Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran

Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran

Ghulam ʻAli Khan ʻAziz al-Sultan (Malijak II)

b. 1879 or 1880 Tehran
d. 1940 or 1941 Tehran

Ghulam ʻAli Khan was the son of Mirza Muhammad Khan Malijak [I], grandson of a Kurdish shepherd in the Garrus region, nephew of Zubaydah Khanum Amin Aqdas (Nasir al-Din Shah's wife), and the boy favorite of Nasir al-Din Shah. In 1886, Ghulam ʻAli received the title ʻAziz al-Sultan from Nasir al-Din Shah. When he was eleven years old, the Shah arranged for his engagement to his eight-year-old daughter, Akhtar al-Dawlah, and they were married in 1894. ʻAziz al-Sultan died in 1940 in Tehran.

Mirza Muhammad Khan's one-year-old son, Ghulam ʻAli Khan, first caught the attention of the Shah during his father's visits to his sister, Zubaydah Khanum Amin Aqdas, the trusted and influential wife of Nasir al-Din Shah. As a child, he suffered from chronic trachoma and had an acute stammer. He became the substitute for the Shah’s favorite cat, Babri Khan, who had been put to death as a result of jealousy in the harem towards Amin Aqdas, the honorary keeper of Babri. The shah’s almost obsessive love for Ghulam ʻAli annoyed everyone at the court and in the government, and most of all his own children. A romantic side of ʻAziz al-Sultan and his love affair with the Shah’s other daughter, Taj al-Saltanah, appears in Taj al-Saltanah's memoirs. After Nasir al-Din Shah’s death, ʻAziz al-Sultan maintained connections with the court but lost most of his fortune. Close

Abbas Amanat, “ʻAziz al-Sultan,” Encyclopedia Iranica, Vol. III, Fasc. 3, pp. 263-265; an updated version is available online at https://iranicaonline.org/articles/aziz-al-soltan-golam-ali-khan (accessed on 23 September 2021). Close

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