RĀŻIA ĀZĀD (Roziya Ozod in Tajik orthography; 1893-1957), Tajik poet and educator. Born into a family of craftsmen in Khujand, Rāżia Āzād received her early education at the traditional schools in her hometown. In the early 1910s, she opened a primary school in the village of Esfesār (Isfisor; in present-day Bābājān Ḡafurov district), where she regularly taught children reading and writing until the outbreak of World War II (Tošmatov and Nabieva, p. 62; see also EDUCATION xxviii. IN TAJIKISTAN). She joined the Union of Writers of Tajikistan in 1944, possibly promoted by her son Bobodzhan Gafurov (Bābājān Ḡafurov), a Tajik statesman and historian. Rāżia chose for herself the penname Āzād, while her formal surname was Gafurova.

Rāżia Āzād started her poetic career in the early 1940s, when she was in her early fifties. In wartime, she concentrated on poetry with social and patriotic themes by portraying Tajik heroism in defense of the Soviet homeland; such is the case of the collections Qahramoni odil (Just Hero, 1943) and Muhabbat ba vatan (Love for the Homeland, 1944). Some of her early poems, typifying the way Soviet poetry evolved during the war, were the so-called poems “written with the bayonet,” which conformed to official expectations. Her other poems, on the other hand, took advantage of the greater creative freedom afforded by the war, when governmental control over the citizenry and literati were somewhat relaxed (see Nabieva, pp. 38-49; Nazarova, pp. 65-72; see also CENTRAL ASIA xv. MODERN LITERATURE).

Rāżia’s later poetry, simple in language and style, is a valuable record of the Tajik everyday life of her time. It won her great popularity in the 1950s, especially in the field of children’s literature. Among her collections of this decade are Iqbol (Fortune, 1951), and Zinda bod sulh (Long Live Peace, 1954).

Compared to the publication of her verses in various editions and reprints, little has been written on the life and career of Rāżia Āzād under the Soviet rule. The most comprehensive account on her life is to be found in the Russian-language booklet Roziya (2005), written by N. B. Gafurova, the daughter of Bobodzhan Gafurov and granddaughter of the poetess. The book narrates the family history.



Qahramoni odil, Stalinabad, 1943.

Muhabbat ba vatan, Stalinabad, 1944.

Gulistoni išq, Stalinabad, 1946.

Kišvari oftobī, Stalinabad, 1947.

Az vodihoi tilloī, Stalinabad, 1948.

Iqbol. Majmūai še’rho, Stalinabad, 1951.

Zinda bod sulh, Stalinabad, 1954.

Še’rhoi muntaḵab, Stalinabad, 1957.

Dūstoni man, Stalinabad, 1958.

Aš’ori muntaḵab, Stalinabad, 1959.

Orzūi man, Dushanbe, 1962.

Ḵotira. Majmūa, baroi bačahoi sinni miyona va kaloni maktabī, Dushanbe, 1988.

Translations of her works by others, from Tajik to Russian:

Stikhi (Poems), Stalinabad, 1957.

Podarok (Gift), Dushanbe, 1983.

Stikhi (Poems), ed. T. Gafurova, Dushanbe, 1989.


S. T. Ashrapova, Osveshchenie vklada zhenshchin Tadzhikistana v pobedu Velikoĭ Otechestvennoĭ Voĭny na stranitsakh periodicheskikh izdaniĭ [Tajik Women’s Contribution to the Victory of the Great Patriotic War in the Pages of Periodical Publications], Dushanbe, 2004.

N. B. Gafurova, Roziya, Moscow, 2005.

M. Mollā-Aḥmadov, Ḵubān-e pārsigu: bānovān-e soḵansarā-ye tājik, Tehran, 2003.

R. A. Nabieva, Vatandūstii zanoni Tojikiston, Dushanbe, 2005.

S. Nazarova, Zanoni Osiyoi miyona dar solhoi Jangi Buzurgi Vatanī, Dushanbe, 1980.

U. Tojī and M. Rahimī, Šoirahoi boiste’dod, Dushanbe, 1962.

R. Tošmatov and M. Nabieva, “Roziya Ozod,” Èntsiklopediyai adabiyot va san’ati tojik III, ed. A. Q. Qurbonov et al., Dushanbe, 2004, p. 62.

(Evelin Grassi)

Originally Published: October 31, 2017

Last Updated: October 31, 2017

Cite this entry:

Evelin Grassi, “RĀŻIA ĀZĀD,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2017, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/razia-azad (accessed on 31 October 2017).