It was brought up in an interview with Seddiqa Mohammadi

Interview with the foster coach of the 80s and 90s

A Review of the Cultural Activities of Girls High Schools in Zarand city from Kerman in the Sixties

Interviewed and compiled by: Faezeh Sasanikhah
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Seddiqa Mohammadi was born on 1963/May/10 in Zarand, Kerman. During the last years of the imperial rule, he participated in demonstrations with his family, and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, he entered education as a teacher.

The reporter of Iran's oral history website sat down to talk with him because of the importance of cultural and artistic activities in consolidating and preserving the values of the Islamic revolution in the sixties. What you read in this interview is a review of Mrs. Mohammadi's memories and activities from those years.


Give a brief description of your activities.

I joined the Corps in 1981 and worked with them as an honorary soldier for a while. At that time, I was a student and I was working as an honor guard in the cultural committee of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and I was also active in the cultural part of Jihad Sazendagi. In addition to these activities, I was in charge of the High School Islamic Association. The work of the Islamic Association was carried out in several committees and extracurricular activities were grouped. About twenty to twenty-five students were active in the Islamic Association and I led them. In addition to the cultural activity, I learned how to work with gun, Colt and several other weapons so that if it is necessary to participate in the war, I will know how to use it. In the summer of 1980, 1981 and 1982, I went to the villages and areas around Zarand and taught weapons science to young girls. In the construction jihad, teaching the principles of beliefs, Quran, rulings and Nahj al-Balagha were among their programs. I was familiar with Quran since I was 5 years old and I went to school and knew hadith. I was trying to express the issues of belief and rulings in these classes and had a very small contribution.


How did you get involved in education?

I got a diploma in June 1981. My mother was a religious and wise woman. He said, "I trust you, see for yourself, is it better to work in education or in the army?" At that time, the IRGC environment was male and it was hard for me to work there consistently. On the other hand, I had an innate desire to do cultural work. Therefore, I left the army on November 20 and participated in the exam that was held in the fall of the same year and passed. Due to the social and cultural activities that I had in the field of educational affairs of martyr Rajaei project, I was recruited as an educational coach. Martyr Rajaei's plan was such that all education departments of Iran were called to establish educational affairs. The recruitment of pre-service teachers was called the Martyr Rajaei project. Teachers were selected from committed and qualified revolutionary people.

First, I entered education with a diploma. Then, as I was working in the cultural fields, I attended the university and through education I got a bachelor's degree in education and education, and in addition to being an education teacher in Zarand girls' high schools, I also taught religious subjects. I worked at the school all week and did not take the two days off per week that all my colleagues used. In addition to working in school, I did not stop my cooperation with the Corps and I cooperated with them in my spare time.


What did you do as a foster coach?

Our cultural programs were diverse. We used to hold competitions such as painting, calligraphy, drawing, Quran, edicts and eloquence, carving, journalism, hymns, playwriting, essay writing, poetry writing, story writing, stories and storytelling. Congregational prayers were held in the school. With the help of the sports coach, sports competitions were held in the school in volleyball, basketball, table tennis, track and field and other fields, and the winners entered the city and province competitions. Another one of our tasks during the academic year was organizing one-day recreational camps and visiting tourist and religious areas of Kerman province.

In addition to these, we tried to have good cultural programs to introduce the history of the Islamic Revolution. We promoted the books of martyr Motahari, martyr Beheshti and other scholars and authorities among the students. Of course, I was not alone; we were working together with a group of like-minded men and women in this process. Often, the Jihad Cultural Committee equipped school libraries and the IRGC provided some help. We used to subject and number the books and lend them out. Of course, the content of some books, such as those of martyr Beheshti or martyr Motahari, were heavy for students.

