* 1 Iran and Azerbaijani Language
* 2 Azerbaijani language & Iran
o 2.1 The Turkish Language in Iran
* 3 External links
Iran and Azerbaijani Language
Azerbaijani language & Iran
There are more than 30 million speakers of Azerbaijani that live in Iran, mostly in the region of South Azerbaijan. The second largest region inside Iran where Azerbaijani is spoken is the province and city of Tehran, where more than 6 million Azerbaijanis reside. According to ethnologue, most of Iran's citizens (37%) speak Azerbaijani as a mother language. The dialects of the various Azerbaijani tribes (Turkic tribes of Shahsevan, Afshar, Pichaghchi, Qaraqozlu, Inanlu, Baharlu, Teymurtash, Qajar and others who are spread out in the South Azerbaijan region and other parts of Iran) is the same as the Azerbaijani spoken in the Republic of Azerbaijan and South Azerbaijan. Turkmen and Qashqayi, two other major Turkic languages spoken in Iran, compose an additional 5% of Iran's speakers. Altogether, approximately 35-42% of Iran's population speak Turkic languages.
Despite the fact that Azerbaijani is a dominant language in Iran, there is not even one 24 hour television station, 24 hour radio station or official usage of the language across the country. Azerbaijani is not taught at even one school in Iran, not even in the region of South Azerbaijan. The only Azerbaijani publication in Iran is "Varliq" which is a magazine that was established in 1978. The denial of national, cultural and linguistic autonomy for Azerbaijanis has created a complex situation in Iran.
During the age of nationalism, Iranian writers sought to destroy the existance and historical background of the Azerbaijani language and nationhood. Thus, there were many different works conducted by Persian nationalists that tampered with the name of the Azerbaijani language as well as it's historical affiliation.
The term "Azari" was created by Persian chauvinists as the "true language of Iranian-Aryan Azerbaijan" and it was taught (and is still taught) in schools across South Azerbaijan that the artificial "Azari" language was an Indo-European (Aryan) language which was spoken in the region prior to the 10th century. One of the advocates of this theory was Ahmad Kasravi, whose ideological convictions and political goals tainted the identity of Azerbaijanis and the Turkish language in Iran.
The term "Azeri" is derived from the Arabic term "Al-Azeriye" which was a designation used by the Arab historian Yaqut Al-Hamavi in the 13th century for the language of the people of Azerbaijan. Prior to the 13th century usage of this word, there was no description of an "Azeri" or "Azari" language which the Persian chauvinists have falsely designated as "the ancient language of Azerbaijan." During the 20th century, the artificial usage of this word for tactics of brainwashing and effacing the true historical and linguistic roots of the Azerbaijani people was and still is common in Iran.
The "Al-Azeriye" which was used by Al-Hamavi was the name of the Turkish language of Azerbaijan spoken in that era, which was a dialect seperate from Turkish spoken in Turkey or central Asia. Thus, the word "Azeri" which is synanomous with the Azerbaijani (Azerbaijani Turkish) language is noted as "seperate language which existed in ancient times in Azerbaijan" by Persian sources including chauvinist encyclopedias. It is noteworthy to mention that Kasravi himself, before creating the false "Azari" language states that:
' "The Turkish speakers among the Iranian population who were spread through every region of Iran were not Persians who were forced to abandon their original (Iranian) language and forgot it and learned Turkish. No one spoke Turkish as a result of being vanquished by the Turkish conquerors over their lands..."'
-Kasravi (Al-Irfan magazine pp. 121-123 circa 1922)
In his later writings which are used in Persian sources (history books, encyclopedias etc..) he adopted the opposite view of the Azerbaijani language, claiming that the Azerbaijanis spoke an "Iranian" language and that they were forced to speak Turkish bebinning in the 10th century. The propaganda that was initiated by Kasravi and other Pan-Persian ideologists is still common in Iran and the school of Persian chauvinisim which does not recognize the existance of any official language or nation inside Iran besides Persian is still active. Sources regarding Azerbaijanis, the Azerbaijani language and history which come from Persian nationalists and Iranian books are not valid.
The Turkish Language in Iran
By Ahmad Kasravi
I: Introduction1 -
It is generally thought that in the land of Persia, nothing is spoken but Persian, and few are aware that Turkish is widespread throughout Iran. It is perhaps even more common than Persian, and many Iranians themselves, if asked if Turkish is spoken in their country, would reply, “Sure, in some provinces like Azerbaijan and Khamse,” and many of them would explain this by the proximity of these provinces to the Caucasus or to Ottoman territory.
I have never seen, either among Iranians themselves or among foreigners who talk about Iran and its affairs, anyone who has discussed this, the truth of this matter. As for the Iranians, even those who speak Turkish claim that it is a foreign language which had penetrated their country during times of Turkish and Mongol rule and had spread and become popular at sword-point. They ceaselessly despise and loathe it and would love to eliminate it and wipe it out from their provinces and exchange it for sweet Persian. As for foreign books, the Orientalists who discuss Turkish and the peoples who speak it it limit their discussions to the Ottomans and the people of Turkestan and the Muslims of Russia known as the Tartars and rarely say a word about the Turkish speakers of Iran; and those who discuss Iran and the language spoken there talk about Persian and its dialects, such as Gilaki or Mazandarani or Lurish, etc., which are current in this or that province of that land. But as for Turkish, they neglect to mention it except rarely, when they say that it is popular particularly in Azerbaijan. Probably most of their information came from travelers or embassy staff or missionaries who generally witnessed nothing but the cities and provinces [sic], particularly the national and provincial capitals, and they rarely took the trouble to travel to the villages or the tent camps of the wandering tribes to discuss their languages or their other affairs. In addition, Persian includes works of art and the most precious literature, such as the poetry of Sa`di and Ferdawsi and the like. And so the commentators on Iranian affairs neglect to notice any other language spoken there, such as Turkish. Compared to Persian, Turkish is like a beautiful girl who sits idly beside an unveiled second wife who enchants the heart with her jewelry and bewitches the mind with her adornments.
