JADIDISM, a movement of reform among Muslim intellectuals in Central Asia, mainly among the Uzbeks and the Tajiks, from the first years of the 20th century to the 1920s. It took its name from oṣul-e jadid (new method), which was applied to the modern schools that the reformers advocated in place of the “old” (qadim) schools: the traditional maktabs and madrasas. “Jadid” or “jadidči” became a synonym for reformer, while “qadim” or “qadimči” meant a conservative opposed to change. These terms also suggested a generational divide: the jadids were, on the whole, younger men and looked to the future, whereas leading qadims were older and embraced tradition (Khalid, p. 93).

The origins of Central Asian Jadidism are diverse. It belongs within the broad framework of reformist and revolutionary movements among the Muslims of Russia and the neighboring Islamic countries in the late 19th and early 20th century. The efforts among the Volga Tatars beginning in the 1880s and by Esmāʿil Bey Gasprali/Gasprinski (d. 11 Sept. 1914), the founder of a new-method school in Bakhchisaray (Bāḡča Sarāy), the capital of the Tatars in the Crimea in 1884, and the publisher of the influential reformist newspaper Terjümān beginning in 1883, were crucial sources of ideas for the Jadids (Ismoil Gasprinskiy va Turkiston, pp. 40-100). So were publications from Istanbul, Cairo, Beirut, and cities in India and Persia. Numerous books in Persian were imported from India, especially the classics of Persian poetry (e.g., Saʿdi, Rumi, Ḥāfeẓ, Jāmi) and the works of ʿAbd-al-Qāder Bidel (q.v.; Dmitriev, pp. 243-47), and Persian-language newspapers came from Calcutta, Kabul, and Cairo. The Jadids were also inspired by political movements in the Islamic world: the anti-colonial struggles in India, the constitutional movement in Persia (1905-1911, q.v.), and, above all, the Young Turk movement in the Ottoman Empire. They could not but feel a strong sense of solidarity with their fellow Muslims. Yet, however much they may have owed to others, their programs, organizations, and enthusiasms were primarily responses to the social and economic changes and the cultural initiatives introduced by Russia in Central Asia from the middle of the 19th century on. The Jadids had to confront colonialism as circumstances required in the governorate-general of Turkestan, which was under direct Russian administration, and in the Emirate of Bukhara, which maintained its own governmental institutions under a Russian protectorate. In both areas the connection with Russia suggested new models of development and raised cultural and moral challenges that called into question traditional institutions and values.

The Jadids by no means constituted a unified movement. They were conservatives, radicals, and moderates, but, above all, they were individuals, and each one professed his own ideas about culture and identity, social change, religion, and the state. Although the notion of youth is usually associated with the Jadids, two generations are, in fact, discernible within their ranks. The first generation consisted of those who undertook their education mainly in Muslim institutions, who used Persian as their language of written expression, and who were subject to only modest Russian influences before 1917. A second generation began to assert itself in the years around World War I. Its members had received educations less tied to the traditional madrasa and more exposed to Russian influences, and were harsher than their somewhat older colleagues in their criticism of customs and institutions. Yet, the Jadids as a whole shared certain beliefs and aspirations that endowed their drive for reform with both coherence and idealism. They displayed a critical attitude towards the society around them, an abiding commitment to learning, and an eagerness for change that were all framed by a vision of the future that was essentially optimistic. They were, in short, modernizers and enlighteners.

The Jadids were determined, first and foremost, to bring Central Asia into the modern age. They were, in essence, Muslim modernists as their perception of the contemporary world and their attention to its problems originated in the culture and society of Muslim Central Asia. Thus, they belonged to a common Muslim modernist community that extended from the Ottoman Empire and Egypt to Persia and India, and they could converse with one another in their common Turkic and Iranian languages, but, unlike the Young Turks, they did not reject Islam. Rather, they sought to bring Islamic teachings into harmony with the norms of modern society.

At first, the Jadids perceived their cause as educational, and they assumed moral and cultural leadership as a matter of right, because they were certain that the path they had chosen would lead to an enlightened and prosperous future. They were equally certain about who their opponents were, and they waged a resolute campaign against the conservatives within the ulama. The contest between them took on the attributes of a Kulturkampf, as both sides recognized how high the stakes were, nothing less than the power to decide what Muslim culture would be. The mullahs had no intention of relinquishing the cultural dominance they had exercised for centuries, while the Jadids were filled with anxiety, lest ignorance and hidebound tradition condemn Central Asian Muslims to eternal backwardness and subordination to others.

The Jadids also merit the epithet, “enlighteners,” because they had complete faith in knowledge as the most effective means of solving society’s problems, and because they were inveterate dispensers of knowledge. Dismayed by the deficiencies of the maktabs and many madrasas, they committed themselves, first of all, to the new-method schools. But they conceived of their didactic mission in broad terms: they wrote school textbooks, founded newspapers and filled their columns with exhortations to learn and to reform, wrote poetry and plays and experimented with new forms of fiction to popularize their ideas and to create a new mental climate, and founded publishing houses to print their works and bookstores to disseminate them.

The Jadids had no formal, written program at first. Yet, their actions made clear their determination to overcome ignorance and backwardness by establishing new schools and creating a new literature, by combating the entrenched ulama and widening the horizons of students in the madrasas, and by exposing the corruption and tyranny of the emir and his officials (ʿAyni, 1987, pp. 69-70). Thus, even under the emir’s oppressive regime in Bukhara and the vigilance of Russian colonial administrators in Turkestan, the Jadids prepared themselves for political struggle.

