Thursday, February 11, 2010

MM Video: Qajar and Pahlavi Shahs of Iran


  1. It's great that you always recall the Qajars too in posts and here.
    Remember everyone, that the Pahlavis took their dynastic name from the name for Middle Persian language. There's much grumbling to this day amongst the many, many descendants of the former Qajar dynasty against what they considered to be upstart and non-royal Pahlavis.
    However! The Qajars had their chance, producing only very weak leadership, hence Reza Shah's takeover around 1922.

    Queen Soraya, the last Shah's second wife, of whom you posted some pics, is still recalled by older Iranians. But not the Egyptian Fawzyieh, the Shah's earlier arranged marriage.

    Marvelous pictures of the Shah, who always meant the best for Iran. His determination shows through in them clearly.
    Empress Farah wrote in her memoir, "An Enduring Love" [appropriate mention for Valentine's Day today?], that her husband speech at their coronation was [in part]:

    "I thank God, who has allowed me to be of use to my country and my people in every within my power.
    I ask God to grant me the power to continue to serve...the sole aim of my life is the honor and glory of my people and my country."

    He meant this too; it was not for flourish.
    When younger, an assassin's bullet bounce off a medal he wore, no doubt instilling a deep respect for Heaven and reinforcing his feeling that he was destined by Heaven to lead his country into a better future.

    The sad Princess Layla shown here at the end is a very poignant story. When she died, Iranians all over the world paid their respects.
    If anyone is visiting Cairo, they might want to make a quick detour to pay their regards to the Shah at an otherwise out of the way mosque. I went many years ago; it's serene, though sad that he should be so far from his beloved country.

    But if the example of, for example, the remains of Empress Marie Feodorovna, wife of Tsar Alexander III, having recently been returned to St Petersburg from her native Denmark [whether a right or wrong move] is any trend, maybe in 50 or 70 years, Iranians will be nostalgic. Having more historical objectivity, they might request his tomb to be brought back to his native soil in honor.

  2. I always try to remember the Qajar dynasty since I have seen their advocates too and I don't want to discourage anybody. The death of princess Layla was also significant for me and I have slot of sympathy for her. People could learn a lot from that tragedy if they took the time.

  3. Yes, about both!
    Princess Layla's death haunted me for days after reading about it in the same memoir by her mother.

    I have met two or three exiled Iranians confiding [truthfully or] not that they were Qajar princes and listened to their point of view too.

    There were said to be 5,000 of the family around, so it's possible but also leaves much room for false claimants or exaggerators!

    If anyone wishes more background on the late 19th century and early 20th century Qajars, two members of the princely Farman-Farmaian Qajar family wrote somewhat useful books: "Daughter of Persia" and "Blood and Oil: Memoirs of A Qajar Prince".

    The thing I didn't care for about the former was that the author, a woman named Sattareh,
    was very much a fan of the to-me odious socialist early 1950's elected leader, Mohammad Mossadeqh. I can't even stand to hear his name! To me he was plain weird, meeting dignitaries in his pajamas, whining, etc.
    But otherwise both memoirs give a valuable picture of life in earlier days in Persia, as well as some original - not the same repetitious ones made by American observers - insights into mistakes made during the last Shah's time.

    The best source overall for how reprehensibly the Shah was treated by his ersthwhile Western close allies is of ocurse Empress Farah's book.

    In my opinion, America had its best friend in power but dropped him like a hot potato and most cruelly in fact. So they should never be complaiing now about the Islamic regime which replaced him. One could say that was their own fault and they should be quiet and take the blame instead of raising international furor on the basis of totally fake claims about nuclean weapons development by the current Iranian government. If anyone disagrees, I can provide a good analysis by an American professor demonstrating the hollowness of the trumped up American-Israeli claims!


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