Reviews

The author shows how the Bukharan modernist writer ‘Abd al-Ra’uf Fitrat, between 1910 and 1923, published no less than five works in which India, Indians, and the British featured most prominently.  A feature that complicates the matter is that Fitrat’s views changed radically over this decade.  In his early works, all written in Istanbul, he could see the coloniser as a source of emulation and even of advice.  The author notably asserts, quite soundly, that the Russian protectorate established in 1873, fixing the boundaries of the Emirate of Bukhara, contributed to the appearance of a sense of patriotism articulated by Fitrat with the Ottoman notion of watan during his stay in Istanbul.  By 1923 (the year of Fitrat and many Jadids’ elimination of the government of the Popular Soviet Republic of Bukhara), the coloniser was cast in an entirely negative note, with an innate enmity to ‘the East’.  Self-preservation required continued action on behalf of the colonised.  As in the contemporary, often more radical works by Turkic-speaking writers of the Turkistan ASSR (and probably under the latter’s direct influence), “the responsibility for undertaking this action, ascribed to the Emir by Fitrat in his early works, had shifted to the ‘people’ over the course of the tumultuous decade (274).”

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-3.4.C-299