Hossein Pejman Bakhtiari


PEJMAN-E BAKHTIARI, HOSAYN (Ḥosayn Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri, b. Tehran, Ābān 1279 Š./November 1900; d. Tehran, Āḏar 1353 Š./December 1974), prominent poet, lyricist, writer and  translator.


Hosayn Bakhtiari (better known as Pejman-e Bakhtiari) was the only child born to ʿAli-Morād Khan Mirpanj-e Baḵtiāri (d. 1909), constitutionalist and noted khan of the Baḵtiāri tribe (Gudarzi, 2004, p. 115) and ʿĀlamtāj Qāʾem-maqāmi (1883-1947), better known as Žāleh, a renowned poet and advocate of women suffrage (Mirʿābedini, p. 132), and a descendant of Mirzā Abu’l-Qāsem Qāʾem-maqām-e Farāhāni (1779-1835; Nāderpur, p. 111), the poet and prose stylist, and the prime minister of Moḥammad Šāh Qājār (r. 1834-1848). 

Pejman’s parents separated when he was just one year old (Mirʿābedini, p. 132; Afšār, p. 317). His mother left the house and, despite her efforts, was not allowed to see her son. The indelible prints of loneliness marked Pejman’s childhood and persisted in his poems (Pejmān-e Baḵtiāri, 1994, pp. 17-18; Qanbari, 2005, P. 60). He sought out his mother when he was twenty-seven years old and lived with her the remaining years of her life (Pejmān-e Baḵtiāri, 1994, p. 17; Mirʿābedini, p. 132).

Ṭeflaki budam ke mādar ḵˇāst bi-yāvar marā
Raft dar noh sālegi sāyeh-ye pedar az sar marā
(Kavir-e andišeh, 1993, p. 17)

I was just an infant when my mother left me alone
And I was only nine when I lost my father

Pejman spent his early childhood years in the tribe’s territory, and at the age of six, he attended a maktab in Daštak of Čahār Maḥāl, one of the two administrative provinces of the tribe’s territory. After the death of his father in 1909, he came under the guardianship of ʿAliqoli Khan Sardār Asʿad Baḵtiāri II (b. 1857-8, d. 1336/1917; Mirʿābedini, p. 132), the head of the Baḵtiāri tribe, and his son, Jaʿ far Qoli Khan Sardār Asʿad Baḵtiāri III (b. 1878-9, d. 1934). However, he never received any of his inheritance and was not sent to Europe to study, which was against his father’s will (Afšār, p. 317; Gudarzi, p. 116). 

Pejman returned to Tehran several years later and enrolled at Ašraf Primary School before entering the St. Louis School, Iran’s first Catholic Mission school (see France xv. French Schools in Persia), where he studied French language and literature. In St. Louis, he was a classmate of Nimā Yušij (Etteḥād, p. 237), who attended the school from 1909 to 1917 (Karimi Hakkak and Talattof, p. 20), and the pupil of Neẓām Vafā (1888-1964), a noted poet of the time (Yāḥaqqi, p. 185). After graduating from St. Louis, he went to Mashad, where he studied classical Persian literature with Adib Nišāburi and Arabic with Badiʿ-al-Zamān Foruzānfar (Nāderpur, p. 111; Mir-Anṣāri, p. 299; Qanbari, 2003, p. 80).

He returned to Tehran in 1925, where he began his two-year compulsory military service. As he was familiar with the French language, he was transferred after basic training to the newly established Department of Wireless Communications, affiliated with the then Ministry of War. He was later employed by the Department, which was subsequently integrated into the Ministry of Post, Telegraph, and Telephone. He worked there until his retirement in 1958. During the years 1924-25, he also was the chief editor of the newspaper Fekr-e āzād, published by Aḥmad Bahmanyār in Tehran (Mirʿābedini, p. 132). In 1948, he published a book on the history and development of mail, telegraph, and telephone service in Iran (Qanbari, 2003, p. 80). He also published the first issues of Majalleh-ye post-e Iran in cooperation with Naṣr-Allāh Falsafi.