A measure of the unity and diversity of Jadidism may be gleaned from the biographies of its leading proponents. Mahmudḵoja Behbudiy (Maḥmud Ḵᵛāja Behbudi, 1874-1919) was by all accounts the most prominent figure among the Jadids. He came from a family of means; his father was a mufti, and he himself, well educated in both religious and secular subjects, became a mufti. He had traveled extensively, including the ḥajj pilgrimage in 1899 and had spent time in Russia in 1903-4; he was an enthusiastic founder of new-method schools and an ardent promoter of the indigenous press. ʿAbd-al-Raʾuf Feṭrat (1886-1937 or 1938, q.v.) also enjoyed great esteem among his contemporaries. He was a true enlightener who was engaged simultaneously in many projects, including social criticism, literary creativity, journalism, and politics. He studied in a madrasa, but the four years he spent at the University of Istanbul (1909-13) and his direct acquaintance with the Young Turk movement proved decisive. He became one of the more radical Jadid leaders and was an early critic of the Emirate of Bukhara’s regime in such works as Monāẓara-ye modarres-e boḵārāʾi (1911). After 1917, he participated in the reconstruction of Central Asia under Soviet auspices, but he could not reconcile his own aspirations with the demands of the new regime. Ṣadr-al-Din ʿAyni (1878-1954, q.v.) came from a modest family of village craftsmen, but attended several madrasas and became engrossed in the study of classical Persian poetry. He attended small gatherings of intellectuals in Bukhara and was attracted to the Jadid cause early on, committing himself fully to educational reform. Later he accommodated himself to the Soviet regime and became the leading literary figure of the new Soviet Tajikistan. Monawwar Qori (Qāri; 1878-1931) was from a cultured family. He had an elite madrasa education and was a faithful activist in all the Jadid enterprises, particularly as a pioneering founder of new-method schools and a founder and editor of newspapers. Abdulla Avloniy (ʿAbd-Allāh Awlāni, 1878-1934), born into a prosperous family, was educated in the maktab and madrasa. He founded new-method schools, edited two short-lived newspapers, was an author of great versatility (poetry, plays, and school textbooks), and after 1917 played an important role in education. Tolagan Khojamiyorov, known as Tavallo (Tawallā; 1882-1939), came from a family of ulama and literary people and received a traditional Islamic education. He was an advocate of Muslim cultural renewal and the modernization of Muslim education and was best known as a poet. In his small book of poems, Ravnaq al-Islom (Rawnaq al-Eslām, 1916), he urged his readers to strive for a cultural and economic renaissance in Turkestan. After 1917, though reserved toward the new Soviet order, he was eager to create a flourishing intellectual life. Hoji Mu’in Shukrulla (Ḥāji Moʿin Šokr-Allāh, 1883-1942), raised in modest circumstances, contributed regularly to the Jadid press and was a well-known author and producer of plays on Jadid themes.

The members of what may be called the second Jadid generation were more radical in their social activism and more experimental in their literary creativity than their elders. Hamza Hakimzoda Niyoziy (Ḥamza Ḥakimzāda Niāzi, 1889-1929), from a prosperous family, was educated in a maktab and madrasa in Kokand, but he also probably attended a Russian-native school, where he learned Russian. He opened numerous new-method schools and wrote textbooks for them. He wrote poetry and the first Uzbek novel in addition to plays on reformist and revolutionary themes, thereby becoming the leading playwright of the new Uzbekistan. Abdulla Qodiriy (ʿAbd-Allāh Qāderi, 1894-1938) studied in traditional schools and in a Russian-native school to learn Russian and was much influenced by the reformist press. He was a prolific writer and the founder of the modern Uzbek novel in the 1920s. Fayzulla (Fayż-Allāh) Khojaev /Khodzhaev (1896-1938) came from a well-to-do, religious family and combined a traditional maktab education with studies and association with liberal Russians in Moscow before 1917. He was a radical activist who emphasized political struggle, and, allying himself with the Bolsheviks, eventually became the political leader of Soviet Uzbekistan in the 1920s and 1930s. Abdulhamid Sulaymon (ʿAbd-al-Ḥamid Solaymān) Čolpan (1897-1938) was born into a wealthy and prominent family. He received a traditional Islamic education and also attended a Russian-native school and learned Russian, which, as he gratefully acknowledged, opened European literature and culture to him. His debt to Jadid thought is evident throughout his poetry and prose.

Of all the instruments the Jadids used to achieve their goals, new-method schools most absorbed their energies at the beginning. They wanted to replace the rote learning of the maktab with the phonetic method of teaching the Arabic alphabet, thereby teaching pupils actually how to read. They were also intent upon expanding the curriculum in order to provide pupils with the knowledge they would need to take their place in the modern world and thus to survive the competition from outside Central Asia. Arithmetic, the natural sciences, history, and geography became regular subjects of study, and Arabic and Persian and, here and there, Russian, were taught systematically (Dudoignon, pp. 161-68; Dolimov, pp. 88-115).

The Jadids by no means eliminated religion from their schools. Indeed, they devoted much attention to instruction in the tenets of Islam and the recitation of the Qurʾān, but the approach had changed. New textbooks written in the vernacular (Uzbek Turkish or Tajik) were used, and, instead of having pupils memorize sacred texts, teachers strove to instill in them a genuine understanding of the doctrines and practices of their faith. In the madrasas the Jadids emphasized the need to focus on the sources of Islam as the proper subject of study rather than on commentaries and interpretations, as was the prevailing practice. Yet, they also, in a sense, separated Islam from the rest of the curriculum. Under the old system, religion had pervaded every subject, but in the new-method schools it became a distinct discipline alongside history, geography, and other subjects (Khalid, pp. 172-74).

