Book Review:

Wisdom and Politics

"Parts of Dr. Nasr's memories are not well-substantiated"

Fatemeh Moradi
Translated by Abbas Hajihashemi


TEHRAN, February 28 (Oral History Weekly) – "Wisdom and Politics" is an oral history account of prominent Iranian philosopher and thinker Dr. Hussein Nasr's memories of the Pahlavi regime and the Islamic Revolution.

A session was held at Arts Bureau in Tehran where Morteza Mirdar and Ali Tajoddini attended as experts to assess the book.

The session was the seventh of a series of sessions in assessment of Islamic Revolution oral history works.

Nasr has held several high-profile posts in Iran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, including chancellor of Sharif University of Technology under the Pahlavi regime.

"This book has sparked so much attention in oral history community as it contains memories of a prominent Pahlavi regime figure," said Jafar Golshan, researcher and host of the session, in his opening speech about  the book.

"It is a magnificent book in terms of content and what distinguishes this book from other historical works about Dr. Nasr is his accounts about the fall of the Pahlavi regime and his role in the Islamic Revolution," said Tajoddini later in the gathering.

"Nasr claims he was the liaison between the royal court and the clerics before the Islamic Revolution," he added. "He considers himself a student of Allameh Tabatabaei and was the person who arranged a meeting between the Allameh and Henry Corbin. He also says he had invited martyrs Beheshti and Bahonar to help him compile textbooks; Nasr has provided grants and scholarships for hundreds of students outside of Iran and has provided graduation degrees for dozens of lecturers; he also says he has made great contributions to prevent spread of western philosophy by penning articles and books about eastern philosophies including Japanese philosophy. He has also spent hundreds of millions of Iranian rials for constructing religious places across Iran during his time as a government figure under the Pahlavi regime. Dr. Nasr regards himself as an Islamic Revolution stakeholder."

No such book was published in the Iranian market about the subject before, he added.

Dr. Nasr is from an outstanding and influential family; he is the grandson of Sheik Fazlollah Nouri and his father was the royal doctor, a member of the parliament and the Iranian minister of culture. His uncle is renowned as the father of drama in Iran and Hussein Nasr himself has a close-knit family relation of Jamshid Amouzegar. During his adolescence he went to the US for studies. He returned to Iran after he received his Ph.D in philosophy. He also obtained an MA from MIT University. Because of his family relations, Nasr rubbed shoulders with high-ranking government officials ever since his childhood.

"I am not a history graduate," said Hussein Dehbashi, the book's compiler, during the session about his book.

"Before meeting with Dr. Nasr, I read all the books about him that had been published before. Besides, I completely perused his works about the Middle East and garnered some audio files of his speeches and listened to all of them."

Golshan said: "This books has been written for the general public and reflects the memories of Nasr about the events during the years prior to the revolution; therefore anyone who has an understanding of historical studies, will be able to discern from the facts included in the book and will use them in their studies."

Dehbashi further said 800 hours of interviews with Dr. Nasr which is a record by itself.

Number of Visits: 4325


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