DEH-BOKRĪ,Kurdish tribe of Kurdistan. Henry Rawlinson (p. 34 n.), who visited northwestern Persia in 1838, referred to the Deh-bokrīs as a clan (tīra) of the Mokrī tribe. According to Basile Nikitine, the Deh-bokrīs were probably local inhabitants who were absorbed by the Mokrī tribe; he also suggested that the name Deh-bokrī was derived from Deh Mokrī (p. 165). According to a tribal legend, the Deh-bokrī chiefs had originated in Dīārbakr and their name reflects that origin, but, as Vladimir Minorsky pointed out (p. 191), it is much more likely that the name Deh-bokrī is derived from that of the village of Deh-e Bokr, situated 12 km southwest of Mahābād.

William Eagleton reported (p. 22) that the Deh-bokrīs “intermittently fought the Bilbas [see BELBĀS] during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries but have since been fragmented.” At the beginning of World War I, when Turkish forces penetrated into Kurdistan and Azerbaijan, they were joined by horsemen from the Bāna, Mangūr, Māmaš, and Deh-bokrī tribes. In December 1914 the Turks and their Kurdish allies defeated Persian forces at Mīāndoāb, then seized Tabrīz. In September 1921 the Deh-bokrīs and other Kurdish tribes of the Mahābād region participated in an uprising led by the Šaqāqī bandit and Kurdish nationalist Esmāʿīl Āqā Sīmko/Semītqū (Arfa, pp. 27, 59).

The Deh-bokrīs played an important role in events in northwestern Persia during and immediately after World War II. When the Soviets occupied Kurdistan in August 1941, they at once started to replace Persian government officials with Kurds. By an agreement with Soviet authorities, the Persian government appointed the aged chief of the Deh-bokrīs, ʿAlī Āqā Khan Amīr Asad, governor of Mahābād, but this appointment was strenuously opposed by the leaders of the other tribes in the region, like the Mangūr, Māmaš, Pīrān, Gowrīk, and Zarzā tribes. It was even rejected by several Deh-bokrī clan leaders. As a result, Amīr Asad was gradually rendered powerless (Arfa, p. 72).

When the autonomous Kurdish Republic was declared at Mahābād in February 1946 two Deh-bokrī leaders received cabinet portfolios: ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Īlḵānīzāda became foreign minister and Esmāʿīl Āqā Īlḵānīzāda minister of roads. Major Jaʿfar Karīmī was appointed army chief of staff (Eagleton, pp. 69, 79).

The Deh-bokrīs have become sedentary, except for a few shepherds who summer the tribal flocks on neighboring high pastures. In 1342 Š./1963-64 the tribe was estimated at 4,700 households (Komīsīūn-e mellī, I, p. 123). The Īlḵānīzāda, ʿAlīyār, Qahramān, and ʿAbbāsī clans live in the baḵš of Būkān, southeast of Mahābād; the Karīmī clan lives along the Sāwj Bolāḡ river, north of Mahābād; and the ʿAzīzī, Pīrotī, Maʿrūfī, and Fatḥānī clans live in and around the town of Mahābād (Komīsīūn-e mellī, I, p. 123; Eagleton, p. 22). According to Minorsky (p. 191), the chief center of the tribe is the village of Deryās, 11 km north of Mahābād. There is also a group of Deh-bokrīs in the Saqqez region, comprising about 1,330 households (Komīsīūn-e mellī, p. 128), but very little is known about it.



Ī. Afšār Sīstānī, Īlhā, čādornešīnān wa ṭawāyef-e ʿašāyerī-e Īrān I, Tehran, 1366 Š./1987, pp. 199, 200, 256.

H. Arfa, The Kurds. An Historical and Political Study, London, 1966.

W. Eagleton, Jr., The Kurdish Republic of 1946, London, 1963.

Komīsīūn-e mellī-e Yūnesko dar Īrān, Irān-šahr, 2 vols., Tehran, 1342-43 Š./1963-64.

M.-J. Maškūr, Naẓar-ī be tārīḵ-e Aḏarbāyjān, 1349 Š./1971, p. 194.

V. Minorsky, “Sāwdj-Bulāḳ,” in EI1 IV, pp. 186-92.

B. Nikitine, Les Kurdes, Paris, 1956.

H. C. Rawlinson, “Notes on a Journey from Tabriz through Persian Kurdistaŋin October and November 1838,” JRGS 10, 1841, pp. 1-64.

Razmārā, Farhang IV, pp. 98, 226.

(Pierre Oberling)

Originally Published: December 15, 1994

Last Updated: November 18, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VII, Fasc. 2, pp. 209-210