As the number of new-method schools grew, from the first one founded in Tashkent by Monawwar Qāri in 1901 to the probably several hundred in Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent, Kokand, and other places at the outbreak of World War I, the Jadids spared no effort to support them. In Bukhara in 1908, they formed Širkati Buḵoroi šarif (Šerkat-e Boḵārā-ye šarif “The association of noble Bukhara”), a joint-stock company whose main purpose was to publish textbooks. Among them were ʿAyni’s Tahzib-us-sibyon (Tahḏib al-ṣebyān “The Education of Children;” 1910), which emphasized the importance of study and the role of the family in learning, and Zaruriyoti din (Żaruriyāt-e din “The requirements of religion;” 1914), which presented the fundamental teachings of Islam in straightforward language (Gafarov, pp. 102-5).

Jadid newspapers and periodicals made their appearance after the Russian Revolution of 1905, when restrictions on the press were loosened. Their founders were much influenced by reformist Tatar and Azeri publications, notably Terjümān, Waqt (Orenburg), and Eršād and Ḥayāt (Baku), which circulated widely in Central Asia; but the Jadids of Tashkent, Bukhara, and other cities were eager to create outlets of their own for their ideas. The most striking characteristic of all their publications was their didactic contents and tone. They covered a great variety of subjects, but they concentrated on education and the ways of achieving social and economic progress (Jalolov and Ozganboev, pp. 60-82). Editors favored the informative and critical essay, which sometimes took up to a quarter of each issue and was almost always committed to a moral or social cause. In these newspapers, poets (Awlāni and Tawallā) and prose writers (ʿAyni, Behbudi, Čolpan, and Feṭrat) early on tested their ideas and honed their literary skills.

The first Jadid publications, in Turkic published in Tashkent, were short-lived. Among them was Qāri’s Ḵoršid (1906) and Awlāni’s Šohrat (1907), both of which were closed by government order after only ten issues each, because of their outspokenness. In 1912, after a four year absence of the Jadid press, reformers in Bukhara obtained the emir’s permission, apparently through the intervention of the Russian agent, to publish a Tajik-language newspaper, Buḵoroi šarif (Boḵārā-ye šarif). It was a true organ of enlightenment, informing its readers about a wide range of topics, almost always in a didactic vein. It was also a staunch advocate of material progress, which it made dependent on the growth of literacy. Authors regularly dwelt on ways of developing industry and improving agriculture and irrigation and, especially, trade, which they thought essential if Bukhara’s economy was to flourish and poverty be eliminated. Feṭrat was a frequent contributor. Along with admonitions to raise the general level of learning in the madrasas, he urged that more attention be paid to agriculture, specifically that farmers receive specialized instruction in their “trade” and that schools specializing in agricultural studies be established. Behbudi frequently wrote in praise of new-method schools, but underlying his expressions of hope for the future were nagging doubts about the ability of his fellow Muslims to take responsibility for their own destiny. He lamented the absence among them of “invigorating thought” and “Muslim science,” and he feared that they were losing their creativeness (Gafarov, pp. 128-29). The editors of Buḵoroi šarif, to promote their ideas among Uzbek-speakers, published Turon (Turān), at first as a supplement and then as a separate newspaper. Both papers, which appeared three times a week, were constantly beset by financial problems, because of the small number of subscribers. The emir closed both on 2 January 1913, because of their unrelenting criticism of conditions in the emirate.

Among other important Jadid periodicals was Behbudi’s Oina (Āyna; 1913-15), which was published in Uzbek and Tajik. A clear voice of reform, it was noteworthy for Behbudi’s commitment to sow enlightened ideas in every possible form; no branch of knowledge escaped his attention. Sadoi Turkiston (Ṣadā-ye Torkestān; 1914-17), highly influential among intellectuals, brought together as editors Qāri, Awlāni, Niāzi, and Čolpan and published on a wide range of subjects, including religious questions and events in Muslim countries (Jalolov and Ozganboev, pp. 82-113). Sadoi Ferḡona (Ṣadā-ye Farḡāna; 1914-1915) disseminated moderate Jadid views on political, commercial, and literary questions in Kokand and the Farḡāna Valley. The influence of Jadid newspapers was undoubtedly limited, because of the small number of subscribers and the hostility of the authorities. But they are indispensable for tracing the evolution of the Jadids’ ideas on politics, society, and culture before 1917, and for explaining their creativity and their stands on important public issues in the 1920s and 1930s.

In their zeal to enlighten and to reform, the Jadids turned also to literature. They were eager to create a new prose and poetry to serve as yet another means of persuading a broader public to accept their vision of a modern society. Traditional literature struck them as unsuited to their times, because it placed entertainment and artistic formulas ahead of enlightenment and social and economic progress. They used new themes and new genres to criticize prevailing social, political, and moral evils, and their early works, especially, were full of earnestness and fervor. These changes were evident in poetry. While many poets remained faithful to the traditional metric system (see ʿARŪŻ), Feṭrat and Čolpan began to write in other styles, drawing on the spoken language and the prosody of Turkic folk poetry. Feṭrat’s collection of poems, Ṣayḥa “Outcry” (1912), and Awlāni’s collections, Adabiyot yoḵud milliy šeʿrlar (Adabiyāt yā ḵod melli šeʿrlar, 4 parts, 1909-16), displayed new forms and had as themes, besides the importance of learning and science, the urgent need for justice and liberty.

The most profound literary effects of Jadidism were felt in fiction. Two writers in particular, Qodiriy (Qāderi) and Čolpan, exemplified the Jadid approach to literature before 1917, but while they placed their talents in the service of social activism, they were also conscious of themselves as literary artists. Qāderi’s short story, Juvonboz (javānbāz “pederast:” 1915), purely Jadid in content, reveals the corruption and lack of freedom in Turkestan society. In two other stories of the same year, Ulogda “At the goat game” and Jinlar bazmi “The Jinni’s party,” he is clearly more concerned with literature as art than with the defects of the surrounding society. His attention to character, his descriptions of place, and his humorous approach to diverse situations, all amply on display here, assured his popularity as a novelist in the next two decades (Mirbaliev, pp. 46-56).