 We had twelve classes at school. Every year, we used to celebrate for ten days during the Fajr decade. All the classes and the school hall were decorated. During that time, the school hours were shortened to celebrate the celebration. Later, the teachers would make up for this reduction in teaching hours with an extraordinary class. We had formed teams in each class. One year, the school had thirty to forty students in each class, and they came from all regions and even villages to continue their education. In each team, it was determined who would read an article, who would read the Qur'an, who would read the testament of the martyrs, and who would be the members of the hymn group, etc. In fact, we tried to involve the children in doing cultural activities. Some students were good at painting and calligraphy and used their art to do cultural work. All the programs were held in the decade of Fajr with the maximum participation of students and the celebration and happiness was done every day with the presence of all the colleagues.

We were very active, especially during the Fajr decade, and sometimes the programs lasted for twenty days instead of ten days. Even when the Congress of Imam Line students were held in Kerman for several days, we held the same exhibition that we held in the Fajr decade. In that congress, ten to fifteen people from all the associations of the cities of Kerman province were represented. This ceremony was held two or three years in a row in Farvardin. First, I entered education with a diploma. Then, as I was working in the cultural fields, I attended the university and through education I got a bachelor's degree in education and education, and in addition to being an education teacher in girls' high schools of Zarand, I also taught religious subjects. I worked at the school all week and did not take the two days off per week that all my colleagues used. In addition to working in school, I did not stop my cooperation with the Corps and I cooperated with them in my spare time.


Much of the 1960s was a time of war. Did you have any fundraising activities in schools?

Yes. People's aid was spontaneous. Cooking jam, cooking paste, packing snacks and nuts, especially pistachios, which are popular in this region, donating chocolates, sweets, shavings, food, making compote of apples and pears by the people of Zarand in the relief and support headquarters of the Front and War of Jihad, and Corps was done. In the schools, there was no special order on this axis, but considering that we believed that we should help the fronts, we did this with the cooperation of other colleagues. A part of the school's donations was the cash-raising, which was done through a cookout. We used to announce to the students that we want to make soup to help the warriors and sell it; anyone can bring vegetables, beans, oil, noodles, etc. and they cooperated and donated these materials. Even the spices were given by the students' families. When it was held in the morning and the students went to class, we did this with the help of colleagues who were not in the education department and were in the office, such as the director, vice president, and special education teacher. We would bring two or three very big copper pots and cook in them and sell the same to students and teachers.

 At that time, it was the code design training. One job was to design a cooking training code. We tried to use the person in charge of its workshop, whose name was Mrs. Mirhosseini. At that time, there were only two high schools for girls in Zarand. Sometimes the high school had two shifts and worked continuously from two to two thirty. On the days when we worked eight or nine hours, we loaded the second boiler. Thirteen to fifteen thousand tomans were collected from each pot of ash. Sometimes we used to deliver 30 to 35 thousand tomans (Iranian currency) a day to the educational department of the Department of Education. One day I worked in the Department of Education. I said to one of my colleagues: "I have to go to the office; you prepare the food so that I can go and come back quickly." When I came back from the office, I saw that when the water boiled, instead of pouring the vegetables first, he poured the noodles, which should be poured into the pot at the end. The only thing that came to my mind was that we put another big pot and quickly boiled the water, cooked the vegetables separately, then prepared the side dishes and put the cooked noodles in that one pot. As the saying goes, we tried to fix this vandalism. On that day, the colleagues were under a lot of stress so that all the materials would not be lost.

Sometimes we invited city officials to come to the school. They came once and thanked us educational officials; they ate a bowl of food and the servants of God paid three or four times the money.

 Making soup and collecting money for the front was done in this style in girls' schools. This was not the case in boys' schools. In boys' schools, sometimes children volunteered to go to the front. Sending boys to the front was usually spontaneous; It means that some families supported and some families told their children to read correctly. I remember one day they announced to the schools that today we are sending troops to the front. Families came together to see off the fighters at Zarand train station. Once, one of the students said: "Ma'am, my brother has been missing since last night, and no matter how hard we looked, we couldn't find him!" The train left that day. At that time, not everyone had a telephone in Zarand, they had to go to the central telecommunication station and call, for example, Dasht Central Azadegan, or Karkheh Noor, etc., so that they could find their child and talk to him. Other parents who had called Ahvaz to ask how their child was doing, one of the fighters said that so-and-so is ahead of us. Two or three days later, my student came and said: "My brother has been found!" I said: "Where is it?" He said: Ahvaz. He secretly boarded the train and hid under the bed. The children went to the front with this love and spontaneity, it was divine energy. Human hands were not involved.


