BAHĀR, a Persian literary, scientific, political, and social-affairs monthly founded by Mīrzā Yūsof Khan Āštīānī, called Eʿteṣām-e Daftar and Eʿteṣām-al-Molk (q.v.; 1291-1356/1874-75-1937-38). Mīrzā Yūsof was the son of Mīrzā Ebrāhīm Khan and the father of the poetess Parvīn Eʿteṣāmī. He was a deputy in the second Majles, and later its chief librarian and a member of the Education Commission (Komīsīūn-e Maʿāref). Bahār was founded in Tehran and was published over two periods: 1. from Rabīʿ II, 1328/April, 1910 to Ḏu’l-qaʿda, 1329/October, 1911, and 2. from Šaʿbān, 1339/April, 1921 to Jomādā I, 1341/December, 1922. Each issue comprised sixty-four pages and was distributed at an affordable price. In the first issue, Eʿteṣāmī wrote, “the purpose of Bahār is to provide a proper and an appealing forum for various significant topics of scientific, literary, ethical, historical, and artistic interest to people of understanding and to acquaint the public with valuable information. . . .” Most of the material published in Bahār was written or translated by Eʿteṣām-al-Molk himself. During the first period of its publication, Mīrzā Reżā Khan Modabber-al-Mamālek (later editor of Tamaddon, Šawwāl, 1338/June, 1920) was Bahār’s managing editor, and for the second period ʿAbbās Ḵalīlī (later editor of Eqdām, 1299 Š./1921) assumed the editorship. The style of the journal remained uniform over both periods and the journal itself faithful to its stated purpose. During the second period of publication, the literary section was expanded and translations from the works of such French writers as Hugo and Rousseau appeared with greater frequency. The broad range of Bahār’s contents can be gauged from a reprint of the journal which was edited by Abu’l-Fatḥ Eʿteṣāmī (Tehran, 1321 Š./1943) and arranged under seventeen different topics.
Bahār represented a departure from traditional Persian journalism; readers found its willingness to discuss contemporary literature and literary criticism a refreshing change. The journal’s emphasis on educating the public about developments in European science and technology seems to have struck a responsive chord among the Persian reading public, who were hungry for new ideas. To E. G. Browne, Bahār appeared “very modern and European in tone” (Lit. Hist. Persia IV, p. 489; cf. Āryanpūr, Az Ṣabā tā Nīmā II, p. 115). Eʿteṣām-al-Molk himself remarked in an article (2/12, 1341/1922, p. 705) “some have objected that the contents of the journal are predominately European in orientation.” One must attribute this emphasis on the modern world to Eʿteṣām-al-Molk himself, who though fluent in Arabic and well-versed in the culture of Islamic Iran, felt it his duty to inform the public about European literature and culture and about new forms of learning. Bahār also stressed the education of women and often introduced model women of note to its readers.
Though, according to Āryanpūr (II, p. 114), most of the European literature published in Bahār came via Turkish and Arabic translations which Eʿteṣām-al-Molk retranslated into Persian, I suspect that, in addition to his foraging in Arabic and Turkish journals, Eʿteṣām-al-Molk also found some of his material in French writings of the time. His clear and simple Persian prose was well suited to translate the ideas of European culture into terms the ordinary reader would appreciate. For its style and content Bahār won praise among such Persian writers as Moḥammad-Żīāʾ Haštrūdī (p. 11) and the poet laureate Moḥammad-Taqī Bahār (Dāneškada, founded 1297 Š./1919, nos. 11-12).
Ch. Balay and M. Cuypress, Aux sources de la nouvelle persane, Paris, 1983, pp. 15, 31, 48.
E. G. Browne, The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia, Cambridge, 1914, pp. xiv, xvi, 15, 24.
ʿA.-A. Dehḵodā, “Tārīḵča-ye zendagānī-e Yūsof Eʿteṣāmī (Eʿteṣām-al-Molk),” Bahār 1, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1321 Š./1943, pp. b-v.
P. Eʿteṣāmī, A Nightingale’s Lament, tr. H. Moayyad, Lexington, 1985, p. xi. M.-Ż.
Haštrūdī, Montaḵabāt-e āṯār, Tehran, 1342/1923-24.
M. Qazvīnī, “Wafayāt-e moʿāṣerīn, Eʿteṣāmī,” Yādgār 3, 1325 Š./1946, p. 35.
J. Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., pp. 382, 387, 388.
M. Ṣadr Hāšemī, Tārīḵ-ejarāyed wa majallāt-e Īrān II, Isfahan, 1332 Š./1954, pp. 26-30.
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 23, 2011
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Vol. III, Fasc. 5, pp. 475-476