On the Occasion of Hundredth Anniversary of Seraj Akhbar bimonthly Publication (1911-1918)
Seddiq Rahpoe Tarzi
Enlightenment, 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 environment.
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 life.
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 land. (1747)
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 knowledge.
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 the Problem
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.
The religious 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.
The 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 divine studies.
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 thoughts.
Technical Modernism by the Mean of Gun's Stock
The 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 Muslim.
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 rupees.
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 Secretary.
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. p.129)
Note: 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 economic unity.
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.
A Tyrant 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 of changes.
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 foreign languages.
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 Asia.
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 personality.
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.
Mahmud Tarzi 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.
Alongside 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)
Serajian 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:
- Habiba School (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 from Aligarh 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 in 1909.
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 Turks. (1909)
- A new Printing house .
- Opening of schools for teachers training.
- Making gardens and parks in Paghman.
- Prohibiting the 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 offender.
- Closed the door and freed persons who were kept in dungeon.
- Opening an orphanage.
- Celebrating his birth day and crowned day They were a new phenomena in a closed society like Afghanistan. They brought a lot of amazing of unprecedented changes.
- 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 his Palace.
- 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 learn!”
- Domestic travel.
- 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 country.
For grasping the depth of his ideas and thinking, it should be looking at a short glimpse of of his life.
Mahmud Tarzi 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.
This 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 knowledge.
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 constitution.
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 (1902).
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 Movement !?
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 (1789).
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 a systems.
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, adapted it.
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.
Ghobar concerning 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 roughly translation:
Abandon of property, abandon of soul and abandon of the head
On the Tarzi of mashruta, is the first step
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?
In this 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 reforms.
Results of these extreme actions brought the suppression of the reform program was which was launched by Amir himself.
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 absolute unit.”
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 constitutionalism movement.
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 system.
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 difficulties
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 greatly.
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 ocean.
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 of study.
Then Mamun 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.
The Prominent 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 turned off.
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 them.
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 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 story
In our 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 Dawlat)
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.
Rudaki, the 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.
Home (An Arabic word but used in Persian too as Watan)
The Arabic 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.
Mahmud Tarzi 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 impartiality.
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 world.
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 of attention.
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 and discipline”
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 centuries”
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 all.”
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 discoveries.
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 easy,
There is no stronger faith, then me,
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 external.
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 carefully.
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?
He again 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 stopped it.
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 women.”
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 covers.
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 traditional values.
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 affairs.
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 one.”
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 vision.
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.
Mahmud Tarzi, 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.”
But then 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 historical role.
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 Children
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.
Our so called Intellectuals and their Contradictions Ideas about Modernity
In this 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 Afghanistan.
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 literary disciples.
“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 often intolerant.
“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 lesson.
“ 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 ideological excommunication.
"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 one.”
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 satisfaction.
He Then 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 allowances too.
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 character.
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 join God.
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 short”
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 mould.
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 mysticism.
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 philosopher.
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 Ideas
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.
Jamal writes 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 scientific facts.”
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.”
He continues 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 Urdu.
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 Islamic world.
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 too.
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 time glory.
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 ideas.
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 clearly.
Mahmud Tarzi 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.
Although he 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 Ideas
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).
In one 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 dried himself.
“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 free.”
Once again he was confronted with a paradox.
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 as:
“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 English roughly
Serious service for this nation, is a mistake
Because terror, murder and pillage are resting in their consciousness
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 relatives
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 clear
If you sell a cow and a women, both are same but
Cow gives milk and butter, so she is better than woman
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, named molla
The pen would shame, and hundred books will be filled
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 and weak
Ignorance and illiterate of people, feed and cloth them
So they are enemy of reasons and believe in ignorance
We can call a person molla, who be scholar
Knowledge do not tell you to make revolt, what a chaos !
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 name
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 death's family.
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 him.
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 religious.
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 Head
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 women badly.
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 military service.
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 them.
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 providing cashes.