But we want to travel down this road not taken and open the gate never before opened. We do not claim that this article is perfect, nor do we attempt a thorough investigation. Rather, we are satisfied to limit our discussion and its subject matter to our travels in the provinces of Iran, and perhaps some of al-Irfan’s readers will supply details to what we have summarized and perfect what we have left incomplete and call to our attention our errors. We have divided the article into four sections. II: Are There More Turks or Persians in Iran?
Turkish is not limited to one province of Iran, as some maintain; rather, it is spread throughout every province and district, as we have said. The Turks 2 and Persians in Iran are not like two separate heaps, but like a chessboard during a game in which each player has penetrated the other’s ranks and the black pieces have mingled with the white ones: Among the villages in which the inhabitants speak Persian, one sees villages in which the people speak Turkish, and many Persian cities, such as Tehran or Shiraz or Qazvin or Hamadan, are surrounded on all sides by Turkish villages or tribes; indeed, the people of the latter two cities understand both languages and speak both of them.
It is difficult to decide these days whether there are more Turks than Persians. This can only be decided after a census is taken which distinguishes Turks from Persians, but the Iranian government has not to this day conducted such a census of its citizens or the population of its provinces, let alone distinguish Persian from Turk. His estimation generally inclines the author to the belief that the majority are Turks, but we will not speculate idly, but stick to the research we have conducted which we present below, with general and approximate figures.
1. Azerbaijan, which is the largest of Iran’s four provinces,3 and Iran’s most important. It has a population of one and a half million souls, and the district of Khamse, which is generally populated, among its nomads and settled people, its villages and its cities, by Turks (along with a small minority of Mokri Kurds in Azerbaijan who speak Kurdish) and do not understand Persian until they are taught it by a teacher or an official.
2. Most villages and tribes in the provinces of Khorasan and Fars and the districts of Hamadan and Qazvin and `Eraq and Astarabad are Turks, and travelers wandering the streets and alleys of Tehran have been astonished at seeing the villagers walking about speaking in Turkish. Some of these had migrated from Azerbaijan and Khamse in recent years and stay in the cities and no longer consider themselves to be from their land of origin, but from these cities.
3. As for the other parts of Iran, the majority of the people there are not Turks, but there are many among the tribesmen and villagers who are. An exception is the province of Kerman and the districts of Gilan, Mazandaran, Kurdestan, Lurestan, etc., in which there are no Turks except those who have migrated there recently, and they do not consider themselves to be true residents of these provinces. That Russian adage is true which says, “There is no reed without a knob.” Indeed, Mazandaran has two Turkish tribes, along with their clans, and in Sari, the capital of that district, over twenty Turkish clans which have migrated from all over Iran and settled there, and they no longer speak Turkish.
We have decided, as we have said, to explain nothing except what can be explained with Arabic numerals, and estimations and speculation are absolutely unsatisfactory.4
III: Are They Turks or Are They Turkified?5
When Turkey’s propaganda intensified in the beginning of this century (the thirteenth AH) and the Ottoman political perspective turned from pan-Islam to pan-Turkism, the Turks of Iran, and particularly the people of Azerbaijan, could not be left out, and they spread the propagandists and published articles in their newspapers appealing to the Turks of Iran and proving that they were Turks just like them.6 And then came the Caucasians, who tugged at their heartstrings, appealing to them and demonstrating that they should form their own independent state called the Republic of Azerbaijan, even though there was no relationship between their lands and Azerbaijan except their being neighbors. They did not suspect that the people of Azerbaijan were zealously upholding the torch of Iran, but believed that they bore it reluctantly and unwillingly and that they would not hesitate to separate from Iran and unit with them because of their common bond of language and faith and their unity of race and descent; they would then transfer their capital from Baku and make Tabriz the capital of Azerbaijan. They tried to spread propagandists and sent missions to call on the Azerbaijanis to unite with them and to instigate them to help them. Their press published articles which struggled to advance this goal, with Aciq Soz (or Plain Talk) in the lead. Its editor, the illustrious, talented writer Mohammad Amin Rasulzade, the leader of the Musavat Party7 and the Iranians were angered at this republic being called ``Azerbaijan, and no sooner had one or two articles appeared on this theme in the Caucasus than the Tehran press swung into action and rose up in defense and responded, with the semiofficial Iran and its illustrious, talented writer Malek osh-Sho`ara Behar in the lead. The two journals polemicized with each other and debated, going at each other this way and that, this one answering that one and laying waste to all its accomplishments, that one going after this one and demolishing all it had built. The issues were as follows:
1. Were Baku, Ganje, and other lands situated in the South Caucasus part of Azerbaijan and was there an excuse for the people of those lands to call their republic “Azerbaijan”? 2. Were the people of Azerbaijan, Khamse, and other Turkish-speakers of Iran of Turkish descent who had migrated from Turkestan, or were they Persians who had been compelled to speak Turkish because the descendants of Chengiz Khan had overrun their lands and so had come to completely forget their original Persian language?
But the polemics, no matter how long they lasted, came to no conclusion, nor did either side achieve a clear victory over the other, for neither side looked at the issue from a scientific perspective free of prejudice; rather, each side wanted to come up with an historical or scientific basis, both of them in a very shaky and confused way, to build upon their political prejudices as they pleased. Before long, the Bolsheviks swept over the Caucasus and the attention of the little republics there were turned from interfering with others and it became more urgent to use their means of defense and their guns to protect their own lands from their enemies rather than using their pens to propagandize others to join them.
