Gohar Jawanmardi

As Interviewed by Declan K., March 9, 2018
"Towards the end it was like… run for your life, or die. "
Gohar Jawanmardi

Introductory Profile: About Gohar Jawanmardi

About Gohar Jawanmardi

My interviewee was Gohar Jawanmardi; she is the mother of a close friend of my parents. Until recently, she had resided in Houston, but her home was flooded by Hurricane Harvey. She temporarily moved to stay with her son in Austin, where I met her. Gohar Jawanmardi was born in Mumbai, India on February 2nd, 1945. She later emigrated to Pakistan and England, before finally moving to Iran. Later, she transferred to Houston, Texas. Currently, she is retired. The flood damage of her home has been repaired, and she is now again living in Houston with one of her two sons. Gohar is a shorter woman in her early 70’s with brown eyes and short, curly red hair. She is well-dressed, wears glasses, and has a necklace that celebrates the Baha’i Faith.

My conversation with Gohar Jawanmardi focused on her experience with religious discrimination. Living in Tehran, she worked as an executive secretary for a shipping company. After 1971 life in Iran began to take a turn for the worse. Unlike the majority of Iranians who followed the Shiite religion, Gohar believed in the Baha’i Faith. The revolutionary Shiite Muslims used the Baha’i Faith as a scapegoat for all of the misdeeds done by the American-backed Shah; this lead to the persecution, abuse, and execution of Baha’is. After witnessing the storming of the American Embassy in Tehran from her office across the street, Gohar finally realized she had to leave her home for the safety of herself and her family. With the help of her friends and her boss, she deftly plotted her escape, and upon her arrival in America, Gohar was granted religious asylum.

Despite her difficult, traumatic experiences, Gohar remains gregarious and undaunted. However, when Gohar retells her story about the Iranian Revolution in the interview, her voice becomes solemn, and she tenses up. Her responses are measured and circumspect. To this day, there are still harrowing memories of the revolution that she doesn’t feel comfortable divulging. Overall, Gohar Jawanmardi is a truly stouthearted soul, and it was my pleasure to interview her.