Art And Culture

Two 19th Century Memoirs Published

Two 19th Century Memoirs PublishedTwo 19th Century Memoirs Published

Two historical memoirs have been published recently by Tehran's Iranshenasi Publisher.

'Memoirs of Sir Frederic John Goldsmid' has been translated into Persian and a new edition of 'Itinerary of Firouz Mirza Farmanfarma', both written in the 19th century, has been brought out, Mehr News Agency reported.

Translator and researcher Omid Sharifi has translated Goldsmid's memoirs. The 140-page book is an account of Goldsmid's journey from Bandar Abbas to Mashhad via Sistan.

 Major General Sir Frederic John Goldsmid (1818-1908) was a British scholar, negotiator and arbiter of the Iran-Afghan border dispute.

In 1851 he went as a political officer to Sind where he began his long connection with the laying of the telegraph line from London to India, exploring Baluchistan and Makran and negotiating with local chieftains for the extension of the line.

He was among the first superintendents of the overland telegraphic communication project from Europe through Iran and Baluchistan region to India.

 During 1865-1870, Goldsmid was director-general of British India's Indo-European Telegraph Department in London. He spent three months in Tehran in 1865 negotiating the Anglo-Persian Telegraph Convention of that year. He was chief British Commissioner on the Baluchistan (Makran) Boundary Commission of 1870-71 and Arbitrator on the Perso-Afghan (Sistan) Arbitration Commission of 1872-73.

Goldsmid was proficient in Hindustani, Arabic, and Persian and learned Turkish when he was attached to Turkish troops in the Crimea in 1855. After retiring in 1874, he maintained a lively interest in Persia, writing and reading papers to the Royal Geographical and other learned societies.

  Firouz Mirza's Account

Sharifi has also brought out a critical edition in 200 pages titled 'Account of Journey, Itinerary of Jiroft' of Firouz Mirza's book.

Firouz Mirza (1818-1886) was a Persian prince of Qajar Dynasty (1785-1925). He was the 16th son of crown prince Abbas Mirza (1789-1883).

From his young years to the time of death, he held important offices including the governorate of Kerman and Baluchistan provinces. The account of his journey is a series of reports on social, cultural and political conditions in Kerman and Baluchistan, particularly in Jiroft, Kerman Province. It has four chapters.

In the last year of his governance in Kerman he started his journey to Jiroft. It was a critical period when one of the severest droughts hit the province.

The first chapter gives a fleeting glimpse of topics such as serfs, barracks, the house of Farmanfarmas, Firouz Mirza's first rule of Kerman and Baluchistan, rural tributes, Halil River and Dalfard rural district in Jiroft, and his amazement over some of his observations.

"When Firouz Mirza embarked on his journey, vast areas of state lands were being ceded to clergymen, merchants and government officials," he observed.

Firouz Mirza and his retinue left Kerman in spring of 1880 and returned to the city in the spring of the following year. "He wrote his account on a daily basis, which was customary in travel literature."

His Jiroft itinerary is brought out in the second chapter. Here, he reports on his inspection of various districts.

About the county of Rafsanjan, he wrote: "The road to Rafsanjan is seven farsangs (Iranian measurement unit, signifying how far a man can walk in one day). There are only sand deserts in between, with no human settlement. There is a poor water reservoir in the middle of the road; everywhere else is dry. No plant grows here, only strong winds."

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