Review Constitutional Revolution is one of the most important events in contemporary history of Iran. In the time of constitutional government, the place of media in the press law was determined and it got closer to the people. Press prosperity was included not only in Tehran but also in other major cities of country. Rasht got a great place in the field of journalism, newspapers in this period (the Constitution to the coup of Reza Khan in 1299–1285 AH) with upholding the principles of the Constitution disseminate new ideas and progressive constitution of knowledge like need for construction of new schools and promoting the spirit of nationalism and patriotism opposition to foreign influence and internal opponents of Constitution and acquaintance with new ways of life and health, which played a key role in the awareness of the people of Gilan. Present study which relies on historical resources, especially newspapers with descriptive & analytic way is trying to determine the Place of newspapers in the awareness of people of Gilan.
Keywords: Awareness, newspaper Gilan, People, Constitution.
Constitutional Revolution led to extensive changes and impact on social and cultural life of the people. The establishment of a constitutional governorship leaded to flourishing of the press in Tehran and other major cities, and open minded people could have a profound effect on people in this way.In this period the press published freely and with non-governmental dependence. After the Constitution the development of press wasn’t remained only in the capital of Iran but also developed in cities such as Tabriz, Rasht and Isfahan. Newspapers with critical, political and social themes, were developed and expanded and welcomed by people. Gilan was one of the areas that newspapers played a big role in people's awareness and enlightenment of people. Therefore, this study wants to answer this question “what was the role of Galan’s newspapers in awareness of people in that specific period of time?”
After the establishment of constitutional government, press activities were increased in Gilan. Key factors in the growth and expansion of the press activities in Gilan were geographical, political, social and cultural fields that were created by the relationship with Caucasus, Europe, as well as liberal activities. In this era liberals not also stood up against the dictatorship and authoritarians they also reinforce people’s opinion about freedom and increased people’s information by publishing different newspapers and making councils. Publishing newspapers like the Nasim-e-shomal, Khyralklam, jangle bring a new atmosphere in this field and had a big contribution in standing against injustice, traditional thoughts and enlightening public opinion.
Nasim-e-shomal newspaper’s main idea was Encouraging People (especially girls) to modern education and used satire and poetry to invite people to education and standing against dictatorship. Jangal newspaper had a big role in informing people about education and standing against dictatorship and also it believed that Iran's main weakness is immorality so it tried to inform people about this issue in several numbers of it. And Khyralklam newspaper was also tried to increase people’s awareness of the new education and the standing against tyranny and colonialism. Meanwhile, newspapers assign some columns for women to increase their information about health, new house holding methods and nurturing children respectively. So according to what mentioned above we can say that awakening awareness of people by newspapers relied on increasing political, social, economic, scientific and public health awareness of them. Some newspapers sometimes go beyond the increasing knowledge of the people and had extra programs such as the daily «Madrese-e-Tamadon» newspaper, which was published to encouraging people to education as we can understand from the name of the newspaper but beside this it followed another goal in Rasht And that was supplying cost of educating poor children from the money that they earned of selling these newspapers and meanwhile provide areas of public education in Rasht step by step.
The place of Press in the constitutional system
One of the consequences of the origin of constitutional system was determining position of the press on the press in the law. In the thirteenth constitution which was about press freedom, we read: «Anyone thinking about advisement has to present it in the public newspapers so nothing will be covered to people so as long as newspapers contains original articles and they do not violate the principles of government and the people is permitted to publish and also useful things and house of assembly’s debates and advisements can be published too. But if any newspaper insulted personal passions of people or accuse or vilify someone in published newspapers will be court procedure and punished according to constitution [1, pp. 69–68]. In the amendment of the constitution important issue like press was alluded. After the abolishment of Constitutional censorship perhaps that was the first time in history that anyone has the right to publish his thoughts and so many people attempt to publish newspaper. During two years of Constitution and even after that time more than 150 newspapers and more anonymous publications were published in Iran on the other hand dependent newspapers on the government or semi-governmental command had lost their readers [Sirjani, 1382: 182].
The victory of the constitutional revolutionary movement provide a field to increase informing and awareness of people in the form of critical literature and simplicity. Press indicate its important role in enlightening people and their defend from constitution by publishing lyrics with themes of patriotism, freedom, brotherhood and equality in the language of revolutionary people.
