A review of the book "Room Number Two"

Memoirs of Abolghasem Eghbalian

Fereydoun Heydari Molkmian
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


On the back cover of the book, it is written: "When we entered from the east door of seminary, the second room on the right was room number two; it was a room where remembers my memories better than I do. It gradually became a hangout for students who were busy just for lessons and discussions; [there were] students who didn't like just studying like a child. If anyone wanted to get new news about the situation in the country, one would come to room number two ..."

     In the order of the contents of the book "Room Number Two", when we go through the page of dedication and the table of contents, we are confronted with the introduction of the Office of Culture and Sustainability Studies of the Art Center of Qom Province. Then, the narrator's introduction, the author's introduction, and the text of the memoirs in four chapters are other parts [of the book]. As usual, the final pages of the book, entitled "Images", contain several photographs of persons (in black and white with relatively good quality) as well as images of some documents and manuscripts of several wills.

     The author of this work has been in charge of more than sixty hours of interviews with the narrator of the book, about ten hours of interviews with his comrades in the war, and reading more than thirty volumes of books in the field of history of revolution and sacred defense and field studies and utilizing experts in oral history. In his introduction to the book, he emphasizes that "Room Number Two" is not just a personal memoir of a revolutionary fighter, but a summary of the history of the revolution and the sacred defense of Qom, because the narrator of this book played an effective role in most important revolutionary events in Qom and some narratives. He complements the incomplete narrations that have been narrated by others before this book. By putting these historical fragments together, the readers achieve a complete narrative.

     Chapter one, as its title implies, is devoted to "searches"; to explore the roots, the narrator goes back to his childhood and distant past and reviews his stages of growth and formation. First of all, he remembered the day when he was a one-and-a-half-year-old boy standing on his feet and looking in the old mirror of the house with astonishment in his small tongue and trying to pull it out with pliers. His first image of childhood was just a few seconds, and a mother who was worried about her playful child's plays and was afraid that something might happen to her: "Dear Abu al-Qasim, what are you doing?" These few words he heard from his mother are the first sound he still hears, and they resonate in his mind every time he remembered his childhood.

      Her last image of her mother is a vague one; the evening of one of the summer days of 1953 was very depressing. The sun was slightly yellow in the sky of Abu Zidabad. Abolghasem was sitting by the door, watching the children play; suddenly a scream came from the house. He got up and ran towards the house and saw his mother lying on her uncle's feet. Whatever water was sprayed on his face was not effective to turn him conscious. It was as if he did not want to be conscious... he never understood the reason for his mother's death; maybe he had a disease! Perhaps it was because of the psychological pressures of his father's exile that he arrived in Abu Zidabad on Mother's funeral. The father arrived when he had only memories of his wife and a few small children. He had been in Varamin for a year. The Pahlavi regime had exiled him there.

     His father was not very literate, but he was devoted to the Qur'an and the Innocent Imams (PBUM) and inherited this from his ancestors. For years he made a religious speech for the villagers. He had learned religious issues thanks to the presence of [seminary] students who came to Abu Zidabad for religious propaganda. At least because of his knowledge, he became known as "Sheikh Hassan" among the people of Abadi. On the other hand, he used to speak against the Shah wherever he attended, and that was enough for the village capitalists to reveal the words Sheikh Hassan Eghbalian. At that time, the Shah's agents came to Abu Zidabad and took him to the city and kept him in prison for a while. They only released him when he promised to leave Abu Zidabad, but after his mother died, there was no one to take care of his children. Sheikh Hassan had to take a decision. Neither he could come to Abu Zidabad nor could the children stay there without him. He had to take the children and go to Jamalabad Varamin. He remarried sometime later and had more children.

       Even in Jamalabad, their homes were always safe for students who came to religious propaganda. Sheikh Hassan continued to ask his religious questions to the students and ask them to teach the Qur'an to his children. Little by little, Abolghasem world was also taking shape through the talks with students' talks; A world full of verses, narrations, and hadiths until it was his turn to go to school.

     In 1966, he was a high school student and his mustache was growing. At school, he wrote and read fiery essays. Once he chose the title of his essay from the sentence he had seen on the black cloths of the mosque during Muharram: "One of the hot days of June, some people of Varamin were killed on Bagherabad bridge; The defenseless people whose only request was to release their imitation authority ... "The next morning, when he went to school, the principal called him to go to the office and told him:" They called me from the police to warn you not to find such titles; be careful!. It will be the first time and the hereafter." Eventually, he promised the principal not to do such things at school again and to study instead, but he could not stop and went to the pulpit so short that he became known as "Sheikh Abolghasem".

       He was the ninth grade and his religious teacher was a The year 1968 cleric man with a thin and elongated face and a tall and brown robe with wrinkled black shoes, which gave a special simplicity to his appearance. He had small kind eyes. On the first day, when he arrived, he had some fun with the children. Then he removed his robe from his shoulder, folded it, and placed it on the table. He took white chalk and wrote in beautiful handwriting: "In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate" and wrote in red chalk under it: "The lesson of religious teachings. Secretary Name:  Mohammad Javad Bahonar ".

