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Hamid Enayat

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Hamid Enayat
Political scientist and translator. He was born in Tehran into a middle-class family of religious scholars. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1333 Š./1954 from Tehran University and his master’s and doctorate in politics in 1958 and 1962, respectively, from the London School of Economics, London University. As a youth, he was a member of the Tūda party, but after the 1953 coup d’état (q.v.) he joined Ḵalīl Malekī’s Socialist League (Jāmaʿa-ye sosīālīsthā). In 1960 he helped found and served as secretary of the Confederation of Iranian Students in Europe, which gave birth to the Confederation of Iranian Students, National Union (q.v.). After a year spent as a visiting professor at Khartoum University in the Sudan (1965-66), ʿEnāyat returned to his native Persia, where in 1966 he received an appointment as associate professor of political science at Tehran University. In 1980 he was appointed Lecturer in modern Middle-Eastern history and Fellow of St. Antony’s College at Oxford, a post he held until his death.

ʿEnāyat was an able writer and a masterful translator; from 1973 to 1976 he served on the social science committee of the Persian Language Academy (Farhangestān-e zabān-e Īrān, q.v.). As an able and meticulous editor, he served at the Franklin Publications (q.v.), Ārīā Mehr University (now Dānešgāh-e ṣanʿatī-e Šarīf), and Dāneš-e now publisher. He had full command of English, knew Arabic, French, and German well, was familiar with Pahlavi, and had a smattering of Russian, Japanese, and a number of other languages. His translations of three works by Bernard Shaw, Jack London, and Guy de Maupassant, respectively, were published in 1954, and in the following year he published a translation of Romain Rolland’s essays on three musicians. His translation of Aristotle’s Politics (Sīāsat, Tehran, 1337 Š./1958) and Hegel’s Reason in History (ʿAql dar tārīḵ) and Master and Slave (Ḵodāygān o banda) were generally acclaimed for the precision and elegance of their language. Later ʿEnāyat wrote on politics, philosophy, and culture. The most important of his writings are Bonyād-e falsafī dar Ḡarb (Tehran, 1970), Eslām wa sosīālīsm dar Meṣr (Tehran, 1971), Sayr-ī dar andīšahā-ye sīāsī-e ʿArab (Tehran, 1977), and Modern Islamic Political Thought (Austin, Tex., 1982).

ʿEnāyat developed an attitude of moderation and reconciliation which was reflected in all aspects of his life. Combining gentle wit and an impish sense of humor with breadth of knowledge and facility of expression, ʿEnāyat was a very effective and exacting, though sympathetic teacher. He was much admired by his students, some of whom became noted scholars in their own right.
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