Taqizadeh: Constitutionalist, Babi or Revolutionary?

Seyyed Hassan Taqizadeh has been a controversial figure in the contemporary history of Iran for a number of reasons. At various points throughout his life, his ideas and activities lead to accusations of him being, among other things, a secret agent, a freemason and a Babi. During the early periods of the Constitutional Revolution, namely the First Parliament and the aftermath of the bombardment of the parliament, the Constitutionalists were often referred to as ‘Babis’ by their political opponents and thus stigmatized. Taqizadeh, as one of the leading figures of the Constitutional Revolution, was certainly no exception.

The aim of this paper is to explore some of the reasons that, despite not all being ‘Babis’, the majority of the Constitutionalists were accused of being so whether in fact they were or not. The motives behind this accusation will be discussed. After an overview of the social and political setting in which the Constitutionalists were acting which lead to such accusations, this paper will then focus on Taqizadeh and his ideas of this period which may have reinforced the image of him as a ‘Babi’.

Taqizadeh’s ideas during this period expressed in his writings and talks will be discussed as a source in order to attempt to show the similarities between his ideas and beliefs and those of Babiism which could be considered justification for these accusations.