Iraj Mirza

Iraj Mirza, Jalal al-Mulk (1874-1925), son of Ghulam Husayn Mirza Sadr al-Shu'ara', a poet with nom de plume Iraj, bearing the titles Fakhr al-Shu'ara' and Jalal al-Mulk. He was the great grandson of the Qajar Fath'ali Shah. He was born in Tabriz. He studied literary sciences and Arabic language with distinguished masters, e.g. Muhammad Taqi 'Arif Isfahani and Mirza Nasrullah Bahar Shirvani, logic and rhetoric at the teaching circles of the Ashtiyanis residing in Tabriz, and French with Monsieur Lambed. He was particularly patronized by Amir Nizam Hasan'ali Khan Garrusi, the governor of Tabriz. He granted Iraj the title Fakhr al-Shu'ara' ("Pride of the Poets") and appointed him the principal of the Muzaffari School in Tabriz. He was granted the title of Sadr al-Shu'ara' ("Honor of the Poets") by Muzaffar al-Din Shah, though he declined it in a qasida and resigned as a court poet. He served as Amin al-Dawlih's secretary in Tabriz for a while and accompanied him to Tehran. He accompanied Qawam al-Saltanih to Europe in 1896. After his father's demise, he assumed government offices, e.g. governor of Abadih, deputy of the governor of Isfahan, and deputyship and agency of Khurasan. Upon his return from Europe, he was vested with a high ranking office at the chancery, though he was transferred to the Ministry of Education in 1906, organized its secretariat and remained in that office to 1911. He also established the Archeological Department at the Ministry of Education. His most significant period of literary activities was in the years 1918-1923. He devoted his last two years to literary activities in Tehran. He was well-versed in French and was also acquainted with Russian, Arabic, and Turkish. He was also a calligrapher. His son, Ja'far Quli Mirza committed suicide in 1906 and he was profoundly affected by the incident. Then, he accompanied American advisors to Khurasan and composed his masnavi entitled Inqilab-i Adabi on the administrative-financial situation in that city at the time. He was suspended from office at the end of his life. He went to Tehran and died of heart attack in the following year and was buried at the Zahir al-Dawlih Cemetry. 

His poetry is renowned for its powerful satire of social norms. His style is fluent, unadorned, intertwined with the common parlance. He abandoned the classical style, in which he was competent, and created a style of his own in which he employs a quite unadorned idiom approaching the colloquial register, intertwined by sexual connotations, to express novel thoughts and themes, adopted from foreign literature and also his own verve. His poetry also treats of different social issues, satire, and barbed jocular anecdotes and parables yielding social conclusions. 

After the establishment of the constitutional rule, the Ministry of Education requested the poets to compose poetry for the new textbooks. Iraj Mirza composed poems with ethical themes, respecting parents, dissemination of literature, and patriotism. These simple and fluent poems were published in children's textbooks for years. These poems include: Ma kih Atfal-i In Dabistanim ("We who are the children of this school"); Guyand Mara Chu Zad Madar ("It is said that when my mother gave birth to me"); Pisar ru qadr-i madar bidan ("O boy! Go and respect your mother!"). He also translated and versified anecdotes and further works by French poets, e.g. Rubah va Kalagh ("The Fox and the Crow"). He also translated a translation entitled Tarikh-i Shuvaliyih Dun Kishut ("The Story of the Knight Don Quixote"). Iraj Mirza belongs to modern Persian poetry. He must be regarded as an architect of modern Persian children's literature, since he consciously composed poetry for children. Similar to other avant-gardes, he composed poetry for children in addition to creating other poetical works. He was acquainted with modern trends in education as a consequence of the events of the Constitutional Revolution and turned toward composing poetry for children aiming at their education. He made contributions to altering the course of poetry. He was a modernist and enlightened poet who rose against age old and reactionary traditions. His poetry was proverbial before long and some of his poems are regarded as masterpieces of modern literature. His vast knowledge of the literary traditions of other nations and his participation in the revolutionary milieu led him to turn away from the traditional style and create one of his own. His works include: Divan; mathnavis of Zuhrih va Manuchihr, 'Arif-namih; and Adabiyyat-i Iraj. His Divan has repeatedly appeared.

Da'irat al-Ma'arif-i Farsi (1, 337-338); Da'irat al-Ma'arif-i Buzurg-i Islami (10, 691-692); Sukhanvaran-i Nami-yi Mu'asir-i Iran (1, 422-427).