ḴᵛĀJANURI, EBRĀHIM B. ḤABIB-ALLAH (b. Shiraz, Esfand 1279/March-April 1900; d. Tehran, Farvardin 1370/April-May 1991), lawyer, politician, author, translator, journalist, psychologist, and founder of the popular psychoanalytical center of Panā[h] in Tehran. He was only one year old when he lost his father, a high-ranking military accountant (laškarnevis), and he was raised under the care of his mother and elder brother, Abu Torāb Naẓm-al-Dawla (b. 1879), the deputy police chief under Nāṣer-al-Din Shah Qājār (r. 1848-96). Abu Torāb, a well-educated intellectual, was both his teacher and a source of inspiration. He helped Ebrāhim in learning French and nurtured his strong interest in playing, as well as making, musical instruments. It was from him that Ebrāhim heard for the first time the term ravān-šenāsi (psychology), which remained the main area of his interest throughout his life.
In his memoirs, Ḵᵛājanuri (Mošfeq, forthcoming) recalls his mother with great affection and admiration, saying that, though nearly illiterate, she put into practice in her son’s education the same principles that, years later, he found in the teachings of great educational psychologists. Thus, she allowed the young Ebrāhim relative freedom and encouraged his interests, for instance, providing him with carpenter’s tools for making musical instruments (e.g., setār, violin). Although he did not reach a professional level in music, he gained enough expertise to enable him to compose a few songs and perform occasional concerts (Etteḥād, VII, p. 239). He lost his right eye when he was about seven years old. This physical defect created in him a painful sense of insecurity and lack of self-confidence until he was nearly forty years old, but, at the same time, made him turn to music (Etteḥād, VII, pp. 248-49).
Ḵᵛājanuri received his high-school education at the Lazarist St. Louis School in Tehran (see FRANCE xv), where he learned French at a proficient level; after graduation, he was employed by the Ministry of Post and Telegraph and started contributing to the press. In 1923, he set up a weekly paper called Nāma-ye javānān, the very first issue of which aroused much controversy, because it defended the freedom and unveiling of women, provocatively expressed in a verse printed on the front page as its battle cry. Forced by numerous petitions, the Ministry of Justice banned the paper and sentenced Ḵᵛājanuri to four months in prison (Ṣadr Hāšemi, IV, pp. 267-68). There his friend, the defiant nationalist Mirzāda ʿEšqi (d. 1924), paid him a visit (Etteḥād, VII, p. 249; Mošfeq, 1991, p. 20; cf. Afšār, 1991, p. 876; for a picture of the visit, see ʿEšqi, p. 15; just over a year later, Ḵᵛājanuri visited the fatally gunshot Ešqi at the police hospital). Previously, at ʿEšqi’s request, Ḵᵛājanuri had composed a number of melodies for his operetta Rastāḵiz-e šahriārān-e Irān and had agreed to conduct the orchestra (Etteḥād, VII, p. 250; Mošfeq, 1991, p. 22).
While in prison, Ḵᵛājanuri wrote a play called Tajdid-e ʿaẓamat-e Irān, an operetta whose music he composed himself. Having been released from prison, he staged the operetta at the Grand Hotel in Tehran. Among the audience were a number of women allowed for the fist time to attend a play at such a public place. However, a premeditated plot by a group of fanatics disrupted the performance, causing the audience to run away (Etteḥād, VII, p. 250; Mošfeq, 1991, p. 22).
Ḵᵛājanuri traveled to Europe and stayed for eight years (1924-32), including five years in Brussels, where he studied sociology and law and obtained a diploma in law and administrative sciences (Etteḥād, VII, p. 250; Mošfeq, 1991, p. 22; ʿĀqeli, p. 632). After his return, he set up his own law office. When interviewed by ʿAli-Akbar Dāvar, the then powerful minister of justice (during 1927-33), he expressed the view that a lawyer must defend the truth and justice in the first place, no matter whether it is or is not in the best interest of his client. Impressed by this attitude, the minister issued him the license (Mošfeq, 1991, pp. 24-25).
In 1941, Ḵᵛājanuri obtained a license to publish the newspaper ʿAdālat/ʿEdālat, which apparently was intended to disseminate his thoughts and ideals about justice; when he, together with ʿAli Dašti, Jamāl-al-Din Emāmi, Aḥmad Human, and a few others founded a political party called Ḥezb-e ʿEdālat (Justice Party), Ḵᵛājanuri renamed the paper to Nedā-ye ʿedālat (Voice of justice), and it served as the official organ of the party (ʿĀqeli, p. 632; Barzin, p. 402; Elwell-Sutton, p. 447; Azimi, p. 173). The paper consisted of several parts: political, social, and legal. Of particular interest were articles, mostly written by Ḵᵛājanuri, defending women’s rights and addressing their marital problems. He published his articles under a variety of headings, the most well-known being Bāzigarān-e ʿaṣr-e ṭelāʾi, later compiled into a separate book (1943) and reprinted many times (Etteḥād, VII, pp. 250-51).
