ČERĀḠ-ʿALĪ KHAN SERĀJ-AL-MOLK ZANGANA (d. after 1281/1864-65), a leading government official during the early reign of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah. Originally a prominent member of the Zangana tribe, Čerāḡ-ʿAlī began his government career as a secretary (monšī) in the provincial administration of Azerbaijan. He was a member of the Persian delegation at the Erzurum conference of 1259/1843 and on Nāṣer-al-Dīn’s accession came to Tehran in the entourage of Mīrzā Taqī Khan Amīr-e Kabīr, the Amīr-e Neẓām (q.v.), and became one of the group of officials supporting his administrative reforms.
He received his first important commission in 1264/1848, when he was appointed arbitrator in a dispute between the wazīr of Isfahan and a rival for the post. In the following year he was selected by Mīrzā Taqī Khan to travel to Mašhad as the shah’s emissary to the rebel leader Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan Sālār in an attempt to persuade the latter to back down. Although received by Sālār, Čerāḡ-ʿAlī was unable to effect a reconciliation or to persuade him to accept an offer to retire to Mecca for a year in order to defuse the situation. His own life threatened by a mob, Čerāḡ-ʿAlī succeeded in escaping from Mašhad and rejoining the army of Solṭān-Morād Mīrzā Ḥosām-al-Salṭana. At the end of the siege of Mašhad he was personally responsible for persuading Sālār and his relatives to leave the precincts of the shrine, where they had taken sanctuary.
On his return to Tehran, Čerāḡ-ʿAlī Khan was elevated to the rank of sarhang and appointed qollar-āqāsī-bāšī, the official responsible for the ḡolāmān-e ḵāṣṣa-ye šarīfa troops. Two years later, in 1267/1851, he was appointed governor of Isfahan, replacing Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Khan Sepahdār, who had become unpopular. Under his governorship, which lasted four years, he dealt effectively with the problem of brigandage in the region and was responsible for substantial improvements in cultivation around Isfahan itself.
In 1271/1855 he was entrusted with the arrest and transfer to Tehran of those responsible for the murder of ʿAbbāsqolī Khan Pesyān, the governor of Besṭām. Following this, he was made governor of Ḵamsa and Zanjān, a post which he held until 1276/1859-60, when he was given the title of Serāj-al-Molk. In later years he held the post of beglerbeg and raʾīs-e dīvān-ḵāna of Isfahan (1279-81/1862-63 to 1864-65), and finally raʾīs-e eḥteṣāb of Tehran.
Bāmdād, Rejāl I, pp. 300-01.
Moḥammad-Jaʿfar Ḵormūjī, Ḥaqāʾeq al-aḵbār-e nāṣerī. Tārīḵ-e Qājār, ed. Ḥ. Ḵadīvjam, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965, pp. 55, 65-66, 85, 93-94, 147-48, 253, 300.
F. Ādamīyat, Amīr-e Kabīr o Īrān, 4th ed., Tehran, 1354 Š./1975, pp. 72, 211, 235-36, 238, 241, 396-97.
Mīrzā Moḥammad-Taqī Lesān-al-Molk Sepehr, Nāseḵ al-tawārīḵ, 4 vols. in 2, Tehran, 1385/1965-66, III, pp. 266ff., 356ff.
(Denis M. MacEoin)
Originally Published: December 15, 1991
Last Updated: October 10, 2011
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Vol. V, Fasc. 3, pp. 263-264