Seyyed Mohammad-Hossein Shahriar

Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Behjat Tabrizi (Azerbaijani: Seyid Məhəmmədhüseyn Behcət Təbrizi (1906-September 18, 1988), mainly known by his pen name, Shahriar (Listeni/ʃæhrɪɒr/), was a notable Iranian poet of Azerbaijani ethnicity, who wrote in Azeri Turkish and Persian. His most important work Heydar Babaya Salam is considered to be a pinnacle in Azerbaijani literature which gained a lot popularity in Turkic world and it was translated to more than 30 languages.



Mohammad Hossein Shahriar, was one of the first Azerbaijanis of Iran to write a significant collection of poetry in the Azeri Turkish language. Born in 1906 in a village near Tabriz, one of the major cities in Iranian Azerbaijan, he received his elementary education, including the Divan of Hafez, under his father's supervision. Shahriar’s first formal education was at the Motahari (former Mansoor High School) Secondary School in Tabriz. He subsequently studied at the Darolfonun (former higher education school) in Tehran. Although he studied medicine in college, he dropped out just before getting his diploma and went to Khorasan, where he found a job as a notary public and bank clerk. Initially he published his poems under his given name, Behjat, but later chose the name Shahriar. Shahriar came to Tehran in 1921 and continued his studies in the Dar-ol-Fonoun high school and started studying pathology after graduation from Dar-ol-Fonoun in 1924. He forced by the Shah's regime to leave studying and go away by fearing him to kill and he had to migrate to Neyshabour left his studies about a six month before receiving his M.D. degree, and went to Khorasan. He returned to Tehran in 1935 and started working in the Agricultural Bank of Iran. Shahriar was the first Iranian Azerbaijani to write significant poetry in Azeri Turkish. He published his first book of poems in 1929. His poems are mainly influenced by Hafez, a famous Persian poet, and Khasta Qasem, an old Turkic poet. His most famous poem Heydar-Baba'ya Salam, in Azeri Turkish, is considered to be among the best modern poems in the language and has been turned into a few plays.

His most famous work in Azeri Turkish is Heydar Babaya Salam, published in 1954, and it won the immense affection for all Turkic countries such as Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan. Heydar Babaya Salam has speakers translated into more than 30 languages all over the world. He also received an honorary Ph.D. degree from University of Tabriz in Literature.


This passionate poet began by composing tragic poetry. Many of his bittersweet memories are reflected in his books Hazyan-e Del, Heydar Baba, and Mumiyai. Heydar Baba, composed in Turkish and later translated into Persian, was for a long time on the top ten best-seller list in Tehran. Heydar Baba is the name of a mountain where the poet spent his childhood. He also wrote a book of epic poems, Takht-e Jamshid.

He was interested in humanistic issues and in his poem "A letter to Einstein" he criticized the result of his scientific work that was abused as nuclear weapon.

Shahriar’s verse takes diverse forms, including lyrics, quatrains, couplets, odes, and elegies. One of his love poems, Hala Chera, was set to music by Rouhollah Khaleghi. The composition for orchestra and solo voice became one of his most well-known works. One of the major reasons for the success of Shahriar’s work is the sincerity of his words. Since he uses slang and colloquial language in the context of poetry, his poems are understandable and effective for a broad segment of the public.

Shahriar was a talented calligrapher, played the setar very well, and had a keen interest in music. He was a very close friend of the Persian musician and highly respected teacher Abdulhossein Saba.


His day of death is named the "national day of poem" in Iran. A television series about his life, directed by Kamal Tabrizi, aired on IRIB channel 2.

He died on 18 September 1988 in one of the Tehran's hospitals and his body was transferred to Tabriz and was buried in Maqbaratoshoara (Tombs of Poets).

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