Memoirs of Keikhosrow Shahrokh
Keikhosrow Shahrokh was an outstanding historical figure in Iran: a Zoroastrian in a Muslim world, he worked in diverse fields to bring his nation out of the Dark Ages while simultaneously fighting for the upliftment of his fellow Zoroastrians. This first-person narrative recounts his role as educator, parliamentarian, advisor to Reza Shah Pahlavi, his work as roving ambassador for Iranian industry (from national telephone company to parliamentary printing press), and his determination to remove the social, economic and legal taboos under which Zoroastrians labored for 1,300 years. The memoirs also chronicle the political, economic and social debilitation of Iran at the turn of the century, and give an acute assessment of Zoroastrian-Muslim relations. The editors, Shahrokh Shahrokh, a grandson of Keikhosrow Shahrokh, and Rashna Writer, author of Contemporary Zoroastrians: An Unstructured Nation, have added an introduction and footnotes to the original, forming an important contribution to the study of Iran at the turn of the century.
". . . a genuine personal element runs throughout these short memoirs giving a vivid picture of the man and his times. The translators deserve credit for remaining true to the expressive tone of the subject. . . Readers will find interesting his accounts of certain developments relating to the Zoroastrian community as a whole. For instance, his memoirs are quite detailed on the impact of Parsis (Persian Zoroastrians in India) in rebuilding, assisting, and lobbying the Qajar government on behalf of their Persian compatriots. . . Details of the formation of Zoroastrian societies (anjomans) in Kerman, Yazd, and Tehran, and of the building of Zoroastrian schools and community centers (including amounts and names of donors) abound. . . . Some of Shahrokh's comments might be of interest for future historical research. . . . The memoirs also address the issue of corruption in public works, Shahrokh's speeches and reports as director of the coronations of Ahmad Shah Qajar and Reza Shah Pahlavi, as supervisor of the building of the Ferdowsi Mausoleum, and as head of the Audit Department give credibility to his comments. One of the more interesting sections of the memoirs deals with the dynamics of the Zoroastrian communities and Muslim-Zoroastrian relations in Kerman and Yazd. Shahrokh provides the reader with dates, specific events, and the names of people and places. His conclusion that Muslim hostility toward the Zoroastrians was stronger in Yazd than in Kerman raises another interesting area for future research." – Eliz Sanasarian in Iranian Studies (1998)
". . . a telling personal story of a leader of a religious minority group in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Iran. In addition, through Shahrokh's personal narrative the work also provides a vivid account of the position of Zoroastrians in Iranian society. Shahrokh's memoirs of his years in the Majlis (National Assembly), from 1909-1940, also bring a new perception to our understanding of parliamentary politics during those important years. For those interested in intellectual history, the book sheds new light on the impact of European thought on Iranians and the subsequent emergence of secular and nationalist ideologies, especially during the period of Reza Shah." - Jusur: UCLA Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
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