At the beginning of the Constitution media has a great éclat in the media history of iran regarding to Intellectual content and valuable Articles that has been Published in it. Definitely People’s interest To Newspapers has an important effect on Wealth of the Content of newspapers. Not Only Literate people (That were a very small Percentage of People) but also illiterate villagers showed a big interest to media as an example villagers of Gilan express many of their demands by the use of local newspapers during the peasant causes.
The role of the media in the informing of Gilan’s people
Press freedom which was the consequence of identifying media in law of the country was a great accomplishment. Although this issue followed by irregular expansion of press.
Sometimes some of the newspapers crossed the line that the council stood up and protested [1, p. 74], but we can say that existence of some radical newspapers was the result of several years of silence for injustice and tyranny. After the Constitution in Gilan publishing of different Medias had a major role in enlightening the public opinion, however, this freedom was gone for quite some time after the bombarding of the council in 1326 AH and the establishment of short period tyranny era. A few months after the fall of the Iranian Parliament, all the national press across the country were banned and journalists killed or imprisoned and some of them could escaped "[10, p. 406]. Repression and censorship of the press didn’t last long time. Liberals in Tabriz, Isfahan and Gilan began their campaign for the restoration of the constitution. They created a series of forums and committees and started to publish posters and declarations and invite people to stand against and fight by this way [6, p. 114]. Liberals Rising made Gilan the center of freedom and revolution and journalists along with militia joined in the fight against the dictatorship. Administration of Gilan caused Gilan to be a shelter for seized newspapers and exiled journalists including Hbl Habalolmatin[4, p. 121].
But the development era of media in in period of second parliament’s existence wasn’t last too long. With the closeness of second parliament many of the newspapers seized and some journalists imprisoned respectively.
What rescued people from that suffocating situation was writing and publishing of Secret newspapers. Writing of declarations and distributing the secret posters was in the arbitrary atmosphere and because of the censorship and repression of the dictatorship and authoritarian rules. The content of most of the posters and declarations was informing the general public about the socio-political issues of the day and being opposed to giving concession. The content of most of the posters after the Constitutional was directly related to the political situation and awareness of the people from that situation of political chaos and because of that atmosphere posters were put on the walls during the night. Night posters and declarations in Gilan first released by liberals of Gilan who formed committees and secret colleagues respectively. These committees were the focus of the struggle against the dictatorship and against the Constitutional opponents which invited people to stand against them. «Among these committees the secret committee which was set by Babayev who was the agent of Social Committee of Caucasia published night posters and enlightenment declarations and brought Enlightenment and modern ideas of democracy and social and political thoughts as a light between people in that Black censorship and tyranny period. Those night posters invited people of Anzali to rise up and break the chains of slave to the tyranny of time».(Kohan, 1366: vol. 2, 424).
From the other night posters and declarations that were published in Rasht we can name «Raport-e-Rasht», «Akhbar-e-Rasht», and “Khabarnameye Akhbarat». In general, the content of the Night posters were varied. But most of them were printed for the enlightening of people from the apnea situation of the society. One of the important features of the night poster, was its speed of spreading between people and its authority among the people and its impact on communities and people that have a big role in public awareness and enlightenment [11, p. 134].
The other categories of press, which was published in Gilan were the ones that released by council members. Many other councils were formed by liberals. These councils played an active role in the liberalisms fight for freedom. The important features of the councils in constitutional period was their unifying with media. Because freedom of the press leaded to formation of councils and expansion of the councils leaded to the development of newspapers [11, p. 151]., so that the name of many councils derived from the name of the most newspapers. Since the beginning of constitution Gilan people in order to support the constitutional and pro-Constitutional implementation of the rule of electing representatives to the National Assembly and introduce people to the new regulation, established «Gilan Provincial Association» in 1285 AH. Gilan provincial associations, released a newspaper with this name to inform people of public talks and discussions in councils. The newspaper in addition of publishing negotiating of councils, wrote about articles and local news and financial crisis that the people of Gilan were involved in a satirical way. Some contents of the third issue of the “Gilan Provincial Association” newspaper was about the prices of sugar which was expensive, and this way it expressed some social situation of that time in satire language.(Provincial Association newspaper, the first year, 28 in 1325, p. 4).
Formation of communities and councils and publication of newspapers was one of the most important achievements of straight-ahead liberals after many years of effort and struggling. Because the formation and activities of the councils and the publication of their papers leaded to the increase in public awareness and made people concern about issues such as social convenience, economic security and civil rights so that a unified and strong group created against tyrannies.
