BĀBĀ ŠAMAL, weekly satirical periodical founded by Reżā Ganjaʾī (b. 1918 in Tabrīz) in Farvardīn, 1322 Š./April, 1943. It was published regularly until Mehr, 1324 Š./October, 1945, when Ganjaʾī left for Europe. A further fifty issues were published until Esfand, 1326 Š./March, 1947, after his return. The magazine, which was printed on eight 21 x 31 cm pages, had a wide circulation (a print order of 17,000 was claimed for it), and dealt with the political issues of the day in a racy colloquial style spiced with cartoons and caricatures, sometimes in color. An issue cost 2.5 rials; a yearly subscription was 150 rials. On the whole, its stance was independent, nationalistic, and middle of the road. It was impartially opposed to all foreign intervention and influence in Iran, and was particularly hostile to Sayyed Żīāʾ-al-Dīn Ṭabāṭabāʾī (q.v.) because of his reputation for being linked with Britain. At the same time it strongly opposed the Russian request in 1323 Š./1944 for an oil concession, and so incurred the hostility of the pro-Soviet Tūda (Tudeh) Party. The leader of the pro-Soviet separatist movement of Azerbaijan, Jaʿfar Pīšavarī (q.v.), was also highly distrustful of Bābā Šamal, whose founder he considered partly responsible for the campaign leading to the invalidation of his electoral mandate in the fourteenth Majles. Bābā Šamal’s strongly satirical methods earned it many enemies, especially in government circles, and the increasing pressure of censorship forced its closure in 1327 Š./1948. Reżā Ganjaʾī, an engineer by training, held important posts in the Ministries of Posts and Telegraphs and of Industry and Mines, in the railways, insurance, etc., but resigned from all his posts in 1341 Š./1962.

In publishing Bābā Šamal, Ganjaʾī was assisted by a talented staff of satirists, poets, and writers. Highly popular cartoons were rendered by Dāvarī and among Ganjaʾī’s other collaborators were Rahī Moʿayyerī (pen-name Zāḡča), Eqteṣād (pen name Shaikh Pašm-al-Dīn), Fozūnī (pen-name Mohandes-al-Šoʿarāʾ), and Ṣahbā (pen-name Shaikh Somā).


J. Āl-e Aḥmad, “Varšekastagī-e maṭbūʿat,” in Se maqāla-ye dīgar, Tehran, 1342 Š./1963, pp. 35-36.

L. P. Elwell-Sutton, “Iranian Press 1941-47,” Iran 6, 1968, p. 80.

R. Ganjaʾī, “Nāma-ye Bābā Šamal wa gardūna-ye pīškešī,” Āyanda 13, 1366 Š./1987, pp. 655-57.

A. Ḥālat, “Nāma-ye Bāba Šamal,” Talāš 34, 1351 Š./1972, pp. 26-31.

M. Nafīsī, “Bābā Šamal,” Taḥqīqāt-e rūz-nāma-negārī 15, 1348 Š./1969, pp. 47-49.

Ḡ.-Ḥ. Ṣāleḥyār, Čehra-ye maṭbūʿāt-e moʿāṣer, Tehran, 1351 Š./1972, p. 257.

Search terms:

 بابا شمل  baba shamal baabaa shamal

(L. P. Elwell-Sutton)

Originally Published: December 15, 1988

Last Updated: August 18, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 3, p. 294

Cite this entry:

L. P. Elwell-Sutton, “BĀBĀ ŠAMAL,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, III/3, p. 294, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/baba-samal (accessed on 30 December 2012).