As in Europe, also in Iran Ḵᵛājanuri continued to study the various schools of psychology. After he left the ʿAdālat Party, he set up a center for guiding youth and discussing their psychological problems. This may have been the first psychoanalytical center ever established in Iran and was the genesis of the later Panā (see below). Related to his work at the center (while he continued in the legal profession) were his radio serial talks “The wonders of the inside world” (Šegeftihā-ye jahān-e darun) and “psychoanalysis” (ravān-kāvi) (Mošfeq, 1991, p. 31).
Ḵᵛājanuri served as the deputy to four prime ministers: ʿAli Sohayli (d. 1958), Aḥmad Qawām (d. 1955), Moḥammad Sāʿed (d. 1973), and Moḥsen Ṣadr-al-Ašrāf (d. 1962), but he resigned each time after a short period. In 1946, in Aḥmad Qawām’s second cabinet, he was both deputy prime minister and director of the government press and propaganda bureau (Edāra-ye tabliḡāt wa entešārāt; Azimi, p. 173; Elwell Sutton, 1968, p. 67). Upon the formation in 1949 of the Senate in Iran for the first time, Ḵᵛājanuri was elected senator from Tehran. At the time of Moḥammad Moṣaddeq as premier, though apparently on good terms (see Moṣeddeq’s letter of appreciation to Ḵᵛājanuri in Mošfeq, 1991, p. 433), he came to be among the Senate opposition, disagreeing with some of Moṣaddeq’s plans. During Manučehr Eqbāl’s premiership (1959-61), Ḵᵛājanuri, in one of his most controversial speeches at the Senate, strongly opposed the creation of the shah’s secret police and intelligence agency SAVAK (Sāzmān-e eṭṭelāʿāt wa amniyat-e kešvar). However, despite his enormous effort, the bill was passed, resulting in his forced resignation in 1957, and he gave up politics forever (ʿĀqeli, p. 633; Mošfeq, 1991, p. 34).
Nevertheless, Ḵᵛājanuri by no means left the social and educational scene, assuming some unpaid responsibilities, including as president of the board of directors of the Orphanage (Parvarevsgāh-e kudakān), member of the board of directors of the Institute for Translation and Publication (Bongāh-e tarjoma wa našr-e ketāb, q.v.), and similar honorary jobs. Through these and many other public bodies, and by convening seminars and conferences, Ḵᵛājanuri tried to convey to society his message regarding mental health and the nurturing of human spiritual power. Once he presented a proposal for bringing about better relations between individuals. However, receiving no positive response, he set out to publish a magazine called Gerehgošā to facilitate direct contact with those interested in practical psychology. This magazine continued until after the Revolution of 1979 in Iran.
Despite the fact that he was generally recognized more as a lawyer and journalist, Ḵᵛājanuri’s deep-rooted personal interest was psychology, which he used in his discussions in a language comprehensible for ordinary people. He tended to be eclectic, drawing from every school what he found applicable and useful in Iranian milieu and with Iranian people. In order to drive his points across, he also made use of other applicable branches of knowledge such as sociology and anthropology. He was pragmatic in outlook, rejecting any psychological and philosophical ideas that could not be effective in the treatment of some spiritual or physical ill of the Iranian society. Ḵᵛājanuri’s belief was that 80 percent of people can be their own psychologists, without seeking the help of professional psychologists and counselors, and achieve a healthy and productive life, provided that they learn certain basic principles and make themselves acquainted with the six techniques dealt with in his book entitled Bāvar-darmāni.
Based on this doctrine, Ḵᵛājanuri, in 1972, established a psychology center called “Parvareš-e niru-ye maʿnawi-e ensāni” (Development of human spiritual powers), abbreviated as “Panā” (also referred to as Panāh “Refuge,” apparently alluding to the nature of the center’s spiritual assistance extended to its clients). There participants enjoyed a friendly relaxed ambience, with Ḵᵛājanuri patiently listening to them as they described their various problems. Then, by using simple analytical techniques, he would try to come up with at least some comforting suggestion, if not with a decisive solution. He always tried to help his followers have faith in their own potential capacities, avoid greed, anger, and vanity. Apparently he was the first to coin the term ravān-kāvi as a Persian equivalent for psychoanalysis (Qāsem Qāżi, quoted in Etteḥād, VII, p. 242).
At Panā Center, Ḵᵛājanuri was assisted by a co-founder, Lidā Mošfeq—in particular, with his writings and publications. Mošfeq has been trying to collect Ḵᵛājanuri’s numerous unpublished scattered notes, recorded talks, texts of his interviews, and a host of memoirs. Ḵᵛājanuri, in his will, officially transferred to Mošfeq all rights of editing, revising, printing, and reprinting all his published and unpublished books and articles (Ḥ. Aʿrābi, Introd. to Ḵᵛājanuri and Mošfeq).
