On the Occasion of Hundredth
Anniversary of Seraj Akhbar bimonthly Publication (1911-1918)
We and Modernism
Seddiq Rahpoe Tarzi
the Foundation of Modernity The question
of political thoughts are separated in two contexts. Certainly the one is
the world of despotism in which a small minority, like shepherds, herd
the others. In this structure the best people are who have to obey the
head of the clan like a slave. In the another context there are people who
believe that humans are not the government policy instruments. The rulers
and governors should be placed in the service of public. At the core of
this structure is the essential thing is law which derived from
representatives of the people who voted in a free and competitive
As we know, with the enlightened
vision of a new though to the world and behind it is associated with the
West Europe, in the sixteenth century. The wide circle of this idea
comprise and consist of all sides of human life including itself, reasons
and God. This bring across profound transformation in the arts,
philosophy, and above all politics. According to scholars of this
movement, the wisdom of man can be used against ignorance and
irrationality, superstition and tyranny, for more better life and making
an good environment. They believed and achieved that with the help of
wisdom, a person can learn, and find freedom and even joy and happiness.
However, the target of this idea was to curb the inheritances of
political power who dominated the society. It was supported by the idea of
divine power and be called Divine Governance.
However, this was the view of
renaissance humanism in the seventeenth century that discovered that the
human ability. This was Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) who challenged the
church thoughts about earth and the sun. Although he under the pressure of
Inquisition and the Church, changed his words in appearance but he
believed in his idea that earth turning around the sun. His ideas through
the evolution of objective knowledge and wisdom still continued. The
sowing of doubt was the first brick on the floor of the castle of
knowledge. After him, Voltaire, Rousseau, Locke, Hume and Montesquieu,
Newton, Kant, ... and French encyclopedists who opened the doors of
development. This view of form human view points are enshrined in the USA
Charter of human rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and
Citizenship in France.
Now this is the enlightened view
which slowly, despite opposition from the different sections, entered the
people's hearts. The rational views gave opportunity to human for bringing
the profound changes in his environment. This fact paved the Tarzi for
Industrial Revolution. We can trace its influence on all aspects of our
Along with this vision, there exists
the old ideas. According to it, the fate of human-being had been
determined long time ago and for understanding the essence issues have
limited power and is bound to be imperfect. In this line, all
conservative, religious leaders and and their branches are in the one
rank. According to Hafez view points, “ The conflicts of seventy-two
religious sects is no important, since they did not understand the truth,
and went stray and took refuge in the myths and even superstition.” In
addition to them, all those who have political power and use it
tyrannically, they should be added. Its very interesting that they use all
technical achievements, but when they face the basic principle of of
modern thinking, like human right or equality between different people,
especially men and women, they reject it entirely.
We and these conceptions
Afghanistan with her political and
geographical identity now-a-day and present, took shape at the end of the
seventeenth century and especially in the second decade of eighteen
century. Ahmad Abdali (1752-1872), with sword and tact, made an Imperial
During the reign of Ahmad Abdali and
his son Timur, though some tribes leaders revolt, can be called the era of
relative stability. This period continued for one century. The security
inside the country with powerful central government, paved the Tarzis for
development of agriculture, hand work and manufactures. The doors of some
Madrases had been opened. But lessons in them were confined within the
framework traditional Islamic topics including Qur'an, Sunnah and Feq or
Islamic religious jurisprudence fully. The Arabic language was dominant
all topics. It must not be forgotten that beside these schools, there
were other schools too. We can call them literary circles. Instead of
Arabic language they thought in Persian language. As a result, parts of
poetry, calligraphy, literature and especially prose writing developed
deeply. Next to these topics they thought: philosophy, logic, medicine and
even empirical knowledge, like the alchemy and so.
After the death of Ahmad Shah
Abdali, due to war for getting and keeping political power, the period of
cultural and economic recess began. After that time all parts of society
were sealed in the coffin of traditionalism. Social and cultural growth
was like slow moving tortoise.
With the death of Timur, due to the
Islamic principle of polygamy and shaping of the Harems a lot of his sons
remained and competing for crown. This war between different princes with
support of the Abdali tribe branches as: Saduzais, Dorrani, Barakzai and
Mohammadzay society suffered severe fatigue and exhaustion. Existing of
traditional social relations, religious and tribal traditions, especially
religious and tribal one which said the last word, tool all things in its
clenched fists. In the religious attitude line, Amir Muhammad, declared
himself Amir ol Mumenin or Commander of Faith.
Zaman one of these princes who got
power with the help of multiple branches Abdali tribe for achieve absolute
power, he murdered Sardar Paindah, one of the tribal leaders and his
companions too. This act brought internal crisis and the struggle for the
throne. It paved the Tarzi for intervention of Russia and England which
both of them crept slowly form Europe to her borders in North, South
and East. They for completing the circle of blockade, added Pars, the
western neighbor to it too.
This period of crisis and chaos
continued to the time of Amir Abdol Rahman (1880). He with the help of
Great Britain and Russia, came to power. We must not forget that first
nexus of new thinking was laid in the time of Amir Sher Ali in the second
half of 19th century. Due to relatively political stability of
four decades of Amir Dust Mohammad rule (D.1863) and the consequences of
Russian in North and England in South and East the ground was paved for
getting familiar with values of Modernism which were byproduct of
Enlightenment in Europe. As we know the core of Enlightenment thinking was
opposing to Dark Age and based on reason and integration of empirical
The Situation in our Region
Struggle between Traditionalism and
Modernism was the basic theme of developments and political events in
Mideast. In the middle of 18th century new and modern ideas
penetrated here slowly. We see a strong reaction of the of religious
leaders in these societies. It was crystallized in the Islamic law which
based on the Koran and Sunnah (Sayings of Mohammad).
The Roots of
After the collapse of the Islamic
caliphate in 13th century, our land became the military and war
borders of Muslim world. In this time the method of fiefdom in which an
estate of land was given and one held on condition of feudal service,
shrank the growth and development of agriculture production and paved the
Tarzi for shaping feudal and tribal system.
Here, after the fall of the
Samanids, and transferring the power of Ghaznavids, the rigor and
religious intolerance was extremely high. Under this pressure, all of the
dissidents as Mu'tazilites, Ismaili and Shiite (followers) of Ali and
other were suffering badly. Philosophical books were burned. The
philosophy Tarzi of thinking was banned and forbidden. It's very
interesting that even Ibn e Khaldun the famous historian who believed in
the profound social changes did let that philosophical thoughts and
outlook enters his mind. He even said that the philosophy and the physic
is not important for life and human actions. He believes it is important
that Elm (Religious thoughts) just strengthen religious faith. His excuse
was that such kind of sciences make a lot of questions about the World
and God and consequently weak belief and faith to religious thoughts. This
kind of pressure give a space of give in and surrender for the
intellectuals and even religious thinkers. Surrender to the faith of Islam
was the only official measures of the government and the community. This
atmosphere closed the Tarzi for putting any questions and the debates. The
aim of this kind of prejudice outlook was to keep statuesque and prevent
every critical and analytic view points about Islamic religious text and
orders. Thus, on every pluralistic view points they stamped as infidelity.
Rulers used religion as a tool to strengthen the foundations of their
power. This kind of treatment brought a deep gap among scholars of
religion and judges on the one hand and people on the other hand. Thus
scientists and intellectuals bow down to compromise or submitted
completely. Consequently, agencies and religious institutions day to day
getting aTarzi from individual religion experience. This led that
madrases or religious schools to be changed as a means for religious
fanatic and shaping formalism. Some believe that the attack and aggression
of Mongols strengthened more this belief. Thus rejecting the world ideas
paved the Tarzi for extending prejudice and belief in superstitions. Some
people thought that the aggression of Mongols (12th century) is
the time of resurrection and God's wrath against sin of Muslims. This long
era is a time of chaos and confusion in which hypocrisy and hypocrites
had got a superior hand. In this period we are witness that some rulers,
as they were reciting Koran, their executioners were cutting the heads of
innocent people and a pool of blood was shaping around them.
apparatus had been made of sharia in which Feq or religious jurisprudence
makes its core. In principle, this term is meant to recognize and
understand. But, later went to work in religious orders. From the seventh
to ninth centuries AD, four branches of schools of law or Feqh took shape
as: Hanafie, Shafie, Hanbalie and Malikie formed. In addition to these
four, Jaffari jurisprudence of the Shiite (followers) of Ali, came to
scene. After that, the door of ijtehad or making a decision out of Feqh,
was closed. Thus the Tarzis of interpretation that was a respond to social
and economic transformation was tight. The consequence of this prohibition
put the Feqh in a tight framework and took out its adaptive abilities.
However, until mid of 19th century it between the suppressed
any kind of Islamic religion interpretation. This was a very sensitive
time for Islamic world which faced with the deep modern changes which was
done in Europe. These changes were due to Enlightenment age which made a
lot of influences in all conners of human life. Thus once again the theme
and the issue of ijtehad surfaced. Some scholars proposed that a lot of
issues must be solved on the ground of the consensus. However, this need,
was faced with the strong and harsh reaction religious scholars. They
denied any change in this regard.
In our geographical area, it was
Turkey that became a Pioneer in this direction, and then Persia followed
her. However, these two movements, under the leadership Medhat Pasha in
Turkey and Mirza Taqi in Iran who under the pressures of tyranny regimes
were killed became broken.
Cores of New Changes
After the 18th century
due to discovery of new ocean roads and civil wars for getting or keeping
the political powers, the land trade ended in this area. The out come of
this phenomena was a sever decline of cities' development. The only
non-Muslim minorities who were not very much under pressure from religious
fanaticism, like Hindus, Jews and Armenians had a chance to have contact
with the outside world. Since they did not enjoy the equal status to
Afghan Muslim, had not been changed to an influence economic class to
bring modern ideas and modern Tarzis of life here. They were humiliate by
the rulers, the religious scholars and tribal leaders greatly. These
groups were active in a closed circle of a tiny economy.
The enlightenment outlook rises from
rationalism. This was due to scientific discoveries of Copernicus,
Galileo, Newton and experimental knowledge of Bacon, Descartes and Kant,
and others, they brought a profound transformation in social science and
humanities, which analysis the political structure at the core.
However, in our country which she
was slept in a tick shell of traditionalism, even in literature is a
window for human expression, the life remained in the personal area. They
were expressed only in the narrow circle of love and Hjran or separation
one hand and moral advice, especially aTarzi from real world and confined
in mysticism and Sufism monastery aimed only to reach to Allah or God and
even being annihilated in it. The scientists and writers were clamped
together under the tyranny of the religious and political pressure. They
were affiliated madrases or religious schools or were chained as a poet
or clerk in the court. They were confined in the narrow circle of
State of political and economic
crisis in 19th centuries due to civil wars, literature
scholars lost even the minor support or guardianship and protection of
rulers or princes. In fact under the ceiling of madrases one only could
hear just the repetition of breathtaking voices of Islamic religious old
interpretations and something else did not resonate. Beside the small
group of scholars and poets there were a large masses of workers, peasants
and shopkeepers, who were illiterate and believed in superstitious
Technical Modernism by the Mean
of Gun's Stock
political, economic and cultural crisis with the situation of civil war,
threatened to destroy the monarchy and the government.
At the same
time Sikhs, Persian and Khanate of Bokhara, were trying to get a piece of
this land. At the same time our neighbors tried
to bring reforms in their armies on the line of European military methods
who were knocking their doors.
The windows of technical innovation
in the military sphere, for the first time penetrated in Amir Muhammad
(18631826) rule. To consolidate his power base and prevent the further
breakdown of his land, used all the political, military means even took
advantage of marriage institution. However, he was not familiar with all
technical matters, anyone who claims to have a military knowledge, would
be warmly welcomed. Due to this fact every adventurist who claimed some
times as physician or military expert, had chances to sat down in his
court. The story of a French adventurer named Agroo, is very interesting.
Since this man who was drunk alTarzis, Afghans called him bottle man. Some
of them for getting more influence and presence in the court, even became
This modification in the army, only
created an infantry regiment. On the other side, Amir, tried to take the
control of the mullahs. So he called himself Amir Ol Mumenin or Commander
of Faith (1834). This changes only remained limited in Kabul. It should
not be forgotten that the army strictly kept its relations with the ethnic
and tribal groups. In other sectors, society was steeped down in the
superstition and backwardness deeply . Here, we can not see the cultural
changes. They were not taken advantage from new achievements in technic,
business and industry as well as in agriculture.
In this time the Anglo-Afghan wars,
paved the strong ground for tribal worriers and religious leaders to
consolidate their base of power by proclaiming Jehad or holly war. This
fact strengthen the political power of traditionalists. These two facts
made a strong barrier against bringing social and political reforms. We
are witness of their strong reactions in against reforms in the length of
twenty century too.
Thus modernism was confined in the
military and some technical areas.
New steps for Modernism
In our country, new thinking
coincides with an idea of modernity, but more on technical side in the
time of Amir Sher Ali (1879-1823) rule. Some historian believe that the
first nexus of capitalism development which comparing with old one is
very progressive was laid in this period. He would like to change and
modify the traditional society, and to organize and find new
perspectives. The first public school opened its doors. He paid attention
to development of economy, culture, craft, especially weapons, and
develop a new bread of animal stocks.
On the line
of changes he introduce the new Tarzis of taking taxes. Before tax was
collected as kind as food or grains. It was canceled and money took the
place. The salary of officers and soldiers which was paid by the farmer,
had been given by the state treasury. Their barracks were transfered from
the center of cities to outside of city in a military barrack. He in the
course of founding and building of a new city as Sher Pur, in the north
of Kabul in 1870 which more than thousands of people were at work, instead
of forced labor practices, paid every laborer day by day. Even where the
soldiers were employed, extra to their average monthly salary added five
On the political area he power, he
established State Council and executive branch on the same time in 1874.
He made the office of Chancellor, Secretary of War, Interior and Finance
and the Treasure too. To bring more order, he made office of Head
He summoned the general assembly of
tribals or Jerga in which more than two thousands people were gathered. He
put the conflicts with his brothers Sardar Mohammad Amin and Sardar
Mohammad Sharif. At the end of day the Jerga removed Amin from power.
The most important steps toward
modernism was reforms in education. As a result, two new civil and
military schools were founded in Bala Hessar or Castle of Kabul. They
had deep differences with the former madrases. There were taught military
and civilian lesson and English language by Indian teachers. The next step
is indeed was establishing a print house. Shams Ol Nehar, the country's
first publication, was printed there in 1875. In this printing house new
treaties with new orientation were published. He opened the first postal
office and issued the first postal ticket too. He establish a regular
army, which previously formed as tribal army or lashkars which we consider
the most important achievements. Along with the other reforms, a small
factory which was making cannons formed. For the first time uniforms for
soldiers and officers were introduced.
The presence of Russia and Great
Britain, forced the country's rulers to turn to isolationism. This
simultaneously made a kind of paranoia and hatred against them. The bitter
fruit of this effect can be seen at doubts of people to all European
achievement including modernism ideas. This continues to reinforce the
more traditionalists, religious and tribal leaders on political areas.
These were the big obstacles against deep social reforms.
New and Modern Afghanistan
I believe the word of new and
modern Afghanistan can be used after the end of the Second Anglo-Afghan
War at the time of Amir Abdur Rahman rule.(1880-1901). At that time the
borders of country were drawn and confirmed by international law. Amir
says himself about as, “ My aim is that hundred small Sardars and rulers,
thieves and killers brought to chain of decline...This is very important
for breaking the tribal and feudal system and shaping a big community in
which law and order must have upper hand.” (L. Dupree, 1973.p.419)
Amir Abdul Rahman was the first
sovereign who took his legitimacy not from Afghan tribal structure but by
force and diplomacy. He bringing down the influence of tribal leaders and
mullahs , gave his sovereignty the shape of divine power. He took the
sword of power in his one hand and the Koran in the other. He draw the
picture of his country which in the resolute of civil wars and
Anglo-Afghan wars had reached to the brink of chaos as, “ Every mullahs,
religious leader, clerics and leader of every tribes and even elders of
village think that they are independent king. In the length of two
hundreds years, the absolute power of mullahs and religious leaders were
not broken down by our rulers. Mirans of Turkestan, Mirans of Hazara and
leaders of Ghalzai tribe, had been stronger than every Amir.” (V.
Gregorian had taken this quotation from the book, “life of Abdol Rahman.”
It was by Sultan, the Amir's secretary. He tells that Amir has written a
part of the book and dictated the rest. This book is now has been kept the
museum of Great Britain. Some Afghan authors who want to eradicate the
Durand border line, had questioned its originality and authenticity but
Muhammad Ali in his book, Period of Mohammadzais had taken a quotation
form it in pages. 141 to 143. Mahmud Tarzi in Seraj ol Akhabr biweekly
No.13, p.4, the second year, has taken a quotation from it too. It seems
that Amir asked Dr. Gertzbach, an official from Great Britain who was in
Amir's service to edit the events until 1886. However, the British Indian
government considered it inappropriate that one of its agents be involved
in the writing of book.
Amir claimed that he have miracles
and received inspirations from occult forces. He believed that
relationship between people and ruler, is a kind of link between sheep and
shepherds. Thus he succeeded to bring an administrative, political and
During the reign of Amir Abdul
Rahman, you can see that on the side of drawing the borders, the country
test a kind of modernization efforts too. He for the technical growth,
hired 428 foreign experts from India, England and the British. He opened
the doors of new little workshops, business houses and small weapons
factory, leather factory, making the main roads, building bridges and
houses for caravans. Establishing the different agencies for overseeing
foreign and domestic trade, soap and candle making workshops, the first
public hospital, and made a workshop for the minting. He banned some
superstitious tradition too.
Such, Amir Abdul Rahman, put
attention for technical innovation but were limited within Kabul city. He
did not permit for rail Tarzi to enter the land. He did not gave attention
to development of education. The outcome of this policy shaped an isolated
country. It was cut form regional and even global changes and got just
some technical innovations. We must not forget the negative roles which
was played by Russia and England for for country's isolation.
Amir, but with Modern Thoughts
Amir Habibullah and Nasrollah were
two sons of Amir Abdolrahman from one mother. Their mother was a slave
girl from Wakhan, in the North East of the country. Her name was Golriz
(Flowery). Although Amir Abdolrahman before his death made Habibolla as a
prince crown in 1895 and gave him important missions for him, these two
brothers on the line of struggle for power, isolated Mohammad Omar, who
was the son of lady Halima from famous Abdali tribe. In the competition
between Habibullah and Nasrollah, the first by relaying on the support of
army which made the backbone of Abdolrahman power, took the crown. The
smooth transition, of power in the length of19th century in the country
was unprecedented. In this situation, he slowly preferred the the glory of
the court than sever conditions of tribal life.
