Ismail Gasprinski

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Ismail Gasprinski
IGasprinskiy.jpg
İsmail Gasprinski
Born March 8, 1851
Died September 11, 1914
Nationality Crimean Tatar
Occupation intellectual, educator, publisher and politician
Religion Islam

Ismail Gasprinski or Ismail Gaspirali (Turkish: İsmail Gaspıralı) (March 8, 1851 - September 11, 1914) was a Crimean Tatar[clarification needed] intellectual, educator, publisher and politician. He was one of the first Muslim intellectuals in the Russian Empire, who realized the need for education and cultural reform and modernization of the Turkic and Islamic communities. His last name comes from the town of Gaspra in Crimea.

Biography[edit]

Gasprinski monument in Bakhchisaray.

Ismail communicated his ideas mainly through the newspaper Terciman he founded in 1883, which existed till 1918. In his publications he called for unity and solidarity among the Turkic peoples and advocated their modernization through Europeanization. Ismail believed that the only way for modernization was through education. He widely criticized traditional education system in Muslim schools focusing much on religion and devised a new method of teaching children how to read effectively in their mother tongue and introduced curricular reforms. He developed a "pan-Turkic" language, which was a simplified form of Turkish omitting words imported from Arabic and Persian. He said back in 1881:[1]

"Our ignorance is the main reason for our backward condition. We have no access at all to what has been discovered and to what is going on in Europe. We must be able to read in order to overcome our isolation; we must learn European ideas from European sources. We must introduce into our primary and secondary schools subjects that will permit our pupils to have such access".

Ismail also initiated a new journal for women, Alem-i Nisvan (World of Women), edited by his daughter Şefiqa, as well as a publication for children, Alem-i Subyan (World of Children). Ismail was one of the founders of Union of Muslims (İttifaq-i Müslimin), created in 1907 and uniting members of intelligentsia from various Muslim Turkic peoples of the Russian Empire. He was also one of the main organizers of first All-Russian Muslim congresses, aimed at introducing social and religious reforms among the Muslim peoples of Russia.

He also inspired the movement known as Jadidism.[2]

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