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‘Gazetteer of Kermanshah.’ [‎54r] (112/504)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (249 folios). It was created in 1907. 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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. >V
<f In tlieir own villages they do not deny themselves the use of wine and
spirits, nor do they abstain from the prohibited food oj: the^ Koran, on the
contrary, they indulge freely in swine s flesh and intoxicating liquors
(Gazetteer of Persia).
u The Aliullahis have no religious books and rarely, if ever, pray. They
say that Ali is their intercessor, and has commanded them to trust
to the efficacy of his prayers : and in short, Ali is their intercessor with
God. Before undertaking any important matter, and especially before
going to war, the Aliullahis invoke Ali, in the name of Daoud, saying :
“ O Daoud, we are going to war, grant that we may overcome our enemies/'
They then sacrifice some beast, usually a sheep; the blood and offal are
buried, and the rest of the animal is roasted whole. When it is cooked, the
carcass is carried to the priest, who separates the bones and kneads the flesh
into a paste, muttering prayers over it as he proceeds. When he has
finished this consecration, a table cloth is spread on the ground, and every
one present partake of the food which the priest distributes. After this
ceremony the undertaking, whatever it may he, is entered upon with per
fect confidence of ultimate success.
Every year, at the commencement of winter, there is a great festival which
ends with a three days' feast. The festival is in honour and remembrance
of Ali, and of .the great things he has done for his followers.”— (T. C. Plow-
den, 1S81).
This feast is preceded by the Chelaktapan, of which mention has already
been made. Then there is the three days' feast, known as Berkh, which
takes place at the beginning of the month of Kauss. Every family of ten
persons has to kill a fowl, some of them are of course at liberty to kill a
sheep. The following is the derivation of the name of this feast (Justi.
diet. Kurde-Franeab.) :—
Berkh agneau.
Berkhbyr—fete que les Kurdes observent al’occasion de la tonte des
brebis, qui tombe au mois de tabakh ( aout), du mot precedent et
de bar, forme radicale de bariden, ‘ couper/’
Houtum Schindler observes as to Ibis feast (in the Zeitschrift d. Peutschen
Morgenlandt Gesellschaft XXXVIII, page 110) :—
“Die von mir gefragten Kurden sersicherten, dass dieses lest nur von den
Kurdischen Ali Ullahis und von den Yezidis gefeiert werde,"
“ Seyyed Bust am is the name of the present chief of the Aliullahis of
Zohab ; he lives at Zardeh (Tushami), the sacred place of the sect on
Mount Dalahu. There is here a tomb in which no body is buried, but
which is venerated under the title of Baba Yadgar-i-Hussein.
“ The marriages of this sect are supposed to require the sanction of the
chief priest, but resort is, not infrequently had to Shiah Mullahs. The
dead are buried without prayer, but the head of the corpse faces Kerbela, as
amongst Mussulmans. On the birth of a child, the father and mother give
it its name, but if the family is well-to-d>, a Seyyed is invited to a feast on
the seventh day after its birth, and is called to name it/'—-(7 7 , C. Plowden,
The Chiefs of the Aliullahis consider smoke impure.
Corpses are kept in deceased^ bouse for 6 days before burial.
The Aliullahis are easily recognized by their long mustachios, as Shiahs,
according to their religion, have to cut their mustaehios so that no hair
should hang beneath the upper lip. The chiefs of the sect in the Province

About this item


Gazetteer of the province of Kermanshah, Persia [Iran], compiled by Hyacinth Louis Rabino, Vice-Consul at Resht [Rasht] at the time of the gazetteer’s publication in 1907, and who had been Acting Consul at Kermanshah during 1904 and 1905. The gazetteer, which is marked for official use only, was issued by the Division of the Chief of the Staff of the Government of India, and published at the Government Central Printing Office, Simla [Shimla]. At the front of the volume is an introduction by Lieutenant-Colonel Wilfrid Malleson, Acting Quartermaster General for Intelligence, dated 22 March 1907, and a preface by the author, dated 24 June 1904, with notes on the transliteration system used (folios 4-5).

The gazetteer includes five appendices, numbered I to V, as follows:

  • appendix I, a translation from the French original of a description of the road from Kermanshah to Mendali [Mandalī], via Harunabad [Eslāmābād-e Gharb] and Gilan [Sarāb-e Gīlān], as recorded in a journal by Leon Leleux, Inspector General of Customs at Kermanshah;
  • II, a translation from the Persian original of a description of the villages in the immediate vicinity of the caravanserai of Mahidasht, written by the Mirza of Customs at Mahidasht;
  • III, a vocabulary of terms;
  • IV, a list of the principal roads from Baghdad to Teheran via Kermanshah, with distances given in miles and farsakhs;
  • V, a list of the notables of Kermanshah.

The gazetteer contains extensive extracts from a range of sources, including: an earlier, unspecified gazetteer, published in 1885; various works on Persia by British Government officials (including Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, the Viceroy of India George Nathaniel Curzon, Captain George Campbell Napier); published works by a number of scholars and explorers of Persia (notably Trevor Chichele Plowden, Jacques De Morgan, Henry James Whigham, and James Baillie Fraser); reports from other sources, including Leleux, and the Mirza of Customs at Mahidasht.

Some of the appendices’ pages appear to have been mixed up. Included among them are: a genealogical table of the princes of Kermanshah (f 239); and hierarchical tables listing the chiefs of the principal tribes of the province of Kermanshah (ff 244-245).

Extent and format
1 volume (249 folios)

The gazetteer’s entries are arranged alphabetically. An index at the front of the volume (folios 6-45) lists entries alphabetically, taking into account variations in the spelling of names. This index refers to the volume’s original pagination sequence.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 250; 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.

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English in Latin script
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‘Gazetteer of Kermanshah.’ [‎54r] (112/504), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/15/19, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 27 January 2020]

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