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‘Military report on south-west Persia, including the provinces of Khúzistán (Arabistan), Luristán and part of Fars.’ [‎13r] (30/470)

The record is made up of 1 volume (231 folios). It was created in 1885. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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Ahwaz to Shustar.
tlie assurances o£ the Thtisham-i-Sultanah, that he 6ould afford no aid and that
he himself could not pass through, were reiterated and apparently sincere.
To gain the good-will of the powerful chief of the Bakhtians as well as a
name for generosity, I gave to his nephew my revolver and to the Wizir
of Arabistan a silver watch. This had the desired effect, for in Persia a pos
sessions make the “ man.^ Hajji Ibrahim Khan gave me a letter to his
uncle the llkhani and sent an orderly to announce my approach {see page 97).
He is a man of influence with his tribesmen.
Leaving Ahwaz on the 29th, Band-i-kfr, distant 24< miles, was reached
that evening, and Shustar, distant another 32 miles, on
the 30th, crossing the river at the former stage and
thence traversing the plain lying between the two arms of the Karun river,
i.e., the Ab-i-Boleiti and Ab-i-huzurg-i-Shustar.
The importance of this track and of the Shustar site, both from commercial
and military points of view, will be remarked upon in detail [see pages 187
to 196) ; suftice it to say here that this fertile district affords grazing to the
Hocks of a few wandering Arabs and is hut sparsely cultivated ; it is treeless,
and produces no firewood. Water is obtained from the rivers and canals leading
from them or ponds, and is of excellent quality.
At Shustar the party was lodged in the house of Mirza Jhan, and were his
^ guests. The house is a fine structure, three-storied, built
of stone and wood with balconies overhanging the Ab-i-
Gargar which washes the foot of the cliff, 100' below it. It is well supplied
with iC sardabs ” {see pages 57,199), excavated 4-0' below the surface and provid
ed with air and light by a huge circular shaft. Like all Shustar houses it is
falling into decay. Mirza Jhan proved to be an excellent host and a courteous
Persian gentleman, and it gave pleasure to present him with material of the
first quality sufficient to make an aba and kaba, the Arab style of dress being
there worn.
Halting at Shustar on the 31st to examine the neighbourhood, on the
1st April I marched to Ab-i-bid, the winter head-quar-
Shustar to Dizful. ters of the llkhani of the Bakhtfarfs. He received me
with distinction, sending his son and a troop of horse several miles out to
meet me. During the cavalry display of feats of horsemanship, gone through
for mv edification, over a most rough country, but one horse and rider turned
a complete summersault; fortunately neither was hurt. He wished me to
change my route and to pass through his territory to Isfahan and thence to
Kum, stating that it was impossible for me to go via Dizful and Khoramabad,
Lur robbers having closed the road, and that they would not allow the
Shah himself to pass; urging the shortness of my leave of absence as an
excuse for persevering in my resolution to take the shortest line to Kum,
and seeing that 1 was resolved to attempt it, he, after consulting with Asad
Khan, Governor of the Dizful district, his son-in-law, who had just arrived
from Dizful, gave me a guide and a letter to Hajji Ali Khan, chief of the
Sagwand tribe of Lurs, encamped, it was supposed, at Kaha Itezza, distant
45 miles from Dizful, and who was known to be migrating with his tribe to
Khoramabad by the road that I was desirous of taking, lo take advantage
of this fortunate circumstance it was resolved by a forced march to join Hajji
Ali Khan, and to trust to his friendship for the llkhani, to whom he is related
by marriage, for protection {see pages 9 } 85).
The darbar of the llkhani, a middle-aged man of genial manners, was
llkhani of the Bakhti- conducted with less gravity than that of Shaikh Mizal
ans. at Muhammerah; the joyous nature and manly freedom

About this item


Report marked strictly confidential, prepared in the Intelligence Branch of the Quarter Master General’s Department in India, by the Assistant Quarter Master General, Major and Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Sever Bell, Royal Engineers. The volume was published by the Government Central Branch Press, Simla, 1885.

The contents of the volume are as follows:

  • part I, a narrative description of a journey from India to Muhammerah [Khorramshahr], through to the Luristán [Lorestān] hills, to Kúm [Qom]; from Kúm to Gulpaigán [Golpāyegān ], Chaman-i-Sultán [Chaman Solţān], Ali-Gúdar [Alīgūdarz], Imámzádá-Ishmail [Emāmzādeh Esmā‘īl], and the Zaindarúd River [Zāyandeh Rūd] to Isfahán; from Isfahán through the Kúhgehlú [Kohgīlūyeh] hills to Behbahán and Bandar-Dilám [Bandar-e Deylam]; from Bandar-Dilám to Bushire
  • part II, a detailed account of southwest Persia, compiled from Sever’s own observations and other available sources
  • part III, commercial considerations. A further section in this chapter on strategic observations, which is mentioned on the contents page and marked as secret, is not present in the volume
  • part IV, detailed road reports
  • appendix A, road reports, Isfahan to Shústar [Shūshtar], Shústar to Shíráz [Shīrāz], compiled in 1881 by Captain Henry Lake Wells, Assistant Director of Persian Telegraphs, with additional annotations by Bell
  • appendix B, a list of plant specimens collected in Luristán during April and May 1884
  • appendix C, extracts of a paper on the geology of the Turko-Persian frontier, written by William Kennett Loftus, June 1854
  • appendix D, meteorological observations at Bushire, from 20 March to 20 June 1885

The volume includes eight maps, two photographic plates, and illustrations throughout (topographical, architectural, anthropological). The two photographic plates and some of the maps are of an earlier date than the volume’s publication date of 1885.

Extent and format
1 volume (231 folios)

A contents page (f 7) and index (ff 222-226) refer to the volume’s original printed pagination.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 233; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.

Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English in Latin script
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‘Military report on south-west Persia, including the provinces of Khúzistán (Arabistan), Luristán and part of Fars.’ [‎13r] (30/470), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/15/9, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 6 December 2019]

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