‘Dum Dum Castle’: Story of an epic 17th century Kurdish battle

Dum Dum Castle

Book Review:

‘Dum Dum Castle’ is a novel by Yasin Aziz based on a well-documented account of a long battle in 1609–10 between Kurds and the Safavid Empire. The battle took place around a fortress called Dimdim, located in the Beradost region, near Lake Urmia in north-western Iran.

In 1609, the ruined structure was rebuilt by Emîr Xan Lepzêrîn (Golden Hand Khan), ruler of Beradost, who sought to maintain the independence of his expanding principality in the face of both Ottoman and Safavid penetration into the region. Rebuilding Dimdim was considered a move towards independence that could threaten Safavid power in the northwest. Many Kurds, including the rulers of Mukriyan (Mahabad), rallied around Amir Khan.

After a long and bloody siege led by the Safavid grand vizier Hatem Beg, which lasted from November 1609 to the summer of 1610, Dimdim was captured. All the defenders were massacred. Shah Abbas ordered a general massacre in Beradost, and Mukriyan (reported by Eskandar Beg Turkoman, Safavid historian in the book ‘Alam Aray-e Abbasi) resettled the Turkish Afshar tribe in the region while deporting many Kurdish tribes to Khorasan.

Although Persian historians (like Eskandar Beg) depicted the first battle of Dimdim as a result of Kurdish mutiny or treason, in Kurdish oral traditions (Beytî dimdim), literary works (Dzhalilov, pp 67–72) and histories, it was treated as a struggle of the Kurdish people against foreign domination. In fact, Beytî dimdim is considered a national epic second only to Mem û Zîn by Ahmad Khani. The first literary account of the Dimdim battle was written by Faqi Tayran.

Published in English in April 2013  by Amolibros, ‘Dum Dum Castle’ is available from Amazon  Amazon UK Smashwords and other outlets.

About the author:

Yasin Mahmoud Aziz is from the town of Halabja in south Kurdistan. To avoid being conscripted into Saddam’s army in the fight against Iran, he left the country in 1984, living in Bulgaria, Libya and Italy, and at last settling in England. His English was poor and so he attended college and then university to complete an honours degree in Business and Art.

Yasin Aziz published two books in Kurdish in 2012, ‘Health & Fitness in Running Marathons’, and a book about well-known Kurdish personalities and poets from Islam’s Middle Ages. Another book, about Saladin Ayubi as a Kurdish historical leader, and the Crusaders, is to be published soon, as will a book about the history of English poetry in Kurdish. Also planned are two more books in English on Kurdish poetry in Middle Ages Islam, and one with the working title ‘A Few Days in the Life of the Revolution in Halabja’.

The aim of ‘Dum Dum Castle’ is to bring to the English-speaking community a dramatisation of the history and struggle of the Kurds.

One Response to ‘Dum Dum Castle’: Story of an epic 17th century Kurdish battle
  1. tony cranston
    October 12, 2013 | 19:07

    excellent book from an excellent writer…

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