Amir Habibullah (1919-1901 AS.) Then
the title will be available on Siraj Din Almlt and, as in a palace
massacre in 1902. On foot, he said, 'The Progress of a nation and
government is impossible without the progress of science. I am determined
that in the country, schools are founded.,, (Dust, 1374. P. 0.700.)
Amir Habibullah, with peace and
security which his father brought to previous chaos situation, made some
reforms. The first step for shaping a calm political situation, he
pardoned the families which his father were sent in exile. The exiled
people came back from India and Turkey, Iran and even Central Asia. They
being for a long time in foreign lands, get familiar with modernism which
were against conservatism and obscurantism. This new ideas were opposite
to the old Tarzi of life.
It was done in a time which country
was in the absolute isolation. There was no ground for the economic,
especially intellectual development. The Islamic religion which was the
only little window for getting knowledge was covered with the tick cover
of conservatism. There was no any open window for for blowing the breeze
Here the filed of literacy and
learning was in the grip of religious leaders. Just a small portion of
educated and experienced people was like a little island in the big ocean
of illiteracy and ignorance. Religious leaders used only Koran and Hadith
and read them with old Arabic language. But this languages was renewed and
had got a lot of changes. So due to this fact they can not use the modern
Arabic language and were cut down from grasping new changes which was
running in Arab world. So they had not any relations and communications
with new books, newspapers which were published there and had not kept the
pules of changes under their fingers.
Amir, contrary to the policy of his
father, who had put strong control on the clergies, religious leaders. It
was done by the encourage and efforts of Sardar Nasrollah. They got high
positions the position in court.
Beside them there was a little
group of educated people who were concerted only on Kabul. They were
composed the big portion of civil and military officers. They were also
under the influence of the traditional analysis. Among them a handful knew
Returners and their Effect on
the subsequent Social and Political Changes
As we know, Amir pardoned the people
which his father were sent to exiles. As a result, some large families,
turned back form British India, the Ottoman Empire and also of Central
The new generation who were born in
foreign countries or the youths who were send to exile, grew in a new and
open environments and world. They were trained and educated there. The
most important influence was that they developed a new independent
From their return and penetrating to
court of Amir who liked innovations a new atmosphere were shaped in the
court with profound quality changes. Some of them who were familiar to the
English language and social and economic change in India, had long
attached to it.
and his family, and even his older brothers who had arrived earlier, were
under the idea and impact of changes in intellectual and cultural context
of the Middle East, especially the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman empire, was
a large part of Mideast and close neighbor of Europe. The borders of this
huge Empire reached to Eastern Europe. The Ottoman Empire had close ties
with Europe from East to West.
this process, family of Yahya or especial courtiers who had new ideas of
changes on the line of British innovations in India, were active in Amir's
court. They were engaged particularly in military part of court and
achieved high positions.
In this regard, the families of
other exiles, such as Mojadedians from Herat and Gilanis also came to the
country. Amir also gave payed attention to Hazrat of Shurbazar family and
gave them high positions. Thus the religious and spiritual leaders who in
the time of Amir Abdolrahman, were marginalized in the society, again
entered political filed.
Thus we see that the impact and
influences of these families ideas shaped the future political events in
all 20th century and now too.
Louis Dupree believe that in
parallel with the strong religious views, “ The modern and renovation
ideas under the leadership of Mahmud existed. It put a strong influences
on the events of Afghanistan in second decade of the twentieth century.”
(Dupree, Afghanistan .1973. p. 430)
Period and Seraj Akhbar
In our history the time of Amir
Habibolla's rule called Serajian Period.(19101-1919). This ares was on of
most secure, stable and more firmly established one. It ranges first two
decades of the twentieth century.
When he came to power the country
with its deep chaos and rebellions of past due to the strong policy of his
father, entered a calm and peaceful period.
Thus the dawn of the twentieth
century l in our country started with light and calm. It is clear that he
during his rule faced twice little rebellions of 1909 and 1918, in Kabul.
The first one had been done by the advocators of social reforms and some
pro-anarchist one. The second was an attempted assassination But, the most
shocking one was plot which we can call a court coup. It killed him and
put final dot to all sided reforms.
What can be noted that, without
doubt, is that Amir had a nature of reform minded man and liked
innovations very much. He wanted to bring changes and male reforms. Due to
his love of the technical achievements, new innovations took roots slowly
in this remote and isolated land.
Whenever his father mad an military
expeditions to different provinces and remote ares of country, he was
working a governor of Kabul and regent too. He was very successful in his
duties in this capacity. He was supervisor of industrial innovation and
commander of military forces too.
He in the time of his rule, put more
attention to new and modern technical innovations than to political,
economic and social one.
Here I refer
to some examples:
(1903). It was the
first school which its curriculum followed the new methods. It was run
with and help of Indian teachers. There was a qualitative difference
between text of this the school's lessons to madrases or religious
schools. They were under the eyes of religious leaders. At the beginning
of the school curriculum was a copy of Indian school which brought by
Britain in India. Indian teachers who came from Lahore or were graduated
madrasah. After 1914, there came changes in teaching methods, and Turkish
styles, which were taken from France, became common. This transformation
was on the line of Islamic solidarity and defusing the protest of
traditionalists. Of course it must not be forgotten that these teachers
had a role in the movement which wanted to overthrow the Amir Habibolla
At the same
time role of religious school were high than the new schools. In
different cities there were a lot school in which students learned Koran.
Every village had madrasah. We can say every mosque itself was considered
a religious school. Amir had wanted to to send Afghan students to foreign
countries for higher education. But a part of religious people and
conservative forces inside court opposed to it. However, these ideas came
to fruition later. The impact of such reforms can be seen later.
Establishing the Department of Education.
Opening of Army school with the help of
A new Printing house .
Opening of schools for teachers
Making gardens and parks in Paghman.
purchase and sale of prisoners who were jailed in the time of his father.
Review the cases
of prisoners who were sinless.
Prohibiting acts of blinding of an
Closed the door and freed persons who
were kept in dungeon.
Opening an orphanage.
birth day and crowned day They were a new phenomena in a closed society
like Afghanistan. They brought a lot of amazing of unprecedented
Limiting the lavish expenditure on
weddings. He applied it first at the wedding of her sister and made a
simple wedding ceremony.
Extending the first telephone line
between Kabul and Jalalabad.
Opening of the photography exhibition in
Opening the first coffee house in area
of Chaman e Hozuri.
Making a golf field.
Importing the fist car of Daimler - Benz.
Opening the first leather factory.
Establishing the wool weaving factories.
Making the first roads for vehicles.
Caravanserai on the road to stop and rest by the name of Serajia Robat.
Grounding the first core of central bank
and stock exchange.
The first civilian and Military hospital.
Digging the first water canal and named
it River of Seraj in Kandahar. (1907)
Qargah dike. (1912)
First of generating electric turbine in
Jabel el Seraj. (1907)
Until then, there were very limited
number of printing house and printed books except Koran and religious
books. There amount were not up to ten. At the time of Amir Abdul Rahman
some of the official decrees had also been published.
A trip to India in 1907. During his visit
to the Islamic school in Lahore, he advised the students as: “Learn! And
The presence of non royal family members
in high and important jobs.
The changes in the dam and there were
many obstacles. Most important, it would be a shortage of capital.
On the Tarzis of these changes ,
there were many barriers and obstacles. Most important, it would be a
shortage of capital. Tribal leaders and clerics had closed community
structure and were on on top of it. They had a fear of foreign investment
and did not want it to be placed on the outside of these limited and
closed social relationship. They even prevented the making of the
national telegraph and the railroad too. It should not be forgotten that
the tribes who were living in Khyber Passage were a big barrier and
stumbling block against the extending of rail Tarzi. They were afraid of
the influence of central power on their power.
However, young and innovation
oriented mind Amir Habibullah, paving the ground for reforms, with all
its limit. It worked and brought a small group of investors on the scene
slowly. The political awareness which Seraj Akhbar promoting it made a
strong effect on the future of Afghanistan.
A little lamp in the darkness
I think it should be noted that
beforehand that the innovation minded of Amir Habibolla, along with
Mahmud Tarzi highly flexible methods, maneuvers and skills, provided the
groundwork for the publication of a periodical newspapers of nearly a
decade. It was the first biweekly with a long time publication in the
For grasping the depth of his ideas
and thinking, it should be looking at a short glimpse of of his life.
as he said, “ Form the time which recognized my right and left hand” had
been grown in environment which the poetry, literature and high culture
made its theme and topic. Here, poets and writers of literature came
together and talking on the world of poetry, literature and politics
which was the part and parcel of their life. In the house and garden of
his father Gholam Mohammad Tarzi there was a large library of manuscripts.
There were a group of calligraphers who copied the most rare books.
Calligraphy was a very important part of their culture activities.
political and literary atmosphere shaped his destiny and future. He as a
child was witnessed that his father put in jail. He was wondered that his
father and his colleagues prisoners in the jail and behind the iron bars
were composing and reciting poetry and literary and debating on political
affairs. This kind of literature and politics were intertwined in his
every artery vessels and all his existing.
He later, with his father and
brothers in were put in prison by Amir Abdolrahman before sending them in
exile to India (1882). The free mood, space and atmosphere of India where
the fear of tyranny was non, put a fresh air in his mind. Then he went to
Baghdad Since the Turkish language was the official language of Ottoman
Empire, he found opportunity to learn it. He dominant this language very
soon and became the interpreter of his father and associated with him all
the time. Then at the end they settled in Damascus of Syria, which at that
time was under the rule of Ottoman Empire. This fact gave him big chance
for contact with high political, literary and cultural figures.
This cultural space, faced his
searching mind with a lot of questions which opens the first gate of
He arrived in Syria, in such a time
that name of Medhat Pasha was dominated the cultural and political space.
He was recently put in the prison in Taief of Saudi Arabia, which was
located in the territory of the Ottoman Empire at that time. Then Sultan
Hamid II, ordered to kill him at the darkness of night (1884). People
loved him very much and were talking about him secretly. This bloody and
shocking fact, turned his mind to him and tried to find his Tarzi of
thinking. Medhat was born in an intellectual family (1822) in Istanbul.
This occurred in a time when the wave of modernism ideas were blowing from
Europe to Asia. Since Turkey was the nearest Asian country to Europe,
accepted modern views and ideas sooner that rest. Medhat, soon entered
secretaryship of the court. Where he had a sharp mind accepted the new
ideas of modernism. Then due to his abilities, appointed the governor of
different provinces of Ottoman Empire. He made a deep reforms and change
in the provinces. In a lot of cities, villages he created the Council of
People, opened the door of schools. He expanded the knowledge and art,
created the Agricultural Bank. He and other intellectuals like Zia Pasha,
Namak Kamal and other Turkish intellectuals, put the draft of
Later, Sultan Hamid, the changed it
plan changed it completely and announced his own version in (1876). He
ruled with the same iron fist and dictatorship Tarzis of running the land.
Sultan with the fear of the new ideas of Medhat in challenge of his power
dismiss him form court. Medhat made a trip to Europe and had more
integration of the new ideas. Emperor made him the Governor of Damascus
of Syria. There he made a deep reforms too. These steps, sparked the
outrage of king. Soltan put him to court and sentenced him to death. With
the pressure of European countries he change it to life imprisonment.
However, at middle of night 8th of May the eighth, the king's
aides, killed him with rope in prison. (1884)
The new ideas
of modernism enriched the mind of Mahmud Tarzi and brought a lot of
awareness. At the same time, although he was far from home started for
writing. I believe that his writing of that time which some of them was
published in Kabul shows better the depth of ideas. These are as:
Collection of ethics, Damascus,
Syria. (1880), Travelogue of Happiness door, Damascus, Syria, (1888 ),
Travelogue of three Pieces of Land in twenty-nine days, Damascus, Syria.
(1890), From Every Mouth a Word, and the from every Lawn an Jasmine
Flower, Damascus, Syria.(1891) The Garden of Philosophy, Damascus, Syria.
(1891.) Summarize of of the Inter-governmental Law Damascus, Syria.
(1897) Journey after the Death of Father, Damascus, Syria. (1901).
He was trying to put his views in
the notice of his countrymen, and show them the ideas of modernism. He
first of all due to Amir Habibolla who declared amnesty for exiled people
and on the other hand the losing of his father (1901), decided to leave
for his land. On the same time his brothers who came back earlier to
Afghanistan and were active in publishing and printing area, provided him
recommendations for visiting the new Amir. He returned to Kabul in
On his coming back to his country,
first of all started work in the court's translation board. He was putting
most recent events about Islamic world and Europe and tried to give are
aware of a response to Amir thirst for knowledge. So he got close contact
with Amir and provide for him a new the atmosphere. He brought to
attention of Amir backwardness of his country in the field sciences and
education, new means of communication between humans, such as roads,
telephone and telegraph. He showed that these facts brought a negative
results in the areas of the inutility of political, cultural, and
intellectual awareness of his people.
At the same time (1905), a group of
people who followed the changes in the Middle East and Western Asia,
requested from Amir for allowing the publication of a biweekly under
the name of Seraj Akhbar Afghanistan. However, after publishing the first
issue of this publication in January (1906), it was stopped.
Mashruta or Constitutional
This is clear fact that the struggle
for establishing the rule of law is called constitutional movement. In
the other word we can call it mother of law.
In the sixteenth century due to
thoughts and ideas of European philosophies and scholars this movement
took shape. For the first time the modern constitution was drawn in USA
The criteria which we can judge the
the constitutional movement from others is that in the essence of this
structure is people representatives with free political competition which
will continue for a long time. It is interesting that the term
Constitution, which has its roots in Latin, means of shaping and building
In our region, especially in Iran,
for the first time the word constitution for seeking law bound government
was used. Its aim was of limiting the power of king. Since conservative
clergy class were opposed to it and wanted to promote sharia law or
Mashruhia, so constitutionalist used the Arabic word of Mashruta which
means conditional instead of constitution. As we know long time ago in a
countries like Turkey, India and Central Asia, under the influence of
European modernism the ideas of constitutionalism took shape. We without
thinking about the mean and its usage in especial condition of Iran,
As we know, some of our historians
and authors, had talked about constitutional movement, and even democracy
in the beginning of twentieth century.
A lot of groups from the Amir Court
to Habiba school which among them the Afghan Brotherhood, Sacrificer of
Islam and Gholambachagan (Pages of Court) were existed, as Ghobar put it
down, were gathered under the umbrella of the Secret National Association.
Ghobar call it Party which is not correct as apolitical sense concerned.
Some researchers believe that we can call them as a circle of religious
scholar with some elements of liberal reformer. As he mentioned the core
of the association was formed by anarchists and chaos seeking people. We
can see them as the beginners of political current, not constitutional or
Mashruta movement. As Gobar says, “ They for reaching their means were
ready ro use terror and coup too.”
The first question is that Ghobar
himself and others too have not provided any documents which can provide
their view points for analyzing. The second points are that the
activities of association were secret. They even asked their members for
having gun and pistol.. It shows that they were extremist minded people.
Mrs. Senzel, the most prominent
scholar in an article under the title of “ Tarzi and the formation of
Afghan nationalism and national ideology”, writes about as, “In 1909, a
secret plot was discovered that this group wanted to replace Amir
Habibolla.” (S. Nawid. p. 4.)
Abdol Wahab Tarzi, the eldest son
of Mahmud Tarzi in a book under the title of “ Biography of Mahmud Tarzi
(From 1882 to 1909).” which had been translated in English by Wahid
Tarzi in Chapter Fourteen, under the tittle of “ The discovery of a plot
to Assassinate The Amir” writes as, “As already mentioned, a serious event
which occurred during the regency of Sardar Enayatolla, was the discovery
of a plot to assassinate the Amir and his two sons, Enayatullah and
Amanullah. The initiator and organizer was Dr.A. Ghani (from Panjab),
principle of Habibia School and a cleaver spy of the British. His
objective was to create disorder which would lead to a British takeover.
This attempts has been mistakenly described by the writers of the day as a
constitutional movement (Mashruta) and given a mythical character-
actually a figment of their imagination. The truth was revealed mush later
with the release of the British secret documents.” (P.36). It was
discovered in March 1909.
about use of of constitutional or Mashruta terms rely on an a couplet
which was written in the testament of someone has called Mullah Mohammad
Sarwar Khan, a teacher from Habiba high school. teacher has been
inserted. In Persian it is as :
تَرک مال و تَرک جان و تَرک سر
در رهٔ مشروطه، اول منزل است
Tark e mal wa tark e
jan wa tark e sar
dar rai e mashruta,
awal manzel ast
It is English
Abandon of property, abandon of
soul and abandon of the head
On the Tarzi of mashruta, is the
Ghobar himself writs that the
original of this paper was with Abdol Hadi Davy, but he could not
succeeded to take a copy or version of it. The big question is: With use
of only Mashruta (Constitutionalism movement) word, we can make a big
constitutional movement of it?
secret group there were wa a big spectrum of different people, from
reformers minded one to extremist who had ideas of nihilism and anarchism.
Some of them believed that the end justify the means and for reaching to
goal they were ready to use the methods of the assassination and coup too.
Amir who was
watching these secret actions, in the winter of 1909, ordered the arrest
of them. Thus the extreme political actions, erected a barrier against the
Results of these extreme actions
brought the suppression of the reform program was which was launched by
Then we can see the peak of this
extreme doing in 1918 when they wanted to assassinate Amir.
Then in next year, in 1919 they
assassinated of Amir Habibolla in hunting ground of Kala Gush in Laghman,
winter resort of East of Afghanistan .
I think that these kind of extreme
action not had any kind of relationship with the constitutional movement.
It is interesting that some of our
historians and writers had put number on them and wrote about the first,
second, and so ...constitutional movements. Interesting and significant
points are that some of our authors as Shakespeare put it, “Much do about
nothing” about the constitutional movements. But they are not offered
any, even little original and undeniable document about. They just brought
a lot of quotations from this or that which suggests more hypothetical
and imaginary vision. Some of them are created but put the label that they
are the ideas of constitutionalists.
I believe until we do not get any
original documents with written program, we can not say the final word
or make a judgment about.
It is very strange that some writers
suggest that Mahmud Tarzi has been at the head of the Constitutionalists
circles. But, looking on his own writing shows a different issue.
He wrote an article under the title
of “Ide Sermon” which was published in the second year of Seraj Akhbar,
no 24. He after Thanksgiving for God who created them as Muslim writes,
“... We are all one nation, one religion belong to sam religion sect.