        Eventually, the essays became a nuisance and were written by Abolghasem. Once in the tenth grade, he wrote an essay on the subject of the first person of the country and read: "The emperor is the best person in the world."Even though no one gives his honor to others, but they give it ...", They came from the police and took him with them, but when they asked him a few questions and heard strange answers, they thought that he became crazy. The police chief ordered that he should be taken to a hospital for a mental health test. The doctor diagnosed that he was in perfect mental health. This time, he made a promise not to repeat that work at the police station, but a week or two after the incident, Mr. Bahonar announced SAVAK's decision to eliminate him and asked him not to go to high school anymore and to stay away from Varamin.

     He had previously heard that the Revolutionary Children's hangout is at the Ghiasi crossroads in Tehran. He consulted with his father, took some shirts and pants, a small Quran, some textbooks, and other items, put them in a bag, and takes himself to Tehran. He first works in a grocery store. For a while, he met and contacted Ayatollah Saeedi, the imam of the local mosque, and at his encouragement, as his father had always liked, he sought guidance. After staying in Tehran for 9 months, he went to Qom at the end of the winter of 1969 studied at the Tavlyat School, and settled in room number two.

      On June 12, 1970, it was reported that Ayatollah Saeedi had been martyred in prison. In March of that year, Abu al-Qassem, who had a passion for propaganda from the beginning, bought robes, and turbans from Gozar Khan and was temporarily worn turban by Ayatollah Marashi Najafi, but the following year, Muharram, like many students, had to be preached. Although three or four years had passed since his student time in seminary, he was worn turban earlier this time, by Ayatollah Marashi Najafi. After that, he spent the whole summer of 1974 teaching the Quran in Sabzevar and Kashan. In 1975, at the age of twenty-four, he married a religious and patient girl and made a family.

     On the evening of 7th of December 1978, he was sitting in room number two and reading when one of the students reported: "... today in the information newspaper, they insulted Ayatollah Khomeini."A person named Rashidi Motlagh wrote that he was Indian and affiliated with colonialism ..." The news spread in Faizieh. Little by little, no one was afraid. Everything was revealed. It was necessary that whispers and shouts that had been suppressed for many to be heard by the palace dwellers to realize that other people were suffering from the regime.

     When, finally, on 9th of January 1979, he was to go to the made speech at the mosque in his childhood city, Varamin, as a cleric to give a speech, many things happened to him and the society, and the country was ready for a great change.

     The second chapter deals with "After Spring". It starts from the passionate moments of the revolution and lasts for more than a year and a half, in fact twenty months.

     On 13th of February 1979, his house was a hangout for revolutionary children. When the Qom police headquarters was set up, he was entrusted with representing the Joyshour neighborhood. In the early days of the revolution, the formation of such an organization was very necessary to regulate the situation in the country. The revolutionary forces were in the process of disarming the Qom checkpoints and asking him for help in capturing the Varamin checkpoints. He reached his hometown at night and returned to Qom on the 25th of Bahman after all the checkpoints in Varamin surrendered. The year 1980 was often spent in opposition to the movements of the groups. Room number two was the headquarters of the Basij of the revolutionary scholars and clerics of the seminary of Qom. Since then, he has been a member of the Varamin Committee and a member of the Basij students (volunteer military students). When Kurdistan was under struggle, he prepared himself and went to the west of the country for propaganda and cultural work.

     The third chapter is called "Exciting Days". He was still in the west in mid-September 1981. One day he decided to visit Qom city. When he arrives in Qom, he goes to the propaganda office to follow some work. There he was informed that ten or twelve telegrams had been received from Abadan and that invited him as a missionary cleric. It was the work of the children of the oil industry, who had known him well for a long time. He thought to himself that the situation in the West was more favorable and he could be more effective in Abadan. He made his decision and was scheduled to go to Abadan. Siam Shahrivar was supposed to fly, but when he arrived at the airport, he realized that all flights had been canceled. However, there was news bitterer: Saddam had invaded Iran. It was in the critical days of the first years of the revolution, but he just was worried heartily for Abadan. He could not leave there and stay comfortably in Qom and get on with his life. He must get to Abadan sooner. He was sure they needed manpower. He went to Faizieh and gave a speech to the students. He described the situation to them and said that any student who had served in the army or had taken a training course could register. As always, room number two became the place to register.

      The fourth chapter is for "leftover narrations". On 17th August 1990, when the first group of Iranian freedmen returned to the country after years of captivity in Ba'athist prisons, he witnessed students, many of whom had been captured since the early days of the war and had not been named for years. Their slender and suffered bodies indicated that they had been tortured.

      So that at this moment, he saw death facing him closer than ever. He waited every moment to free himself from the earth. His condition was slowly worse until he finally lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital by ambulance ... Doctors believe that he would not be able to leave the operating room anymore, but after a week he achieved again his consciousness and came back to life said to himself, "I wait until God wants to accept me."

      The book "Room Number Two" written by Reza Yazdani, its first edition in 2021 by Surah Mehr Publishing Company in 344 pages and 1250 copies at a price of 55,000 Toman (Iranian currency) in a regular volume and Medium octavo format has been published and has entered the book market.

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