It was done in the form of written work;

Identification of firsts in Mashhad city using memoirs and oral history

Ali Najafzadeh
Translated by Fazel Shirzad


Mashhad as a religious metropolis, where welcomes thousands of pilgrims across the Islam world annually, has diverse identifiable characteristics that the lack of attention to each of them cause to ignore the urban history or forget some part of it. But in the past few years, the publication of some books with contemporary historical approach was result from consideration of the researchers of Mashhad. Certainly, the publication of the books and the spiritual heritage of Mashhad city, which is named as the capital of Islamic Culture by ISESCO in 2017, will increase expectations and cultural capacities of the city. Therefore, writing and publishing books in the field of history and culture of the city and introducing the potentials can be considered as an important step.

In this field, the book "identification and introduction of firsts in Mashhad", written by Gholamreza Azari Khakestar, was Published by the Research Center of Mashhad Islamic Council in 1000 copies and 365 pages in the price of 25,000 Toman in Shahrivar 1395 ( September 2016). The research, in relation to firsts in Mashhad city during some years of interviews of oral history with men and characters, has always been considered by author. Writing of the book began in Aban 1389 (November 2010), and after two years, ended in 1391 in the winter. In this book, more than 90 photos and 2,000 pages of documents and 30 interviews of oral history are used.

The used study sources in this research can be divided as:


A. books: Although the topic of firsts in Mashhad is a new subject, but the biographies of some of the individuals who are the first persons can be achieved among the various books. 


B. Memoirs and oral history documents: Oral history is a method or way in which researchers are looking for persons and characters or eye witnesses of events by using video or audio devices, and explore the different events of  society by recording their memoirs. Importance of oral history is that an interviewer, in this method, can find some historical ambiguous points, even they are not mentioned in the written documents, by using obtained evidence and document. Now, many of contemporary history researches can be done by oral history. The interviews are significant parts of the present book in this study, and the importance of oral resources cause to study with a background in relation with firsts.


C. Documents: Using archival documents help to ensure researchers for recording events and developments that have occurred in the past.  Office correspondence, circulars, ads etc. are some of the documents that the researcher can rely on them to analyze problems. Many books have been written on the basis of documents from different archives. Although, there were some problems and sometimes opposition to get access to many of the documentation. Anyway, access to the great treasures of documents and archives of the libraries, the museums and Documents Center of Astan Quds Razavi solve these shortcomings partly.

In general, the documents play central and main role to identify the firsts and it will be caused to certainty of the final statements about the firsts. For example, use of Abkuh Sugar Factory's archival documents, as the first sugar factory in the East of country, provided an opportunity to evaluate socio-economic conditions of years 1315 and 1330 in Mashhad. Access to documents of largest and first Spinning Factory of Khorasan leads to identify some of the firsts recorded things in the documents of the factory. The part of the contents of this study is based on a set of personal and family documents. However, there were some problems to identify a large number of families, and some people refused to give documents due to lack of confidence, but personal documents of some of the firsts are given in this book.


D. Photos: Pictures and photos are visual resources and sometimes news and analytical resources in the contemporary research. The common people, in a way, are associated with photos, and when they look them, they remember their past memories. In this book, it is tried to use more than 90 photos, that many of them have not been published yet, to make readers familiar visually with people or special subject.


E. Newspapers: the newspapers, as a medium reflects the city's news and developments, play a key role to record the events. Therefore, the contents of the journals could be used importantly in modern history research. Referring to the content of newspapers could help researchers to use effectively to explain the circumstances of each period of time. The newspapers can provide the most contents In relation to the firsts of Mashhad, because sometimes the headline of a news can refer to a subject that it can be related to firsts. That is why it is tried to recognize the developments of Mashhad, despite of need to spend a lot of time, by review the most newspapers of Mashhad city until the late decade of thirty. Newspapers such as Adab, Aftab Sharghi, Tus, Khorasan, Bahar, Qods, Shahamat and Shahrara are some of the publications that have been mostly cited in the book "Identification of firsts in Mashhad city." 


F. Websites: Today, sites and websites can also be considered as a resource of research because many of magazines, newspapers, dictionaries, encyclopedias and even books are available in websites for users. These resources are used for some of the entries in this study. However, if we look at output contents from sites or blogs pathologically, in some cases, published contents are not so documented and only the researcher can use it as a start for research and achieve perfect results in written or library resources.

The Bibliography and introduction of firsts in Mashhad is going to to identify a number of events and people that have played a role in issues and new developments. Because almost made developments of Mashhad was existed since the late Qajar period, so the range time of the book is from the late Qajar period to year 1357 (1978). However, several of cases are studied before and after the mentioned time periods. It should be noted that this book covers only part of firsts in Mashhad and there are many of the issues that have not been introduced in this book due to lack of opportunity. It is also tried to consider the cultural issues, because all developments are growing in scientific and cultural field.

The contents of the book are divided in fifteen chapters and they consisted of: Education and cultural issues such as schools, the first secondary school for boys, the first education director of Mashhad, and the first examination of the sixth grade student in Mashhad, the first school for girls, the first school of Mashhad, and the school of adults. Kindergarten, the college of Mashhad, the night school, the first art school, first night school for ladies. The firsts of universities and some cases such as the first high school of health, the first graduated students for high school of health, the first university, the first director of the faculty of medicine, the first heads of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad and etc. firsts of press such as the first newspaper of Mashhad and, Iran's first Caricature Press, the first image comic newspaper of Mashhad, the first publication of Mashhad municipality, the first women newspaper of Khorasan, and the first religious magazine of Mashhad and etc. the first radio such as Khorasan Division, the first religious broadcaster of Mashhad Division, the first children's radio program, the first program of physical education in Radio, the first Kurdish radio program in and etc. Cinema, medicine, foreign governments, the sports, the Islamic Revolution, the performance of municipalities about the firsts, the shrine, municipal facilities, industry and the number of firsts in Mashhad on various topics.

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