EṢLĀḤH, title of six Persian-language newspapers, three of which deserve notice.
1. A government news weekly published in Ḵānābād, the capital of the Afghan province of Qaṭaḡan, beginning 29 Dalw 1300 Š./18 February 1921 and ceasing publication shortly after Jadī 1301 Š./January 1923 (Āhang, p. 162, wrongly assumes that this latter date is when it began publication; it is also unlikely that the newspaper Etteḥād (q.v.) was its continuation; cf. Jūyā, p. 70). Its publisher was Moḥammad-Nāder Khan (later Nāder Shah), and its editors were Šēr-Aḥmad and later Ḥāfeẓ Fayż Moḥammad (Āhang, p. 164). Eṣlāḥ was lithographed on a single double-column page measuring 21.5 x 34.5 cm. It was priced 7 pice per issue and 5 Kabul rupees for subscription. No extant copies are known. 2. A weekly paper published in Bombay from 20 Ḏu’l-Ḥejja 1326 to 5 Jomādā I 1329/13 January 1909-4 May 1911 by Moḥammad-Reżā Būšehrī. It carried stories on political news and social reform and mainly covered southern Persia and the Ottoman empire. It was the first Persian newspaper to carry letters to the editor. It was lithographed in nasḵ in two-column eight pages measuring 21 x 28 cm., except for no. 2:26-30 when it was typographed in a smaller format. Annual subscription in the first year was 12 qerāns in Persia and Afghanistan and 3.5 rupees in India; and 15 qerāns and 5 rupees thereafter. Schools and anjomans received it free. Copies are available in Tehran University, Majles Library I, and Cambridge University.
A weekly Eṣlāḥ of news and politics was published in Tehran from 21 Qaws to 3 Saraṭān 1303 Š./21 Dec. 1923-24 June 1924 by the same editor as a continuation of its Bombay namesake. Copies are available in Mellī Library, Tehran University, and Majles Library I.
3. A major Kabul newspaper. Initially the organ of opponents of the government of Bačča-ye Saqqā (q.v.), it was first published in mimeograph on 16 Asad 1308 Š./7 August 1929 in ʿAlī-Ḵayl (Jājī) in the province of Paktīā. At this time it was edited by a committee, but the main work was done by Mo ḥammad-Nowrūz Khan, later editor of Nowrūz and general secretary (sar-monšī) of the court. After the fall of the government, it was published in Kabul beginning with no. 10, 4 ʿAqrab 1308 Š./24 October 1929. At first a weekly, it became semi-weekly on 3 Dalw 1308 Š./22 February 1930. At the beginning of 1310 Š./March 1931 it became a morning daily. Its first editor in Kabul was Ḥasan Salīmī. Among the many later editors, the best known are Borhān-al-Dīn Koškakī, ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Pežvāk, Moḥammad-Moḥsen Fīrūz, Moḥammad-Qadīr Tarakī, and Sayyed Faqīr ʿAlawī. In 1939 Pashto was added in accordance with government policies encouraging its use. Thereafter the Pashto section occupied 40-70 percent of the paper. From 1 Ṯawr 1333 Š./21 April 1954 Eṣlāḥ was owned by a corporation controlled by the government. For a short time in early 1973 it was published together with Anīs (q.v.) under the title Eṣlāḥ—Anīs. Eṣlāḥ ceased publication a month after the coup of Moḥammad Dāwūd Khan (q.v.) in 1352 Š./1973. Anīs continued publication, and the newly-founded Jomhūrīyat took the place of Eṣlāh.
The format of Eṣlāḥ changed many times during its forty-four years of publication. In Jājī the first nine numbers were published in four two-column pages, 33 x 51 cm., polycopied and distributed free. During the latter part of World War II paper shortage reduced it to two pages. After 1965 it had six pages and eight on Fridays. In its last years it had eight or twelve pages. Its final format was 41.5 x 57.5 cm. in six columns. Single issues cost 25 to 200 Afghanis. Incomplete runs are found in major libraries in Afghanistan and Persia and in the Library of Congress.
Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short Refrences”):
M. K. Āhang, Sayr-e žūrnālīsm dar Afḡānestān, Kabul, 1349 Š./1970, pp. 162-64.
M. Āqāsī, Tārīḵ-e Ḵoy, Tabrīz, 1350 Š./1971, p. 569.
M. Barzīn, Šenās-nāma-ye maṭbūʿāt-e Īrān, Tehran, 1371 Š./1992, pp. 43-44.
Browne, Press and Poetry, nos. 50-52.
L. Dupree, Afghanistan, Princeton, 1980, p. 459.
M.-N. Ḡarḡašt, Rāhnemā-ye Kābol, Kabul, 1345 Š./1966, p. 218.
V. Gregorian, The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan, Stanford, 1969, p. 284.
Ḥabl al-matīn (Tehran) 2/36, 29 Rabīʿ II 1326.
G. Kohen, Tārīḵ-e sānsūr dar maṭbūʿāt-e Īrān, 2 vols., Tehran, 1362 Š./1983, II, p. 488.
Ṣ. Koškakī, “Dovvomīn negāranda-ye āʾīna-ye ʿerfān,” ʿErfān 50/1-2, 1351 Š./1972, p. 42.
Majles 1/78, 2 Rabīʿ I 1326.
A. Naqawī, “Fārsī ṣaḥāfat,” in Adabīyāt-e mosalmānān-e Pākestān o Hend, Lahore, 1971, III, p. 627.
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I. V. Pourhadi, Persian and Afghan Newspapers in the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 1979, no. A8.
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U. Sims-Williams, Union Catalogue of Persian Serials and Newspapers in British Libraries, London, 1985, p. 53.
Š. Šafā, Jahān-e Īrān-šenāsī, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969, p. 734.
M. Solṭānī, Fehrest-e rūz-nāmahā-ye fārsī dar Ketāb-ḵāna-ye markazī-ye Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, Tehran, 1354 Š./1975, no. 36.
M-ʿA. Tabīat, Dānešmandān-e Āḏarbāyjān, Tehran, 1314 Š./1935, p. 407.
D. Wilber, “Maṭbūʿāt-e Afḡānestān,” Dāneš 2/8, 1330 Š./1951, p. 486.
Originally Published: December 15, 1998
Last Updated: January 19, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. VIII, Fasc. 6, pp. 624-625