Following Rahi Moʿayyeri’s death in 1968, Pejman succeeded him as the literary director of Radio Iran’s Barnāma-ye golhā (Pirniā, p. 92; Reżāʾi, p. 140). His skill in composing lyrics to be set to music for the Golhā program soon earned him high recognition. He was also a member of Radio Iran’s Šowra-ye Šeʿr o Tarāneh (Mirʿābedini, p. 132) and played an instrumental role in documenting and reviving Baḵtiāri folk songs and music in Radio Iran (Reżāʾi, p. 140). The bucolic backdrops of childhood never departed from Pejman’s imagination and were, in turn, reflected in his poetry. One of his more notable poems is about the traditional homeland of the Baḵtiāris, in the last line of which he portrays the land as his god:

Su-ye izadān rahnemā-ye mani 
Tow ey Baḵtiāri, Ḵodā-ye mani!
(Kavir-e andišeh, 1993, p. 236)

You’re guiding me towards the deities
You, O the Baḵtiāri, are my god!

His cooperation with Radio Iran, which continued until 1973, brought him into contact with many prominent vocalists and composers such as ʿAli Tajvidi (1919-2006), Parviz Yāḥaqqi (1936-2007), Maḥmud Maḥmudi-e Ḵᵛānsāri (1933-1987), Javād Maʿrufi, and ʿAbd-al-Vaḥḥāb Šahidi (b. 1922; see Aršiv-e musiqi-e melli-e Iran: Golhā-ye rangārang). He was also instrumental in the establishment of the Gowhar Literary Society (Kāsemi, p. 853). His poems and articles were published in such literary journals as YaḡmāGowharArmaḡān, SoḵanVaḥidĀmuzeš o parvareš, and Now-bahār (Qanbari, 2005, pp. 64-65; Kāsemi, p. 853).

Pejman died of cancer and was buried in Behešt-e Zahrā Cemetery of Tehran. The date of his death is recorded in chronograms composed by such poets as Baqāʾi-e Nāʾini and Riāżi-e Yazdi (Kāsemi, pp. 855-56). The inscription on his tombstone, taken from one of his famous poems, reads:

Tā rahrow-ye ʿadam šod jesm-e šekasteh-ye mā,
āsāyeshi ʿajab yāft andām-e ḵasteh-ye mā
(Divān-e ašʿār-e Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri, Tehran, 1989, pp. 324-25) 

Since my broken body became the wayfarer of non-being,
my tired organs felt amazingly rested

Pejman has been described as a humble, intimate, hardworking, passionate, and knowledgeable poet (Yaḡmāʾi, P. 617) with so much feeling for his homeland and a profound sense of philanthropy (Qanbari, 2005, p. 63; Gudarzi, p. 119; Yusofi, p. 551). 


Poetry. Pejman began composing poetry in his youth. At first, he chose “Sarmast” (enchanted), and then “Pejman” (depressed), as his pen names (Šarifi, pp. 356-57). He was fascinated with classical Persian literature and spent most of his time reading poetry (Yāḥaqqi, p. 186). In 1932, he joined the Anjoman-e Ḥakim Neẓāmi, a literary circle founded by Ḥassan Vaḥid Dastgerdi in 1932 (see ANJOMAN iii), and he participated in editing and annotating Neẓāmi Ganjavi’s Panj ganj or Ḵamseh, further contributed to his fascination with Persian classical literature (Šarifi, p. 357; Mošarraf, 139). 

Approximating such contemporary poets as Rahi Moʿayyeri and Amiri Firuzkuhi, Pejman rarely departed from the conventions of Persian classical prosody (Gudarzi, pp. 128-29; Nāderpur, p.112; see ʿARUŻ). Although he tried his hand at almost all classical styles, he appeared at his best in the genre of the ḡazal (Šarifi, p. 356). Pejman’s poetical and musical sensibilities, well exhibited in his skillful employment of internal rhyme and alliteration, earned him the praise of many and offered rewarding choices to such eminent vocalists of his time as Manučehr Homāyunpur (1924-2006) and Moḥammad Reżā Šajariān (b. 1940), among others (Šarifi, p. 357): 

