Social Studies

Mammad Emin Rasulzadeh

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M.E. Rasulzadeh was born on 31 January 1884 near Baku, in the village of Novkhany. He received his elementary education at a Russian-Muslim school under the eminent enlightener S.M. Ganizadeh, and continued his education at the Baku Technical School. He started the “Muslim Youth Organization” in 1902. He then founded the “Hummet” organization under the Russian social-democrat party along with the young N. Narimanov, S.M. Efendiyev, M.H. Hajinsky, M. Movsumov and M. Azizbeyov, who were thirsty for novelty. M.E. Rasulzadeh’s theoretical views played a great role in the idea, shaped by Ali Bey Husseinzadeh as “Turkic blood, Islam faith and European direction”.

The 1905 revolution turned him into a politician. Various magazines and newspapers, such as the “Fiyuzat, “Irshad” and “Tekamul” published his works. He even worked as an editor for some of them. The main thread of idea we can follow in all his publications of the time were achieving the ban of the Russian Empire laws, which discriminated Muslim peoples, and introducing equal rights and civil liberties.

Rasulzadeh immigrated to Iran after the first Russian revolution, where he continued his revolutionary activities by taking an active part in the revolutionary movement against the Shah regime. In 1910, Rasulzadeh founded the Iranian Democrat Party together with other famous intellectuals of Iran. The same year, he started publishing the “Irane Nou”, thus laying the groundwork for the European-type printed press in Iran. Disturbed by Rasulzadeh’s active politics, the Russian government demanded from Teheran to immediately expulse him from the country. Under these circumstances, Rasulzadeh was forced to immigrate to Turkey in 1911.

In April of 1913, M.E. Rasulzadeh returned to Azerbaijan and almost immediately began to head the “Musavat” party. Not too long, he guided the party to become a leading political force in the Caucasus and even his opponents admitted so. It played an immense role in Azerbaijan’s fate when it gained independence in early 20th century.

Rasulzadeh was one of the founders and the leader of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, declared on 28 May of 1918. It existed for only 23 months. As the Bolshevik troops captured Azerbaijan, Rasulzadeh had to once again move to Turkey.

Few months before the Turkish Republic was proclaimed in Istanbul, M.E. Rasulzadeh’s “Azerbaijan Republic” was published in 1923. He described the historic path Azerbaijan Democratic Republic had to undergo. Rasulzadeh went on to found the National Center of Azerbaijan in Turkey in 1924. The main purpose of the center was to restore the independent statehood of Azerbaijan.

Rasulzadeh’s activities in his new field of work inspired widespread response in Turkey, the Caucasus and among Russian Turks. After the “New Caucasus”, Rasulzadeh started editing and publishing the “Azeri-Turk” (1928-1931) and “Odlu Yurd” (“Land of Fires” – 1929-1930) almanacs and the “Bildirish” (“Message” – 1929-1931) weekly publication, which played a major role in promoting the principles of liberty and independence. Rasulzadeh was forced to leave Turkey in 1931.

He lived for a while in Poland, Germany and other European countries. In the 30s, Rasulzadeh was one of the active participants and leaders of the “Prometheus” movement, which brought together political immigrants representing non-Russians of the USSR.

Rasulzadeh returned to Turkey after the WWII. In 1947, he started heading the Azerbaijani National Center in Ankara and founded the “Azerbaijan Cultural Center” in 1949. Publishing the “Azerbaijan” almanac beginning from 1952 where he closely cooperated with the Society of the Turkish Language and the Society of the Turkish History. Rasulzadeh died in Ankara on March 6th, 1955 at the age of 71 and was buried at the “Asri” cemetery in Ankara.

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