But the issue is not so enigmatic if it is examined fairly and free of prejudice, for Iran borders on the steppes of Turkestan, crowded with roving Turkish tribes, herders of horses and livestock. Their places of settlement, situated between those steppes and Transoxiana and Asia Minor, were known since ancient times for the land’s lushness and the abundance of plants and pasturage and a plenitude of gardens and widespread lushness. Indeed, in the earliest times and before these times, it had been a refuge for these tribes. They took refuge there when they had been defeated by the enemy and they beat a broad path to Transoxiana and Syria or to any region they pleased when they became hard-pressed in their deserts or there was a shortage of pasturage or herbage. The deeds of Hulagu Khan and his descendants and Amir Timarlang and his, as well as the Seljuks, including their overrunning of Iran and their dividing between themselves the lands beyond were no different than those of their ancestors in prehistoric times. Iran did not have a wall like China did to restrain or block them; they burst through her borders along with their children and women and horses and livestock, and divided up the length and breadth of the land in search of safety and pasture. They settled wherever they pastured and lay down their bindle stiffs. If a parcel of land caught their eye, they took it for themselves to settle in and live there to benefit from and to utilize, and no more than a decade or two would pass before they would forget their commitment to their old land and would not return to or recall their former homeland but mix in with those around them and learn their culture and mode of dress and accept their religion.
As for language, it is the firmest of those factors which distinguish one people from another, and it is not as easily and quickly abandoned and forgotten as the others. If one language encounters another, it competes with it and overcomes it and does not abandon its position, even if it receives a clear imprint from it and accepts a large corpus of vocabulary and expressions from its rival. As for Turkish, which had witnessed all those settlements in Transoxiana, its speakers did not easily forget or forsake it as much as they forsook and lost their other characteristics. Since we only intend here to summarize this process, we should say that there are two possibilities here: either the migrants are a small number and settle among an indigenous population which is larger and more powerful and they defer to them and settle among them and live with them, in which case it would not take long before they intermarry with them and are overcome because of their small numbers and weakness and are incorporated into them so that they become indistinguishable from them. Then Turkish would despite its firm roots-have had to have been abandoned and forgotten and leave its position for Persian or to whatever language the native population spoke. Otherwise, the nomads might be a large population with might and stamina who, whenever they settled in a parcel of land, would occupy it and expel those who lived there or subjugate them to their domination and build independent villages and cities and, on more than one occasion, countries of sufficient stature as to be mentioned in the history of Iran, e.g., in the case of the Aq Quyunlu and the Qara Quyunlu tribes, for example, there was no question of their abandoning Turkish for any other language; rather, it was for the native population who were subjected to their rule and mingled with them to be assimilated into them and see their language turkified and changed to Turkish, and not the other way around.
In short, the Turkish speakers among the Iranian population who were spread through every region of Iran were not Persians who were forced to abandon their original language and forgot it and learned Turkish. No one spoke Turkish as a result of being vanquished by the Turkish conquerors over their lands, as was the opinion spread throughout Iran; the Turkish speakers are nothing but the descendants of the Turks who had migrated in ancient times from Turkestan in search of safety and pasture and became conquerors of Iran and spread throughout it and settled here and there in tracts of land and mingled with the population over the course of time and intermarried with them and followed them in their customs and clothing and religion,8 although they have preserved their Turkish language and their descendants still speak it (although there are some of these Turks who have assimilated into the indigenous population and have forgotten their languages as well.
Proof of our claim, in addition to what has been outlined above, comes from the history books. To force a people to abandon the language into which they had been born and to forget it and to speak a foreign language against their will and to carry this to extremes–in this, the Arabs were supreme. They defeated the Iranians and captured their princes and kings and uprooted their rule and ruled over their lands and stripped them of their independence and spread among them their Islam and their Koran and governed them for centuries on end and made Arabic the language of letters and the Court and prohibited the people from writing in any other language and settled among the defeated two or three thousand poets and scholars and had them teach Arabic and spread it and habituated some hundred thousand writers with this language; but despite all this, the Arabs were never able to get the Iranians to repudiate and abandon their Persian language and exchange it for Arabic.9 This is in addition to the differences between the two sides in appearance and distinctions in sensibility and character, which cannot be explained except by a difference in race and ancestry with the native population. We do not claim that the people of Azerbaijan or all speakers of Turkish in Iran are pure Turks like their brothers among the Turks of Turkestan; this is put the lie to by the plain senses. Similarly, we do not claim that Azerbaijan has been a cradle of Turkish since ancient times; indeed, the Medes who had lived in Azerbaijan and Hamadan and `Eraq thousands of years before them were not Turks, as claimed by some extremist Turkish leaders. Such a claim is nothing but a falsification of history.
IV: Which Turkish?10
It is clear that every language whose speakers are spread through diverse regions and distant reaches, and is conversed in by various peoples and comes into contact with numerous other languages and is spoken by settled people and nomads, city-dwellers and villagers, will separate into different dialects, just as did Arabic and Persian, for example. Naturally, Iranian Turkish, or Azerbaijani,11 is not the same Turkish which is spoken in Turkestan, the cradle of Turkish, nor the same as that which is spoken in the Ottoman Empire, nor is it the same as that which is spoken in the Caucasus or by the Circasians12or by other Russian Muslims. It is distinct from each of these dialects, the speakers of which cannot easily communicate with each other in some cases. It might not be very far from the mark to use the distance between the residences of these peoples who speak Turkish as the scale to compare the difference between the different dialects: the Caucasian lands connect Azerbaijan with Ottoman territory and Turkestan and Astrakhan and Daghestan and Qazan, etc., and so Caucasian Turkish is closer than its sister languages to Azerbaijani Turkish, and forms a link between it and the Turkish of the other countries mentioned above.13 But if we were to consider Azerbaijani Turkish a language in its own right, it has all that a language needs to be a refined language, despite the fact that it is not a literary language; indeed, it has in itself all the criteria and qualities which would distinguish itself over many refined languages, and it is proper to discuss this and put one’s mind to it, but we will not ramble on about this, but mention a few of these criteria:
1. An abundance of tenses and forms. Thus, the past tense in this language has fourteen modes. I say fourteen modes and not fourteen forms [sighe] like in Arabic, while the Arabic and Persian languages use no more than four or five forms of the past (like dhahab, qad dhahab, kan dhahab [=he went, he had gone, he was going]).14 The Arabic imperfect, which occupies a place in most languages between the present and the future, each has four forms: one, the present, one the post-present or the near future15 and the two forms, the conditional and the optative, along with the future, which is expressed in Arabic by adding the sin or sawf to the imperfect form.