Second we are free reed not captive.” In another part of this article
which call for unity, he writes,“ A condemned and conditioned king had not
been found in Islam, especially it is is not according to essence of
Sharia and it does not have any agreement with. Islamic states, who were
attempting for doing so had not seen any improvement. We must learn
lessons for this events and recognize our land, nation and sovereign as an
He after discovering the plot
against Amir Habibullah, he asks as, “What brought it in the end ? It
appears that destroying and full of catastrophe and terroristic event made
things as school and education, like snake poison and our colleagues as
snake singed people and brought fear and discourages to their heart and
even put our the country in big risk.”
He also under the tittle of “
Political Briefs” in the second year of S.A. no.21, points to this fact.
During the explanation of the murder of Mahmud Shaukat, the one who
deposed the Ottoman Emperor Sultan Hamid from power, writes, “From the
time which the constitutional government got the political power, instead
of high grad Ottoman caliphate, a lot of strange changes occurred on this
clean land. They are very painful events and full of dangers.”
He then wrote a detailed description
of the devastating incidents and the bad consequences of killing the
elite and put with grief and pity these words, “...Among them there are
scholars, editors, politicians, officer, secreters, the supervisors,
famous leaders, chancellors and high rank officers. They had been the
victims of arrogance of parties and sects”
He wrote the following under the
title of , “ Problems of Iran, Afghanistan and Iran relations” in the
First Year no. 18 of S. Akhbar from his reporter form Iran as, “From time
onward which Iran without knowing it became a Constitutional one “...That
neighboring and old friend has plunged to such a disadvantages situation
that you can not see the rule of law, nor security and discipline. Even
there is her famous reputation.”
I believe that our writers who had
heard the name of such movements from far aTarzi, especially Iran, for
caching to the new caravan, praised every movements and actions which
were on the line of anarchism and even terror of leaders as
I believe that only in a very short
time in 40 decades of 20 century with the publication of free magazine
and newspapers which were reflecting the ideas of the political groups we
can hear the words of the constitutional's movement which we call it
democracy now. We can see with grief and pity that this situation
continued just two years. Then by the plan of terror against the Shah
Mahmud, the Chancellor, which was launched, gave a pretext for
authoritarian forces in court to close down all of their mouths.
However, I believe that with proper
measures, only the 1964 constitution paved the Tarzi for monarchial
constitution system. According to this constitution sovereignty was given
to nation. The rule of law was awarded to the nation. The most important
point of this constitution was that the members of Royal family were
kept aTarzi from political activities. Other key measures, namely the
establishment of the first free elections with direct and secret ballot.
In 1924 and 1931 we made constitutions with keeping the royal absolutism
Seraj Akhbar, the mirror of
Mahmud Tarzi's ideas
However, Mahmud Tarzi, knew very
well that only means for spreading the ideas of enlightenment is the
publication of a Gazette. He had kept the idea of launching a magazine in
his mind all the time. He with the help of trust which got with Amir
during long dialogue and discussion of the effects of global political and
translation a lot of article form Turkish language,and assistance of
Enayatolla the eldest son of Amir succeeded to obtain the permission of
publishing of Seraj e Akhbar. (1911) He published it under the keen eyes
of Amir and court's political head.
This publication can be seen as the
second edition of Seraj e Akhbar, and the country's third publication. It
started in October 1911and ended in December 1918.
The first edition of Seraj e Akhbar
was published by the name of Seraj e Akhbar Afghanistan, as in 1906. It
was done by the Association of Seraj e Akhbar. Its editor was Maulvi (High
Clergy ) Abdul Raouf from Kandahar who was head of royal madrasah
(religion school), it was published in thirty-six pages, with Nastaliq
writing in lithograph press. This magazine after publishing this first
issue, under the unknown motives, was closed.
Due to this fact that the second
edition of the magazine would have different with the first one her which
was Seraj e Akhbar Afghanistan, they put he name of Seraj e Akhbar on it.
But, latter they added the word
Afghaniah. It remained to the end as
Seraj e Akhbar Afghaniah.
Mahmud Tarzi who lived over twenty
years in Damascus and worked in its administrative structure and political
organizations, be grown in an environment that new steps were taken toward
modernism. Thus he stood and believed in the battle lines for a new
orientation for moderate Islam. He soon had a profound analysis of the
situation in of our country and the world. So a lot of fans gathered
around him. They were formed youth groups. While they had new ideas and
thoughts were highly anti Great Britain and supporting Turkey.
If we compare Seraj e Akhbar, from
view points of journalism to magazine of Shams Nehar (Sun of Morning),
which was issued in the time of Amir Sher Ali (r1863-1879) and was
publishing the royal news and decrees and did not persuaded the basic
norms of journalism, standing in more high quality level. It can be called
the first publication with new standards of journalism and was continued
for nearly a decade.
The biweekly from view points of
new era and modernism can be called a new newspaper. In it all forms and
types of journalism genres such as news, politics, family, female,
scientific, economic, religious, moral, military, literary, and even
cartoons were published.
Tarzi, saw the publishing of it as
an important means for spreading of knowledge. He in the first issue, of
its first year, it promises as:
“Its evident and clear that the
newspapers in this modern time are like the languages of nations and
countries. At the present time, except the primitive people, none of the
government, states and community can be seen without it”
For many years, until the new
faces, especially among Young Afghans who learnt form this school the
knowledge of journalism, Mahmud Tarzi was the only person who bore the
burden of heavy work of publishing this biweekly.
Tarzi from the first edition of S.A.
put his whole experience and hope that he were gathering in twenty years
abroad, especially in years of residence in Damascus, the Syrian capital.
In that time he had close links with the intellectual circles, books and
newspapers of the Ottoman Empire.
This biweekly, beside publishing the
internal and external events, it was the high means of reflecting the
ideas and vision of him. Since there was not the experience of
journalistic works in the land, he from the first edition of magazine
worked as the only and only one for all part of newspaper. Thus he can be
called a single fighter to the end.
Seraj e Akhbar, its Aims and
This magazine was published in a
time which our country was was suffering from the condition of extreme
isolation. The magazine which was edited by Mahmud, had to consider with
all the skills a balance between reducing the fear of Amir who thought
that innovation and modernism would threaten the foundations of his
kingdom. He had a bitter experience in a kind of plot against him in 1909
under the name of so called constitutional movement which it was a kind of
anarchistic actions. Then he had a big fear and his eyes were alTarzis
open against the spread of new ideas.
It was not only the monarchy, which
was against deep changes and viewed it with suspicion, but religious
leaders and clerics who were also on alert alTarzis. They consider the
modernism ideas against their religious belief. Since they had got new
power in the court were using it as a powerful lever of pressure.
It's necessary to not forget that
many tribal leaders who guiding various tribes, were against any
innovations and modernism to for these ideas were challenging the power of
their domination also. They dislike it and were fearing of it very
Thus for Mahmud Tarzi which S.A
was his mouthpiece, there were a lot of barriers, which we can call them
very numerous. He had to maneuver as a skilled navigator in the stormy
water and taking his ship among the rocky passes to shore and bank of
He with all these barriers and
obstacles, changed S.A. as a torch for enlightening the minds people on
one hand and spread of the new ideas of modernism too. He talked from the
different parts of these ideas with a clear language in all spheres of
thought and discussion of new concepts. Here, I shed a little bit light on
the essential and important problems which Tarzi discussed them in S.A.
The cause of Afghanistan and the
Islamic world backwardness
M. Tarzi believed that without
looking to the roots of this backwardness in our land and Islamic world,
there would not be any way out and solution on the hand. He put it with
the questions such as: What we were? What we became? And most important
of what do we do? These are the first signs inquisitive out looks.
He for finding and looking to the
roots of problems, went back to the time of first two hundred years of
Islam with Arabs spreading it by conquering the lands. He believes that
the aims of of this triumph was, “Just the spreading of justice, science
and knowledge,not more then”. Then he points as “All the philosophical and
mathematical books were translated from the Greek,” He points to Dar
Hekmat (University) of Baghdad.
It should be noted that the spread
of Islam and Arabs getting familiar with the cultures of other
civilizations, the ground for reporting and translating of different
fields of knowledge, particular experimental one such as medicine and
astronomy, was paved.
In the Abbasid period, the times of
wars and conquests coming to end. Richness and development placed them and
life changed new ideas peacefully. Harun Rashid the fifth Abbasid caliph
of Baghdad (786–809) in the course of paying attention the book which
were gathering to Baghdad from conquered lands, founded the Baghdad
Daralhekmah or The Baghdad University for accurately keeping the track of
them. This body of knowledge or institution which was the first
university with a wide scope and different sectors, changed to the center
Rashid, the sixth caliph, who was grow up to the high cultural and
open-minded environment of Barmakians family from Balkh, had lived, had a
great enthusiasm for knowledge, especially philosophy, tried to gather a
lot of different books here. He appointed famous scholars and scientists
from different cultures to first of all translate them. The basic work do
this institution was to translate a lot fo different book from a variety
languages and culture shows.
and skilled translators who had hired Mamun, have to translate works of
Greek, Roman, Coptic, Syrian, Hindi and Pahlavi in Arabic. Among the books
which had been collected were books in Greek, Hebrew, and Syrian
languages. They had been brought from Alexandria and had a special place
there. Here, not only the texts were translated, but there was a space of
passionate debates about too. Harun and Mamun, were participating in
discussion personally. It was for the first time that deep philosophical
discussions were made a big debates with different were put forward freely
among different schools of thoughts. At the same time, in the framework of
the Islamic religion, different religious views, and sects were formed.
There was a high diversity. In this institution, for reviewing and study,
discussion and analyzing run high with hot talk. There was a high freedom
of making discourse on different topics.
Due to look on Greek philosophy, a
new discussion emerged between the two streams of thoughts and ideas
came on the surface in 8th and continued to 10th
century in Baghdad. On one side of these two lines were named Asha'riat
and Mutaziliat. The first school of theology believed that Koran is an
eternal one. On the other side the second school of theology or Mutaziliat
beveled that Koran could not be eternal as God. Mutaziliat relied in
the wisdom and reason of human-being. Their basic principles based on the
intellect and wisdom, the man-made and free thinking. They believed that
as we look to all areas of revelation, to ethics and politics, we must
relying on reason and wisdom.
Mutazilites thoughts brought a
great transformation in the Islamic thoughts. Mamun, who had great
interest in the process of dialogue and discussion sessions, was
participating in a lot of sessions himself. The debate in the philosophy
of Aristotle was an official relief.
Mamun who had very keen interest to
astronomy, built an observatory in the campus of this university. Thus
astronomers had found possibility to track the stars and making
astronomical observations. It developed the knowledge of astronomy.
survey. Here, along with books, historical documents and poetries which
were written on deer skin were kept.
We can call
this period the peak time of freedom of thoughts in Islamic history. Some
people call it the Golden Age of Islam.
After the death of Mamun, this kind
of discourses were continued, but with the capturing the power by
Motavakel (861AD), because he did not believe in the reasons and wisdom,
human free will and responsibility, Daralohekamh or Baitolhekma, the first
university or the famous knowledge and cultural institutions, of that
time, took the path of decline. Such the lamp of knowledge in that area
However, it should be clear that
this was the century of emerging of different intellectual and religious
currents and sects. There emerged a lot of Islamic sects. Beside four main
sects, there popped up very numerous one in the filed.
Then to eighteen and half century,
the door of free thinking and exegesis of divine law on the matter of
theology was closed down. Since then, efforts were made to change to occur
in this field and on the forces of reason and wisdom would have been
emphasized. It continues in different forms now too.
Tarzi, in his writings, sought to
pinpoint the different cases of this decline. He found that the basic
cases are the different religious sects conflicts and wars around it and
making different branches in one Islamic religion. He reminded us that
at the same time that we were involved in some religious conflicts,
Europe's knowledge, especially science or practical experience of
knowledge flourished. They from early stage put a separate line between
religious lesson and experimental knowledge. It avoid a conflict between
He sees the cases of backwardness
was taking big steps for going faraway from acquisition of knowledge and
of empirical science or science such as mathematics and geometry, and so
He knows another reason too. It was
disunity. He stresses that this has caused the residents of a city against
another city, a village against other village, and an alley to another
alley, and even a family member against family. At the end they lost their
power and became weak.
The Old Words with new Meaning
Mahmud Tarzi for transferring new
ideas, although he lived in a very the limited and confined space and time
and the time, tried to put new spirit and vision to mould of the old
words. This act brought a profound change in this direction and made the
rock solid foundation for building a palace of thoughts and ideas . These
examples are a drop from ocean.
In the Persian language, according
to ancient and historical documents, this term has been used as: faith,
religion and the cult. like Nation of Magus (Fire worshiping people or the
followers of Zarathustra), the Nation of Jewish, Christian and Muslim. It
can be found in ancient prose and poetry too. In the classic book of
Klilah and Damna, one of the old books which had been written in ancient
Sanskrit and then was turned over to Pahlavi language. This book in the
seventh century was translated by Ruzbeh or Ebn e Moqafa to Arabic. Later
it translated to Persian.
We can read in this book as,” Nation
and religion is one. They argued about their religion and preferred it.
They were discussing the detail of their religion and on same time they
rejected the rival nations (Religions). They denouncing opposition nation
(Faith) as enemy”
This word of nation as faith and religion was used to the time of
constitutional movement (1906) in Iran as you.
Hafez, used this term as religion
and its lot of sects as:
Let aside the differences of
Seventy nations / Since they had not seen the truth, clang to myths and
country, until the time of Amir A. Rahman, they used nation word as faith.
We can see this fact in the book of “Basic principles for Judges” It was
written by Ahmad Jan Alokozay and was edited by Gol Mohammad Tarzi. It
was published on Tuesday 12 Jamadi ol Awal 1311 AH/ 21 November 1893. It
was printed at Darolsaltant (Kingdom) of Kabul. In one part we can read
as, “The best nation (Religion) , Alien Nation (Religions), Nation
(Faith) of Islam” p.p. 6.5 and 7.
We can find
the Nation (Faith) of Islam, Nation (Religion) of Christianity, Nation
of scholars (Religious Scholars) in the books of Fayz Mohammad Kateb (Ascribe
or Clerk), the most
famous historical chronologist in second decade of 20th century
and so and so.
In fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries in Europe, this term has been used to fundamental organizations
that were formed in the universities. In these universities, the special
groups of students who had came to study, for safeguarding and protecting
of themselves, made a group of cooperation very closely.
The leadership of these groups were
chosen from among their members in a free vote. The oldest example of
Italy is can be seen Bologna of Italy. Thus the first nucleus and the core
of discussion, debate and election methods were formed. Many of these
scientists and scholars were working in committees and councils of kings
and a princes of royal families. They brought with them the theories and
ideas of shaping governments on the base of constitution. We call it
very wrongly as Mashruta or a kind of conditional government. The roots of
emerging this word in Persian political literature is that some of
intellectuals in Iran under the influence of European constitutional
movements and government of 17th and 18th centuries
wanted to curb the power of absolute monarchy there. There emerged tow
trends there. One who wanted to spread the religion way of ruling which
they called themselves Mashrua which means sharia law. Opposite to them
there were intellectual who wanted to curb the political power of monarch
and shape the government according to constitutional norms. Little by
little they were called Mashruta or making some conditions for ruling
government. It it clear that this word of Mashruta is basically wrong. It
ought to be called Jonbesh e Qanun Khwaie or Constitutional Movement.
As we know the word grown with
changes in the French Revolution and later in America, has got the
Nations content. In Afghanistan, for the first time it was Mahmud Tarzi
who as editor of Seraj Akhbar, used it in a new contain as the groups
who had left their tribal, ethnical and clan relations and were entered to
a larger group and people as a nation. Gradually this term included the
people who had equal political and social rights living in a territory.
It used with new mean then. It should be noted that the contents of this
word can not reflects all meaning, because we're still in process of
making and shaping a nation. We must try to turn the word of subjects
to citizens. It is a sad facts that we are speaking of Afghan nation,
but, we prefer our ethnics, tribes and even clan.
Thus M. Tarzi using the word of
nation for the first time as people, put a new and modern word into a
closed and choked society in which for centuries the free breath was
impossible. He showed the difference between nation as religion and
nation as a group of people. They used the Arabic term of Omat, the
followers of Islam religion. It is strange that real mean of Omat is
measuring. However, gradually it took equivalents of followers. It can be
applied to all the followers of this ideas or that beliefs.
It is clear
that there are no fix rules and norms for shaping a Nation. It takes a
lot of forms. According to belief of some people who argue that the
homogeneity of an ethic make nation is not true.
This is a
clear fact that nation is a new phenomenon. It develops with the advent
of modern society. A lot of scholars think that nation and its ideological
contain of nationalism, take shape in the process of transition period
from social relations peasant - tribal to capitalism which related with
industrial society. Human being in old social structures called as
subject. But in modern society they changed to citizens.
This concept and phenomenon at the
beginning of twentieth century with deep trend to modernism opened the
doors of schools and factories, even if they were country very small. We
can see this in the first two decades of 20th which had been
called the period of Sarajia (It has taken from the title of Amir which
was Seraj ol Melat wa Din- Lamp of Nation and Religion- or means the time
of Light). In this period we can see deep changes in area of technology
and idea too.
State (In Persian language is
This word in
the past and now among the people, meaning wealth,
prosperity, riches, fortune, property and stock.
People simply say we have got prosperity from the head of your Dawlat.
famous poet in 9/10 century said:
I had become old and poor / Your
Dawlat (Kindness or Richness) made me young
It was Mahmud Tarzi who used this
term in political structure. As a nation or territory considered as an
organized political community under one government.
As we know, this term has its roots
in Greek culture. Aristotle spoke of the Police or city-State. This is a
kind of structure in which all the needs people as: religious, cultural,
political and economic find their answers in a community. This was
changed during the centuries.
Rousseau consider it from the will
of the people. He believed that sovereignty belongs to the people. This
form has three branches: legislative, judicial and executive and spread
after the French Revolution, to other parts of world.
Arabic word but used in Persian too as Watan)
word which was meant the living place, birthplace and house. Until last
century it was used as a place in which a group of people were living.
Even the people who are from same village, they call each other Watandar
(The persons who live in one Watan). Many of the villagers when they talk
about their village, called it my Watan. Even those who are living in a
city us less word of citizens but uses the same word of Watandar.
in S.A. Used it with new and extended mean and called it as a territory
with clear international recognized borders. He wrote as an article in
S.A. Under the title of Watan ( S.A. Sixth year, No. 24 / Saratan or
Cancer 1296 H ./12 July 1917.) He explains about the age of progressive
and modernity and divide Watan in different shapes. He then emphsied on
“True Watan”. According to him the true Watan is, “ Which we have her name
as heritage. And it passes on new generation.” The next most part this
article has been paid to patriotism.
Thus he used
this old and limited word which was applied to a little village, on a
broad meaning which covers all areas in Afghanistan. He uses his thesis
for entering the sense of patriotism to all people of Afghanistan.
