Mahmud-Bek Tarzi

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tarzi, Mahmud-Bek


Born 1867/68, in Ghazni; died 1934/35, in Istanbul. Afghan statesman and public figure; enlight-ener, historian, and journalist. An ideologist of the Young Afghans.

Tarzi lived and studied in Damascus and Istanbul; he returned to Afghanistan in 1903. From 1911 to 1919 he was editor and publisher of the newspaper Seraj-al-Akhbar. When Amanullah Khan came to power in 1919, Tarzi served as minister of foreign affairs, from 1919 to 1922 and from 1924 to 1927. After Amanullah was deposed in 1929, Tarzi emigrated to Turkey.

Tarzi was the founder of modern Afghan literature, which developed in a spirit of enlightenment; his poetry, essays, and publicist writings upheld the social purpose of literature. His book The Garden of Wisdom (1913) dealt with the Afghan people’s struggle against foreign invaders. Tarzi’s work helped democratize Afghan poetry and prose. His translations of J. Verne and A. Dumas are widely read.


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Mirzoev, S. Literaturno-prosvetitel’skaia deiatel’nost’ Makhmuda Tarzi i ego gazeta “Siradzh-ul’-akhbar” (1911–1919). Dushanbe, 1973.
Ochil’diev, D. Ia. Obshchestvenno-politicheskaia mysl’ Afganistana nakanune zavoevaniia nezavisimosti. Tashkent [1973].
Khalili, Kh. “Makhmud-bek Tarzi.” Problemy vostokovedeniia, 1959, no. 2.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.