`Qajar Royal family of Iran thrives in a modern world` - INTERVIEW

  26 January 2017    Read: 16924
`Qajar Royal family of Iran thrives in a modern world` - INTERVIEW
Ferial Lukas Nikpour-Naini is one of a descendants of Qajar dynasty. Her mother was a cousin to Ahmad Shah, the last Qajar Monarch and a granddaughter of Nasserdin Shah from her mother’s side and great granddaughter of Mammad Shah Qajar from her father’s side , Prince Gholam Hossein Mirza Ghahremani Qajar.

Her father was a politician, owner of Khabar newspaper, and a special secretary to Dr. Mosadegh , the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran and a Qajar Prince .

Ahmad Shah had two daughters and a son. However, his Crown Prince was his younger brother, Mammad Hassan Mirza Qajar (and not his own children) who passed away in exile as did his brother, Ahmad Shah.

Ferial Lukas Nikpour-Naini was born in Tehran. She was educated at a French convent in Tehran and a British boarding school in England. She studied Microbiology. Furthermore, she joined the world of Arts and Antiques when she got married.

- We were not able to use our family name Qajar at the school or anywhere else in Iran! Everyone took surnames after their given names or titles. Very little was discussed except in private regarding the Old Royal family. The New so called Monarchs had actively encouraged and rewarded historians and writers to stigmatize the Qajars as well as destroying Palaces, Mansions, public buildings , libraries , theatres and any form of statement building , distinctive buildings to do with the Qajar family and its ministers, poets, artists and merchants ! In short anything Qajar was actively defaced and ruined by the order of the father and son, Pahlavies or their enthusiastic entourage!

- Do you keep in contact with Ahmad Shah’s grandchildren?

- I keep in touch with his great grandchildren. One works for a charitable foundation and the other has her own language company. They are both active members as well as myself , of The Qajar Family Association , set up originally by my cousin after the fall of Qajars in Tehran. This was dissolved by the Pahlavi regime and resurrected in Europe and the Americas by Prince Manouchehr Eskandari Qajar and Prince Ferydoun Barjesteh in 1999. It can be said that Qajar Royal family of Iran thrives in a today`s modern world.

- Tell us about Ahmad Shah’s life after the overthrow of power in 1925.

- HIH , Ahmad Shah lived in a hotel in Switzerland until his premature and sad death and the Crown Prince, his mother and the rest of the family finally settled in a Paris suburb after short stays in the Ukraine and Lebanon. My Grandfather believed that young Ahmad Shah was not prepared to sign off Iran’s, newly discovered oil and other mines to the British and was happy to lose his crown for this ! (Despite some close entourages encouragement!)

Already, HIH Nasserdin Shah and his son Mozafardin Shah were involved in large scale modernization within the framework of the nation’s religion, this being fully respected. The Qajar kings were devout Shias.

- Where do most of the Qajars settle now?

- We have some 300 offsprings as members of the Qajar family. Most go back to Fatali Shah Qajar c1820 who had many wives and many sons.Large numbers live in Iran and the rest are part of the new Persian Diaspora.

Our academic arm, International Qajar Society Association has been actively inviting research in various aspects of Qajar Reign internationally and publishes a journal annually in English. These are very valuable reference for Historians, many academic libraries being regular subscribers. In June 2017, a meeting of IQSA is being scheduled in London , the subject being “Popularity of everything Qajar “ in contemporary Iran and the reasons behind these trends.

- Do members of the Qajars participate in the governance of Iran now?

I am sure they do. I do not know anyone personally. The Islamic regime has its own educated scholars who hold important positions in Iran.

At the time of the Pahlavi take over, and during the reign of both Reza Shah and Mohamad Reza Shah Pahlavi, there were at least 5 Qajar Prime ministers, the most notable was Dr. Mosadegh. The Qajar Prince and Princess were the most notable members of Iran in the 20th C , from writers to politicians, artists, architects, doctors and surgeons but to name a few.

- Do you often travel Iran? What are their attitudes towards you?

- Yes, I travel to Iran. I do not flaunt my family name unless I am specifically asked. I can say that everyone respects me.

- Please tell us about your children.

- I have a son and a daughter; both live and work in Europe.

- Does your Husband come from the same dynasty with you?

- My husband is a retired specialist medical practitioner and director of research, his maternal family stretch back to King William 1 of England.

- What do the Qajars do to protect their dynasty and remain in history?

- The Qajars don’t have to do anything to remain in History. They were one of the longest reigning Royal families. However, you are quite right to be asking this question. We try very hard for the truth to be remembered rather than the twisted Pahlavi fabricated and derogatory accounts for the good of future generations.

- Are there any people who declares themselves as descendants of Fatali Shah?

- I have personally come across quite a few but most of the time I keep quiet ! My sister had a very interesting encounter in NY when her friend insisted she should meet a Qajar Princess she did not know. A dinner was organized in this lady’s apartment, where upon my sister noticed a picture of our own Grandfather on the hostess mantel piece, along with other unrelated Qajar pictures, claiming they were her ancestors! Many others who harmlessly have these claims and give themselves big titles, usually to impress new friends! However, I along with other members of the family do very much object to individuals who advertise themselves publicly as Qajar Prince or Princess in order to impress politicians and businesses.

The Qajar tribe is very large but not everyone from the Qajar tribe necessarily is connected to the Royal family. There is a distinction. No actual Prince or Princess of the family can also speak on behalf of the family publicly unless this is authorized by QFA. The recent claims by this particular man whose origins are doubtful are very worrying and he has been asked to stop and we are trying to inform the Press in Turkey.

- Have you been to Azerbaijan?

- I have not been to independent Azarbaijan as pronounced in Persian, but have visited Iran’s Azarbaijan. I love it. I don’t know whether you are aware that it was a practice during the Qajar reign for the Crown Prince to live in Tabriz. This was a bit difficult for Mozafardin Shah, because his father reigned half a century and his son was an old man when crowned king, speaking Persian with a Turkish accent as he had spent 50 years of his life in Azarbaijan!

Shehane Rahimli
Leyla Jabbarzade
Gunel Babayeva

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