2. Fixing the nouns and constructions and their capability to express every similar meaning. The author finds hundreds of meanings which cannot be translated into most other languages. In Persian, for example, one expresses the meanings ofharwal, `ada, and rakadh16 by one word, david[=to run]. But in Turkish, each of them has its own separate word. The examples of this are beyond reckoning.
3. Its possession of plain and simple rules free of irregularities and a passive and conative, which does not exist in most languages. Thus, in Persian and in English, one says “Zaid and `Amr beat each other,” instead of “Zeid beat `Amr,” and “Zeid became beaten,” instead of “Zeid was beaten.” This is an irregularity which is the rule in Persian and is not removed. But in Turkish, we add something to the verb and it becomes the conative and if one adds olma, it becomes the passive, and if one adds dir it becomes the transitive: verdi=struck, vurushdi=struck one another, vuruldu=was struck, vurdu[r]du=caused him to strike.17 4. Regularity of its grammatical laws. Its exceptions and irregularities are rare, contrary to Persian and most European languages, which have many irregular verbs and exceptions from their rules, and contrary to Arabic, which has many weak verbs. 5. The existence of a special sign for the infinitive, makh, distinguishing it from the noun and the other forms, contrary to Arabic. 6. The existence of a means of emphasis, achieved by adding b or m to the first letter; qapqara=pitch black. This is the rule of emphasis with colors.18 7. The existence of words made by alterations in the first letter, having the effect of generalizing them; ketab metab=the book and whatever is like it.19 V: Books and the Press20
Turkish in Iran is a spoken and not, as we have indicated above, a literary language. We do not know what became of it during the time of Hulagu Khan and his Turkish descendants–was it the language of the Court and of writing under his rule or not? But from what we see and hear in recent times, it has been despised and reviled as the language used by foreigners, and this contempt and dislike of it persisted even until the days of the kings who arose from those who spoke it, the Safavids and the Qajars. Indeed, the Safavid age was the worst for Turkish, since it was then that the fires of war between the Iranians and the Ottoman Turks were aflame. This conflict persisted from the time of Shah Esma`il, the first of the Safavids, down to the days of Shah Sultan Hosein, the last of them, and one can see from expressions used by the Iranians of that day their opposition to the Ottomans as their conflict involved even the language they spoke. The fate of poor Turkish in this age was no better than the fate of a beautiful young lady who married someone whose family was in a blood feud with her family and take out their anger and loathing for her families crimes on her and seeing in humiliating her a way of slaking the thirst in their hearts. As if that were not enough, few even among her children wrote in Turkish since they were not used to writing in anything but Persian. Indeed, most of them are not able to read it well either, and consider it easier to write in Persian.21 During the 1905 Constitutionalist revolution, over thirty magazines were founded and published in Tabriz and the other cities of Azerbaijan, but only three of them were written in Turkish, and none of them came out except for a few issues, no more than you could count on your fingers. In addition, consider the scholars and poets who have arisen in the last centuries. The famous poets from Azerbaijan and Khamse were renown for their eloquence and the excellence of their verses22 and only a few of them were written in Turkish. We wish here to present something of the history of the three magazines and their poets. Here are the magazines:23 1. Shekar. Its editor was Mirza Manaf Sabetzade.24 It was published during the beginning of the revolution and closed down after a few issues came out. The editor then traveled to the Caucasus and became famous among its poets and published some of his poems in Kavkaz. He returned in 1337 (?–AK) [1918-19] to Tehran as a Majlis representative of the people of `Ashkabad. There he stayed for a few months, whereupon he returned to the Caucasus, where he resides still. 2. Molla `Amu. It was published in Devechi, a borough of Tabriz, by one person in 1325 . The people of that borough had allied themselves with the Shah (the now-deposed Mohammad `Ali ) after having been his fiercest enemy. The hatred and rivalry between them and the population of the rest of the boroughs, which supported the liberal factions and the Constitution.25 Molla Amu rebuked the liberals and blamed them for every evil and injustice.26 3. Sohbat. This was published by Mirza Sayyed Hosein Khan, the editor of `Adalat. It was closed down after it published a few issues because of an article in some of its issues [sic] in which he advocated women’s liberation and the lifting of their veils.27 Its editor was exiled after he was declared an infidel and an apostate from the Faith.28
As for the poets, we mention the one who has authored a printed divan or book in Turkish and some biographical facts. Perhaps we will gather some information about them and present a detailed biography of them and introduce them to the readers of al-`Irfan with samples of their translated poetry after we return from our trip and we have the opportunity to study or seek out information from their [sic; in the dual] sources, with the help of God and His might.29 1. Dakhil.30 His name was Mullah Hosein and he was from Maraghe and a follower of the late graced Sheikh Ahmad Ahsa’i.31 It is clear from his poetry that he was informed about ancient philosophy and Sufi terminology. I believe I heard some of his verses when I was living in Najaf or Kerbala for a while to study Arabic. As for his poetry, it was written in a number of volumes and printed more than once. Most of them, if not all, were marsiyes recalling the tribulations suffered by the Twelve Imams, especially the third of them, Hosein b. `Ali. He wrote, I believe, over thirty thousand verses while staying in Kerbala, according to my reckoning. Each subject had a separate chapter. Nothing exceeds them in verbosity, no one has built such a shrine on a grain. It relates bizarre events and tales not mentioned in any other book or found in the imagination of any story teller. Thus, when Sultan Qays, King of India, left to hunt on `Ashura,32 and chased a gazelle. He pursued it and became separated from his army. A lion was in front of him and blocked his way and compelled him to appeal to the Shi`ite Imam. He called out his name and he heard him, and came to save him. He was covered with wounds dripping with blood.33 the daughter of one of the tribes which was chief of the Arabs, went to save the prisoners and chiefs of the martyrs of Kerbala from the clutches of Yazid’s armies, the women fighting along with the former just like heroes, etc.34 Perhaps this helped greatly in popularizing his verses among the people and aided in their reception among their readers and made them pleasant to those who listened to them. In any case, one who saw these verses recognized that he was eloquent and skilled in the arts of speech, and had adopted a new way and had brought to his poetry novel content and ideas which were not banal. Most of his verses were sweetened by the sweetness of beautifying originality. He mixed historical events with superstitions and forged hadiths, just like his brothers, Homer the Greek and Ferdawsi the Iranian. 