BOOK REVIEW

Politics and Wisdom

Maliheh Kamaledin
Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian

2023-2-28


Sayed Mostafa Sayed Sadeghi gathered and compiled the memoirs of Ayatollah Dr. Ahmed Beheshti in a book titled Politics and Wisdom, which was published in the fall of 2022 on the occasion of “The 100th Anniversary of Re-establishment of the Qom Seminary”, by Cultural and Art Institute and Publication of Islamic Revolution Documentation Center.

Ayatollah Dr. Ahmed Beheshti is one of the scholars in the Qom seminary and came from Fars Province. Along with studying and teaching, he tried to expand religious culture for many years in different cities of Iran, especially in Fars, Khuzestan, and Tehran cities. He was arrested and imprisoned several times during the Pahlavi era, and his memories have been gathered in Politics and Wisdom after about sixty hours of interview.

The first chapter begins with the narrator's family life, from childhood to marriage, and about Ayatollah Beheshti's children.

In the second chapter, you read about the narrator’s studying and teaching in the seminary and university, including how he entered the Shiraz seminary and then studied philosophy on the recommendation of his father, participating in classes of the late Ayatollah Mahalati, going to Qom to continue his studies, accepting the suggestion of Shahid Ayatollah Sayed Mohammad Hosseini Beheshti for managing Deen and Danesh high school, teaching in the Haqqani school, entering the university, and introducing his professors. At the end of this chapter, some explanations about his writings and works can be read.

The third chapter introduces the scholars and elders of Fars and their political struggles. These people include Ayatollah Sayed Nouroddin Shirazi, Ayatollahi brothers, the late Ayatollah Hadaiq, Ibn Yousof Hadaiq, the late Ayatollah Mahalati, the late Ayatollah Nassabeh, Ayatollah Nizam, and Ayatollah Haqshenas.

The fourth chapter covers some events in the contemporary history of Iran, from the Pahlavi era - such as Kashf-e hijab and the role of clerics in the struggles of contemporary history - to the events after the Islamic Revolution, like Ayatollah Montazeri's support for Mahdi Hashemi, and the 1978 Qom protest, as well as Shirin Ebadi's speech at the gathering of Resurrection Party.

The reason for repeating such issues, which have been discussed in detail in other sources, and their place and function in this diary book is not clear. The contents of the third and fourth chapter occupy about 66 pages of the book, in which there is no mention of narrator’s memoir except in very few cases.

The fifth and sixth chapters of the book deal with the narrator's pre-revolution memories, when he was involved in propaganda affairs and fighting against the Pahlavi regime; and his post-revolution activities. In the fifth chapter, his sharp and fiery speeches against the Pahlavi can be read; followed by memories of his missionary trip to Abadan, acquaintance with Martyr Muftah, his expulsion from Abadan, his summons to Savak, and the threat of exile, his arrest in Fasa and then Darab, as well as other materials about the situation of Fars province during the revolution.

At the beginning of the sixth chapter, some of the events after the victory of the Islamic Revolution were repeated. Then the narrator's memories of his missions in Boroujerd, Kazeroun, and Fasa, are included. After that, his position in the Islamic Council, his trip to Libya, Syria, war zone, and also Norway and Sweden can be read. In addition to these memories, there are redundant explanations, which have nothing to the readers except repetition. At the end of the sixth chapter, the narrator's memoirs of his activity in the Assembly of Experts, his trip to Canada, and his pilgrimage to the holy shrines covered.

Documents and pictures are given as appendices, and at the end of the book, the list of people and places is given in the index.

Politics and Wisdom has been published in 340 pages and 500 volumes with a medium octavo format and price of One Hundred Twenty thousand Tomans.



 
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Is oral history the words of people who have not been seen?

Some are of the view that oral history is useful because it is the words of people who have not been seen. It is meant by people who have not been seen, those who have not had any title or position. If we look at oral history from this point of view, it will be objected why the oral memories of famous people such as revolutionary leaders or war commanders are compiled.

Daily Notes of a Mother

Memories of Ashraf-al Sadat Sistani
They bring Javad's body in front of the house. His mother comes forward and says to lay him down and recite Ziarat Warith. His uncle recites Ziarat and then tells take him to the mosque which is in the middle of the street and pray the funeral prayer (Ṣalāt al-Janāzah) so that those who do not know what the funeral prayer is to learn it.

A Critique on Oral history of War Commanders

“Answering Historical Questions and Ambiguities Instead of Individual-Organizational Identification”
“Oral history of Commanders” is reviewed with the assumption that in the field of war historiography, applying this method is narrated in an advancing “new” way, with the aim of war historiography, emphasizing role of commanders in creation of its situations and details.
A cut from memoirs of Jalil Taeffi

Escaping with camera

We were in the garden of one of my friends in "Siss" on 26th of Dey 1357 (January 16, 1979). We had gone for fun. It was there that we heard the news of Shah's escape from the local people. They said that the radio had announced. As soon as I heard this news, I took a donkey and went on its back.