About the Mostoufi Dead-end

Kerman in Mirza Mostafakhan Mostoufi Kermani’s look

Elham Saleh
Translated by Zahra Hosseinian


An old, faded and rusty plaque has been set on the part of a wall. It contains the name of alley: ‘Mostoufi Dead-end’. On the other part of the wall the same name has been written with chalk. The picture of this brick wall along with the writing on it has formed the cover of a book, whose name is the same: Mostoufi Dead-end[1]

If there was no explanation under the title of book, we will think that it is a story book; but it is not. Mostoufi Dead-end narrates memories of Mirza Mostafakhan Mostoufi Kermani. In the preface, the author has pointed out memories of Mirza Mostafakhan Mostoufi Kermani is an important source about the history of popular struggles at constitutional and Qajar era in Kerman, but it has not been studied so far.

In these memories, Mirza Mostafakhan Mostoufi Kermani first says about his ancestry and after presenting an autobiography, explains about his memories: “The papers included brief [description] of personal life events and states which have ruled on Kerman. And each of these events, which have happened during the reign, has been important; so, briefly mentioned for reader's enjoyment. [The book] is expressed in two chapters. In the board of governors, and after the death of Ismail Khan Vakilalmolk to the year of one thousand and three hundred and thirty-three, first chapter is ...”

Memories of the narrator begin from ‘the rule of Haji HosseinKhan Nezamoldoleh and Morteza qolikhan Vakilalmolk’ and the last memory is about ‘the meeting of Nazemoltojar and Sardar Zafar’.

In his manuscripts, Mirza Mostafakhan Mostoufi Kermani presents original information about the popular uprisings in the city and provinces of Kerman in the Qajar period, which is very important in terms of political history, social and economic of Kerman.

The text of these memoirs has been written in Nasta’liq script by Mirza Mostafakhan Mostoufi Kermani; and its time is around 1334 (Lunar), coinciding with the government of Nosratolsaltaneh, paternal uncle of Ahmad Shah Qajar.

Some of events described by the narrator are: ‘The government of Firuz Mirza’, ‘The government of Abdul-Hossein Salar Lashkar’, ‘The government of Sardar Motazed’, ‘The government of Amirnezam Garousi’, ‘Popular uprising of Kerman - uprising of Nazemoltojar and Nayeb Ibrahim - people’s attack to citadel’, ‘The government of Sahebekhtiyar’, ‘The government of Amirazam’, and ‘the uprising of constitutionalists’. He has wrote about popular uprising of Kerman in the reign of Zafarolsaltaneh: “foodstuffs and goods’ expensiveness and shortage of bread are of events that happened during the government of Sardar, which caused people to be excited; and they also have triggers for uprising. Several days [people] gathered and crowded around the house of the late Haji Mohammad Khan and Ibrahim Khan School and other locations that were supposed to have foodstuffs and made troubles.”

Also, Kerman people rose up during the reign of Nosratoldoleh, which is described like: “A few days before uprising, some of townspeople closed down shops and factories of carpet weaving, complained about the high prices of bread and also injustice and tyranny. They rose up in the city and would say the government not to accompany the constitutional. Finally, Nosratoldoleh attended in the congregational mosque, where all townsfolk gathered, and spoke them kindly and remarked that he accompanied the constitutional; and he was so good-tempered and cheerful that was not conceivable.”

This book, which is in the form of oral history, describes some part of Iran’s history in Kerman and from the perspective of Mirza Mostafakhan Mostoufi Kermani. In different parts of the book, photos of several characters, which have been named in memories, could be seen. Each of these photos with brief explanation has formed the pictorial part of book, which creates mental picture in readers. Also the picture of part of Mirza Mostafakhan Mostoufi Kermani’s handwritten papers has been presented at different chapters of book which guides the readers with a brief description. In addition to these privileges, Mostoufi Dead-end has another one, too. The author of book not only has provided narrator’s memories, but also he himself has researched which can be seen at the footnotes.

In the preface, author also has noted some of the problems for compiling: “lack of another version of the text and an illegible copy made lots of difficulties for editor; but suggestions of the late Ali Naqi Mostoufi and using the proficiency of Mohammad Naghi Ferdowsi in proof-reading and his tips, eliminates lots of problems. However, large number of illegible words can be seen in the text unfortunately. Illegibility was because of the lack of quality and of the text was cleaned off. Due to illegibility of the text, for example, useful historical information about Roknoddowleh government has lost. It is hoped that the original text of this version will be found and problems will be resolved.”

The fact that the author has mentioned problems can familiarize readers with the problems of this book and other books of this group. Surly, Mostoufi Dead-end is not free of shortcomings. It has Typo.

If you ignore these problems, creating a book in the oral history field - which is relating part of history - is a valuable attempt whose benefits can’t be ignored.

In the government of Kerman’s ruler, narrator had been a state accountant and has noted events that occurred in the area of power. So, it turns Mostoufi Dead-end to an important book.


[1] Mostoufi Dead-end: Diary of Mirza Mostafakhan Mostoufi Kermani, Editor: Ali Jamil Kermani, Kerman Hozehonari and Sooremehr Press, 280 pages.

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