FARMĀNFARMĀ, MAḤMŪD KHAN NĀṢER-AL-MOLK (b. ca. 1244-45/1828-29, d. Tehran, 8 Rabīʿ II 1305/12 December 1887; Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Rūznāma-ye ḵāṭerāt, p. 530; Bāmdād, Rejāl IV, p. 54), high-ranking official in the reign of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah (1264-1313/1848-96). He was a member of the Qaragözlu tribe, which resided near Hamadān and produced many statesmen, especially in the Qajar period. Maḥmūd Khan was already a high army commander when he was appointed first deputy ambassador to Russia in 1270/1854, at about the age of twenty-five; shortly after his arrival in St. Petersburg he became chargé d’affaires. In 1271/1855, when ʿAbbāsqolī Khan Sayf-al-Molk was appointed ambassador, Maḥmūd Khan returned to Persia. In 1275/1858-59 he was put in charge of the royal cavalry, armory, and ordnance and received the title nāṣer-al-molk. The next year he became minister of commerce and state industries and a member of the government consultative assembly; at about the same time he was appointed special adviser to the shah (Šaraf, 15 Rabīʿ I 1301; Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Montaẓam-e nāṣerī, ed. Reżwānī, III, pp. 1810, 1813; Bāmdād, Rejāl IV, p. 54). In 1279-81/1862-64 he served as Persian minister to the Court of St. James in England (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Montaẓam-e nāṣerī, ed. Reżwānī, III, pp. 1850, 1866). When, in 1288/1871, the shah reorganized the consultative assembly, Maḥmūd Khan was again one of its members, and in the following year he became head of the military council. At that time the new prime minister, Mīrzā Ḥosayn Khan Mošīr-al-Dawla, placed all military affairs under his charge (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Montaẓam-e nāṣerī, ed. Reżwānī, III, pp. 1922-23, 1934). In 1290/1873, during the shah’s first journey to Europe, Maḥmūd Khan was named commander-in-chief of the army and deputy minister of war. Two years later he was appointed governor of Gīlān. He accompanied the shah on his second European journey in 1295/1878 (Eʿtemād-al- Salṭana, Montaẓam-e nāṣerī, ed. Reżwānī, III, pp. 1964, 1978). In 1299/1882 Maḥmūd Khan became governor of Kermānšāh and Kurdistan, wresting control of the Iraqi border areas from Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah’s son Masʿūd Mīrzā Ẓell-al-Solṭān, governor of Fārs and in control of most of southern and western Persia (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Monṭaẓam-e nāṣerī, ed. Reżwānī, II, p. 201; Mardūḵ, p. 210).
Between 1301/1884 and 1303/1886 he served as foreign minister, then became governor of Khorasan, receiving the title Farmānfarmā, traditionally reserved for Qajar princes serving as governors of Fārs; the granting of this title to Maḥmūd Khan thus caused some discontent (Dīvānbeygī, p. 1319). After about eighteen months, however, the shah’s brother Moḥammad-Taqī Mīrzā Rokn-al-Dawla replaced him.
Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):
Bāmdād, Rejāl IV, pp. 54-59.
Aḥmad Dīvānbeygī, Ḥadīqat al-šoʿarāʾ, ed. ʿA. Navāʾī, II, Tehran, 1366 Š./1987.
Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, al-Maʾāṭer wa’l-āṯār, I, pp. 40, 42-44, 55, 58; II, p. 467 (comm. by Ḥ. Maḥbūbī Ardakānī).
M. Mardūḵ Kordestānī, Tārīḵ-e Kord o Kordestān o tawābeʿ yā tārīḵ-e Mardūḵ, 2 vols., Sanandaj, 1351 Š./1972, II, pp. 210-12.
Originally Published: December 15, 1999
Last Updated: December 15, 1999