Ismail Gaspirali

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Ismail Gasprinski
İsmail Gasprinski
Born(1851-03-20)March 20, 1851
DiedSeptember 11, 1914(1914-09-11) (aged 63)
Occupationintellectual, educator, publisher and politician

Ismail Gaspirali or Ismail Gasprinski (Turkish: İsmail Gaspıralı) (March 20,[1] 1851 - September 11, 1914) was a Crimean Tatar 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.


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, a simplified form of Turkish omitting words imported from Arabic and Persian, which was intended to be understood by "the boatman of the Bosphorus and by the camel driver of Kashgar." [2]

In his 1881 book Russian Muslims he wrote:[3]

"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.[4] In 1912, Gasprinski visited British India.[5]

See also[edit]


  • Kirimli, H. (1993). The "Young Tatar" Movement in the Crimea, 1905-1909. Cahiers Du Monde Russe Et Soviétique, 34(4), 529-560.[6]
  • Kuttner, Thomas (1975). "Russian Jadīdism and the Islamic world: Ismail Gasprinskii in Cairo, 1908. A call to the Arabs for the rejuvenation of the Islamic world". Cahiers du Monde Russe et Soviétique. 16 (3): 383–424. doi:10.3406/cmr.1975.1247.


  1. ^ "İsmail Bey Gaspıralı – (20 Mart 1851- 24 Eylül 1914) - Dilde, fikirde, işte birlik!". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  2. ^ Bennigsen, Alexandre (January 1984). "Panturkism and Panislamism in history and today". Central Asian Survey. 3 (3): 39–49. doi:10.1080/02634938408400476.
  3. ^ ""Ismail Bey Gasprinski" by Rizaeddin Fahreddin". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Gasprinski, Ismail Bey - Oxford Islamic Studies Online". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  5. ^ DEVLET, NADİR (2004). "STUDIES IN THE POLITICS, HISTORY AND CULTURE OF TURKIC PEOPLES". India from Turkish/Turkic Perspective in the beginning of 20th Century. Istanbul: Yeditepe University. p. 186. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  6. ^ Kirimli, Hakan (17 December 1993). "The "Young Tatar" Movement in the Crimea, 1905-1909". Cahiers du Monde russe et soviétique. 34 (4): 529–560. JSTOR 20170880.

External links[edit]