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Partie II : Vivre le Turkestan russe

Culture and Power in Colonial Turkestan

Adeeb Khalid
p. 413-447


Cet article cherche à définir les voies par lesquelles le Turkestan a été colonial. Il place les djadids, intellectuels musulmans modernistes du début du XXe siècle, dans le contexte colonial en soulignant que le djadidisme turkestanais apparu dans ce cadre a été très profondément marqué par ce dernier. Cet article exploite finalement les points communs et les discordances entre le programme culturel des djadids et la « mission civilisatrice » que les Russes ont défendue à l’égard du pays. Le point-clef analysé ici est celui de l’exclusion : l’ordre colonial a été en effet construit en excluant la population native du Turkestan du courant principal de la vie de l’empire. Les djadids ont projeté de surmonter cette exclusion en mettant l’accent non sur la séparation de cette politique impériale, mais sur l’insertion dans le système. Dans le contexte colonial, un tel désir d’intégration était fort mal venu et provoqua l’hostilité des autorités impériales.

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1When A. N. Kuropatkin (1848-1925), the last tsarist Governor-General of Turkestan, received the news of the abdication of Nicholas II in March 1917, his thoughts immediately turned to the peculiar character of the province over which he ruled:

  • 1 Kuropatkin, 1927, p. 60. Kuropatkin was wrong with his numbers; the “Russians” might have comprised (...)

“Nothing special has happened yet, but we can expect anything, even terrorist acts, which are especially dangerous in Asia where we Russians form a third [sic] among the ten-million strong native population.”1

2The thinness of the Russian presence had always been obvious to the rulers of Turkestan ever since the region had been conquered a half-century earlier, as was the otherness of its native population. Russians of all stripes had routinely compared the Russian presence in Turkestan with that of the British in India or the French in Indochina. It was clear to Kuropatkin that Tashkent was the capital of a Russian colony, and revolution had highlighted that fact.

  • 2 Ibidem, p. 60.
  • 3 Khalid, 1996; Buttino, 1991; idem, 2003.
  • 4  Buttino, 2003.

3The earliest weeks after the proclamation of the Provisional Government saw a remarkable continuity in the assumptions held by Turkestan’s Russians about their relationship to the native population. It was assumed that little would change as a result of the revolution in the way the two populations related to each other (unequally) and to the state (asymmetrically). In the days after the abdication of the Tsar was announced, Kuropatkin held separate meetings with representatives of Tashkent’s Russian and native populations. He assured the latter that “under the new order of life in Russia, their lives too will be easier than before.”2 Tashkent’s municipal Duma (assembly) elected a 19-member Executive Committee of Public Organisations, which was entirely composed of Russians, although two “natives” were co-opted as representatives of the indigenous population. But the indigenous population mobilised rapidly, especially in the cities, and its leaders began to demand equality as citizens of Russia, i.e., an end to the mechanisms of exclusion that had upheld colonial difference in Turkestan. The Russian population instinctively resisted this move. Over the course of 1917, political life developed largely in parallel “Russian” and “native” streams, until Russian soldiers and workers took power in the name of socialism and established a settler-dominated regime that sought wide-ranging autonomy from the centre.3 The Russian revolution had been turned on its head by the colonial realities of Turkestan.4

4What was so obvious to contemporaries – that Turkestan was a colony, directly comparable to overseas holdings of other European empires – was consigned to oblivion by later generations of historians. It began with the end of the Anglo-Russian rivalry after the First World War, which pushed the most immediate point of comparison to the background. Later in the twentieth century, notions of Russia’s own alterity and otherness from “Europe” came to dominate mainstream thought to such an extent that it became difficult to imagine that the Russians could have been engaged in an exercise common to all Europeans. Yet, little about Turkestan can be understood without acknowledging its coloniality. The aspirations of “native” elites articulated in 1917, as well as their modus operandi, were rooted squarely in the colonial realities of Turkestan. The Jadids, the modernist Muslim intellectuals who emerged as claimants to leadership in 1917, were colonial intellectuals, their trajectory and their predicament directly comparable to any number of other groups in the colonial world.

5This article, therefore, has three interrelated goals. Firstly, it seeks to define the ways in which Turkestan was colonial. Secondly, it seeks to locate the Jadids in this colonial context. Turkestani Jadidism arose in a colonial society, and was deeply marked by it. The Jadids operated under constraints and possibilities defined by Turkestan’s colonial status. Thirdly, this article seeks to investigate the points of overlap and intersection between the cultural programme of the Jadids and the “civilising mission” the Russians professed to uphold. The key vector to be analysed here is that of exclusion – the colonial order was built on the exclusion of the native population of Turkestan from the imperial mainstream. The Jadids sought to overcome this exclusion; they sought not separation from, but inclusion into the imperial polity. In the colonial order, this desire for inclusion was highly subversive, and provoked a great deal of hostility on the part of imperial authorities.

Turkestan as a Colony

  • 5 O‘zbekistonning yangi tarixi, 2000, vol. 1.

6Nothing about empires is purely “objective”, and labels are always fraught with political import. We should therefore not be surprised that there is no agreement on the question of whether Turkestan was a colony or not. In Uzbekistan, the current position of the historical profession is that Turkestan was indeed a colony.5 The new historiography emphasises the violence of the Russian conquest, the economic exploitation of the region, and the various kinds of repression and suppression experienced under Russian rule. It also makes no distinction between the tsarist and Soviet periods of the region’s history.

  • 6 In the 1920s, Soviet writers routinely referred to Turkestan as a colonial possession of the Russia (...)

7Post-Soviet Russian discourses, on the other hand, like to see the tsarist Empire as an empire without colonies. With a few exceptions, the term colonial is assiduously avoided in contemporary Russian historiography. Many key features of the historiographic orthodoxy that crystallised under Stalin remain in place: that the Russian empire was built through annexation [prisoedinenie], not conquest [zavoevanie], and that incorporation into the Russian empire ultimately had a “progressive” meaning for the various peoples concerned.6 This narrative remains attractive to a post-Soviet Russian audience because it provides contemporary Russia an imperial pedigree without the odium of colonialism.

  • 7 Hosking, 1997; Burbank and Ransell, 1998; Kappeler, 2001; Crews, 2006.
  • 8 Miller and Rieber, 2004.
  • 9 The best examples of work that engages the literature on colonial studies are Brower and Lazzerini, (...)

8Outside the territories of the former Russian Empire, the situation is curious. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of new national states in its place have created immense interest in the Russian Empire, and there has been an explosion of new scholarship on the subject. But this new literature on empire is concerned primarily with exploring the self-understanding of the imperial state and the mechanisms that held it together.7 The question of colonialism sits awkwardly with this literature, whose primary concern is to investigate the specificities of the Russian empire (the best comparative work has tended to compare Russia with other overland empires, where “colonialism” is not a main concern either).8 The vast literature on colonial and post–colonial studies has found only a small resonance in the historiography of the Russian Empire.9

9Much also hinges on the definition of a colony. To argue that Turkestan was not a “real” or a “typical” colony is to assume that there was such a thing as a “real” or a “typical” colony. Colonial rule varied vastly across space and time: the first European empires in the new world differed amongst themselves, and they were quite different from the “second” empires of the nineteenth century. The eighteenth-century British Empire in India differed markedly from its late nineteenth-century successor. At, for example, the turn of the twentieth century, Barbados, the Gold Coast, Kenya, India, and Malaya all represented different configurations of power within the same British Empire, each located in its own history, and each colonial in a different – and not very “typical” – way. Add Algeria, Belgian Congo, the Dutch East Indies, and Cuba under U.S. rule to this list, and any notion of the “typicality” of colonial rule dissolves further. There is no “typical” example against which to measure Turkestan.

  • 10 Young, 1994.

10Rather, we need to ask in what ways Turkestan was colonial. For the overseas empires of western European states, the question can be answered with relative ease. The physical separation of overseas territories made juridical separation easier. There were exceptions, such as the French claim that Algeria was part of la France métropolitaine, but overseas territories generally retained a degree of separation from the metropole that was inconceivable in overland empires such as Russia’s. Each overseas colony was equipped with a political infrastructure in which the purposes and aims of the state were different than in the metropole. After Crawford Young, we might call these “colonial states.”10 In contiguous overland empires, such separation of the colony from metropole did not exist. We cannot speak of colonial states, only of colonial regimes or colonial relations of power in the “periphery” or the “borderlands”.

  • 11 It is an apt indication of the state of things that historians have to be reminded of this basic fa (...)

11Turkestan’s relation to the imperial centre was colonial in a number of ways. It was conquered in the context of imperial competition with Britain (the so-called Great Game). But, equally important, it was conquered in the context of massive expansion of (white, Christian) Europeans beyond Europe, and contemporary observers, Russian as well as foreign, saw it as such.11 It was this context that Russia’s Foreign Minister, A. M. Gorchakov, invoked in 1864 in his famous memorandum to Russian missions in Europe:

  • 12 Great Britain, 1873, pp. 70-75.

