Project 6060 – Lesson 50
The Constitutional Movement
For thousands of years, Iran was officiated as a kingdom. Some of the kings were unkind and some were friendly and respected. Some of them even lost parts of Iran. The highest power was always in the hand of the king, the people did not have a role in choosing the king or governing the country and in most cases, the king’s government was dictatorial.
In the final two decades of the rule of Naser Aladdin Shah Qajer, the situation in Iran gradually got worse and the intellectuals, political activists, and clergy undertook widespread efforts to rein in the king’s power and subvert the totalitarianism until, in the end, a movement against the Qajer dynasty took shape, which was later named the constitutional revolution, or movement. After the death of Naser Aladdin Shah, the activities of this movement’s activists intensified and as a result of these activities, the first Iranian constitution was written and a national legislative assembly was formed so that Iran’s dictatorial government could become a constitutional kingdom.
After the death of Naser Aladdin Shah, and the coronation of his son, Mozafferaladdin Shah, Iranian customs were in the hands of non-Iranians, the influence of the Russians in Iran increased, injustice and insecurity increased and there even arose problems with bread in the country. Because of this, the people were very dissatisfied. At this same time, sugar became expensive in Iran and the governor of Tehran sentenced a few traders to receive corporal punishment for selling at high prices. This caused the merchants, clergy and intellectuals to protest. They lectured at gatherings and in mosques against dictatorship and for the establishment of a court of justice, and also called for the dismissal of the chancellor and governor of Tehran. Some of the people and clergy went to the Hazrat-e Abdulazim Mosque in the town of Rey, close to Tehran and gathered there as a protest.
After Mozafferaladdin Shah promised to dismiss the chancellor and form a court of justice, the scholars returned to Tehran; but the government did not do either of these things and the violence against people increased. As a result, the protests became more widespread, the scholars went to Qom, and the merchants and a number of the people went to the British embassy, fearing for their lives and staged a protest there. They requested that the scholars return and that the courts of justice be formed. With this, the chancellor resigned and the king elected a new prime minister.
At this same time, Russia was defeated by Japan and in Russia a revolution began to develop. Upon witnessing the victory of a small Asian country that had a constitution over a European power that didn’t have a constitution, Iranians were no longer afraid to express their request. With the climax of the people’s movement, the topic of parliament and the restriction of the king’s power were gradually proposed.
Eventually, Mozafferaladdin Shah signed a constitutional order in the final days of his life and after the drafting and legislation of the constitution, he agreed upon the establishment of a parliament. The scholars and clergy who had gone to Hazrat-e Abdulazim and Qom returned to Tehran and the sitting protest in the British embassy came to an end.
In the end, the first parliament opened on the 7th of October 1906 in Tehran. On the basis of the constitution, some of the parliament’s duties included:
About one year later, preparations got underway for holding a grand celebration of the anniversary of the order for a constitution and the formation of the first parliament in front of the parliament. They decorated the whole enclosure and set up beautiful stalls in there. This ceremony continued for three days and nights. Amongst the other programmes in that celebration were a parade of school children, fireworks, a reception with sweet drinks and pastries and the attendance of members of national associations.
Le mouvement constitutionnel
El movimiento constitucional
Translation of Dialogue
Maryam: What people played a role in the constitutional movement?
Bahman: All the people. Merchants, intellectuals, clergy.
Maryam: What do you think caused the people to become dissatisfied?
Bahman: Everything had become expensive. In particular, there was a shortage of bread.
Maryam: Of course the people were also unhappy that loads of stuff was in the hands of foreigners.
Bahman: That’s right. There were lots of factors.
Maryam: Were the people after a parliament from day one?
Bahman: No, at first they just wanted justice and for the governor of Tehran to change.
Maryam: So then the intellectuals and scholars proposed the subject of a parliament?
Bahman: Yes, that’s it.
Traduction de Dialogue
Traducción de Diálogo