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Akinchi – Azerbaijan’s first national newspaper

28 July 2022 12:39 (UTC+04:00)
Akinchi – Azerbaijan’s first national newspaper

By Vugar Khalilov

The 147th anniversary of the Azerbaijani national press was marked on July 22. Undoubtedly, the presence of a free and impartial press has a crucial impact on the development of a nation's political, public, social, and cultural institutions.

The growth of the national press in Azerbaijan was not an exception in this respect. Intellectuals, authors, and writers invested tremendous efforts into developing a framework necessary for the publication of national newspapers and periodicals, which in turn contributed to raising the level of public consciousness across the country.

The press has a special role in a country's development and in the process of raising the level of national awareness. Nowadays, the media is often regarded as the fourth estate due to its significant influence on all fabric of society and it is no accident that the press is considered "the people's eyes, ears, and mouth" by the intelligentsia and literary elite.

The national press plays a significant and crucial role in the life of the Azerbaijani people as it defines and channels societal development into the path of national renewal, refines the conception of statehood, and triggers political thinking.

The Azerbaijani national press was established on July 22, 1875, when renowned naturalist and writer Hasan Bay Zardabi (1842-1907) published Akinchi (Plowman) paper. The publication of Akinchi represented a great breakthrough for both Azerbaijanis and the Muslim world as a whole.

Many renowned authors and playwrights from the Azerbaijani literary movement of the late XIX century, including Mirza Fatali Akhundov and Najaf Vazirov concentrated around Akinchi during the period. Together, they developed the newspaper's democratic and educational ideals, which had a lasting effect on posterity even after it was closed.

Akinchi, integral to the Azerbaijani people's development and regeneration, was the product of tenacious effort and commitment in the second half of the 19th century. It had a big role in the Azerbaijani people's public, political, and spiritual lives.

The creation of a national newspaper is a requirement for growth and the most obvious indication of any people's national resurgence. Hasan Bay Zardabi should be commended for taking the first meaningful step on this incredibly difficult road.

Hasan bay was one of those prominent Azerbaijani intellectuals, a real patriot with a profound education who thoroughly understood the history and cultures of Azerbaijan and other nations.

He was a passionate enlightener who strove to make the general public aware of the depth of their country's spiritual wealth, as well as the values of freedom and progress. He realized that launching a newspaper would be the most effective approach to inform the public and increase awareness since it would appeal equally to intellectuals and laypeople.

Hasan Bay thought that the numerous problems that the Azerbaijani people faced were caused by a lack of awareness and knowledge and restricted educational possibilities. In an essay that appeared in Akinchi, he said that despite being the primary source of many problems, universal illiteracy had not been deemed properly.

Akinchi marked the start of the Azerbaijani press's vocabulary and writing style. One can't help but be surprised by the language used by Hasan Bay and other like-minded people even now while reading old newspaper issues. They wrote simply, in a clear, pure native dialect that was understandable by a large portion of the population.

To the very end of his life, Hasan Bay served his people with immense compassion and devotion while showing no regard for his interests or gain. He dedicated his entire life to helping the underprivileged. He toiled diligently, thoughtfully, and with purpose. Hasan Bay earned the trust of the public via his humility, diligence, and enormous sacrifice.

He spent his entire life trying to educate the people. He is widely acknowledged as the father of Azerbaijani mother-tongue education, women's education, and the press and theater.

Akinchi has had a tremendous impact on the development of the national press in Azerbaijan and the public's self-awareness despite being shut down two years after it started. After its closure, several new national newspapers and magazines came into existence.


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