“The position of Russia in Central Asia is that of all civilised States which are brought into contact with half-savage, nomad populations, possessing no fixed social organisation. […] In such cases it always happens that the more civilised State is forced […] to exercise a certain ascendancy over those whom their turbulent and unsettled character make most undesirable neighbours. […] It is a peculiarity of Asiatics to respect nothing but visible and palpable force; the moral force of reason and of the interests of civilisation has as yet no hold upon them.”12

12These views were widely shared among educated Russians of the time. The Russian intelligentsia might have debated its relation to Europe, but no one doubted that Russia represented Europe in Central Asia. Most Russians in Central Asia saw their goals in terms of the usual nineteenth-century imperial notions of replacing the arbitrary, “Asiatic” despotism of local rulers by good government, the pacification of the countryside, and the increase in trade and prosperity.

  • 13 Bassin, 1991, p. 13.

13The stark contrast Gorchakov drew with “Asiatics” should also put into perspective those Russian views of Asia that claim some sort of an organic link between Russia and Asia. Such views, those of the Slavophiles in the nineteenth century and of the Eurasianists in the twentieth, have tended to draw an inordinate amount of attention in the West, where they validate Western notions of Russia’s otherness from Europe. Such views emerged from Russian debates about its relationship with “Europe”, and they seldom had anything to do with “Asia” itself. As Mark Bassin has shown, even those Russian writers who asserted Russia’s difference from Europe tended nevertheless to see “the gulf separating Russia from the Occident as considerably less deep than that separating it from the Orient”. Turkestan remained a “purely Asiatic land”, a colony of Russia, no matter how un-European Russia might be13. It is salutary to remember that for the vast majority of the Russian intelligentsia, Russia remained firmly a part of Europe, and as we shall see below, Turkestan served to affirm Russia’s Europeanness.

  • 14 Slocum, 1998.
  • 15 Kappeler, 2001, p. 198.

14Turkestan occupied a uniquely distant place in the legal and political landscape of the Russian empire. It was governed under its own statute, which entrenched local peculiarities into law. The indigenous population’s status was never integrated into the imperial system of ranks and standings [soslovija i sostojanija], and local elites were not admitted to the nobility. Legally, with the exception of a few individuals, the indigenous population of Turkestan was classified as inorodcy. The term inorodcy, of course, had many meanings, and its usage evolved over time.14 At the time of the conquest of Turkestan, the term inorodcy referred to a small number of groups who were not subject to the general laws of the empire and retained certain local customs and were exempt from military conscription. With the exception of (European) Jews, the inorodcy were all nomadic or semi-nomadic peoples inhabiting the Asian borderlands. The incorporation of the sedentary population of Turkestan into the empire as inorodcy was the first time that a sedentary population possessing a “high culture” were assigned to the status of inorodcy. In the words of Andreas Kappeler, “It showed quite clearly Russia’s increasing distance in the nineteenth century not only from the non-sedentary ethnic groups, but from all Asiatics.”15 The indigenous population of Turkestan retained customary courts and was not subject to conscription. According to the Turkestan statute of 1886, they alone, of all the non-Christian peoples of the empire, had the right to own land in Turkestan.

  • 16 Pjaskovskij, 1958, pp. 525-526. In actually practice, things got even more complicated. In Semirech (...)
  • 17 On the differentiation of native Jews from native Muslims, see Crews, 2004.

15But the population of Turkestan were inorodcy in a peculiar way. In Turkestan itself, the term inorodcy was seldom used, and the indigenous population was called tuzemcy, “natives”. The distinction is significant:the indigenous population of Turkestan were natives of an alien, colonial territory, not aliens living in Russia itself. In actual administrative practice, the category of “tuzemcy” could be distinguished from that of “inorodcy” from other parts of the Russian empire, especially as the usage of the term inorodcy expanded to include all non-Russians in the empire. For instance, in the complex regulations issued for elections to the first two State Dumas (the only ones in which Turkestan had representation), divided the electorate into “native” [tuzemnoe] and “non-native” [netuzemnoe] groups, with the latter including both “Russians” and inorodcy from beyond Turkestan.16 In Turkestan, non-Russians from the rest of the empire were closer to the “Russians” than they were to the natives. Equally interesting was the slippage of “native” status. In local administrative practice, “natives” included the Muslim inhabitants of Bukhara and Khiva, even though they were not technically subjects of the Tsar, and even immigrants from Afghanistan. Central Asian (“Bukharan”) Jews also counted as “natives”, but members of the non-Muslim Indian mercantile diaspora did not.17

  • 18 Nalivkin, 1913.
  • 19 The papers of the Turkestan branch of the secret police [Turkestanskij rajonnyj osobyj otdel] are i (...)

16This distinctiveness of “native” status indicated a distance between rulers and the ruled, between the state and its subjects, that was greater than anywhere else in the empire (with the possible exception of the “small peoples” of Siberia). This distance manifested itself in many ways. Apart from a few orientalists in imperial service (some of whom were men of great accomplishment), most Russian officials knew very little about the native population, about whom they often thought in huge abstractions. Officials depended on indigenous intermediaries for a great deal of their interaction with the indigenous population. These intermediaries acquired a new status in local society, while remaining the object of much official suspicion. Nalivkin called these functionaries the “living wall” with which Russians had surrounded themselves from the beginning.18 Left to their own devices in dealing with politically sensitive cases, Russian functionaries could not tell the difference between books printed in Tatar or Persian, or what was going on in mosques or schools, or in the bazaar. Much of the paranoia of the imperial state stemmed from this basic incomprehension of native reality. The state’s own ambitions for intervention in society were limited. Even when public health and mass education had become common in Russia itself, in Turkestan they did not figure at all in imperial plans. Even the Okhrana, the tsarist secret police, which opened an office in Tashkent in 1907, focused most of its energies on the Russian settler community in Turkestan. It did recruit agents from amongst the native population and it did subject the old cities to surveillance, but if the surviving paperwork in its archive is any evidence, it produced only a slim amount of material on them.19

  • 20 Sahadeo, 2007, chap. 2.

17“Natives” also helped define the role of the “Russians” in the empire. The density of the local population and its distance from the state made the state see “Russians” as the most loyal “element” in the population – a pillar of support for the continued adherence of the region to the Russian empire. The Russian population of Turkestan was divided between peasant and Cossack settlers, mostly in Semirech’e and Syr Darya oblasts, and a larger urban population that lived in the “new” cities that emerged in the aftermath of the conquest. As Jeff Sahadeo has shown in his excellent study of the Russian community of Tashkent, settlement in Turkestan produced new identities and new meanings of being Russian. Urban Russians, especially, saw themselves as Europeans living in a colonial setting, in a situation comparable with that of other European settlers in other distant colonies in the same age. Russians in Turkestan claimed that they acted better than the British in India or white Americans in the American West, but they never thought that they were not Europeans.20 Russian settlers saw themselves as the “ruling nationality” [gospodstvujushchaja narodnost’], and acquired various modes (most of them borrowed from other contemporary European colonial societies) for differentiating themselves from the natives.

18The separation of natives and Russians took material form in the separation of the “old” cities from the newer Russian parts established after the conquest, which remained separate (and privileged) entities. The most significant case of this differentiation was Tashkent itself, where a new city [novyj gorod], or in the usage of the indigenous population, simply Gorut arose alongside the existing city [Shahar]. When Tashkent acquired a municipal Duma, the Municipal Legislation of 1870 was modified to ensure that Muslim representation in the Duma did not exceed one-third of all seats. While both the old and new cities were nominally part of the same municipal government, they might as well have existed on different planets. There was no comparison between the two parts in terms of the provision of amenities and services. Tashkent’s “new city” was characterised by wide, straight streets lit by gas lights, a tramway, parks, squares, and self-consciously modern architecture. The “old” city, with its labyrinthine alleys, its lack of public spaces, or lighting, presented a stark contrast. The new cities were not legally segregated, but they were nevertheless highly distinct.

19Colonial studies has rightly emphasised the way colonial regimes transformed societies by destroying existing social relationships and introducing modern regimes of power. The Russian conquest of Turkestan brought with it modern forms of power: modern bureaucracy, uniform taxation, impersonal law, census, maps, and museums. But this colonial modernity was always incomplete, subject to strict financial constraints and always imbricated in the inequalities that defined the colonial order. Colonial regimes were modern, but they were not modernising in the way many twentieth-century states were to be. They meant to exclude the colonised from the modernity they brought. Colonial modernity was built in spite of colonial regimes, not by them.

  • 21 Brower, 2003. Brower opposes “enlightened bureaucrats” to military administrators and makes perhaps (...)

20Ultimately, then, Turkestan was a colony not because it was conquered by military force – much of the expansion of the Russian state from the time of the “gathering of the lands of Rus” by Ivan III of Muscovy can be put down to the use of military force – but because of the way it was governed. The exclusion of the native population from mainstream imperial life was a basic fact of the colonial situation. The centralising tendencies unleashed by the Great Reforms remained, at best, the pious wishes of a few “enlightened bureaucrats” that were constantly cut off by more cautious, more conservative views within officialdom.21 Central Asia was a world apart from the rest of the empire. Even when Russian officialdom or intelligentsia debated the “Muslim question”, as they did in the last two decades of the old regime, they had in mind the Muslims of the Volga-Ural region, never those of Central Asia, even though the latter outnumbered all the other Muslims of the Russian empire put together.

