صدیق رهپو طرزی

We and Modernism

صدیق رهپو طرزی

We and Modernism

On the Occasion of Hundredth Anniversary of Seraj Akhbar bimonthly Publication (1911-1918)

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”
Individual Combatant
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.
The Nation

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