Reviews

The present work consists in the edition and translation of a work entitled by catalogues Ta’rikh-i ‘Alimqul-i amir-i lashkar, by the jurist and poet Mulla Muhammad-Yunus-Jan Tashkandi, takhallus Tayib (b. circa 1829-30; d. between 1902 and 1914), from a manuscript copied in the district of Andijan in 1902/3 and preserved nowadays in the Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies of Tashkent.  The text consists of a biography of ‘Alimqul (c. 1833-1865), a prominent figure of the military and administrative apparatus of the khanate of Kokand, who de facto governed the khanate between 1863 and 1865.  The main purpose of the text, as well as that of another work by the same author, the Tuhfa-yi Tayibi, is a denunciation of the dissensions between the rulers Khudayar Khan and Malla Khan in the 1850s-60s, that would prove fatal to the khanate’s unity.  Analysing the causes of Russia’s progression in Central Asia, the author calls the people of Fergana to accept Russia’s domination and technical culture.  From this viewpoint, the Ta’rikh-i ‘Alimqul must be resituated in the biographical and autobiographical literature in Persian and Turkic languages that blossomed at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries for dealing with the causes of the submission of Transoxiana and Altishahr to non-Muslim states.  Although its narrative is centred on the figure of a representative of the body of umara, the text of the Ta’rikh, by a jurist of the shari‘a, shares numerous characteristics with those that saw the light among the ‘ulama—see in this section my accounts of the edition and of the translation of Ziya’s “Diary”; see also Franz Wennberg, An Inquiry into Bukharan Qadimism : Mirza Salim-bik, Berlin: Schwarz, 2002 (Anor : 13), 73 p.  The complex political context of the writing of this work, the rich inter-text of the Ta’rikh-i ‘Alimqul are subtly analysed by the Editor in a very substantial introduction.  T.B. casts light on Mulla Muhammad-Yunus’ polemic intentions, the latter’s text being an answer to the publication of the Ta’rikh-i shahrukhi in 1885, and to the Andijan uprising in 1898: a genuine memorial to the nomadic Qipchaq government in Kokand, the work criticises the negative aspects of the reign of the sedentary aristocracy personalised by Khudayar Khan; it also proclaims the loyalty toward the Russian colonial administration of the faction that had gathered around ‘Alimqul.  From this viewpoint, the publication of this important source nuances the abundant primary literature more favourable to the faction of Khudayar Khan; it brings an essential contribution to our knowledge of the ruling milieus of Transoxiana before and under Russian domination, as well as of the functioning of biographical literature that enjoyed an unprecedented flowering in this region of the world of Islam, from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-3.4.C-284