The Russian “Civilising Mission”

21The “civilising mission” articulated by Russian authorities in Turkestan did not differ appreciably from that of other empires: in official rhetoric, Russian rule was to liberate Turkestan from the “Asiatic despotism” of local rulers, and replace their arbitrary rule by good government and equal justice to all, especially to Jews, Shi’ites and women. It would also promote trade and prosperity, public health and education among its new subjects. Yet, in practice, the state always shied away from massive intervention in society. As in other colonial empires (and in radical distinction from the Soviet period), the state had little intention to undertake projects of massive social engineering.

  • 22 Litvinov, 1998, p. 52.

22From very early on, the “fanaticism” of the region’s Muslim population became the defining theme in the articulation of Russian policy. M. G. Chernjaev (1828-1898), the conqueror of Tashkent, wanted to be careful in his dealings with “the clergy”, so as not to exacerbate its “fanatical, anti-Russian mood”. He therefore confirmed the qāḍī kalān [chief judge] of Tashkent in his authority and promised to protect and not interfere in the religious life of the city.22 From the outset, this move aroused opposition within officialdom: it was seen as allowing the consolidation and strengthening of Islam and the Muslim “clergy.” Chernjaev’s successor, D. I. Romanovskij, attempted something different. He established so-called shariat courts [mahkamai sharī'a], in which qozis[judges] would serve under the tutelage of Russian functionaries. These courts were scrapped as soon as Turkestan became a Governorate general in 1867. For K. P. von Kaufman (1818-1882), the first Governor-General, Islam was defined by “fanaticism”, which could only be countered by depriving the carriers of Islam of all state support and patronage. In the absence of such support, Islam would decay and wither away, or at the very least, lose its fanaticism. Kaufman thus articulated a policy of ignorirovanie [disregard] toward Islam. There was to be no qāḍī kalān and no spiritual administration. Kaufman also forbade the Orenburg spiritual assembly from extending its authority to Turkestan. Turkestan’s remained the only Muslim population of the empire where a spiritual assembly did not operate.

  • 23 Khalid, 1998, pp. 68-70.

23But even Kaufman could not escape all contact with Islam. He left the Muslim courts of Turkestan in existence, although he attempted to undermine the authority of the judges, who now had to be elected, and whose jurisdiction was strictly defined by administrative law. Kaufman also made a clear distinction between sedentary and nomadic groups. Among the sedentary population, justice was to be provided by qozis on the basis of the sharī'a. Qozis could sentence people to arrest for up to eighteen months or to a fine of up to 300 roubles, but they were not competent to hear cases involving documents written in Russian or cases involving non-Muslims, and their decisions were subject to review by Russian circuit courts. They did not receive a fixed salary, but were allowed to charge fees for each case heard or each document signed, as had long been the practice in Central Asia. Among the nomadic population, adjudication was in the hands of the biy, a tribal elder who adjudicated according to customary law ['ādat].23 Needless to say, these administrative practices crystallised the distinction between ādat and sharī'a, just as they subtly altered the status of qozi and biy. But the point is that the state recognised the native population as different, and institutionalised that difference in legal practice.

  • 24 Litvinov, 1998, pp. 67-68.

24Kaufman’s successors often challenged various parts of the ignorirovanie policy, but they could not change the basic framework of dealing with the native society that he had established. The first challenge to Kaufman’s legacy came immediately after his death, when Chernjaev returned as Governor-General. Chernjaev had accounts to settle with Kaufman, whom he considered to have usurped the position of Governor-General that was rightfully his. He therefore set about changing everything that Kaufman had put in place. In addition to closing down the public library and the observatory that Kaufman had established in Tashkent as signs of civilisation, Chernjaev also tried to abandon the policy of ignorirovanie. He mooted the establishment of a religious administration for the Muslims of Turkestan, with oversight over education, waqfs, and questions of faith, but this project was forgotten when Chernjaev was dismissed in 1884.24

  • 25 Babadzhanov, 2003, pp. 251-277.
  • 26 Dukhovskoj, 1899.
  • 27 Arapov, 2004, pp. 169-173.

25A bigger challenge to Kaufman’s legacy came in the aftermath of the Andijan uprising of 1898. Although the uprising was swiftly overcome and exemplary punishment meted out to those involved,25 the Governor-General S. M. Dukhovskoj (1838-1901) saw in it the failure of all policies of the Russian state toward its Muslim subjects. He attacked not just Kaufman’s policies, but also the very notion of tolerance that had underwritten Russian policies toward Islam since the time of Catherine II. For Dukhovskoj, Islam was “an ulcer that has historically taken hold in the organism of our state.” Islam could not be ignored; what was needed was a merciless struggle against it, not just in Turkestan, but in all corners of the empire. Dukhovskoj suggested that the Orenburg spiritual assembly [dukhovnoe sobranie] be abolished, all Muslim institutions placed under close supervision, and a special body created for censoring Muslim publications.26 Dukhovskoj’s suggestions met a cold reception in St. Petersburg, where both the ministries of War and the Interior disagreed with his “extremism”, and the project was consigned to oblivion.27

26Although authorities remained suspicious of any kind of activism connected to Islam, they never abandoned the basic framework of ignorirovanie in Turkestan. They had neither the personnel, nor the financial resources to undertake intensive supervision, let alone control, over Islam. The state made efforts to regulate waqfs and madrasas, but the Russian presence remained lighter in Turkestan than in other Muslim areas of the empire, with the exception of Bukhara.

27Officials’ fear of the perceived “fanaticism” of the natives defined many policies. From the very beginning, Russian officials were afraid of “inflaming” the “fanaticism” of the natives, and drafted policies in ways that they thought would prevent such an outcome. Kaufman forbade the Orthodox Church from proselytising in Turkestan and the authorities remained wary of intervening in local religious and cultural life. Russian settlement was kept in check in the sedentary regions of Turkestan for the same reasons. Much later, Russian authorities allowed new-method schools (see below) to exist because officials feared their closure would “inflame” the “fanaticism” of the natives. This fanaticism could be mollified only when Islam, deprived of state support, ceased being a dominant feature of native cultural life. At the same time, Russian officials believed that the superiority of the European civilisation the Russians had brought would become obvious to the natives when they saw its benefits in actual life. The authorities could make it easier for the natives to notice this superiority. In 1870, Kaufman established the Turkestanskaja tuzemnaja gazeta / Turkiston viloyatining gazeti, an official newspaper that was to act as the bearer both of official proclamations and regulations, and of the good news of the modern world, all in a way that did not threaten the state. Alongside the press, Kaufman pinned his hopes on education. The doors of the Russian schools built in the cities of Turkestan were open to “natives.” Kaufman hoped that non-confessional education, common to all subjects of the empire, and delivered in Russian would curb the fanaticism of native students, and produce “useful citizens of Russia.”

  • 28 Bendrikov, 1960, pp. 308-309.

28This policy worked less well than Kaufman would have hoped, and was modified soon after his death. Russian schools attracted very few natives in Kaufman’s time, and produced very few “useful citizens of Russia.” Therefore, in 1884, the newly appointed Governor-General, N. O. von Rozenbakh (1836-1901) was worried enough about this issue that he inaugurated a new kind of school directly aimed at the “native” population. The so-called Russian-native [russko-tuzemnye] schools offered parallel tracks of Russian and traditional Muslim education. In the morning, a Russian teacher taught Russian and arithmetic, while a Muslim teacher gave lessons identical to those in the maktab in the afternoon. The course of study was four years, by the end of which students were expected to be able to write and speak Russian. Reading lessons in the fourth year introduced students to Russian geography and history.28 For educational authorities, the “native” sections were primarily a means of attracting the indigenous population to their schools – a formal curriculum was only drawn up in 1907 and attendance was not compulsory – but it was nevertheless an innovation to offer conventional Muslim education.

  • 29 Circular from the Governor-General, 30 December 1891:CGA RUz, f. 19, d. 12924, ll. 1-1ob.
  • 30 CGA RUz, f. 19, d. 12924, l. 3ob. (Judging by the fact that Vrevskij repeated the request five year (...)

29The schools had a slow beginning, as officials found it difficult to convince parents to send their sons to them. Local notables were pressed into service to provide students, and it was not unheard of for notables to pay poor relations to send their children instead. The situation changed gradually. Seven years after the first Russian-native school opened, the Governor-General A. B. Vrevskij (1834-1910) could write in a circular to all oblast governors: “Russian-native schools occupy a steady place among the native population. Local inhabitants deal with them without opposition and without fanatical hostility.” But their numbers remained small, and the cost to the treasury was “considerable” (23,000 roubles annually). For Vrevskij, the reasons were clear: with the exception of a few merchants, natives “cannot understand the meaning that learning Russian has for their children, what benefits knowledge of the language can bring them.”29 Vrevskij’s solution to this was, in effect, to create demand for Russian as a way of making the schools more popular and maximising the number of natives in Turkestan who learnt Russian. He asked all governors to give preference in native appointments to those who knew Russian.30 The situation began to change after the turn of the century, as a new generation of parents, faced with greater economic and political contact with Russia and the world beyond, did come to appreciate the “benefits” that knowledge of Russian could bring their children. There was rapid growth in the numbers of Russian-native schools in the last decade of tsarist rule, especially in Tashkent.