Dar konj-e delam ʿešq-e kasi ḵāneh nadārad
Kas jāy darin kolbeh-ye virāneh nadārad
Del rā be kaf-e har ke naham bāz pas-ārad
Kas tāb-e negahdāri-e divāneh nadārad 
(Divān-e aš ʿār-e Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri, Tehran, 1989, p. 323) 

No one’s love resides at the depth of my heart
Nobody stays in this ruined hut
Whoever I gave my heart to brought it back
Nobody tolerates a so madly in love heart

The percussive rhythm of the poem, along with the stress on two-syllable words and phrases (kon/j-ede/lamʿeš/q-eka/siḵā/nehka/f-ehar/kena/ham) and repetition of the long vowel “ā” in external rhymes, as well as the repetition of the consonants “n” and “d” throughout the lines, amplifies its musical overtone and exhibits Pejman’s extensive familiarity with Persian music. He composed the lyrics for a song written by the noted musician Morteżā Neydāvud and performed by the well-known Persian female vocalist, Qamar-al-Moluk Vaziri:

Ātaši dar sineh dāram jāvedāni
ʿOmr-e man margist nāmaš zendegāni
(Divān-e aš ʿār-e Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri, Tehran, 1989, p. 242)

 I have an eternal fire in my chest
 My existence is death, named life

Laden with a deep sense of loss, remorse, and solitude, Pejman’s poems are, on the one hand, romantic depictions of human desires and needs, occasionally bordering on eroticism (Afšār, p. 316; Šarifi, p. 357). On the other, they are an exaltation of the patriotic discourse of the period in praise of freedom and are colored by an unconditional love for the homeland (Gudarzi, p. 119). His poem  “Irānzamin” offers an example: 

Agar Irān bejoz virān-sarā nist,
man in virān-sarā rā dust dāram
(Divān-e aš ʿār-e Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri, Tehran, 1989, p. 228)

Even if Iran is naught but a wasteland,
I am in love with this wasteland

He also put into verse the history of the Aškāniān (Arsacid) dynasty (Pejmān, 1993, p. 8) in the genre of mathnavi (rhymed couplets; Yāḥaqqi, p. 186) and was particularly noted for the patriotic qaṣidas (rhymed couplets) that he composed when Iran was under the occupation of British and Russian forces during World War II (e.g., “Nāmeh be Stalin,” “Nāmeh be Winston Churchill,” and “Āḏarbāijān,” Kavir-e andišeh, 1993, pp. 205-6, 207-9, 209-11, respectively). Pejman also tried his hand, occasionally, in the semi-traditional genre of čāhārpāreh (foursome).

His choice of theme in one of his foursomes, entitled “Dud-kešhā” (The chimneys), which is characterized by innovative imagery, has inspired critics to trace similarities between the poem and the English poet William Blake’s (1757-1827) “The Chimney Sweeper” poems in his Songs of Innocence  and Songs of Experience (Yusofi, pp. 548-49; Yāḥaqqi, 186):

Dud-kešhā bar farāz-e bāmhā
har nafas āhi ze del barmikešand
(Divān-e ašʿār-e Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri, Tehran, 1989, p. 393)

The chimneys on rooftops,
sigh with sorrow in every breath

Pejman’s poetry benefits from simple language (Qanbari, 2005, p. 64) and innovative, yet easily accessible, imagery (Mošarraf, p. 137). As recalled by a critic and friend, Pejman regretted publishing two of his collections, entitled Siyah-ruz and Zan-e bičāreh, and burnt an unpublished collection of his poems titled “Bičāregi-e zanān” in 1931 (Šafaq, 1386). 

Other Works. Pejman’s edition of the poetry of Hafez, entitled Divān-e Hāfez, was published in 1936. It was followed by the publication of Kolliyāt-e Jāmi (Tehran, 1938), and Neẓāmi Ganjavi’s Ḵosrow o Širin (Tehran, 1964; Figure 1), Maḵzan-al-asrār (Tehran, 1965; Figure 2), Haft Peykar (Tehran, 1965; Figure 3), Leyli o Majnun (Tehran, 1968; Figure 4), and Šaraf-Nāmeh (Tehran, 1966; Figure 5), “generally known as the first part,” of Neẓāmi’s Eskandar-nāmeh (De Blois, p. 612).  The second part of the book is known as Eqbāl-nāmeh or Ḵerad-nāmeh, “although there is no strong evidence that the author used these names to distinguish the two parts, and in quite a few manuscripts the name Šaraf-nāmeh is in fact applied to the second of the two poems.” (De Blois, p. 612).

