Thursday, May 25, 2006

04. Kurds in Modern Iran-Till Nader Shah

04. Kurds in Modern Iran-Till Nader Shah

Its favorable, mountainous situation allowed Kurdestan a self-sufficient economy. This, together with its geographical position amidst Arabs, Turks, and Persians, enabled Kurdestan to enjoy relative independence. Feudal families ruled Kurdestan for a long time, and the rule of the Ardalans, began before the fall of the Abbasid, continued during and after the Moghol domination of Iran.

About the Ardalans' rule over Kurdestan, what Amir Sharaf Khan El Badlisi writes in his Sharafnameh may be of some value. He writes, "A man named Baba Ardalan dwelt for some time among the Guran tribe, and toward the end of the reign of the Genghisi Kings brought under his sway the province of Shahra Zool, which came to be famed as Shahr-E-Zoor; and he [renamed] himself Ghobadin-E-Firuz-Sasani; and that the reason for the epithet Shahr-E-Zoor [Forceville], is, according to Hamdullah Mostowfi, that although this city always had Kurd rulers but at different times, he who had the greater force became the ruler." [Sharaf-Nameh P.118]. {In other words something like some European feudal cities which had extensive history of fiefdom. I think the strength of Ashayer in Kurdestan also explains this particular form of feudalism and fiefdom.}

Although Kurdish feudals ruled Kurdestan for more than six-hundred years, they would be under vassalage now for the Arabs, now for the Moghols, or of the Safavids and the Qajars. In 920 H., when Shah Ismaiil Safavi's army was defeated by the Ottomans in the Battle of Chaldoran, a treaty was made between the Shah Ismaiil and Sultan Saleem of Ottoman Empire(now Turkey), according to which Kurdestan was divided between the two countries.

From that date on, the Ardalans principally ruled in the Iranian Kurdestan, and Sanadaj was the seat of their government.

In the reign of Shah Sultan Hossein, the last Safavi King, a fanatical Shi?a governer was appointed to this all-Sunni province. Misdeeds committed by the governor evoked a popular rebellion, and the Ardalans returned to government[Tarikh-e Kurd va Kurdestan, Sheikh Mohammad Mardookh, P114]

However, the process of centralization of governments in Iran continued in spite of various setbacks, and it was to engulf Kurdestan despite her resistance and self-sufficiency. This process was primarily determined by the speed and quality of Iran's development of industrial society of which will be said later.

The fall of the Safavid dynasty was accompanied with the invasion of Iran by the Afghans, the Russians, and the Ottomans simultaneously. This was a test of cohesion for the "united" Iran that had been founded by the Safavids, and there was a concerted effort by the peoples and fighting forces of Iran to repulse the aggressors. Thus, Nader came into prominence as outstanding general and national hero, who became king after the war.

In the next section I will follow on Iran and Kurdestan under Nader Shah and after his reign.