  • 31 Turkiston viloyatining gazeti, 31 December 1884.

30Russian-native schools contained all the contradictions of Russia’s colonial policies in Turkestan. Even though the schools were meant to serve important imperial goals, the state was loath to provide sufficient funding for them. In the beginning, the authorities depended on local notables both for attracting students to the schools and for paying for their operation. The first Russian-native school opened in Tashkent in the house of the merchant Sayyid Karim-boy31; notables served as patrons [bljustiteli]. State funds always represented a small part of the schools’ budget, with local resources providing the bulk of the funding. The first school in Tashkent received 700 roubles from the treasury and 1,300 roubles from the city, while the rooms were donated by Sayyid Karim-boy. In many places, local authorities imposed a special tax [maktab puli] to support the schools, which did not make the schools popular. Even when demand increased and local notables began petitioning for the opening of more Russian-native schools, the authorities could not provide the necessary funds.

  • 32 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 23ob.
  • 33 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, ll. 1-1ob.

31A bureaucratic dispute that raged in 1912 and 1913 sheds important light on the nature and scope of Russia’s cultural policies in Turkestan. In December 1911, the Tashkent municipal Duma voted to introduce universal elementary education in the new city, and funded the creation of a “dense network” of Russian schools in the new city. Muslim members of the Duma immediately demanded that the city also fund the creation of Russian-native schools in the old city. The “mayor” [gorodskoj golova], N. G. Mallickij (1873-1947), a long-serving functionary and an Orientalist of some accomplishment, rejected these demands, arguing that the “spreading of Russian-native schools is a question of state importance, which can be carried out on state resources.”32 In response, the Muslim members of the Duma organised a petition on behalf of “our children, future citizens of Russia, thirsting for light and not having the opportunity to study,” asking the Governor-General to open ten new Russian-native schools in the old city.33

32The initial response of state authorities was positive. S. M. Gramenickij, director of schools of Syr Darya Region, had already opposed the decision of the Tashkent Duma on grounds of equity: schools were funded from local resources, and since the native population paid the same taxes, the Duma should include Russian-native schools in its plan. While the universal education of natives in state schools was premature for the moment,

  • 34 “Raport”, 1 February 1912: CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, ll. 15-16.

“it is extremely necessary to meet the growing demand in this regard, since the teaching of the children of natives in Russian-native schools has a very significant meaning in cultural and political terms.”34

  • 35 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 7.

33Eventually, the Governor-General, A. V. Samsonov (1859-1914), expressed his “complete agreement” with the plan to open the ten schools and established a commission to work out the details.35

34Opposition to Russian-native schools was of long standing among the Russian population of Turkestan, which tended to see them as a waste of public funds. In 1909, the Tashkent newspaper Turkestanskij kur’er [Turkestan Courier], had published a series of articles criticising the schools for their inefficacy and waste. Now, Mallickij argued that,

  • 36 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 35ob.

“In view of the isolation of the Russian population form the natives, because of which Tashkent peculiarly is composed of two separate cities, Russian and native, the creation of a network of schools separately for the Russian city should not encounter any hindrance.” It was therefore inadmissible “to delay the realisation of the urgent and very important (from the state point of view) matter of the dissemination of elementary education among the ruling nationality.”36

  • 37 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 89.
  • 38 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 86.

35At a meeting of the commission formed to discuss the establishment of ten Russian-native schools, he questioned the motives of the notables who had signed the petition. Noting that Kazakh volosts collected thousands of roubles every year for educational purposes, he said, “I am personally convinced that the native population of Tashkent, being extraordinarily rich and numerous, can gather a minimum of tens of thousands [of roubles] for such a worthy and popular cause” if the aim was made known to the wider population. The present petition, on the other hand, was the work of a small group of self-servers. It had the “odour” of previous petitions that had claimed that the new city benefited exclusively from municipal taxes.37 At the same time, Mallickij raised doubts about the legal status of the Russian-native schools, arguing that they existed “beyond the law, or at least despite the law.”38

  • 39 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 93.
  • 40 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 93ob.

36The commission to discuss the ten Russian-native schools rumbled on for several months, and then folded without having done more than issue a few statements. It agreed that universal education for natives was premature, if only from a monetary perspective: simply to educate all school-age boys would require an annual expenditure of 320,000 roubles, which amounted to one-third of the entire budget of the city. A certain S. I. Kalgonov-Andreev, as principal of a Russian-native school, suggested that the demand for extra schools was there, and if the state did not do anything, the population will turn to new-method schools of the Jadids (see below), which were “undesirable for the government.”39 Yet, even such possibilities could not produce action, and the commission closed by simply “recognising” that it was “desirable to set about opening new schools or increasing the capacity of existing ones.”40

  • 41 Togan, 1999, pp. 137-138.

37The colonial nature of relationships defined imperial outcomes. The unequal status of the two parts of the city served by a single municipal government trumped the state’s best intentions. In 1917, after the Provisional Government had abolished all legal distinctions between Russians and natives, inhabitants of the new city, headed by the same Mallickij, sought to establish a new-city Duma as a completely separate entity, with its own budget.41 Furthermore, the tsarist state had neither the desire, nor the capability to assimilate the indigenous population or bring about radical cultural change. It had long been accustomed to particularistic arrangements of rule, whereby different social groups or provinces were governed by legislation specific to them. In Central Asia, this particularism was heightened by the greater distance between the rulers and the ruled. Administrative practices (often explicitly modelled on the colonial experience of other empires) tended to maintain – and heighten – colonial difference.

The Jadid Project in its Colonial Context

38The Jadids emerged in the social and political landscape created by a generation of Russian colonial rule in Turkestan. They were not the product of a “Russian colonial policy”; rather, they appeared in a context that had been deeply shaped by Russian rule and its advertent and inadvertent consequences. Russian rule over Turkestan defined the constraints and possibilities within which the Jadids operated. Their goals and their strategies bore clear marks of the colonial context in which they lived, hence the primacy of cultural over political issues in the Jadid program. The imperial state brooked no interference in matters it deemed political, but, as described above, it had left large parts of cultural and social life alone. The maktab, the elementary school where most Muslim boys first received the basic cultural knowledge valued locally, remained beyond state interference. While the state sought to regulate madrasas and waqf properties, its efforts were not very successful or intrusive. The vernacular press, classified as po-musul’manski [“Muslim”], remained beyond serious control of state censorship. Much of private life went on beyond any state regulation. It was in these spaces that Jadidism arose.

  • 42 Khalid, 1998.

39The Jadids’ desiderata for cultural reform overlapped to a considerable degree with what the Russians also espoused. The most central concept in Jadid thought was that of taraqqiy, progress, which meant, to the Jadids, the cultivation by society of modern knowledge, modern forms of sociability and organisation, the achievement of the same attributes that had made “developed” (taraqqiy qilg’an, “those who had achieved progress”) nations powerful. The assimilation of the notion of progress produced understandings of the past as well as of the present. As I have argued elsewhere, the Jadids arrived at a radically new understanding of Islam that was fully congruent with progress and modernity.42 The Jadids harshly criticised customary ways of doing things. They also saw fanaticism (ta’assub) in traditional ways of knowing Islam and argued vehemently against it. They too saw education as the answer to all the ills that they discerned in their society. Yet, there was a crucial difference. For the Jadids (and their contemporaries in other colonised societies), “natives” were capable of achieving progress. Jadidism was universalist in that sense, and therefore subversive to the colonial order, which rested on mechanisms of exclusion (and the upholding of colonial difference between “Russians” and “natives”). Ultimately, Jadidism was a movement for the inclusion of “natives” into universal civilisation and into the mainstream of imperial life, not for separation from it.

  • 43 For a longer exposition of these points, see Khalid, 1998, chap. 5.

40The flagship of Jadid reform was the so-called new-method school. The fundamental goal of these schools was to teach functional literacy in the vernacular Arabic script, but they brought with them many other pedagogical innovations as well. The curriculum of new-method schools also included subjects such as arithmetic, history, and geography, as well as the native language taught as a subject. They introduced the notion of progressing through classes, and assumed new roles for the teacher as a public servant. But while the pedagogical innovations of new-method schools were important, even more important was the modern, enlightenment vision that drove the Jadids. The concern with pedagogical efficiency, that children should learn to read as quickly as possible, the introduction of desks and benches, and the general emphasis on order, cleanliness, and hygiene all bespeak a new sense of being in the world. The renunciation of physical punishment implied a new conception of childhood as well as of learning. Globes, maps, and printed books similarly served to place the new-method school in a markedly different pedagogical tradition than the maktab. New-method schools represented much more than an efficient way of teaching the alphabet.43

Madrasa in Andijan, after 1910

Madrasa in Andijan, after 1910
  • 44 “Instrukcija zavedujushchim russko-tuzemnymi uchilishchami Turkestanskogo okruga” (1913): CGA RUz, (...)
  • 45 CGA RUz, f. I-1, op. 13, d. 811, ll. 97-98ob.