As we know
this word has taken from Greek word of Organon. Then Arabs turned it into
Qanun. At early time it was used as Kanun. In principle this is a musical
instrument. It has a very hormones tune, voice, melody and harmony. Since
the aim of this kind of regulation are to bring in harmony in society they
used is as Qanun or Law. The meaning of this word in traditional text is
as: command, custom and the decretal or Cannon Law.
Law, order and discipline has its
roots in ancient times. It goes to f Egyptian civilization in three
thousand years BC. There a new regulation was brought up which had twelve
parts. This line was based on capable of speech, social equality and
Sumerians called the law which
founded legislative foundation. Hammurabi (1772BC) the Sumerian ruler
made the Babylonians law or code. Which is the oldest written law in the
However, the City - State of Athens
in the eighth century which put forward citizenship. But is was only for
men, not women, and slaves. The same framework laid down the foundation
of modern democracy.
India and China the law practices
had their divided schools for law. The famous Manu law in India,
supported tolerance, patience. The pluralism of ideas was in the center
Followers of the religions of
Judaism to Islam act according to their books. Tile the eighteenth century
in Islamic world, Islamic sharia was applied as law. In nineteenth century
the Ottoman Empire in the line of reform, brought a new code of law by the
name of “Masala” (Affairs). From 1940, onwards, Muslim countries have
tried to incorporate Sharia in the context of civil law. These countries
are still in limbo between civil and religious codes.
Mahmud Tarzi in the First no. Third
year of S.A. 20 Sonbola 1292 / 11 September 1913. as he says, discuss on
“Law and Regulations”. According to his points words as laws, sharia,
regulations, guidelines and rules have same meanings. And their aims are
to “Bring the works and affairs under the rules and principles of order
He then expressed his thoughts on
the view points of people about the law as “... our dear country, from the
past time the word of law very often considered as hated one and every
body were escaping from it. The real cause is that according to their
view, the law is against Sharia and belonged to Christian people. If there
made a law or written it, that was not called law, but regulations or
instructions. For example a law which was made for governors, before His
late Majesty, was called instructions for governors. Now, if we look in
matter deeply, the subject and aim of all these words, are only discipline
and order for public.”
Then states that his aims are to
tear down this thick curtain of hate and rivalry. We must do something
that people right of people should be maintained. He states that the
countries who have no law, they are “Lost the paths and ways.” and would
not reach to aim and target.
He on the lack of law has provided
some interesting examples and writes that in the absence of law, the
offender “With white linen trouser and shirt and velvet waistcoat without
sleeves and leather work chained form neck to toe with a corporal brought
down to streets and markets, such as a mule with ringing bills for showing
him to people. This offender without any shame with a pride walking”
He then recalls that if there is
the law, we do not face such a pitiable sight, and inhuman scene. He
insists on the necessity of law and a clear reminder that with the
country's growth and modernization, we need for having laws. He
emphasized that the existence of just one “Sharia law court” is not enough
and can not answer the big need. He shed light that all about the social
structure must be within the framework of law, and argued that the
emphasis that Sharia law has not prevented us from establishing them.
Thus Tarzi attempts to open the
door to knowledge about the law. This is another initiative of Tarzi in S.
A .biweekly. He even says, “The door of analogy and consensus are open”,
We must according to need of contemporary time and new age,”For holding
the human rights, progress and development” utilized it.
As we know Civilization is the
highest point of an evolutionary stage of human development. At the end of
nomadic life, human being settled down and started agriculture
productions. This phenomena is the began with Babylonian civilization, and
yet continues. Modern civil society can be said to a structure which began
in the sixteenth century in Europe. This is called new, modern or
contemporary civilization. Its style and character are crystallized in
the Enlightenment age. Then it relied on reason and divided myths form
reality. Then these ideas has spread to other places on the world. For
this reason, political and social structure in the world of today can be
divided in modern, open and democratic on one side and pre -modern,
traditional and closed on the other side.
This ideas entered in 19th
century to the Middle East. Turkey was the first Islamic which got
familiar with the principles of modern society. Of this time onward, the
other countries are marching on this path. Many traditional societies of
this area are still in limbo. Here, we can see the fierce and serious
debate between traditional minded and new forces.
Since Mahmud Tarzi had settled down
in Ottoman Empire, he got familiar with this controversy and struggle
very closely. He then, in S.A. he attempts to shed light on these ideas.
In an essay entitled, “What we
should done?” which was published as an supplement in S.A. no.
Twenty-four, first year, September 1917, put the a lot of questions which
are the key of searching and exploring new horizons of knowledge.
He at the beginning with the
glorious development of Hejaz in Arabia. He stated that at that time,
“Europeans were in very backwardness situation” And then adds, with
sadness, “... .. but alas, that divisions and the difference of religious
and professional manners and was increasing day by day.”
He then as Hafez, talking of
emerging of seventy-two different religions and sects of religious. He
says that these differences put Islam in a situation like deep coiled
hairs of Negroes. Science and technics were abandoned and what had been
written were about these differences and fight continued on for
He recalls that while we were
divided and involved in war on religious disputes, “The bright sun of
civilization, emerged from the other side from West.”
He clearly states that the European
involvement in knowledge, science and practical experiences, brought the
great uprises. As he put down, “Caused, unbelievable discoveries.” He
believes, “In Islam the science of discussion was concerted on theological
only not outside it. In this section, empirical and practical knowledge
was left and forgotten. The lamp of science was turned on in Europe. Then
the European civilization was dominated East, West, South and North.”
It is very strange that he dose not
mention the time of Harun and Mamun (8th century). At that
time there was an open atmosphere for the flow of discussion and
arguments. Then the religious fanaticism replaced the free thinkers, not
to mention the arguing and discourse.
He then put this question with black
humor as: Whether we wait the emerging of Mahdi?
(In Shiite belief the twelfth imam, who is
expected to return and triumph over injustice. S. R. Tarzi) And then he
brings us to the bitter irony, says “If he can emerges, he will find
humiliated and poor equipped soldiers with weak power. He will hate them
Tarzi considering the Ottoman
Empire, Iran and Afghanistan with a strange outlook he thinks the only way
out is to look in Koran, science and industry and and above all military
forces and army. Here we can see clear contradiction in his view points.
The great part of reformers of that time in the pre- modern countries,
have suffered from this kind of contradictions and conflict of ideas.
Sayyed Jamal Din Afghani was among them too. I will deal about him later.
However the most important point in
his outlook is his praise of progress and new civilization. He in this
filed breaks the traditional way of thinking. He tries to bring back the
philosophy as independent knowledge. As we knew, Ghezali put out the
philosophy of thinking from Islam discourse. For starting this process, he
puts philosophical questions as: What and why? He put them in an article
entitled, “What? And why?” It was published in S.A.no14, the second year,
8 April 1912. He put it with simple language that people see raining,
grass and grain growing but the duty of philosophy is to explore and
study the causes of of them and highlights their background. He noted
with deep concern that if we discuss these kind of topics in S.A
occasionally, what is fault about? He stated that this questions came
first in the minds of Europeans sparked. Then with the help of practical
experience and science gain big sucesses. Then he brought up a simple
example of the advancement of practical knowledge or as he put down,
“Natural Philosophy”. Then talk about achievements in meteorology,
astronomy, digestive, circulatory, different civilizations, and new
He then emphasize about
achievements of European and their impact on America, and pay his
attention to Japan. Then says that the people of Japan are like the honey
bee which flying on different flowers suck the sap and bring it together
for making honey. As he put down, Japan from various countries bring
different technics together and on the base of this way became one of the
most developed land.
As we know looking to a phenomenon
can be in two ways: one is eternal and everlasting. In the the first
lookout the phenomenon is not changed. In the second outlook phenomenon
is changeable. It has past, present and future.
The Tarzi's outlook to a phenomena
to some extent was historical. He tough that history is a branch of
knowledge. He believed that it should be looking at it with philosophical
viewpoint. This vision must be enlightened and informed. He was
considering history not be confined in the wars, the chronological events
and myths. He believes that judgement of historical events must be with
philosophical outlooks, wisdom and reason.
As we know the process of leaning
and teaching to the beginning of the twentieth century was confined within
the narrow walls of Madrases or religious schools. Most of these madrases
were functioning inside mosques. In these madrases, the religious
teachers were teaching just Koran and Hadith, the sayings of Mohammad,
and their different interpretations. They had very decisive role in this
field. They did not let people to think out of this framework. If someone
wanted to express a new way of thinking was beaten with stick of
infidelity. History remembers how Hallaj (858 – March 26, 922), The son
of Sina or Pur e Sina (980 –1037),
and other and were suffered badly by bringing new ideas on the line of
Greek philosophers thinking.
We ought to remind the famous
quatrain Pur e Sina who composed it for rejecting religious scholars
for accusation him as infidel. He was composed it as :
Accusing me as an infidel is not
There is no stronger faith, then
In all universe there just one
and me, and infidel !?
So in all universe there would
not be any Muslim.
With the opening the door of Habiba
school (1901) a big step was taken to put end this kind of monopoly and
one sided thinking.
When Mahmud Tarzi was published S.A.
Magazine.(1911) put a large part of his attention to improving this school
and opening the door of other schools too. As we know in the beginning,
the teachers of this school were Indians or those who had studied in
India. Its curriculum was a copy of that land. Then considering that
roots of the crisis (A plot for assassination of Amir- 1911) were there,
Mahmud Tarzi with the help Sardar Enayat, who was responsible of Education
affairs, brought in the Turkish teachers with new curriculum.
Mahmud Tarzi, in no.16, of S.A.
Wrote an article under the title of “Afghanistan and her religious,
scientific and social abilities” in the processes of analyzing the
condition of the country regret deeply and writes, “We the Afghan people,
due to warlike and quarrelsome character think that we can solve all
things by the power of swords. So we do not think of science power and
reglet it badly.” He then gave an example and put it down as, “If in half
century” or fifty years we had built just two schools in the capital and
in one one in other parts of country every year, we had one million
educated persons now. Among them as he put down, “ We would have high rank
and professional officers, high educated lawyers, learned scientists,
alchemists, experts of mines, talented engineers and architects and so”
Then he talks of the big steps which
has been taken in the first decade of the twentieth century for
spreading education in the country.
Then he talk of two main barriers on
the way of spreading education: One is internal and the other one is
He says about internal barriers to
education as, “The first thing I see as barriers to education in
Afghanistan is the issue of ethics, customs and habits which from the
old time, the Afghan people were accustomed.” Then he consider it as
outcome of big interest of people to sword and war. He believes that
Afghans see with humiliations to words of “ Writer and secretary” and
even “Cleric”. In this context, he writes, “From former period you can
not find any son of Sardar or Khan in Afghanistan that they knew or
involved to arithmetic, logic, law, geometry, and accounting or clerical
work. If there is some persons, they are very rare” He note the lack and
shortage of teachers and scholars too.
Mahmud Tarzi, with new perceptions
of the environment in Ottoman Empire, especially at in Damascus, Syria,
where with blowing new ideas, changes have occurred had got a lot of new
ideas. When he returned to Kabul(1905) tried to open new chapter of
discourse and dialogues.
Here the closed religious
environment along the presence of strongly patriarchal society,
traditionalist and conservative social forces had shaped the triangle of
misogyny, obliged him to take a step to this direction very slowly and
He in in an article under the title
“Need for progress of Women” which was published in S.A. no. seventh, of
first year 6th January 1912. as he put himself, “ Its necessary
to talk a little bit in our paper of a renowned and famous women who lived
in this mortal world and put their names on sheets of history as
memorial. It will be for the benefit of covered ladies of our homeland.”
He for doing this, published the biographies of world famous women”
He in that issue of S.A. writs that
may be some people critic it and even would make protest. May be they
argue that among our men, we do not have one percent reader of newspaper.
So what percentage would be women?
refers to the Abbasid (8-9th century) period in which as he
says, “Among the moslem world of that time there were some poet,
literature, artists and scholar women.”
He for arguing on the equality of
man and woman mentions of Adam and Eve creation. He argued the existing
of both for survival life is a must. He was publishing about famous women
until the third year of S.A.(1914). Then with starting of First World War
due to little space of newspapers and rushing of important news, he
These steps although was taken with
care and restraint, but brought up some reactions too. In S.A. number six,
third year, one person by the name of mullah Rafiq s/o late mullah Abu
Baker Akhondzada who was the judge in Behsud primitive court wrote a
letter to Mahmud Tarzi and put a question as “Is there any famous men in
the world? What is the cause that sir director, one sided eliminated
men from our memories and talk about famous women.” Then he continues, “
Since Afghans are a worrier tribes with high honor and brave, it is
better to talk about guns, canons and war instruments. If you want to talk
about famous personalities, it is better to talk first of men and then
Mahmud Tarzi with a black humor
writes as, “ In the honorable nation of Afghans, the prestige and respect
of women are so trivial and discredit that just noting their names would
be a shame! So if we talk about the importance and dignity of women and
for their defense who are the half part of human being, what would be our
situation and condition!?”
Then he noted that more than one
hundred women in Kabul are the S.A. Subscribers. He then attempts to use
the verses of Koran and Hadith to prove it. He even bringing examples
of women in Turkish, Arabic countries and India.
His goal for publishing stories of
women was to put high social consciousness in the minds of women. He
wanted that women can see the problems of life with deep reason. He
bringing the examples of women's status, to give this description of how
women have been under the oppression of men even with the philosophical
Although Tarzi believed in the
power of human wisdom in all areas, however, he could not pull himself out
from the heavy burden of social traditions. While as we knew the
enlightened ideas and reasons, supported the equality between men and
women. But theses values did not fit in the old mould of common and
Senzel Nawid, who searched a long
time on the problems and the issues of women, put it down as, “The ideal
woman to Tarzi was an enlightened one with high reason. But she must be
forced to live in narrow mould of Afghan Muslims community values. He on
the matter of relationship between men and women believed in the
principle of male superiority. In this context, women must be obedient and
confined in the private life a man. Man must be the ruler of her public
world. He wanted her to have patience and bearing the high pressure that
society imposes on her” (N.Z. P. .364).
Tarzi believed that chastity and
celibacy are the high measure for evaluating good and bad women. But he
was not expected form the man any virtue.
However he breaks the heavy and
thick ice of tradition by encouraging education of women. He started this
action from his family.
I think that this topic need a deep
discussion, explorations and discourses.
This word with different meaning has
deep roots in our the language. It apply as: Standing , getting up,
coming high above the ground, grow, and fragmentation too.
However, in the context of political
sense it come up in the second half of the 18th century. In the
course of civil war in North America to for gaining its freedom, were
coined. We can find it in the Declaration of Independence of America, in
July 1776. Then it interred into the political culture.
The hottest time for freedom and
independence can be seen after the Second World War. This word with
political meaning is a term which according of it a country has a right to
rule without any interference in its internal and foreign affairs by
foreign forces. This term is closely associated with national sovereignty
and territorial integrity. But, in the current situation which globalism,
has high position in relations between counters, scholars of political
science are working to analyze the multi faces of this problem. This
matter would be in the forefront of discussion especially when the
people of a country are busy in fierce fight against the authoritarian
regime and its authoritarian system with their soul and blood.
However, this term associated with
shaping of modern state especially the national governments. Its playing
an important role for more than two hundred years in the mutual political
action and reaction in the world of politics.
Thus, independence meaning of
complete freedom of a specific country meaning in the domestic and foreign
Mahmud Tarzi who was active during
the First World War paid attention to it and consider it in special place.
He in and article under the title of
“ Independence of Afghanistan” which was published in S.A. number 12th,
29 January 1918, and was a reaction to an article in Chaman publication.
Chaman in that article wished the we hope that one day Afghanistan get her
independence. M. Tarzi wrote this as an answer, Afghanistan was, is and
would be an independent country.” M. Tarzi in reply of Chaman which had
been written as, “ Afghanistan in her politics would be free” made an
reply as, “In the pure word dictionary of Islam we can not find the word
of independence” Then he says the terms as “Independence” is a creature of
a civilization which a lot of orient people do not know about them and not
obey them.” He defines independent as, “ From point of sharia and and
common law, whenever a big group of Moslems, with help of of their arm
power and sacred war, form a free government” Then make it clear, “In
the sense of an independent Islamic government, there is no aspects of
internal and external independence” he adds, “ From two centuries onward
Afghanistan made itself an independent state.”
It is interesting that he in the
next issue talks of science of law, specially of the International Law
talks and writes, “ The aim of freedom and independence is that one
government has not righ to interference in the internal affairs of other
Then he talks about this topic and
stresses on the fact that Afghanistan is a sovereign.
I believe this is a visually
discordant and and full of contradictions. This fact shows itself w soon
in S.A no. 29, 7th year July 11, 1918. Here he writes as, “In
the seventh chapter of a treaty which was signed in March 1918 between
conquerors and Russian government in Brest Litovsk - we can read-:
“The governments of Iran and
Afghanistan are both independent, are not attached to any other state.
States signatories of peace are obliged to honor the economic and
political independence of Iran and Afghanistan”
In his famous article under the
title of, “ Hai alal Falah” - Raise to Salvation- which had been published
two years ago, has an interesting point. He writes about submission and
protection as, “If a government tell to the others: Aside from me do not
recognize another one! Aside from me do not talk with other government!
Aside from me do not signing treaties with other and do not have relations
and affairs! Aside from me, do not send envoy, ambassador, and not accept
from them too.”
He then spoke that Afghan nation is
independent, and ask people to make Thanksgiving for this important thing.
It is very surprise that if Afghanistan was an independent country why he
encourage the people for independent war and was making a lot of call and
cry for ?!
We must talk about the topic
widely and search deeply.
As we know, after the collapse of
the Christine Roman Empire at the end of the sixteenth century, the
independent nations on the line of national governments surfaced. In this
context a type of nationalism which was focused in the framework of its
own community, formed an idea.
As we saw in the part of making a
nation, we can see the crystallization of this ideas in the nationalism
is the reflection and expression of national government. It can be seen
as symbols and beliefs that relate a feelings of dependent to certain
political groups. It is clear that the the man himself from faraway time
sensed a feeling of a kind of relations with social and political groups,
such as family, ethnic identity or religious one. But nationalism is an
expression that is first of all links with the modern state.
It is very
clear that the idea of nationalism emerged in first decade of 20th
century among little group and circle of our educated people, who we can
not apply the word of intellectuals about.
We know that nationalism, is deep
impressions of making a national government. This expression has two
types: one based on citizenship and the social contract, the equality and
acceptance of cultural and ethnic diversity. The other one is based on
descent of family, blood and the language. The latter can simply open the
door of ethnic or race superiority. This kind of outlook for a country
like Afghanistan which has multiethnic diversity, brings catastrophe.
