CHAPTER 9 THE SHUSHI KHANATE (AVSHARS, KERIM ZEND KHAN, THE QAJAR INHERITANCE)

Hovsep Emin lived in Giulistan for ten months. But one day the hospitable Melik Hovsep asked his guest to leave the house and the melikdom. Emin went to Gandzassar. The Albanian Catholicos Hovhannes Jalalian accepted him warmly. From here he left for Shushi to meet Ibrahim Khan, accompanied by the Kolani Kurd Sheikh, whom Emin had freed from captivity, the Shushi dweller Isahac and Movses Bagramian. The Catholicos Hovhannes wrote a letter to Ibrahim Khan about Emin’s arrival, adding that ;

“Accept him according to your wish, but as far as I have noticed, he hopes to find friendly acceptance and attentive treatment on the side of Your Highness, as was treated by the English princes and even by the

Daghestan Lezgis who are in enmity with all the universal nations. Let Your humanity decide how to meet the princely guest and lead your mind to respect the law of hospitability, which was founded by the patriarch Abraham.

Yours Hovhannes Catholicos of Gandzassar,

and servant of Christ.31”

Ibrahim Khan was aware of Emins intentions and activity but the “guest’s” close relationship with the Daghestan Lezgis and the Russian court prevented him from murdering Emin. Probably Emin paid the visit as a special envoy of the Russian empire. During this tour his companian Movses Baghdassarian intended to set up educational institutions in different parts of his native Karabakh but he understood that in the environment of Ibrahim Khan’s anti-Armenian policy, it was impossible to undertake such an activity. Emin adviced him to leave for Madras in 1767, where he devoted himself to teaching the Armenian language and history to the children of influential Armenian of India, at the same time cooperating with the famous representatives of the Armenian community Shahamir Shahamirian, his son Hakob, Grigor Khojajanian and others who were as enthusiastic and patriotic as himself. The Karabakh Armenian immediately engaged himself in is establishing a printing press in the town and publishing political periodicals and literature there. In 1773 he wrote and published the book “A New Book Called Yordorak”, which was a unique creation in the Armenian historiography. It was a new project of the Armenian liberation movement, an appeal to the young generation to restore the independence of their country. It was the first work in the Armenian culture representing public literature and calling the nation to rise for realizing their supreme goals. Nobody else could do such a work except Movses Baghramian, a traveller, researcher, literary student, political dealer, a true compatriot of Hovsep Emin.

The Simeon Catholicos, who had adopted a policy of suppressing any revolt still in cradle, punished Movses Bagramian, unfrocked him and forbade to publish such kind of works.

Hovsep Emin soon returned to Gandzassar from Shushi. The Catholicos Hovhannes Jalalian earnestly confessed that Simeon, the Catholicos of all Armenians had sent letters to himself and the meliks, forbidding to accept Hovsep Emin, or else threatened to unfrock and anathematize them. Now Emin understood why Melik Hovsep had told him to leave his melikdom.

Simeon Catholicos had set up a new campaign against the Gandzassar Catholicossate and seized the Shamakhi and Nakhi-Shaki dioceses, even asking the assistance of the Muslim Khans. It may even seem that the Catholicos of all Armenians hindered the development of the national liberation movements in the most favourable situation, when anarchy and disorder reigned over Iran and there was a weakening in Turkish authority and a well-organized campaign could liberate the country from foreign yoke and restore the statehood under such a celebrated and devoted leader as Hovsep Emin. In Shamakhi Emin was informed that the Armenian-Assyrian Christians of Khoi and Salmast were ready to assist him with an army of 18 thousand armed soldiers. This news made Emin hopeful. He hurried to the Assyrian village Khosrova via Karabakh. But the Asrgrians refused to cooperate with him when learnt that he had no money. Again Emin applied to Hercule. But aware of the Catholicos Simeon’s request, he politely asked Emin to leave the country. Emin went to the Imaret King Solomon, and he invited Emin to take part in his feasts. Emin understood that this feasting King would be of no help to him and left the palace. Emin understood that this was the end of his eight years’ strivings and wanderings. All his dreams dashed to the ground. Emin returned to India, to his family, and lived there till the end of his life.

As Armenia had long since lost its sovereignity and was unable to protect its population and the meliks were the sole authorities of withstanding threats from abroad and maintaining national traditions, the Armenian political dealers and liberators all over the world always turned to them. The alliance to Georgia was of vital importance, but the hopes of the Armenians were frusterated largely by the Georgian King Hercule. The Georgian nobility was disunited and discordant and the Armenians could not rely on them. Both the Armenians and the Georgians were left to their fate. The only realistic hope for them became Russia.

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