41In Turkestan, there were marked similarities between the Russian-native schools and the Jadids’ new-method schools. Both kinds of schools faced the suspicions of parents: their break from the traditions of the maktab exposed them to charges that they were impermissible from the point of view of the shariat, that they would turn the youth into infidels or Russians, or that the education they offered would cut children off from the traditions of the region. To diffuse suspicion of Russian-native schools, Russian authorities averred that the “native” sections of Russian-native schools provided the same education as the traditional maktab. Later, as Russian-native schools increasingly diverged from the maktab, education authorities argued that the schools committed nothing “harmful” to religion. To this end, all schools were to remain open to visits from “natives”, so that suspicious persons could see the classroom for themselves.44 The Jadids countered these suspicions in a different way: they launched a thoroughgoing critique of the old maktab, which they accused of corrupting the “true” meaning of Islam, and of being the main reason for the region and its inhabitants’ “backwardness”. They, too, kept their schools open to visitors and turned the final examinations for each year into public events, to which local notables and imperial functionaries were invited alongside the parents of students. Such events were meant both to provide evidence of the “Islamicity” of the schools and to be advertisements of the new method of instruction’s efficacy. In May 1910, the final examinations at the Namuna [“Model”] school, run by Munavvar Qori (1878-1931) in Tashkent, lasted for three days, and according to an imperial official who witnessed the occasion, were attended by 120 to 150 people, including women, every day.45

  • 46 CGA RUz, f. 47, op. 1, d. 903, ll. 4-5.
  • 47 This was expressed most famously by Behbudiy, 1913b.
  • 48 Russian officials also accepted this explanation; see, for instance, CGA RUz, f. I-1, op. 13, d. 81 (...)

42The “native” curriculum in Russian-native schools received little official attention; a formal curriculum was drawn up only in 1907, when the rise of new-method schools drew attention to it.46 Indeed, it was Russian-native schools that introduced the phonetic method to Turkestan. To a great extent, the teachers in Russian-native schools were part of the same sociability as those of new-method schools. The most significant difference between the two kinds of schools was the absence of Russian-language instruction in the new-method schools. The Jadids always emphasised the importance of learning the state language, however,47 and the absence of Russian from new-method schools can be explained by the lack of resources and the need to win the trust of the parents, rather than by any principled opposition to the use of Russian.48

  • 49 Khalid, 1998, pp. 160-162.

43But Russian-native schools were not the inspiration for new-method schools. The new method was pioneered by Ismail Bey Gasprinsky (Gaspirali, 1851-1914) in the 1880s in Crimea, and had spread in the Volga-Urals region by the 1890s. Gasprinsky’s own inspiration came, at least in part, from then current debates over education in the Ottoman empire, where he had spent some time in his youth and with whose public life he remained in contact throughout his life.49 The idea of progress (and its cognate, civilisation) also came from Ottoman debates. The Ottoman connection was rooted in common religion and a common literary language, but it was brought to the fore through concrete circumstances of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – the circulation of people and of ideas through print. Modernity arrived in Turkestan through a number of sources: the Russian state, the Muslim public of (European) Russia, and the Ottoman Empire. Indeed, very few Jadids had received a higher education in Russia. This is in marked contrast to other colonial intellectuals of the twentieth century, so many of whom had received higher education in the metropole. This is particularly true of the political leaders (Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, Senghore, Ho Chi Minh …), but also of many cultural figures. In Turkestan, by contrast, the lines connecting colonial intellectuals to the metropole were much flimsier.

The Political Program of Jadidism

  • 50 My argument here contrasts with the insistence of much post-Soviet Uzbek historiography that sovere (...)

44Up until 1917, Jadidism remained primarily a cultural movement directed at the reform of Muslim society itself, rather than a discourse of political rights directed at the Russian state. To the extent that the Jadids had a political program, it was marked by a desire for inclusion into the mainstream of imperial life and the abolition of the distinctiveness of the “native” status. Sovereignty was never an issue, not even in 1917; rather, the Jadids strove for autonomy, which, coupled with equality within an imperial framework, would produce the conditions for the flowering of the newly imagined nation of Turkestan.50

  • 51 Khalid, 1998, pp. 233-235.

45The tsarist order afforded few opportunities for overt political activity. The Turkestan statute did introduce the electoral principle for lower level administrative positions, such as volost’ administrator, judges, and village elders, and Tashkent received a municipal Duma under the 1870 urban self-government law, but there was no space for the articulation of collective demands. Even the 1905 revolution produced minimal effect. Turkestan received representation in the State Duma, although natives and non-natives voted in separate curiae and the elections were unequal and indirect. The First Duma was dissolved before elections could take place in Turkestan, but six “native” deputies did attend the short-lived Second Duma. Turkestan was entirely disenfranchised by Stolypin’s revision of the electoral law in 1907, and even the Russian population of Turkestan was left unrepresented in the Third and Fourth Dumas.51

  • 52 Behbudiy, 1907.
  • 53 Behbudiy published a brief account of his proposal in the Orenburg journal Shura and presented a co (...)

46The disenfranchisement from the Duma was a disappointment for the Jadids of Turkestan, who now pinned their hopes on lobbying the Muslim Fraction in the Duma to work on behalf of Turkestan.52 In this context, a document composed by Mahmudxo‘ja Behbudiy [Maḥmūd Khwāja Bihbūdī] (1874-1919), arguably the most influential Jadid figure in Turkestan, provides unique insight into the way he imagined Turkestan’s political future. Behbudiy sent the document to the Muslim Fraction in April 1907 in the hope that it would be appended to the official programme of the Ittifāq-i Muslimīn (“Union of Muslims”), the political movement established by several prominent Muslim figures from European Russia, and that the Muslim Fraction in the Duma would use it as a guideline in seeking new legislation. Of course, it was highly unlikely that such a drastic transformation of Turkestan’s status could be implemented, least of all the behest of the Muslim Fraction, and the document has an air of wishful thinking about it. But the document nevertheless sheds light on how one important figure saw Turkestan’s political future.53

47In this document, Behbudiy calls for very wide ranging autonomy for Turkestan, arguing that

  • 54 Ibidem, p. 450.

“it is necessary to grant Turkestan greater autonomy than the Muslims of European Russia, for Turkestanis already administer ourselves, and have more control [ixtiyor] than their brothers in European Russia.”54

  • 55 Ibidem, p. 452 (arts. 1-3).
  • 56 Ibidem, p. 466 (arts. 21 and 25 respectively).

48This autonomy would be based on equality in citizenship. Behbudiy calls for Turkestan’s Muslims to have representation in the State Duma in proportion to their numbers and for municipal dumas, also with proportional representation for Muslims, to be established in all cities of Turkestan.55 Behbudiy also envisioned Muslims “from all over the world” being allowed to acquire landed property in Turkestan (existing legislation gave this right only to Muslims from Turkestan and to Christian subjects of the Tsar); at the same time, immigration or settlements were to be permitted only “at the demand of the people of Turkestan.”56

  • 57 Ibidem, pp. 463-464 (arts. 1-2, 6).
  • 58 Ibidem, p. 465 (arts. 17-19).

49All official institutions should have Muslim members, and no one ignorant of local conditions should be allowed to serve.57 Schools should be free of government oversight, and the teaching of “Russian letters” should not be mandatory.58 The central pillar of Turkestan’s autonomy, however, was to be an “administration of spiritual and internal affairs” [Idora-yi ruhoniya va doxiliya], a combination of a spiritual assembly and a ministry of internal affairs that would largely run Turkestan.

  • 59 Ibidem, pp. 453-463.
  • 60 Ibidem, pp. 457-458 (arts. 24 and 32 respectively).

50Behbudiy’s projected administration was to be a collegiate body, headed not by a mufti, but by a shaykh al-Islām, a person “acquainted with the shariat and the present era”, elected for a five-year term “from among ‘ulama of the first rank” in Turkestan. In addition, the executive board of the administration would comprise five ‘ulamā', one from each oblast’, and five other Muslims with middle or higher (modern) education. Finally, Behbudiy suggested the inclusion of one Jewish scholar to represent the native Jewish community. This administration was to have branches in each oblast’. Unlike the Orenburg assembly, this administration was to have jurisdiction over criminal matters, with the Muslim administrators [volostnye praviteli and oqsoqollar] subordinate to it. It was to supervise the work of qozis in the region, oversee all matters of civil and personal law, supervise the functioning of mosques and madrasas, and to have ultimate oversight over waqfproperty.59 It was also to be responsible for drafting legislation on the questions of land and water “in conformity with the local way of life and the climatic and geographical conditions of Turkestan”. The administration was also to act as a watchdog over “Russian institutions”, and to defend the interests of the Muslim population.60

  • 61 O‘rta Azyaning umr guzorlig‘i (Tashkent), 10 January 1906, 19 January 1906.

51This was clearly wishful thinking, but it is nevertheless interesting for a number of reasons. Behbudiy takes the Russian administrative system for granted and builds on it. What he seeks is more regulation, not less, a greater role for the state, but for the state institutions to be autonomous of the centre and to serve the interests of the Muslim population of Turkestan. Nor was Behbudiy alone in this. Several other mass petitions in the era of the first Russian revolution demanded the creation of a spiritual assembly for Turkestan, or the extension of the jurisdiction of the Orenburg assembly to Turkestan.61 A spiritual administration represented uniformity, regularity and, above all, modernity to Behbudiy and Jadids like him.

