How did the great Iranian intellectual and journalist Ali Dashti know the difference between heaven and hell?
Ali Dashti is a researcher, writer, intellectual, novelist, translator, literary critic, and journalist, besides being a member of the Iranian Majlis Shura. He also served as a member of the Senate and as the Iranian Ambassador to Egypt.
Ali Dashti was born in March 1897 to the famous Shia scholar Sheikh Abdul Hussain Dashti.
There are different opinions regarding the birthplace of Ali Dashti. Some people say that his place of birth is Karbala, and some say that he was born in the town of Talkhu, Dashtistan District, Bushehr Province, South Iran.
Where his father was considered very popular and respected because of a famous religious scholar
Ali Dashti studied Arabic, recitation of the Holy Quran, commentary, Islamic history, history of nations, the science of hadith, logic, wisdom, jurisprudence, and principles of jurisprudence in the Shia madrasahs of Karbala and Najaf.
Difference between heaven and hell by Iranian intellectual Ali Dashti
His special teacher was the famous religious scholar Hussain Tasharki Dashti returned to Iran at the age of 24 Ali Dashti was brought up in a household where all the members were religious scholars. His friends were also known as eminent religious scholars in Iran and Iraq.
Gau Dashti also had the status of a great religious scholar. But contrary to the expectations of his family and other people, he took up journalism as a profession instead of becoming or being called a religious scholar on his return.
However, on his return, he was wearing western clothes instead of the religious robe and turban
Dashti was saddened that Iranian scholars had established contacts in Germany, Russia, and Britain
And they do not avoid any kind of compromise to get money and power.
And since the majority of the people were illiterate, the influence of these scholars on the people was very high. Therefore, foreign powers used them to exploit the country’s oil reserves. Ali Dashti’s first article was published in a Shiraz newspaper.
Later he started writing in Fars daily and the Persian Gulf daily. Ali Dashti was planned to be killed for writing an article against an influential man named Rukanzada. Dashti got scared and ran away from there and went to Isfahan.
After moving to Isfahan, he started writing political articles in various newspapers of Shiraz and Tehran.
Later, he moved to Tehran and published a newspaper called Sitara Iran from there. Because of the simple style and sharp subjects, while Dashti had many friends and supporters, she also had opponents due to which she also faced jail time.
Criticism of the 1919 treaty pushed Dashti into politics. This agreement was signed between Iran and Britain, which belonged to the Anglo-Prussian Oil Company. Despite the lack of ratification by the Iranian Majlis Shura, this agreement was being implemented..
The deal was costing Iran a lot of money while the British company was making a lot of money
One aspect of the agreement was that the Iranian government could not prosecute a British citizen if he was caught in a criminal act in Iran.
During these times, Dashti was in close contact with Ayatollah Muhammad Hussain Borzjani
who was very opposed to Iran’s deal with Britain. So Dashti planned to go to Tehran and start a movement together with Ayatollah Hasan Madras. Hasan Madras was a very influential scholar and had a large number of followers. Dashti sent a letter of protest to the then Iranian Prime Minister, Watouq-ud-Daula, which was also published in many newspapers.
Dashti was sentenced to three years in prison for criticizing the 1919 treaty, but after being imprisoned for ten days, he was deported to Iraq without prior notice. Just as Dashti reached the border to end his exile, he received news that the army had seized power and removed Fathullah Khan Akbar from the post of Prime Minister. So they returned back.
Along with Afghan king Zahir Shah in the fifties. The military coup of 1921 was launched by Raza Khan Pahlavi. Therefore, on his recommendation, Ziauddin Tabatabai was made the Prime Minister
Ali Dashti was also imprisoned during the reign of Ziauddin Tabatabai.
This imprisonment ended with the termination of Ziauddin Tabatabai’s ninety-day prime ministership
During this imprisonment, Dashti completed his book Ayam Mohibs, which is a historical document on the Iranian situation of those times.
Not only did this book go through several editions, but its publication introduced him as a very popular writer. After the departure of Ziauddin Tabatabai from the Prime Ministership, Raza Khan took over the Prime Ministership himself.
Raza Khan wanted to make Iran a republic instead of an empire. Ali Dashti and other intellectuals wanted Iran to be a republic like Atatürk’s Turkey and Reza Khan to be the president.
But the religious circles wanted monarchy instead of democracy in the country because they were afraid of losing their position.
It is easier to control one person than an entire Parliament. The democratic intellectuals lost this battle and in 1925, Reza Khan deposed the last Qajar ruler Ahmad Shah Qajar, ending the 136-year rule of the Qajar dynasty, and became the emperor himself. Raza Khan proved to be a very enlightened ruler
During his sixteen-year rule, apart from laying the road network in Iran, the Tehran Railway was established.
