BOČĀQČĪ, a Turkic tribe of Sīrjān in Kermān province. Its name in Turkish means both “knife-maker” and “quarrelsome.” The latter meaning is probably the intended one, for tribal names meaning “quarrelsome” and “angry” are common (see Németh, p. 36).
Very little is known about the origin and early history of the Bočāqčīs. Ebn Baṭṭūṭa (I, pp. 328, 365; who derives the name from bočaq “knife”) mentions Aḥmad Bočaqčī, a leading noble of the Sīvās area, and Aḵī Bočaqčī from Azov on the Black Sea. However, the presence in their midst of a clan by the name of Arašlū suggests a past association with the now widely scattered Afšār tribe. The Bočāqčīs played a role of considerable importance in the anti-British uprisings in southern Iran during World War I—especially in the so-called “Sīrjān episode” of Šawwāl-Ḏu’l-ḥejja, 1334/August-October, 1916, when the Bočāqčī leader, Ḥosayn Khan, helped some German and Austrian prisoners of war escape from British custody and then briefly occupied Saʿīdābād, the capital of Sīrjān, with some of the freed captives (Sykes, A History of Persia II, pp. 464-65). Ḥosayn Khan was the son and successor of Esfandīār Khan, whose exploits as a raider earned him the sobriquet of “the Robin Hood of Persia” from Sykes (Ten Thousand Miles in Persia, London, 1902, p. 435; see also Aḥmad-ʿAlī Khan, pp. 420-24).
The summer quarters of the Bočāqčīs are in the Balvard and Čahārgonbad regions; their winter quarters are in the ʿAyn-al-Baqar region, southwest of Saʿīdābād (Īrānšahr I, p. 157). In the 1310s Š./1930s, they comprised the following clans, the number of families being in parentheses: Qarā Saʿīdlū (50), Ḵerslū (30), Savār Saʿīdlū (15), Angalū (70), ʿAbbāslū (22), Ḥalwāʾī (25), Arašlū (100), Osṭūrī (40), Nūkī Reżwānī (90), Sīrjān-e Kohna (50), Sūḵta-čālī (30), Čahārgon-badi (120), and Rāyīnī (80) (Kayhān, Joḡrāfīā, p. 95).
The Bočāqčīs are Shiʿites and known for their fine rugs; their number was estimated at 500 families in 1342 Š./1963 (Īrānšahr I, p. 157).
Aḥmad-ʿAlī Khan Wazīrī Kermānī, Tārīḵ-eKermān, ed. M.-E. Bāstānī Pārīzī, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961.
Ebn Baṭṭūṭa, Toḥfat al-noẓẓār fī ḡarāʾeb al-amṣār wa ʿajāʾeb al-asfār, tr. M.-ʿA. Mowaḥḥed, Safar-nāma-ye Ebn Baṭṭūṭa, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969.
Īrānšahr, 2 vols., Tehran, 1342 Š./1963.
G. Németh, A honfogaló mogyarság kialakulása, Budapest, 1930.
G. Stöber, Die Afshār. Nomadismus im Raum Kermān, Marburg, 1978.
P. M. Sykes, Ten Thousand Miles in Persia, London, 1902.
Idem, A History of Persia.
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: December 15, 1989
This article is available in print.
Vol. IV, Fasc. 3, p. 317