One of the other newspapers published by political parties was the “Etefagh” which was the organ of “Taraghi” party and “Etefagh”. The party constituted at the time of minor dictatorship period it means the period of tyranny of Mohammad Ali Shah and it leaded to the motivation of the clergy and traders and constitutionalists to stand against tyranny. The newspaper published in Rasht, but it also wrote about the problems of the country and had a big role in awareness of local people about the constitution of national government. We can read this part in the newspaper: "... the population is essentially a national public establishment, the materials disseminated in his manifesto, political, social and moral issues of Iran with a new idea of the sort... "(Etefagh, in 1329 AH: No. 3, p. 2).
With the establishment of constitutional government in addition to the press, many schools were created in a new way. In Gilan with the establishment of new schools, newspapers were published with the same names. The aim of this paper was to encourage people to pay attention to education, while the revenues are spent for the administration of schools «School of civilization» was one of the schools that was named the same as one of the newspapers. This newspaper which contains one Page Of lyrics of A. Lahooti Kermanshah published in Gilan and its first version published in (Jomādā 1327 AH) was published [6, p. 279]. The «Kashef-ol-Haghayegh” was one of the other newspapers in this category. The newspaper management and privileged by Myrzahbyb Ali Khan Gaspadyn. He was one of the cultural enlightened, and hardworking one who was working as a teacher in French schools established schools, including «Vatan» school. The other Newspaper «Ekhvat» which was established to reimburse the cost of education of Poor students of Rasht. “Nozad” Writes; «The newspaper expressed only about ethics and literature because it reimburse poor students after sending four version of it you will be subscribing to it. Any news from public services and anything that seemed good to “Rekhdat” will be accepted [12, p. 74].
The «Fekrejavan» newspaper paid attention to problems of youth and their needs. The newspaper with an article entitled «The young generation is on the verge of collapse», noted the importance of young people with these words «a great tragedy of our century, is the Great Depression and the spirit of our young people that emerged in this generation. The crisis that crept into all aspects of the young generation’s life and it’s terrible power broken the resistance of young generation and made them a terrible feeling of fear and anxiety of future.They felt disappointment and of course this lead to settle down talent and mistrust and bad reflections and this has resulted in infectivity of talents and unworthy world... parents, enlightened teachers and administrators of Now young people with his vision filled with fear and anxiety, the look at you with tears of despair while they are on the verge of collapsing looking for help and improvement, so For his last attempt hold their hands with generosity and improve the education and cultural situation. This is the demand of Young generation who asked with eyes filled with hope and looking forward to your efforts... "(Fekr-e-javan newspaper, 781, 164, quoting Nozad, Haman). Thus, the editors of the newspaper not only invited people to establish and build new schools but also they emphasized understanding the importance of the principles of the new education in articles and they also provide tuition of underprivileged children in Rasht from this newspaper Respectively.
Except the newspapers that persuaded people to education, there were some newspapers like (kheirolkalam&jungle) which were trying to enlightening people.
Nasim_e_shomal was one of the newspapers that enlightened people with critical writings and scoffing about problems in constitutional period.Nasim_e_shomal was a public newspaper which was published in Gilan on second of shaban 1326 A.m. by Seyyed Ashrafadin Hosseinie’s management. This newspaper was seized the same as all the newspapers in small despotism and Mohammad Ali Shah’s coup. This newspaper started to publish again in 1333 A.H. by revolutionists and liberals’ revolt in Tehran[9, p. 206].
Its content included critical poem that was written by Seyed Ashrafadin.Nasim_e_Shomal was one of the important newspapers in constitutional period and had an important place in media.
This newspaper was like a short history of Gilan’s changes during the constitution and its pages reflected Gilan’s historical events. Its content included poem about new political events, new events, religious festivals and other occasions which were so pleasant for different age group people.
From elementary students to political people in councils even a simple student to bosses and farmers were waited to read last version of Nasim_e_shomal. Without any exaggeration we can say that Seyed Ashrafadin was been very famous all over Iran during Ahmadshah’s period[5, p. 206].
He criticized anarchy condition of country by poem. His poem considers every day’s and everybody’s problem, and everyone like it because it was accompany with gibe.
The most important aim of Nasim_e_shomal was encouraging people to learn new science and education. He encouraged people to consider their religious creed and he used to express some prophet mohammad’s events and tradition about education and make them more interested in education.
