Book Review:


Malihe Kamaledin
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


The book "Jahanara" is the queries on the life and memoirs of martyr Seyed Mohammad Ali Jahanara collected by Ali Akbar Mozdabadi from his wife, comrades, diaries, interviews, and notes, and released by Ya Zahra Publications in 2019.

The book begins with a straightforward and understandable note from the author in which he talks about the process of formation and production of this work. In this introduction, it is stated that the book is the result of ten hours of expressing the memories of the martyr's wife during two sessions, as well as sixty-four hours of interviews with twenty-two friends and comrades, as well as the two sisters of the martyr Jahanara; however, attempts to interview many other people were unsuccessful and "they lost the grace."

This book has five chapters. In the first chapter, the memories of the comrades, friends and family of Martyr Jahanara from him have been narrated. This chapter includes topics such as his birth, adolescence, pre-revolutionary struggles, as well as explanations about Hezbollah and Mansourun groups, the victory of the revolution and events such as the Arab People's rebellion, pre-war insecurities, the beginning of the war and the resistance of Khorramshahr defenders, events after the fall of Khorramshahr and how Jahanara was martyred.

This chapter displays before us a kind of calendar or chronology of the biography of Martyr Jahanara. However, weaknesses such as the lack of complete introduction of some narrators, or lack of explanations to describe some places or events are felt in this section; Nevertheless, there are useful and, of course, scattered data in these memoirs that can be the source of other works on the subject of the life of this martyr.

The second chapter is titled "As narrated by wife" in which Mrs. Akbarnejad, the wife of martyr Jahanara, has described in detail about herself, marriage, emigration to Khorramshahr, return to Tehran, and the events and happenings of this period up to Jahanara's martyrdom. These memoirs are the result of two interviews in the months of Aban and Azar of 1397 (November and December 2018). One thing that is highlighted in this chapter of the book is the omission of significant parts of the materials which have been mentioned in the footnote that these omissions are done according to the narrator. These omissions sometimes include the names of some people and sometimes parts of the memoir.

The book's third chapter includes handwritings of martyr Jahanara that have been left in the form of a diary calendar in which he has written his daily reports from fifth of Dey 1359 to sixth of Bahman of the same year (December 26, 1980 to January 26, 1981). Jahanara was martyred eight months later, on the fifth of Mehr 1360 (September 27, 1981), and it is not clear why he stopped writing his observations only one month after he began. Since there is no sign of the pages being torn, it is not possible that one or more people were trying to delete subsequent reports. However, his pure and thought-provoking materials regarding the process of the war and the events surrounding it have been brought in this chapter of the book entitled "Diaries" in a slightly edited form.

In part of the diaries of Friday, 19th of Dey 1359 (January 9, 1981), we read: "At eight o'clock in the morning, Farahzadi, the person in charge of the guys of the Company 2500, came and said, "we want to go! What the hell is this situation? They do not support us. There are no cars, no guns, and a series of words like these. First I wanted to convince him in a calm tone that it would be okay and that this issue does not concern me and these things. I saw he was not satisfied. He has stood his ground and says we want to leave. These brothers, as we had said in the reports of the previous days [...] are members of the Basiji forces of Tehran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC); and they had been kept waiting for about twenty-five days and had come with Kalashnikovs, and we armed them with the M-1 and then with the J-3 with great difficulty, and sent them to the war front. I also told him that if you want to go, you must clarify your situation with Ahvaz. Again, they did not accept. Then I said very sharply that it does not concern me. If you want to leave, I will raise the issue with the war room, and he will clarify your situation with the guards ...".

The book's fourth chapter includes an interview that was held in 1981 in the Propaganda Unit of the IRGC in Abadan during which it has been talked about the sabotage movements and actions of the monafeghin or hypocrites (the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization). In this meeting, which is attended by Hojjatoleslam Araqi, the Religious Law Judge and the Head of the Islamic Revolution Courts of Abadan, as well as Tizmagz, the Prosecutor of the Islamic Revolution of Abadan, Jahanara discusses the developments in Khorramshahr after the victory of the Islamic Revolution and then about the monafeghin. Also in this chapter, the text of a radio interview with Martyr Jahanara conducted in July 1981, along with some scattered handwritings and the will of this martyr have been brought.

The fifth chapter includes documents and images left from Jahanara and some of his comrades.  This book has been published in 312 pages with 2000 copies and a price of 25,000 Tomans.


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