KĀVA (Kaveh, کاوه ), a Persian journal (1916-22) published in Berlin by Sayyed Ḥasan Taqizāda (q.v.), who headed a group of nationalist Persians living in Germany known as Komita-ye Melliyun-e Irāni dar Berlan (Iranian Nationalist Committee of Berlin). Kāva was printed usually in double-column format (in early years, sometimes single-column) on pages of newspaper size (35 × 27 cm), and it retained the appellation ruz-nāma (newspaper) throughout its history.  In the midst of World War I, Kāva was funded by the German government (Taqizāda, 1993, pp. 179-86; Browne, p. 483) for the purpose of voicing propaganda in support of Germany and against Russia and Great Britain, and its orientation remained essentially political during 1916-19; as Taqizāda reflected, it had been “born of the war” (issue [N.S.] 5/1, 22 January 1920, p. 1). In its post-war “New Series” (1920-21), Kāva was reshaped into a cultural/historical journal and struggled to be self-supporting.

In this period, Germany, with no apparent interests in Iran, was favored by nationalist Iranians, who believed that, amomg the great powers, it was the one that could free Iran from the political and economic domination of Great Britain and Russia.  The name of the paper recalled Kāva (q.v.), the legendary hero of ancient Iran who rose against Żaḥḥāk, the bloodthirsty tyrant.  The masthead of every issue featured an engraving of Kāva arousing the people and raising the banner of rebellion (see DERAFŠ-E KĀVĪĀN; Figure 1).

During the war years Kāva was advertised as a biweekly, but this frequency was not achieved, and periodically two issues were combined to make 16 pages (Browne, p. 483; I. Afšār, in Taqizāda, 1993, pp. 496-500); issue numbering up to the New Series is as follows: first year (24 January 1916-1 January 1917): issues 1-17; second year (15 February-1 January 1918): issues 18-24; third year (15 February 1918-15 November 1918): issues 25-33; fourth year (1 March 1919-15 August 1919): issues 34-35 (I. Afšār, loc. cit.).

The contents of the first series of Kāva comprised mostly political comments and news. Its political articles, in the main, criticized the activities and policies of Russia and Britain in Persia. The news section was devoted largely to the efforts of a group of Persians headed by Reżāqoli Khan Māfi Neẓām-al-Salṭana and Sayyed Ḥasan Modarres in Kermanshah and then in Istanbul.  However, since Taqizāda and some other contributors to Kāva, such as Moḥammad Qazvini and Sayyed Moḥammad-ʿAli Jamālzāda (see JAMĀLZĀDEH), were interested in literature and history, sometimes it contained articles on these topics, such as: “Nowruz-e jamšidi” (two articles by M. Qazvini and Wilhelm Geiger); “Kāva va Derafš-e Kāviāni” (by Oskar Mann); “Ṣāḥeb-manṣabān-e soʾedi-e Qarāsurān” and “Adib-al-Mamālek” (both by S. Ḥ. Taqizāda); “Reżā ʿAbbāsi” (by Eugen  Mittwoch); “Žāndārmeri-e Irān” (by Moḥammad-Taqi Pesyān); “Jašn-e Nowruz,” “Rasm-al-ḵaṭṭ,” and “Qadimtarin šeʿr-e fārsi baʿd az Eslām” (by M. Qazvini). Taqizāda’s history of the first three terms of the Majles, which appeared in the paper in several installments, was an original historical account that was later published in book form. (For table of contents of the first series, see I. Afšār, in Taqizāda, 1993, pp. 496-500; see also Browne, p. 484; cf. “List of some of the important articles of the Old Series of Kāva,” in N.S. 2/4, back of wrapper.)

Another feature of Kāva—one appearing in a Persian journal for the first time—was publication of critical reviews of important European books on Persia.  Also obituaries were published, for instance, those for ʿAliqoli Khan Sardār Asʿad Baḵtiāri, Oskar Mann (German orientalist), Maḥmud Ašrafzāda (constitutionalist), and Moḥammad-Ṣādeq Adib-al-Mamālek Farāhāni (poet).