Nasim_e_shomal wrote some statements of holly prophet in the introduction part of its seventh version;;”who respect science is the same with who respects me” in another statement he said;;”science and education is essential for every men and women” (Nasim_e_shomal.1334; v7).This newspaper had great attention to women’s education and believed that education is women’s ornament and encourage them with some poem. (Nasim_e_shomal, 1333, v.25)
Nasim_e_shomal invited people to accept the constitution rules, running of rules in society and defense form country against enemies.it also believed that lack of education leaded to all miserableness and retardation.(Nasim_e_shomal, 1326.v.11)
The newspaper’s main addressee was people and it paid attention to public culture so beside political and training articles there were some columns about culture and public believes of people. Writer criticized these believes with irony language and tried to uncover people’s ignorance indeed like the following paragraph. “you should know that on chaharshanbe soori and new year’s eve people do some strange things that are part of their believes in this day but you cannot see these believes in any book or any order about them. But most of the people especially women believed that it brings good luck for them. For example there is a custom in Gilan, Rasht, that they do on last Wednesday of the year’s morning: people go to the yard of their house and start to circumambulate the house and say “I ‘ve cut my Chelleh and jumped the yard’s door….(Nasim_e_shomal,1333,v.1)
Fakhraee expressed his corner about the ignorance of the people in Nasim-e-shomal newspaper: «I had a friend named Akhund Mullah Ismail he used “God willing “expression so often. One day while he was going to market I told him to tell grocer Karbala’I Hassan come to the gymnasium on Friday. He said”God willing”, but Karbala'I didn’t go to gym. I told him to send his eight-year-old girl to school to be an educated person and to train her children in a good way he said “ God willing” after three months it was known that he had his eight-year-old child get married to sixty years old man... he used this expression for everything like: This year things were good. “God willing”. Russians are heading in a good way” God willing”, poor never die of hunger and poverty «God willing” (quoted from Nasim-e-shomal newspapr 1333) [6, p. 29].
Satire language of Nasim-e-shomal in addition to encourage people to public education,it criticized ignorance and superstition and in this way it invited people to stand against ignorance.
Kheir-ol-kalam was the other newspaper which was publishedafter the Constitution At 1325 E. This Newspaper with the Management of Sheikh A. Afsah Almtklmyn published in 24 Jmady Thani 1325 AH to 1330 AH. Khyralklam was very persistent on constitutional and anti-authoritarianism. He also criticized colonialism. The newspaper considered social, cultural and political issues, some common values and beliefs, as well as the importance of the need for new schools. And it also uses satire Language in this way. Specifying a column on the newspaper for comic constant from the second year of publishing (1326 AH) led to the praise and admiration [2, p. 162]. Khyralklam was one of the valuable newspapers in Gilan which had a significant role in informing people and Public Enlightenment. These activities and campaigns of Khyralklam made it an important media in press history.
Khyralklam newspaper cited Japan as an example for people in order to inform them of the importance and the need for establishing new schools. Japan achieved progress and development by sending the children to study abroad. It should be noted that in this period, Japan turned out to Asian development model for Iranian nationalists. However, the Iranians were much more familiar with the West instead of Japan in that period of time. Broadminded young people believed that the main reason for backwardness of Iranian relied in its deprived of modern public education. Kheirolkalam newspaper believed that the only way for improving Iran is in extension of new schools and establishing schools in every cities and countries and education should be compulsory. (Newspapers Khyralklam, 1328 AH: No. 50).
After the second council a dark period started for journalists and the press and media in Iran and the Guilan golden age came to an end, as Kasravi said «freedom of Gilan was removed " [7, p. 469]. Gilan press of the time until the rise of “Jangal” were in a broken state of sever censorship. Until the movement of patriotic “Jangal” that press and newspapers were allowed to operate.
The jungle newspaper was one of the greatest newspapers that begun to publish and release from 19th of shaban on 1335 A.H. in eight pages. This newspaper contained important events of Gilan and Iran in world war 1. (1332–1336 A.H).Most of the independent newspapers in this period couldn’t complain and were strictly censored.
Jangal newspaper was one of the least newspapers which had a big role in informing and enlightening people[5, p. 171]. Like other newspapers in constitutional period jangal newspaper used poem to attract people. It had so much importance that they specified a column in the newspaper with the title of literature to publish critical poem. Regarding to what was going on jungle found the base of the differences in ignorance.(Jangal Newspaper,1335 A.H.,V.3,p.1,6).