Didn't you collect food for the front at school?

Why. In 1985 and 1986, in addition to cooking food in the school, we announced that anyone can bring dry food and utensils. Someone brings five kilos of pistachios, someone brings ten kilos of pistachios, someone brings ten compotes, and someone brings twenty tomato pastes and...

The teachers brought sugar, sugar and tea. We used to tell them either pack it yourself or get ready-made packages. Write a letter and put it on it. Sometimes a van would come to the school and collect these donations and deliver them to the headquarters that collects cash and non-cash donations.


What was the reason why you insisted that students or teachers write letters to the fighters and put them on their gifts?

In the meetings of the cultural committee of the IRGC, they said that the morale of the warriors should be strengthened. Anything creative you can do in this regard. Writing letters was one of these ways. In their letters, the students wrote things that would strengthen the morale of the fighters and let them know that they are not alone. Some students wrote very beautiful letters, unfortunately we did not collect a copy of these letters. For example, they wrote, my brother! I hope that you will use this gift that I sent you in good health and that Imam Reza (PBUH) will protect you. When the fighters opened the packages of nuts and snacks, the effect of the letters was reflected. When the officials returned from visiting the war zones, they said that the fighters were happy with the letters sent. That is, our job was not only to send food to the fighters, but to strengthen their self-confidence and morale.


Did you have a program for martyrs at school?

Yes. In the morning ceremony that was performed every day in the school, the will of the martyrs, the messages of the martyrs and the messages of Imam Khomeini were read by the moderator. In the cultural, artistic and visual classes of educational affairs, the proposed topics were about the front and war, holy defense, and the introduction of the martyrs of our city and province, and the martyrdom of the elders of the country with pictures of their martyrdom.

 We used to organize the Martyrs Memorial Project in the school. The program honoring the families of the martyrs was held regularly every month. 1983 was the peak of the war and martyrs were brought. When a martyr was brought, the whole school was saddened. We mourned and eulogized with very special ceremonies and participated in funeral ceremonies, and fortunately we had good company in this field. School colleagues and students along with their mothers participated in the ceremony of martyrs. In addition to this program, we took students in groups to visit the families of the martyrs. The mothers and sisters of the martyrs portrayed the moral spirit and behavior of the martyrs for them. We were participating in the 40th Martyr ceremony again. The 40th ceremony of this martyr was not finished, the next martyr came and this process continued.


Do you remember the commemoration of martyrs in school?

When we were doing these things, sometimes a handful of people were against our work. One year we were installing pictures in twenty to forty pieces in the halls. They would cut the ropes early in the morning or somehow when no one was around. When we left in the morning, we saw that the photos had fallen on the floor. If there was a problem with the posters, I would repair them and install them again with the help of my colleagues. I even remember that in 1980 and 1981, we tried to put up posters in the school introducing the torturers of SAVAK or the martyrs who were martyred by the hypocrites or talk about them with the students. One of the deputies, who was a supporter of the hypocrites, did not want such activities to be carried out in the school and did not want cultural activities to be carried out by the Islamic Association in the school. To counter these activities, he started spraying, wrote to the education department, and wrote to the cultural department of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Jihad that the students are rioting and closing the school. While this was not true at all and these activities were carried out along the school's cultural activities. I was asked by the Education Department. I said I didn't do anything and I explained my work to them.


Culturally, how would you explain the issues of war and revolution to students?

In the halls of the school, we used large glossy paper to depict martyrs' photos, martyrs' wills, and materials related to martyrs who were martyred before and after the revolution, and we made an exhibition. We used to install pictures of martyrs in the form of tulips on the wall. At that time, because there was more unity, things went more easily. We held a book fair at school and students bought books.

