Jalil Mammadguluzadeh

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Jalil Mammadguluzadeh
Jalil Mammadguluzadeh, c. 1920.jpg
Jalil Huseyngulu oglu Mammadguluzadeh

22 February 1869
Died4 January 1932 (aged 62)
EducationTranscaucasian Teachers Seminary, Gori
OccupationTeacher, journalist, writer
Spouse(s)Nazli Kangarli (died 1903)
Hamida Javanshir (1907-1932; his death)

Jalil Huseyngulu oglu Mammadguluzadeh, also spelled as Jalil Mohammad Qolizadeh[1][2] (Azerbaijani: Cəlil Məmmədquluzadə; 22 February 1869 – 4 January 1932), was an Azerbaijani satirist and writer. He was the founder Molla Nasraddin, a satirical magazine that would greatly influence the genre in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Mammadguluzadeh is considered to be one of the first feminists in Azerbaijan and Middle East and had a big role in founding the first women's magazine in Azerbaijan.


Early life[edit]

Mammadguluzadeh was born in Nakhchivan exclave of Azerbaijan.[3] Mammadguluzadeh considered himself to be Iranian, and was proud of the fact that his ancestors hailed from Iran.[4] In 1887, he graduated from the Gori Pedagogical Seminary and for the next ten years was involved in teaching at rural schools in Bash-Norashen, Ulukhanli, Nehram and other towns and villages of the Erivan Governorate.[5]

Mammadguluzadeh was a strong activist of the language unification movement.[clarification needed] He condemned many of his contemporaries for what he considered a corruption of the Azeri language by replacing its genuine vocabulary with newly introduced Russian, Persian and Ottoman Turkish loanwords, often alien and confusing to many readers. Later he became deeply involved in the process of Romanization of the Azeri alphabet.[6]


In 1898, he moved to Erivan; in 1903, he moved to Tiflis where he became a columnist for the local Sharqi-Rus newspaper published in the Azeri language. In 1906, he founded a satirical magazine entitled Molla Nasraddin. Frequent military conflicts and overall political instability in the Caucasus forced him to move to Tabriz, Persia, where he continued his career as a chief-editor and columnist for Molla Nasraddin. He eventually settled in Baku in 1921.[citation needed]

Mammadguluzadeh is considered to be one of first feminists in Azerbaijan and Middle East and had a big role in founding the first women's magazine in Azerbaijan.[7][better source needed]

Molla Nasraddin[edit]

In 1905, Mammadguluzadeh and his companions purchased a printing-house in Tiflis, and in 1906 he became the editor of the new Molla Nasraddin illustrated satirical magazine.[8]

The magazine accurately portrayed social and economic realities of the early-20th century society and backward norms and practices common in the Caucasus. In 1921 (after Molla Nasraddin was banned in Russia in 1917), Mammadguluzadeh published eight more issues of the magazine in Tabriz, Persia.[9] After Sovietization, the printing-house was moved to Baku, where Molla Nasraddin was published until 1931. Mammadguluzadeh's satirical style influenced the development of this genre in the Middle East.[10] Writers of the first satirical magazines in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were influenced by Jalil Mammadguluzadeh and Molla Nasraddin[11]

Personal life and death[edit]

In 1907, the twice-widowed Mammadguluzadeh married Azerbaijani philanthropist and feminist-activist Hamida Javanshir. He died in Baku in 1932, aged 65.[citation needed]


Mammadguluzadeh wrote in various genres, including short stories, novels, essays, and dramatics. His first significant short story, "The Disappearance of the Donkey" (part of his Stories from the village of Danabash series), written in 1894 and published in 1934, touched upon social inequality. In his later works (The Postbox, The Iranian Constitution, Gurban Ali bey, The Lamb, etc.), as well as in his famous comedies The Corpses and The Madmen Gathering he ridiculed corruption, snobbery, ignorance, religious fanaticism, etc. He wrote the tragedy namely "Kamança" that was dedicated to Karabakh problem.[12]

Religious views[edit]

Mammadguluzadeh's religious views have been disputed. Some sources[clarification needed] claim he was an atheist while others[which?] claim he supported Muslim democracy while being critical of extremism and ignorance.[13] Due to his harsh criticism of religion he was sometimes threatened with death by extremists.[14][15]


A drama theatre in Nakhchivan, a street in Baku, the city of Jalilabad (formerly Astrakhan-Bazaar) and the town of Jalilkand (former Bash-Norashen) were all named for him.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Javadi & Burrill 1988, pp. 251–55.
  2. ^ Devos, Bianca; Werner, Christoph, eds. (2014). Culture and Cultural Politics Under Reza Shah: The Pahlavi State, New Bourgeoisie and the Creation of a Modern Society in Iran. Routledge. pp. 302, 326. ISBN 978-1135125530.
  3. ^ "Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic". Nakhchivan.preslib.az. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  4. ^ Javadi, H.; Burrill, K. (1988). "AZERBAIJAN x. Azeri Turkish Literature". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. III, Fasc. 3. pp. 251–55. Jalil Moḥammad-qolizāded (Mämmädguluzade) was proud of the fact that his forefathers were from Iran, and he considered himself an Iranian (Sardariniā, p. 109)
  5. ^ "Джалил Мамедкулизаде | Литература | Галереи". Azerigallery.com (in Russian). Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Cəlil Məmmədquluzadə və ana dili". Anl.az (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Azərbaycanda ilk feministlər kişilər olub". Azadliq.org (in Azerbaijani). 8 March 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  8. ^ Language and Alphabet Transitions, #8.1. Summer 2000, Azer.com; accessed 5 October 2016.
  9. ^ Famous Personalities of Nakhchivan: Jalil Mammadguluzadeh, Shexsiyyetler.nakhchivan.az; accessed 5 October 2016.(in Azerbaijani)
  10. ^ "Int'l cartoon contest kicks off in Azerbaijan". Azernews.az. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Mirzə Cəlil və onun "Molla Nəsrəddin"i haqda bilinməyənlər". Azadliq.org (in Azerbaijani). 19 May 1907. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  12. ^ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29901850-kaman-a
  13. ^ Mammadguluzadeh profile, Calilbook.musigi-dunya.az; accessed 5 October 2016.(in Azerbaijani)
  14. ^ Arxadaki Azerbaycan, Kulis.az; accessed 25 October 2016.(in Azerbaijani)
  15. ^ Dysfunctionality of Our Mentality - Agalar Mammadov, Enyeniedebiyat.com, 6 June 2009; accessed 5 October 2016.


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