Shajarehnaameh Project

Tehranian-Farmanfarmaii-Qajar (Kadjar)

Written by Dr. Majid Tehranian


I was born into a family with a dual social background. My mother's side of the family belongs the Qajar dynasty that ruled Iran from 1796 to 1925, while my father's side originates from a Georgian princely family.

From my mother's side, the Farmanfarmaii Family traced their lineage to Prince Abbas Mirza, Fathali Shah's valiant crown prince who died an untimely death in 1833. When in the 1930s, Iran required all its citizens to acquire a surname, the family assumed the name of Farmanfarmaii in honor of one of their 19th century ancestors who bore the title.

My grandfather, Prince Mohammad Ali Mirza Borhan ul-Mulk was a Director General of Finance who passed away in 1965. My grandmother, Princess Gallinulmuluk Khosravani, also a Qajar, passed away in 1960. I remember them both vividly as kind and generous grandparents.

Borhan ul-Mulk had a handsome Qajar look, much like that of Nasser ed-Din Shah's. He also had a literary flair and an excellent sense of humor. Princess Gallin was equally well-educated with strong liberal nationalist feelings. She supported Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq, the democratically-elected Iranian Prime Minister of Qajar lineage who was overthrown by the CIA in 1953.

My mother, Iran ul-muluk Farmanfarmaii, was known in the family for her exquisite beauty and great integrity. Here is a poem that I wrote for her when she passed away in 1993:


despite her tattered pride.
despite her rough roads.
despite her pounding pains.
I remember
her formidable faith
in that angelic
the Koranic verses
awakening us
to a new day.
She was
a true princess,
in lineage
in deed.
I hear her now
to her children.
My father's side of the family trace their origins to two Georgian princes, Afrasiab Khan and Esfandiar Khan, who took refuge to the Qajar court in Tehran when their country was conquered by Russia in the early 19th century.
Esfandiar assumed the role of the Cashier at the Court, hence his descendants assumed the title of Naghdi, of whom General Naghdi became the most well-known.
Afrasiab migrated to Mashhad where he engaged in scholarship and commerce. His descendants came to be known Tehranian, because they were assumed to have migrated from Tehran. They actively participated in the Constitutional Revolution of 1906-09, as journalists, publicists, and business leaders.
A member of the family, cousin to my father, became known as the poet-laureate of Iran, Malek ol-Shoara Bahar.
Malek ol-Shoara Bahar was subsequently elected to the Majlis and was part of the opposition to the rise of the Pahlavi dictatorship. He suffered imprisonment but was later released. In the immediate postwar period, he assumed the position of Minister of Education under Prime Minister Qavam ul-Saltaneh .
Other prominent members of the family included Mohammad Sadeq Tehranian, my uncle and founder of the Khorasan daily newspaper, and Mehdi Tehranian (later Bahar), prominent medical doctor and author who went into exile at the wake of the Islamic revolution of 1979.
Abdol-Hossein Tehranian, my father, was a prominent businessman who founded the Khorasan Almanac and two printing houses in Mashad and Tehran.
My extended family thus includes the Tehranians, the Bahars (many of whom also married Qajar princesses), the Farmanfarmaiis, and the Khosravanis.
My mother's family were the first to choose the surname FARMANFARMAII. The Farmanfarmaiian family had to resort to the plural.



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