Reviews

Written in the pathetic inspiration characteristic of hagiography, by a grandson of Muhammad-Liqa’s, now a curator of the Institute of Manuscripts of Dushanbe, this short biographical sketch, based on oral narratives by the author’s father, offers information on the calligrapher and poet Muhammad-Liqa’s eventful life, from his birth in Darwaz in 1887 to his final exile in Afghanistan in the late 1930s.  The author provides data on his grandfather’s education in the madrasas of Ghish and Dasht-i Jam in the Mu’minabad area—still attended by scholars and literati of Darwaz and Khuttalan until the beginning of the Soviet period, for instance by the mystical poet from Kulab Mirza Latif Rahimzada (1902-67).  The paper goes on with Muhammad-Liqa’s inner exile during the mid-1930s in the caves around his native village of Rawnaw and in his friends’ houses in the Mu’minabad and Shurabad areas.  The author then develops on the poet’s posthumous fortune among Tajik traditional singers, and on some studies on his life and work by Russian and Tajik scholars of the Soviet period (mainly in the anthologies of Tajik verse from regional literary schools of Eastern Bukhara published by the late Amirbek Habibov: see in particular the latter’s Ganji Zarafshon [Treasure of the Zarafshan], Dushanbe: Adib, 1991: 174-7).  The study ends in an evocation of the poet’s still mostly unpublished poetical work as it has been gathered during his lifetime into two separate diwans.  Characteristically enough of literary history as it is now practiced in Tajikistan, no serious attempt has been made for identifying Muhammad-Liqa’s literary models and companions; besides, the Afghan side of his life and work remains very poorly documented; last but not least, the oral testimony by the poet’s son, as it has been gathered by his grandson, so far remains the only available source on the history of his life.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-6.2.B-521