The Hidden Story of One Thousand and One Nights in Persian: Muhammad Baghir Khurasani’s “Tarjumah Hinrīyah” Patronized in Hyderabad

Saturday December 18, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Poster design by Farzan Kermani

Date & Time:
December 18 | 4pm (PST)
Location: online via Zoom
This talk will be presented in English.

Free & open to the public. Click the link below to register for the event.

Registration Link:

In this presentation, Dr. Mehdi Ganjavi will historicize and explore the lesser known Henriyah Translation‌ (tarjumah hinrīyah), the oldest translation of One Thousand and One Nights into Persian. Patronized by Henry Russell, 2nd Baronet (1783–1852), British resident in Hyderabad, Mohammad Baqir Khurasani Bazanjiri (b.1772) finalized his translation in 1814 almost three decades before Abdul Latif Tasuji embarked on a similar project in Iran. Overlooked by historians of literature, Henriyah Translation‌ happens to be not only the earliest Persian translation, but one which is based on a significantly older (arguably authentic) family of Alf Layla Wa-Layla Arabic manuscripts. Through manuscript and archival study, and textual analysis of the two manuscripts available from this translation, this presentation will narrate an interregional story remained hidden for two centuries about Nights in Persian.

Guest Speaker:

Mehdi Ganjavi received his PhD from the department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at University of Toronto. His work focuses on the cultural Cold War, history of translation, print, publication and the politics of archive and historiography in contemporary Middle East. Ganjavi is a former PEN-CANADA writer-in-residence at George Brown College, and a graduate of Masters of Middle Eastern Civilizations (UofT). His scholarly writings have appeared in the Encyclopedia Iranica, Iranian Studies, and Review of the Middle East Studies. In the last seven years, Dr. Ganjavi edited, reintroduced, and oversaw the publication of seven little-known Persian novels from 1920s-1940s. These novels shed light on the origins of science fiction, detective fiction, historical and utopian fiction in Persian. He recently has finalized and submitted the first critical edition of “Henriyeh Translation”, the oldest Persian translation of “One Thousand and One Nights” (forthcoming with Maniahonar).



Meisam Alipour (novelist, scholar) is a graduate of Master of Art Studies from Tehran University of Art, and bachelor of Graphics Design from Enqelab Tehran University. His research focuses on modern Persian literature, Iranian painting, and Quran manuscripts during Abbasid era.

Pegah Shahbaz, PhD is a specialist of Persian literature of Iran, Central and South Asia. She is currently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy – the Asian Institute, an Associate Member of the Centre d’Études et de Recherches sur l’Inde, l’Asie du Sud et sa Diaspora (CERIAS) at The Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and the Section Editor of the Fables and Tales Chapter of Perso-Indica Project. She works on questions of narratology, women and gender studies, translation and systems of knowledge transmission in the Persianate World, in particular the reception and domestication of Indian religious and cultural heritage in Persianate literary culture.

About the Alireza Ahmadian Lectures in Iranian and Persianate Studies: Alireza Ahmadian (1981 – 2019) was an enthusiastic researcher, a consummate socio-political analyst, and an opinion leader on foreign policy who nurtured the virtues of diplomatic dialogue and liberal democracy. Alireza was a proud and devoted UBC alumnus, supporter of UBC’s Asian Studies department, and beloved member of Canadian-Iranian Community. UBC’s Asian Studies department renamed this lecture series in his honour in 2019. Alireza’s friends in the community have provided funding to support this series, and this generous gift will see these important academic and community engagement events supported through to the end of the 2025/2026 academic year. To access the full list of events, click here.


Should you have any questions, please contact the Department of Asian Studies at