He Became Despised by the Ignorance of This Era!

By Rasul Jafariyan | Translated by Sayyid Ali Imran

The following poems express the sentiments of a poet from the late Qajar and early Pahlavi periods named Sayyid Mahdi Khan Badaei Negar “Lahooti”.1 It reflects the feelings that many intellectuals and educated people of that time – and perhaps today – had. Being a religious person, he essentially composed these poems to describe the backwardness of Iranians compared to Europe. At the same time, he addresses the theological aspect that someone might think God has discriminated among people, and believes that divine grace has been equal, yet Europeans have made good use of it, while Iranians have not benefited from this vast grace. He astonishingly refers to the political ideas of the Sultans who consider themselves the gods of time over the Iranian nation, and also to the fact that scholars excommunicate anyone who studies sciences other than jurisprudence and legal theory. He simultaneously talks about the widespread use of railways and airplanes in Europe and mentions wired and wireless telegraphy. He titled his poem In Complaint that Iranians Lagged in the Arts (hunar):

That ancient and glorious God,

Who is beyond all imagination,

Revealed art in Europe,

And its people reaped the fruits of technology.

Although the grace from the Generous One was equal,

The mercy of God is universal for all creatures.

Europe quickly sought blessings,

While the people of Iran remained the same.

They recognized the value of Grace and Mercy,

And became worthy of acquiring knowledge.

They developed their country through various disciplines,

Their customs and laws became regulated.

Railways appeared in every city,

Many airplanes flew in the sky.

Look at their wired and wireless telegraphs,

They receive news from the West in the East.

did not waste their human form,

Ignorance did not hinder their knowledge.

But the Iranian, except for war and conflict,

When did they pursue the path of excellence?

The way to education and art was closed,

By the kings to the entire Iranian people.

The king considered himself the god of time,

Clearly for these creatures.

Judges sought their aim from the king,

From the science of jurisprudence and legal theory.

When someone showed other knowledge,

People said he became an infidel!

Every field of knowledge was closed in Iran,

The wise souls were constantly pained by this.

These people were constantly at war,

All conversations were about cannons and guns.

Now that they have awakened from sleep,

The past night has become day and sunlight.

All the states are superior to them,

In every way, they are desperate.

The government of Iran, which was like a leader,

Other kings were insignificant to it.

Due to ignorance, it became despised in this era,

Afflicted by wicked people.

It became dependent on others,

Like a ship drowning in waves.

Otherwise, all were equal before God,

They chose ignorance,

and this oppression happened to them.


  1. Mirza Mahdi Khan Badaei Neghar (Tehran 1279 AH – Tehran 1320 SH)

    (Pen names: Mukhlis and Lahooti) Statesman, literary scholar, and author of the Qajar era, son of Mirza Sayyid Mostafa Vakil Lashkar Tafreshi, and brother of Mirza Mohammad Taghi Dabir-od Dowleh. He pursued his education in his birthplace. He studied grammar, jurisprudence, legal theory, tafsir, philosophy, astronomy, and mathematics. Along this path, he received permission for narration from Haj Mirza Hossein Nouri and Sheikh Mohammad Hossein Kazemini. He was an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and advanced through the administrative ranks to the position of deputy minister. In 1297 AH, he became the secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After the death of his colleague, Mirza Mohammad Ebrahim Badaei Negar (1299 AH), he was also titled Badaei Negar in 1300 AH. In 1301 AH, he became a member of the State Council, and in 1329 AH, he joined the Advisory Council of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mirza Mahdi Khan Badaei Neghar was a learned man. He authored works in Persian and Arabic, most of which have been printed and published. He wrote a wide variety of works. He also composed poetry and used the pen name Mukhlis, but after entering the world of mysticism, he chose the pen name Lahooti. According to himself, he composed 18,000 verses of poetry.