ʿERFĀN, title of two Persian magazines and a newspaper.
1. The last title of a monthly magazine first published in Kabul by the Office of Sciences (Bayt al-ʿolūm) of the Ministry of Education in Sonbola 1298 Š./August 1919. The magazine’s original title was Moʿarref-e maʿāref. Its first publisher and editor are not known, but as of the second year of publication, the publisher was Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Khan, and in the third year ʿAbd-al-Raʾūf Khan joined him on the masthead as editor. The magazine ceased publication after the Jawzā 1301 Š./May 1922 issue. In Jawzā 1303 Š./May 1924 the magazine was revived in the same format as Āʾīna-ye ʿerfān, published and edited by Hāšem Šāyeq. He was later replaced by the prominent journalist Borhān-al-Dīn Koškakī. The magazine continued in this form with long interruptions until 1322 Š./1943. In 1329 Š./1950, it was again revived under the title ʿErfān. The magazine always served as the scientific organ of the Afghan Ministry of Education, carrying articles on all aspects of the sciences, technology, and the humanities, with emphasis on education, literature, and history. Alhough Moʿarref-e maʿāref was entirely in Persian, Pashto was introduced into Āʾīna-ye ʿerfān and occupied a larger place in ʿErfān, though Persian remained predominant. Some articles attacked the learned magazines of Persia (Soḵan 8, p. 723).
Format of Moʿarref-e maʿāref was 48 to 60 pages, 10 x 16.5 cm, partly lithographed. Subscription was 6 kabul rupees. Āʾīna-ye ʿerfān’s format was 24 to 200 pages, 15 x 20 cm, later 16 x 22.5 cm, lithographed, and illustrated. Subscription was initially 8, and later 9, afḡānīs. ʿErfān’s formatwas initially 16 x 22, but from the second year 17 x 24 cm; it was typographed and illustrated. Subscription was initially 18, but gradually increased to 100 afghanis, with discounts for students and Ministry of education employees. No copies of Moʿarref-e maʿāref are known of outside Afghan libraries. Copies of Āʾīna-ye ʿerfān are available at Tehran University and Princeton University libraries.
2. A magazine dealing with cultural and social issues published in Isfahan from 20 ʿAqrab (Ābān) 1303 Š./12 November 1924 to Tīr 1306 Š./June 1927. Its editor and publisher was Aḥmad Marāḡī ʿEfān (1311/1894-1330 Š./1951), who was also editor of Aḵtar-e masʿūd and whose family later took the name ʿErfān. Format was sixteen to twenty-six single-column pages, 13.5 x 21 cm, typeset, and carried no illustrations. Subscription was 30 qerāns in Persia, 32 elsewhere. Copies are available at Āstān-e qods-e razawī, Faculty of Letters (Isfahan), Majles I, and Fārs Central library.
3. On 8 Mehr 1306/30 September 1927 Aḥmad ʿErfān reinstituted ʿErfān as a weekly (starting in the second year twice-weekly) newspaper, dealing mostly with local matters but also including poetry, other cultural features, and legal notices. Becoming thrice-weekly in its sixth year, it continued publication until the end of 1344 Š./February 1966. After his death his widow, Malak ʿErfān, was the publisher of the paper for fourteen years. Format was four four-column pages, 36 x 51 cm, and carried some illustrations. Annual subscription initially was 50 qerāns and later rose to 200. Copies are kept in major Persian libraries, Deutsche Staatsbibliothek in Berlin, and Library of Congress.
Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):
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M. K. Yūnos, “Nīm qarn-e Moʿarref-e maʿāref, Āʾīna-ya ʿerfān, wa ʿErfān,” ʿErfān 50/1-2, 1351 Š./1972, pp. 33-56.
Originally Published: December 15, 1998
Last Updated: January 19, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. VIII, Fasc. 5, pp. 554-555