FORŪGĪ, MOḤAMMAD-ḤOSAYN Khan Ḏokāʾ-al-Molk (b. Isfahan, 15 Rabīʿ II 1255/27 June 1839; d. Tehran, 11 Ramażān 1325/19 October 1907), poet, journalist, literateur, translator, and author. He was born into a family of merchants who traced their lineage to a certain Ḥājī Mollā Moʾmen, a contemporary of Shah ʿAbbās I (r. 996-1038/1588-1629; M.-ʿA. Forūḡī, in ʿĀqelī, p. 257). His father, Moḥammad-Mahdī Arbāb Eṣfahānī, was a merchant engaged in international trade, but he was also a scholar (see his Eṣfahān neṣf-e jahān, ed. M. Sotūda, Tehran, 1961). Moḥammad-Ḥosayn received a traditional education in Isfahan and then tried his fortune in international trade for fourteen years before giving it up after the loss of the merchandise he was taking to India during a storm in the Persian Gulf. He spent some time in Bandar-e Lenga, Jahrom, Fasā, and Yazd (where he was imprisoned for a while for no apparent reason), eventually going to Kermān, where he entered the services of Esmāʿīl Khan Wakīl-al-Molk Nūrī, the governor of Kermān, whom he panegyrized in a number of poems. Before long, however, he left Kermān for the ʿAtabāt. According to Eqbāl (p. 519), some of his best poems were composed in praise of the Imams during his stay in the holy cities. During the same trip he reportedly destroyed the manuscript of a poem he had composed on the model of Rūmī’s Maṯnawī (Eqbāl, loc. cit.). In 1289/1872 he came to Tehran, where his erudition and knowledge of Arabic and French helped him find employment as the head of the Bureau of Publications (Dār al-ṭebāʿa) with additional responsibilities at the Royal Office of Translation (Dār al-tarjama-ye homāyūnī), both under Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, the minister of press and publications (wazīr-e enṭebāʿāt), who was a hub of the intellectuals of the time (M.-ʿA. Forūḡī, in Ḡanī, IX, p. 783; idem in ʿĀqelī, pp. 260-61; Eʿtemād-al- Salṭana, Maʾāṯer wa’l-āṯār I, pp. 256, 409). Forūḡī’s main task was the translation of articles and news from Arabic and French, but he also edited books and articles written by other authors, including the works of Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, who respected Forūḡī’s literary talent. Forūḡī also wrote articles for the newspapers Eṭṭelāʿ, Šaraf, and Īrān, all published by the Bureau; his responsibilities increased in 1990 when he became also a deputy mostawfī (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Rūz-nāma-ye ḵāṭerāt, p. 734; idem, Maʾāṯer wa’l-āṯār I, pp. 85, 256; Eqbāl, p. 519; Ḡanī, IX, p. 262).
As a poet, Forūḡī, whose first pen name was Adīb, composed panegyrics of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah on a variety of occasions (e.g., Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 414). In 1291/1874, on the occasion of tree plantation in the garden of ʿEšratābād in the suburb of Tehran, he wrote a qaṣīda, for which Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah granted him the title Forūḡī, which thereafter became his pen name (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Montaẓam-e nāṣerī, ed. Reżwānī, III, pp. 1954-55; Idem, Maʾāṯer wa’l-āṯār I, pp. 85, 108).
Forūḡī was an enlightened, progressive intellectual familiar with the literary, scientific, and political trends in Europe. He favored the promotion of modern education in Persia and supported the introduction of basic democratic changes into its political system (Ḡanī, IX, pp. 98, 822; cf. Ādamīyat, pp. 77-78). He belonged to an exclusive circle of intellectuals in Tehran, who regularly met with Jamāl-al-Dīn Asadābādī Afḡānī and also kept contacts with Mīrzā Malkom Khan in Europe (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 80, 82; Browne, Persian Revolution, M. Qazvīnī’s comm., pp. 404-5). His connection with Malkom Khan forced him in 1308/1891 to go into hiding as the government agents searched his home and confiscated his papers. He was accused of writing an article for the paper Qānūn published by Malkom Khan but banned in Persia. He eventually took refuge (see BAST) in the stable of Mīrzā ʿAlī-Aṣḡar Khan Amīn-al-Solṭān, where he remained for forty days until he was pardoned by the shah and returned to public service (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Rūz-nāma-ye ḵāṭerāt, pp. 748-50, 754, 756, 783; M.-ʿA. Forūḡī, in Ḡanī, IX, p. 788). In 1311/1893, upon the persistent request of Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah granted him the title Ḏokāʾ-al-Molk (Rūz-nāma-ye ḵāṭerāt, p. 953).
During Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah’s reign (1313-24/1896-1907) Forūḡī published the weekly, later daily, journal Tarbīat, of which 434 issues were published (1314-25/1897-1908). Tarbīat had little political significance and occasionally published praises of contemporary dignitaries, but it was distinguished by the eloquent literary styles of its articles that included translations of foreign scientific and literary works that it carried in feuilletons (pā-waraqī; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī II, pp. 19-20; ; Browne, Press and Poetry, pp. 61-62; Ṣadr Hāšemī II, pp. 116-24; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā I, p. 199). When Anjoman-e maʿāref decided to establish a publication and translation firm, it employed Forūḡī as its director with the salary of forty tomans a month. He was assisted in his capacity as the writer and chief editor by his son Moḥammad- ʿAlī Forūḡī and Moḥammad Qazvīnī (Eḥtešām-al-Salṭana, p. 329; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā I, pp. 201, 222). In 1317/1899 he was invited to teach literature at the newly founded College of Political Science (Madrasa-ye ʿolūm-e sīāsī) and in 1323/1905 he became its director, which position he held until he died and was replaced by his son Moḥammad-ʿAlī (q.v.; Eqbāl, pp. 521-22; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī II, pp. 76, 313; Ḡanī, IX, p. 99; see FACULTIES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN iii). A portrait of M oḥammad-Ḥosayn Forūḡī, painted by his friend Moḥammad Ḡaffārī Kamāl-al-Molk, was procured for the collection of the Majles (Ḡanī, V, pp. 131-32, X, pp. 716, 718). He is buried in the cemetery of Ebn Bābaūya, a shrine near Tehran.
Works (all pub. in Tehran): Tārīḵ-e Īrān az qabl az mīlād tā Qājārīya, 1318/1900; Majmūʿa-ye naẓm o naṯr, 1318/1900; Tārīḵ-e Īrān, 1323/1905; Dīvān-e ašʿār, 1325/1907; ʿElm-e badīʿ, 1333/1915; Tārīḵ-e adabīyāt, 1335/1917. His major translations include: E. Abkārīūs’ Rayḥānat al-afkār, 1302/1884; George Rawlinson’s The Seventh Great Monarchy as Tārīḵ-e salāṭīn-e sāsānī (with M.-ʿA. Forūḡī), 2 vols., 1313-16/1895-98; Dastūr-e ḥokūmat yā nāma-ye ḥażrat-e Amīr ba Mālek-e Aštar, 1321/1903; Jules Verne’s Le tour du monde en quatre-vingt jours as Safar-e haštād rūza dawr-e donyā, 1316/1898; Jacque-Henri Bernardin de Saint Pierre’s La Chaumière indienne, as Kolba-ye hendī, 1322/1904; Françios Chateaubriand’s Les aventures du dernier Abencerage as ʿEšq o ʿeffat, 1324/1906; Qāsem Ḡanī (IX, p. 195) credits him also with a translation of James Morier’s Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan. Among some dozen works edited by him, Sayyed Ḥosayn Khan Ṣadr-al-Maʿālī Šīrazī’s Būsa-ye ʿAḏrā yā kašf al-asrār, a translation of George W. M. Reynolds’ The Bronze Statue; or the Virgin’s Kiss, is noteworthy because of its political tone (see Ādamīyat, pp. 76-78).
F. Ādamīyat, Īdeoložī-e nahżat-e mašrūṭa-ye Īrān, Tehran, 2535 (1353) Š./1974.
B. ʿĀqelī, Ḏokāʾ-al-Molk Forūḡī wa Šahrīvar-e 1320, Tehran, 1367 Š./1988, pp. 257-86.
Bāmdād, Rejāl III, pp. 384-88.
Browne, Press and Poetry, pp. 158-59, 164-65.
Maḥmūd Khan Eḥtešām-al-Salṭana, Ḵāṭerāt-e Eḥtešām-al-Salṭana, ed. S. M. Mūsawī, Tehran, 1366 Š./1987.
ʿA. Eqbāl, “Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Ḏokāʾ-al-Molk,” Yaḡmā 14/11, 1340 Š./1962, pp. 517-22.
Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Maʾāṯer wa’l-āṯār III, Ḥ. Maḥbūbī Ardakānī’s comm., III, pp. 662-63, 720-21.
Q. Ḡanī, Yāddāšthā-ye Doktor Qāsem Ḡanī, ed. S. Ḡanī, 12 vols., London, 1980-84.
Ḥabībābādī, Makārem, V, pp. 1491-92.
J. Homāʾī,“K¨ānadān-e Forūḡī,” in idem,Maqālāt-e adabī I, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990, pp. 467-73.
Ḥ. Maʿṣūmī Hamadānī, “Ḏokāʾ-al-Molk Forūḡī wa rūz-nāma-ye Tarbīat,” Našr-e dāneš 4, 1363 Š./1984, pp. 5-19.
M. Qazvīnī, Yādāšthā-ye Qazvīnī VIII, 1346 Š./1967, pp. 183-84.
Ḥ. Yaḡmāʾī, “Āṯār wa taʾlīfāt-e Marḥūm Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Forūḡī,” Yaḡmā 19/3, 1345 Š./1966, appendix.
Originally Published: December 15, 1999
Last Updated: January 31, 2012
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