A distinct characteristic of Ḵᵛājanuri’s writings is their fluent quality. Stylistically he was far from being pretentious and pompous, always trying to employ the vocabulary that was comprehendible for most social strata. Besides, he demonstrated some tendency toward using pure (sara) Persian words, defending the Academy for Persian Language (see FARHANGESTĀN) for its endeavor to replace foreign loanwords with terms of Persian origin (Etteḥād, VII, p. 251). Ḵᵛājanuri’s simple style is most discernible in his many biographical writings, for which he is most often remembered. Having been directly involved in politics, he planned to write the lives of fifty of the notable Iranian politicians during Reza Shah’s reign, each one in a separate small book under the general title of Bāzigarān-e ʿaṣr-e ṭelāʾi. However, he managed to author only nine biographies, which were later compiled into a single volume with the same general title. He also planed to write a biography of Reza Shah with the title Sarbāzigar-e ʿaṣr-e ṭelāʾi, but this was also stalled for political reasons. In the meantime, he embarked on another series of biographies, in Nedā-ye ʿadālat, under the general rubric Ki če kāra ast?, which was intended to depict a clear honest picture, critical but unbiased, of a host of people holding some kind of public responsibility (Etteḥād, VII, p. 252).
Works. Ḵᵛājanuri’s writings, including his translations, center on politics, sociology, psychology, and biography. Apart from those already mentioned, they include: ʿAqāyed-e Lala Āqā yā makātib-e haftagi, Tehran, n.d.; Mašhudāt-e goftani, Tehran, 1933; Moḥammad-ʿAli Foruḡi, in the series Mardān-e ḵod-sāḵta, Tehran, 1956; Ravān-kāvi yā ṭariqa-ye sahl barā-ye šenāḵtan-e eḥsāsāt-e maḵfi-e ḵod wa digarān, Tehran, 1957; (with Harry F. Gracey) Ahammiyat wa żarurat-e rahbar wa modir barā-ye āyanda-ye Irān, Tehran, 1958 (originally written in English and then translated by Jahāngir Dāneš); Awwalin barḵord, Tehran, 1960; Maktub, Tehran, 1965; Šegeftihā-ye jahān-e darun, Tehran, 1967; Romuz-e ravāni-e modiriyat, 1968; (with Lidā Mošfeq) Bāvar-darmāni (Tehran, 1988), containing his final views on practical psychology and self-discovery.
Translations. Simā-ye šojāʿān, Tehran, 1961 (tr. of John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage); Čehrahā-ye daraḵšān-e tāriḵ, Tehran, 1961 (tr. of Illustrated Minute Biographies, ed. Samuel Nisenson and William Dewitt); Čerā Engelestān ḵofta bud, Tehran, 1966 (tr. of John F. Kennedy’s Why England Slept).
Iraj Afšār, “Ebrāhim Ḵᵛājanuri,” Āyande 17/9-12, 1991, pp. 876-77.
Idem, “Ebrāhim Ḵᵛājanuri,” in Maḥmud Nikuya, ed., Nāderakārān, Tehran, 2004.
Ḥasan Anwari et al., Farhang-e aʿlām-e soḵan, 3 vols., Tehran, 2008.
Bāqer ʿĀqeli, Šarḥ-e ḥāl-e rejāl-e siāsi wa neẓāmi-e moʿāṣer-e Irān, 3 vols., Tehran, 2001, I, pp. 632-36.
Fakhreddin Azimi, “ʿEdālat,” in EIr. VIII, 1998, pp. 173-74.
Masʿud Barzin, Šenās-nāma-ye maṭbuʿāt-e Irān, Tehran, 1992.
L. P. Elwell-Sutton, “ʿAdālat,” EIr. I, 1989, p. 447.
Idem, “The Iranian Press, 1941-47,” Iran 6, 1968, pp. 65-104.
Mirzāda ʿEšqi, Koliyāt-e moṣawwar, ed. ʿAli-Akbar Mošir-Fāṭemi, Tehran, 1965.
Hušang Etteḥād, Pažuhešgarān-e moʿāṣer-e Irān, 8 vols., Tehran, 1999-2004.
Idem, Bāzigarān-e ʿaṣr-e ṭelāʾi, Tehran, 1943 (reprinted several times).
Ebrāhim Ḵᵛājanuri and Lidā Mošfeq, Bāvar-darmāni: ḵodāmuz-e ravān-šenāsi-e ʿamali wa ḵod-šenāsi beṭariq-e sahl wa sāda, Tehran, 1988; 5th ed., Tehran, 2010.
Ḵānbābā Mošār, Moʾallefin-e kotob-e čāpi-e fārsi wa ʿarabi, 6 vols., Tehran, 1961-65, I, cols. 53-54.
Lidā Mošfeq, ed., Yād-e yār-e mehrbān: Ostād Ebrāhim Ḵᵛājanuri [Ḵᵛājanuri’s biography and a collection of generally laudatory articles and memoirs by over a hundred contributors], Tehran, 1991.
Idem, Zendagi-nāma-ye Ḵᵛājanuri, forthcoming.
Moḥammad Ṣadr Hāšemi, Jarāʾed o majallāt-e Irān, 4 vols., Isfahan, 1948-53, IV, pp. 267-68.
Originally Published: January 18, 2013
Last Updated: January 2, 2013