Mahmud Tarzi who believed in
religious word of Omat (Follower of Islam religion) very deeply, but tried
to bring the words of home or watan inside the circle Omat. I believe
this is one of inconsistent and contradictory thought. However, this
actions slowly absorb the nationalist ideas and thoughts. Even in some
cases he emphasized that the homeland or watan is high gift of God and
Islam. This he picked up a constructive and progressive of it. The most
impression of this act can be seen on foreign affairs in an attempt to
gain independence. In inner policy, it was an attempt to build and
promoting law and modernity. He was desperately trying to use the Afghan
term to all ethnics the country and submit the local and ethnical feeling
to all Afghanistan community. He used this to break the boundaries of
ethnic, religious and language and pass it to all country.
It was his belief that Islam,
nation, country and the government are four solid pillars of a country.
Then he added modernism to these four pillars and see it as full
integration and not dividable.
He believed that kingdom of
Afghanistan can only make resistance against foreigners through modernism.
He says very clearly that someone who make barriers against progressive
and development fo our country are instrument in the hands of foreigners.
It is clear that nationalism in the
pre-modern countries, certainly put the same goal that Europeans had in
the sixteenth century. Its basic task was to organize the national state.
This strives had passed through publication and mass media, especially
newspapers. Nationalism in the pre-modern countries, especially in the
Middle East, eyed to the European political structure and models.
Mahmud Tarzi, in this context
following the ideas of Medhat Pasha, the famous Turkish reformer. M.
Tarzi called him, “Khvaja e Awal or The first Master”. Medhat had put
effective influences on him. M. Tarzi with deep eager and strong desire
was reading the books of modern Turkish authors or the books which were
translated from European writers in Turkish language.
Then we can see its reflects in SA.
He used all his knowledge for spreading new education, awareness of
ethical principles that guarantee the development, prosperity and better
life. He tried to make people aware of the enemies of his country, made
fierce struggle for independence and national sovereignty.
Thus in the essence of M. Tarzi's
nationalism was progressive. As he was witness of decline of not only his
land but the Muslim world, attempted to find an way of putting end point
to this crisis. His solution was spreading learning and education,
fostering realistic outlook on the base of wisdom and knowledge on the
life and world affairs. He believed that loyalty to tribe, clan and
ethnicity, region and even village to be sacrificed for national unity.
He believed that the Islamic identity of Afghanistan, must be passed from
the Great Wall of China's division of tribal, ethnic, regional and local.
He kept firm
to these principles to end of his writing in SA.
in S.A. no.1 of seventh year, 4th August 1917, which marked
the difficult and the final days of his paper, wrote as, “ S.A. Was a
mobile school and an accompanied teacher. Since the Age of Serajia (Time
of Amir Habibolla) put the task of training and educating and spreading
of the awareness to homeland's people to S.A, we are giving thanks that
in this period of writing we succeeded to put take new talks, many new
words, new training, new knowledge, new technology, new composition, new
writing, new spelling and innovations to its readers.”
under the heavy burden of various events, his strives for spreading
modern ideas came to end. This is why the process of nation building is
still in up and down situation.
It is clear that the Islamic world,
in the end of 8th century, under the heavy burden of religious
intolerance and prejudice, closed the door of searching and learning, and
shutting the atmosphere of open talk and clashing of thoughts for
exploring new ideas. It brought about different Islamic religion sects
with fanaticism trends. The real scholars were put under pressures and
their books were put on fire. It made a bad effect on discussion and
discourse generally. Then all over the society slid to downward. At the
same time, the lamp of knowledge in this area was turned off.
At same time Europe put an end to
the domination of church, and opened the ways for the search and explore
of knowledge and practical experience. Due to scientific explorations, the
thinking of the earth as an axis and center was ended. Sun replaced it
as an axis. Thus the lamp of Pop as a center lost its meaning.
Thus according to Mahmud Tarzi, “The
sun of civilization raised from West.” Islamic and Middle Eastern
countries which lived in the thick skin of past, without any new changes
lagging terribly behind. Suddenly the dazzling light of the development
and progress of modern civilization, opened their eyes. Some of reformer
personalities of this area tried to find solutions and bring changes too.
These reformer, instead paying attention to the root of the problems,
looked to the past so as Don Quixote an hero which his time hours were
over tried to use the imaginary windmills and fight with new forces.
These reformers form Jamal Din
Afghani to Muhammad Abdu and Mahmud Tarzi did not want or the oriental
despotism would not allow space for free talk to them, they thought that
the only way of solutions for these backwardness problems are to look to
the past glorious of Islam. It is very clear that the mentioned glorious
time of Islam which embodied in conquering lands, were done under the
shadow of swords and despotism not science or knowledge.
For Tarzi who belonged to this group
of reformers, the only way for resisting Europe was the unity of Islam.
In this regard, he along with other reformers, emphasized on it. We can
trace a lot of contradictions and an incompatibility between the visions
and ideas of this group members. They were interested in the technical
sections of modern civilization. But they were rejecting the most basic
principle of modernity such as: equality between all human-being, freedom
of opinion, eliminate the sacredness from the past beliefs, including
religions, guarding the rights of minorities, putting all thinking to
question, breaking the old taboos and so and so.
M. Tarzi, who emphasized on the
unity of Muslims in Muslim Omat, on same time, encouraged nationalism
and could not forget Afghanistan. He in this regards were living in limbo
between the old and the new ideas.
He was facing other difficulties in
this sector. He had spent a long time in Ottoman Empire of Turkey and
even worked as an officer in Damascus, Syria, which was one of the Ottoman
Empire provinces , on line in conformity of Europe values, attempted to
recruits, the officers, medical and technical experts of Turkish to his
country. In this case, he argued that the use of these links will
strengthen the Islamic world. He believed that the presence of Turkish
will not put up any headaches among people who think the others as
outsiders. He believed and hoped that the Ottoman Empire, Iran and
Afghanistan, the three Islamic independent countries can play an important
However, he would got soon in the
clutch of ideas contradictions. He would say that in this context
conflict between Shiite and Sunni is a big obstacle. As we know, Nader e
Afshar in 1743. tried to fill this gap. Jamal Din Afghani tried too. But
with each passing day, these different were opening their the mouth like
a deep valley. This fact made these two reformers to be drown in utopia
and wishful thinking and their arrows did not hit targets. This fact tile
now which I am writing this article is continuing.
For seeking unity among these
nations,we must look for new and long lasting measures and values.
I believe that all these strives of
these reformers was to find the new technology and taking advantage of
it for return to past glory with forces. However, it should be understood
that the secret of success in Europe was not only a technical achievement.
This is an open and free sharing of ideas, which enable new vision, new
ideas and programs to put forward.
Since in Asia some countries like
Japan opened the gates of their thinking to reforms and development of
European thoughts, we are witness to some changing here. Japan after
defeating the Russia forces in 1905 battle, entered a new area. Here
in Asia, some reformers, including Mahmud Tarzi, turned their attention
to Japan's progress. He also clearly saw that that Islamic unity, is
losing its color and there was not attractive achievement on the way. He
thought for opposing Europe it is the best one. He was saying that
Europeans, Russia and Great Britain have dominated all Asian land.
He reached to this belief that
Muslims must give hands to non-Muslim peoples who have been awakened in
the East, for freeing all Asia. He was reminded again and again that we
must learn this lesson from the defeat of of Russia by Japan. He noted it
with wishful thinking that the Ottoman Empire, Persia, Afghanistan and
Arabs come together, under the slogan of “Asia for Asian”.
Thus Tarzi emphasized on the line
of social progress, cultural and economic innovation and encouraged the
people of the country. In this regard some reformist eyed on Japan's
help, but Tarzi concentrated his efforts for independence.
Seraj e Atfal or the Lamp of
Mahmud Tarzi in line to bring
awareness among children and youths, published “Seraj e Atfal” or Lamp of
children. Although this publication was a supplementary S.A, however, it
had another target. It message receivers were youths, students and school
children who had just learned how to write and the read better. He in one
of editorial article wrote as, “It will learn you new science and
education, it will give you mature thoughts and new stories for give you
more knowledge. It will enlightened your brains too.”
This publication issued six numbers
as a supplement with S.A.
called Intellectuals and their Contradictions Ideas about Modernity
section, as I believe, the only person who had a profound study of the
intellectual in our country is S. Bahaoddin Majruh. As we know the basic
measure for the recognition of an intellectual is his attitude and
position toward political power. He was someone who had all available and
possibilities to to join and cling on political power, but he avoided.
He for showing the danger of tyranny wrote a book under the title of,
“Own Dragon”. The basis of his motives for writing this book was to put
critical finger on the autocratic rulers. It began of writing this book in
Kabul and continued it to a dawn which the bullet of Mojaheddan (Islamic
Worriers) gun put an end to his creative life in Peshawar. This book is
a great cultural heritage in the line of intellectual merit in
According to this line, he wrote an
article as “Afghan intellectuals in exile: the psychological and
philosophical Dimensions” We can read in one part as, “The concept of
'intellectual' is apparently a product of Western culture, especially a
French cultural phenomena. Could we apply it to non-Western societies?
Strictly speaking, the answer is no. However, the typ pf individual the
concept is supposed to describe, or rather what we are going ti make it
describe, might be found in other societies either as a product of
indigenous conditions or the result of Western influence.
A possible definition of the term
'intellectual' we intend to propose will not sound very academic to
Western ears, but will, we hope, convey the main idea. An intellectual is
a new typ of idol-worshiper, and his idols are abstract ideas such as
reason, progress and revolution – not the sense of Platonic spiritual
concepts, which view reality of the physical world as a shadow. The new
intellectual leans toward Hegelian absolute ideas, which encompass the
entire natural and cultural universe.
Generally speaking, an intellectual
is an animal who, in order to move, is inclined to use his head instead of
his legs and who seems to grow wings which enable him to fly over his own
socio-cultural barriers in order to see himself and surroundings in an
increasingly broader context. He is a kind of winged cephalopod. Compare
with a man living in a tightly structured society, in which all groups and
individual behaviors is regulated by custom and tradition and every
question finds an answer in well-established social wisdom, the
intellectual approach to life is varied and questioning. As a popular
saying in Afghanistan put it: when an ant growing wings, it is the
beginning of its end. In a society whose basic ideas is similarity,
intellectual opts to be different. An integrated society has also its
difference: a religious spiritual leader and a tribal chief are different
form from the others, but these difference are well inside the limits of
sameness. Such different people always existed: they are recognizable,
acceptable. But the intellectual is different in in other way: he stands
out as an individual whose ambition is to think for himself, to understand
himself and his world through his own intellectual means. Thus he steps
over boundaries of sameness. He becomes a stranger. He choose exile.
Majruh for bringing down this
concept ot our cultural framework makes a propose as:
“A contradictory elements has to be
added to proposed definition. In Afghanistan the intellectual was called
in Persian: 'Roshan- Fekr', meaning ;enlightened- minded', a lamp which
light up all around himself and beyond. But in our country we were used to
a kind of oil lamp which cast a circle of shadow around its immediate
surroundings. A popular saying connected with this fact was. 'There is
always darkness under the lamp'. This may be a more or less accurate
description of intellectual. While he is supposed to perceive brooder
horizons, he still remains in darkness about his immediate reality. He is
a contradictions in himself, but still an important human and cultural
phenomenon to be taken into consideration.”
He then focuses on the intellectual
classification and categorize them. Before going on detail about sheds a
little bit light on their education and training environments. He then
talk about 'The classic intellectual and his cultural roots' and says as,
“ In Islamic civilization, especially in Persian-Dari speaking countries,
two different educational trends were established: religious studies and
“The former, taught in madrases,
were entirely focused on Islamic subjects such as the study of Holy
Qur'an, the Traditions of Holy Prophet, Hadith or Sunnah and Feqh or
Shari'ah law. Those with educational back-ground in madrases had no
problem in finding jobs. They became priests, preachers, teachers, judges
etc. They were people of prestige and authority. Strict ans sever, and
“The literary school, or the field
of worldly knowledge covered a larg numbers of subjects. Instead of
Arabic, the Persian language was promoted. Arabic was used as a means of
to access to various religious and non- religious text in the same manner
as Latin was used in the medieval West. Persian poetical and prose works
were intensively studied.: writing skills were developed (which promoted
the art of calligraphy). Other important subject included were philosophy,
logic, natural science, medicine, etc. The literary tradition of worldly
knowledge persisted side by side with the madrases, in interaction with
madrases and some times in conflict with them. The basic teaching of Islam
were common to both schools. The best teachers was one who mastered both
fields. Early in the morning he would sit inside the madrases, with piles
of books around him: then each student would come one after the other, one
with his religious handbook, another with a book of classic poetry,
another with a book of philosophy or medical science, and take his daily
“ For most parts, however, the
madrases had remained strongly critical of literary scholar's free
thinking, their study of Greek Science, philosophy and metaphysics, their
efforts to replace the authority of traditions by the authority of reason.
On the whole there was nothing anti – Islamic in the literary trend, main
attention of the philosophers was to expand religious thinking and open it
other field of knowledge, to find rational foundations for religion,
prophecy, etc. But religious scholars found and will find, the rational
exploration dangerous., and philosophers constantly lived on the brink of
"However, in Islamic civilization,
the most valuable contribution to philosophy, science, historiography,
literature etc, was made by people belonging to the literary tradition.
They were intellectual according to definition proposed here, who were
stepping over the barriers of their socio- cultural milieu. While the
followers of madrases were malignly concerned with repeating and
preserving the Traditions and were narrowing down knowledge to limited
established norms, the followers of literary trends were creating original
works, incorporating new elements into their culture, and expanding their
own thinking and that of their students towards new horizons.
“The Christian era of the Middle
Ages was the most brilliant period of Islamic culture and civilization. To
illustrate the point we have formulated about who is an intellectual, here
are some example from medieval Islamic thinkers:
“A scholar such as Al Biruni
(Khwarazm 973 – Ghazni 1050), was both an astronomer and social
scientist. He contributed to the scientific knowledge of heavenly bodies,
but also studied with scientific objectivity non-Islamic cultures and the
religions of India. He took two giant steps over the barriers. His
contemporary, Ibn Sina the philosopher (973 -1037) composed a treatise on
soul and made rational speculations about prophethood, although subjects
such the the human soul, life after death, divine revelations, etc. were
considered strictly religious concerns. While music was and still is
considered by common people as a passing entreatment and by religious
authorities as a sin. Al Farabi the philosopher wrote a book about the
Science of Music.
“Both trends, the religious and
literary, declined, especially during the 18th and 19th
centuries. However they continued to follow their own ways of development
in opposite directions: the religious schools narrowed their horizons
dogmatically, studying the second and third hand commentaries of the
original text by great religious thinkers- becoming fossilized. Frozen,
rejecting everything new, the literary trend continued broadening its
horizons until lost its identity by opening up to Western influence. A new
type of intellectual educated in the modern schools replaced the old
Then he talks about the our classic
intellectuals and West in his view points we can find as:
“Physically, the classic
intellectual looked like any other religious scholars: turbaned, bearded,
wearing white traditional cloths, strictly performing his religious
duties, even preaching. But he was a bibliophile and had his personal
library in which he kept books on various authorized and unauthorized
subjects, mostly handwritten in Persian or Arabic. He spent much of his
time reading and writing or receiving people who wished to learn.
Sometimes, to earn a living he would practice the old Greek medical art,
but usually he belonged to a wealthy family of landowners and engaged in
scientific and literary activities for their own sakes or for intellectual
concentrated on the specific conditions of Afghanistan and says as:
“In Afghanistan, the things began to
change at the beginning of the twentieth century. The classic
intellectuals were the first to be receptive to new ideas coming from the
west, while the religious authorities ignored them and later strongly
opposed them. The intellectuals eagerly read Western works in Persian,
Arabic and Turkish translations. Some of them even learned English or
other European languages. Thus century- long intellectual stagnation came
to an end, but it was also the beginning of the end for classic type.
They were the ants who grew wings.
“Poets, writers and other literary
scholars left their provincial homes and came to Kabul, the capital. They
became members of the Official Literary Society or found jobs in
government administration. They shaved their beards and put on Western
cloths. Still They were not simple imitators of Western ways. However,
this would be the case with the subsequent generation which attended
modern, Western- oriented schools. With their strong traditional
background and deep roots to society and its culture, the early 20th
century intellectuals assimilated new ideas in a creative way and produced
truly original works. Outstanding poet, writers, historians, social and
political thinkers-mostly self-appointed instructors- appeared, such as
Mahmud Tarzi, A. H. Dawi, M. Anis, G. M. Ghobar, A. H. Habibi, G.P.
Olfatq. Q. Khadem, A. Benawa, S .S. Majruh, K. Khalili, A. Pazhwak, and
many others. Thanks to them the first half of 20th century may
be properly called a period of genius renaissance in arts and literature.
“The classic intellectual of modern
age was deeply impressed first by the scientific and technological
achievements of of West and then by new literary forms such as drama,
novel, etc. especially new methods in historical studies. History became a
dimension of nation-building. Prior to the new trends, the history of the
country went as far as the beginning of the Islamic period. But now the
intellectual was given the opportunity to step back to the pre-Islamic,
Greco- Buddhic and still more ancient eras.
“The new ideas which fascinated him
(intellectual) most were democracy, progress, individual freedom,
socio-political reform, nation, etc. He (intellectual) became a journalist
and pamphleteer and launched the movement for a constitutional monarchy.
In his struggle for freedom, he spent long years in jail.”
Note: He has made some references
to books of N. H. Dupree,1983 and L. Dupree, 1980.
It is interesting to me that in this
long list that Majruh has provided – according to his own criteria- from
OUR intellectuals, we can not find the name of Jamaloddin Afghan. I think
the main reason is his views had not made any influences in Afghanistan.
As we knew he entered Amir Dust Mohammad court. Amir appointed him as the
tutor and teacher of his son Mohammad Azam. In fierce conflict between
Amir Muhammad's sons, Mohammad Azam became Amir for a short time.
Jamaloddin was an advisor in his court. Then he was defeated by Amir Sher
Ali. This time Jamaloddin lost hid influences in court. Amir Sher Ali had
not receive him warmly and with honor. Jamal was suffering from being
isolated. He asked of Gholam Mohammad Tarzi, to present his petition to
Amir Sher Ali. Is not clear that this petition had only a demand or
allowing him to go abroad or had some programs for reforms too. In this
case, our historians, like thousands of other issues, have been reported
full of contradiction points. but it is clear that Amir Sher Ali allowed
him to leave the country and give him some payment and his travel
I believe that, as far as it can be
seen, our intellectuals are lingering in limbo between the views points of
enlightenment, modernism and new ideas on the one hand and and tradition -
religious traditions on other hand. A look on Jamaloddin and Mahmud Tarzi
visions and ideas show very clearly the depth of this contradictions.
