BAHĀDOR JANG, AMIR, ḤOSAYN PASHA KHAN, the head of the royal guards (kešīkčībāšī) and minister of court under Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah (r. 1313-24/1896-1907) and the head of the royal guards and minister of war (sepahsālār-e aʿẓam) under Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah Qājār (r. 1324-27/1907-09). Born (ca. 1271/1855) into a family of military tradition in Azerbaijan, he was the son of Moḥammad-Ṣādeq Khan Qarābāḡī Ājūdānbāšī (adjudant-en-chef)and a descendant of Ḥājj Kāẓem Khan Tofangdār (Māfī, Ḵāṭerāt I, p. 205). Having entered the service of the crown prince Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Mīrzā in Tabrīz, in 1301/1884 he became yūzbāšī (in charge of 100 servants); in 1303/1886 he was promoted to the rank of qūllar-āqāsībāšī (head of all servants); retaining the latter title, in 1309/1891-92 he also became ājūdānbāšī (q.v.) to the crown prince in his capacity as sartīp-e awwal and was called ājūdānbāšī-e Āḏarbāyjān. In 1310/1892-93 he acquired the title Amir Bahādor(-e) Jang (Bāmdād, Rejāl I, p. 384).
During Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah’s reign he first replaced ʿAbd-Allāh Khan Qājār Nāẓem-al-Salṭana as Kešīkčībāšī (1314/1896-97) and was also put in charge of guarding the royal residence. In 1321/1903 he was promoted to the rank of sardār and later replaced Mīrzā Maḥmūd Khan Ḥakīm-al-Molk as the Minister of Court. Under the army reorganization plan (late 1322/early 1905) he was given the command of about 9,000 men stationed chiefly in Kermān, Isfahan, and Fārs. In the bast held in the Shah ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm sanctuary south of Tehran in Šawwāl, 1323/December, 1905, which included prominent clergy and merchants who requested from the shah the dismissal of Solṭān ʿAbd-al-Majīd Mīrzā ʿAyn-al-Dawla (q.v.), the prime minister, Amir Bahādor was sent with a large cavalry in an unsuccessful mission to appease the protestors. The bast resulted in further consolidation of the opposing party and added to their demands the removal of the Belgian citizen M. Naus from the control of the Persian customs, and more importantly the establishment of an ʿadālat-ḵāna (house of justice); it was also a prelude to the oncoming Constitutional movement. Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah had immense confidence in Amir Bahādor who as a result became very influential at court, and amassed a great fortune; he also accompanied the shah on his three visits to Europe (1900, 1902, and 1905; Churchill, no. 46).
After Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah’s accession, Amir Bahādor was at first ignored by the new shah, but their common anti-Constitutionalist zeal soon drew them together and he was reappointed to command the royal bodyguard. His oath of allegiance to the Majles (22 Šaʿbān 1325/1 October 1907) did not alter his highly unpopular image with the Constitutionalists who later attributed the shah’s abortive coup d’état of Ḏu’l-qaʿda, 1325/Decemher, 1907, to his influence. By the early 1326/early 1908 Amir Bahādor gained full control over the notorious Sīlāḵor regiment, stationed in and around the palace. Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah, like his father, fully trusted this regiment and regarded it as his sole protection (Moḡīṯ-al-Salṭana, Nāmahā, pp. 194-95). A series of demonstrations towards the end of Rabīʿ II, 326/late May, 1908 called for Amir Bahādor’s removal, and the shah reluctantly complied on 2 Jomādā I/2 June. In the meantime, while conspiring secretly with the shah against the Constitutionalists, Amir Bahādor took refuge in the summer residence of the Russian legation in Zarganda north of Tehran, and remained there until 7 Jomādā I/7 June. On the 15th of Jomādā I/15 June it became known that Amir Bahādor was given control of the royal artillery (tūp-ḵāna), which itself had already mobilized a contingent of some 200 strong including certain provincial forces and elements of urban thugs (Tārīḵ-ebīdārī II, p. 151). This additional force was stationed in the Bāḡ-e Šāh garrison which had recently become the headquarters of the shah, the Russian Cossack brigade, and other anti-Constitutionalist factions. Following the coup d’état of 23 Jomādā 1326/23 June 1908, Amir Bahādor was made Sepahsālār-e aʿẓam (9 Jomādā II 1326/9 July 1908) and held the office of minister of war in the third and fourth cabinets of Mīrzā Aḥmad Khan Mošīr-al-Salṭana (1326/1908; Bāmdād, Rejāl I, p. 385; Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa, p. 623). In this period of counterrevolutionary turmoil he was a powerful figure and had a strong influence on the shah, to such an extent that he was described as “virtually dictator of Persia” (Mr. Marling to Sir Edward Grey, Browne, The Persian Revolution, p. 261 n. 2). In the following year after strong pressure on the shah by the British and Russian legations, Amir Bahādor was removed from office but remained within the court circle. Realizing the imminent victory of the Constitutionalists, he unsuccessfully applied to the ʿolamāʾ of Najaf for asylum in the ʿAtabāt (Tārīḵ-ebīdārī II, p. 437). Upon the conquest of Tehran by the Constitutionalists, Amir Bahādor followed the dethroned Moḥammad-ʿAlī to Zarganda under joint Russian and British protection (28 Jomādā II 1327/17 July 1909); and because of his staunch anti-Constitutionalist stance, he was excluded from the general amnesty of 15 Šaʿbān 1327/1 September 1909; and was soon to accompany the deposed shah into exile (23 Šaʿbān 1327/9 September 1909) first to Russia and later to various places in Europe, assisting him in gathering forces (see, e.g., Browne, Press and Poetry, p. 327). When on 20 Rajab 1329/17 July 1911 Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah launched a futile comeback, Amir Bahādor was in his company (Kasrawī, Āḏarbāyjān, pp. 172-73). Later he separated from Moḥammad-ʿAlī Mīrzā and lived in Vienna. Finally some years later he managed to obtain permission from the government to return to Tehran, where he died around 1336/1918.
