The Tehran - Gorgan
passenger train was half way through its journey. It had
snaked up the mountainous Alborz and now was about to
descend and eventually disappear in the deserts of the
greater Tehran, before actually reaching the capital. I
had done this trip back and forth so many times that I
almost recognized every rock along the way and certainly
memorized all the stop stations by heart.
I was in the compartment with my maternal grand parents.
I knew the next station was Firouz-Kooh, the birth place
of my grandfather. As we were approaching Firouz-Kooh,
my grandfather left the compartment and a few minutes
later came back, changed from his casual wear to a very
formal attire. As we neared the station, as usual
and to the dismay of my grandmother, I pulled my
head out of the window with excitement to observe
the local people and the usual activity at the station.
But the scenery was quite different this time. There was
an endless sea of people, with flowers and banners and
pictures....... of MY grandfather!! Men, women and
children could be seen in and outside the station, in
the streets around the station and on roof tops.
As the train came to a halt, my grandfather kissed me
and my grandmother good-by and opened the door and
climbed down the train. His feet never touched the
ground! He was mobbed by the adoring crowd who carried
him away on their shoulders. The repeated roar of
"long live Firouz-bakhsh" echoed through the
station and the surrounding mountains. The crowd, with
my grandpa on their shoulder left the station and the
train slowly moved on to take my grandma and I to
Tehran. She must have seen the puzzled look on my young
face, when she explained in simple terms and with a lot
of pride that "your grandpa is going to Majlis."
It was a few months later, on a hot summer afternoon in
Tehran. We were all hovering around the red little radio
in the living room and listening to the Radio Iran
announcement of the election results. The announcer
would first name a city and then the name of the winning
candidate. Firouz-Kooh..... a pause that was a life time
and then Majid-e- Mohsseni!!!
You could hear a pin drop in that living room. My
grandfather very quietly left the room and went to his
room to meditate and pray! My grandmother was in the
kitchen, weeping and muttering........
I knew Mohsseni. He was a radio comedian and an
excellent one at that too. All the members of the
parliament had to have the "royal stamp" of
approval. It had been decided by his imperial majesty
that as part of modernization of Iran all trades had to
have a representative and a voice in the Majlis. An
interesting idea for a developing country, but the
problem was he did not care who and what district they
represented.!! Mr. Mohsseni's claim to political fame
came, in this case, at the expense of my grandfather.
And this was the second time that my grandfather had
been overlooked for another personal "royal
choice" for the Majlis. This hit me harder
many years later as I grew up and learned the ways of
the world. My grandfather was a most handsome, eloquent,
articulate and educated man for his time. He was a
retired military officer of the old
"Reza-Khan" imperial army. He was a devout but
progressive and practicing Muslim. He was princely in
manners and had and aura of nobility and yet humility
about him. Moreover, he was Firooz-kooh's favorite son.
He had it all! Everything to be a lifetime member of the
Iranian parliament representing his home town. Yet
he was turned down not once but twice by a "royal
I hate to
disappoint your readers, but this is not a story to
provide anyone with lessons in civics and a
revision of historical facts or a political lecture.
This is purely a testament and a tribute to my beloved
grandfather. When I look at the current presidential
saga, I appreciate him even more. I see men whose
ambitions, ulter egos, and hunger for power, has
overshadowed everything else. Under the pretext of the
constitution, the law and love of the country, everyone
is in pursuit of instant political or ideological
gratification. Even men and women in black judicial
robes who are supposed to be impartial, unbiased and
My grandfather was not involved in a close election.
Under normal circumstances, he would have won both
elections hands down and with a landslide. But he faced
defeat and unfairness with grace and style. He did not
turn into "an enemy of the state" or knocked
down the system out of personal vendetta, so customary
of many of our fellow Iranians. Less on one occasion
when he heard on the radio that the sycophants were
calling the King " light of God"! That
profoundly hurt this true man of God, and that was the
only time I heard him utter something negative.
I am writing this article, in memory of my most loving
Grandfather. My most favorite candidate and politician
for all systems and all times.