Hossein Gol-e-Golab


GOL-GOLĀB, ḤOSAYN, botanist, musician, poet, scholar, and member of the Farhangestān (born Tehran, 1274/1895; d. Tehran, 22 Esfand 1363 Š./13 March 1985; Figure 1). Born in a family of music connoisseurs, Gol-golāb received his first education in music at an early age from his father, Abu Torāb Khan Mahdi Moṣawwer-al-Molk, who associated with the musicians of the time. Later he joined the classes of the distinguished masters of Persian music Āqā Ḥosaynqoli and Darviš Khan, where he learned to play the tār and setār. He then applied to the first music school in Persia, founded by ʿAli-Naqi Waziri (d. 1358 Š./1979), and became one of its first students (Sepantā, p. 135). Gol-golāb was particularly talented at composing songs since he was both a poet and an accomplished musician familiar with standard music notation. This so impressed Waziri, who was known for his uncompromising conviction in maintaining a high standard of excellence in music, that he invariably asked Gol-golāb to write the lyrics for his compositions (Ḵāleqi, II, p. 101). Among Gol-golāb’s best known songs are “Aḏarābādagān” and “Ey Irān”; the latter has become virtually the national anthem of Persia. Gol-golāb also composed Persian lyrics for the music of Georges Bizet’s Carmen and Charles Gounod’s Faust

Gol-golāb was educated at the ʿElmiya school and the Dār al-Fonun. Upon graduation in 1916, he was employed as a teacher at Dār al-Fonun. He also enrolled at the newly established School of Law (Madrasa-ye ʿāli-e ḥoquq; see FACULTIES iii) and graduated with a degree in law and political science in 1922. Gol-golāb began teaching natural sciences in 1919, and by 1928, when he was tenured at the School of Medicine, he had published twelve books in this field (Afšār, p. 394). After the School of Medicine became the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tehran (see FACULTIES v), Gol-golāb was awarded a doctoral degree in 1935 and appointed the professor of botanical biology in 1940. He retired in 1966 and a year later became the first professor emeritus of the University of Tehran.

Gol-golāb became a permanent member of the Farhangestān (Academy of Persian Language) in 1935 and the director (sar-dabir) of its secretariat a year later (Ṣadiq, II, pp. 242, 252). In that capacity, he played a major role in the coining of scientific terminology in Persian for the natural sciences, particularly botany. Indeed, even before the foundation of the Farhangestān, some of his neologisms had already found currency through the textbooks that he had published. Many of the terms he devised are now parts of the established scientific vocabulary in Persian. His terminology even won the approval of the critics who were adamantly against the Farhangestān’s efforts in coining new words (Nāma-ye Farhangestān, p. 17).

For a music sample, see Kāleqi, Ey Irān.


Selection of works by Gol-golāb. Ḥefẓ al-ṣeḥḥa, Tehran, 1308 Š./1929.

Joḡrāfiā, 3 vols,, Tehran, 1314-16 Š./1935-37 (high school textbook).

Tāriḵ-e ṭabiʿi, 3 vols., Tehran, 1313-16 Š./1934-37 (with Aḥmad Parsā; a high school textbook).

Tāriḵ-e ṭabiʿigiāh-šenāsi, Tehran, 1326 Š./1947 (textbook for faculty of medicine).

Jānvar-šenāsi, Tehran 1324 Š./1945. Giā: rāhnemā-ye giāhi, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961.

Mošaḵaṣṣāt-e joḡrāfiā-ye ṭabiʿi-Irān, Tehran, 1336 Š./1957 (translation of Mikhail Platonovich Petrov, Iran: fiziko-geograficheskiĭ ocherk, Moscow, 1955).

Sources. Iraj Afšār, “Ḥosayn Gol-golāb,” Āyanda 11, 1364 Š./1985, p. 394.

Šāpur Behruzi, Čehrahā-ye musiqi-e Irān, I, Tehran, 1372 Š./1993, pp. 337, 416, 517.

Ruḥ-Allāh Ḵāleqi, Sargoḏašt-e musiqi-e Irān, 2 vols., Tehran, 1333-35 Š./1954-56.

Moḥammad-Mahdi Mowaḥḥedi, Zendagi-nāma-ye rejāl-pezeški-e Irān, Tehran, 1371 Š./1992, pp. 129-32.

Rāhnemā-ye Dāneškada-ye pezeški o dāru-sāzi, Tehran, 1332 Š./1953, p. 51.

Faraj Sarkuhi, “Āḵerin goftogu bā Ḥosayn Gol-golāb,” Ādina, no. 8, 1364 Š./1985, p. 24.

Sāsān Sepantā, Čašmandāz-e musiqi-e Irān, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990, p. 136, 147-48.

Tarānahā-ye maʿruf-e Irāni, Bethesda, Maryland, 1990, pp. 32-33.

(H. Ettehad Baboli)

Originally Published: December 15, 2001

Last Updated: February 14, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XI, Fasc. 1, pp. 91-92

Cite this entry:

H. Ettehad Baboli, “GOL-GOLĀB, ḤOSAYN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, XI/1, pp. 91-92; available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/gol-golab (accessed on 14 February 2012).

  • Birthday: 1895
  • Death: March 13, 1985
  • Birthplace: Kerman, Kerman, Iran

Polymath Scholar and Musician

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