Mission for My Country

Mission for My Country

Mission for My Country

Mission for My Country

Excerpt

I have designed this book to fill a long-standing need. Some twenty-five hundred years ago our monarchy was born, yet so far as I know I am the first Persian sovereign to have authored an autobiography that could be called at all systematic. It is true that towards the end of the sixteenth century -- when Persia's monarchy was already over two thousand years old -- one of our kings, Shah Tahmasp I by name, wrote a somewhat sketchy autobiography. A couple of centuries later, after a second Shah Tahmasp had ascended the throne, a French abbé issued in that Shah's name a spurious autobiography which purported to show that the king was the son of a Frenchman!

In the nineteenth century Nasir ed-Din Shall prepared pleasing accounts of his two journeys to Europe and of his imaginative and perceptive attempts to understand the secrets of Western progress. But still none of our sovereigns had methodically compiled his autobiography. After I had been on the throne for about sixteen years, I decided to undertake the task.

But it was not just that I wanted to be first. I thought the book was sorely needed as a kind of preliminary guide to the present and the future. In recent centuries we in the Middle East have not excelled in objective self-appraisal; and too often we have slothfully neglected to make proper forward plans. Sometimes we have been only dimly aware of what we have already achieved, we have failed candidly to . . .

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