The Patricide

Mahmud Khoja Behbudiy

in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154672
Published online November 2007 |
 The Patricide

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Mahmud Khoja Behbudiy (Samarqand, 18741919) was the leading figure among the reformist intellectuals of Russian Central Asia. Born on the outskirts of Samarqand in a family of Islamic scholars, Behbudiy received a traditional Islamic education and worked for most of his life as qazi (judge) and mufti (jurisconsult). An eight-month trip to Arabia, Transcaucasia, Istanbul, and Cairo brought Behbudiy in contact with currents of cultural reform in the wider Muslim world. Upon his return to Samarqand, Behbudiy began his public career, writing in support for the reform of Muslim education, social customs, and public mores. Behbudi contributed copiously to every newspaper published in Central Asia. In 1913, he launched his own newspaper, Samarqand. When financial problems led to its closure, Behbudiy started Ayina (The Mirror), a weekly magazine which he published almost singlehandedly for the next twenty months. Behbudiy also wrote and published a number of textbooks for new-method schools and established a reading room in Samarqand. Behbudiy was also an advocate of the theater, primarily because he saw it as an effective way of spreading the message of reform. In 1913, he published Padarkush (The Patricide), the first modern play written in Central Asia, and presented here in translation. The earnest didacticism of the text is typical of modernist writing in Central Asia, as is the faith in the power of knowledge and education to cure all social ills.1

Chapter.  4377 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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