Čolpan began his literary career with the publication of his first two short stories, Qurboni jaholat (Qorbān-e jahālat “The victim of ignorance”), and Doḵtyr Muhammadyor (Doktor Moḥammadyār) in 1914. Both betray his Jadidist sympathies and accord literature a social function. In the first story the young hero is made aware of the ignorance and depravity around him through his reading of the enlightened press, and he must wrestle with the ideas espoused by reformers and conservatives. In the second story, Čolpan portrays the quintessential Jadid of the time, D. Moḥammadyār, who is not satisfied merely to lament the backwardness and torpor that pervades his Turkestan, but assumes responsibility for reform. He establishes new schools and benevolent societies and publishes a daily newspaper and a weekly journal. Thus, he spreads knowledge and enlightens minds in order to arouse people to take the tasks of reform into their own hands. He is the archetype of the Jadid, because he combines the two main constituents of Jadidism. On the one hand, he thinks about life in modern terms, but, on the other, he remains true to the conservative family from which he comes, preserving the wholesome ethical values it taught him (Karimov, pp. 34-40). Čolpan himself is the Jadid par excellence, because he sees hope for the future in the commitment of the socially conscious, enlightened individual to change society. Yet, he is unlike many Jadids, too, because of his idea of the autonomy of art. He thought that form and language and style were as important as content, and he insisted that a writer must be creative and have imagination, if his literary work was to fulfill its purpose (Čolpan, pp. 35-37).

The theater offered the Jadids a unique opportunity to bring their ideas before a larger public. Building upon a popular theater tradition, the masḵarabozlik (masḵara-bāzlik “buffoonery”), they wrote and produced some thirty plays in the modern, “European” style between 1911 and 1916. Almost all of them were social dramas with a clear message excoriating ignorance, religious fanaticism, and government oppression and corruption. Focused mainly on the shortcomings of the prevailing political and social order and brimming with solutions, all in accordance with the Jadid credo, these plays were deficient in character development, as both heroes and villains were there primarily as the bearers of ideas (Rizaev, pp. 101-34). Often at the end of the play, to make certain that the audience had grasped the message, one of the characters would summarize the author’s ideas, sometimes at length. Yet despite, or perhaps because of, their didactic qualities, these Jadid dramas were immensely popular, and numerous companies of amateur actors, often composed of madrasa students, were organized, beginning in 1914, to perform them in Samarkand, Tashkent, Kokand, and smaller towns. The Jadids used the proceeds from performances to support their favorite causes, notably the new-method schools.

Behbudi laid the foundations of the Jadid and the modern Turkestan theater with his play, Padarkuš (Pedarkoš “The patricide”), a true literary manifesto of the Jadids, written in 1911 and performed in Samarkand in 1914. A great success, it became a staple of the Jadid repertoire. The plot revolves around a rich man and his son, who, denied an education, leads a dissolute life and, in the end, kills his father. He thus fulfils the prophecy of Intelligent, a Jadid-like figure serving as the author’s spokesman, who points out that Muslims must become learned people in both secular and religious subjects, if they are to survive. Related to Padarkuš in its emphasis on enlightenment is Ḥāji Moʿin Šokr-Allāh’s Eski maktab – yangi maktab (old school – new school; 1916). Critical of the existing state of education, it lauds a wealthy patron of new-method schools who understands why Central Asia must get in step with the modern world and its secular learning and industry, if it is ever to overcome poverty and suffering.

Harsher in their judgments of Turkestan society were Awlāni and Qāderi. Awlāni’s Advokatlik osonmi? “Is it easy to be a lawyer?” (1916) portrays poor and downtrodden petitioners who tell their stories to a lawyer in the desperate hope that he can rescue them from unscrupulous moneylenders and officials. In Baḵtsiz kuyov “The unfortunate bridegroom” (1915), Qāderi condemns a corrupt financial system that drives a young bridegroom to suicide when he cannot repay a loan. Ḥamza, perhaps the most radical of all the Jadid playwrights, questioned the moral foundations of Turkestan society. In Zaharli hayot “A poisioned life,” (1915) he tells of two young people in love from different social classes, whose families forbid their marriage. When the parents of the girl promise her to an elderly rich man, she and her lover see no other way out than suicide. In their tragedy, Ḥamza says, they represent the enlightened who stand for social and gender equality; only people like them can save society from ignorance and sinister traditions (Rahmonov, 1959, pp. 100-117, 292-98).

As time passed, a new sense of community took form among the Jadids. They spoke often about mellat (nation). Sometimes they applied the term to the Muslims of Central Asia and sometimes, more narrowly, to the Muslims of Turkestan. Thus, at first, ethnic identities were encompassed by the broader Muslim community. For example, the history taught in the new-method schools was of Islam, not of Turks and Turkestan, and the language was called Musulmān tili (Muslim language). Many Jadids also used the term waṭan, which traditionally had referred to one’s birthplace, that is, a city or region, but increasingly after 1900 it designated a larger territory united by a common culture. In Čolpan’s Doḵtyr Muhammadyor and in the works of Awlāni and Ḥamza waṭan meant “Turkestan.” An ethnic differentiation was also present in the thought of many Jadids, as they identified the Muslims of Turkestan as Turks, thereby excluding the Tajiks. Although these new categories did not become explicit until after 1917, language was already becoming a distinctive mark of ethnicity. Turkic Jadids insisted that Turkic (Uzbek) alone was appropriate for their new-method schools because their pupils did not understand Persian, the traditional language of instruction.

