An Eastern Chequerboard
London: Lovat Dickson Ltd, 1934
1. Text[page 63]
... In the course of my travels in Turkey I have met more than one Vali who had spent his youth in Famagusta in the house of an exiled parent; and, when Great Britain occupied Cyprus in 1878, several State prisoners were found within its walls. The most interesting of these was the saintly Subh-i-Ezel, "The Dawn of Eternity," successor of the Persian, Mirza Ali Mohammed, who founded the Babi sect and was put to death by the Shah in 1850. The Babis, expelled from Persia after their founder's execution, took refuge in Baghdad, and were then transferred by the Turkish Government to Adrianople, the Shah considering that in Baghdad they were too close to the Persian frontier. While in Adrianople, the sect was rent in twain by schism. Subh-i-Ezel's more assertive half-brother Bahau'llah now claimed the leadership and maintained, indeed, that Mirza Ali, the Bab, had been no more than his, Bahau'llah's, forerunner. While some of the community continued to acknowledge the Bab and adhered to Subh-i-Ezel, others followed Bahau'llah and called themselves Bahais. Meanwhile both sections were again deported by the Turks, the Ezelis to Famagusta, Bahau'llah and his followers to Acre. When, after the British occupation
Subh-i-Ezel was free to leave Cyprus, he elected to remain in Famagusta, where he lived on a small subsidy from the Cyprus Government until his death in 1912 at the age of eighty-two. From Acre the Bahai faith has spread to Europe and the United States and counts two millions of adherents; the Ezelis have dwindled to a handful.
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