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 Reforms
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 king.
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 diversities.
At this time there were three streams of thought side by side. Traditionalism, nationalism and modernism.
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 new knowledge.
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 separate article.
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.
Short 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 communism ideology.
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 dungeons.
The First Short -life Constitutional Monarchy
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 free.
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.
Liberal 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 country.
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 color.
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 Modernism
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 expressions,etc.
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 side.
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 publications, Maiwand, Kabul, Third Edition, June 1384/2003.
3 - Badawi, Abdul Rahman. “ Chehra e Digar e az Jamaloddin( Another figure of Jamaloddin Afghani.( Encyclopedia of Orientalist, Translation to Persian by Mehran Mawud. Published in Kofi site, 15 Qaus 1390/ 2011.
4 - Farhadi, Rawan. Edited.“ Maqalat e Mahmud Tarzi dar Seraj e Akhbar Afghania (M. Tarzi articles in S.A.) (1290-97H.Kh/ 1911-1918).Published by Baihaqi Publishing Institute, Kabul, 1355/1976.
5 – Ghobar, G. M. “Afghanistan dar Masir Tarikh (Afghanistan in the course of history), two volumes. Vol. First, publication of Republic, Tehran, Iran. Sixth edition. 1374/19195. Second Vol. American Spidi, Virginia, June 1999. )
6 - Majruh, S.B. “Rowshanfekran Afghan dat Tabeed: Rokh hai Rawani wa Philosophy ( Afghan intellectuals in exile: Philosophical and psychological dimensions” in the book under the title of, “ The cultural Basis of Afghan Nationalism” edited by Ewan W. Anderson and Nancy Hatch Dupree. Printer Publishers' Limited, University of Oxford, London 19190. Note: It had been translated from English to Persian by S.R. Tarzi.
7 - Tarzi, Amin. “Mahmud Tarzi dar Ghorbat (MT in the Stranger Land” Quarterly of Rowshani, No. I, Spring 1379 / 2000.
Bibliography in English:
- 1.1.Armstrong, Karen. "The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam" Harper Perennial, UK. Second Edition, 2004.
- 2.Dupree, Louis. "Afghanistan" Princeton University Press, New Jersey.1973.
- 3.Encyclopedia Britannica, CDR, Deluxe Edition, 2009.
- 4.Fayz Mohammad, Kateb e Hazara. "Kitab e tazakkurc e Enqelab" (Kabul Under Siege: Fayz Mohammmad's Account of The 1929 Uprising) Translated, abridged and annotated by RD McChesney, Markus Wiener Publishers, Princeton, USA, 1999.
- 5.Gregorian, Vartan. "The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan: Political of Reforms and Modernism" Stanford University Press, California, 1969.
- 6.Kedourie, E. "Afghani and Abduh" Frank Cass & co. LTD London. Second Print 1997.
- 7.Majruh, S.B. “ Afghan intellectuals in exile: Philosophical and psychological dimensions” in the book under the title of, “ The cultural Basis of Afghan Nationalism” edited by Ewan W. Anderson and Nancy Hatch Dupree. Printer Publishers' Limited, University of Oxford, London 19190.
- 8.Nawid, Senzel. K. "Tarzi and emergence of Afghan Nationalism: Formation of a Nationalist Ideology" PDF format.
8 .----. "Religious Response to Social Changes in Afghanistan: King Aman-Allah and Afghan Uluma, 1919-29" Mazda Publishers, 1999.
9.Schinasi, May.” Afghanistan at the beginning of the 20th Century, Nationalism and Journalism: A study of S.A.(1911-1918). Instituo Universitario Orientale, Naples, 1979.
- 10.Tarzi, Abdol Wahab. “ Shar e Zindagi MT (Biography of MT (1882-1909). Translated and edited from Persian to English by Wahid Tarzi. A pamphlet, without the name of prating house and date.
City of Goettingen, Germany
First of Jadi /22 Dec. 2011.