[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]


[Adapted from website:] Bahaism in Iran

[Date:] 8 Ordibehesht 1397 [28 April 2018]


Why Did the Baha’is Turn to Education Under the Qajar Dynasty and the Pahlavi Regime?

Baha’ism in Iran – The Baha’i Faith has long been involved in planning the education of Baha’i children. This important endeavour began at the end of the Qajar rule, and, with the Pahlavi dynasty’s domination of Iran, presented an unimaginable opportunity for the Baha’is.

In this article, we take a look at one of the Baha’i educational centres during this period, and, of course, how the people who were trained in these schools were employed.

By the order of the Baha’i leaders abroad, especially in the United States of America and France, in 1317 AH (1900 AD) [1938/1939], a number of Baha’i elders in Iran, as well as a number of wealthy non-Baha’is affiliated with them, decided to establish a school in Tehran, preventing the dispersal of Baha’i children and youth, and providing them with ongoing Baha’i education and training so that they could establish a centre and a place for the promotion and attraction of non-Baha’i youth.

It should be noted that two years before the establishment of this centre, this request was given to the Muzaffar al-Din Shah Qajar during his visit to Paris by one of the Baha’i leaders, named Lua Getsinger, known amongst the Baha’is as the mother teacher [of the West] and the king, who was ill, had agreed to this request.

This school was established in the same year under the name of Tarbiyat Benin (Boys’) School by the efforts of a person named Mirza Hasan Adib Taleghani, with the cooperation and assistance of Mohammad Khan Monajem, Dr. Ataollah Bakhshayesh and Asef al-Hokama around 1317 AH [1938/1939] and was officially recognized by the government in 1321 AH [1942/1943]. It is worth mentioning that, at the same time of the establishment of this school, a school was established by another group of Baha’i leaders through the personal efforts of Haj Muhammad-Taghi Afnan in Ashgabat.

Due to the tremendous importance of these schools to Baha’i leaders, reports on the activities of these schools were sent to Baha’i circles in the United States of America and Great Britain [for the purpose of] attracting large numbers of children from non-Baha’i officials and affluent [people]. Following that, a large number of the American and British Baha’i missionaries, in the name of teaching, were sent to Tehran to preach and teach, including Dr. Susan Moody, Miss Lillian Kappes, Dr. Sidney Sprague, Dr. Coy, and Dr. Adelaide Sharp. These people alternately took charge of teaching, propaganda, and the administration of these schools, and did not spare any effort in this way.

The Iranian officials of Tarbiyat Schools did not sit idle in the meantime, and by establishing good relations with the then Ministry of Education and other officials of the regime, obtained permission to establish branches of Tarbiyat Schools in a number of densely populated cities, such as Isfahan, Yazd, Kashan, Najafabad, Qazvin, Babol, Sari and also areas inhabited by a number of Baha’is, such as Aran, Abadeh, and Maryamabad in Yazd, and engaged in educational and propaganda activities with names other than Tarbiyat in order to prevent the Muslim people from being incited.

According to the available documents and the orders of the heads of the Baha’i assemblies of Tarbiyat Schools in Tehran, most of their students were selected from the children of the wealthy class, and the political and military officials of the time, and by creating extracurricular classes, such as English, French and Russian, and using foreign female teachers, tried to show the superiority of their schools over other educational institutions. In spite of the large number of non-Baha’i children and youth, and in line with the direct and continuous propaganda of the Baha’i Faith, every morning before the classes began, some of the Baha’i prayers were recited. Finally, in 1934, due to the unauthorized closure of Tarbiyat Schools during the Baha’i mourning period, the patience of Muslims and sympathetic officials of the country was exhausted and by order of the then Ministry of Education, these schools were closed throughout Iran.

In conclusion, the names of some of the Baha’i graduates of these schools are included for information and recording in the history. In addition, as mentioned at the beginning of the letter, the names and all the documents mentioned above, using the Baha’i sources and references, are presented in the appendix. Also, a number of photos of different ceremonies of these schools will be sent.

A) A number of Baha’i missionaries, employees and migrants who graduated from Tarbiyat Boys’ School in Tehran include:

Colonel Jalal Khazeh, Engineer Hosein Avaregan, Foad Ashraf, Jalal Asasi, Engineer Moezeddin Pirouzbakht, Engineer Azizollah Zabih, Dr. Manouchehr Zabih, Dr. Hosein Rastegar, Fariborz Rouzbehian, Akbar Haddad, Abdol-Ali Alaie, Jalal Azizi, Hushmand Fatheazam, Mohammad Labib, Abdollah Mesbah, Saied Nahvi, Ghodratollah Vahid Tehrani and Mohammad Yazdani.

B) A number of Baha’i students of Tarbiyat Boys’ School in Tehran who taught in universities as professors, lecturers and researchers include:

Engineer Khalil Arjomand, Prof. Manouchehr Hakim, Dr. Gholam-Abbas Davachi, Dr. Amanatollah Rowshan Zaer, Dr. Ali Rasekh, Engineer Abbas Shahidzadeh, Mirza-Agha Shahidzadeh, Dr. Zabihollah Azizi, Dr. Ahmad Ataie, Dr. Aminollah Mesbah, Dr. Rahmatollah Morshedzadeh, Dr. Ali-Muhammad Varqa and Dr. Ehsanollah Yarshater.

C) A number of Baha’i students of Tarbiyat Boys’ School in Tehran who have been appointed to administrative and military positions include:

Lieutenant General Dr. Abdol Karim Ayadi, Zekrollah Khadim, Ashraf Ashraf, Engineer Ezatollah Zabih, Lieutenant General Hosein Rastegar Namdar, Foad Rowhani, Brigadier General Hedayatollah Sohrab, Lieutenant General Asadollah Sanii, Major General Shoaollah Alaie, Nematollah Alaie, Noureddin Fatheazam, Lieutenant General Iraj Mahvi, Colonel Enayatollah Sohrab and Colonel Seroddin Alaie.

D) A number of Baha’i students of the Tarbiyat Boys’ School in Tehran, who were also active in economic affairs include:

Engineer Khalil Arjomand, Amir Arjomand, Habib Sabet, Akbar and Abbas Haddad, Enayatollah and Habibollah Azizi.

E) A number of Baha’i students of Tarbiyat Boys’ School in Tehran, who are amongst the poets, writers and artists includes:

Foad Ashraf, Sohrab Doustdar, Enayatollah Sohrab, Abdol-Ali Alaie, Abol-Qasim Faizi, Hushmand Fatheazam, Aminollah Mesbah, Nasrollah Mavaddat, Hedayatollah Nayyer Sina, Rouhollah Khaleghi, Ebrahim Sajid, Heshmat Sanjari, Rzaqulu Mirza Zilli and Zekrollah Misaghian.

F) Also, the names of a large number of students of these schools are available, whose names will bore the readers, but will be provided if necessary.

G) A number of non-Baha’i teachers who taught in these schools upon receiving the tuition fee were:

Dr. Mahmoud Khan Shimi, Mirza Reza Khan Mohandes al-Molk, Mirza Ali Khan Motarjem al- Saltaneh, Ahmad Birashk, Zahedi, Esmail Bazargan, Dr. Safari.