HUŠYĀR ŠIRĀZI, MOḤAMMAD-BĀQER, university professor and author (b. 12 Esfand 1283 Š./2 March 1904 in Shiraz; d. 19 Mordād 1336 Š./10 August 1957 in Tehran; Figure 1). He was a descendant of the Weṣāl family, which was noted for its successive generations of poets and men of letters. His father, Mirzā Moḥammad Hušyār, a dilettante poet and fan of literature, was a merchant of carpets and opium. Moḥammad-Bāqer lost his father at the age of thirteen and, as the eldest son of the family, replaced him in supervising of his younger brothers and sisters. He received his elementary and high school formal education in Shiraz, and in 1921 as a seventeen-year-old youth he went to Europe by way of India. He finished his secondary schooling in Germany in 1926 and then attended the High School for Agriculture in Berlin for about two years. He returned to Persia in 1929. In the same year, he successfully passed the state examinations for sending students to Europe for higher education and returned to Germany. He pursued his studies in Berlin, Tübingen, Jena, and Munich and received his Ph.D. in psychology and education in 1934 in Munich. Moreover, he developed an interest in German literature and philosophy and acquired considerable knowledge in both subjects (Ette-ḥād, p. 433).
Upon his return to Persia with his German wife, he was employed as professor in the newly established University of Tehran. As a devoted and enthusiastic educator and author, his life, until his somewhat early death, was spent on energetically transmitting his acquired knowledge to his students and on introducing certain texts of German literature to Persian readers (Rahnemā, pp. 13-21).
His book on experimental psychology, Ravān-šenāsi-e ʿamali wa ʿamaliyāt-e āzmāyešgāhi wa huš-sanji (Tehran, 1938), is the first of its genre in Persian language. His book on principles of education (Oṣul-e āmuzeš o parvareš, Tehran, 1948), which was used as a textbook at the university, was also a pioneering work. He also published several works on methods of language teaching, including a manual for teaching a foreign language (Tadris-e zabān-e ḵāreja, Tehran, 1944) and one on literacy and public education (Sawād wa āmuzeš-e hama-ḡāni, Tehran, 1948), as well as a guidebook for teaching the Persian alphabet (Tadris-e alefbā, Tehran, 1953).
His translations include Oswald Spengler’s Jahre der Entscheidung as Sālhā-ye taṣmim (Tehran, 1952), Wolfgang von Goethe’s Egmont with a critical introduction (Tehran, 1956), and a short selection of aphorisms from Friedrich Nietzche’s Der Wille zur Macht as Montaḵabāt-i az erāda-ye maʿṭuf be qodrat (Tehran, 1956), with a long and spirited introduction in praise of Nietzsche and his thought. His translations also include Walther Hinz’s Irans Aufsteig zum Nationalstaat in fünfzehnten Jahrhundert, on the transition of Iran into a national state in the early Safavid period, as Enteqāl-e Irān be dawra-ye ḥokumat-e melli, and a part of Theodore Nöldeke’s Geschichte des Qorāns as Qesmat-i az tāriḵ-e al-Qorʾān-e Noldeke.
Hušyār developed a personal style in prose, emphasizing precision, which was reflected in his main work on principles of education and in his translations of German literary texts. He was used to spending a long time on refining his writings (Rahnemā, p. 18). He aspired to translate Nietzsche’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, of which a short chapter was produced in his introduction to the translation of Nietzsche’s Der Wille zur Macht. He was also sensitive to matters concerning Persian language development. At least one of his lexical innovations has become prevale nt—translating the suffixes “-ist” and “-ism” (so frequently used in scientific and philosophical terminology) respectively as -gerā and -gerāʾi (derived from gerāyidan “to incline”).
Hušyār had a positive character with a humanistic, philosophical attitude. He loved his profession of pedagogy and had a charismatic, forceful personality as a devoted teacher. Intellectually he was prominent among his contemporaries.
Hušang Etteḥād, Pažuhešgarān-e moʿāṣer-e Irān V, Tehran, 2002, pp. 432-39 (a detailed survey of Hušyār’s life and work).
“Hušyār Širāzi, Mo-ḥammad-Bāqer,” in Maḥmud Moṣāḥab, ed., Dāyerat al-maʿāref-e fārsi II/2, Tehran, 1977, p. 3318.
Āḏar Rahnemā, “Marg-e yak morabbi-e bozorg,” in Sapida-ye fardā, a publication of Tehran Teachers College (Dāneš-sarā-ye ʿāli), 4/7-8, Bahman-Esfand1336 Š./February-March 1958, pp. 13-21 (the entire issue is devoted to Hušyār’s memory).
Originally Published: December 15, 2004
Last Updated: March 23, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. XII, Fasc. 6, pp. 582-583