal-i 1309 h. q. (Tihran: Intisharat-i Mubarizan, 1361 ), p. 138.
Kar va bazar-i shari?a va ahali az naw ravaj girift (Karbala?i, Qarardad-i Rizhi, pp. 152-153).
See the valuable introduction of Huma Naﬂiq to the reprint edition of Ruznamah-'i Qanun (Tihran: Amir Kabir, 2535 , pp. 1-18.
For a background to the Constitutional Revolution see: Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions, pp. 50-80.
For an interesting view on the origins of the title of Ayatullah see: Jalal Matini, "Bahsi darbarah-?i sabiqah-?i tarikhi-i alqab va ?anavin-i ?ulama dar mazhab-i Shi?ah," Iran namah 1, no. 4, (Tabistan 1362 [summer 1983]): 590. It should be added that the title of Ayatullah was on occasions used to refer to the Shah and it became a restrictly religious title during the Constitutional period, precisely at a time that the use of titles in the government was forbidden. It should be pointed out that prior to this period Muhammad Taqi Lisan al-Mulk Sipihr, in the introduction to the Kitab-i mustaﬂab taraz al-mazhab-i Mu˙affari, uses the title of Ayat Allah fi al-arˇayn to refer to Mu˙affar al-Din Shah.
Yahya Dawlatabadi, Tarikh mu?asir ya Hayat-i Yahya (Tihran: Intisharat-i Firdawsi, 1361 ), pp. 130-137; Mahdi Malikzadah, Tarikh-i inqilab-i mashruﬂiyat-i Iran (Tihran: KitabKhanah-'i Suqraﬂ,1328 ), pp. 66-80.
Mahdi Quli Khan Hidayat, Khaﬂirat va khaﬂarat: tushah-?i az tarikh-i shish padishah va gushah-yi az dawrah-?i zindigi-i man (Tihran: Zavvar, 1965), p. 140.
Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions, p. 81.
This pamphlet was entitled, "Surat-i javab-i I?lan-i Rama˙an," and has been printed in: Muhammad Mahdi Sharif Kashani,Vaqi?at-i ittifaqiyah dar ruzgar (Tihran: Nashr-i Tarikh-i Iran, 1983), 1: 26-27.
Arguing against the claim that Kavah and Faraydun are the names of the same individual, Mirza Aqa Khan viewed the characteristics of Kavah as "national virtue [faˇilat-i milli] which is in the nature of the millat [ﬂab?-i millat]" (Ayinah-?i Sikandari, p. 72).
Muhammad Mahdi Sharif Kashani argues that bastinado of merchants was designed in order to bring about thealliance of the merchants and the clerics and the dismissal of ?Ayn al-Dawlah. See: Kashani, Vaqi?at-i ittifaqiyah dar ruzgar, p. 28.
AHmad Kasravi, Tarikh-i mashruﬂah-?i Iran (Tihran: Amir Kabir, 1330 ), p. 67.
For the text of the Shah's letter accepting the demand for the formation of a House of justice see: Kasravi, Tarikh- mashruﬂah-?i Iran, pp. 71-72; Na˙im al-Islam Kirmani, Tarikh-i bidari-i Iraniyan ya tarikh-i mashruH va Haqiqi-i mashruﬂiyat-i Iran (Tihran: Ibn Sina, 1965), 2: 366.
Kashani, Vaqi?at-i ittifaqiyah, p. 56-57.
Kasravi, Tarikh-i mashruﬂah, p. 81.
According to Na˙im al-Islam Kirmani, ﬁabaﬂaba?i stated in the letter "Briefly, if you take actions we are ready [to support], if you do not, I will act alone (Yak tanah iqdam khvaham kard)." The Prime Minister had read yak tanah (single-handedly) as yak shanbah, meaning Saturday. Consequently assuming that the ?ulama were planning to revolt he moved the troops in to the city and stepped up his harrassment of the oppositional figures. See: Kirmani, Tarikh-i bidari-yi Iraniyan, p. 392.
Concerning the negotiation between the protesters and the governmental officials see: Muhammad Ibrahim Bastani Parizi, Talash-i Azadi (Tihran: Intisharat-i ?Ilmi, 1347/1968), p. 94.
