ANJOMAN-E VELĀYATI

 

ANJOMAN-E VELĀYATI (Provincial Council) of Isfahan was set up subsequent to the establishment of the Parliament (majles) to secure the aims of the Constitutional Revolution. The Council’s first meeting in Čehelsotun (q.v.) on 21 December 1906, was presided over by Hājj-Āqā Nur-Allāh Najafi (1861-1927)and attended by the representatives of diverse classes and groups. Ẓell-al-Solṭān, the then governor of Isfahan, addressed the inaugural session (al-Jenāb, No. 3, pp. 4-8). Three phases can be distinguished in the life of the Council: 1) the period between the establishment of the Parliament and the restoration of the anti-constitutional government of Moḥammad ʿAli Shah (estebdād-e saḡir); 2) during the arbitrary reign of Moḥammad ʿAli Shah; and 3) from the conquest of Isfahan by the constitutional forces until 1909.

Among those who attended the first meetings of the Council were: Āḵund Mollā-Akbar Ḥezbi, Hājj Mirzā Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Ṣadr-al-Anām, Ḥājj Mirzā Moḥammad Bāqer Ḥakim-Bāši, Morteżā Qoli Khan Nāʾini, Mirzā ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Anṣāri, Amin-al-Tojjār, Ḥājj Mirzā Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Kāzeruni, Ḥājj Mirzā Moḥammad Reżā, Malek-al-Tojjār, Ḥājj-ÚÚĀÚqā Nur-Allāh Āqā-Najafi. The most significant measure taken by the Council in the first phase was the election of Isfahan’s deputies to the Parliament. Ḥājj Sayyed Ismāʿil, Ḥājj Amin al-tojjār, Mirzā Ḥādi Javāheri, and Mirzā Morteżā Qoli Khan Nāʾini represented the clergy, the merchants, the guilds, and the landowners, respectively (al-Jenāb, no.3, pp.4-8, no. 4, p. 2, no. 6, p. 6; Nāẓem-al-Eslām kermāni, vol. 4, p. 34; Baširiya, vol. 1 p. 24). In addition, the Council ratified its by-law (Neẓām-nāma-ye dāḵeli); facilitated the establishment of a branch of the National Bank (Bānk-e melli) in Isfahan; oversaw the activities of other councils in Isfahan (Jahād-e akbar, 22, p.), attempted to involve governmental offices in the activities intended to improve the city, and established regular contacts with the Parliament and Court in Teheran (Vāqeʿāt-e ettefāqiya, vol.1, p. 349; Jahād-e Akbar, 34, pp. 4-8 & No. 29. p. 6)). Most significantly, mention should be made of the Council’s successful attempt to dismiss Ẓell-al-solṭān, and blocking his return to power (Āqeli, p. 14; Nāẓem-al-Eslām Kermāni, pp. 1-3 & pp. 110-11; Jāberi Anṣāri, vol. 3, p. 121; Dānešvar ʿAlavi, p. 6 & pp.11-13).

News of deliberations, proceedings and measures taken by the Council were prominently featured in the local newspapers. These included al-Jenāb, under the management of Mir Sayyed ʿAli Jenāb (1906); and Jahād-e akbar, under the management of Mirzā ʿAli Āqā Ḵorāsāni, (1907). But the principal source for reporting the current events and activities was a newspaper that was actually the organ of the Council, initially titled Anjoman-e moqaddas-e melli-ye Esfahan (The sacred national council of Isfahan), but soon changed to Anjoman-e velāyati-ye Isfahan (The sacred provincial council of Isfahan) and eventually to Anjoman-e Esfahan (The Council of Isfahan). Published between 1906-1911 under the management of Serāj-al-Din Jabal-al-ʿĀmeli and editorship of Najm-al-Vāʿeẓin Musavi, the newspaper continued to appear during the arbitrary reign of Moḥammad ʿAli Shah and even after the conquest of Isfahan. It constitutes one of the most prominent and reliable sources for the events unfolding in Isfahan during that period (Nāẓem-al-Eslām Kermāni, pp. 288-93; Moḥiṭ Ṭabāṭabāi, pp. 129-30).Hearing the news about the shelling of the Parliament, the people assembled in protest at Čehelsotun, the headquarters of the Council. Following the rally, ʿAlāʾ-al-Molk, the governor of Isfahan, was removed from office and Eqbāl-al-Dowla Kāši was appointed as his successor. The new governor, however, attempted to dissolve the Council all together (Dānešvar ʿAlavi, p. 4).