Taqizāda wrote most of the articles of Kāva throughout its publication, and   Moḥammad-ʿAli Jamālzāda came second in frequency; during the entire six years of Kāva’s lifetime, the two of them did about 80 percent of the writing and translating for the paper.  Abu’l-Ḥasan Ḥakimi and Moḥammad Qazvini contributed multiple articles, and one each was submitted by Moḥammad-ʿAli Foruḡi, ʿAbbās Eqbāl Āštiāni, and Moḥammad-ʿAli Sadid-al-Salṭana Kabābi. Other contributors included Maḥmud Afšār, Ebrāhim Purdāvud, Reżā Tarbiat, Arthur Christensen, Edward G. Browne, Wilhelm Geiger, Henry Massé, and Waḥid-al-Molk Šaybāni (I. Afšār, in Taqizāda, 1993, pp. 488, 505). ʿEzzat-Allāh Hedāyat, Abu’l-Ḥasan ʿAlawi, and Reżā Tarbiat helped with the administrative and clerical work of Kāva.

Due to political problems and wartime concerns, articles in the first series of Kāva appeared either with no signature or with the authors’ initials or nicknames.  Jamālzāda’s pen name was Šāhroḵ, and that of Abu’l-Ḥasan Ḥakimi was Manučehr Farsād, and Maḥmud Afšār signed as M. A.  Taqizāda also contended with difficulties involving the distribution of Kāva, shipment to Germany of Persian newspapers and English documents, and postal censorship, as in the correspondence between Afšār in Lausanne and himself in Berlin (M. Afšār, pp. 34-35).

When World War I ended, the responsibility for, and management of, the paper all fell on Taqizāda’s shoulders; and he painstakingly ran it for another two years, hoping for financial help from subscribers. In a letter dated 2 December 1919, Taqizāda emphasized the scholarly nature of the forthcoming New Series and the substantial difference from the first series (M. Afšār, p. 82). Similarly, in his lead article of the first issue in the New Series  (22 January 1920), he announced that Kāva henceforth would be totally different from the wartime Kāva—“in fact a new journal of mostly scientific, literary, and historical articles.  Its main object would be to promote European civilization in Iran, to fight fanaticism, to help preserve the national sentiment and unity, to struggle for the preservation and purification of the Persian language and literature and safeguarding them from the dangers and maladies that threaten them, and, to the best of our ability, to support its internal and external freedom” (5/1, pp. 1-2; tr. Browne, p. 485).

The lead article of 22 January 1920 continued, with Taqizāda’s controversial remark that he believed all patriotic Iranians should adhere to the principle of “unconditional adoption and promotion of European civilization without any reservation, absolute submission to Europe and adopting its culture, customs, and practices, as well as its system, sciences, industries, and life, and the total setup of Europe without any exception (save the language).”  In conclusion, he stated that “we must become Westernized outwardly, inwardly, in body, and in spirit; that is it.” He later modified his views and admitted that they were too radical; he explaind in a series of lectures, entitled “Aḵḏ-e tamaddon-e ḵāreji,” that what he meant was that Persians should “become Westernized, not Westerners” (Taqizāda, 1971, p. 141; Ārianpur, II, p. 232, n. 3).

The New Series of Kāva was a regular monthly publication (only nos. 39-40 formed a double issue); each issue except the extra-long no. 2/12 was 16 pages in length (that count included any installment of a serial article, which was separately paginated). The following issues appeared: first year (22 January 1920-13 December 1920): issues 36-47; second year (11 January 1921-1 December 1921): issues 1-12. Throughout the first year the volume number (Jahrgang) remained consecutive with the first series (as “5”), and the masthead continued to carry a consecutive issue number  (nos. 36-47).  Only during the final year was the volume renumbered (“Jahrg. 2”; see Figure 1; editor’s explanation, N.S. 2/1, p. 1) and the consecutive issue number reset to “1.”  One final issue, titled waraqa-ye fawq al-ʿāda (extra issue) and dated 30 March 1922, announced the end of the paper due to financial difficulties. Taqizāda, in a letter to a friend apparently written shortly before this, complained of those in Persia who had failed to send him even one penny of the money collected as subscriptions, compelling him to continue the costly publication of the paper for one and a half years at his own expense (M. Afšār, p. 90; Milāni, p. 506 and n. 7).

The readers of Kāva included people in India, the Ottoman empire, and the Caucasus who knew Persian, as well as a few of the orientalists. But most of the readers were in Persia itself. Barely 100 Persians lived in Germany during World War I, so Kāva could not be viable there in the postwar period as an independent publication and necessarily was distributed in Persia.  It is clear from the list prepared by the paper’s sales agents in the provinces of Persia that most of the readers had some knowledge of Persian literature and history and also were interested in national and political issues.

