Reviews

Already known to specialists through a recent edition of the original text (see in infra 316 my review of: [Ziya], Ruzname-ye Sadr-e Ziya . . ., ed. Mohammad-Jan Shakuri Bokharayi, Tehran, 1382[/2003]), the “Diary” of Mirza Muhammad-Sharif Sadr, takhallus Ziya, laqab Sadr-i Ziya, a central figurehead of Bukhara’s learned milieus in the late Manghit period, has been translated into English from the unique autograph manuscript preserved in the Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies of Tashkent (for a discussion on the historical interest of this specific source, see my comment of the Persian edition).  The translation is preceded by an introduction by Muhammad-Jan Shakuri, already edited for the most part in Persian in a previous monograph (Sadr-e Bokhara: takk-e negashti dar tahavvolat-e siyasi-ejtema‘i-ye Bokhara-ye Sharif teyy-e nime-ye payani-ye emarat-e khanat-e Manghetiyye bar asas-e Sharif-Jan Makhdum Sadr-i Ziya (The Eminence of Bukhara: a Particular Glance at the Political and social Upheavals in Bukhara at the End of the Emirate of the Manghit Khans, through the works by Sharif-Jan Makhdum Sadr-i Ziya, the Last Supreme Judge of the Venerable City), Tehran: Markaz-e asnad va tarikh-e diplomasi, 1380[ /2001]).  However, far from limiting their work to translation, the Editors of the ‘Diary’ have accompanied it with a number of footnotes usefully identifying and documenting the main characters, place names, official charges and ranks, and historical events mentioned in the text (unfortunately, only through modern studies in English language).  Very surprisingly in a work of such a quality by an international team of scholars that seems to have benefited from a large support from the publisher (suggested by the illustrations and the detailed appendixes), other autobiographical texts by Ziya have not been solicited by the Editors for textological nor factual comparison—notably none of those preserved in the Institute of Manuscript Heritage and Oriental Studies in Dushanbe. (I think in particular to the Nabdh al-gudharishat, a summarised version of the ‘Diary’, of a primary significance for any further analysis of the structure of Ziya’s narrative.)  The substantial biographical and historical literature of the time, in Persian or Turkic languages, does not appear either in what appears as an exclusively philological undertaking, focusing on the valuation of a single and singular indeed, but by far not unique text.  In all, in spite of the quality and elegance of R. Shukurov’s English translation of the ‘Diary’, and in spite of the quality of the critical apparatus (the index and genealogical table prove extremely useful), the book and its introduction brings very few elements to our knowledge of Ziya’s work, and of the functioning of the learned milieus of Bukhara under Russian Protectorate and in the first years of the Soviet period.  It remains to be said that, although lacking historical ambition and dimension, this beautiful volume will nevertheless do a signal service to all those interested in Central Asian history, but deprived of an access to primary sources in Persian language.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-3.4.C-282