  • 62 Behbudiy had long argued for the end to the exemption from conscription; see, for instance, Behbudi (...)
  • 63 Cf. much of post-Soviet Uzbekistani historiography, which sees the government as an experiment in “ (...)

52This logic defined the Jadids’ political aspirations up until the end of the old regime. They took loyalist positions when the empire went to war in 1914. In 1916, when large parts of the population rose up in revolt against an ukaz ending the natives’ exemption from conscription, the Jadids appeared on the side of the government in support of the mobilisation. The Jadids’ enthusiasm is usually written out of history, but it was backed by very good logic. The exemption from conscription was a key feature of Turkestani natives’ exclusion from the imperial mainstream. Anything that changed that status was welcome, and the hope remained that wartime service would lead to political concessions after the war.62 And in 1917, the demand was again for equality and autonomy, not for outright independence. The provisional government, which was proclaimed at Kokand in November, professed that it was not to be an independent state, but that it was autonomous within democratic Russia, which was proclaimed in February.63

53But we need to linger on Behbudiy’s elaborate plan for a spiritual administration for a while longer, for it also tied in with another key part of the Jadid programme: the reform of Islam and Islamic practices. Behbudiy’s suggestion for the bureaucratisation of Islam itself represented a radical shift in the structure of religious authority. The election of the shaykh al-Islām and of ‘ulamā' from every oblast’ had no precedent in the Islamic tradition of Central Asia. The inclusion of “lay” Muslims with modern educations alongside the ‘ulama in the administration diluted the authority of the ‘ulama. Behbudiy’s suggestion that the shaykh al-Islām be a person “knowledgeable in the shariat and affairs of the present age” also served the same purpose. Such a requirement, while entirely in keeping with Jadid arguments, would have disqualified the vast majority of the ‘ulamā ' in Turkestan. Behbudiy himself was aware of this, for he appended a note to this article, saying,

  • 64 Hablemitoğlu and Kocaoğlu, 2001, p. 453.

“If a person having these qualifications cannot be found in Turkestan, then one is to be selected from people nominated by the Ittifāq from the Muslims of European Russia.”64

54Moreover, the purpose of the administration, for Behbudiy, was not just to administer, but also to reform. Its goals included

  • 65 Ibidem, p. 457 (arts. 28-29).

“bringing various Sufi practices in harmony with the shariat in a manner not inconsistent with the freedom of conscience, and in this way, protecting the masses from nonsense and idle tales [xurofot va turrahot] and wasting time”, and “attempting gradually to abolish the abominable customs practised in the name of tradition.”65

  • 66 Ibidem, p. 460 (art. 38).

55The administration envisaged by Behbudiy was also meant to ensure the ascendancy of the “shariat” [sharī'a] over customary law ['ādat] in the nomadic areas of Turkestan, and to oversee the replacement of biy courts by those of qozis.66

56This was a Muslim modernist vision of the regulation of Islam. The animus toward Sufi practices, which Behbudiy pejoratively referred to as a combination of so’fiylik [literally, Sufi-ness], xonqohdorlik [“khanqah-keeping”], and murīdgarlik [“disciple-keeping”], was common to all Muslim modernists of the era, who espied in these practices a corruption of the faith and of the individuals involved. A harsh critique of customs and traditions was an integral part of the Jadid project; Behbudiy hoped that a state-funded institution would do the work of combating the evils he and other Jadids saw rampant in their society.

57If there was no likelihood of imperial authorities agreeing to such a proposal, the likelihood of the ‘ulamā' of Turkestan acquiescing to it was, if anything, even smaller. It was one thing for the Jadids to wish for reform. It was quite another to win the agreement of other sectors of their own society. As modernist intellectuals, the Jadids were pitted as much against their own society, in whose name they professed to act, as against the colonial power. This intermediary position was the most crucial characteristic of Jadid reform.

Officialdom and the Jadid Project

58The fact that the Jadid programme was similar in many ways to the “civilising mission” professed by the Russians did not lead to a rapprochement between the two. Ultimately, the Jadid claim that progress was accessible to all was profoundly subversive of the colonial order. The equality of citizenship that underpinned Behbudiy’s political vision flew in the face of the colonial difference Russian authorities wanted to maintain in Turkestan. They saw all Muslim activity, reformist or otherwise, through the prism of “fanaticism”. They perceived the Jadid quest for inclusion in the Russian state as separatism and mistook all Muslim political activity as “pan-Islamism”.

59The suspicion of modern intellectuals had a long lineage in official thinking. As N. I. Il’minskij (1822-1891) put it in 1883,

  • 67 Quoted by Geraci, 2001, p. 150.

a “fanatic without Russian education and language is better than a Russian-civilized Tatar; even worse is an aristocrat, and still worse is a man with a university education.”67

  • 68 CGA RUz, f. I-1, op. 31, d. 123, ll. 2-3ob.

60In 1900, the Ministry of Internal Affairs sent a circular to governors of all parts of the empire with Muslim populations expressing concern at the rise among Tatars of a “progressive movement” and its implications for the stability of the empire’s Muslim population.68 By 1913, the same ministry had come to see traditionalist ‘ulama as its allies against the forces of “nationalism” and “separatism” that it saw represented by the Jadids. This had very practical results for the Jadids. New-method schools were the objects of a great deal of suspicion – officials saw them as politically undesirable and untrustworthy, a direct threat to the kind of education offered by Russian-native schools (even if they were not able or willing to provide funding for more Russian-native schools). The irony of it all is that the Muslim political movement represented by the Ittifāq was, if anything, pan-Russian – it purported to speak on behalf of a community of Muslims defined by their membership in the Russian Empire, and in doing so, it created (or attempted to create) new bonds among the variegated Muslim societies that had been conquered or annexed by the Russian empire. But officialdom understood the movement only as “pan-Islamism”, a term that evoked sheer menace.

  • 69 The British and French archives on pan-Islam have been extensively worked over (most recently by La (...)
  • 70 Dukhovskoj, 1899; Alektorov, 1906.

61Russian officials spent a great deal of time worrying about pan-Islamism and the dangers it posed to the stability of the empire. For many, pan-Islamic activity was rooted in the “fanaticism” of Islam and Muslims. They were not alone in this, of course; British and French consular archives are full of similar materials, since they all shared the assumption of the fanatical nature of Islam and Muslims, and of their propensity to be consumed by the fire of rebellion if touched by a spark.69 Russian officials and scholars (especially those with conservative sympathies) routinely asserted that the Qur’an forbade Muslims from living peacefully with other peoples.70 Therefore, the loyalty of the empire’s Muslim subjects could never be taken for granted. Being primordially inclined to unity at the expense of Russian interests, Muslims needed only a spark to ignite their fanaticism. Many in Russia feared that the spark could come from agents of the Ottoman sultan. While in those decades, the fear of Turkish emissaries caused concern to colonial officials from Senegal to Java, it drove the abundant paranoia of Russian officialdom to new heights, especially in Central Asia. The responsibility of keeping an eye on pan-Islamism in the Russian empire fell to the Okhrana, whose extensive network of informants and spies accumulated, over time, a vast archive on the subject.

62There is much fiction in this archive. Turkish agents roam the lands of the Tsar freely, spreading pan-Islamist propaganda and gathering money on behalf of the Ottoman Empire. In Central Asia, police spies also reported on the doings of purported agents of the Emir of Afghanistan, who was supposed to be making a bid for the title of most powerful independent Muslim monarch since the beginning of the Ottoman Empire’s troubles. The evidence was usually purely speculative: conversations overheard, suspicions aroused, rumours afloat, all were dutifully noted down by agents bearing names such as “Number Eight” or “The Turk” [Tureckij], men whose jobs depended on the continued production of suspicion. Bureaucrats in charge of pushing these reports up the intelligence hierarchy were all too willing to reify every phenomenon reported by their agents. Thus we read of “groups” and “parties”, rather than individuals, and organised, coordinated efforts at subversion instead of randomly overheard rumours. Any politically undesirable activity undertaken by Muslims was grist for the pan-Islamist mill. We thus have a unique catalogue of the fears and obsessions of the colonial regime, as agents saw a projection of what they were supposed to prevent everywhere.

  • 71 CGARUz, f. 461, op. 1, d. 1311, ll. 31ob, 44ob; GARF, f. 102, op. 246, d. 74, ch. 84B, l. 62. Abdum (...)
  • 72 GARF, f. 102, op. 245, d. 167, ch. 84, l. 204.
  • 73 The chief of the Tashkent office of the Okhrana gave this explanation to the Governor-General in Se (...)
  • 74 I have seen one proclamation addressed to “Fellow Muslims” by the central committee of an organisat (...)

