Saturday, July 23, 2005

Turkish NAFAR tribe of South Iran

ايل ترك نفر٬ از ايلات خمسه فارس

August 19, 2004

NAFAR, a tribe of Fars and the Tehran region. Although of Turkic origin, the Nafar of Fars have become a mixture of Turkic, Arab, and Lor elements. In 1861-62, the Nafar of Fars became one of the five tribes of the Khamsa (q.v.) tribal confederacy (Ilat-e Khamsa). The Nafar were so closely associated with the Baharlu (q.v.), already long before the two tribes joined the Khamsa tribal confederacy, that sometimes the two tribes would share the same kalantar (chief). One of the better known of these was Hajji Hosayn Khan Nafar, who became chief of the Baharlu and Nafar tribes during the reign of Nader Shah (r. 1736-1747). His son, Mohammad-Taqi Khan, followed, in turn, by his son, Ali Akbar Khan, also headed both tribes (Fasai, II, p. 314, Fasa÷i, ed. Rastgar, II, p. 1583).

According to Hasan Fasai, the Nafar comprised the following sub-tribes: Badeki, Tatemlu, Ùengezi, Dulukhanlu, Zamankhanlu, Settarlu, Sanjarlu, Shuli, Tatem, Taefa-ye Jen, Araqi, Qadlu, Qobadlu, Qarabajaglu, Qeydarlu and Lor (Fasai, II, p. 315; Fasai, ed. Rastgar, II, p. 1585).

When the Nafar of Fars were still nomadic, their winter quarters were in the districts (boluks) of Darab and Jahrom, as well as in Larestan, and their summer quarters were in the district of Abada-ye Taæk, north of lake Neyriz (Demorgny, p. 106).

Some population estimates of the Nafar of Fars are as follows: Lady Mary Leonora Sheil (1849), 850 families; Aleksandr Griorovich Tumansky (1896), 2,500 families (p. 79); Gustave Demorgny (1918), 3,500 families (p. 106); Masud Kayhan (1932), 3,500 families (Vol. II, p. 87); Arthur Cecil Edwards (1953), 450 families (p. 288).

Although it was once one of the largest tribes of Fars province, the Nafar tribe has been steadily disintegrating. Already in the 19th century, a part of it was absorbed by the Qashqai tribal confederacy. During the 20th century, many more Nafar were absorbed by the Baseri (q.v.) tribe of the Khamsa tribal confederacy (Barth, p. 85). The harsh rule of Reza Shah Pahlavi (1925-1941) further undermined the unity and cohesion of the tribe. In 1940, Rahdar Khan, a son-in-law of the Nafar kalantar Sardar Khan, and some of his men murdered Abd al-GÚaffar Behruz, the director of the Shiraz branch of the Bank-e Melli (q.v.), and his entire party as they were heading for Lar in a motorcade, apparently mistaking this official for a personal enemy. After several futile attempts to apprehend Rahdar Khan, the central government offered him a fertile tract of land near the Persian Gulf in return for a pledge on his part to refrain from any further acts of violence (personal interview with Mohammad Khan Z˜argami, former kalantar of the Baseri tribe, Shiraz, May 4, 1957). According to Oliver Garrod, by 1945 the Nafar had "sunk into a lawless rabble of a few hundred families, camped in the rocky wastes to the south of Lar, where they prey upon the few settled inhabitants who remain in this inhospitable region" (p. 44).

Today, the Nafar are scattered over a huge area in southeastern Fars. A substantial group of them have also settled down in the district of Ramjerd, north of Shiraz. According to Hosayn-Ali Razmara, they are Qashqai Nafar (VII, p. 114). But, according to Mohammad Khan Zargami, they are Baseri Nafar (personal interview, Shiraz, May 4, 1957). The Nafar of Fars are Shiites and speak a Western Ghuz Turkic dialect which they call Turki.

According to Masud Kayhan, in 1932 there was also a tribe of Nafar in the Tehran region. Their winter quarters were in the district of Khavar, south of the capital, and their summer quarters were in the Alborz mountains (Vol. II, p. 111).


Fredrik Barth, Nomads of South Persia: The Basseri tribe of the Khamseh Tribal Confederacy, Oslo, 1961.
Gustave Demorgny, "Les reformes administrative en Perse: les tribus du Fars" RMM 22, March 1913, pp. 85-150.
Arthur Cecil Edwards, The Persian Carpet, London, 1953.
Hasan Fasai, Farsnama-ye naseri, 2 vols. in 1,Tehran, 1895-96; repr. Tehran, n.d.; ed. M. Rastgar, 2 vols., Tehran 1988.
Oliver Garrod, "The Nomadic Tribes of Persia ToDay" Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society 33, 1946, pp. 32-46.
Masud Kayhan, Jografia-ye mofassal-e Iran, 2 vols., Tehran, 1932-33.
Pierre Oberling, The Qashqai Nomads of Fars, The Hague, 1974.
Hosayn-Ali Razmara, Farhang-e jografiai-e Iran. Abadiha, 10 vols., Tehran, 1949-54.
Lady Mary Leonora Sheil, Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia, London, 1856.
Aleksandr Grigorovich Tumansky, "Ot Kapiiskago morya k Hormuzdskomu prolivu i obratno" Sbornik Materialov po Azii 65, 1896, pp. 76-81.

August 19, 2004

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