The Jadids’ sense of social community remained all-inclusive. They admitted the lower classes into the mellat and accepted their own responsibility to improve the lot of the poor through education and other reforms, but they left no doubt that only the intellectuals, that is, they themselves, were capable of leading society on the road to progress.

The Jadids regarded women as members of the community, too, and they strove to improve their status in two areas in particular: education and marriage. They were united in urging equal opportunities for women to study, and Ḥamza in his novel, Yangi saodat: melli roman “The new happiness: A national novel” (1915), emphasized the importance of a bride’s good education. Although many hesitated to change existing marriage customs, Ḥāji Moʿin Šokr-Allāh in his play, Maẓluma ḵāten “The oppressed woman” (1916), condemned polygyny, and Ḥamza in Yangi saodat praised marriage based on the free choice of the bride and groom. Yet, on the whole, the Jadids took a conservative approach to women’s issues.

The most consistent advocates of women’s rights were women writers who shared Jadid principles, such as the Uzbek poetess Anbar Otin (Atun) (1870-1916). She was anxious to end the practice of arranged marriages between young girls and older men, and she urged the sending of more girls to the maktabs and madrasas. Like the Jadids, she expressed warm feelings for the waṭan (for her, the Farḡāna Valley) and welcomed the influence of Russian culture and education, but she condemned the effects of colonialism (Qodirova, pp. 21-25, 32-36, 38-50).

Islam, too, defined community for the Jadids, but it is difficult to discern the precise boundaries between their thought and religion. Many had a comprehensive knowledge of Islam, gained from study in the madrasa, and they maintained contacts with the ulama. They were also convinced that religion was the moral and ethical foundation of society, and, thus, they retained it in the new-method schools. Yet, however important a place Islamic religion and culture had in their thought and writings, they showed little interest in purely theological debate, preferring instead to focus their attention on cultural reform. The majority were anti-clerical because, in the interest of intellectual and social progress, they wished to limit the influence of organized religion in public affairs, especially education.

In their discussions of community and identity the Jadids had to take into account the presence of Russia in Central Asia. Their attitude was ambivalent. On the one hand, they were not separatists; they wanted to take part in the political and economic renewal of the Russian Empire after 1905 and accepted Russia and its connection to Europe as a means of modernizing their own society (Khalid, pp. 217-18). Yet, they were determined to maintain their own identity, as their strivings for autonomy and their insistence on the cultivation of their own languages, not Russian, suggest. Some Jadids put matters bluntly. Feṭrat in the original Persian text of his Monāẓara, published in Istanbul in 1911, expressed strong anti-colonial, anti-Russian feelings, which were omitted from the Uzbek version published by Ḥāji Šokr-Allāh in Tashkent in 1914.

The Russian Revolution of February and, more strongly, the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 forced the Jadids to make crucial decisions about their immediate and long-term goals and the means of achieving them. The most urgent tasks before them were political mobilization and alliances.

The Jadids were by no means novices in either organization or politics, even though before 1917 they had had to avoid open, coordinated confrontation with the emir and the Russian administration. They had formed an association in Bukhara in 1910, Tarbiyai atfol (Tarbiat-e aṭfāl) “The education of children,” primarily to promote their educational reforms. It had twenty-eight members, fourteen of whom were mullahs, and it remained secret until its dissolution in April 1917, because the authorities treated the work of enlightenment as revolutionary. The association helped students in various ways, and since there was no new-method madrasa in Bukhara, it undertook to send students to Orenburg, Kazan, Urfa, Istanbul, and Cairo (Gafarov, pp. 88-99). Its members also harbored long-term political goals, notably the transformation of the emirate into a modern state by transforming its fiscal system and combating corruption. These two directions, the cultural and the political, over time caused serious divergences within the association. A number of activists, led by Feṭrat, became impatient with its concentration on cultural matters and demanded economic and social reforms to improve the lives of the common people.

The years between 1917 and 1920 were marked by upheaval in Central Asia. They were decisive for the Jadids, as revolution changed the very character of their project; the era of classical Jadidism was at an end. In the previous decade they had acted as a small intellectual elite. Now they were forced to adjust their program and methods to the demands of mass political and social struggle, and they had not only to confront the emir and the conservative ulama, but also to maneuver among competing Russian political forces in Tashkent and other cities. As their involvement in the affairs of the new Russia deepened, political activism became the defining feature of Jadidism, and new men came to the fore. One of them was Fayzulla Khojaev, who renounced Jadidism in favor of revolutionary change (Alimova, 1997, pp. 37-47).

The Jadids welcomed the February Revolution as the beginning of a new era in the history of Central Asia. They pressed forward with educational reforms and founded newspapers, but in March they formed a new party, that of the Young Bukharans, as they came to be known, whose main goals were political. No longer satisfied to pursue change by private, cultural means, they recognized the advantages of using state power. They were thus eager to drive the emir from Bukhara and to replace him by a democratic order that would allow Muslims to be fully represented in administrative and legislative bodies. They wrung liberal decrees from an embattled emir, but when they challenged him with public demonstrations in Bukhara, he arrested large numbers and withdrew his reforms (ʿAyni, 1987, pp. 139-99). When in the spring and summer the Russian Provisional Government in Petrograd failed to support them, they turned elsewhere for allies.

