Materials for the Study of the Babi Religioncompiled and translated by E. G. Browne.
Note: pages 176-236 have not yet been entered. All that's
thus far been typed from this chapter is pages 237-243. -J.W.
FURTHER NOTES ON BÁBÍ, AZALÍ AND
I need only allude to the publication in extenso of Hájji Mírzá Jání of Káshán's Nuqtatu'l- Káf in the E. J. W. Gibb Memorial Series (Vol.xv, 1910), of which, as the earliest extant account of the Báb and his contemporaries by one of the first believers and martyrs, it is impossible to overestimate the importance and interest. Of the very interesting criticisms on my Introduction to this work by another early Bábí, Sayyid Mahdí of Dahaj, who wrote only three or four years ago I have already spoken (pp. 231—-3 supra); as well as of Mírzá Muhammad Jawád of Qazwín's two treatises, one in Arabic, translated in full in this volume, and another in Persian, of which unhappily I possess only the latter half (pp.230—-1 supra). The only writings of this class which it remains to notice here in somewhat greater detail are three short monographs on the Bábí insurrection in Mázandarán
and the siege of Shaykh Tabarsí, sent to me in October, 1912, by the Bábí scribe to whom I have already had occasion to allude repeatedly.
(1) The first of these monographs, entitled Waqáyi`-i-Mimiyya, or "Events [in the Land] of M." (i.e. Mázandarán) is by Sayyid Muhammad Husayn ibn Muhammad Hádí of Zuwára, poetically surnamed Mahjúr. It appears to have been composed in the fifth year of the Manifestation of the Báb (A.H. 1265 = A.D. 1848-9). This date is followed by the date A.H. 1278 (= A.D. 1861-2), which must be the date of transcription of the original from which this copy, which is quite modern, was made. The narrative was compiled at the request of the mother and sister of Mullá Husayn of Bushrawayh, entitled Janáb-i-Bábu'l-Báb, and is based, in part at least, on the account of one of the few survivors amongst the insurgents, Hájji `Abdu'l- Majíd ibn Hájji Muhammad of Nishápúr. This part of the MS. comprises 91 pages.
The careers of Janáb-i-Quddús and Janáb- i-Bábu'l-Báb are briefly sketched from A.H. 1261 (A.D. 1845), the year after the Manifestation, but the detailed narrative begins on Sha`bán 19, 1264 (July 21, 1848) with the departure of the former and his followers from Mashhad westwards on the journey which ended at Shaykh Tabarsí. The number of Bábís who entered Mázandarán was 318, of whom Isfahán supplied 40, Ardistán 7, Shíráz 8, Kirmán 3, Mashhad 22, Bushrawayh 24 (some say 40), Qum 12, Turbat 5, Herát 14, Turshíz 10, Kákhak 4, Mayámí 14, Qá'in 4, Tihrán 9, Káshán 6, Karbalá 5, Qazwín 10, Hamadán 6, Tabríz 5, Zanján 12, Kirmánsháh 3, Bárfurúsh 4 (some say 40, some 60), Sang-i- sar 10, Sháh Mírzár (?) 9, Amul 2, Shaykh Tabarsí 2, Khúy 3, Kand 2, Yazd 3, Sháhrúd 3, Turkey in Asia (Rúm) 3, India 4. the narrative of the siege of Shaykh
Tabarsí, which lasted from about August, 1848, to April 1849, is given in great detail, and in general outline agrees with the account given by Hájji Mírzá Jání and in the New History (pp. 45 of my translation). In many cases the author gives the authority (isnád) for his statements, mentioning the name of his informant.
(2) The second monograph (pp.92—-110), written partly in verse, partly in prose, is by the same Sayyid Husayn "Mahjúr," and describes the death or "martyrdom" of Mullá Husayn of Bushrawayh, variously entitled Bábu'l-Báb, Qá'im-i-Khurásání and Sultán Mansúr. It is entitled:
It begins with 23 verses of poetry of which the first is:
The whole composition is in the style used by the rawzakhwáns who celebrate in the month of Muharram the sufferings of the Imáms. The pieces of poetry with which the narrative is ornamented are in various metres. The colophon is dated Ramazán 21, 1130 (September 3, 1912).