S. Jamaloddin, a whirling man in
a tight circle
He lived from
1839 to 1897. Discusses and talks about his birthplace and origin has a
long line. The most part of these effort is to link him to this or that
country. For me, the birthplace of a personality is not important. What
is very significant and critical is his/her vision and ideas. As
Jalaloddin Balkhi put it down, is that idea idea makes a person's
He as a normal person, entered
madrases for learn the lessons and knowledge. Hafez the famous Persian
speaking poet says about the lessons of these kind of madrases as, “ There
is just the old repetitions of past quotations and scholastics” It shows
the depth of noncreative and sterilized character of these kind of
madrases. He learned lessons about sharia Islamic religious affairs and
get familiar with sufism and mysticism which the essence of both are to
When he mad a travel to India, get
familiar with empirical knowledge, like mathematic and physics and so. He
saw that knowledge of science, are a big key for opening the doors of
future. His visit to was at the same time that Indians revolt took shape
against Great Britain.(1857). At this time he was at the zenith of his
young age. This event put a powerful effect on his mind to the end of his
life. He was the eyewitness of big effect of new ideas and technical
innovation from modern society of Europe on the rest of world. Since
Islamic religious view points made the nucleus of his ideas, a big fear
entered his heart and thought that his beliefs may be break down under its
pressures. On the other hand, he eyed that in past time the structure of
the Muslim conquered and captured a big world. The sense of nostalgia of
so called glorious past captured all his soul and mind and pushed him to
the idea of Islamic unity. Based on this fact he called, “ The time is
He was seeing that the framework of
his religious thinking against the onslaught of modern enlightened ideas
is extremely narrow, and it will breaks down soon. He took up the road of
struggle. He with deep indecision remained in the limbo. He rejected the
full acceptance of modern ideas, but welcomed the modern technical
achievements warmly. May be he was heard to believe the famous Chinese
proverb: “Take the sword of enemy and defeat him with.,,
Thus, Jamaloddin was trying to the
framework of religious belief – with all it contradictions and conflicts
- pay attention to modernism. However, he felt that this format and mould
is very very narrowed and under capacity. He feared to break this narrow
Thus, Jamaloddin who was thirsty
for drinking the clear water of modernism and modernity ideas, like other
intellectuals of pre- modern world, especially in the Middle East, could
not dare to come out of the narrow circle of tradition and religions
beliefs with all its sects.
Then he turned to the philosophical
thoughts of Molla Sadra.(1572-1640)
He was one of the most significant
Islamic philosopher after Avicenna. He became famous as the thinker who
revolutionized the doctrine of existence in Islamic metaphysics and
extended the shift from Aristotelian substance metaphysics to
(Neoplatonic) process metaphysics of change
In Islamic culture, they called
philosophy as Hekmat or and have been interpreted it in terms of narrow
view points. We can find this definition as, “ Knowledge of known facts
according to human beings abilities, endure and tolerate” So this
limitation of human-being abilities. gut, before closes the doors of
thinking and bring up new ideas.
Then they divided it to these
categories as: Philosophy of Masha. It is an Arabic word which mean
Walk and Way. This word had been taken from Greek. As we knew it was
Aristotle who during his lectures was walking in the front of his
students. These can be apply to follower of Aristotle, Eshraq or
intuition or followers of Plato and Erfan or gnosticism and
The basic tenets of Masha has roots
on reason (with limited interpretation) and Eshraq and mysticism based on
intuition. The holders of these theories, ideas and opinions be called
Initiation, theologian, and mystic and Sufi. However, at this point we
should not forget that these divisions and different names depending on
which of them the thinker has closer link to sharia. For example if a
Mash philosopher during investigation, research and discussions within
the sharia law engage in thoughts, he be called the theologian. Otherwise
he be called the same as Masha. So if an Eshraq man keep his outlook
within the limit of sharia, he can be called Sufi. But if he search in a
wider circle within sharia, can be called Aref or a mystic. If a person
not keep himself in the framework of sharia, he will be called Eshraq
Mulla Sadra, is called his
philosophy as Transcendent Wisdom. He made an outlook of the combination
of Masha, Eshraq and Erfan. The philosophy of Sadra draw a lot of
attention in last centuries. This philosophy can be called a combination
of rational and intuitive ideas.
Sadra believes that world is in
motion in all time. For him, movement is the cause and effect. He
recommends that in this line we should search for motive and inciter. He
says himself that driver, mover and motor of all movements is God. Molla
Sadra, stands in the this sector and other stimuli, cause and effect ends
at this point for him. He thinks that beyond it is a red line and nobody
can pass it. He made a big change in this filed, but had not passed the
framework of Sharia.
In the past history of Islam, there
emerged a liberal movement as we know it was Mutazela. It was supported
by Mamun Rashid, in ninth century. But after his death, under the
pressures of conservative sharia minded forces was driven out from Islamic
thought and discussion. Ghezali in 11th century, wrote a book
under the title of Thafat ol falasfah (The collapse of philosophers). This
book closed the last door of free discussion in Islamic world. Then
Islamic thinkers did not dare to go out of sharia framework.
Many believe that with the death of
Sadra we see the end of Islamic philosophy. Then after him the door for
new thinking and innovation was closed.
Jamaloddin, grasped the
philosophical vision of Molla Sadra, which welcomes some kind of new
ideas. He like other of his counterparts in the filed of religious
orientation, tried to prove that the Islamic religion based on wisdom and
critical rationalism. He even claimed as, “Islam has similarity and
harmony with rationalism and modernism.” It s a kind of elude or evade
form reality. It is clear that the tenets of Islam religion -like any
other religions – is not compatible with logic and it is not changeable.
Religious orders are such one that from the beginning to end is not
changeable and remain without changes forever. When the Islamic thoughts
came across with Greek and other philosophies, the famous dialogue about
Old, and New, Determination and Free will started. Then due to pressure of
prejudice and narrow minded religious people and Islamic rulers the lamp
of free discussion was put down. They put the final point to the short
period of dialogue and discourse too.
One Personality, Two Contradicted
As you know, one of the famous
Jamaloddin writing was his comment and the annotation on Ernest Renan
(1823-1892) on his article under the title of “Islam and Science”, which
was published in 29 March 1883, in the Sorbonne university of Paris.
In his response, we are facing with
a person which his thoughts are full of contradictions and amazing with
previous one. He with soft words confirms these point of E. Renan as,
“Islam has suppressed scientists.”
This language was so soft and
wonderful that Sheikh Mohammad Abduh, one of Jamal's close follower,
who was living in Beirut, tried to to translate the annotation in Arabic
and publish it in a Lebanese magazine, after reading it with the details
was surprised. He was even frightened, that this article would blow to
the reputation of his teacher in the Islamic world. So he avoided its
translation, printing and publishing it in Arabic language.
as, “If it is true that Islam has created a barrier across the path of
progress of human knowledge, we can say that this barrier will remain in
place and will not fallen out forever? At this point, what is the
difference between Islam and other religions? All religions are
intolerance, according to their methods. Christianity (I mean the society
which has taken teachings of Christianity, and has changed it according
to its life) from the begging era (the era of the Christian life), which
you have mention had passed, and now has freed from clench and grip of
religion and had found its independence. Due to these factors put steps
forward on the road of progressive and knowledge. However, the Muslim
community has not been released yet from the iron clench of Islam. If we
consider the fact that Christianity has emerged few centuries before the
advent of Islam in the world, I do not see any reason for the
disappointment of the day that the Islamic society breaks these barriers
chains and with strong will as Christian could not prevent the Western
civilization from achieving development and progress, would walk on the
road new development. We knew that Christianity showed intolerance and
violent behavior too. I do not lose my hope about Islam.”
He then continues, “Its fact T that
Islam religion has tried to strangle rational and empirical knowledge in
their embryo and make barriers against their progress. Thus it has been
able to prevent science and philosophy from flourishing among the Muslims
and curb the human wisdom that should not have understanding of
In another part we can read as,
call, “Islam is a heavy yoke on the shoulders human-beings and made them
to feel extremely humiliated and despicable.”
as, “ It is worth to ask a question: Why the lamp of Islamic culture which
enlightened its surrounding for a short time, suddenly lost its
brightness and could get back to its glorious time? Why there is a long
time that Arab world is buried under terrible darkness? Undoubtedly, the
event returns to Islam. Yes, Islam religion is responsible for the decline
of Islamic world. The basic cause is that after Islam became strong and,
tried to eliminate kind of science and knowledge. Despotic rulers of Islam
world helped and support this processes badly.”
He on this
topic makes a quotation form Jalaloddin Sayuty, “Hadi, the caliphate of
Abbasi, just in Baghdad, the capital of the caliphate, killed five
thousand philosophers to destroy embryo of scientific thinking in the
Islamic world.” Then he continues as, “Even if we accept that the
mentioned historian had mad exaggeration about the number of victims, it
is clear that Abbasi caliphate eliminated a lot of philosophers with
severe repression. This is a black spot in the history of every religion
and every nation that has been watching these crimes.”
This can be seen that Jamal, while
he was in Paris and and faraway from religious conservatives, has clearly
expressed his views and beliefs. The impressions that even his close
follower had not dare to translate this expression in Arabic, Persian or
This side of Jamal view points
remained on the sidelines. Others remained on the this side of his belief
that the reason of Muslim world backwardness stems from this fact that
Islamic world got distance for Islam religion and the Koran. Then they
spread this ideology with their tyrannic view points everywhere in
On the other side we must consider
on the phenomenon of reservation or taiqia in which a person try to hide
his belief, faith and religion sects under the domination and oppression
of any kind of despotism.
As we knew in half of 19th
century, the light of new knowledge of Europeans: The theory of Newton,
Descartes and Darwin by translation in to Persian language reached here
Jamal in the limbo of ideas was
attracted by highly technical side of modern world. He believes that by
using of technical knowledge and Islamic unity we can bring back the old
He, like his counterparts remained
in the limbo between the old world tradition and modern world. He could
not pull him out from this abeyance and limbo. He believed that even with
the help illumination and intuition can solve a complex problem. He
believed that human knowledge can not do this but just intuition. In the
line of sufism and mysticism, he supported that the door of exegesis of
divine or the law on the matter of Islamic religion which were closed by
religious conservatism so called scholars of religion must be opened
again. However, he remained in closed circle of sufism and mysticism.
Abdu, his close follower of Jamal,
in a poetic letter which sent to him in 1883 from Beirut, where he was
spending his exile, with praiseful language wrote as, “...You saved me
form the evil of question maker wisdom... I will be standing on this path
till God be satisfied from me,,
Form this letter we can reveal the
the connection between these two which is the relationship between
spiritual guide and disciple. This is a kind of tight circle which a
person the can not reach to the depth of modernity, especially the
Jamal's efforts on the path for
changing the religion tenets to political programs and actions opened the
gates of anarchism and nihilism. I believe that he himself opened the
doors of Islamic fundamentalism after Ebn
Taymiyyah (1263 –1328 ) who believed just in Koran and Hadith. He argued
that any kind of commentaries must not be applied to these sacred texts.
Then proclaimed Jehad or Sacred Religious war against infidels.
When Reza Kermani one of his
Jamal's disciples, killed Naseroddin, (1831-1896) the king of Persia,
Jamal was thrown down or violated one of the most fundamental religious
beliefs which is the keeping human life.
Thus he opened the door of
exploiting and abusing of terrorism to mind of Islamic Fundamentalists.
Now, we can see its crystallization in suicide and terrorism acts
in the Tight Circle of Idea's Contradictions too
He for introducing modernism,
modernity and modernism, put a lot of strives. But, as we can in S.A. He
is also experiencing these inconsistencies and contradictions too. It is
very surprise is due to his will, for the cause of continuation of his
magazine. Or not to supply causes to harm his newspapers by enemies, had
not touched to the ideas of the enlightenment, humanism and human rights
which had been talked in the writings of Voltaire and Rousseau, and other
European scholars widely. In the core and essence of these mentioned
writers articles were about human, its rights and the freedom of
thoughts for reorganizing the social relations according to these norms.
He knows very well that the advancement of Europe had began from the time
that religion and government were separated. He in one of his article
clearly states that this was the main cause of European progress. Then
the sun of civilization raised form West. But he never talked its
application to Islamic countries, and especially his own country. Due to
this fact we can not find any article about the principles of freedom of
expression and social issues, women's freedom, freedom of religion and
belief, equal rights for ethnic and religious minorities and citizenship.
These facts shows that he believed
in the technical part of modernism -especially the technical progress of
weapons- for using them in the struggle and war against Europe and bring
back Muslim past and former glory.
had serious differences points with the theories of Jamal, M. Tarzi also
on the one hand accepted modernism and deep changes, however, he was
confined in the framework of religious beliefs. He still liked
technically part of modernism, but just for making a powerful country,
but not touched on modern ideas.
From Mahmud Tarzi writing before
entering Afghanistan and publishing S.A. seems that he has had a strong
concern and interest to modernity. However, publishing a newspapers which
it continuation was dependent on the will of Amir and the bitter
experiences the first round stoppage and cessation S.A. Magazine, forced
him to keep silent in this regard.
When after the collapse of the Aman
monarchy took refuge in Turkey, we can see another way of impression of
him. In his latest book under the title of “ Seeing and Hearing”, which is
an un completed of his autobiography and wrote it at the end of his life,
we can see a new expressions of him more clearly. There was neither a
king and Amir who can close the door of his journal and nor mollas to
excommunication him form social life and name him as an infidel of Islam.
The original of book is with Wahid Tarzi, his son- in -law. He translated
it in English.
Inconsistence and Paradoxes of
In this book in the part which he
talk about the prison in Kandahar, where he, his father and brothers were
in chain, we can find these kind of inconsistencies and contradictions
very clearly. His father Gholam Mohammad Tarzi, was put in jail by Amir
Abdolrahman and then were send to exile in British India in (1881).
chapter under the title of Hell and its Guardians, we can read as:
“Those on the floor of corridor included a notorious and
strange person, strange because of his frightful appearance and figure. He
was very tall with corresponding limbs. His beard like the branches of a
weeping willow, started abruptly bellow the corner of his eyes, and then
like a bush descended to his naval. His eyes, half covered by his eyebrow,
gleamed like those of a wild animal. He was wearing a short canvas shirt,
so dirty that the material could hardly be recognized. Then open and
buttonless collar of his coat revealed an intermingling of the hairs of
his chest and beard which competing in length. And the hairs of his shins
and forearms would put those of a goat to shame. A dirty, long dragging
fur coat of crud sheepskin covered him from head to toe. He had chine
around his neck which went to his ankles and must have weight about six
kg. Except for us five persons, all prisoners had chains.
“The man's name was Sadu a friend of
the famous bandit Dadu. These two and others like them had for a long time
subjected the heights of Jalal Abad and it's valley to their terror. They
would attack the caravans going through, seizing the cattle and money,
killing the men and capturing and selling the women and children. Before
leaving Kabul, the Amir had sternly ordered the Commander of Kabul to
eliminate these outlaws. The Commander had his solders and cavalry
surround the area and they captured most of the bandits, including Sadu
and Dadu whom he presented to Amir as a gifts.
In the continuation he added:
“Several days later winter arrived and
it became very cold. Even the pond froze. Mr. Sadu with is burly beard and
wild appearance, was duty-bound to bath. He flung his huge fur coat around
his shoulders and dragging his heavy, clattering chain behind him,
strutted toward the door. He muttered something to the guard who
immediately marched him to pond. Sadu removed his cloths and breaking the
ice with the end of his chain, entered. He submerged himself three times
in accordance with religious rites. He put on his cloths as the bits of
ice melted on his hair, beard and body and returned to prison. The other
prisoners had put a lot of wood in the stove so that a warm fire awaited
him. Without a word of thanks, Sadu, like a tower, sat next to stove and
“What is worthy of attention and
thought here is how the mollas and spiritual teachers have been able to
inculcate the minds of theses wild unruly people such contradictory
fanaticism. He sleeps, has a sensual dream and is relieved in which there
is no sin. Nevertheless, molla call it reality and regardless of the
circumstances, commands him to bath. And the command is carried out with
such conviction and compulsion that any concern of cold and ice are put
aside. At the same time he torture and kills people, destroys homes and
engage in unlimited salve trade. All these crimes have been strictly
forbidden, not only in the true religion of Islam, but also in other
religions too. Sadu and others like him who can be found by the thousands
throughout our country, are led to believe that the commandments against
evil are exactly the same as those for good, such as bathing after a
sensual dream with its reward of eternal paradise. If not by the mollas in
their religion schools and the spiritual leaders, then whom and how have
these ignorant and misguided people been astray?”
Then in a conversation about the
this facts that their salve girls were showing happy for sending them to
exile in India and we notice these paradoxes too:
“Sir I must tell you that the slave
girls and maids are overwhelmed with joy.”
“But why are so happy.?”
“They say that India is the land of
Raj and a free country. Once there they will declare their freedom and be
Once again he was confronted with a
He wrote about as, “According to
through religion of Islam, slavery is annulled the moment one recite and
attest in his heart the stamens such as:
“There is no God but Allah and
Mohammad is his Prophet.”
He continued as, “We also find
statements such as,'There is no slavery in
Islam.' and 'Be the servant of justice so that you may be free.' He added
“Equality which confers equal right to
all has exceptionally deep roots in Islam. If this fundamental Islamic
equality had been universally respected, by law there would have been no
master or slaves, rich or poor, and the world would have become paradise.
Unfortunate, efforts in this direction have hardly been successful.
“In first these
legal precepts of Islam lasted for less that twenty (My
underline) years and today we witness a situation where the young slave
girls, in order to win freedom, opt for exile to foreign land. This is
understandable when we consider the oppression to which thy have subject.
I for one, in my heart, certainly shared their happiness.”
When he left
Kabul and settled as political refugee in Istanbul (1929), had more free
hand for expressing his OWN ideas freely.
Here he composed a lot of critical
poems. He published them in two collections by name of Zhulida and
Pazhmorda- Tangled and Faded- under his own eyes.
In these two collections of poetry
which was composed in very free conditions, we can see the reflections
and crystallization of his sense and feeling from 1929, onward to 1933
very widely. Then he died suddenly.
In this poetries, he takes out mask
from the face of mullahs, tribal leaders and Khans who were the big
forces for blocking transformations and changes of political and social
life of people. c We can read this in the following ode:
Note: I have translated it in
Serious service for this nation,
is a mistake
Because terror, murder and pillage are resting in
Alas to the community that from A
to Z are thieves !