2. Mullah Mohammad Baqer Khalkhali. We do no know anything about him except that he wrote a book calledTha`labia which related the story of Tha`lab in the land of Isfahan who unable to support himself and was forced to abandon his home and go abroad. Imitating Kalila wa Dimna,35 he related the story of Tha`lab and his adventures, his mother and his wife, the chicken he stole on his journey and then escaped from him, the wolf he met and his getting it trapped, etc. He would take every opportunity to find a moral to the story or an edifying lesson or proverb which would benefit the reader. He emphasized strongly the need for effort and toil and denounced idleness. He launched an attack on polygamy. He did all this in a simple and popular fashion. This book was printed more than once.36 3. La`li.37 He was originally from Nakhichevan but, after studying in the Russian schools, migrated to Iran, where he settled in Tabriz.38 There, he met with success among the elite; they adored him and admired his learning, his literacy, and his wit. But he became a Frankifier and went about dressed like a European, and he did not restrain his liberty of expression from uttering things in a way which conflicted with the beliefs of the common people and ridiculing things which they held dear. He mocked whom he pleased, including the powerful and the influential. He suffered torment at the hands of the common people and the powerful and ultimately tired of his residence in Iran and decided it was best to return to the Caucasus. He migrated to Tbilisi and decided to settle there, where he stayed until he died some sixteen years ago. He put many well-known stories and witticisms into circulation.39 As for his divan, it has gone through more than one printing and contains all forms of poetry, eulogies, ghazals, satire, ribaldry, and buffoonery. His best poems are his satires, and the people have memorized some of his satires and repeat them and use them in their mockery. One of them is a qaside satirizing the villagers and disparaging their customs. These satires drew down on him the villagers’ ire and the poet stood up to them and answered with a qasida, and both qasidas are famous. 4. Shokuhi.40 His real name was Haj Mehdi and he was originally from Tabriz but, out of poverty, was compelled in his youth to travel. He roamed all over Azerbaijan and ultimately reached Maraghe and lay down his bindle stiff and became a merchant and a man of means. His business prospered and his situation improved and his station never declined there until his death, after which his descendants resided there. As for his poetry, he wrote few eulogies and ghazals and many buffoonerys and satires and mockeries. He composed his biography, relating the travels of his youth and the difficulties he encountered therein, then the hardships he endured in Maraghe at the hands of his jealous rivals, etc., all of this in popular terms mixed with satire and witticisms. His divan was printed and is famous and some of his other writings were also printed, including his Debate between Wisdom and Love. He has written many books in which are gathered witticisms, and they have been printed with his divan. 5. Sarraf. His name was Haj Reza and was from a wealthy family in Tabriz which was engaged in money-changing. He died in recent years. He was known for his eloquence in composing ghazals; his famous ghazals passed from mouth to mouth and were chanted and recited by the people. His divan was printed. He also wrote ghazals in Persian. Sarraf’s brother was a clergyman of Tabriz famous for his eloquence,named Mirza Ja`far, a student of the late Sheikh Hadi Tehrani, who lived in Najaf, where he died.41 6. Raji,42 I do not remember their names or anything about their lives except that they had divans printed. Raji was from a famous family in Tabriz and made the pilgrimage to God’s House, the Haram, towards the end of his life; while he was returning, his ship sank and he died along with the other passengers.
As for the clergy, I do not know if any of them wrote scholarly or religious books in Azerbaijani Turkish except for a treatise, Be `Aqa’ed-e Shi`e, attributed to Mullah Ahmad Ardebili, known as Moqaddas, but I have never seen mention in the biographies of the clergy mention of this book among Moqaddas’ writings, and the truth of the matter is unclear.45
In addition, there is a large body of books of stories, religious traditions, and marsiyes composed in Azerbaijani Turkish and printed, but it is not worth mentioning most of them except in passing.
So we conclude what we wanted to say at this point, but we must make one comment before we finish: Azerbaijani Turkish is lacking in sufficient books and magazines, and this is the reason her children are not accustomed to reading Turkish and prefer to read in Persian. The books and magazines from the Caucasus are a remedy for this lack and fill this void, and many of these, in all manner and class, have been imported in recent years, and there is not a library in Tabriz which does not have a large quantity of books from the Caucasus; indeed, in the year 1334 , a library belonging to a Caucasian was devoted to these publications, and there was neither a Persian nor an Arabic book to be found among them. As we have said, Caucasian Turkish is not very different from Azerbaijani Turkish, and it is not difficult for the people here to read the former. The reading of Turkish has advanced these past years and is still on the rise every day, and perhaps this is the dawning of a literary renaissance of the Turks of Iran which will put an end to the time of poor Turkish’s humiliation and degradation and the drawing close of the days when her sons will give her proper recognition and refrain from being ungrateful to her and not giving her what she is due.
