AMĪN LAŠKAR, MĪRZĀ QAHRAMĀN

 

AMĪN(-E) LAŠKAR, MĪRZĀ QAHRAMĀN QOMŠAʾĪ EṢFAHĀNĪ (1244-1310/1828-92), a middle rank Qajar official during the rule of Nāṣer-al-dīn Shah. Born in Isfahan, where his father, Mīrzā Yūsof, was in the service of the Qajar notables, he was trained as a scribe (mīrzā) and became a minor accountant to ʿAzīz Khan Mokrī about 1268/1851-52. After ʿAzīz Khan was appointed commander in chief (sardār-e koll) of the Azerbaijan army and chief steward (pīškār) to the crown prince Moẓaffar-al-dīn Mīrzā (1277/1860-61), Mīrzā Qahramān was appointed chief of the provincial army secretariat (raʾīs-e daftar-e laškar) with the title Mošīr(-e) Laškar (1282/1865-66); two years later he became the mostawfī-e neẓām (chief revenue officer of the army) for the whole province, with the new title Amīn(-e) Laškar. A capable bureaucrat and a shrewd manipulator, he also benefited from his position as private secretary and confidant to ʿAzīz Khan. When the sardār was dismissed in 1285/1868-69, Mīrzā Qahramān was accused of embezzlement and arrested in Tabrīz on the order of the new pīškār, Ṭahmāsb Mīrzā Moʾayyed-al-dawla. Charges were dropped when ʿAzīz Khan agreed to pay the deficit, but this calculated gesture of chivalry did not save Mīrzā Qahramān from exile to Damāvand nor did it save his patron’s amassed fortune from royal inroads. When ʿAzīz Khan was reinstated two years later, Amīn Laškar returned to Azerbaijan.

Following ʿAzīz Khan’s death in 1288/1871-72 and a brief period as head steward to the crown prince, Amīn Laškar began the second phase of his career in the capital. He was included in the shah’s retinue during the first European tour (1290/1873) but joined the anti-Sepahsālār faction in the aftermath of the Reuter concession. Soon afterward he was appointed head of army supplies (sarrešta-dār-e koll) and received the ceremonial rank of ǰanāb. Two years later, under the new government administration, he acquired the lucrative customs and excise monopoly, which was then reorganized by Mīrzā Ḥosayn Khan Mošīr-al-dawla as the ministry of customs (wezārat-e gomrokāt). But his relations with Sepahsālār soon deteriorated, since Amīn Laškar enjoyed the backing of Mīrzā Ḥosayn Khan’s rival, Mīrzā Yūsof Mostawfī-al-mamālek. Except for another brief period as head steward to the crown prince in Azerbaijan (1296-97/1878-79), he maintained his control of customs until 1299/1881-82, when he was appointed to the ministry of public works (fawāʾed-e ʿāmma). He is said to have written a travelogue during a trip with Nāṣer-al-dīn Shah to Khorasan in 1300/1882-83 (Monzawī, Nosḵahā VI, p. 4010). His generous gifts and lavish receptions provided him with new opportunities for advancement; in 1301/1884 while maintaining his ministerial post, he was granted the profitable supervision of the crown lands (ḵāleṣaǰāt) and shortly after was appointed to the government consultative council (dār-al-šūrā-ye kobrā). Although he reported corruption and fraud in army payments to Nāṣer-al-dīn Shah, his appointment to the chief army secretariat (wezārat-e laškar-e koll) was barred by the powerful minister of war, Prince Kāmrān Mīrzā. It is likely that the same prince contributed to the final downfall of Amīn Laškar. Charged with prodigality and misappropriation of crown revenues, Amīn Laškar sought refuge with Ebrāhīm Khan Amīn-al-solṭān, who mediated on his behalf. Part of his liability was remitted, but his house was auctioned on orders of the shah to raise the balance. Bankrupt and disheartened, Amīn Laškar saw his career end in 1305/1887-88. In a lengthy letter to the shah, he ventured to criticize Mīrzā ʿAlī-Aṣḡar Khan Amīn-al-solṭān as the main source of mischief and corruption in the affairs of the state, and this move cost him dearly. Despite a petition by ministers and officials, the shah banished him to Ardabīl; it is likely that the shah’s personal gain from Amīn-al-solṭān’s ever-growing monopolies was too great to allow any room for criticism. Amīn Laškar died impoverished in Tehran in 1310/1892.

 

Bibliography:

Bāmdād, Reǰāl III, pp. 132-36.

ʿA. Eqbāl, Yādgār 4/1-2, 1326 Š./1947, pp. 55-59.

M. Ḥ. Eʿtemād-al-salṭana, Rūz-nāma-ye ḵāṭerāt, ed.

Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1345 Š./1966-67, index.

M. Farhād Moʿtamed, Tārīḵ-e rawābeṭ-e sīāsī-e Īrān o Oṯmānī II, Tehran, n.d., p. 172.

ʿA. Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī-e man yā tārīḵ-e eǰtemāʿī o edārī-e dawra-ye Qāǰārīya, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1340 Š./1961, I, p. 139.

Nāder Mīrzā, Tārīḵ o ǰoḡrāfī-e dār-al-salṭana-ye Tabrīz, Tehran, 1323/1905-06, pp. 184, 189, 190-96, 201, 212, 282-85.

Ḵ. M. Sāsānī, Sīāsatgarān-e dawra-ye Qāǰār, Tehran, n.d., I, pp. 76, 81.

(A. Amanat)

Originally Published: December 15, 1989

Last Updated: August 3, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 9, pp. 947-948