Pejman also published the collection of his mother’s poems, with a comprehensive introduction on her life, as Divān-e ašʿār-e Žāleh Qāʾem-maqāmi (Tehran, 1964, introduction date). The book was republished in 1999 as Divān-e Žāleh: Ālamtāj Qāʾem-maqāmi in Sweden (Figure 6; for an English translation of Žāleh’s poetry, see Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Mirror of DewThe Poetry of Ālam-Tāj Zhāle Qā’em-Maqāmi, Boston, 2014). Pejman was a keen student of French language and literature. He dedicated poems to such renowned French poets as Paul Valery (1871-1945), and Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) and translated some notable French literary works into Persian (Qanbari, 2005, p. 61; Šafiʿi-Kadkani, 2011, pp. 202-3).

Bibliography (online sources accessed 10 April 2015):

Selected publications.

Poetry collections:

Zan-e bičāreh, Tehran, 1927.

Mohākemeh-ye šāʿer, Tehran, 1934.

Ḵāšāk, Tehran, 1956.

Andarz-e yek mādar, Tehran, 1968.

Kavir-e andišeh, Tehran, 1993.

Divān-e ašʿār-e Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri, Tehran, 1989.

Edition of classical texts:

Divān-e Hafez, Tehran, 1936.

Kolliyāt-e Jāmi, Tehran, 1938.

Lesān-al-ḡayb, Tehran, no date.

Neẓāmi Ganjavi, Haft Peykar, Tehran, 1965.

Neẓāmi Ganjavi, Ḵosrow o Širin, Tehran, 1964.

Neẓāmi Ganjavi, Leyli o Majnun, Tehran, 1968.

Neẓāmi Ganjavi, Maḵzan-al-asrār, Tehran, 1965.

Neẓāmi Ganjavi, Šaraf-nāmeh, Tehran, 1966.

Selected translations:

Benjamin Constant, Adolphe (1816), as Vafā-ye zan, Tehran, 1929.

Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, Mademoiselle de Scudéri (1819), as Mādmāzel Escuderi, Tehran, 1929.

Other works: 

Behtarin Ašʿār: gozideh-i az  ašʿār-e kohan o moʿāṣer-e fārsi, Tehran, 1934

Be yādegār-e jašn-e hezāromin sāl-e Ferdowsi, Tehran, (n.d.)

Dāstān-e zendegāni-e Hāfez, Tehran, n.d.

Tāriḵ-e post o telegrāf o telefon, Tehran, 1947 (introduction date).

Pejman’s unpublished works include: Guyeš-e Baḵtiāri, Pādešāhān-e Iran, Soḵanvarān-e Pārsiguy, and Tāriḵ-e manẓum-e Aškāniān. 


“Ᾱršiv-e Musiqi-e Melli-e Iran,” at http://iranvocals.blogfa.com/post-492.aspx

Iraj Afšār, “Ḥosayn Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri,” Nādereh-kārān, ed., Maḥmud Nikuya, 2004, pp. 316-21.

Ḥosayn Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri, Kavir-e andišeh I, Tehran, 1993.

Idem, Divān-e ašʿār-e Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri (introduction by Bāstāni-e Pārizi), Tehran, 1989.

François de Blois, “ESKANDAR-NĀMEH,” in Encyclopeadia Iranica VIII, 1998, pp. 612-14

J.-P. Digard, “BAḴTIĀRI TRIBE i. Ethnography,” in Encyclopeadia Iranica III, 1988, pp. 553-60.

Noṣratollāh Kāsemi, “Vafaiyāt-e moʿāṣerān: dargoḏašt-e šāʿeri āzādeh, Ostād Ḥosayn Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri,” Gowhar,  no. 21, Ābān 1335 Š./November 1956, pp. 853-56. 

Hušang Ettehād, Pažuhešgarān-e moʿāṣer-e Iran II, 2000, p. 237.