Some of Kāva’s literary and historical studies in the New Series still have scholarly merit, including the series of articles on Ferdowsi’s Šāh-nāma by Taqizāda under the pseudonym “Moḥaṣṣel,” and his other significant article, “Nowruz va taqwim-e irāni” (Nowruz and the Persian calendar); “Nāma-ye Amir Timur Gurakān be Šārl-e šešom-e Farānsē” (Tamerlane’s letter to Charles VI of France), by Moḥammad Qazvini; “Šeʿr-e pahlavi wa šeʿr-e fārsi-e qadim” (Pahlavi poetry and early Persian poetry)  by Arthur Christensen; “Bālšovism dar Irān-e qadim (Mazdak)” (Bolshevism in ancient Iran [Mazdak]), by Moḥammad-ʿAli Jamālzāda; and “Šeʿr-e qadim-e Iran” (Ancient poetry of Iran) by ʿAbbās Eqbāl Āštiāni. Jamālzāda’s essay on the history of the relations between Russia and Iran was published in Kāva in installments in the course of the New Series. (For table of contents, see I. Afšār, in Taqizāda, 1993, pp. 501-5; see also Browne, pp. 486-87.)

The New Series also could include new literature; its publication of “Fārsi šekar ast” (N.S. 2/1, pp. 8-11), one of the best-known short stories of Jamālzāda, marked the first appearance of the short story genre in a Persian periodical.  Once in a while, Taqizāda would take up in Kāva the question of safeguarding correct usage (in the sense meant in those days) of the Persian language. He wrote, for example: “The progress of Persian in the course of a century” (satirical; [N.S.] 5/3, pp. 3-5 and 5/5, pp. 3-4), “Four periods of the Persian language” ([N.S.] 5/7, pp. 5-8), and “Asking for expert views (esteftāʾ) of the Persian scholars on the translation of European words” ([N.S.] 5/10, p. 8; N.S. 2/4, pp. 6-9).

The name of the newspaper was revived  in 1963 for  a German-Persian literary quarterly, Kāveh/Kaweh (http://www.kawehjournal.de/; Machalski).



Iraj Afšār, K. Jahāndāri, and J. Ṣamimi, eds., Kāva, repr., complete in 1 vol., Tehran, 1977.

Maḥmud Afšār, ed., Nāmahā-ye dustan, Tehran, 1996. 

Yaḥyā Ārianpur, Az Ṣabā tā Nimā, 2 vols., Tehran, 1972, pp. 231-233.

Edward G. Browne, A Literary History of Persian Literature, 4 vols., Cambridge, 1929-30, IV, pp. 483-89. 

Tim Epkenhans, Die iranische Moderne im Exil. Bibliographie der Zeitschrift Kāve, Berlin 1916-1922, Berlin, 2000.

Moḥammad-ʿAli Jamālzāda, “Taqizādeh, tel que je l’ai connu,” in Walter Bruno Henning and Ehsan Yarshater, eds., A Locust’s Leg: Studies in Honour of S. H. Taqizadeh, London, 1962, pp. 1-20.

F. Machalski, “Iranian Magazine „Kāveh“,”  Folia Orientalia 13, 1971, pp. 343-49.

ʿAbbās Milāni, “Kāva wa maʾala-ye tajaddod,” Irān-šenāsi/Iranshenasi 10/3, 1990, pp. 504-19.

Moḥammad Ṣadr Hāšemi, Tāriḵ-e jarāʾed wa majallāt-e Irān, 4 vols, Isfahan, 1948-53, IV, pp. 125-31. 

Sayyed Ḥasan Taqizāda, Maqālāt-e Taqizāda, ed. Iraj Afšār, III, Tehran, 1971.

Idem, Zendagi-ye ṭufāni: ḵāṭerāt-e Sayyed Ḥasan Taqizāda, ed. Iraj Afšār, 2nd ed. with appendices added by the editor, Tehran, 1993, pp. 483-505.

(Iraj Afšār)

Originally Published: May 31, 2013

Last Updated: December 6, 2012

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Vol. XVI, Fasc. 2, pp. 132-35