Mirza Fatali Akhundov (1812 – 1878) is a great author, playwright, and philosopher. Indeed, he is founder of the national theatre, literary criticism, realist narrative, democratic philosophy and aesthetics in Azerbaijan, as well as the first reformer of the Azeri alphabet. Following Nizami Gancavi and Muhammed Fuzuli, Akhundov started a “new era” in Near Eastern literature. He is the person, who opens new levels of philosophical reflection in the Islamic cultures of this region. After six comedies, not to mention a short story “Deceived Stars”, Akhundov worked as a social reformer from the 1960’s till the end of his life. This is evidenced in his fight concerning alphabetical reform as an attempt to enlighten and raise Azeri culture and language. Continue reading
Mirze Alekber Sabir
(Shamakhi 30.05.1862 – Shamakhi 15.07.1911)
During his life, Mirze Alekber Sabir made and sold soap to earn a living. However, he was the founder of humourous poetry and revolutionary satire in Azerbaijan, as well as in Near Eastern Literature. His radically democratic poetry, with its social realism, nationalistic character, and modernist outlook, played a big part in the progress of Azeri culture and political thought. Indeed, Alekber Tahirzade from the region of Shirvan came to hold positions of honour after his death. Sabir was his nickname meaning “patience” or “patiently”. This is telling, when we remember that his father was a devote muslim, who had a little grocer shop in Shamakhi city, and wanted his son to be a confessor. That’s why, he sent the young Sabir to an ecclesiastical Moslem school, when he was eight. Now, the first duty of pupils at this school was to learn reading the Koran. Yet, he hadn’t finished reading the Koran, before he learned writing. Due to this, he was badly beaten by his mullah.
“The Grammar of Witchcraft” by David Parry
Mandrake of Oxford, PO Box 250, Oxford, OX1 1AP, 92pp £8, 99
A haunting conceit – Iain Sinclair
Revolution takes many forms. It can be political, artistic and even spiritual. Perhaps, that is why this collection of poems and mini-sagas by the British Anarchist and Heathen, David Parry, is so compelling. Indeed, there is a sense of discontent with the current scheme of things on every page; a feeling that the twin evils of a stale orthodoxy and meaningless social hierarchy are somehow at the very root of every problem faced by the United Kingdom, today.
Every Man and Every Woman is a Star!
It is this line from Aleister Crowley’s “Book of the Law”, which gruntles me the most. Perhaps this is because he is declaring the freedom, value and divinity of every Human being that has ever lived on this Earth. These are dangerous thoughts, even in our modern times and people are still being killed due to these beliefs. Yet, the origin, of this idea, is actually to be located in ancient Greece, among those people who claimed that no one had the political right to govern over another. By this, of course, I mean the early Anarchists. At this point, perhaps, we need to ask, what Anarchy actually is?
By origin, the term Hurufism comes from the Arabic word “Harf” (حرف), meaning “a letter” of the alphabet. The plural form “Hurufun” (حروف) signifying many letters, seems to be the etymological basis of Hurufism. The academic discipline, or morphology, therefore, investigating the secret of letters is called in Arabic “Ilmu-l Huruf” (الحرف علم) – or in other words, a Lettrist Science; or educational principle. But “Hurufism” has a number of semantic layers in its system of abstractions. For example, that letters and numbers can be calculated in a variety of ways to solve the mysteries of both, past and present time, as well as the future. For the Hurufis, alphabets have a power which transcends mere script. The source of Hurufism disappears into ancient ages. Some investigators have classified this ideology as an independent religion, while others describe it in terms of a mystical sect inside Islam. In which case, modern observes need to explore this school in two quiet distinct ways: Esoteric and Lettrist. This may be why Hurufi scholars tended to work in either an academic manner, or as magicians probing beneath the veil of material surfaces. On one hand, this philosophy raised the human mind to the stars. On the other hand, it gave comfort to those seeking solace in a complicated world. Either way, alphabetical letters formed the foundation upon which these enterprises were built.
The great Azerbaijan poet Imadaddin Nasimi (1369-1417), whose name, more than six hundred years later is still known as a symbol of bravery, selflessness and determination in Near Eastern Countries. Surprisingly, however, he was flayed and then killed, because of his beliefs and radical ideas. Indeed, with his last breath, this lover of truth was unrepentant regarding his philosophy, which is why he is praised to this day in the poems of other poets and by the music of ozans.