G. R. Garthwaite, “ESFANDIĀR KHĀN BAḴTIARI, ṢAMṢAM-AL-SALTANA, SARDĀR-E ASʿAD,” in Encyclopaedia Iranica VIII, 1998, p. 593. 

Ḥosayn Gudarzi, “Hoviyyat-e melli dar šeʿr-e Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri,” Moṭāleʿāt-e melli, no. 2, Zemestān 1383 Š./ Winter 2005, pp. 111-32.

Ahmad Karimi Hakkak and Kamran Talattof, eds., Essays on Nima Yushij: Animating Modernismin Persian Poetry, Leiden and Boston, 2004.

Ḥassan Mirʿābedini, “Baḵtiāri, Pežmān,” Dānešnāmeh-ye zabān o adab-e fārsi, Vol. 2, 2007, pp. 132-33.

ʿAli Mir-Ansāri, Asnādi az mašāhir-e adab-e Iran, Vol. 3, 1387 Š./2008.

Maryam Mošarraf, “ Musiqi o taḵayyol dar šeʿr-e Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri,” Dow-faṣl-nāmeh-ye pažuheš-e zabān o adabiyāt-e fārsi, new edition, no. 4, spring-summer, 1384 Š./2005, pp. 131-46.

Maḥmud Movaḥḥedān,  “Jāleh ʿĀlamtāj Qāʾemmaqāmi,” November 2011, at http://bookz20.mihanblog.com/post/271.

Nāder Nāderpur, “Be yād-e Pežmān,” Soḵan, no. 1, Aḏar-Dey 1353 Š./December 1974-January 1975, pp. 110-12.

Erik Nakjavani, “VAZIRI, QAMAR_AL_MOLUK,” at Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, December 2008. 

Daryuš Pirniā with Erik Nakjavāni, “GOLHĀ-BARNĀMA-YE,” in Encyclopaedia Iranica XI, 2003, pp. 92-95.

ʿAbbās Qanbari ʿOdayvi, “ Sabk-šenāsi-e šeʿr-e Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri,” Keyhān-e farhangi, no. 229, Ābān 1384 Š./November 2005, pp. 60-65. 

Idem, “Nežād az dow kas dārad in nik-pey,” Ketāb-e māh-e adabiāt o falsafeh, no. 77, Esfand 1382 Š./March 2004, pp. 78-85.

Ḥamid Reżāʾi, “Man in Afsāneh-hā rā dust dāram: yādi az Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri,” Boḵārā, no. 41, Esfand 1384-Farvardin 1385 Š./March-April 2006, pp. 139-41.

Majid Šafaq, “Ḥosayn Pežmān-e Bakhtiāri,” at Navā-ye Nāy, http://navayenay.blogfa.com/post-9.aspx, 1386 Š./2007.

Moḥammad Reżā Šafiʿi-Kadkani, Bā čerāḡ o āiyneh: dar jost-o-ju-ye rišehā-ye taḥavvol dar šeʿr-e moʿāṣer-e Irān, Tehran, 2011.

Moḥammad Šarifi, “Pežmān-e Baḵtiāri,” Farhang-e adabiyāt-e fārsi, 1387 Š./2008, pp. 356-57.

Asghar Seyed-Gohrabtr., Mirror of DewThe Poetry of Ālam-Tāj Zhāle Qā’em-Maqāmi, Boston, 2014.

Moḥammad Jaʿfar Yāḥaqqi, Juybār-e laḥẓehā, 10th ed., Tehran, 2008.

Ḥabib Yaḡmāʾi, “Pežmān-e Bakhtiāri,”Yaḡmā, no. 10, Dey 1353 Š./December 1974, pp. 616-17.

Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Yusofi, “Nur dar tāriki,” Čašmeh-ye rowšan: didāri bā šāʿerān, Tehran, 1990, pp. 546-52.

(Soheila Saremi)

Originally Published: April 21, 2015

Last Updated: April 21, 2015

Cite this entry:

Soheila Saremi, “PEJMAN-E BAKHTIARI, HOSAYN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2015, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/pejman-e-bakhtiari-hosayn (accessed on 21 April 2015).

  • Birthday: October 1900
  • Death: April 21, 1974
  • Birthplace: Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Poet and Literary Scholar

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