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Abol Gassem of Tus: The Epic Journey of Abol Ghassem Bakhtiar, M.D.

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Abol Ghassem Bakhtiar, M. D., a Bakhtiyari from the village of Borujen in Chahar Mahal, Iran (Persia), was a man of great character who struggled to obtain knowledge, who loved science and poetry, a man solid as a rock, a spiritual warrior of high moral character. His life bore witness to one's ability to accept the farr, often seen as the divine right of kings to rule, and transform it into the divine right of each individual to rule over himself. While living all of his life under the rule of a monarch, he himself concentrated on transforming the concept of the farr into a personal democracy.

He completed his medical training in the United States at the age of 55, returning to Iran in 1931, as the first Iranian to be an American trained physician. He returned to Iran with an American wife, Helen Jeffreys. Helen, 22, when she married Abol Ghassem, was the first American to marry an Iranian in the United States and move to Iran. Her story is told in Helen of Tus: Her Odyssey from Idaho to Iran. They had 7 children. They were later divorced and Abol Ghassem married again at the age of 70 and had 10 more children, marrying a Bakhtiyari, Bibi Turan Zargham. This book contains the family genealogy of the Bakhtiyari family, descendants of Jafar Qoli Khan (d. 1836) printed here for the first time.

Abol Ghassem died at the age of 99 and is buried in Tus, Iran because of a dream he had that one day his earth would mix with the earth of Ferdowsi, the great epic poet of Iran, and a hero would be born to save Iran.

Abol Ghassem came into the world with nothing of material value, inheriting a Sufi cloak and a dervish bowl from his father. A century passed as Abol Ghassem evolved from a peddler, to a shopkeeper, to a tutor, to a student, to a doctor, to a hospital director, to Dean of the Medical School of Tehran University, to Chief Surgeon for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

After a century of struggle, hard work and education, Abol Ghassem left this world with nothing of material value. His legacy for one and all is to educate yourself, to persevere through difficult times, to be good to others, to love and be loved, and to live life to the fullest, with plenty of fresh air, daily exercises, a clean body and mind stimulated with mythical and mystical poetry.

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Laleh Bakhtiar, Laliee Bakhtiar
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