BĀJALĀN, a Kurdish tribe which has settled in the dehestāns of Qūratū, Ḏohāb and Jagarlū in the šahrestān of Qaṣr-e Šīrīn, on the Iraqi border (Kayhān, Joḡrāfīā II, p. 60). According to H. C. Rawlinson, the tribe moved from the Mosul area to the Ḏohāb area in the eighteenth century (“Notes on a March from Zoháb . . . to Kirmánsháh,” JRGS 9, 1839, p. 107). Its link to the Mosul area is confirmed by the existence of a group of Bājalān villages a few miles northeast of that city (C. J. Edmonds, Kurds, Turks and Arabs, London, 1957, p. 10, n. 1 ).
One of the most prominent leaders of the Bājalāns was ʿAbd-Allāh Khan, who served as pasha of Ḏohāb for the Ottoman government during the mid-1700s. In the spring of 1167/1754, he fought against Moḥammad Khan Zand when the latter occupied the Kermānšāh region (J. R. Perry, Karim Khan Zand, Chicago, 1979, pp. 55, 184). In late 1188/early 1775, Naẓar-ʿAlī Khan Zand, who had been dispatched by Karīm Khan to reestablish Zand hegemony over Kurdistan, defeated ʿAbd-Allāh Khan near Ḵānaqīn, slaughtering 2,000 of his men and seizing 120,000 head of livestock (ibid., p. 187). The Bājalāns became embroiled in the civil wars which were unleashed by the death of Karīm Khan Zand in 1779, but played only a marginally important role in them (see E. Beer, ed., Das Târîkh-i Zendîje des Ibn ʿAbd el-Kerîm ʿAlî Riẓâ von Šîrâz, Leiden, 1888, p. 19; Nāmī Eṣfahānī, Tārīḵ-eGītīgošā, Tehran, 1317 Š./1938-39, p. 242; H. J. Brydges, The Dynasty of the Kajars, London, 1833, pp. 48, 58, 141).
The Bājalān lands became a permanent part of Iranian territory when Moḥammad-ʿAlī Mīrzā, the governor of Kermānšāh, occupied the Ḏohāb region in 1222/1807-08 (Rawlinson, op. cit., p. 26). The last notable leader of the Bājalān tribe was ʿAzīz Khan Šojāʿ-al-Mamālek, who reached the peak of his influence during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Around 1882, he was summoned to Isfahan by Ẓell-al-Solṭān and was entrusted with the mission of guarding the marches in the vicinity of Qaṣr-e Šīrīn. Upon his return to western Iran, he built a fort at Qūratū on the Ḏohāb river and established several villages for his sons and other relatives. Toward the end of his rule, a feud erupted between his family and the family of his brother, Ḵalīfa Aʿẓam Khan, in which two of the sons of each were killed. As a result of this feud, the tribe rapidly disintegrated following ʿAzīz Khan’s death in November, 1903 (H. L. Rabino, “Kermanchah,” RMM 38, 1920, p. 20).
The Bājalān population was estimated at 2,000 families by Rawlinson (op. cit., p. 107), at 600 families by Rabino (op. cit., p. 20) and at 1,300 families by M. Mardūḵ (Tārīḵ-e Mardūḵ, Tehran, n.d, I, p. 78). According to Mardūḵ, some 70 families of Bājalāns have migrated to the Qazvīn region.
The Bājalān tribe is composed of the following branches (tīras): Jomūr, Qāzānlū, Šīrāvand, Ḥājīlār Ḡarībāvand, and Dandāvand (E. B. Soane, To Mesopotamia and Kurdistan in Disguise, London, 1912, p. 407). According to Mardūḵ, the Jomūrs and Qāzānlūs are of Lak origin (op. cit., p. 78).
The Bājalāni dialect belongs to the Gūrāni group.
Given in the text. See also D. N. MacKenzie in EI2 I, pp. 887-88.
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 24, 2011
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Vol. III, Fasc. 5, pp. 532-533