[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]

 

[Newspaper:] Peyk-e Iran

[Date:] 1 Ordibehesht 1338 [22 April 1959]

[Issue No.:] 713

 

Shiraz Travel Notes

-2-

... In the evening, after dinner, we sat by the pool in Sa’di Park and talked about various topics. The subject of the Bab and Baha was discussed and it was said that the house of Seyyed Bab in Shiraz is the shrine of the Babis and Baha’is of Iran and the world. Some friends expressed interest in visiting Seyyed Bab’s house, and a group opposed it by saying that tomorrow in Shiraz it would be known that the journalists of the capital are Babis and the noise would be scattered around. Finally, Mr. [Rahim] Zehtabfard, the esteemed director of the respected newspaper of Eradeyeh Azerbaijan, and I decided to go and see the house.

We went out of the park and took a taxi and told the driver to take us to the house of Seyyed Ali Mohammad Bab.

He said, “Where is his house?”  We said, “We do not know.”

He said, “I do not know either”. We found out that it was a futile question. We told him we wanted to go where the Babis go and visit.

He said, “To the Hazirat’ul-Quds?”

I said there was nothing wrong with his taking us there. He took us to a street and said, “It should be somewhere around here.”

We disembarked and took the way to where a passer-by with a dignified appearance was approaching us. After paying our respects, we shared our inquiry with him. Instead of guiding us to the destination, that person started charging the Babis with error, etc. and said, “These people’s words are nonsensical”.

Because we needed his guidance, we did not want to interrupt him by telling him that we did not care about their rational or irrational words; our purpose was to see the house in question. What was certain was that in that case, he would have dealt with us in the same way and would have left us; therefore, our effort would not have paid off. Inevitably, we listened to him, and he, who had gained the desired audience in that night, began to explain the history and causes of the appearance of the Bab, and began to speak of the late Sheikh [Ahmad] and the late Seyyed [Kazim], God bless their stations.

From the praise he gave while speaking about the late Sheikh and Seyyed, it became clear that he was from the Sheikhi sect. (The Sheikhi sect has a special animosity towards Babis, and the Babis and Baha’is consider the Sheikhis to be the worst sect)...

... We asked him again for help in going to our destination and assured him that we had no intention but to get information, and our heartfelt opinion, whatever it was, was firm and immovable, and we had no other purpose except to acquire information, which is a journalist’s tool, by watching the temple, the church, the shrine, the synagogue, and the idol house.

When he heard the truth, he said, “There is a guesthouse on this same street where Baha’is stay who arrive in Tehran from abroad. You can go to that guesthouse and ask the caretaker about your destination.”

We [thanked him] for this guidance. A few steps away, he showed us the place with his hand and said goodbye and we went to knock at the door of the guesthouse. A man opened the door and said “Allah’u’Abha” and we answered and said, “We are new in town and we would like to see the house of the Seyyed Bab.” 

He said, “We will guide you to the Assembly, there you can express your desire.”

From the garden of the guesthouse a door opened onto a patio. With the help of an employee of the guesthouse we entered the patio and from there we were guided to the hall. 

Some men and women were sitting on benches, and a person with glasses was talking in front of the audience. He was describing to the audience the order of participating in the elections. Contrary to our expectations, two uninvited and unknown guests did not affect the mood of the audience and the speaker at all, and the speaker continued, saying, “Everyone will participate in the elections that will be held on the day of the celebration of Ridvan, on Tuesday. No one has to bring a written vote along. Whoever is illiterate, will be handed the ballot sheet and can tell the recorder of the votes for whom he wants to vote. To record the names on the ballot, my wife and I have been appointed. I am taking a trip and my wife will be present to record the names for the ballots. People can appoint someone else to vote for them…”

The assembly ended with the singing of a religious hymn, and the audience rose up and began to leave. We approached the person who had been giving the talk and introduced ourselves and told him of our intention. He looked at some people close to him and asked their opinion and told us that to do this, permission must be obtained from the Assembly, and this would take a week. We said that we were leaving the day after tomorrow. They said, “God willing, in your next trip.”

We had to say goodbye and come out, and we returned to our comrades without achieving our goal.