This newspaper prevented people from imitating western clothing style and the way they live. He called anyone who imitate western style and believe that improvement of people in imitating of westerns, westernized and criticize them by these words: we all Gilac people wondered about these westernized men and women who change the style of their life because of voluptuousness and make us inconvenience (Jangal Newspaper,1335,v.18.7.).
Jungel newspaper invited people to education and avoid them from giving up against strangers. And most of the content of it was about avoiding of immorality. This newspaper believed that the society’s problems related to immorality not just to the lack of education or even in national apathy, so it tried to inform people about this basic weakness in various versions of it.It invited people to improve this behavior through analyzing.
“Of course immorality prevented any improvement. The weak societies try to save their independence in the world. But what about us? We support strangers and let them spoil our independence. We are Muslims just in words but in reality we are distractive. Our feeling is deadpan and we are feeling less because of immorality (Jangal Newspaper, 1335 AH: No. 11, p. 3 -1)
This newspaper also believed that the development and progress of a nation depends on the awareness and enjoyment of modern science and it insisted on modern education, establishing new schools and learning new educational methods upbringing an important progressive causes in awareness of people. For promoting awareness of Iranians and to awake people’s awareness and sense of honor and looking for supremacy in country and conversion of lethargy in to power and silence to inflammation and,…the best way is to establish military schools and teaching poems of abolghasem_e_ferdousie’s shahnameh at schools in order to make students familiar with historical successes of their ancestors. I hope school administrators take care of time and program on teaching some parts of shahnameh.This newspaper believed that weakness of Iran and lack of competence in government is due to ignorance. Progress and independency of country depends on education, and the strengths and weakness of government and rise and fall of it depends awareness of people of it. we have no education and the word “education minister “is as simple as former and no one takes it serious. In Iran everyone in this state takes the responsibility without feeling the seriousness of this position. We don’t want potentate minister but someone who can recover the ruins, promote the country, circulate the trade and efflorescence the agriculture.
So we respect to the effects of press, we can see that a lot of schools established in this period in Rasht with the support of Gilan’s people in order to educate and train people. In addition to educating and training they encouraged girls to learn new educational system. The press tried to make women familiar with different methods of housing, upbringing children and new methods of health.
With occurrence of third of esfand’s coup (1299), with respect to duty of press in supporting constitutional system liberal media didn’t remain silent against breaking rules and they started to criticize Rezakhan’s coup. It was clear that Rezakhan could not stand criticism of press and anger of people, therefore he seized all the press.
The chief of Rezakhan’s Dayuzian Ghazagh determined the responsibility of press by releasing a statement with the topic of “I command “In the most important part of this statement all the newspapers and related papers were completely seized until the formation of government and just some of the newspapers were published of course the ones that government let them to publish [3, pp.81–82].
In Rezakhan’s period, the mayor completely observed whatever was written in the press and the managers of the press didn’t have any right to publish anything without the permission of the mayor. The interference of the mayor was not only in political lectures and internal and external news, but also advertisements of newspapers should be revised.so in this period media of country had a very difficult and eventful condition until deposition of Rezakhan (1320).
In the period of constitution till the coup of 1299 AH and shortly after it when Reza Shah has the influential in 1304 AH press had a significant role in the political, social and cultural cataclysm of Gilan. During the short period of time (the minor tyranny) press have limited activities and strict censors, night reports had a big role in informing people of Gilan. Some of the newspaper of Gilan related to communities and parties. Activities of these kind of newspapers leaded to awareness and informing people and make them stand against dictatorship to have freedom, social-political and cultural civil law. Beside newspapers that are related to communities, parties and schools we can name some independent newspapers such as, Khyralklam,Nasim-e-shomal and Jangal.Their content was mostly about protecting the principles of constitutionalism and constitution, publishing new ideas, raising awareness of the local people about the need for modern education, sanitation, need for new schools, stand against corruption and promote nationalism and opposition to foreign influence and internal constitutional violation. These newspapers raised people’s awareness with humor and simple lyrics so people welcomed them. In total, according to the variety of content of Gilan’s newspapers and information that they transferred to the public they had a significant role and effect in the way they think and enlightening people and informing them about their social and political rights respectively like the other newspapers of country.
List of newspapers
1 — Anjoman Newspaper
2 — Jangal Newspaper
3 — Nasim-e-shomal newspaper
4 — Khayrolkalam Newspaper
5 — Ettefagh Newspaper
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