AHmad Tafrishi Husayni, Ruznamah-?i akhbar-i mashruﬂiyat va inqilab-i Iran (Tihran: Amir Kabir, 1351/ 1982), pp. 40-42. Also see: Nazim al-Islam Kirmani, Tarikh-i bidari-yi Iraniyan, 1: 514.
For the demands of the ?ulama who had migrated to Qum, see their telegram to the Shah appearing in: Kirmani, Tarikh-i bidari-yi Iraniyan, 1: 546-547.
?For detail of the struggles leading to the granting of the Constitution see: Abrahamian, Iran Between Two Revolutions, pp. 69-92. For the position of Mu˙affar al-Din Shah on constitutionalism see: "Mu˙affar al-Din Shah va Mashruﬂiyat", Armaghan 32 (1332 ): 104-107.
Kirmani, Tarikh-i bidari-yi Iraniyan, 1: 561.
On the class belonging of the elected deputies to the First Majlis see: Mansurah IttiHadiyah, Paydayish va tahavvul-i ahzab-i siyasi-i mashruﬂiyat: dawrah-'i avval va duvvum-i Majlis-i Shura-yi Milli (Tihran : Nashr-i Gustarah, 1361 ), p. 101-118.
Kasravi, Tarikh-i mashruﬂah-?i Iran, p. 120; Malikzadah, Tarikh-i inqilab-i Mashruﬂiyat-i Iran (Tihran: ?Ilmi, 1363), 2:176; Bastani-Parizi, Talash-i azadi, p. 89.
Kasravi, Tarikh-i mashruﬂah-?i Iran, p. 120.
The inauguration was initially supposed to be15 Sha?ban, but since it coincided with the birthday of the "Twelfth Shi?i Imam,", and since the constitutionalists wanted it to be an independent day, the Majlis was inaugurated on the 18th of Sha?ban of 1324. In a message by the Shah the inauguration of the Majils was regarded as "the strengthening of the unity between the representatives of dawlat and millat." (Kashani,Vaqi?at-i ittifaqiyah dar Tarikh, 1:106).
Dawlatabadi, Hayat-i Yahya, 2: 84.
The concept of class in Persian, ﬂabaqah, was a component of the old order. It divided the society to hierarchical classes with different rights and social status. The concept of ﬂabaqah is also used in the sense of social classes, but since it is used in other contexts with strong hierarchical connotations this concept could never provide a radical social identity. For example two-story buildings are called du ﬂabaqah. ﬁabaqah-?i kargar (working class) does not break with the hierarchical conception of the society.
See AHmad Ashraf, "Maratib-i ijtima?i dar dawran-i Qajariyah," Kitab-i agah 1 (Zimistan 1360 [Winter 1981]): 72-73.
According to the 26th article of the Supplementary Constitutional Law, "All powers of the state are derived from the millat."
On this point see: Mustafa Rahimi, Qanun-i Asasi va usul-i dimukrasi (Tihran: Amir Kabir, 1357 ), pp. 106-108.
Iran-i naw?134 (16 February 1910).
Concerning the circumstance leading to the drafting of the Fundamental Laws see: ?Abd al-Husayn Nava?i, "Qanun-i Asasi va mutammam-i an chigunah tadvin shud?" Yadgar 4, no. 5 (Bahman 1326 [Jan. 1947]): 34-47.
Kasravi, Tarikh-i mashruﬂah-?i Iran, pp. 214-215.
Ibid., p. 221.
Mahdi Quli Khan Hidayat, ﬁulu?-i Mashruﬂiyat (Tihran: Intisharat-i Jam, 1363), p. 39.
Kashani,Vaqi?at-i ittifaqiyah, 1:118.
It should be noted that while women were viewed as a part of the universe of millat, they did have the right to vote. In fact constitutionalism provided the discursive terrain for reintegration of women into the civil society. While women's enfrachisement did not enter the constitutionalists demand, the Shari?atists made the freedom of women an important issue in their struggle against Constitutionalism.