1al-`Irfan, vol. 8, no. 2, November 1922, pp.121-23. 2We call Turkish speakers “Turks” for purposes of brevity. 3Iran is administratively divided into four provinces [vilayat]-Azerbaijan, Khorasan, Fars, and Kerman, and more than ten districts [ayalat], such as Mazandaran, Gilan, Kurdestan, etc.--AK 4Here, we put Turkish on one pan of the scale and Persian and all its dialects, such as Mazandarani, Gilaki, Lurish, Kurdish, Samnani, etc., on the other, and if we meant classical Persian and compare it with Turkish, Turkish would overwhelm it in a way no one could gainsay.--AK 5al-`Irfan, vol. 8, no. 3, December 1922, pp.209-13. 6This propaganda did not do the Ottomans much good, and their efforts came to naught, for indeed, Azerbaijan’s people have a lofty station and are on a high peak in Iranian society, particularly after they entered on the path of constitutionalism and sacrificed so much in life and property as to immortalize their memory in the history of Iran. They would not abandon their prominent position to take up another and where they would perhaps be begrudged even a pair of shoes. Moreover, they expected no good to come of its propaganda, which was only to deceive them. Moreover, religious enthusiasms were still significant in the Orient, and pan-Islam made more of an impact on the Iranians and was more useful to the Ottomans than this propaganda. As for the [Muslim] Caucasians, their propaganda fared no better than that of the Ottomans, despite the religious unity between them and the people of Azerbaijan and despite the linguistic unity between them being stronger and more powerful and the Azerbaijanis’ profound and sincere feelings of gratitude towards their brothers for having saved them and their hope that some good would come to their land from an Islamic government being formed between them and [the Muslim part of] Russia; they still rejected this propaganda because, as we have said, they did not see it in their interest to leave Iran and join with any people. They appealed in those days, through their journals, saying that Azerbaijan will not be separated from Iran (“Azerbayjan joz’-e la yanfaq-e Iran ast.”) and advised their brothers in the Caucasus to stop interfering in Iran and adopt a policy of peace and friendship with her.--AK 7This propaganda spread throughout Azerbaijan, since in those days, the Caucasian press reached Azerbaijan sooner and less expensively than the Tehran press did; moreover, it addressed the people in the language they had grown up in, while the Tehran press addressed them in the language they had to learn later and which they did not understand except with difficulty. The Caucasian press spread as soon as it arrived)literacy in Turkish had achieved an unprecedented scope. Yet, as I indicated above, the response to this propaganda was that it was not in their interest.--AK 8The Turkish tribes settled around Astarabad known as the Turkmans still adhere to their old Sunni faith just as they maintain their mode of dress and many of their customs, too, and have not mingled with the Persians except a little.--AK 9There are some who hold the popular belief that the Turkish conquerors settled a large number of their troops among the Iranians and mingled with them and intermarried with them and got the people to learn their language and that the Iranians spoke it either to curry favor with the Turks or out of fear of them, and gradually forgot their original language and never through of it or spoke it again. This is similar to what we have said, but there is not enough to confirm this claim, since this reasoning does not explain how the number of readers of Turkish find themselves isolated on all sides among the number of readers of Persian who surround them.--AK 10al-`Irfan, vol. 8, no. 4, January 1923, pp.290-93. 11The authors of the Russian Caucasus adopted the name “Azerbaijani Turkish” or Chaqtai for both the dialect which is spoken by the people of the Caucasus and the Azerbaijanis since there was not, up to the end of the past century (the thirteenth century AH) a great difference between them. But in this article, we only call Azerbaijani the Turkish which is spoken by the Turks of Iran.--AK 12The Circasians actually speak Kabardian, a North Caucasian language, related to Abkhazian, and is a non-Turkic language. 13It is worth noting that Turkish, as it developed in its branches and subdivisions, never reached the level of diversity of Persian in its branches and subdivisions despite the fact that Turkish is more widespread in more far-flung regions and is spoken by various peoples and has encountered foreign languages. The explanation for this is to be found by comparing the two languages as they exist with Iran. Turkish as it exists in Iran is not a written language, and despite the fact that it has spread to every region, from East to West and from North to South, it was untouched by distortion or alteration which would lead to distinct dialects in any region, and if we compare the Turkish of Tabriz with that of Shiraz, we would see that it has the same intonation and quality of pronunciation of words so that the speaker of one would astound the speaker of the other and make him smile and would have no difficulty in understanding what the other was saying, while Persian has divided into about fifteen different dialects, including Mazandarani, Taleshi, Gilani (Gilaki), Sede’i, Samnani, Kashani, Lurish, Kurdish, Sejestani, etc., each of which differs from classical Persian so that none of its speakers can understand it, and vice versa. Despite the fact that Semnan is not far from Tehran (at most four parasangs), the difference between the language of its people, known as Semnani, a dialect of Persian, and classical Persian is no less than the difference between French and Italian. Similarly, Mazandarani, which is doubtless a branch of Persian, is difficult for me, although I have learned Persian in my youth and have lived among its speakers from infancy to youth and have studied in Tehran for a not brief period. While I am writing these lines, I am listening to what is being said outdoors. When they sing some Iranian New Years songs in Mazandarani, the sound of it thrills me, but I understand only a little of what the words mean, despite the fact that I have spent three months in Mazandaran and have lived among its people day and night and have memorized all the words I have heard and their meaning.--AK 14So in Turkish we say, for example, gidajaqmish which, were we to try to translate it into Arabic, we would have to say, kan `azm `ala-dh-dhahab [=he was intending to go] which, as you see, is a lengthy composite phrase. It is similar with Persian. As for the fourteen forms of the past, they are: 1) gitdi, 2) gidub, 3) giderdi, 4) giderdi [sic], 5) gitmishdi, 6) gidejaqidi, 7) gididi, 8) gitsidi, 9) gidirmish, 10) gidirmish [sic], 11) gitmish imish, 12) gidijaqimish, 13) gitimish, 14) gitimish [sic].--AK 15The imperfect, if we study it closely, has three forms:
