Nabil’s Narrative: What History has Forgotten

{josquote}Dr. Amanat has not been given access to this text on the grounds that a room is not available for researchers at that Centre.{/josquote}

The narrative of Nabil Zarandi, also known as The Dawn-Breakers, is an account of many historical episodes which took place in our nation [Iran] some 150 years ago, including the suppression of the degar-andishan1 – though at that time this phrase was not used to describe them. A survey of the book’s contents, absence of a readily available publisher, and its scarcity for individuals like me, all demonstrate that this book has been obscured from public view, and underscores the severance of our historical memories from the events portrayed in the book.

Our discussion, though, is not centered on the historical details narrated in the book – the claim of Siyyid Ali-Muhammad the Bab, the rise of the Babis and their propensity for militancy, the role of Tahirih Quratu’l-‘Ayn or other women in this movement and the eventual suppression and bloody massacre of its followers. The point of our concern is the obscurity of the events, and indeed how all these occurrences have been forgotten.

Clearly, Nabil Zarandi’s account is written from an avid religious perspective, and as such it should not surprise anyone if devoted Muslims have ignored it. However, one wonders why has this book escaped the notice of secular Iranians and the intellectuals on the left?

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