In contrast to the widely-held harsh image of him, Amir Bahādor was reportedly unsophisticated and quite keen on observing religious rites (see, e.g., Šarīf Kāšānī, Wāqeʿāt I, p. 257; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā I, pp. 150-51, 210; Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa, Tehran, 1356 Š./1977, p. 27; Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah, Safar-nāma, p. 33; Tāj-al-Salṭana, Ḵāṭerāt, p. 94; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī, pp. 138, 151). He had great affection for Ferdowsī’s Šāh-nāma, and could recite appropriate verses when the occasion arose (Bāmdād, Rejāl I, p. 386; Bozorg-Omīd, Az mā-st, pp. 130-31), and would privately perform certain episodes of the epic (Rošdīya, Sawāneḥ, p. 139). He also sponsored the publication of a large and finely made lithograph edition of that book, popularly known as the Šāh-nāma-ye amīr-bahādorī (Tehran, 1322/1904). When he was minister of court, and following a recommendation by the prime minister ʿAyn-al-Dawla, Amir Bahādor also sponsored the publication of the three volumes of Tafṣīl wasāʾel al-šīʿa of Ḥorr ʿĀmelī (Tehran, 1323-24/1905-06).
What had remained of Amir Bahādor’s luxurious residence in Tehran was later purchased by the government (1346 Š./1967) and allocated to the Anjoman-e Āṯār-e Mellī (M.-Ṭ. Moṣṭafawī, Āṯār-e tārīḵī-e Ṭehrān I: Amāken-e motabarraka, ed. M.-Ḥ. Moḥaddeṯ, Tehran, 1361 Š./1982, pp. 451-73).
Scattered references to Amir Bahādor are found in sources dealing with the Constitutional period but no detailed biography has yet been published. Biographical sketches are found in Bāmdād, Rejāl I, pp. 384-86, and G. P. Churchill, Biographical Notices of Persian Statesmen and Notables, August 1905, Calcutta, 1906.
Sources referred to in the text: A. Bozorg-Omīd, Az mā-st ka bar māst, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.
E. G. Browne, The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia, Cambridge, 1914.
Idem, The Persian Revolution of 1905-1909, London, 1966.
Y. Dawlatābādī, Tārīḵ-emoʿāṣer yā ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā I, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1361 Š./1982.
Neẓām-al-Salṭana Māfī, Ḵāṭerātwa asnād-e Ḥosaynqolī Ḵān Neẓām-al-Salṭana Māfī I: Ḵāṭerāt, ed. M. Neẓām Māfī et al., Tehran, 1361 Š./1982.
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Foreign Office, Blue Book (Cd. 4581): Correspondence Respecting the Affairs of Persia, December 1906 to November 1908, Persia no. 1, 1909, London, 1909.
M. Nāẓem-al-Eslām Kermānī, Tārīḵ-ebīdārī-e īrānīān, 3 vols., new ed. ʿA.-A. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, Tehran, 1346-49 Š./1967-70.
Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah Qājār, Safar-nāma-ye mobāraka-ye šāhanšāhī, Tehran, 1319/1901.
S. Rošdīya, Sawāneḥ-e ʿomr, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.
M.-M. Šarīf Kāšānī, Wāqeʿāt-e ettefāqīya dar rūzgār, ed. M. Etteḥādīya (Neẓām Māfī) and S. Saʿdvandīān, I, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.
T. Tāj-al-Salṭana, Ḵāṭerāt-e Tāj-al-Salṭana, ed. M. Etteḥādīya (Neẓām Māfī) and S. Saʿdvandīān, Tehran, 1361 Š./1982.
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 23, 2011
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Vol. III, Fasc. 4, pp. 437-438