1. The present, as in “My father invites you.” 2. The post-present, as in “I will sit for a little and then we will leave.” (This is not the same as the future, in which the letter sin or the particle sawf is added to the present. This is what we call the future, for which Turkish uses the suffix <>jaq, as in gidijaq (sayadhahab [=will go]). 3. The continuous, as in, “Fishes live in water,” or, “The crocodile is moving his lower jaw.” In Turkish, each sense has its own form, gider and gider [sic]. As for the continuous, it, too, has two forms: the present continuous, which is actually happening, in the first sense (“Ben madraseye gitiram,” “I am going to school.”) and the present continuous, which has not yet happened but will, in the second sense (“Sabahdan madraseye giteram,” “I am going to school tomorrow.”) or, in the future tense, “Sabahden madrase[ye] gidajakam [gidajaqam],” “I am going to school tomorrow.” As for our optative and conditional, they are “gitme” and “gitde.” [sic; he meant gide and gitse, respectively.]--AK 16To walk quickly, to dash, to gallop; in Arabic, the meanings are not significantly different. 17Kasravi uses an Arabic circumlocution; the fourth Arabic conjugation would have done the job. 18In Arabic, one emphasizes colors by using specially appropriate words: al-aswad al-halik, al-ahmar al-qani, al-asfar al-faqi`, al-akhdhar an-nadhir. In Persian, one expresses emphasis by repetition (siyah siyah). In Turkish, one expresses emphasis as we have said: qap qara, qap qermezi, yam yashil, sap sari, kum kuy, aqap aq.--AK 19If one were to say to a servant, “O biri otaqdan ketabi gettur,” “Go bring the book from the other room,” and in that room there were, in addition to the book, magazines and papers and maps, and the servant only brought the book, one may add the generalizer and say, “...ketab metabi gittur,” and he will bring that book and all that is like it, including the magazines and papers and maps. The generalizer has two other expressions; First, one alters the word by adding r after the first letter of the word, e.g. zarzabel [for zarbel=garbage] for garbage or whatever is like it; the second is expressed by repeating the word after altering its first vowel, e.g., deri dari=skin and anything like it. These two expressions are generally accepted usage as opposed to the first, which is use as a standard.--AK 20al-`Irfan, vol. 8, no. 5, February 1923, pp. 364-69. 21The reading and writing of Turkish among Azerbaijanis has spread and become more popular than ever in recent years and the people’s enthusiasm and receptivity has been increasing every day. The cause is the arrival of magazines from the Caucasus and their plentiful pressruns and their spread among the people. For the discredit reading Turkish has fallen into is due to nothing but the meager quantity of books in that language. Some of these magazines are famous among the Azerbaijanis and have many readers, especially those like the famous magazine Molla Nasr od-Din, etc.--AK [When Kasravi traveled to Tbilisi in the aftermath of World War I, he met members of the circle around this satirical weekly and found himself in complete agreement with them. (Zendeganiye Man (publisher, place, date), pp. 73-74.)] 22Among these poets were the lofty, excellent, eloquent Mirza Mohammad Taqi Hojjatoleslam, a Sheikhi cleric from Tabriz and author of the Alafiyat ol-`Arabiya ot-Turkiya, famous for its satires the contemporary motesharre` clergy in Tabriz. His wit vexed its targets and disturbed the peace and brought things to the point of riot , and the government intervened and banned al-Alafiya from publication and being read and gathered all copies of it. I would have liked to quote some of its verses, but I only remember some snatches of it from here and there.--AK [This author lived from 1248-1312 [1831-95, approx.] and wrote under the pen name of Nayyer. He was a descendent of Mullah Mohammad Mamaqani, a leader of the Sheikhis. (Mohammad `Ali Tarbiat, Daneshmandan-e Azarbayjan (Tehran, Matba`eye Majles, 1324 ), hereafter, DA. One author writes of its being filled with obscure references to current events, something which few living readers have mastered. (Mehdi Mojtahedi, Rejal-e Azarbayjan dar `Asr-e Mashrutiat (Tehran, Naqsh-e Jahan, 1327 ), p 54) 23Much material has been published since then on the press in Iranian Azerbaijan. 24Properly, Mohammad `Abdol-Manafzade. (“Shekar” in DA, p. 411.) 25This hatred and rivalry reached the point where civil war broke out in Tabriz. It continued for days. Not a few famous people from both sides were killed. The flames were cooled with the government’s intervention and the restoration of security in Zil-Hejja 1325 AH [December 1907], but before three months, the volcano of a second war, more severe than the first, exploded and the bazaars and the alleys and the squares were seized with fighting. The storage depots and shops were looted and set ablaze. The fighting lasted over three months, and some five thousand were killed on both sides, and most houses and mansions were demolished by the cannons which were fired by both sides: every day, over a thousand shells were fired in battle. This war ended with the liberals’ victory and the expulsion from the city of the fighters of Devechi and the Shah’s troops, who had been sent to aid them. The leader of the liberals during these events was the famous intrepid hero, Sattar Khan. Then the city was blockaded on all sides upon the Shah’s orders and cut off from food for nine full months. This, too, ended with the entry of Russia and the dispatch of its troops to Azerbaijan. What happened then is recorded in the books covering these events. Haj Mohammad Baqer, a Tabriz merchant, recorded these events up to a point in a book and got it printed. [Balvaye Tabriz] Mr. Edward Browne, the famous British Orientalist mentioned some of these events in his book, The Persian Revolution.--AK 26Molla `Amu is discussed at length in Kasravi’s Tarikh-e Mashruteye Iran (Amir Kabir, Tehran, 1975), pp. 636-38, where an article from it is provided. 