By Afshin Majlesi

On the occasion of national day against British colonialism

September 2, 2020 - 20:14

Shahrivar 12th (which falls on Sept. 2 this year) marks the national day against British colonialism in Iran, remembering the martyrdom anniversary of Ra’is Ali Delvari, the great hero of the anti-colonial struggle in southern Iran.

The Iranian independent fighter and anti-British colonialism activist, who organized popular resistance against the British troops, was martyred in 1915 at the age of 33 in a fierce clash with British aggressors in Bushehr.

Though Persia (Iran) declared the state of neutrality in World War I, it became divided into northern and southern spheres of influence under the Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1907 as the country was deemed as a great source of interest due to its significant oil reserve and strategic geography. 

The treaty, however, was widely viewed by Iranians as having made the nation into nothing more than a British and Russian protectorate, so countless local uprisings occurred against the British and Russian forces from north to the south. 

In northern Iran, Jangal Movement of Gilan, was the main indigenous resistance against the foreign occupiers, and in southern parts, Tangistani amongst other tribes constituted the main resisting power against the British Empire. 

On the eve of World War I, Germany established the Intelligence Bureau for the East for the Central Powers, intending to promote and sustain anti-colonial movements and nationalist agitations in British India, Persia, and Egypt. Wilhelm Wassmuss led the bureau’s operations in Persia seeking the goal to free Persia from the Allied Powers’ influence and to create a wedge between Russia and the British forces. 

That was the time when Delvari with the help of Wassmuss was formulating a general Anti-British uprising in Iran. The Iranian hero was, ultimately, killed by Anglo-Indian forces following months of bloody clashes. 

That was a brief story of why Shahrivar 12th has been designated as the national day of combat against British colonialism in Iran.
Years after his death, inheritors of Ra’is Ali Delvari dedicated his home to the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization of Iran (later turned into a ministry). 

Located forty-five kilometers from Bushehr, the building, which is also registered as a national heritage of Iran, is promoted to being Ra’is Ali Delvari Museum displaying his personal belongings, weapons… to be a symbol of resistance for future generations.  


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