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Bakhtiyari history, stretching back to the fourteenth century, and the 200-year leadership role of Duraki khans within it tantalize the social historian of Iran. There is great temptation to assume that the extraordinary continuity in the name Bakhtiyari can also be found in Bakhtiyari political, economic, and social organization.(Khans and Shahs, A documentary analysis of the Bakhtiyari in Iran by Gene R. Garthwaite)
This is from the book by W.Morgan Shuster and in it he talks about the Bakhtiari's as part of the forces who fought for the restoration of the constituation.
The Strangling of Persia; W.Morgan Shuster
At this juncture the Russian Legation again intervened by sending a threatening communcation to Sipahdar, demanding, in effect, the cessation of his march on Teheran.
On June 16 the Bakhtiyari forces, composed of about 800 men, actually started for Teheran, and shortly thereafter they were in communication with the Nationalists at Kasvin. Both the British and Russian Legations exhausted every effort to deter the Bakhtiyari leaders from their purpose, but without success. On June 23 the advance guard of this force had reached Qum, eighty miles to the south of Teheran.
In Spite of repeated threats from the Legations the Sarda-i-Asad announced that he had certain demans to make on the Shah, and the advance continued. Still endeavoring to frighten the Nationalist forces, the Russian Goverment began to assemble an expeditionary army at Baku to be sent into Northern Persia.
At this time the Shah's troops were reported to be some 5000 at Saltanatabad and 1350 soliders of the Cossack Brigade, of whome 800 under Colonel Liakhoff were at Teheran, 350 to the north of the capital, and 200 to the south, awaiting the approach of the Bakhtiyaris. On July 3, the force at Karaj fell back to Shahabad, only 16 miles from Teheran, and on the next day a skirmish between this body and the advancing Nationalists took place. The Persian Cossacks, under Captain Zapolski, with Russian non-commissioned officers and three guns, lost on Persian officer, three men killed and two wounded. The Nationalists lost twelve.
Meanwhile, Russia was despatching her troops from Baku and by July 8 some 2000 of them were on Persian soil. On July 11 they had reached Kasvin. The Legation had also warned the Nationalists that any further advance by them towards the capital would be followed by foreign intervention.
Further endeavors to frightern or pursuade the Nationalist leaders were made, but without effect.
On July 10 an engagement took place between troops of the Cossak Brigade and the Bakhtiyaris at Badamak, fifteen miles to west of Teheran, but the result was indecisive. Skirmishing continued for the next two days, and on July 13 the two Nationalist forces, to the utter surprise of the Cossack Brigade and Royalist troops, slipped through their lines and quietly entered Teheran at 6:30 in the morning. The skill of the manoeuver was undoubtedly due to Ephraim Khan, the Armenian leader who has been mentioned heretofore.
There was street fighting in Teheran during the entire day. The people received the Nationalist forces with the greatest enthusiasm, and July 13 was regarded as the day of their salvation. On the next day the Cossack Brigade, under Colonel Liakhoff, was still beseiged in its barracks and square in the center of the city, and the Russian Colonel wrote to the Sipah-dar, as head of the Nationalist forces, proposing terms for the surrender of the Brigade. The Nationalist troops behaved themselves throughout with the utmost discretion and gallantry. On July 15 they were in full possession of the capital, although the Cossack Brigade still held the central square.
On July 16 at 8:30 A.M. the Shah, with a large body of his soliders and attendents, took refuge in the Russian Legation in Zargundeh, some miles outside the city, and thus abdicated his throne. He had previously obtained the consent of the Legation to his doing this. Both Russian and British flags were hoisted over the Russian Minister's home as soon as it was occupied by the Shah. In the meantime Colonel Liakhoff had practically surrendered to the Nationalist leaders, and had formally accepted server under the new Goverment, agreeing to act under the direct orders of the Minister of War.
Late this same evening an extraordinary meeting took place at the Baharistaan grounds, and the Shah was formally deposed. His son, Sultan Ahmed Mirza, aged twelve, was proclaimed his successor, and Azudu'l-Milk, the venerable head of the Qajar family, was declared Regent.
Thus, on July 16, 1909, the apparently lost cause of constitutionalism in Persia had been suddenly revived, and by a display of courage, patriotism and skill by the soliders of the people, their hopes for a representative goverment had been restored, almost over-night.
The following is from 'Aleph:The Bakhtiari'
In tracing the origins and history of the Luri-speaking Bakhtiari and the peoples of the central Zagros region we come upon the difficulties of an inadequate literary evidence to serve as a sequence and record of millenia of history in this elevated region.
Thus we are obliged to gather information from a number of sources inorder to get evidence on who the Bakhtiari are, how they live and if possible from where they come. In this search archaeology, linguistics, mythology and a host of other cultural sciences are better needed to study the history of the Bakhiari or infact any living ancient peoples.
The Bakhtiari do not figure in ancient records and there is only a passing mention of them in medieval accounts. From the eighteenth century there is increasing notice of them, in particular nineteenth-century European travellers and emmisaries report on the Bakhtiari, somewhat filling the gaps left by the lack of scientific evidence with their own peculiar romanticism.
"Bakhtiari" itself means bearer,or friend, of luck or good fortune, it is posited that the name "Bakhtiari" became associated with these pastoral nomads from some time in the Safavid period (1501-1722). Further it is possible that some leader was known as 'friend of good fortune' and his followers were identified with him and his name.
The roots of the Bakhtiari may be partly revealed through a number of legends:
- The Bakhtiari arrived from Syria. This legend is given some substance by the 14th century source Tarikh Guzidah(Select History)
- Another states: "The tribes of Louristan trace their origin to the most remote antiquity; but say that their ancestors intermarried with several Turkish hoards which they had invited from Syria to settle amongst them.
- A more mythical piece of folk-history is the legend that the Bakhtiari are descendents of the men who were allowed to escape the fate of having their brains fed to the serpents growing from the shoulders of Zahak-e Mar-Dush, whose legend may be read in Firdausi's "Shah-Nameh" (Book of Kings).
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