The role of S̲̲hayk̲̲h Muḥammad K̲̲hiyābānī and the Democratic Movement of Azerbaijan in the socio-political history of Iran 1910-1920
I was interested in history while I was in school and I pursued this interest as a history student at the University of Tabriz where I graduated in history in 1973. Apart from a major part of our studies in history, which were about the Iranian and foreign dynasties, we had to study a great deal about the lives of individual Kings; but hardly any space was allocated to the history of social and political movements in Iran. The names of patriots and political thinkers such as K̲h̲iyābānī were not, for political reasons, mentioned. These movements, however, no matter how briefly they were covered in our history books, were still able to arouse my curiosity and interest in discovering more about these movements and their leaders. In 1977 I decided to undertake research in modern history. My decision coincided with social and political upheavals in Iran which resulted in the revolution of 1979. This by itself strengthened my conviction that we must study and understand our history in its particular social and political content. That is to say revolts and revolutions are not something which appear suddenly, but are the product and result of historical developments in which peoples, as a living force, have taken part. These revolts and revolutions are, in fact, the manifestations of longstanding social injustices and oppressions which have been imposed on the people by despotic kings, irresponsible governments and reactionary rulers. In recent social upheavals of Iran I witnessed how thousands of sincere people and patriots gave their lives and wished to free their country from age old backwardness. This reflected the continuation of the constitutional revolution and K̲h̲iyābānī's uprising (1910-1920). Since my grandfather Mīrzā Muḥammad Tagī Ṭabāṭabā'ī K̲h̲ātambak̲hs̲h̲ was involved in the constitutional revolution and K̲h̲iyābānī's uprising and I naturally had heard a lot about K̲h̲iyābānī through my relatives, both personal curiosity and historical interest made me choose K̲h̲iyābānī as the subject of my research. Some books and articles have been written about K̲h̲iyābānī which are either very superficial or based on misrepresentation. They are superficial because they have not attempted to explain why and how K̲h̲iyābānī's uprising began and the reasons for its success and failure and the role of central government in Tehran in this event is not examined. K̲h̲iyābānī's original speeches and works have not been studied in depth. The opposition to K̲h̲iyābānī's uprising has misrepresented him in different ways. The most striking aspect of this is the fact that he has been accused by his political opponents over and over again of being a "separatist". Some historians have even either spelt K̲h̲iyābānī's name wrongly or copied the errors of others. I came to Edinburgh and was accepted as a postgraduate student in October 1979, and then went to London where I studied and examined the British Foreign office archives and also studied in the British Library. Through the Edinburgh University Library I received some books and newspapers in Russian, French, English, Persian and Azari. Three times I travelled to Iran where I could consult the Iranian Parliamentary documents, newspapers, books and interviewed a number of Iranians who either participated in or had valuable memories of K̲h̲iyābānī's uprising. It is hoped, therefore, that the present study will shed a great deal of light upon a hitherto much-neglected episode in modern Iranian history.