It was a sad day in this remote Kurdish village in the hills of northwestern Iran, especially in the house of Yadollah Zamani-Dadaneh.
He had buried his 18-year-old son, Habib, the day before, and now he was receiving visitors in a small, bare room of his mud and thatch home. A dozen of the other village elders, grizzled men wearing traditional Kurdish outfits with fringed turbans, sat on the floor along smooth, white-washed earthen walls and offered prayers for the boy.
Habib had just died of a gunshot wound suffered a month earlier in Sanandaj, a predominantly Kurdish city 15 miles to the northeast, when police opened fire on antigovernment demonstrators.
His story is practically a case study of Iran's urban unrest spreading to the countryside, to poor muddy villages that have little or no contact with the outside world, and fueling resentment against the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi even miles from Tehran, the capital.
"My son went Sanandaj to study," said Zamani-Dadaneh. "He was the cleverest student in the college there. Then he was in this demonstration and was wounded in the stomach. He was taken to Tehran where he had four operations. But he died in Tehran, and we brought him back here and buried him yesterday."
Zamani-Dadaneh, 55, rubbed a white stubble on his weathered features, his eyes moist and doleful.
"After the death of my son, I won't support the police, pay land taxes or do anything to support the government," he said. "Until we get a government of the people, I will support any group that is against the government. I will support the rest of the people until victory against the shah."
The demonstration in which the young Zamani-Dadaneh was fatally wounded was staged to back demands for the release of political prisoners in Iran. But to the people of Dadaneh, there is more to the dissatisfaction than political prisoners.
During a talk with foreigners visiting their hamlet, village men expressed antigovernment feelings preceding and extending far beyond the death of their friend's son.
They were especially critical of the shah's much-vaunted land reform -- not because they opposed it in principle but because, they said it has never been carried out in a beneficial way.
The farmers and villagers of rural Iran are supposed to be happy with their lot because of the land reform, which nominally transformed them from serfs into landowners. But generally speaking, they are not.
Aside from the widespread political grievances against the shah, villagers such as those of Dadaneh express dissatisfaction over the way land reform has worked.
Since the program was enacted 15 years ago as part of the Shah's "white revolution" -- a package of reforms that tended to undercut the traditional power of the Shiite Moslem clergy while reinforcing his own -- the standard of living in the countryside generally has improved. But it has failed to keep pace with the advances of other segments of society, and the villagers feel they still have a lot to complain about.
During Iran's rush to industrialize in the oil boom, agriculture took a back seat to more grandiose industrial projects that often were built despite a lack of trained manpower and facilities to absorb them.
Another major grievance has been corruption A former minister and undersecretary of agriculture, now both under arrest, were recently accused of raking off millions of dollars in government funds destined for various projects.
In addition, the failure of different ministries to coordinate plans often led to waste, inefficiency and losses.
At best, the Shah's land reform program has had mixed results. Some farmers are better off than they were before, others worse. Most have more cause to complain because they have more responsibilities than they used to, with no claim to services traditionally provided by landlords.
Under the old "one-fifth" system, crops were divided five ways according to who owned the land, who worked it, who provided the water, who supplied the seed and who contributed the animals or machinery for plowing. Normally, the landlord provided all but the labor and reaped four-fifths of the proceeds. But in addition, he was responsible for schools, health care and some other services for his laborers.
Now the farmers and villagers own their land and all that it produces, but they must provide the water, seed and equipment. The government has stepped in with education and medical facilities, but often its help has been inadequate for successful transition from serf to landowner.
Meanwhile Migration to the cities has accelerated and agricultural production has failed to keep pace with demand.
Illustrative of the problems has been the 1973-78 five-year plan, which budgeted $4.5 billion to agricultural development, about 8.5 percent of the total plan. But only 43 percent of the budgeted amount was actually spent. Actual accomplishments were even more dismal. Among the constraints were corruption, a lack of valid projects, bad management and inflation.
"Not enough money was put in to make land reform effective, and half of it was stolen anyhow" an agricultural specialist in Teheran said. The same thing happened to funds for the Forest and Range Management Organization, he added.
A number of projects have developed problems because of no coordination with other ministries to provide roads, power and various other requirements.
One example is the government's Moghan Plain agricultural project in northwestern Iran on the Soviet border. The project has begun producing, but it is exceediingly difficult to get goods to market because the Transportation Ministry has not cooperated.
It takes 24 hours to make the drive over an unpaved mountain road to the nearest marketing center, Tabriz, about 140 miles away as the crow flies.
In a rather far-fetched scheme -- not implemented so far -- one project official proposed expanding a local airport and using C130 transport planes to ferry out sheep, cattle and produce.
At the time of land reform 15 years ago here in Dadaneli, the villagers said, the local landlord kept the best half of the acreage, a fertile valley bottom, while the villagers shared the remaining half. The complain that there was insufficient land to go around for all the villagers and that now they are little if any better off paying land taxes to the government.
The influential landlord, who owns a stone country house a few miles from the village, was described as a patron of the Royal Horse Society and a former ambassador.
The villagers also criticized what they view as inadequate government support. They said producing wheat in the area in cheap, but that the government pays insufficient prices to cover fertilizer, and instead imports wheat from the United States.
The village's state-sponsored school, made of brick but with no glass in the windows, is attended by 120 children in five classes -- all taught by one teacher.
A pipe from a nearby spring is the only source of drinking water for the community's 1,000 residents.
There is one tractor among the farmers. No one owns a car or motorcycle.
The village women and girls, who wear traditional Kurdish tribal costumes, fetch the water and do the cooking over earthen fireplaces built near the entrances of their mud homes, which are heated by dung fuel and where families often sleep five or more to a room.
At another such community a few miles down the dirt road to Sanandaj, an elderly man and a plump middleaged woman squatted in the mud surrounded by several other villagers.
The "village dentist," he pulled out her decayed tooth with a pair of pliers and grinned broadly. The woman rocked back and forth on her heels holding her face in pain.
"There are no doctors or dentists around here," said a Kurdish guide from Sanandaj after witnessing the scene.
Expressing a familiar dissident view, he continued: "This is a very rich country, but the people are poor. We have a lot of oil, but where does the money go? It goes to the army, to buy planes and tanks and machine guns."
He paused and then added, "This is the Shananshah Aryamehr's great civilization."