Jalal Ale Ahmad, writer and political activist
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The opposition writer and activist Jalal Ale Ahmad (1923- 1969) lived through a period of great economic, social and political change in Iran. Brought up in a strongly religious family background, he broke away, and in 1944 joined the Tudeh Party, and then continued his political activities with the Toilers' Party and the Third Force until the coup of 1953. In the subsequent repressive political atmosphere, he continued his political activity through his writings. The works Gharb Zadegi and Dar Khedmat Va Khiyanate Rowshanfekran form the core of his political critique of Iranian society under the Pahlavis. In those works he criticises the economic, political and cultural exploitation of Iran by the west, and suggests a revised role for the Iranian intellectual and the religious authorities in the preservation of the Iranian cultural whole. As a writer and political activist, writing was a form of political activity for Ale Ahmad. Consequently, in his articles, stories and novels, he reflects the opinions and ideas developed in his political tracts. Thus his fiction, and in particular the works Modire Madraseh, Nun Va'l Qalam and Nefrine Zamin, form part of his political critique based largely on his own experiences in Pahlavi Iran. Ale Ahmad's writings, then, are his personal political statement. It is a statement which has found a ready and sympathetic audience in Iran. Through his life and his writings, therefore, an outsider may gain an insight into many of the issues and problems facing contemporary Iran, and into the world of the Iranian urban radical intellectual.