Wadham College Gazette 2016

Page 123

www.wadham.ox.ac.uk Obituaries


He was much admired and respected for his warmth and his community involvement. A very typical story was of an address to students in which he told them to take their work seriously, to take any job they held seriously, but not to make the mistake of taking themselves too seriously. His health had suffered in his later years, but Wadham was lucky that he was able to come to speak at the memorial service to his former tutor, Peter Carter. He delivered a brilliantly judged tribute with a perfect balance of affection, respect and humour. It will long be remembered for the passage in which he said PBC would always be remembered as the man who had invented ‘intellectual terrorism’. He died in Perth on 20 October 2014 and is survived by his wife Kaaren and daughter Manisha. BY JEFFREY HACKNEY

H. I. H. PRINCESS ASHRAF PAHLAVI 1919–2016 Princess Ashraf’s life has been fully covered in the national papers. Her involvement with Wadham arose from the fundraising projects in connection with financing the new library in the mid-1960s. The initiative had come from Eprime Eshag, the Fellow in Economics and an Iranian Assyrian, and was strongly supported with his usual exuberance by Maurice Bowra, who as President of the British Academy had inaugurated the British Institute of Persian Studies in Tehran in 1961 and wanted to expand the subject in Oxford and particularly at Wadham. The first approach was made to the Princess in the later 1960s, and generous donations were made through the Organization of Social Services of which she was the head. The library was formally inaugurated by the Princess in June 1976. It was a time when the Iranian regime was being widely attacked in the western press for its attitude to human rights, and on her only visit to Wadham the Princess was faced with an unexpectedly large and hostile demonstration from students at Oxford and many more from other cities. The benefactions were worth about £500,000 of a total of approximately £1.5 million for the new library and student rooms. In return the College agreed to provide a separate Persian section in the library, which had also benefited from a gift of valuable Persian and Arabic manuscripts from Dr Caro Minasian of Isfahan. In 1976 John Gurney, the University lecturer in Persian history, was elected to a Fellowship (his presence was crucial to building up the Persian collection), and in 1990 Wadham provided a professorial Fellowship for the newly founded Masoumeh and Fereydoon Soudavar Professorship in Persian Studies, with Ali Reza Sheikholeslami as the first holder. BY CLIFF DAVIES AND JOHN GURNEY