ḴOSROW KHAN GORJI QĀJĀR (Andre Ghaytmazeants, b. Tbilisi, 1785-6; d. Tehran, 1857), an influential eunuch (ḵᵛāja; see EUNUCHS) of the Qajar times, in the period from Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah (r. 1797-1834) to Nāṣer-al-Din Shah (r. 1848-96). Ḵosrow Khan Gorji Qājār was born in Tbilisi and was captured and brought to Persia in his youth (Rabino, p. 550; Bāmdād, I, pp. 479-80). According to Jakob Eduard Polak (1818-91), Ḵosrow Khan came from an influential Georgian family of Jewish origin, and he remained Christian until he was 16 years old (Polak, I, pp. 260-61; Polak, tr. Jahāndāri, p. 180). In fact, Ḵosrow Khan’s real name was Andre Ghaytmazeants, and he was a son of an Armenian priest in Tbilisi. He participated in the military campaign of the Russian General Pavel Tsitsianov (1754-1806) as a member of the Georgian volunteer army led by the Prince Ivan (Iovane) Orbeliani (?-1806), but was captured by the Qajar troops near the Yerevan fortress in the summer of 1804. After that he was castrated and became a eunuch (Shermazanean, pp. 213-20). On 13 Rabiʿ I 1230/23 February 1815 he was sent to Gilān as the governor of the province. There he commissioned many fine buildings, such as the Tupḵāna park and palace, and Solaymāndārāb and Čamarsarā bridges (Rabino, pp. 88, 151, 154). He was generous to the lower classes of the society but confronted with the local leaders. In Ramażān 1234/June-July 1819, he was removed from office after the local riot connected with the sale of villages of Lašt-e Nesā (Rabino, pp. 294-95, 550-51; Hedāyat, IX, p. 7755; Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, III, p. 1542). In 1238/1822-23, Ḵosrow Khan led the Baḵtiāri army to conquer Mandalij near the Persian-Ottoman frontier (Hedāyat, IX, p. 7802-4; Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, III, p. 1557). In 1824, after the death of Yusof Khan Gorji—another prominent Caucasian servant of Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah—Ḵosrow Khan succeeded him as the vizier to Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah’s son Moḥammad Mirzā Seyf-al-Dowla, the governor of Isfahan (Sharashenidze, p. 123; Hedāyat, IX, p. 7824; Donboli, p. 388; Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, III, p. 1567, but the author confuses Ḵosrow Khan with Manučehr Khan).
In 1250/1834, when Moḥammad Mirzā (later Moḥammad Shah, r. 1834-48) moved to Tehran from Tabriz to claim the Qajar crown, Ḵosrow Khan brought to him the royal treasures of the late Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah including the royal sword which had temporarily been possessed by ʿAlišāh Mirzā Ẓell-al-Solṭān, a son of Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah. Moḥammad Shah rewarded Ḵosrow Khan with the post of the governor of Isfahan and ordered him to send Solṭan-Moḥammad Mirzā Seyf-al-Dowla, the former governor of the city, to Tehran (Bāmdād, I, p. 479; Hedāyat, X, p. 8175; Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, III, p. 1630). Ḵosrow Khan was opposed by the famous religious leader of the time, Moḥammad-Bāqer Šafti, known as Ḥojjat-al-Eslām Šafti, who agitated population against him. Ḵosrow Khan returned to the court in Tehran in 1253/1837-38 (Bāmdād, I, p. 480; Muliāni, p. 291; Hedāyat, X, pp. 8198 and 8264; Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, III, p. 1642; Ter Yovhaneants, pp. 335-38). On 12 Ḏu’l-Qaʿda 1263/22 October 1847 Ḵosrow Khan was appointed governor of Kordestān. He arrested the previous local governor Reżāqoli Khan Wali and sent him to Tehran. Ḵosrow Khan acted as the governor of Kordestān for a year, until the death of Moḥammad Shah in Šawwāl 1264/September 1848 (Sanandaji, pp. 231-37; Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, III, p. 1687). Although he represented central power, a Kurdish chronicler of the time described him as a man of intelligence and honesty, virtuous and kind to public (Sanandaji, p. 232). Hedāyat, Polak, and Fraser praised his wisdom and spirits which were well known throughout the country (Hedāyat, X, p. 8384; Polak, I, p. 261; Polak, tr. Jahāndāri, p. 180; Rabino, p. 550). In 1268/1851-52 Ḵosrow Khan was appointed governor of Qazvin (Hedāyat, X, p. 8601). Ḵosrow Khan sent his deputy to Qazvin, but he himself remained at the court in Tehran and died there on 5 Ḏu’l-Ḥejja 1273/27 July 1857 (Bāmdād, I, p. 481).
Ḵosrow Khan Gorji belonged to the group of servants of Caucasian origin, who converted to Islam and served the Qajar dynasty, like another powerful eunuch Manučehr Khan Gorji Moʿtamed-al-Dowla (?-1847) from Tbilisi. The latter’s original name was Chongur Enikolopeants, and he was captured by the Qajar army on the same occasion as Ḵosrow Khan was. They both had very similar life and, in fact, formed an alliance inside the Qajar court (Shermazanean, pp. 323-77). Ḵosrow Khan’s terms of tenure often turned out to be short because of the animosity of the local elites toward him, and his career demonstrates the tension between the central and local powers, in as much as it shows some tendencies in the regulations of the Qajar elite of that period.
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March 20, 2009
Originally Published: April 20, 2009
Last Updated: April 20, 2009