With the coordination of education and schools, we tried to familiarize children with the goals of the martyrs. I used to give speeches in schools and try to present things as a narrator of the imposed war according to our political and religious beliefs. I was talking about the sanctity of martyrs, girls' hijab and the future of girls, which fortunately had a good effect on the children. In continuation of this work, together with a group of colleagues in 1983, we went with a minibus to the war zones in the south, such as Bostan, Huizeh, Dehlawiyeh, Khorramshahr, and settled in Ahvaz for one month to forty days. There were one or two people in the car from each city. There, we cooperated with the sisters' cultural unit in the area of fabric writing and did cultural works such as poster installation. We used to write sentences about martyrs or war on the cloth. These fabrics were distributed by the brothers in the city of Ahvaz and its provinces.

In the continuation of the trip, we visited Khorramshahr Grand Mosque. Khorramshahr was much destroyed. The palm trees were gone. The irons were placed facing the sky. The cars were full of cartridges. Seeing these scenes in the minibus, my colleagues were crying loudly. They used to hold cultural ceremonies in the Jame Mosque, remember the martyrs, and draw and paint pictures of the martyrs on the walls. Despite the fact that the mosque was destroyed, some walls were repaired, pictures were designed there, and mourning ceremonies were held.


Do you remember any memories from that trip?

Our job was mostly to meet the fighters, especially the fighters from Kerman, who were stationed in Ahvaz. Every day we went to one of these war zones. We had coordinated with the army and some guards were with us. In some places, the guide was very careful and told the driver: “Get out of here, don't get out of here.” There are still mines in the ground and they must be cleared." They didn't even let us get out of the car in some places. A sweet and anxious memory I have is that we said to take us to see the Karun River up close. The Iraqis were on the other side of the water and we were on this side. They took us near Khorramshahr Grand Mosque and from there they took us to the nearest route to the Iraqis. I don't know if we were seen by the Iraqis or not, but the guide said that it is forbidden for sisters to come to war zones. We said that our families are in the news; we want to see these areas and describe the situation of the war zones to our fellow townsmen. We were three kilometers away when smoke rose into the air. When we got two hundred meters further, the guide said, you are lucky, this area is completely mined. From that area, we went to Bostan, approximately two kilometers away. They did not allow women to go further. We saw that the fighters had taken a trench on the slopes of the plain. When the fighters saw us, they would come in groups and say send our greetings to our families.

 It took three hours to be there until the food truck came. They asked us, do you eat here or do you go outside the area? The women said that we will eat here; there is no problem if we became martyrs. We went to one of the trenches. They brought a large crooked tray of lentil rice and a large nickel bowl of sour yogurt with some loaves of bread. Now we were sitting on our hands and there was no water for this in the desert. What should we do? We said that we are like these children. They don't have spoons, we don't want them either. They eat dirt, we eat too. If there is no health, it is the same for everyone. We started eating with our hands. We hadn't eaten five bites yet when the Baathists started shooting. They quickly removed us from the area. Other companions were very anxious and stressed. Then we went to a place called Fatimieh Cemetery. The Baathists had buried the girls there alive. We cried a lot and recited Quran and prayer for them. The only traces left from them and from which they were found were pieces of cloth from their clothes.

When we returned from the trip, I narrated what I had seen to the students and others, but unfortunately it was not recorded anywhere. We went to war zones to capture a small picture of what happened in our minds and to portray it to others. Sometimes, if I am invited to a gathering, I will explain these things.


Did you have any cultural activities at school during the summer season?

Yes. We had good activities during the summer. During the week, Quran and Nahj al-Balagha teaching classes, rules and principles of beliefs, etc. were held.


 ■In your opinion, what was the role of educational instructors in relation to preserving the revolution and the war, explaining the values of the Islamic revolution and holy defense?

The role of educational coaches was colorful in the sixties and was relatively good in the years 1991 to 1996, but from 1996 onwards this cultural trend was abandoned and faded. Now, maybe our performance was wrong in some places and we became extreme in many issues, but overall, the performance of the educational coaches was good and effective. I thank God that I was able to take a small step for the collection called Islam.


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