Necessity of Paying Attention to the Local History of the Islamic Revolution in the Villages

Mohammad Mahdi Abdollahzadeh
Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian

2020-02-12


Writing and compiling the history of the Islamic Revolution is one of the important issues which must be addressed, and if neglected, it will result in cultural disruption. It should be noted, of course, that biased writing of history will have negative consequences, and that the history of the revolution should be narrated as it was. In this regard, not engaging in writing is as harmful as exaggerating or negligence in viewing and recording events.

Not only the major and few events of 1963 to 1978 did not lead to the victory of the Islamic Revolution, but rather political, social, cultural, artistic, religious aspects and most importantly, the leadership played role in the victory of people struggles. The beliefs of the people in towns and villages around the country made them supportive of the seminary and fighting clerics. During fighting years, people from far and near villages and towns took many risks to advance the Islamic movement. Studying revolutionary currents and activities across the country is amazing. For example, in the field research that the author did in 2017 and studied the role of the villagers of Mighan[1], Shahroud, in the Islamic Revolution, the following titles, which are only part of its content, were obtained:

People of Mighan’s Attitude towards the Kashf-e Hijab; Mighan People's Support of Dr. Mossadegh; Formation of Secret Revolutionary Meetings in Mighan and Neighboring Villages; Ershad Library in Mighan; Imam Khomeini's Followers in Mighan; Leaflet Distribution; Weapons Preparation; Revolutionary Mountaineering; Revolutionary Theater; Ramadan Ceremonies in Mighan; Revolutionary Dirges of Muharram in Mighan; Eleventh of Muharram in 1978; Demonstrations of Shrouded-People of Mighan in Shahroud; The Role of Mighan’s Women in the Revolution; Invitation of the Revolutionary Cleric; Demonstrations in Mighan; Revolutionary Activity of Mighan People in Aliabad Katoul; The Guidance School of Mighan in the Revolution; The Deserters of Mighan; Mighan People’s Welcoming  of Imam Khomeini; Martyr of the Revolution;  A Shahid of Mighan in Gonbad.

It is worth mentioning that more than fifty people of this village, who were over ten years old in 1978, were interviewed for this study.

Many years have elapsed since the victory of the Islamic Revolution - a great revolution which is remembered by most people who were about ten years old at that time - and most of the memories and events of those days in the country have not been recorded.

Recording and publishing the people's memories of the revolutionary won’t be helpful, as most of them are single-centered narration or narrated in first person pronoun by narrator. Memories are viewed from one angle and are not usually seen from other angles, but in oral history it will deeply study through verification and validation. After the revolution and the sacred defense, oral history was taken into consideration and during this period significant works has been regularly produced and published in the theoretical and practical domain. When we seek to produce local public oral history, will consider the views of different people in our work. This makes everyone to be seen and we get closer to the reality.

On this basis, the leader of the revolution, while meeting with authorities and scholars of the Islamic Revolution Documentation Center, put stress on compiling and writing the exact and correct history of the Islamic Revolution in terms of its influential and inspiring aspects. Also he emphasized that improving quality and paying attention to the millions young audience - who do not know the Islamic Revolution and its related issues - in writing the history of the Islamic Revolution, should take priority.

In traditional view of history and historiography, at least half a century has to pass since the event to enable its historiography. The reason for this cautiousness and static is the manifestation of seen and unseen angles of the event and the freedom of the historians from conservatism and possibly their belonging to the influential actors in the event and their flattery, because many of the documents, especially the confidential and classified documents, are inaccessible[2].

Local history is confined to a geographical area, which addresses details and introduces local anonymous characters. In rural local history, the focus is on countryside rather than on cities and then on capital city, i.e. the capital and the centers of power and wealth has been decentralized. It was practically showed that our view in historiography is from down to up, the same purpose that oral history seeks to achieve. In this view, each active people during the Islamic Revolution struggles has valuable information; so, finding and interviewing with them before their death and also recording their experiences and information is must.

When we look from the local history angle, every town and village has capacity in the history of the Islamic Revolution which is a component of the Islamic Revolution body. Working with this attitude, all the villages, districts, and cities would be seen in writing the history of revolution, as the general participation of the people led to the victory of the revolution. Therefore, the voice of a large part of people who had contributed to the revolution would be heard.

Local history is more accurate and expressive because of its details. In the villages, people know each other, so there is no place for reporting false information.

One of the prominent features of the Islamic Revolution is its pervasiveness and the participation of the people of the city and the village. Although Imam Khomeini's movement did not support in some urban and rural areas since 1963, the closer the victory of revolution, the greater the participation of people in the cities and countryside.

The role of villagers in the political activities, and also social character and political behavior of peasants have always been controversial in political sociology and in particular rural studies. Some of sources and documents have almost mentioned the presence villagers during the Islamic Revolution. Some rural studies deny the independent presence of peasants in the social and political affairs of the countries and regard this presence as dependent on other segments of society. In their view, the peasants seemed to have been largely neutral or merely observers of political struggles or awaiting the sudden appearance of a savior, in majority of social developments; and in the last two years leading into the victory of the Islamic Revolution, they had joined the revolutionary movement against the Shah[3].

About the situation of the Iranian rural community in the years leading into the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Ahmad Ashraf writes, “during 1977-1978, when the revolutionary movements intensified in the cities, the villagers, who made up about half of the population, remained indifference to struggles in the cities or participated in counter-revolutionary activities. A survey of revolutionary mobilization methods (Tudeh) shows that only 2% of the total of 2483 demonstrations in support of the revolution were held in rural areas[4].

In contrast to Ahmad Ashraf's remarks and to understand more accurately the role of the villagers in the Islamic revolution, it is necessary to consider an example such as movement of shrouded-people in Varamin. In this historic uprising, shrouded-people of Pishva, Javadabad, Varamin, and Qarchak were killed and injured by Pahlavi agents on June 5, 1963[5].

It seems that in order to provide the necessary documentation for the historiography of the Islamic Revolution, it is necessary to record and compile the oral memoirs of the villagers of the country. These precious memories will reveal new points of the Iranian people's struggle against the Pahlavi government.

 


[1]. In 1978, Mighan village had about 3000 population. The report of this research is being published by Hozeh Honari of Semnan Province.

 

[2]. Alireza Molaei Tavani, 2009, "Critique and Analysis of Interview Data", Interview in Oral History (Articles of the Fourth Specialized Training Meeting and Workshop on Oral History), Tehran: Surah Mehr Publications, p. 105.

[3]. Wolf, Eric; The Peasants and the Revolutions, (2013) (Theoretical, Comparative, and Historical Studies on the Revolutions), Translated by Mohammad Taqi Delforoz, Kavir Publication, Tehran, 3rd Edition, pp. 89-100.

[4]. Ashraf, Ahmad; Government and Land Relations in Pre and Post-Iranian Revolution; Translated by Soheila Torabi Farsani; Niloufar Publication; 1st Edition; 2008.

[5]. Islamic Revolution Documentation Center; Hossein Mola'ee; Review of Rural Revolutionary Records; http://94.182.131.132/fa/news/85/



 
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