Answers to Questions About the Qajars (Kadjars)


The very mention of the name "Qajar" evokes strong emotions and responses, still, to this day. Much of it has to do with the way Qajars (Kadjars) left the scene of Persian politics and with the way they were portrayed by their successors, the Pahlavis. In writing these pages about the Qajars (Kadjars) we too have been faced with the necessity for clarification and explanation, and, in a way, that is a necessary and good thing!

In these pages we will concern ourselves with the various questions that have been raised about the Qajars (Kadjars), their rule, their origins, their legitimacy, their successes, their achievements and their failures. The necessity for pages like these has become evident because of the cacophony of voices that exist on the subject of the shortcomings of the Qajars (Kadjars) and the respectability that those voices have been given in academia and in the mainstream publishing establishments. The necessity for pages like these has also become evident because of the lack of arguments supporting another look at the facts about the rule of this dynasty. Though our answers here, ultimately, will not satisfy critics of the Qajars (Kadjars) -- since for many of them their very identity depends on the truth of their assertions about the Qajars (Kadjars) -- we will at least have taken the opportunity to present another side and leave it to the readers to discern for themselves which arguments bear greater resemblance to fact.

The topic of the Origin of the Qajars (Kadjars) and questions associated with it have already been addressed in a section by that name in these pages. Parts of other questions have been alluded to in the Introduction and the Genealogy sections as well as in the sections on the Qajars (Kadjars) and the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, Soltan Ahmad Shah and the Coup of 1925, and the section on Malekeh Jahan's efforts for a Qajar (Kadjar) Restoration. Additional questions will be dealt with in forthcoming sections on the 1919 Anglo-Persian Treaty, and one on the role of Qajar (Kadjar) princes in the fall of the Qajars (Kadjars). A section on Mohammad Hassan Mirza's efforts towards a restoration of the Qajars (Kadjars) will also address some of the questions raised by various parties. All these sections can be presently accessed through the Table of Contents of these pages, by clicking on the appropriate link.

Additional sections on the military campaigns of the early Qajar (Kadjar) rulers will be added, as well as sections on the peace treaties with Russia and England regarding the territories north of the Aras River and the status of Herat. Additional sections will also be added on the person of Mohammad Ali Shah, as well as further sections on Soltan Ahmad Shah regarding questions raised about both their rules and the impact they had on the survival of the dynasty. Inevitably some of the answers given will touch upon the subsequent dynasty, the Pahlavis, and Reza Shah in particular. This will be inevitable in that much of the brunt of the present accusations against the Qajars (Kadjars) has to do with the attempt to glorify Reza Shah and to vilify the last two Qajar (Kadjar) rulers, Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar and his son Soltan Ahmad Shah Qajar in particular. Several recent books heavily address these questions already on both sides of the divide, but they may not be known to a larger audience since many of them are available in Farsi only. They are:

To this list of questions and answers we will add new ones as the need for further clarification arises. In the mean time we hope the reader will bear with us, and look at the arguments here in the spirit in which they are presented, as attempts to set a record straight that has been willfully tarnished and not as an attempt to whitewash, or worse, to cast aspersions of our own.




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