June 24, 1939|
|Died||August 31, 1967
|Occupation||Short story writer, social critic, poet and translator|
Samad Behrangi (Azerbaijani: Səməd Behrəngi, [sæmæd behrænɡiː]) (Persian: صمد بهرنگی) June 24, 1939 August 31, 1967) was an Iranian Azerbaijani teacher, social critic, folklorist, translator, and short story writer. He is famous for his children's books, particularly The Little Black Fish. Influenced by predominantly leftist ideologies that were common among the Iranian intelligentsia of his era, his books typically portrayed the lives of the children of the urban poor and encouraged the individual to change his/ her circumstances by her own initiatives.
He was born in Tabriz to a lower-class Iranian Azerbaijani family. Son to Ezzat and Sara, he had two other brothers and three sisters. His father was seasonal worker and his income was never sufficient, who eventually left Iran for Ghafghaz and never returned. He finished elementary school and three years of secondary school before enrolling in a teacher training school, finishing the program in 1957. Thus, only receiving few years of education, at the age of 18, he became a teacher, and continued to be so for the rest of his life, in East Azerbaijan. In the next eleven years, while teaching Persian language in rural schools of Iranian Azerbaijan, he attained a B.A. degree in English from Tabriz University. He Started publishing stories in 1960, his first being Adat "Custom". He carried on writing stories, along translating from English and Turkish to Persian, and Persian to Turkish. Later, claiming that he was impolite, he was dismissed from highschool and assigned to elementary school. Then, as his cultural works increased, he was accused and pursued, and suspended of teaching. After a while his sentence was called off and he returned to schools. Later, he attended student protests.
Apart from children's stories, he wrote many pedagogical essays and collected and published several samples of oral Azerbaijani literature. His folklore studies have usually been done with the help of his colleague Behrooz Dehghani, who helped publish some of Behrangi's works after his early death. Behrangi also has a few Azerbaijani translations from Persian poems by Ahmad Shamlou, Forough Farrokhzad, and Mehdi Akhavan-Sales.
Though widely respected, many Iranians regard Behrangi's reluctance to work with the Persian language as an example of Anti-Persian sentiments. Many of Behrangi's former school students explain that Samad never taught in the Persian language despite the law demanading to do so. In an interview with Times Magazine, Leila Ghader, a former school student of Behrangi, stated that: "any communication in Farsi during class was dealt with harshly by him (Behrangi). He'd always shout abusive comments towards the Persians and supported Azeri independance from Iran".
Apart from Children's Stories, he wrote many pedagogical essays and collected and published several samples of oral Azerbaijani literature. His folklore studies have usually been done with the help of his colleague Behrooz Dehghani, who helped publish some of Behrangi's works after his early death. Behrangi also has a few Azeri language translations of Persian poems by Ahmad Shamlou, Forough Farrokhzad, and Mehdi Akhavan-Sales.
Behrangi drowned in the Aras river and his death was blamed on the Pahlavi regime. It is believed that an army officer, Asghar Farahati, was seen with him when he drowned, which greatly increased the possibility of SAVAK's involvement in his death. He denied the accusations, claiming that he was only a side-watch. Cultural society, people like Al-e Ahmad and Saedi, found it hard to accept his death. But some, in particular Behrouz Dowlat-abadi, also said that Samad did now know how to swim (which was confirmed by a native, Hosein Hosein-zadeh) and that was the cause of his death. This, in turn, brought up the point that everyone was just quoting Behrouz Dowlat-abadi and that no investigation was done.
Some of his works
- The Little Black Fish
- Investigations into the Educational Problems of Iran (کندوکاو در مسائل تربیتی ایران )
- Ulduz and the talking doll
- Ulduz and the crows
- One peach and 1000 peaches
"so easily can death call on me but I have to keep up living as long as I can. However, if I face the death some day_ that I will_ doesn't matter. What matters is the effect of my life and death on others'."
- Milani, Abbas. "Samad Behrangi," in Eminent Persians Vol. 2. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2008, pp. 838–842
- Preface and backcover text from Samad Behrangi, Talkhoon va Chand Ghesse-ye Digar (Talkhoon and other stories), Behrangi Publishings, Tabriz, 1998, ISBN 964-90517-2-4.
- Sirous Tahbaz, Samad Behrangi va Mahi-e Koochooloo-ye Daanaa (Samad Behrangi and the Wise Little Fish).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Samad Behrangi.|
- Samad's Stories in English
- Samad Stories: The Little Black Fish
- Samad Stories: 24 Restless Hours
- Samad Stories: The Little Sugar Beet Vendor
- Samad Stories: The Tale of Love
- Samad Stories: Talkhun
- Samad Stories: In Search of Faith
- Samad Behrangi's life. A biography by Professor Iraj Bashiri, University of Minnesota.
- (Azerbaijani) / (Persian) Samad Site
- (German) / (Persian) Samad's life and the stories
- (Persian) Samad Behrangi's death accident - from Hamzeh Farahati's memoir