Clarks with the pen, a vagabond with a dagger
Alas to people hatred prosperous
They are happy of failure and sad of wealth
Alas to nation that school,
knowledge and wisdom
Are bad and inferior worse
than infidelity of infidel
Alas to a community that their
women are lower than guns
They use guns for murdering the brother and
They say that women must not go
out of house
Since she is a great chastity for every male man
Since she is as mobile commodity
There is no differences between her and cow, its
If you sell a cow and a women,
both are same but
Cow gives milk and butter, so she is better than
It is better that children be
uneducated and fool
If they became educated, they will not steal, no
kill and is a female donkey
For having this, they first of
all put schools on fire
This is a clear fact of their proud ignorance
City and mountain people, rape
the boys sexually
Every Khan, landowner and molla, have a dancing boy
If I talk about this calamities,
The pen would shame, and hundred books will be
So big rebellions, so big blood
and killing !
Are from the propaganda of this time mollas
Form these thief, killer and
ignorant people, is better
An thief Amir, not an enlighten king
Taleb and molla and Hazrat (Honor
and holiness man of Islam religion), peer and son of Holy man
Are for ignorant people, guide and leader
They are like biting louse and
suck body's blood
If there is no blood of people, they will be lean
Ignorance and illiterate of
people, feed and cloth them
So they are enemy of reasons and believe in
We can call a person molla, who
Knowledge do not tell you to make revolt, what a
Koran says that do not make
crisis, killing is bad
Reason and knowledge say do not steal its worse
So you are not molla, this name
not going with you
You are pain, not molla, it shows opposite to your
I agree with view points of Algerian
-French philosophy Prof. Mohammad Arkoun (Feb,1928-Sept. 2010). As we
knew he was considered one of most famous secular scholars in Islamic
studies. He was on the side of modernism, secularism and humanism in
Islam. He argues as, “The triangle of of truth, sacredness and violent are
woven tightly” As he believes, the critique of a sacredness is not
possible “Without critiquing of truth and sacredness” So according to
this point, “ We must read a text as so that from its within no absolute
truth and not sacred authority come out”
Note: I believe that M. Tarzi in
three places as in Damascus, Kabul in time of publishing S.A and the in
Istanbul in exile, had expressed different idea and vie points. I will try
to discusses about in a separate article.
The Peak of Struggle between Old
and Modern Ideas
Before and especially with the
beginning of World War I, the court of Amir and its close circles, were
divided into two part. This can be named the peak of power struggle
between reformists and conservatives. In the chain of events, act for
assassinate of Amir, in 1909, was shocking incidence. It made a very bad
side affect. Amir has taken distance from reforms which he had made and
wanted to promote them further. Amir, were under pressure of forces who
were trying to push the country into war, and those who knew it is a big
gamble. Amir with aware of its catastrophes consequence did not gone
under the temptation of warmonger group. This act which had roots in
reasons, brought very close two parts of court. It is very surprise that
the fans of Turkey and Germany who were a close part, gave their hand of
cooperation to of the conservative and traditionalists who not just
opposed only the British influence, but did not like even the technical
innovation, leave the transformation of an institutional and political
thoughts. Thus these two opposed groups, did find a common ground against
Amir. Due to closeness and cooperation between these two force, along with
plots of the inner - court under the guide of Her Majesty the queen
Sultan Sarwar, the Amanolla's mother, had paved the way for murder of
Amir at the middle of the night faraway from Kabul.
Thus after 40 years relative calm in
our history, political power transfered in a court coup.
Notes: I will write a detail
article about later.
Painful Birth of Modernity
Amanolla, against the the norm of
the court - In the line of getting crown were standing form his uncle to
big brothers – got the power. After many ups and downs, he reached to his
aims which was the independence of Afghanistan and having relations with
other countries. The big question is: Had he used this opportunity for
progress of country and bringing stabilities for modernism changes? The
answer to this question should be done in another article.
However, as we know, in a decade of
his rule the half part of it was filled excitements and jolliness for
getting independence, other half was filled with the pains and
frustrations from reactions against reforms. At the start on the line of
Mahmud Tarzi thinking, tried to make some reforms. They were a kind of
reforms continuation on the line of his father Amir Habibolla.
We can write a long list of them.
But, I look more in line with
changes that stands in line of with modernity, that have been linked to
the law and orders.
In this context we can emphasized on
education. The style of the French school system replaced Indian one.
Several schools of foreign languages were founded. On the part of
administration, the School of Governors and administrations courses can
be named. In this respect, too much attention was put to technical
schools, etc. Within a decade, the doors of ten diverse schools with new
method were opened.
However, this point should not be
forgotten that conservative opposition to the new study based on empirical
knowledge, considered them against of Islam. They made a heavy stumbling
block in the construction process of new schools. Meanwhile, in many parts
of the country a lot of religious schools were extremely active. Still in
every village where there was a mosque, students to were learning just
Koran and the Hadith, under the keen high of mollas and religious leaders.
eyes. Opening of school's doors for girls was also faced with such a
barrier. On the same time making new law and orders which was a great
innovation itself would not be welcomed by the traditionalist groups.
In this field the new family law
which was for regulating marriage faced with severe reactions by
conservative forces. In this law the marriage of a girl before 18 years
old and on the same time force marriage to her close members family was
prohibited. According to new law, a widow woman had right to remarry after
the death of her husband. Although form view points of Islamic sharia, she
had right that after waiting for three months, could marry again, but it
was against the tribal cods which claimed that widow is property of
Along these reforms, we can name the
freedom of press and even publishing of non-state personal journal, of
removing the veil on women,etc.
In the peak and top of these
reforms, was convening the constitution or mother of law. Under the
supervision of Mahmud Tarzi some law experts of Turk starting the draft of
Constitution in 1923. The constitution accepted absolute royal political
system in which only the royal male families members had the right of
becoming king. However, compared with absolute regimes which ruled in
the length of history, it was a major step towards forming a democratic
structure in political area.
These facts show very clearly that
Mahmud Tarzi who had an important role in shaping the constitution, did
not try, or could not change it to a constitutional monarchy which can
check and balance the political power. It expresses this fact, although
some of our writers call him supporter and even in the leader of
Constitutional Movement, he did not belied in it. In this constitution
Hanafi sect of Islam religion was proclaimed as official religion.
Followers of other religions were free, but, under pressure from the
clergy, they were obliged to pay the Jazia or poll-tax. In this
constitution, there was not divided state in three branches of Government,
Law chamber and Juridical Power. King had all levers of power to his hand,
he issued his final ruling in the judicial sector. Thus, we still for
reaching to such a political system in which the vote of people in the
body of political parties and groups play a role, were in very distance.
However, some of our writers and
historians speak deferent constitutional movement periods or mashruta.
First of all this word of mashruta which some apply it as constitutional
is not a right mean. This word of mashruta, which is an Arabic word and it
mean If or Condition. In Iran, at the middle of 19th century
some reformist wanted to spread Modern Law in society. The Islamic
religious leaders were opposed to it and wanted Mashrua or Sharia
against. So reformers requests were named Mashruta. There were some
Islamic religious leader. Mashallah Ajudani, one of famous writers of Iran
call it with humor and ironically as Iranian Mashruta, has called. We can
talk about Afghani version all our life!
King Amanolla, was burning in
excitements of his reforms and was confined in the ivory tower of his
idealism. He was departed form harsh current realities, and continued
riding the horse of formalism reforms. They reforms was so aline and
unfamiliar with reality of society, that even his close friends left him
alone. In the court only
flattering, obsequious and yes men surrounding
These full of
formalism reforms, which have been taken,
especially since1923, at beginning faced with a kind of silence from
conservative religious forces, tribal leaders and landlord. Amanolla
riding the wave of independence excitement under took them. They were
crystallized in the actions toward rule of law, civil law, rather than
However, after a short time,
conservative groups embodied in mollas, clerics, tribal leaders local
landlords, put the rebellious head up.
For the first time, the
traditionalist clerics or mollas with the help of tribal leaders, rebelled
in Khust, in south of country.
The basic essence of this rebellion
should see in collecting methods of new taxes for construction of country
and above all education. The most important change was that the commodity
tax was changed to cash. This coupled with the corruption in collecting
taxes. These action put fie on the barrel of rebellious gun powder.
The propaganda of mullahs who were
considered reforms as an act of heretical, made a storm. Another important
point was that the rapid reforms and improvement put a bad affect on
Afghan (Pashtun) tribal social fabrics. They put resistance on the
declaration the all Afghans must enter military service for a period. It
weak the tribal codes which was called Pashtunwali. They even raised
against sharia law which in some part were contrary to the norms of tribal
social fabric. This concentrated especially on woman right. The reforms
were gavin freedom for women. It put dry wood on the fire of rebellious.
The local reaction, slowly, along
with plots of the court, provided the ground for state failure and
collapse of Amanolla's regime.
On the other
hand, the external policy due to our geo-political sensitive position
ought to be on the line of keeping balances between most important
neighbors, namely Britain and Soviet Union with special keen and skills
maneuvers. Amanolla's last visit and travel (1928) had been done while
his close friends were opposed, made him more proud and divide him from
reality. He without looking deep into the opposition forces which were
taking shape, pressed on reforms more and more. This policy slid the firm
land of power under his feet.
Simply we can draw this result that
strong and united triangle of tribal structure, traditional religious
institutions and landlords, with speedy unneeded reforms paved the way for
collapse of reformist regime. The most important points in this regards
was that he introduced reforms, before strengthening the pillars of new
political structure and consolidating the power base. Thus, his great
ideals of modernism, and social changes, did not realized.
Dragon of Tradition, Pop up its
So after Amanolla left the crown and
throne, in 1929, dragon of traditionalism and sharia law, swallowed the
social and political reforms which had been don in the first three decades
of the twentieth century.
Reign of Amir
Habibolla Kalakani, can be seen as the time of political chaos. This
period from view point of and economic vision, can be called the
collapsed time. He in time of crowning ceremony, promised for returning to
rule of by the Koran and the Sharia.
This going back to traditional
system of social relations, impacted on social status of education and
The doors of all schools were
closed, female students were withdrawn from Turkey, foreign military
experts were expelled, the principle of polygamy turned back,
laboratories, libraries, royal museum in Kabul, were plundered. The
properties and commodities of people were looting, rare manuscripts were
sold in black market with cheapest prices, the victims were shot down or
put on canon mouths.
Andree Violis, reporter of Petit
Parisien newspaper reporter who was only local foreign correspondent in
Kabul, writes as, “Even trees in Kabul were destroyed. They were cut from
roots to pay for fighters of 'Bacha' – The nickname of Kalakani –
salaries.” (Gregorian. P. 275).
Daily Telegraph journalist at that
time, writes from Peshawar as, “Kabul is a city that horror and terror
make the daily life of people every day. It is a city where residents are
living in the grip of fear and terror. It is a city that no one knows how
who is ruling them and what would happen in the next moment?”
(Gregorian. p. 286)
With a mere decree, the Ministry of
Education and Justice, were abolished. Since they were the barriers
against the power of the clergy class. Courts and School Board's
responsibilities were handed to the leaders of Islamic religion. Clergies
headed by Hazrat of Shurbazar gave religious title of Ghazi and Servant
of Prophet and Region to Amir Habibullah Kalakani religion. He put end to
Thus, all of those efforts which had
been done on line of modernism in the country, during the first three
decades of twentieth century, evaporated within less than one year.
Faiz Mohammad Kateb from Hazara
tribe, who witnessed the horror of these events recorded them in a
wonderful work. The title of this dairy book is, "Ketab e Tazakkor e
Enqelab" (Kabul Under Siege: Fayz Mohammmad's Account of The 1929
Uprising) - As far as I know, this book has not been published so far.
This book can be noted as his daily chronology. Ali Mohammed, son of the
Kateb, was entrusted this book in 1980 to the National Archives. Then,
Shkirando, Russian researcher, made a microfilm from it and has been
translated it into Russian. Then R.D. McChesney edited and annotated and
translated and published it in English,1999.He wrote about the role fo
people who had hands in a coup against Amanullah anf giving political
power to Kalakani, writes as, “With the help of betrayers people such as
ministers as: Hazrat e Shurbazar or Gol Aqa or Mohammad Sadeq Mojadedi,
Sardar Osman Khan, who was arrested in 1920, and his properties were
seized and confiscated. But, in 1922, was again appointed as head of
parliament. He had close ties with Hazrat e Mojadedi family. Mohammed Wali
Darwazi, who was regent of Amanullah during his trip to abroad(1027-28),
and others worked together for bringing down Amanolla form political
power.” (Kateb.1929. P. 37)
Mrs. S. Nawid, one of famous scholar
writes about, “even the regent of Amanolla, had a close link H.
Kalakani.” I believe that relations stemmed from his ethnic line.
Sardar Mohammad Osman Khan, due to
his former inferior complex, and because his sister had married one
member of Mojadedi's family and had close ties with them.
Here we must consider the role of
Abdol Hai from Panjshir, who was the chief of staff from high court at
the time of Amanullah, in this plot. He was one of the Deobandi's mollas.
The name derives from Deoband, of India. There was
the Islamic religious school or Darololum e Deoband, the center of Islamic
movement. He urged and encouraged mollas for
refusing any forms of reforms and even put rebellious actions against
Notes: In the mentioned book
recorded very shocking events of these nine months. I will try to explain
them in a separate article.
Amir Habibullah Kalakani at the
start of his rule exempted all forms of taxes, after passing of two
months, due to the lack of money, looting and plundering the people, put
heavy pressure on the traders who had influences to Peshawar markets for
This facts coupled with the
widespread chaos, brought the big shocks to the pillars of new regime.
Although this course of events lasted only nine months, but we can call
it the worst social and political time in Afghanistan history.
Thus the vicious circle of tyranny
and despotism, made a new turn.
Absolute Power and Limited
Nader one of Amanolla's general who
serving as an ambassador if Paris, Franc, decided to turn to country and
take the political power form Amir Kalakani (1930).
He due to deep crisis in all part of
political structure, succeed and overthrown Kalakani and became the new
The crisis of Amanolla's fall, brought a deep gulf of difference and the
division between those who supported modernism. Some of them changed their
faces soon and put their pens against reforms and modernism. They argued
that the spirit of the East !, is not going well with modernism.
Nader, the new king who got power
from Kalakani, for attracting the religious leaders created the Council of
Afghanistan Olama (Islamic religious scholars). The put an end point to
all reforms, especially spreading the rule of law, establishing new civil
social relations in the country. He gave the Sharia sword to the office of
the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Amar Bel Maruf wa
Nahi An al Munkar). The members of this office called Mohtaseb. They were
monitoring all actions behavior of people, like secret service. Their
criteria was to check them according to the Islamic virtues and morals.
He also tried his best to attract
tribal chieftains and leaders too.
To give the new regime legitimacy,
draft a Constitution in October 1931. The constitution confirmed the
absolute monarchy system. The sovereignty was a kind of God given body. On
the some extant the new constitution was the continuation of 1923
constitution, with some changes. One of the most important changes was
that poll-taxes for Hindus and Jews, was eliminated.
National Assembly or parliament, was
a two-room chambers. They tried to give it Islamic traditional dressing.
But, it was king who by having the right of rejection or veto, would curb
the parliament decisions. King headed the cabinet all time. The press was
again revived, but the newspapers were official and under the restrict
control of government.
The seeds of reform ideas and
changes, especially the idea of nationalism which associated with
national government, which were cultivated in the ground of people minds
from the beginning of twenty-century, and had growing chances in the time
of Amir Habibolla and Amanolla, had germinated. It had the color of
At this time there were three
streams of thought side by side. Traditionalism, nationalism and
Traditional Islamists thought that
the cause of backwardness is the the lack of unity among Muslims. The new
generation of modernists, were seeing the cause the lack of knowledge,
especially practical knowledge and technical deficiencies. Nationalists
were trying to emphasis that Islam, progressive and modernism are
compatible, not against each other.
Meanwhile, the nationalists and
modernists believed that reason and wisdom is the fundamental foundation
of thinking. It will not come without experimental and practical
knowledge. They will expand awareness among people. Some of them even
believe that religion and faith have close bond with an individual's
conscience and heart, and arrange his relationship with God, and there
should not be any middle man.
In this course, the nationalists of
country were aware for the diversity of ethnic groups, were trying to make
them as a nation. For reaching to this goal, they were looking and even
clinging to past history. They according to this line, they point to
history, particularly before the dominance Arabs and Islam. They argued
that all ethnic groups belonged to the Aryan race. This was done under
the influence of Aryan race, which was extremely popular, at that time.
However, this attitude as assuming
all ethnic groups, as Afghans, have become so complex and so tied up that
produced the big crisis next. Whenever nationalism has deviate from a
multi-ethnic outlook- in our country there are near to fifty ethnic groups
and thousand tribes – and cling to one ethnic group, never mind which one,
the process of nation building will face multiply crises.
On the other side, in the line of
modernists who were using every little valve for expressing their
thoughts, were trying to pave the ways for spreading new and different
outlooks. Those were who for the first time with new ideas started
debates Socrates philosophy. Then, slowly and carefully, sometimes
without mentioning their names, talked on the views points of scientists,
scholars and philosophers such as Voltaire, Goethe, Lamartine, Kant, Marx.
Tagore, Kamal Nemik, Bahar, Iqbal, Taha Hossain for the people who needed
In the same time voices for freedom
of women and providing facilities for their studies were heard loud and
long. In this line, the great emphasis were don on the traditional ideas
as barriers for.
It should be noted that the act of
Nader's terror who believed in step by step reforms once again brought
an excuse for tyranny and despotism. I should analyze this fact in a
In that regard it should be noted
that the awareness of political powerful men of modernity term was just
technical means and not idea. We can see effect of this way of thinking on
modernity in the subsequent changes which had been done by the forces of
gun bayonets and continue yet.
life Breathing of Freedom
The second world war, divided world
from ideological and political view points in two camps. On one side
political regimes were shaped by freedom and democracy system which were
the out came of enlightenment and humanism movements in the long struggle
during centuries, and on there side, there were despotism and
authoritarian regimes which were shaped on the basic tenets of
However the spreading of new ideas,
pave the ground for the new experiences on the line of of democracy. It
was during this time that thoughts – if in embryonic shape – with their
supporters came up who wanted to shape political structure on a wide
spectrum of ideas from democracy to leftism.
It must be noted that due to the
spreading of awareness by education, a new generation of educated people,
followed the generation of Amani period emerged.