Many Jadids associated themselves with the Bolsheviks after October 1917. Bolshevik promises of social and economic emancipation and, especially, their “Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia” of 2 November made an enormous impression on the Young Bukharans. Typical of their endorsement of the Bolshevik Revolution was Čolpan’s poem, Qizil bayroq (Qezel bayrāq “The red flag;” 1918), which hailed it as the harbinger of “freedom” and “prosperity,” and ʿAyni’s Marshi khurriyat (Mārš-e ḥorriyat “The freedom march;” 1918), based on La Marseillaise (the French national anthem composed during the French Revolution), which proclaimed the advent of “liberty” and “justice.”

The link between the Young Bukharans and the Bolsheviks was tenuous from the start. The basis for their cooperation lay in the realization that they needed one another to achieve their respective goals. They agreed on getting rid of the emir and his regime, but whereas the Young Bukharans wanted autonomy and self-determination (A’zamkhojaev), as promised in the “Declaration of Rights,” the Bolsheviks were intent on bringing Central Asia under their own control. The result was growing despair among some Young Bukharans, notably Behbudi and Awlāni, particularly after forces controlled by the Russian-dominated Tashkent Soviet, the center of power in Turkestan, crushed the Kokand Autonomy, the short-lived Muslim experiment in self-government from December 1917 to February 1918. Behbudi, who had hoped for the establishment of an autonomous Turkestan within a Russian federated republic, was thoroughly disillusioned, and Awlāni condemned the suppression of that autonomy in a series of poems published in the newspaper Ishtirokiyun (Ešterākiyun “The Communists”) in 1919. Other, more radical Young Bukharans, led by Fayzulla (Fayż-Allāh) Khojaev, who emerged as their political leader, and Feṭrat, continued to see in the Bolsheviks their main hope for the future. Thus, when the Bolsheviks founded the Communist Party of Turkestan in June 1918, many Young Bukharans, including Awlāni and Tawallā, became members.

Decisive for the Young Bukharan movement was the overthrow of the emir of Bukhara by the Red Army, which entered the city on 2 September 1920. Young Bukharans returned the following day and formed a revolutionary committee. It became the foundation of the Bukharan People’s Soviet Republic with Khojaev as chairman of the Council of Ministers (Khodzhaev, pp. 163-94).

For many Young Bukharans the experience of managing the affairs of the new republic between 1920 and 1924 proved bitterly disappointing. They had entered office with high hopes of advancing enlightenment and creating new political and social institutions. True to their Jadid origins and guided by Feṭrat as minister of education, they immediately formulated ambitious plans to increase literacy and to establish colleges to train the teachers for their projected network of modern schools, but here and in other areas they accomplished little, in part because they lacked funds and skilled people. Nor did they have the support of the new Soviet leaders. Their supposed mentors were pursuing their own agenda for centralization and judged the Young Bukharans’ strivings for self-determination as inimical to their purposes. Matters came to a head in 1923 when they dismissed most of the officials of the Bukharan Republic, including Feṭrat, in order to make way for a new political order in Central Asia.

Alongside these political struggles other changes of great consequence for the future of Central Asia were taking place within the Young Bukharan circle itself. Uzbek-Tajik bilingualism, one of the pillars of early Jadidism, was dissolving. It could not survive the growing national feeling and the burgeoning separate ethnic identities, all of which received added impetus from the Soviet state’s division of Central Asia into ethnically based republics and its support for indigenous languages and literatures.

ʿAyni and Feṭrat had been leading representatives of the linguistic and literary ties that united Tajiks and Uzbeks, but after 1917 they became ardent promoters of separate cultures. Feṭrat, who had earlier used Persian almost exclusively, turned to Uzbek. He now spoke of Turkestan as the homeland of Turkic Muslims, and in 1918 he organized a circle, the Chaghatoy Gurungi, to promote Turkic self-consciousness and Turkic culture. For his part, ʿAyni, who grouped Tajik intellectuals around the weekly Communist newspaper, Šuʿlai inqilob (Šoʿla-ye enqelāb “The flame of revolution”), published in Samarkand from 1919 to 1921, promoted a distinct Tajik literature and an awareness of the Tajiks’ deep Iranian roots in Central Asia. He strove to make his prose more Tajik by using the vernacular and folk sayings and by avoiding the use of Uzbek words (Naby, pp. 150-52, 193). Yet, despite the enthusiasm of Uzbek and Tajik intellectuals for the new mellats (nations), relations between them remained cordial. At the same time they both bore witness to the passing of Persian as the lingua franca of Central Asian intellectual life and the introduction of Russian as its eventual replacement.

Many Young Bukharans, including ʿAyni, Qāderi, and Čolpan, turned away from political engagement to literature in the 1920s. In so doing, they laid the foundations of modern Uzbek and Tajik fiction. In the four novels ʿAyni wrote in the 1920s and 1930s, notably Doḵunda (1930) and Gulomon (Ḡolāmān “The Slaves;” 1934 in Uzbek; 1935, in Tajik), he was chiefly responsible for laying down the norms of the modern Tajik literary language; Qāderi experimented with new prose forms in his novels, Utkan kunlar “Past days” (1922) and Mehrobdan čayon “A scorpion from the mehrāb” (1929), and became the inspiration of later Uzbek novelists (Kleinmichel, pp. 201-59); and, like his colleagues, Čolpan in short fiction such as Taraqqi “Progress” (1924), remained faithful to the Jadid tradition in his advocacy of education, the renewal of society, and the emancipation of women. The course of their literary careers, however, was far from smooth (Sharafiddinov). When Qāderi and Čolpan and other Young Bukharans challenged the prevailing Soviet literary theory that came to be known as socialist realism, they suffered the harsh criticism of proletarian critics for their “nationalist” and “bourgeois” ideas.