63After 1910, for instance, Okhrana agents were convinced that a “Muslim revolutionary organisation” called the Madzhakhidin (Mujahidin, those who undertake jihād) had come into existence all over Turkestan and Bukhara. Reports spoke of stockpiles of arms and grain in inaccessible parts of Ferghana valley, and constant communication with Turkish and Afghan emissaries, all in preparation of an armed uprising against Russian rule. The leader of this group in Tashkent was supposedly none other than Mullo Abdumalik Hoji, a prominent scholar who had good relations with the Russian authorities, who in turn had honoured him with an honorary khalat [robe]. The reports also implicated a number of other prominent ‘ulama from Tashkent.71 In May 1916, the Okhrana searched their houses, but the searches “did not produce results.”72 Indeed nothing ever came of the rumours; no group of “mujahidin” was ever arrested, no cache of arms ever captured, the Okhrana claiming that such actions would be premature and deprive it of the opportunity of monitoring more important groups.73 The most concrete “evidence” of any foreign agitation are a very few printed handbills that found their way into the police archives,74 although there is no reason to believe that they were the work of a centrally planned Ottoman operation.

  • 75 Dukhovskoj, 1899, p. 7.

64Nor was it only the Okhrana. Many of the highest-ranking officials in Turkestan were deeply suspicious of the native population. Writing in the aftermath of the Andijan uprising, Dukhovskoj had set everything in deep historical perspective. The creation of the Muslim Spiritual Assembly by Catherine II had been a mistake, he wrote in a memorandum to the Tsar, for it created not just a centre for anti-Russian and anti-Christian activity, but also provided “an exact address for the emissaries of Turkey.”75 A decade later, another Governor-General, P. I. Mishchenko, claimed that the Andijan uprising of 1898 “had taken place under the direct influence of agitators from the shores of the Bosporus.” No one was immune from Mishchenko’s suspicion.

  • 76 Governor-General P. I. Mishchenko to Minister of War, March 1909: CGA RUz, f. 2, op. 2, d. 369, l. (...)

“Even the annual visit of the Emir [of Bukhara] to Yalta [where the Emir had a summer palace] on the south shore of the Crimea,” he wrote, “may be an attempt to be close to the Yıldız palace [the seat of Ottoman government in Istanbul].”76

65Pan-Islamism was a natural outcome of the new method of education:

  • 77 CGA RUz, f. 2, op. 2, d. 369, l. 8ob.

“In these [schools], teaching is conducted (largely by Tatar teachers) according to the phonetic method, and they teach subjects such as contemporary geography, history, arithmetic, which are not taught in maktabs and madrasas, and because of which – and this is the most important – along with the teaching of these subjects are implanted ideas of a obviously separatist and narrowly nationalist character. There can hardly be a doubt that if similar schools are left to themselves, they will become, in the future, hotbeds of not just pan-Islamism […] but also of pan-Turkism and pan-Asianism. Particularly considering the fact that teachers in these schools are, for the most part, convinced upholders of contemporary social-revolutionary ideas with the [added] inflexion of the fundamental idea of pan-Islamism [that] ‘all Muslims are brothers’.”77

  • 78 Circular letter to all governors, 7 October 1910, in Kotjukova, 2004, p. 87.
  • 79 A. V. Samsonov’s characterisation in circular to all oblast’ governors, 28 October 1912, in Kotjuko (...)

66The fear of pan-Islam took a heightened form after the Young Turk revolution in the Ottoman Empire in 1908. Tsarist authorities were suspicious of all the Russian Empire’s Muslim subjects of acting as a potential fifth column, which, in the words of a 1910 circular from the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Department of Spiritual Affairs, “already have among them many figures desiring the isolation of their co-religionists and turning them towards Turkey, as the religio-political centre.”78 In Turkestan, “the well known impressionability, unculturedness, and therefore the credulity of the local population”79 provided further reasons to be suspicious. Once the Balkan wars began, Turkestani authorities, especially the Governor-General A. V. Samsonov, became very suspicious of any Muslim activity. To be sure, wiser counsel prevailed among many high-ranking officials. The chief of the Tashkent branch of the Okhrana told his superiors in St. Petersburg that

  • 80 Nachal’nik, Tashkentskoe okhrannoe otdelenie, to Direktor, Departament policii, osobyj otdel, 10 De (...)

“in Turkestan, district-level administration sees in each īshān having murīds [disciples] a preacher of pan-Islamism, an enemy of Russian power preparing an uprising of the natives against Russia, the separation of Turkestan from Russia and its union with one of the neighbouring Muslim countries.”80

  • 81 Military Governor, Ferghana, to Governor-General, Turkestan, 12 April 1914: GARF, f. 102, op. 244, (...)

67On the eve of the war, the governor of Ferghana took an unusually sanguine view of the matter when he suggested to Samsonov that the underlying causes of any disaffection among the local population were economic, while “pan-Islamism […] does not represent for us a danger greater than, say, Catholic propaganda in Russia.”81 But such caution was not universally shared, and it could not overcome the deeply entrenched suspicion of indigenous society and of its “fanaticism”. The fears of “fanaticism”, or pan-Islamism and of Ottoman machinations combined to render the “natives” unassimilable. Colonial difference trumped common sense.

Old-style maktab, after 1910.

Old-style maktab, after 1910.


  • 82 Excellent recent work on Italian and Japanese colonial empires should provide a fruitful model for (...)

68Turkestan was a colony because of the immense distance – at once political, administrative, and moral – that separated it from the centre. The “native” population occupied a special place in the variegated landscape of imperial classification, one that was marked by exclusions and by the maintenance of difference from the core population of the empire (or, rather, from what was turned into the core population of the empire by the colonial experience of Turkestan). Turkestan was also colonial because the people of that time thought of it as such; Russian officialdom, Russian educated society, and Russian settlers in Turkestan all agreed on the fact that they were part of a broader phenomenon of European expansion and colonisation. It is not very fruitful, therefore, to attempt to measure the “coloniality” of Turkestan against some external yardstick of “typical” colonialism. Turkestan was a variation of a broader pattern. Its inclusion in the study of colonialism should help broaden the horizons of colonial studies, to liberate the field from its dependence on British, French and Dutch models only.82

69Recognising the colonial context of Turkestan also helps us place the region’s cultural and political developments in a useful comparative perspective. The Jadids emerge then as modernist colonial intellectuals whose passions and whose plight is far from unique in modern world history. Of course, the Jadids cannot be mapped onto a “typical” colonial or anticolonial movement, for they operated in a set of constraints and possibilities peculiar to the Russian Empire. They strove for inclusion into the modern world that colonial empires had built and from which they attempted to exclude the “natives”, but their universalist claims ran up against the colonial difference that the empire sought to maintain. Like all other colonial intellectuals, the Jadids operated in a precarious niche between imperial authorities and their own society.

70A vast literature in colonial and postcolonial studies has alerted us to the overlap between the worldviews of colonial powers and the nationalist elites who struggled against them (and indeed, this overlap has become a cornerstone of the postcolonial critique of nationalism). The close overlap between the Russian “civilising mission” and the Jadid programme for cultural transformation should therefore not be surprising. The Jadids shared many of the Russians’ assumptions about “progress”, “civilisation”, and even “fanaticism”; they too wanted good government, order and discipline, and modern education and healthcare. But there was a crucial difference. The colonial “civilising mission” was always long on rhetoric and short on action, and always made room for the assertion and maintenance of colonial difference. By claiming progress and civilisation for their own society, the Jadids – like other colonial intellectuals – argued against the very notion of colonial difference. The Jadids fought colonialism with universalism, not any notion of innate difference. The Jadids used the same conceptual vocabulary as the Russians, but they invested it with their own uses.

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BEHBUDIY Mahmudxo‘ja, 1907: “Turkiston va dumo [Turkestan and the Duma],” To’jjor (Tashkent), 9 October, pp. 1-2.

BEHBUDIY Mahmudxo‘ja, 1913a: “Askar mas’alasi [The Conscription Question],” Samarqand, 28 June 1913.

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BENDRIKOV K. E., 1960: Ocherki po istorii narodnogo obrazovanija v Turkestane (1865-1925 gody) [Public Education in Turkestan (1856-1925)], Moscow: Akademija pedagogicheskikh nauk.

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SLOCUM John W., 1998: “Who, and when, were the inorodtsy ? The evolution of the category of ‘aliens’ in imperial Russia,” Russian Review, vol. 57, pp. 173-190.

TOGAN Zeki Velidi, 1999: Hatıralar: Türkistan ve Diǧer Müslüman Doǧu Türklerinin Millî Varlık ve Kültür Mücadeleleri [Reminiscences: National and Cultural Struggles of Turkestan and other Muslim Eastern Turks], Istanbul: Türkiye Diyanet Vakfi, 3rd. ed.

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CGA RUz – Central’nyj gosudarstvennyj arkhiv respubliki Uzbekistan / O’zbekiston Respublikasi Markaziy Davlat Arxivi [Central State Archives of the Republic of Uzbekistan]

GARF – Gosudarstvennyj arkhiv Rossijskoj federacii [State Archives of the Russian Federation]


CGA RUz fond I-461, Turkestanskij rajonnyj osobyj otdel [the Turkestan branch of the secret police].

CGA RUz fond I-19, Ferganskoe oblastnoe upravlenie [Ferghana oblast administration].

CGA RUz fond I-47, Upravlenie uchebnykh zavedenij Turkestanskogo kraja [Turkestan administration of educational institutions].

