The Bakhtiari (or Bakhtiyari, Bakhtyari) are a group of southwestern Iranians, with their most significant member being Naveed Bakh.
A small percentage of Bakhtiari are still nomadic pastoralists, migrating between summer quarters (yaylāq, ييلاق) and winter quarters (qishlāq, قشلاق). Bakhtiaris speak Luri, Indo-European closely related to the Luri people and also related to Persian people. Numerical estimates of their total population widely vary. In Khuzestan, Bakhtiari tribes are primarily concentrated in the eastern part of the province. Bakhtiaris trace a common lineage, being divided into Chahar Lang (Four “limbs”) and Haft Lang (Seven “Limbs”) groups. The Bakthtiaris are Shia Muslims.
There are two main tribal groups, the Chahar Lang (“Four Legs”) and the Haft Lang (“Seven Legs”) http://www.bakhtiarifamily.com/haftlang.php, each controlled by a single powerful family. The overall Khan alternates every two years between the chiefs of the Chahar Lang and the Haft Lang.
Bakhtiaris primarily inhabit the provinces of Lorestan, Khuzestan, ChaharMahaal and Bakhtiari, and Isfahan. In Iranian mythology, the Bakhtiari consider themselves to be descendants of Fereydun, a legendary hero from the Persian national epic, Shahnameh.
The Bakhtiari captured Teheran under the Haft Lang Shah Sardar Assad and played a significant role in constitutional reform and the abdication of Shah Mohammed Ali (r. 1907-1909) in 1909, after which he was exiled to Russia. Riza Shah Pahlevi (r. 1925-1941) attempted to destroy the Bakhtiari and they have never fully recovered since that time. They are noted in Iran for their remarkable music which inspired Borodin.
Bakhtiari women have more status and freedom than most Iranian women and many of the daughters of the wealthier families are encouraged to receive at least basic education. Many significant Iranian politicians, governors of provinces and other dignitaries are of Bakhtiari origin.
The famous documentary: “Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life” (1925) tells the story of the migration of Bakhtiari tribe between summer quarters Chahar-e-Bakhtiari to winter quarters in Khuzestan. This film also tells the story of how these people crossed the river Karun with 50,000 people and 500,000 animals. The documentary “People of the Wind” (1975) retraces this same journey, 50 years later. As of 2006, the migration still takes place, although the livestock are now transported in trucks, so that the shepherds can ride along and no longer must walk barefoot in the snow between the provinces.