Literary controversy was merely a symptom of deeper rifts. The incompatibility between the Young Bukharans’ aspirations and Stalin’s Soviet regime widened on all fronts in the 1930s and assumed violent forms. Feṭrat, Qāderi, Čolpan, Tawallā, and even Khojaev were among those who perished in the Stalinist purges; ʿAyni, almost alone, survived. By 1939 the great Jadid generation had been largely wiped out. Soviet authorities tried for several decades afterward to expunge the memory of them, too, but a few writers, such as Qāderi, returned to print in the 1950s. Interest in the Jadids revived in the 1980s with ‘perestroika’ and then flourished after 1991. 


A. Works on Jadidism: Adeeb Khalid, The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia, Berkeley, 1998, is an indispensable starting point for a study of Jadidism. Useful general surveys are Hèlène Carrere d’Encausse, Réforme et revolution chez les musulmans de l’Empire Russe, 2nd ed., Paris 1981 (tr. Quintin Hoare as Islam and the Russian Empire: Reform and Revolution in Central Asia, Berkeley, 1998), which covers political, economic, and cultural development from the second half of the 19th century to the end of the Bukharan People’s Soviet Republic in 1924; and Namoz Khotamov, Sverzhenie emirskogo rezhima v Bukhare (The overthrow of the emirate of Bukhara), Dushanbe, 1997, which traces events in Bukhara from the beginning of the 20th century through the formation of the Bukharan Republic in 1920. On Jadidism specifically: Numandzhon Gafarov, Istoriya kul’turno-prosvetitel’skoĭ deiatel’nosti dzhadidov v bukharskom emirate (History of the cultural and enlightenment activity of the Jadids of the Emirate of Bukhara), Khojand, 2000, is based on the extensive use of Jadid writings; Dilorom Agzamovna Alimova, ed., Jadidčilik: eslahot, yangilaniš, mostaqillik va taraqqiyot učun kuraš, Tashkent, 1999; and Rustam Sharipov, Turkiston jadidčilik harakati tariḵidan, Tashkent, 2002, investigate important aspects of Jadid thought and activities. Succinct appraisals of Jadidism are to be found in Hisao Komatsu, “The Evolution of Group Identity among Bukharan Intellectuals in 1911-1928: An Overview,” Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko, no. 47, Tokyo, 1989, pp. 115-44; and Begali Qosimov, “Sources littérarires et principaux traits distinctifs du djadidisme turkestanais (début du XXe siècle),” Cahiers du monde russe 37/1-2, 1996, pp. 107-32. Stéphane A. Dudoignon, “La Question scolaire à Boukhara et au Turkestan russe, du ‘premier renouveau’ à la sovietisation (fin du XVIIIe siècle-1937),” Cahiers du monde russe 37/1-2, 1996, pp. 133-210 and Ulughbek Dolimov, Turkistonda jadid maktablari, Tashkent, 2006, focus on the Jadids’ commitment to education. The Jadid press and the influences on it are covered in M. Babakhanov, Iz istorii periodicheskoĭ pechati Turkestana (From the history of the periodical press of Turkestan), Dushanbe, 1987; Alexandre Bennigsen and Chantal Lemercier-Quelquejay, La Presse et le mouvement national chez les Musulmans de Russie avant 1920, Paris, 1964; and G. L. Dmitriev, “Rasprostranenie indiĭskikh izdaniĭ v Sredneĭ Azii v kontse XIX-nachale XX vekov (The dissemination of Indian publications in Central Asia at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th),” Kniga. Issledovaniya i materialy 6, Moscow, 1962, pp. 239-54. Especially valuable is A. Jalolov and H. Ozganboev, Ozbek maʿrifatparvarlik adabiyotining taraqqiyotida vaqtli matbuotning orni, Tashkent, 1993, which analyzes in detail Taraqqi and other Jadidist newspapers.

The influence of Ismail Gasprinski on the Jadid press and on prominent Jadids is covered in articles in Ismoil Gasprinsky va Turkiston/Ismail Gasprinsky i Turkestan, Tashkent, 2005. On Jadid prose and poetry Edward Allworth, Uzbek Literary Politics, The Hague, 1964, is wide-ranging and judicious; Eden Naby, “Transitional Central Asian Literature: Tajik and Uzbek Prose Fiction from 1909 to 1932,” unpub. Ph.D diss., Columbia University, 1975, is full of insights and valuable comparisons; and Sigrid Kleinmichel, Aufbruch aus orientalischen Dichtungstraditionen: Studien zur usbekischen Dramatik und Prosa zwischen 1910 und 1934, Budapest, 1993, is indispensable. Akademiia Nauk Uzbekskoi SSR, Istoriya uzbekskoĭ sovetskoĭ literatury (History of Uzbek Soviet literature) I, Tashkent, 1987, pp. 17-175, surveys literature from a specific ideological and aesthetic perspective. A. Jalolov, XIX asr oḵiri XX asr bošlaridagi ozbek adabiyoti, Tashkent, 1991, on the period up to 1917, is an invaluable guide. Drama is covered in Shuhrat Rizaev, Jadid dramasi, Tashkent, 1997, which describes the evolution of Jadid dramas and presents the texts of representative plays; and in B. Imomov, Q. Joraev, and H. Hakimova, Ozbek dramaturgiyasi tariḵi, Tashkent, 1995, pp. 14-77. One may also consult Uzbekskiĭ sovetskiĭ teatr (The Uzbek Soviet theater), ed. A. M. Rybnik, Tashkent, 1966, and Mamadhzan Rakhmanov, Uzbekskiĭ teatr s drevneishikh vremen do 1917 goda (The Uzbek theater from the earliest times to 1917), [?] Tashkent, 1968.

