- 東洋学報 = The Toyo Gakuho (ISSN:03869067)
- vol.69, no.3・4, pp.307-335, 1988-03
The waters of the Zāyandeh-rūd in Esfahān had traditionally been distributed among some 500 villages of seven irrigation districts through 105 madis, or main irrigation channels. In the Safavid period, however, a Royal order was proclaimed to abolish the customary water distribution systems and replace them with new regulations. Under the Qājārs, the regulation was altered by certain powerful individuals.The new regulation of the Safavids, known to be drawn up by Sheikh Bahā’ī of Amilī, a distinguished scholar at the court of Shāh ʻAbbās, was intended to gain a monopoly over the river’s summer irrigation water for the rice cultivation in four districts, in which the Crown lands were concentrated. Naturally, this caused the devastation of three other districts when their water supply was stopped.Furthermore, under the Qājār, with the rapid development of the reclamation of lands, the Safavid’s regulation was arbitrarily altered by such influential personages as the Crown Prince Zill al-Soltān, leading mojtaheds and large landlords at the ruinous, selfish sacrifice of the weak.This paper aims to illustrate one of the characteristic features of the land holding system of Iran through examining how irrigation water had been controlled by men of power.