A complete set is not available of the newspapers that were published during the restoration of the anti-constitutional government of Moḥammad  ʿAli Shah. The Council, however, had clandestine meetings during this phase (Dānešvar ʿAlavi, pp. 30-32). Under Eqbāl-al-Dowla’s despotic rule, the people led by Āqā-Najafi, confronted the governor’s troops and the bazaar in Isfahan closed down in protest. (Kāšāni, vol. 1, p. 349; Nāẓem-al-Eslām Kermāni, vol. 4, p. 201). This phase came to an end, as Baḵtiāri militia, supported by the Council and the mojāhedin of Isfahan, entered the city. Eqbāl-al-Dowla was defeated and sought sanctuary at the British Consulate in Isfahan (Dānešvar ʿAlavi, pp. 21-22 & 30-48).

The arrival of Baḵtiāri militia in Isfahan marks the beginning of the Council’s third phase. During this period the Council held meetings everyday, presided over by Ḥājj-āqā Nur-Allāh Najafi (Nāẓem-al-Eslām Kermāni, vol. 5, p. 284; Baširiya, vol. 2 p. 367; Kāšāni, vol. 1, p. 256; Dānešvar ʿAlavi, p. 38). The overwhelming influence of Baḵtiāris, established by the governorship of Ṣamṣām-al-Dawla Baḵtiāri on 17th July 1909, intensified the tension between the Moderates (eʿtedāliun) and Democrats (demokrāt-hā) and led to the resignation of Ḥājj-āqā Nur-Allāh Najafi and his subsequent departure to Iraq. (Baširiya, vol. 3, p. 71, and vol. 4, pp. 956-7). There are yet further reports about sporadic unrests and the close-out of the Bazaar in support of Ḥājj-āqā Nur-Allāh Najafi in the following year (Baširiya, vol. 4, pp. 811-12), but the influence and efficacy of the Council henceforth started to decline gradually.

 

Bibliography:

Bāqer ʿĀqeli, Ruzšomār-e tāriḵ-e irān, Tehran, 1990.

N. Dānešvar-e ʿAlavi, Tāriḵ-e mašruṭa-ye Irān va jonbeš-e vaṭan-parastān-e Eṣfahān wa baḵtiāri, Tehran 1956.

Aḥmad Baširiya, Ketāb-e Ābi 1, 3 & 4, Tehran, 1984.

Moḥammad-Ḥasan Jāberi Anṣāri, Āgāhi-e Šāhān az Kār-e Jahān,” 3 untitled & undated vols.

Moḥammad-Mehdi Mir-Sayyed Šarif Kāšāni, Vāqeʿāt-e Ettefāqiya, Tehran, 1983.

Nāẓem-al-Eslām Kermāni, Tāriḵ-e bidāri-ye irāniān, ed. Saʿidi Sirjāni, 5 vols., Tehran, 1983.

Moḥammad Moḥiṭ Ṭabāṭabāi, Tāriḵ-e taḥlili-ye maṭbuʿāt-e irān, Tehran, 1987.

Moḥammad Ṣadr-Hāšemi, Tāriḵ-e jarāyed va maṭbuʿāt-e irān, vol. 1 & 2, Tehran, undated.

Newspapers: Jahād-e Akbar, under the management of Mirzā Ali-āqā Ḵorāsāni, issues 21, 22, 28, 34, and 41, 1907/1908; copies kept at Ketāb-ḵāna-ye markazi-ye dānešgāh-e tehrān. Al-Jenāb, under the management of Mir Sayyed ʿAli Jenāb, issues 2, 4, 6 and 7, December 1906; copies kept at Ketāb-kāna-ye majles-e šorā-ye eslāmiAnjoman-e Moqaddas, under the management of Serāj-al-Din Jabal-ʿĀmeli and editorship of Najm-al-Vāʿeẓin Musavi, issue 12, 1907/1908; copies kept at Ketāb-ḵāna-ye Markazi-ye Dānešgāh-e Tehran.

(ʿAli Reżā Abtaḥi)

Originally Published: July 20, 2004

Last Updated: August 5, 2011