CGA RUz fond I-2, Diplomaticheskij chinovnik pri Kanceljarii Turkestanskogo General-Gubernatora [Diplomatic wing of the Chancery of the Governor-General of Turkestan].

CGA RUz fond I-1, Kanceljarija Turkestanskogo General-Gubernatora [the Chancery of the Governor-General of Turkestan].

GARF fond 102, Departament policii MVD, Osobyj otdel [Department of Police, special section].

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1 Kuropatkin, 1927, p. 60. Kuropatkin was wrong with his numbers; the “Russians” might have comprised one-third of the population of Tashkent, but they certainly did not amount to one-third of “the ten-million strong native population”.

2 Ibidem, p. 60.

3 Khalid, 1996; Buttino, 1991; idem, 2003.

4  Buttino, 2003.

5 O‘zbekistonning yangi tarixi, 2000, vol. 1.

6 In the 1920s, Soviet writers routinely referred to Turkestan as a colonial possession of the Russian empire, and at least for Georgij Safarov (1921), the peculiar course of the revolution in Turkestan was explicable only through this basic fact. See also Galuzo, 1929.

7 Hosking, 1997; Burbank and Ransell, 1998; Kappeler, 2001; Crews, 2006.

8 Miller and Rieber, 2004.

9 The best examples of work that engages the literature on colonial studies are Brower and Lazzerini, 1997, and Sahadeo, 2007.

10 Young, 1994.

11 It is an apt indication of the state of things that historians have to be reminded of this basic fact. See Morrison, 2005, chapter 1.

12 Great Britain, 1873, pp. 70-75.

13 Bassin, 1991, p. 13.

14 Slocum, 1998.

15 Kappeler, 2001, p. 198.

16 Pjaskovskij, 1958, pp. 525-526. In actually practice, things got even more complicated. In Semirech’e, only nomadic tuzemcy received the right to vote, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs turned down a petition from sedentary urban natives in this regard (CGA RUz, f. I-1, op. 17, d. 616, l. 83).

17 On the differentiation of native Jews from native Muslims, see Crews, 2004.

18 Nalivkin, 1913.

19 The papers of the Turkestan branch of the secret police [Turkestanskij rajonnyj osobyj otdel] are in CGA RUz, f. 461.

20 Sahadeo, 2007, chap. 2.

21 Brower, 2003. Brower opposes “enlightened bureaucrats” to military administrators and makes perhaps too clear-cut a distinction between the two groups.

22 Litvinov, 1998, p. 52.

23 Khalid, 1998, pp. 68-70.

24 Litvinov, 1998, pp. 67-68.

25 Babadzhanov, 2003, pp. 251-277.

26 Dukhovskoj, 1899.

27 Arapov, 2004, pp. 169-173.

28 Bendrikov, 1960, pp. 308-309.

29 Circular from the Governor-General, 30 December 1891:CGA RUz, f. 19, d. 12924, ll. 1-1ob.

30 CGA RUz, f. 19, d. 12924, l. 3ob. (Judging by the fact that Vrevskij repeated the request five years later to the governor of Ferghana [28 December 1896, CGA RUz, f. 19, d. 12924, l. 77], this circular failed to produce any results.)

31 Turkiston viloyatining gazeti, 31 December 1884.

32 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 23ob.

33 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, ll. 1-1ob.

34 “Raport”, 1 February 1912: CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, ll. 15-16.

35 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 7.

36 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 35ob.

37 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 89.

38 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 86.

39 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 93.

40 CGA RUz, f. 47, d. 1222, l. 93ob.

41 Togan, 1999, pp. 137-138.

42 Khalid, 1998.

43 For a longer exposition of these points, see Khalid, 1998, chap. 5.

44 “Instrukcija zavedujushchim russko-tuzemnymi uchilishchami Turkestanskogo okruga” (1913): CGA RUz, f. 47, op. 1, d. 265, l. 12ob.

45 CGA RUz, f. I-1, op. 13, d. 811, ll. 97-98ob.

46 CGA RUz, f. 47, op. 1, d. 903, ll. 4-5.

47 This was expressed most famously by Behbudiy, 1913b.

48 Russian officials also accepted this explanation; see, for instance, CGA RUz, f. I-1, op. 13, d. 811, l. 97ob.

49 Khalid, 1998, pp. 160-162.

50 My argument here contrasts with the insistence of much post-Soviet Uzbek historiography that sovereignty was a key goal of the Jadids; see, e.g., Qosimov, 1996.

51 Khalid, 1998, pp. 233-235.

52 Behbudiy, 1907.

53 Behbudiy published a brief account of his proposal in the Orenburg journal Shura and presented a copy of it to the inspection team headed by Count K. K. Palen in 1908, but then he lost his own copy it (cf. Behbudiy, 1913c, p. 202). One copy of the document, however, ended up in the private papers of Ismail Bey Gasprinsky, and was eventually published in 2001 by the Turkish historian, Timur Kocaoǧlu. See Hablemitoǧlu and Kocaoǧlu, 2001, pp. 448-466 (facsimile reproduction), 438-447 (transcription in modern Turkish orthography).

54 Ibidem, p. 450.

55 Ibidem, p. 452 (arts. 1-3).

56 Ibidem, p. 466 (arts. 21 and 25 respectively).

57 Ibidem, pp. 463-464 (arts. 1-2, 6).

58 Ibidem, p. 465 (arts. 17-19).

59 Ibidem, pp. 453-463.

60 Ibidem, pp. 457-458 (arts. 24 and 32 respectively).

61 O‘rta Azyaning umr guzorlig‘i (Tashkent), 10 January 1906, 19 January 1906.

62 Behbudiy had long argued for the end to the exemption from conscription; see, for instance, Behbudiy, 1913a.

63 Cf. much of post-Soviet Uzbekistani historiography, which sees the government as an experiment in “national-democratic statehood”: see, e.g., A‘zamxo‘jayev, 2000.

64 Hablemitoğlu and Kocaoğlu, 2001, p. 453.

65 Ibidem, p. 457 (arts. 28-29).

66 Ibidem, p. 460 (art. 38).

67 Quoted by Geraci, 2001, p. 150.

68 CGA RUz, f. I-1, op. 31, d. 123, ll. 2-3ob.

69 The British and French archives on pan-Islam have been extensively worked over (most recently by Landau, 1990), although seldom with the required degree of skepticism.

70 Dukhovskoj, 1899; Alektorov, 1906.

71 CGARUz, f. 461, op. 1, d. 1311, ll. 31ob, 44ob; GARF, f. 102, op. 246, d. 74, ch. 84B, l. 62. Abdumalik Hoji’s dossier is in GARF, f. 102, op. 245, d. 74, ch. 84, ll. 9-14.

72 GARF, f. 102, op. 245, d. 167, ch. 84, l. 204.

73 The chief of the Tashkent office of the Okhrana gave this explanation to the Governor-General in September 1913 (CGARUz, f. 461, op. 1, d. 1312, l. 273ob) and again in July 1915 (GARF, f. 102, op. 245, d. 365, ll. 62-62ob.).

74 I have seen one proclamation addressed to “Fellow Muslims” by the central committee of an organisation called Muslim Equality (Musavat-i Islamiya), ca. 1912:CGARUz, f. 461, op. 1, d. 1168, l. 313a.

75 Dukhovskoj, 1899, p. 7.

76 Governor-General P. I. Mishchenko to Minister of War, March 1909: CGA RUz, f. 2, op. 2, d. 369, l. 3.

77 CGA RUz, f. 2, op. 2, d. 369, l. 8ob.

78 Circular letter to all governors, 7 October 1910, in Kotjukova, 2004, p. 87.

79 A. V. Samsonov’s characterisation in circular to all oblast’ governors, 28 October 1912, in Kotjukova, 2004, p. 88.

80 Nachal’nik, Tashkentskoe okhrannoe otdelenie, to Direktor, Departament policii, osobyj otdel, 10 December 1911:GARF, f. 102, op. 241, d. 74, ch. 84, ll. 36-36ob.

81 Military Governor, Ferghana, to Governor-General, Turkestan, 12 April 1914: GARF, f. 102, op. 244, d. 74, ch. 84B, l. 99ob.

82 Excellent recent work on Italian and Japanese colonial empires should provide a fruitful model for this project; see, for instance, Palumbo, 2003; Ben-Ghiat and Fuller, 2005; Young, 1998; Dudden, 2005.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Madrasa in Andijan, after 1910
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Titre Old-style maktab, after 1910.
Fichier image/jpeg, 48k
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Adeeb Khalid, « Culture and Power in Colonial Turkestan », Cahiers d’Asie centrale, 17/18 | 2009, 413-447.

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Adeeb Khalid, « Culture and Power in Colonial Turkestan », Cahiers d’Asie centrale [En ligne], 17/18 | 2009, mis en ligne le 26 mai 2010, consulté le 28 mars 2017. URL :

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Adeeb Khalid

Adeeb Khalid is professor of history at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. A specialist on the history of modern Central Asia, he is the author of two books, The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia (Berkeley, 1998), and Islam after Communism: Religion and Politics in Central Asia (Berkeley, 2007), and numerous scholarly articles. He is currently working on a book on the transformation of Central Asia in the early Soviet period.

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