Resistance to the Shah: Landowners and Ulama in Iran
Publisher: University Press of Florida | ISBN: 0813017319 | edition 2000 | PDF | 432 pages | 2,3 mb
Mohammad Gholi Majd examines land policy in Iran under the two Pahlavi shahs from 1925 to 1979, the social and economic consequences of the policies, and their impact on the popular uprisings of 1962-63, which many scholars regard as the beginning of the Islamic revolution. Contrary to widely held views, much of Iran's agricultural land up to 1960 was owned by 1.3 million small landowners. Mohammad Gholi Majd points out that traditional Islamic practices of matrimony and inheritance resulted in a continuous redistribution of landownership and included a system of sharecropping that fulfilled a vital social and economic function. Tenants enjoyed secure rights to the land and the water, could not be easily evicted, and were thus practically owners themselves. In short, conditions in Iran were entirely different from those assumed in most Western theories of land policy and reform. Pressured by the United States in the 1950s to inaugurate land reform, the shah in his initial attempts met with stiff resistance from parliament and the Islamic leadership. The result, Majd argues, was an effective alliance between landowners and the fundamentalist Islamic ulama, in particular Ayatollah Khomeini, who emerged as the principal leader of the religious opposition. In addition to photos of the secular and religious opposition leaders, the book contains many rare photos of rural Iran during the periods 1890-1911 (below, right, freedom fighters, Rasht, 1909) and 1930-1960. For students of Iran and the Middle East as well as those interested in agrarian change and reform, this work offers a provocative and revisionist perspective on important events in Iran's recent history. archive password: gigle.ws
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