B. Works about and by individual Jadids (alphabetically): Sirojiddin Ahmad (Serāj-al-Din Aḥmad), “Munawwar Qori,” Šarq yulduzi, 1992, no. 5, pp. 105-19.

Ahmad Aliev, Mahmudḵoja Bihbudiy (Maḥmud Ḵᵛāja Behbudi), Tashkent, 1994.

Dilorom Agzamovna Alimova, “Fayzulla Kojaev va Jadidčilik,” in idem, ed., Fayzulla Kojaev hayoti va faoliyati haqida yangi mulohazarlar, pub. with Fayzulla Khojaev, Buḵoro inqilobining tariḵiga materiallar, Tashkent, 1997, pp. 37-47.

Dilorom Agzamovna Alimova and D. Rashidova, Makhmudkhodzha Bekhbudiy i ego istoricheskie vozzreniya (Mahmudkoja Behbudi and his historical views), Tashkent, 1998.

Idem, Mahmudḵuja Behbudiy va uning tariḵi tafakkuri, Tashkent, 1999.

Edward Allworth, The Preoccupations of Abdalrauf Fitrat, Bukharan Nonconformist, Berlin, 2000 (an exhaustive bibliography of Feṭrat’s works).

Idem, Evading Reality: The Devices of Abdalrauf Fitrat: Modern Central Asian Reformist, Leiden, 2002.

Abdulla Avloniy (ʿAbd-Allāh Awlāni), Tanlangan asarlar, 2 vols., Tashkent, 1998, vol. one contains a study of Avloniy’s life and works by B. Qosimov, pp. 5-78.

Ṣadr-al-Din ʿAyni, “Jallodoni Buḵoro” (Jallādān-e Boḵārā), Kulliyot (Kolliyāt) I, Stalinabad (Dushanbe), 1958, pp. 101-82.

Idem, Ta’riḵi inqilobi Buḵoro (Tāriḵ-e enqelāb-e Boḵārā), Dushanbe, 1987.

Idem, Yaddoshtho, 4 vols., Stalinabad (Dushanbe), 1949-54; ed. ʿAli-Akbar Saʿidi Sirjāni as Yāddāšthā, 4 vols. in one, Tehran, 1983.

S. S. A’zamkhojaev, “Turkiston mukhtoriiati-jadidlar milliy-demokratik davatchilik ghoialarining amaldagi ifodasi,” in Dilorom Agzamovna Alimova, ed., Jadidčilik: Islahot, yangilaniš, mustaqillik va taraqqiyot učun kuraš, Tashkend, 1999, pp. 152-73.

I. Braginskiĭ, Sadriddin Aini: Zhizn’i tvorchestvo (Sadriddin Aini, “Life and Works”), 2nd ed., Moscow, 1978.

Abdulhamid Suleyman (ʿAbd-al-Ḥamid Solaymān) Čolpan, Adabiyot nadir, Tashkent, 1994.

ʿAbd-al-Raʾuf Feṭrat, Monāẓara-ye modarres-e boḵārāʾi bā yak nafar farangi dar Hendustān dar bāra-ye makāteb-e jadida, Istanbul, 1911.

Keith Hitchins, “ʿAynī, Ṣadr-al-Din,” in EIr. III, pp. 144-49.

Faizulla Khodzhaev (Khojaev), “K istoriĭ revoliutsiĭ v Bukhare i natsonal’nogo razmezhevaniya Srednei Azii (On the history of the revolution in Bukhara and the national boundary delimitation of Central Asia),” in Idem, Izbrannye trudy (Selected works) I, Tashkent, 1970, pp. 68-194.

Naim Karimov, Abdulhamid Sulaymon uḡli Čulpon, Tashkent, 1991.

Hamza Hakimzoda Niyoziy (Ḥamza Ḥakimzāda Niāzi), Tola asarlar toplami, 5 vols., Tashkent, 1988-89.

Sobir Mirbaliev, Abdulla Qodiriy (Hayoti va ijodi), Tashkent, 2004.

Ibrohim Mirzaev, Abdulla Qodiriyning ijodiy evoliutsiyasi, Tashkent, 1977.

Anbar Otin, Sheʿrlar: risola (Šeʿrlar: resāla), Tashkent, 1970.

Abdulla Qodiriy (ʿAbd-Allāh Qāderi), Tola asarlar toplami I, Tashkent, 1995.

Habibulla Qodiriy (Ḥabib-Allāh Qāderi), Otam haqida, Tashkent, 1983.

Mahbuba Qodirova, Shoira Anbar Otin, Tashkent, 1991.

Begali Qosimov, Maslakdošlar. Behbudiy, Ajziy, Fitrat, Tashkent, 1994.

M. Rahmonov, Hamza Hakimzoda Niyoziy va ozbek sovet teatri, Tashkent, 1959.

O. Sharafiddinov, “20-30 yillardagi hukmron ‘mafkura’ va jaded adabiyoti,” in Dilorom Agzamovna Alimova, ed., Jadidčilik: Islahot, yangilaniš, mustaqillik va taraqqiyot učun kuraš, Tashkent, 1999, pp. 188-200.

Iusuf Sultanov, Khamza. Ocherk zhizni i tvorchestva (Hamza. A sketch of his life and works), Tashkent, 1984.

Tolagan Khojamiyorov Tavallo (Tawallā), Ravnaq ul-Islom (Rawnaq al-Eslām), Tashkent, 1993 (A short introduction to Tawallā’s life by B. Qosimov, pp. 3-12).

(K. Hitchins)

Originally Published: December 15, 2008

Last Updated: April 5, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XIV, Fasc. 4, pp. 339-346

Cite this entry:

K. Hitchins, “JADIDISM,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, XIV/4, pp. 339-346, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/jadidism (accessed on 30 December 2012).