27The article in question has been reprinted in Molla Nasr od-Din, and has been translated into Persian by the translator of the present work. 28Two other magazines were published in Turkish in Tabriz: Azarbayjan and Molla Nasr od-Din. We neglected to mention them because the first was founded under the auspices of the Ottomans while they were sending their armies to Tabriz and occupying it. They installed Majd os-Saltane, a notorious advocate of separation from Iran and unity with the Ottomans and a leading exponent of Turkish in Azerbaijan, as governor when they were there, from 1334 to 1337 AH [1915-18]. The manager of this paper and its editor were two brothers, Iranian citizens but born and raised in Trabezon, an Ottoman city, and had graduated from the French school there. They did not publish more than six issues of the magazine, and it closed with the evacuation of the Ottomans from Azerbaijan. As for Molla Nasr od-Din, it was more prominent than the torch above a banner for its reform, its satire, its criticism, and its cartoons. It was founded in Tbilisi and continued publication for eight years, after which it closed, I believe, during the beginning of the World War. It resumed publication during the beginning of the Bolshevik Revolution and then it closed down again. It did not resume publication until its editor, Mirza Jalil, an Iranian who lived in the Caucasus, migrated to Azerbaijan and settled in Tabriz. He gathered readers around him and requested that it resume publication. His request was accepted and Molla Nasr od-Din began to be published in Tabriz, this happening last year, in 1339 AH . But it did not continue publication, but closed after having come out eight times, after which Mirza Jalil returned to the Caucasus. This magazine is mentioned in the French publication, Revue du Monde Mussulman, [cite ] which considered it excellent.--AK [Kasravi is wrong about Azarbayjan, confusing the Constitutionalist period magazine with Azarabadegan. See his Tarikh-e Mashruteye Iran, pp. 271-72 on the Azarbayjan of the Constitutionalist period and his Zendeganiye Man, p. 87 for his account of Azarabadegan. Evan Siegel’s An Iranian Poet’s Duel over Iranian Constitutionalism, to be published, corrects some of Kasravi’s lingering misconceptions over the former and supplies some background to his account. The best monograph on Azarbayjan is Raoul Motika’s Die Zeitung Azarbaygan (Tabris, 1907): Inhalt, Umfeld, Hintergrund (Munchen, 1992). 29A few years after this article was published, the newly-established Soviet Azerbaijani government published Fereydun bey Kocherli’s Azarbayjan Adabiati (Elm, Baku, 1978), II:382-87 ( hereafter refered to as AA), which documents the history of Azerbaijani literature. Ten years later came Tarbiat’s DA, which included more material on Iranian Azerbaijan and listed dozens of authors who published in Azeri Turkish. Another source which should be mentioned is Hadiqat os-Sho`ara, which seems to include much information on Azeri Turkish literature and is a major source for Tarbiat; we have been unable to locate it. 30Correcting Dakhal in the original to Dakhil in DA and AA, which provides many samples of his eulogies for Imam Hosein. He was a contemporary of Kocherli’s (op. cit., II:382), the latter having lived between 1863 and 1920. 31The founder of what was to become Sheikhism. 32The ninth, i.e., of the month of Moharram, the day of Imam Hosein’s martyrdom. 33Pearl’s Shine. 34Substantially the same story is reported Ivar Lassy, The Muharram Mysteries among the Azerbeijani Turks of the Caucasus (Helsingfors, 1916), pp . . 35A collection of stories much like Aesop’s fables. 36Kocherli specifically cites the difficulty of obtaining samples of this poet’s works as an illustration of the problem of studying Iranian Azerbaijani poetry. (AA I:69.) Tarbiat reports that he lived to 1310 AH [1892-93] and that his book was a “masnavi” (DA, p. 62.) 37Mirza `Ali Khan Shams ol-Hokema (1845-1907). (AA, II:218-19) 38His parents were from Yerevan. He himself was originally from Tabriz, where he studied traditional Iranian medicine. (loc. cit.) 39For example, he related the following about himself: I saw one day a villager driving ahead of him a tired donkey who was staggering this way and that. I cocked my ear towards them and said, “I see your donkey is very tired.” He said, “No sir, he’s not tired, he’s a poet and is thinking to compose verses.” I then looked and saw the donkey’s belt had come undone and was hanging down. I said, “His belt has come undone, uncle.” He replied, “No problem sir, the Frankifiers never tighten their belts.” I realized that that fellow recognized who I was.--AK 40Haji Mehdi Tabrizi A’inesaz (Mirror-maker). Died 1314 AH [1896-97]. (“Shokuhi” in DA, p. 199.) 41His divan was published first in 1344 AH [1925-26], after his death in 1325 AH . (“Haji Reza Saraf” in DA, p. 230.) He was a disciple of Sayyed `Abdol-`Azim Shirvani, the famous Muslim modernist. Although not as perfect as Fozuli, since they were written in a common style, his verse was more popular. His divan included 2500 verses, mostly in Turkish, albeit very Persianized. He wrote love poems as well as popular marsiyes. (“Haj Reza Saraf” in Mehdi Mojtahedi, Rejal-e Azarbayjan dar `Asr-e Mashrutiat (Naqsh-e Jahan, Tehran (?), 1948), pp 108-110.) 42Haji Mirza Abol-Hasan Tabrizi (1247-93 AH [1830-76]) (“Raji” in DA, p. 155). 43Sayyed Abol-Qasem, a Sufi poet born in Qarajedagh, d. 1262 . Followed Hafez in style. His divan was printed in Tabriz and is well-known. (“Nabati” in DA, pp. 370-71.) He was born during the brief reign of Mohammad Shah. His eloquence was said to stun the people with astonishment. He was known for his extreme asceticism and his piety and his purity. His children went on to become famous preachers and eulogizers of the Imams. (“Seyid Abulqasim Nabati” in AA, I:470-93.) 44Mohammad Amin Tabrizi. His divan was repeatedly reprinted and was well-known. (“Delsuz” in DA, p. 151.) 45Mullah Ahmad died in 993 AH [ ], and he was famous for issuing a fatwa declaring wine to be pure. As for the above-mentioned treatise, Haj Sheikh Mohammad, a cleric from Tabriz, translated it into Arabic and Sheikh Esma`il translated it into Persian, and the two translations were published in book form. The Persian translation is better than the Arabic one, although Sheikh Esma`il was a firm follower of his in scholarship and literature.--AK [According to Tarbiat’s source, he died in 997 [ ]; he produces a list of his works. (“Ahmad b. Mohammad Ardibili” in DA, pp. 31-32.)]
Turkish Language in Iran edition of Wikipedia
* Iran’s Azeri-Turks Linguistic Orphans: An Interview with Dr. Reza Baraheni
* And our tongues have become dry