(3) The third monograph, comprising 128 pp., contains another account of the Mázandarán insurrection by Lutf `Alí Mírzá, a Prince of the Qájár house. This, at least, is the opinion of the sender (the Bábí scribe already so often mentioned) as to its authorship, of which the manuscript
itself gives no indication, though written throughout in the first person as the autobiography of one who took part in the events narrated. Thus it begins:
"On the twelfth of Ramazán, A.H. 1264 (= August 12, 1848), when this worthless atom, after returning from waiting upon the Supreme Source1, set out for the land of Khá (i.e. Khurásán), I had the honour of kissing the dust at the feet of His Holiness the Báb2 (upon whom be the Peace of God) at a station named Dih-i-Mullá, one of the dependencies of Dámghán, and illuminated my dimmed eyes with the light of his comeliness, and had the honour of waiting on the Friends3."
The narrative is very detailed, but appears to be incomplete, ending about two months before the final tragedy, i.e. in February, 1849. There is no colophon or date at the end, and the work has no apparent title.
1i.e. the Báb or Nuqta, who was then
imprisoned at Mákú.
In this connection I should like to cite the following note by Captain C. F. Mackenzie, from an unpublished record of his journey from Rasht to Astarábád in 1859, communicated to me on October 10, 1913, by Mr H. L. Rabino, H.B.M. Consul at Casablanca in Morocco, formerly at Rasht in Persia.
"During this revolt the Bábís took up a fortified position 10 or 12 miles from Bárfurúsh, at the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsí, near the river Tálár; they were few in number, but determined and fanatic, and after putting several envoys of the authorities to death, they prepared for a siege by collecting provisions from the neighbouring country; whenever the villagers hesitated or refused to give what they required, their houses were burnt about their ears.
"Their numbers gradually increased from forty or fifty to between four and five hundred, and their recruits were chiefly men from the district of Sawádkúh. One of these latter was styled Amír-i-Tabardár, because his favourite weapon was the tabar, a poleaxe, from which the former name of the province Tabaristan was derived.
"Hostilities commenced by an attack made by Aqá `Abdu'lláh Surtej, with 200 Hazár-Jarib tufangchís. His camp was surprised by the Bábís the day after his arrival, and he and forty or fifty of his men were slain. The remainder fled to Sárí, and on receipt of orders from Tihrán, another body of troops, about 500 strong, was sent to exterminate the Bábís. Their commander was `Abbás-qulí Khán, who in the first engagement shot Mullá Husayn, the chief of the Bábís, who, before dying, bequeathed his authority to Hájji Muhammad `Alí Bárfurúshí, and expressed a wish
to be buried with his arms. After his death, the Bábís made a desperate sally and put the besiegers to death.
"The insurrection had now become formidable, and Prince Mahdí-quli Mírzá was appointed to suppress it. His troops were 2000 in number and he had both field-artillery and mortars.
"He took up his quarters at a place called Wáskus about two miles from Shaykh Tabarsí, and during the night his camp was so invaded by the Bábís that he had barely time to escape by a window and hide himself in the jungle.
"The whole village was on fire; two unlucky Princes, Dáwúd Mírzá and his uncle Sáhib-Qirán Mírzá, perished in the flames, and a great slaughter was made amongst the royal troops.
"Mahdí-quli Mírzá, after wandering about in fear of his life, luckily met with one of his own servants, who, although a fugitive like himself, had a horse upon which the Prince mounted and thus reached `Alíábád.
"After collecting the scattered remnants of his army and receiving a number of tufangchís and other riffraff, he again set about besieging the Bábís, who, although pressed by hunger and ill furnished with ammunition, held out for two months more.
"At the end of this period, the Prince, seeing that he could not take the place and that by driving the rebels to desperation he would run the risk of being defeated a second time, offered them terms.
"He informed them that if they abandoned their position and went away quietly, each man to his own home, they would not be molested.
"The Bábís consented to this arrangement, and came forth to the number of about 200 fighting men. They were
then deprived of their arms, and the greater number, with the usual Asiatic respect for treaties, were massacred on the spot.
"Some victims, amongst whom was their leader Hájji Muhammad `Alí, were reserved for a more barbarous punishment. They were taken to Bárfurúsh and burnt alive on the Sabzi Maydán (the green plain lying between the town and the Bágh-i-Sháh). Thus ended the Bábí revolt in Mázandarán, after costing about 1500 lives."