Forword (Apil 23, 1994)- Below I am *only* looking at *economic issues* of Iran's *countryside* 10 years after Enghelab-e Sefid and 4 years before the 1979 Revolution. I am not going to write about romanticism in that period's literature. AAA referred to the romanticism which desires to go back to the countryside in the Iranian intellectual literature. One can note such impressions, when some authors describe the country-side, as if it is a paradise where beauty and comfort are in abundance, and return to this beauty is desired. I do not want to get distracted to literature here.

Below I just look at the economic conditions around the time of Enghelab-e Sefid in Iran's countryside, and I hope others to cover the urban areas in the same period and also to review the current state in comparison.

The romantic ideas were the dreams of the immigrant workers who ended up living in Halabi-Abads in the surroundings of the major Iranian cities. But these people at the same time knew better than anybody else, that this was just a dream and they had no choice to go back to where they had come from.

The truth of Iran, following the Enghelab-e Sefid, was that the countryside could no longer support its inhabitants, but the industry in the cities and the process of urbanization was so impotent that it was not able to put the immigrant workers into work.

The result was an unhappy cast of immigrant workers, who neither had a place to go back to, nor had a place to live a decent life. This is the main contrast between the European development of industrial society and that of Iran. The following poem was a real description of these workers:

na dar ghorbat delam shado na rooii dar vatan daram.

So one needs to study the conditions of the countryside, following the Enghelab-e Sefid , and the conditions of the urban centers, to [understand the hAshi-e neshins, who highly impacted the shaping of the Iranian Revolution of 1979]. I try to review the former a little in my following article Here is my article:






Let's focus on one area of Iran, namely the Kurdestan's country side, more than ten years after Shah's Enghelab-e Sefid and see how the agriculture was moving at that time in comparison to the rest of Iran:


The data is from the "Natayej-e Amargiri Keshavarzi Marhal-e Dovom Sar-Shomari 1353" published by Sazmaneh Barnameh Iran in 1355.




# of agricultural families 112,129. 85% of these families lived off the land.of the above



57% did all the work by themselves

40% most work was done by themselves.

3% most work done by wage-laborers


For the whole of Iran, the same figures were 66%, 29%, and 5%. In other words the whole Iran was not much different from Kurdestan and the wage-labor had hardly existed even more than ten years after Enghelab-e Sefid. This shows how stagnant has been the development of agriculture in Iran.




In Kurdestan:


66.1% of products were not sold.

22.3% less than half was sold.

11.6% half or more is sold.


For the Whole country:


The same figures are 51.o%, 26.7%, and 22.3%.


Again the regions such as Gonbad are compensating pulling up the national average a bit higher than a region like Kurdestan but the figures are not much different. It shows that the agriculture was still not producing for sale which shows again the amazing stagnancy in the development of Iran's agriculture at the time.






90.3% not sold.

8.8% less than half sold.

0.9% half or more sold.


For the WHOLE country:


The same figures are 80.3%, 16.0%, and 3.7%




56.8% not sold

39.0% less than half sold.

4.2% half or more sold.


For the WHOLE country:


The same figures were 53.9%, 36.9%, and 10.2%.


Again the figures are not that different between Kurdestan and the rest of the country and the figures show that animal husbandry is essentially not for sale.






17.5% use watering system.(Abi)

82.5% rain (Deim-i)


For the WHOLE country:


The figures are :37% and 63%.


Again this shows how backward the agriculture was that about 70% was deim-i.




Only 4% in Kurdestan and 39% in the whole country used fertilizers. This shows that Kurdestan in this area was at a real disadvantage but still the figures for the whole country are way below any industrial agriculture.




Only 5% of Iran's tractors and 12% of Iran's combines were in Kurdestan, which is even less than the number used in the city of Esfahan (the number was 1859 tractors and 295 combines). There could also be another reason. Kurdestan is more rocky in many areas and the dasht-e obato is deim-i and also around Sanadaj, the well-to-do farmers mostly bought tractors rather than rent. So this discrepancy is not by itself indicative of anything. But the numbers are so low that it shows the stagnancy of agriculture again.




The return of land in Kurdestan for wheat was 223 Kilo/Hectare which was lower than everywhere else in Iran except for Zanjan. The Iran's average was 483. The number for Yazd was 1913 and for Mazandaran was 1538. These discrepancies show how undeveloped the agriculture is that because of deim, there is such a drastic difference between different areas.


It is interesting that the numbers for bigger lands were much smaller. For example, for a 10 Hectare land the number was 1103K/Hectare whereas for a 100 Hectare land, it was 147K/Hectare . If the agriculture had developed, the reverse should have been the case. This shows that the bigger lands were not big in the sense of modern agricultural lands, but were the remainders of arbab-va-raiiti relations in the forms of bagh-e arbabi, etc.


Only in Mazandaran, because of the modern areas around Gonbad-e Ghaboos, the numbers show a reverse order. The 10 Hectar land has 1402 K/Hectare, whereas the 100 Hectare land shows 1999K/Hectare. In Kurdestan the return of a big land was even 750% lower than the small land, and this means a very strong remainder of arbab-va-raiiti relations (and molukultavaiif and Ashirati relations).




Even ten years after the Enghelab-e Sefid, Iran's agriculture had very low percentage of wage-labor, very small production for market (less than 40%), daimi watering, little growth of technology in the countryside, absence of modern techniques and finally the extremely low return of the land. So the residents had no place to go back to if the city could not provide them with a living. This is why the hashi-e neshins stayed in halabi-abads of Tehran and other major cities, but did not go back to the countryside. There was no place for them in the countryside.



Sam Ghandchi







* The above article was written in 1981 as the appendix to my work entitled Kurds and Formation of Central Government in Iran and was first posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup on April 23, 1994.


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