ʿABD-AL-FATTĀḤ GARMRŪDĪ (ca. 1200-64/1786-1848), a scribe and minor author of the mid-Qajar period. He was born into a clerical family in Kasalān, a village in the Garmrūd area near Tabrīz. Against his father’s wishes, he entered government service early in his youth as an accountant in Mīāna. After a time he was transferred to Tabrīz, where he enjoyed the patronage first of Mīrzā Masʿūd Anṣārī and then of ʿAbbās Mīrzā, the crown prince. It was as a member of ʿAbbās Mīrzā’s staff that he was sent to negotiate with the Russian general Paskievich after the capture of Tabrīz at the end of the second Russo-Persian War. He was present, too, at the negotiations in Dehḵᵛāraqān and Torkmaṇčāy that formalized the Iranian defeat. When Moḥammad Shah came to the throne in 1250/1834, Garmrūdī was summoned to Tehran and appointed chief clerk of the army (laškar-nevīs). Four years later, probably through the patronage of Mīrzā Masʿūd Anṣārī, who was by then minister of foreign affairs, he was attached to a mission led by Moḥammad Ḥosayn Khan Marāḡāʾī Āǰūdānbāšī to the courts of Europe; this was in the wake of a rapture with England over the Herat question and other matters. His account of the journey, entitled Čahār faṣl, constitutes his chief claim to fame. The four chapters of the book that furnish its title describe in turn the countries through which the mission passed—the Ottoman empire, Austria, France, and England. The book is valuable as a record not only of the transactions of the Persian mission, but also of early Persian impressions of Europe. Another literature product of Garmrūdī’s journey to Europe was his Šabnāma, a scurrilous account of sexual dissipation and perversion among the British. The book may have been intended as a reply to the unfavorable delineation of Persian character in James Morier’s celebrated Hajji Baba. After returning to Iran in 1256/1840, Moḥammad Ḥosayn Khan was appointed governor of Yazd; four years later, he was assigned the governorship of Fārs with the title of Farmānfarmā. Garmrūdī accompanied him to both Yazd and Šīrāz, and the measure of trust he had won from his patron was shown when Moḥammad delegated to him the administration of the Kūhgīlūya and Mamasānī areas. He has left an account of the tribes of the region and their genealogies and histories entitled Safarnāma-ye Mamasānī. He died in Behbehān in 1264/1848 and was buried in Šīrāz.
The three works of Garmrūdī mentioned above have been published in a book entitled Safarnāma-ye Mīrzā Fattāḥ Ḵān Garmrūdī be Orūpā dar zamān-e Moḥammad Šāh Qāǰār, ed. Fatḥ-al-dīn Fattāḥī, Tehran, 1347 Š./1968.
Most of this volume comprises extraneous material compiled by the editor. An extract from the Šabnāma, purporting to describe a London masonic lodge, has been published by Esmāʿīl Rāʾīn in his Farāmūšḵāna va Frāmāsonrī dar Īrān, Tehran, 1347 Š./1968, I, pp. 286-91.
Concise biographies of Garmrūdī will be found in Bāmdād, Reǰal II, p. 274, and Moḥammad-ʿAlī Tarbīat, Dānešmandān, p. 258.
A more prolix but only slightly more informative account is given by Fattāḥī in Safarnāma, pp. 335-402.
Some mention of Garmrūdī and his work is also found in Ḥāfeẓ Farmān Farmāyān, “The Forces of Modernization in Nineteenth Century Iran,” in Beginnings of Modernization in the Middle East, ed. William R. Polk and Richard L. Chambers, Chicago, 1968, pp. 134-35, quoting ʿAbbās Eqbāl, Čand safarnāma az sofarā-ye Īrān,” Našrīya-ye Vezārat-e omūr-e ḵāreǰa I, p. 3.
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 1, p. 107