The first university was established in Iran under the name of Daneshgah Tehran. Apart from his sons, other Iranian students were sent to study abroad at the expense of the government
Prussia’s L for Iran in the West.
The word was used For this, a delegation was sent to the League of Nations that from now on this country should be called the head of Iran i.e. Aryan instead of Prussia. The Jews living in the country were declared equal citizens and not only were they given the same rights as the rest of the Muslim population.
Instead, Raza Khan himself worshiped by going to their synagogue. For this reason, even today, Jews consider Reza Khan as their second benefactor after the Iranian Emperor Cyrus the Great.
To make women part of society, various measures were taken to give them education and jobs.
The use of hijab and chador was discouraged and western clothing was encouraged instead
A formal order was issued that if a husband and wife come to a ceremony, then the head of the wife will not be covered.
And in relation to the compliance of this order, the difference between one’s being rich or poor, urban or rural will not be taken into account. A mixed education system was introduced in the schools
Apart from this, Muharram’s mourning was restricted to one day. Instead of sitting on the ground, chairs were instructed to be used for worship in mosques. The religious circles did not like the actions of Raza Khan and they could not tolerate the nakedness of women.
So a front was formed against Raza Khan, whose main slogan was Shah Ek Naya Yazid Hai. Reza Khan also wanted to establish a confederation by uniting neighboring countries like Iran, Turkey, and the Middle East, but his dream could not be realized due to Atatürk’s death.
During the reign of Raza Khan, Ali Dashti published a newspaper called Shafaq Sarkh. Who, because of his bold subjects, came to be regarded as the spokesman of the intellectuals of his time. Dashti praised Jahan Reza Shah as Atatürk of Iran.
There he could not digest the dictatorial attitudes of Raza Khan. In 1935 Dashti was sentenced to fourteen months imprisonment and banned from publishing Shafaq Surkh. During his three-month imprisonment, Ali Dashti fell ill and was admitted to a hospital from where he was sent home two months later.
After some time, he was appointed as the head of the Institute of Guiding Correspondence
The main purpose of this institution was to apply the policy of censorship on books and newspapers and magazines.
In 1941, Ali Dashti along with Jamal Emami, Ibrahim Khawaja Noori, and other colleagues formed a political party called Hizb Adalat in which he remained active until 1948. During the Second World War, Reza Khan Pahlavi announced Iran’s neutrality.
Britain did not like Reza Khan’s decision and alleged that German engineers and technicians were spying in Iran. So the Soviet Union and Great Britain started bombing Iran. In 1941, the Allied forces occupied Iran.
Raza Khan was arrested and exiled after Raza Khan abdicated in favor of his son Muhammad Raza Pahlavi. Although Ali Dashti was continuously elected from the Bushehr region in the Majlis Shura elections during Raza Khan Pahlavi’s regime, he considered himself more of a journalist than a politician during that time.
During the reign of Muhammad Raza Pahlavi, son of Raza Khan, Ali Dashti’s interest in politics increased and his interest in religion and journalism decreased. This was the time when his religious beliefs declined.
Earlier he considered Islam as the solution to all Iran’s problems, but with the passage of time, he could not help but be influenced by the surrounding conditions. During the time of Muhammad Raza Shah Pahlavi, Ali Dashti focused on learning French because French was considered the gateway to understanding the culture and civilization of the modern age.
Apart from this, he started studying the history and culture of Britain and Russia. He wanted to know what are the factors due to which these countries reached the heights of civilization and development
In 1947, Ali Dashti was arrested for inviting a pro-Soviet communist party called Tudayha to the cabinet and for criticizing concessions to Russia.
After his release from six months of imprisonment, he went to France from Tehran and returned two years later. On his return, he was appointed ambassador to Egypt for a year. He was made a member of the Senate in 1954 and served as a centrist until the fall of the Pahlavi regime.
Ali Dashti wrote a book called twenty-three years in 1973. While this book is the main reason for Dashti’s fame, because of this book, he was persecuted during the reign of Imam Khomeini. During the regime of Muhammad Raza Pahlavi, writing and publishing anti-religious and political books was banned
Dashti also had many Arab friends in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon.
So he secretly sent his book to a publisher friend there. When the publisher asked Ali Dashti to put his name as the author on it, Dashti forbade him and said, write whatever name you want on it. What is important to me is that the truth reaches people.
And so in 1974, this book was published without the name of the publisher and the author
When some religious people heard about the printing of this book in Beirut, they tried to prevent the book from entering the market.
The President of the Court of Beirut, Moussa Sadr, was contacted to somehow prevent the publication of the book. As a result of a long discussion between Musa Sadr and Ali Dashti, the book was not burnt, but it was prevented from reaching the market.
And all the copies of the book were delivered to Ali Naqi Manzvi, a friend of Ali Dashti in Lebanon
Ali Naqi somehow managed to smuggle some books to Iran. Since the enclave had only the Arabic alphabet.