[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[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]
29 Aban 1316 [20 November 1937]
Eastern Province of Azerbaijan
As per your blessed instructions, a complete report about the Village of Seisan, which is extracted from the case files, has been prepared and is presented here.
The Village of Seisan is located in the rural district of Mehraneh Roud consisting of four hundred households. The aforementioned village is an endowment of the children of Damascus. For many years the annual rental of the land has been paid by one hundred donkey-loads of lucerne [alfalfa] grains per year by the villagers to the landowners. To date, it is not clear when such an agreement was drawn up between the subjects and the landlords. It is only known that this is an ancient practice.
Recently, Mohseni, known as Asghar the grocer, rented the mentioned village from the landowners and annulled the above-mentioned years-long practice. He intends to take thirty per cent of the villagers’ products as the landowner’s right. But during the rental period, he would pay the same amount as in the previous rental agreement.
Three years ago, Mohseni had decided to take thirty per cent of the [villager’s] general produce, but the generality of villagers did not agree with this process. Both parties complained to the provincial government. When the provincial office, after lengthy and thorough actions, discovered the core of the problem, [it] got a ministerial order and communicated to Mohseni that reduction or increase of the amount of interest was beyond the jurisdiction of the provincial authorities, and that this matter would have to be referred to the higher relevant authorities. Mohseni, as the tenant of Seisan, was forced to collect the rents according to the custom of the previous years, and in this way, he could not gain any personal benefit. Therefore, he purchased ¼ of the village from some of the smaller landowners for four thousand five hundred tumans and he entered into the commanding position of a landowner, requesting the banishment of five of the villagers, whose names are recorded in the file.
According to the above-mentioned request, the provincial government, as per ministerial instructions, decided to form a commission.
Yours truly called for the formation of the said commission in Bostanabad with the presence of the security officer and the roads director. After a lengthy investigation, since there was no evidence of any of the wrongdoings that were mentioned in the ministerial circular justifying the banishment of these five individual subjects, and also because from the local security point of view, there was no apparent fault committed by them, [the decree] was considered to be against the law. The decision of the commission was in favour of the five individual subjects.
Then, for the second time, Mohseni requested that the provincial government [convene] another meeting of the commission. The said provincial government, after receiving permission from the Ministry of the Interior, took action and formed the second commission under [the leadership] of Mr. Elmi, where I was also present to provide relevant explanations. Since, after referring to the previous files, there were no indications of their committing any wicked or adventurous actions, the commission sanctioned that, because these five individual subjects were Baha’is, the landowners should pay for their trees and agricultural immovable and have them leave the locality. The notice was given to me and as the local government, I called the landowners, where some of them did not agree with the banishment, as their very statements are reflected in the provincial file.
The registration of the aforementioned property recently began through an envoy from the Deeds Registry Office. The envoy summoned some of the small landowners, and after a lengthy investigation, due to the property’s being an endowment, did not agree with its appropriation.
Mr. Mohseni, observing that, again, he had not succeeded in reaching his goal, sent a message to those five individuals, saying, “If you want me to leave you in peace, you must pay me four thousand, five hundred tumans.” The mentioned villagers, in order to end the discussions and the bother, agreed to pay the requested amount. When they were present at the Office of the Notary Public for the transaction, it was not possible to establish in the official documents for what reason the money was being paid.
The subjects proposed to buy from Mohseni his claim of ¼ of the village land; due to this land’s being an endowment land, the official notaries could not agree to prepare the document (seemingly, the Deeds Registry Office has sent a notice to the official notaries public to refrain from any kind of transaction regarding the Village of Seisan.)
Now, the relevant authorities have not recognized anyone as the official proprietor of Seisan. The matter of endowment and the rental period of Mohseni have expired. The five individual subjects have been notified that they should not leave the place without the permission of the local government. They are in the town and the governor is inquiring about their fate.
[Handwritten note:] True copy
[Stamp:] Office of Eastern Province of Azerbaijan