Reviews

The author discusses opinions expressed in an article published in 1909, after a journey to Khiva the previous year, by the famous Russian scientist A. N. Samoilovich on the Khwarezmian chronicler Muhammad-Yusuf b. Baba-Jan Bik Bayani (1858-1923). N. Tashev notably questions Samoilivich’s assertions on Bayani being a former diwan-bigi ― an assertion more recently taken up by several prominent historians of Khiva among whom Yuri Bregel ― and of his knowledge of Russian language. Criticising the arguments pro et contra in the polemics on this subject, he insists on the plurality of diwan-bigis in early-twentieth-century Khiva, but also casts light (after M. I. Iuldoshev) on the total lack of a primary documentary evidence on Bayani’s occupation of a significant charge of any kind. Reviewing in detail Samoilovich’s testimony, N. Tashev identifies a mix-up of names between Bayani and another significant figure of the time, Husayn-Muhammad b. Muhammad-Murad Diwan-Bigi, who occupied the charge of diwan-bigi after his father’s death in 1901 and, according to Bayani himself, accompanied Isfandiyar Khan to Saint Petersburg in 1911 in quality of secretary (sar-katib). Personal information on Husayn-Muhammad’s knowledge of Russian language and reading of Russian newspapers are provided by Palwan-Niyaz Hajji Yusupoff (1861-1936), a member of this diplomatic mission and the future leader of the “Young Khivans” (cf. the latter’s Iosh Khivaliklar tarikhi (khotiralar) [A History of the Young Khivans (Memoirs)], ed. M. Matniiozov, Urganj, 1999) ― and confirmed by Samoilovich himself in his separate narrative of his 1908 journey to Tashkent, Bukhara and Khiva. This short article is terminated by notations on Husayn-Muhammad’s participation in the constitutional regime (idara-yi mashruta) proclaimed in Khiva in 1917, based notably on the primary source constituted by Hasan-Murad Laffasi’s (c. 1881-1949) anthology the Gulshan-i Sa‘adat [“The Rose Garden of Felicity,” Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies, Tashkent, Nr. 7797].

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