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‘Gazetteer of Kermanshah.’ [‎96r] (196/504)

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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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“ The different, tribes are now so spread throughout t lie provinces, that
they have almost lost that union which could render them formidable. It
is evidently the policy of the Government to disperse them, and it does so,
keeping their chiefs as hostages about the person of the King.
iC Such of the tribes, as have become inhabitants of cities, are subject to
the laws and regulations which rule the community they have adopted:
generally speaking, they are employed as servants, attached to their Khans,
either in a military or domestic capacity.
“ The Sahra-nishin, although taxed in various ways and made to con-
tr.bute to the military exigencies of the State, are comparatively less
molested than the other inhabitants. Their wealth consists principally in
cattle, which yields them a considerable revenue, and which they prefer to
that produced by the cultivation of the soil. They breed camels and horses
for sale, and their sheep yield milk, which is made into roghan (liquid
butter) and sold throughout the country. The peculiar privileges of the
Iliyats consist in liberty to range over districts from which no one
can dispossess them. They ascend in the summer to cold regions called Ilaks,
where they find pasture, and in the winter keep to their Kishlak tracts,
which enjoy a warmer climate. These ilaks and Kishlaks are defined to
each tribe by the Government, and, whenever their limits are encroached
upon by unprivileged tribes, violent strifes and battles ensue.
“ The existence of these migratory tribes being advantageous to the
Government, they are little oppressed. They are taxed at certain es
tablished rates upon each bead of cattle, and are called upon to serve in
the King's armies. When they cultivate ground, they are fined according
to the rates exacted from the other Rayahs. The horsemen's pay is
about 8 tomans annually, for which he serves six months in the field; the
other six months he remains at home. The tufangchi, or foot soldier, gets
7 tomans per annum, and half the year remains at home. The wages
are paid into the hands of the Khan of the tribe, who delivers over the
money to the subaltern officers, called Sultans, who pay the soldiers. This
promotes peculation; the Khan subtracting his share, the Mirza or scribe
his, and the subalterns theirs ; while the poor soldier deems himself very
lucky it he gets one-half of that which is his due.
u The Iliyats are not compelled to bestow their labour upon public works
like the other Rayahs; they keep exclusively to their tents and tend their
cattle. The taxes they pay are levied by their chiefs, who account with
the Government. Those’who are inclined to elude taxation, frequently do
so by secreting their cattle in the mountains.
“In their different small communities, they are governed by Rish-
sefids (literally “ white beards") or elders, who have no other emblem
of power or superiority than a white beard. Old age is extremely
respected by them, and generally by all Persians ; and is indulged with
great liberties. A Rish sefid, a poor miserable old man will not fail,
whenever his tribe is oppressed, to make a journey purposely to remons
trate With the Governor of the province, and abuse him to bis face; and so
careful are the Governors not to offend these influential persons that they
bear their reproof with moderation, and are fain to be civil. Their
disputes are decided by their Risk*sefids; ever the ordinances of their

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.

Written in
English in Latin script
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‘Gazetteer of Kermanshah.’ [‎96r] (196/504), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/15/19, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 10 April 2020]

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