Who was Princess Qajar?
Princess Qajar was considered the symbol of beauty in Persia for whom 13 men have committed suicide.
Was she actually beautiful? We will discuss it later on. Before that, we will discuss her life and personality traits.
The original name of Princess Qajar was Zahra Khanom Tadj es-Saltaneh. Born in 1883, she was the daughter of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (King of Persia, 1848 – 1896). Her mother’s name was Turan es – Saltaneh. Her father was assassinated in 1896.
Apart from being considered beautiful, she was actually smart and outspoken. She was courageous and bold. Moreover, she took initiative and broke multiple taboos in society.
At the age of 13, she got married to Sardar Hassan Shojah Saltaneh, an aristocrat and the son of the defense minister ‘Shojah al-Saltaneh’. They had four children. Later on, she divorced her husband, breaking a taboo and becoming one of the first women in the royal family to get a divorce.
She was also the first woman in the court who took off her hijab and started wearing western clothes.
In fact, she was a feminist who spoke up for women’s rights. She was a memoirist of the Qajar Dynasty. In her memoir Crowning Anguish: Memoirs of a Persian Princess from the Harem to Modernity, she depicted a clash between harem (symbolically, restricting women from the public sphere) and modernism.
Apart from this, princess Qajar was also a writer, a painter, an intellectual, and an activist.
It is well-known that the famous Iranian poet, lyricist, and musician Aref Qazvini took a special interest in princess Qajar. He was so mad at her love that he wrote the poem Ey Taj for her.
She died in 1936 at the age of 53.
So, was she actually beautiful?
The answer is; Not at all. Not from our definition of feminine beauty. Princess Qajar had masculine bodily features with a mustache on her face. She resembled more to a man than a woman.
One can say that in Persia at that time, men had probably a great liking for such women. It is also a universal fact that the definition of beauty differs in different regions and tribes.
For example, if we refer to the fact how beauty in women is seen in Mursi Tribe, we can easily understand how the definition of beauty differs geographically.
The Mursi are famous for their lip-plates, large pottery, or wooden discs in the lower lips, their girls and women wear from the age of 15.
Hence, we cannot deny the fact that the men in Persia actually took a special interest in and felt keen love for Princess Qajar. It should not come as a surprise that 13 men actually took their lives by committing suicide for the princess.
As it is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Such was the case how men fell in love with Princess Qajar.
It reminds me of the story of Laila and Majnu. Laila had a dark complexion and was not apparently beautiful. People even questioned Majnu for his choice and love. His reply was ‘You cannot see what I see in her’.
To cap it all, Princess Qajar was beautiful but we fail to recognize her beauty.