Academic journal article International Education Studies

Jadidism as an Educational System and a Political Movement in Turkestan (Central Asia)

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Jadidism as an Educational System and a Political Movement in Turkestan (Central Asia)

Article excerpt


This article throws light upon the history of the national-progressive movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, which is called Jadidism. The history of Jadidism and its evolution from enlightenment to a powerful political movement can be retraced in it. Jadidism became an alternative form of the intellectual renewal of Muslim society. The beginning of the movement was connected with the introduction of the phonetics, so called "usul-i jadid", method of teaching reading and writing instead of letter and syllabic one in maktabs and madrasas, that is a new method. The Jadids criticized religious fanaticism, required the substitution of obsolete religious schools for national secular ones, advocated the development of science and culture, supported the publishing of newspapers in the native language, the opening of cultural and educational establishments, which favoured the consolidation of the democratic forces of the society.

From the very beginning the Jadids were aimed to the reform of the traditional system of education of Muslim religious school, establishing new-method schools, publishing, theatre, social, and political and cultural institutions, which, under their influence, were turning into a powerful ideological weapon in the struggle against economical, moral, and political backwardness of the peoples of Turkestan more and more. They were eager to study the experience and progress of the other people of the world, especially the best practices of the Muslim reformers of the Crimea, the Volga Region, the Transcaucasia, Turkey, and Iran, who had already became aware of the progressive social and political, spiritual and cultural life of Europe.

The main merit of the Jadids of Turkestan consists in the fact that they were the first to ground political arguments of the national liberation movement against Russian colonialism. The national elite of Turkestan discredited the 'legitimacy' of the colonial form of government, and later it served as the basis of a powerful political movement.

Keywords: Central Asia, Jadidism, new-method schools, the national elite of Turkestan, modernization of the traditional society

1. Introduction

Jadidism, risen as an educational movement at the turn of the 19th and 20th century and declined under the attack of the Soviet power in the late 1920s of last century, still arouses interest not only in Central Asia, but also quite beyond its boundaries. This increasing interest is explained with the fact that the ideas proclaimed, but not implemented by the Jadids, have actual significance, which is not lost for this region.Initially, Jadidism arose as a narrow movement of cultural nature for the reform of the old system of Muslim education, for the necessity of European education for Muslims. In new-method schools children were taught with the use of a phonetic method, which was new for Muslims. The founder and an active proponent of Jadidism was Ismail Gasprinski, a Crimean tatar, murza and agrarian, publishing the newspaper "Tarjiman" ("Translator") in Bakhchisaray from 1883 to 1914. In the period of the revolution of 1905-1907 and during the subsequent years, Jadidism in Central Asia fell outside the initial limits of cultural nature and acquired a distinct coloration of the bourgeois-liberal political and ideological movement. The social base of Jadidism was mainly the bourgeois sections of the population of Central Asia and a part of national intellectuals. The Jadids followed Turkish enlighteners, and they were closely connected with Tatar and Azerbaijani progressive intellectuals. At the same time, they were trying to keep the masses of revolutionary actions. Before 1917, Central Asian Jadidism failed to acquire certain organizational forms. The Jadids were the name for those who spoke in favour of the need to eliminate some of the vestiges of feudalism, which restricted the rising bourgeoisie, in favour of the limited reform of Islam and religious schools, the adaptation of Islam to the bourgeois development of the borderlands of the Russian Empire and the needs of national bourgeoisie. …

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