Muhammad Turkuman, Majmu?ah-?i az rasayil, i?lamiyah'ha, maktubat, . . . va ruznamah-'i Shaykh-i Shahid Faˇl'allah Nuri (Tihran: Khadamat-i Farhangi-i Rasa, 132 ), 1: 108. For an analysis of Nuri's political positions during this period see: Faraydun Adamiyat, "?Aqayid va ara-yi Shaykh Faˇl'allah Nuri," Kitab-i Jum?ah 31 (28 Farvardin 1359 [April 17, 1980]): 52-61.
For the meaning of azadi in classical Persian literature see: ?Ali Asghar Mudarris, "Fiﬂrat va azadi," in MuHiﬂ-i adab, ed. Habib Yaghma?i (Tihran: Intisharat-i Yaghma, 1357 ), pp. 411-424. Concerning the meaning of azadi in contemporary Persian literature see: Isma?il Khu?i, Azadi, Haqq va ?adalat (Tihran: Javidan, 2536 ), pp. 62-265.
Turkman, Majmu'ah, p. 320.
"Surat majlis va nuﬂqha-yi ahali-i Yazd barayi intikhab-i vakil, (shab-i 6 Ramaˇan 1325)," Sur-i Israfil 17 (14 Shavval 1325): 4. It should be pointed out that millah, besides meaning 'the people', in this context also means a cheap and low quality cotton.
Shaykh Faˇl'allah Nuri, Lavayih-i Aqa Shaykh Faˇl'allah Nuri, ed. Huma Riˇvani (Tihran: Nashr-i Tarikh-i Iran, 1362).
Said Amir Arjomand, "The Ulama's Traditionalist Opposition to Parliamentarianism: 1907-1909," Middle Eastern Studies 17 (1981): 179.
On prosecution and charges against Shaykh Faˇl'allah Nuri see: "MuHakamah va i?dam-i Hajj Shaykh Faˇl'allah-i Mujtahid-i Nuri," Kitab-i Jum?ah, shumarah 35 (25 Urdibihisht 1359 [May 15, 1980]): 137-145. Also see: Muhammad Mahdi Sharif Kashani, Vaqi`at-i ittifaqiyah dar ruzgar (Tihran: Nashr-i Tarikh-i Iran, 1362 ), 3: 375-378.
For a valuable analysis of the position of the Shi'i Ulama during the Constitutional Revolution see: Arjomand, "The Ulama's Traditionalist Opposition to Parliamentarianism: 1907-1909," pp. 174-190.
Browne, The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia, pp. 27-153.
Ibid., p. 116.
For a complete list of periodicals published during the Constitutional Period see: Browne, The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia, pp. 27-153. Also see: Hashim MuHiﬂ Mafi, Muqaddamat-i mashruﬂiyat (Tihran: Firdawsi, 1363), pp. 291-293.
Hamid Zarrin'kub, "Muqadamah-yi bar naw juyi dar shi?r-i Farsi-i mu?asir," Majjalah-?i Danishkadah-?i Adabiyat va ?ulum-i insani-i Danishgah-i Firdawsi 12, shumarah 1 (Spring 1355 ): 199.
For a valuable study of this develpment see: Sorour Soroudi, "Poet and Revolution: the Impact of Iran's Constitutional Revolution on the Social and Literary Outlook of the Poets of the Time," Iranian Studies 12 (Winter 1979): 3-41.
Nushin Ansari, "Kitabkhanah'ha-yi Iran az ta?sis-i Dar al-Funun ta inqilab-i mashruﬂiyat" Ayandah 10/11 (1363 ): 672-679; idem, "Kitabkhanah'ha va qira?atkhanah'ha-yi Iran 1327-1344 qamari," in Namvarah-?i duktur Mahmud Afshar (Tihran: Majmu?ah-?i Intisharat-i Adabi va Tarikhi, 1366/1987), 3:1671-1705.
A. K. Lambton, "Persian Political Societies 1906-1911," St. Antony's Papers 16, no. 3 (1963): pp. 41-89.
Mansurah IttiHadiyah, Paydayish va tahavvul-i ahzab-i siyasi-i mashruﬂiyat (Tihran: Nashr-i Gustarah, 1361), pp. 149-167.
Mangol Bayat, "The Cultural implications of the Constitutional Revolution," inQajar Iran: Political, Social and Cultural Change 1800-1925, ed. Edmund Bosworth and Carole Hillenbrand (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1983), p. 65.