Modern Revolutions: The Iranian Revolution

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Modern revolutions have an almost archetypal pattern in which the popular masses overthrow an ancient, dogmatic totalitarian regime in favour of a more liberal and secularist political system. It is therefore of little wonder that the Iranian Revolution in 1979 received immense interest – and also became a subject of incredulity, perhaps – when the people deposed of the pro-Western Shah of the Pahlavi Dynasty and his constitutional monarchy only to be subjected to Ayatollah Khomeini’s authoritarian theocracy which many observers considered as ‘going backward in time’ in regards of liberty and human rights . The nature of the Iranian Revolution had been a subject of study and debate among historians, especially in attributing the role of Islamism …show more content…
He is the most vocal of a large uprising in the ulama ranks who were against the White Revolution launched by the Shah in 1963. The White Revolution was intended to be a step towards Westernisation and modernity. Through its essence of land reform, social empowerment in term of literacy and education as well as women’s enfranchisement, the Shah was hoping to increase his supporters among the peasantries as a buffer against the increasingly hostile middle class as well as garner popularity with the public as a whole. Contrary to his expectation, the Shah suffered from severe backlash due to unintended consequences of the reforms such as the proliferation of the urban proletariats and intelligentsia who resented the Shah for their lack of social and political freedom due to repression of trade unions or representative organisations and press …show more content…
Firstly, instead of increasing the people’s loyalty towards the Shah, the White Revolution effectively united the public against him. Secondly, Khomeini became the face of the common folks who felt that the ulama were more sympathetic of their struggles than the extravagant Shah and his royalist. Both of these were the prerequisites towards collective social actions such as mobilisation and demonstration against a common enemy by victimised groups

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