A last, a pen has appeared in Central Eurasia for criticising the Eurocentric notion of “enlightenment (Persian: ma‘arif-parwari)” as it had been forged by Soviet scholars and their successors, from Kazan to Dushanbe, for designating nineteenth-century Islamic reform movements in the Russian Empire. Unfortunately, the author’s argument gets lost in literary considerations on the nineteenth-century notion of enlightenment, with references to Gogol’s correspondence and to the philosopher Lev Karsavin’s treatises on Christian Orthodoxy.  A basic knowledge of the history of Islamic philosophy, and an interest in Central Asian modern history outside the limits of present-day Tajikistan would allow Dushanbe’s philologists to get closer to a still awaited elementary understanding of Danish’s work.  Besides, instead of insisting on the latter’s uniqueness and “Tajikness,” it would show more productive to compare him with figures of reformers who appeared during the same period of time elsewhere in Central Eurasia, to say nothing of the world of Islam in general.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-5.3.D-458