All these changes with the good will
of a ruler who had all means of political power, made more favorable
ground for freedom. In the authoritarian political structures of
pre-modern systems, it is this mind of a ruler who have all power, which
determines every-things. Thus it was in the period of of Shah Mahmud's
rule, a lot of political groups with free publications such as: Watan
(Homeland), Engar (Spark) and Nedai Khalq (Voices of People) came on
political scene. We can call these groups as the nucleus for political
parties. In these free press, slogans for shaping the the democratic
system, as : National government, free elections and permission for the
making political parties, were published. A group of intelligentsia
gathered around Wish Zalmian (Awakened Youths) 1947, entered political
arena. Under its pressure, the free elections for parliament were
done.(1949). It was coupled with the more open atmosphere for expressing
free ideas. We can call this, as the first movement for democracy in our
history. We can call it as a constitutional movement which some naming it
Mashruta. Then the word of democracy replaced the term of Mashruta. I
believe that we can call it the first movement for constitution order or
Mashruta, not the anarchist acts which was done by secret group of 1909 or
the period of Amani.
At this period a lot of political
parties as: Wish Zalmian, Party of National Democratic, Party of Watan,
Party of Khalq, Underground Party of National Unity and Student Union,
emerged. The peak time of this period is elections campaign for seventh
term of National Assembly (1049-51). On the same time we do not forget
the first free election of Kabul mayor.
Its a sad fact that we must point
as: The mentioned political groups inside national assembly and Student
Union outside it, first of all divided on the line of ethnicity and them
on leftism. On the same time the free publication criticized the higher
governmental and religious authorities very harshly. On the other side,
the party of “Secret Unity” tried to assassinate and terror Chancellor
Shah Mahmud, who provide such free political atmosphere.
As we are eyewitness, form the
beginning of 20th century, every time that the windows of
freedom and free thinking were opened, a group of so called intellectual,
did close them by terrorist actions as: 1909,1918, 1919 and 1951.
These two problems, coupled with low
level of knowledge, made negate and ineffective the influences of free
press. Its worth to not forget the despotic framework of the rulers. They
for ruling with authoritarian hands, used all forces too.
Thus the first experience for
establishing and institutionalizing
of democratic system, had failed in 1952. With
the begging of Dauod rule as a chancellor, 1953, to all kind of freedom of
thoughts had been put an end. The freedom lovers were put in jails and
The First Short -life
Mohammad Zaher, the ex-king of
Afghanistan was very young at the time of his father Nader's
assassination. He took the crown of power by the help of his uncles. I
fact and reality, they were running the day to day political affairs. He
was ruling under the shadow of his uncles and even his cousins. The
condition continued for 30 years. Then he decide to take the reign himself
gradually. He was the eyewitness of his uncles and cousins wrong doing. So
he decided to put end to this abnormal process.
He his father, Nader was an
ambassador in Paris attending schools there. The first thing which he
learnt there was the basic principles of people power and democracy. Due
to his first experiences in French, he noticed that his uncle Mohammad
Hashem, the chancellor was running political affairs with despotism and
iron hand. His cousin Mohammad Daoud, was following the suite.
Then he made a decision for opening
the doors of real reforms by his own hand.
Then he appointed a group of lawyers
and political experts as a “Commission for Drafting New constitution”.
This was a big step toward shaping democracy.
With the opening of new free
atmosphere – although the free press had not been there – for the first
time the view points of people who belonged to different ethnic groups had
find a chance ot be expressed. This situation opened a hot discussion and
discourses among people.
Then he appointed a Commission for
offering advices about. Tow members of this Commission were women. They
reviewed the draft of Constitution. On the same time it was published in
newspapers and discussed fully.
For the first time an assembly of
people, which had deep different with previous ones, and was not a rubber
stamp, were convinced.
In the first clause of this
constitution we can read, “Afghanistan is a constitutional monarchy” In
the transferring the power it accepted heritage system and eldest prince
would assume the power and can be the next king. There was not
possibilities for the princess to be a ruler. Contrast of 1931
constitution, the Hanafi sect of Islam religion was not proclaimed as
official religion of country. Worshiping for other religions were claimed
The interesting point in this
constitution was the position and place of royal family. There were
written very clearly that the members of royal family can not assume high
political position like: Premiership, minister, political representatives
in foreign countries and high court.
The constitution, safeguarded the
basic principles of social justice, equality before the law, individual
freedom, personal property, freedom of opinion and expression, right to
education and health, the legal right to organize parties. Another
important consideration is the recognition of women's right equality
before the law.
This process lasted for ten years
which we call it the decade of democracy.
Decade of democracy, according to a
lot of experts, “Was a peaceful revolution” which opened its way in the
heart of sixth decade of 20th century.
Undoubtedly, democracy from the
start, was faced with opponents. These are among the royal family, hot
supporters of “Pashtunistan”, officers and leftist groups of pro-Moscow.
The greatest achievement of this
period according to view points of many experts, was “The best
constitution in the Islamic world.”
This constitution, changed the
absolute royal system to constitutional monarchy or as we call it
mashruta. It transferred the the “National Sovereignty” to the people. It
pointed very clearly that This species belongs to the nation that
“National sovereignty belong to people.”
This constitution, shaped the
independent judiciary for the first time. Civil law, was taking the place
of “Fatwa” (A ruling on Islamic law) slowly. This was leading toward law
bound government formation.
Parliamentary system in which people
vote for their representatives took shape.
“...And most importantly of all is
the freedom of speech and press. After decades of repression of people
ideas and thoughts it solve the barriers against. After July 1965 to the
end of “Decade of Democracy” in July 1973, more than thirty independent
magazine with strongly differing views were published. If for these social
institutions were given the opportunity to grow and expand, and create
the legal parties, and elected provincial councils were added , it would
give more chances for people participated to shape their destiny, the
ways for making a modern and civil society would paved.
Ideas, drown in the ocean of Right and Left Extremism
In the space after the constitution
passed in 1964, the political organizations and groups which under the
reign of Daoud, as Chancellor who ruled one decade with strong despotism,
were driven to the shadow, were sprung.
Alas and pity that due to political
closed space for free discussions and instability, not existence of a
middle class and socio-political organization, these changes were not got
deep roots in society. This atmosphere, divided the political groups in
tow poles. The international political influences, polarized them on
the left and right camps under the direct eyes of socialism camp and
Muslim Brotherhood movement.
A small group of informed, literate
and educated people who were suffering from the backwardness of country,
and were feeling the deep gap between their land and other countries,
wanted to bring changes very soon and speedy. They fall in the trap of
extremism actions. They were divided in two groups of political Islam and
communism. Thus all educated part of society were divided on this line.
Although there was not possible due
to nonexistence of Law for Party organizing, a lot of political groups
entered the field of political actions. One of the great mistakes of
Zaher, was that he due to a lot causes, hanging the ratification of
parties law which after two years discussions were passed by parliament in
1968. Some of political experts believe that it was one of big shortcoming
of Zaher, although he made a lot of reforms in country.
The political groups started to
recruit members in semi-public and more underground activities.
At tend of the day the consequence
of this action, although the democratic process which had started
properly, and had opened the breathing space for political activities,
drowning in the extremism and exaggeration actions. Political forces in
the extreme left and right – with a lot trends – tried to spread their
ideas and organize people.
It should not be forgotten that
between these two poles, small groups with ideas such as democracy and
moderate were active too. One of them was Party of National Unity led by
Kh. Khalili. But the influences of left and right forces who had not
believe in democracy principles, with blowing to the trumpet of noise
and clamor for change on the line of their ideology, prevented the
development of forces, who were following the democratic values.
White, Red and Green Coups, the
End of democracy
A military coup in July 1973, put
an ending point to all the democratic achievements which we got them
during decade of of democracy. The plotters of coup named it a white one.
Since the leadership of this coup
had close link to the left ideas of third world, which its essence are the
principles of tyranny and totalitarianism, all the spaces for the
presence democratic thoughts were closed. Some of the leftist forces who
had an important role in its preparation, accompanied it. Some of them
for there was no opportunity to be active publicly went underground. They
started to recruit members in army and military forces. This new political
structure which had close relations with some forces made big and major
blow to the forces of the religious right. These forces for escaping the
prosecution, took political refuge in Pakistan. In Pakistan who was feared
of new regime in Kabul which claimed past greatness of high ambitions,
embraced with open arms the escapees. The country's intelligence apparatus
or ISI was waiting this golden opportunity. They organized and trained
them for guerilla or irregular war to fight the new regime in Afghanistan.
Thus, for the first time, the armed struggle with help of our southern
neighbor started in the country and shattered the decades of long
stability and peace in our land. The firing of this first shot marked
the began of a war which going on until now by different forces and
contrasting political and armed groups. Thus White coupe opened a hole in
the stability of our political structure an open breach. From this
breach, the flood of death, blood and ruins coming down yet for 40 years.
This new political structure, by
closing the political breathing space on the base of third world
perspective and outlooks, put attention to the economic changes and
development. On this line of thoughts once again it tried for expanding
the modernism. However, the empathize were done on the technical part,
not the ideas and thoughts. Thus, the scale of transformation that
should be a balance between two sides of modernity, put attention and
heavy emphasis on technical modernity.
This regime in the process of
political fluctuations, first of all with its leftist friends embarked on
on the world socialist camp, headed by Soviet Union. Soon its leadership
sensed that going to this way would not bring any profit. on the left
hand. However, the leadership of regime soon reached to this fact that
there is no any profit in this way, and turned its head to world of
capitalism for getting more technical know how. This kind of political
maneuvers cause as deep crisis. Meanwhile pro-Moscow left forces under
the pressures of Moscow, were united. This act paved the ways and
preparations for red coup.
During this half decade of
totalitarian and authoritarian structure, whose leader was entering in the
old age, the famous dragon of political suspicion put it head up. Then it
poisoned all fabric of regime. The old leader made a big purge in the
state and government apparatus. In the end of the day there remained just
yes men around him.
At the consequence of this
situation, the left forces who accompanied him and learnt all tips and
tricks of coups, found an opportunity to hit him with the military forces
form power. The same companions and friends who brought him to political
power yesterday, toppled him down. In the both political chess scene, this
were the hands of Kremlin which used them as a pawns.
Thus in 27 April 1978, a bloody
coup with red colors and ideas, got the power and dominated soon over
In this era we can not talk of
modernism, especially its section social and ideas which had close
relations with tied to democracy. The coup began to crack down all
dissident forces, including its own part too. In the end of day, it lost
all abilities for ruling the country. These repressive action brought a
strong response and reactions from all strata of society. Thus the
leftist regime was put in corner badly. Then it for saving its face, asked
help form Soviet Union. This relying on foreigners made it very unpopular
too. It dragged it to hell.
Although the neighbor gave it a help
hand, and gave the reign to other branch of same party, but the gulf of
differences between regime and people was so deep, that nobody could
bridge it totally.
The religious-right forces or Moslem
Brotherhood, who had taken political refuge in in the southern neighbor,
after the white coup, with help of them and assist of the free world
forces who were opposing the leftist ideology, started a high guerilla
war, very fiercely.
Meanwhile, there occurred a
profound changes in our great neighbor the in the North. The shock
waves of these changes were so powerful that it fallen the pawn in our
political chess board. New game started with new pawns. This conditions
narrowed power base very badly. This situation, opened the mouth of old
wounds of difference between the old leadership which had roots in the
social structure of a peasant- tribal society. Profound political
transformation in the Kremlin which had a policy of proletarian
internationalism solidarity, imposed on it a new policy of realism. The
wind of changes, helped guerillas forces who were under the command of
our neighbor, Pakistan, to take the political power under the pretext of
so called “coalition”but in real it was a full submission of the left
forces. They were shot out from power and even country.
This time the changes were done by
the coup of forces with a trend of Islamic ideology, with the green
It is interesting that seven months
had not passed from 27 April 1992, that religious forces who were under
the protective umbrellas of our two neighbors, Pakistan and Iran, where
in first were Sunni groups and in the second Shia, with the gaining
power of the used their swords and bleed the heart of Islam. Due to this
fact, the civil war started between rival Islamic groups. It was so sever
that not only Kabul was divided in small pieces, but their swords torn all
parts of country apart. The patient and tolerances of of people came to
end or as we say, “The knife reached deep to their bone.”
During these events, the new
generation of Islam religion but very traditionalists who were studying
in madrases or religious school called the Taliban, who were the sons of
refugees in Pakistan. Due to this fact that in refugee camps there were
not any facilities for studying they were recruited by different Islamic
fundamentalists groups to madrases. They were trained and thought how to
make war. Then they were changed to the pawns of commanders and
intelligent services of neighbors. They were very anxious of fierce
battle which was going between different Islamic groups. At the end of
day, they became extremely dissatisfied with the current crisis. They took
distance from old generation and started to fight them. But, this time
they strongly related on the world wide Islamic fundamentalist network,
and had been absorbed by them. Due to this fact after coming to
power,19196, they had not chances to make free and independent policy.
They changed the country as a base for the Islamic fundamentalist forces,
who had no place in Pakistan and even their own countries.
For these forces, who were got fat
during the world struggle against communism, there did not remained any
enemy. So they turned their swords on their own previous friends and
allies for they consider them a big stumbling block on the way of
spreading Islamic ideology.
By doing this wrong policy, the
pillars of their political power shocked to the ground.
Light in the
End of Tunnel
Some Changes in the Line of
United states of America at the head
of the international community, after that Talebans refused - because of
inability and deep dependence, bondage and enslavement into network of
Qaeda, this international terrorism organization – to give in Ben Laden,
the mastermind of the terrorist attack to N.Y, form bringing him to
justice, decided to put an end to Talebans political power. They with the
help of militia groups inside Afghanistan put actions against Talebans
forces. They were able to bring down Talebans form the power and broke
their political structure, very soon.
It is clear that country had been
suffered from deep political crisis. It was started with Daoud coup in
1973. This coup put an end to the democratic process. Since then, country
fallen in the vortexes and whirlpools of war, bloodshed and destruction.
We can tell very clearly, little by
little the country's growth rate climbed down to zero point.
After that Taliban were driven from
power, 2011, more than one decades had passed over.
During this time, the international
community's efforts and partly our own, brought significant achievements,
especially in the line of modernity and democracy.
The biggest and most important
achievements we can name is that previous rival force who were learned to
talk just with the means of arms, were put together. They in 3 decades
using every means and pretexts to draw swords against each other.
These different groups were brought
in Bonn 2001, and talked together. I believe that the most fundamental
problem in this assembly was that all forces who were involved in nearly
three decades crisis were not invited and give a chance.
However, the the most achievement of
Bonn conference was a roadmap to put an end point to crisis and shape the
new political structure on the line of democracy.
Consequently, the first
constitution after decades of democracy (1963-1973) marked a new era. In
previous three decades the people suffered under the authoritarian and
totalitarian regimes badly. According to law experts, the constitution of
1963, was one of the best constitution in the pre – modern and especially
Islamic countries. That's why the new constitution (2004) had been
shaped in the framework of previous one with some changes.
Thus for the first time after
democracies decade of 60s, people who were eyewitness of more than 30
years of the coups with different colors and ideologies, which brought
wars, bloodshed, and destructions have found the opportunity to elect
first president with ballots, not bullets. It was a hope of which educated
people had from the beginning of the twentieth century onward.
Then those rival and enemy forces
during a free and fair national election elected National Assembly after
the decade of the democracy. (2005). This time they sat down together and
work. They are using the language of criticism for expressing their ideas
not gun. On the seats of parliament, members of Moslem Brotherhood or
Mojaheddan, Islamic fundamentalists, reformers, communists and even some
Talebans sat together. Most important of all is that women are sitting
at their side too.
Then in the process of these
changes, the Supreme Court formed.
We can name the other achievement
as: Freedom for organizing parties . So now over seventy diverse parties
and fronts are active.
On the world level, the country's
foreign relationships with the various and different countries shaped.
Other achievements in this regard
can be said that in line with democratic institutions such as civil
society, Human Rights Commission, etc. have formed.
What we can call the most important
of all the changes is freedom of the press and mass media. Freedom of
We, during the twentieth century,
had been tested three times freedom of the expression, but with a short
time. First time after independence, then two years of 1948-49, and the
last one famous decade of democracy,1963-1973.
This time, however, now more than a
decade that the freedom of expression in various private publications, TV
and radio transmitters, have been continuing. These freedom play a very
important role in raising awareness of people on one side, and and
harnessing the political power who are new comers in the scene. It shows
that people can play a great role for curbing political powere.
Another achievement of this decade
can be mentioned in giving, and keeping and safe the different rights of
women. As we know, women in this country due to heavy religious beliefs
and above all a male dominating long traditions had been under sever
oppression and pressure for centuries. The peak time of this pressure was
in period of Talebans harsh rule.
In this decade, the condition of
women from cultural and political stand have been improved considerably.
In one part of our the constitution, we can read as, “Afghan citizens, men
and women, enjoy equal rights before the law.”
Women are no longer forced to wear a
chadary (Veil).They wore just a scarf. They have been very active in the
appointed and elected bodies of government and private enterprises. They
are even the owners of different economical enterprises too. It is clear
that the heavy presence of traditions and low awareness of men in rural
and countryside area , men and even women, had not been changed very mush.
It takes a long time and work for their awareness.
Now every thing depends on educated
people, women and men, to use these golden opportunities and
possibilities for institutionalizing and safeguarding these achievements
with all means. In the case of neglecting and not paying deep attention,
with a short act of backwardness, the major achievements would fall apart.
It is clear that these achievements
on the line of democracy, was done under the influence and attention of
international forces presence. We do not forget for a moment that these
achievements are extremely fragile.
Internal forces, such as the
Talebans, due to our own and international community mistakes, are still
at the scene to take advantage of all means for destroying them. Beside
Talebans, there are groups who are thinking along the lines of the
Talebans Islamic fundamentalist perspective. They are waiting to use
every opportunity to take back all these achievements and turn the wheel
of changing to back or stop it.
In this decade, along with that
achieved on the line of modernity, our society and community structure
under the pressure of religious fundamentalist forces – every shads – who
have the key role for shaping social relations, the situation remained
bad and breakable.
This we can see that although,
one century had passed of our long strives for shaping the society on the
line of modernity, we are still in limbo between traditional, closed and
despotic ideas on one side and open, democratic and free on the other
In my belief, now its the mission of
educated and intelligentsia of our society – although they are in margin
position – that by using all opportunities and possibilities to protect
and safeguard new modern and civil institutions and try their best to
institutionalize them firmly. We do not let that by the time that world
community leave us,1914, our land goes down to magnetic field of out
neighbors and be drown in their black holes.
Bibliography in Persian language:
1 - Ajudani, Dr. Mashallah.
“Mashruta Khwaye Iran (Iranian Constitutional Movement), Publishing:
Akhtar, Tehran, 8th Edition, 1386/ 2007.
2 - Ahang, Kazem. “ Masir Journalism
dar Afghanistan (Course of Journalism in Afghanistan ), Government
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