ḤĀŠEM, RAḤIM (Rahim Mamedovič Hošimov), Tajik essayist, literary critic, and translator, who is considered to have been one of the founders of modern Tajik literature (b. in Samarkand, 5 October 1908, d. in Dushanbe, 1993; Figure 1). Like Ḥasan ʿErfān (q.v.), Ḥāšem belonged to the Shiʿite “Persian” (Ērāni) community of Samarkand, and his native tongue was the Turkic dialect of Transcaucasia. He was born into the family of a pharmacist (ʿaṭṭār) and began his formal education in 1916 at a modern school (maktab-e oṣul-e jadid; see EDUCATION xxviii). Ṣadr-al-Din ʿAyni (q.v.) was his teacher there in 1918. Ḥāšem continued his education at Samarkand’s teacher training college and later at a local Russian-language high school.

From 1924, while still attending high school, he worked as a literary editor for the newspaper Zarafšān and the review Maʿāref wa uqitḡuvči. Later, in 1928, he joined the renowned journal Rahbar-e dāneš and the Našriyāt-e dawlati-e Tājikestān (State Publishers of Tajikistan), both based in Samarkand, where the first generation of Soviet Tajik writers were being trained under the leadership of ʿAyni. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, he participated (along with Šarāf Jabbāri, ʿAyni, Peyrow [Solaymāni], and others), sometimes under the penname Raḥim Mim, in the compilation of several Persian language textbooks for the new Soviet elementary schools, including Alefbā, Jehān-e now, Sāḵtmān-e now, Rāh-e now, and Panj dar čār. He also compiled second- and third-grade reading books. Before long Ḥāšem became a prominent member of the Union of Tajik Writers and, accompanying ʿAyni, participated in the first congress of Soviet writers (1934). Ḥāšem supported the poet Peyrow Solaymāni, who had become a target of the party-oriented “proletarian” writers, and he collected and published his poems in 1934, a year after his death, with a preface boldly defending his late comrade. Ḥāšem’s memoirs show that he was closely associated with Feṭrat (q.v.) before the latter’s execution. Soviet documents remain silent on the next ten years of his life, but his friends and colleagues maintain that, due to his patriotism, he fell victim to the Stalinist purges of the late 1930s and was exiled to Siberia for some ten years. According to Ḥāšem himself, his “very long journey” started on 17 February 1938 (Hošim, p. 119).

In the late 1940s, Ḥāšem’s literary activities were closely related to that of his mentor ʿAyni, whom he served as a secretary (kāteb) during the late 1940s and early 1950s in Samarkand. In 1955, he resumed his life-long career at the newly-established Language and Literature Department of the Tajik Academy of Science, while also enrolling in the State University in Dushanbe, where he earned a graduate degree in 1963. He was admitted as a member of the Union of Writers of the Soviet Union (1960), and won the prestigious Ḵodimi ḵizmatni-šondodai ilmi Tojikiston [Ḵādem-e ḵedmat-nešāndāda-ye ʿelm-e Tājikestān] prize (1978). Ḥāšem never joined the Communist Party.

Ḥāšem was a prolific writer, who published numerous critical essays on various aspects of Tajik Persian language and literature, and many biographical works on writers and poets, such as Pire ki javon šudaast [Pir-i ke javān šoda-ast] (on ʿAyni; 1937), Haykali buzurgi nazm [Haykal-e bozorg-e naẓm] (1964; on ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Jāmi), Berunī (a short essay on Biruni; 1983), Ibni Sino (on Avicenna; 1977), as well as further works on Maxim Gorky, Anton Chekhov, Abu’l-Qāsem Lāhuti, Peyrow Solaymāni, and many other contemporaries. In this respect, as well as in his works of literary criticism, Ḥāšem became a role model for many younger writers, including Moḥammadjān Šokurov (later Šakuri), Rajab Amānov, Ṣāḥeb Ṭabarov, and Ataḵān Sayf-Allāhev (Sayfulloev). Ḥāšem’s selected essays appeared in Suḵan az ustodon va duston [Soḵan az ostāḏān wa dustān] (1971, 1983) and Solho dar sahifaho [Sālhā dar ṣaḥifahā] (1988), which contain his memoirs. His Glazami sovesti (co-authored by Radiĭ Fish, 1978; Tajik Persian tr., Bo amri vijdon [Bā amr-e vejdān], 1979) is also about the life and works of ʿAyni. His work Hikmati asrho [Ḥekmat-e ʿaṣrhā](co-authored by Vladimir Kapranov) is on traditional herbal medicine.

Ḥāšem was also a prolific translator of literary works into Tajik Persian. His numerous translations from Turkish and Russian include Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Maxim Gorky’s The Mother (and other works by him), as well as works by Lermantov, G. Figeyredo, Nāẓem Ḥekmat, Rāšed Nuri, R. N. Guntekin, B. Karboboev, Rabindranath Tagore, and Mark Twain. Ḥāšem’s Persian prose, though sometimes verbose, is distinctive on account of its clarity, force, and avoidance of vulgarization and Russification.

Ḥāšem was editor or co-editor of several works, including stories from the Šāh-nāma (Šāhnāma; 1937), selected poems of Malek-al-Šoʿarāʾ Bahār (1958), an anthology of Afghan poets (1959, 1960), the Persian works of Fożuli (1960), Āḵōndzāda’s Maktubāt-e Kamāl-al-Dawla (1962), an abridgement of Saʿdi’s Golestān (1985), and Ebn Balḵi’s Fārs-nāma (1989). He acted as a senior editor in two major works of lexicography: Luḡati rusī-tojikī [Loḡat-e rusi-tājiki](1933) and Farhang-e zabān-e tājiki (1969; q.v.).



Some of the information in this article was obtained from personal interviews and correspondence with Tajik writers, while the rest is extracted mostly from Hāšem’s own works. Soviet-oriented references, as listed below, offer little of significance and are often inaccurate. Adiboni Tojikiston [Adibān-e Tājikestān], Dushanbe, 1966, pp. 297-99.

Rajab Amonov, “Kornomai adib (Kār-nāma-ye adib),” Sadoi šarq [Ṣedā-ye šarq], 1968, no. 11.

Jirí Bečka, “Tajik literature from the 16th century to the present,” in Rypka Hist. Iran. Lit., pp. 483-605, passim.

Rahim Hošim, Suḵan az ustodon va duston [Soḵan az ostāḏān wa dustān], Dushanbe, 1971.

Kholiq Mirzozoda, Atakhon Sayfulloev and Abdurahmon Abdumannonov, Ta’riḵi adabiyoti sovetii tojik [Tāriḵ-e adabiyāt-e soviti-e Tā-jik] III. Nazmu nasri solhoi 20 [Naẓm o naṣr-e sālhā-ye 20], Dushanbe, 1984, passim.

Navisandagoni Tojikiston [Nevisandagān-e Tājikestān], Dushanbe, 1971, p. 68.

Pisateli Tadzhikistana, Dushanbe, 1981, pp. 485-88.

Shohzamon Rahmonov, “Mardi kor (Mard-e kār),” Sadoi šarq, 1990, no. 10, pp. 139-41.

Idem, “Rahim Hošim,” Èntsiklopediyai sovetii tojik, ed. M. Osimī, 8 vols., Dushanbe, 1976-86, VI, p. 228.

(Habib Borjian)

Originally Published: December 15, 2003

Last Updated: March 20, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XII, Fasc. 1, pp. 47-48