A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF SOUTHERN KURDISH,
By C. J. Edmonds, C.M.G., C.B.E.
IN the Society’s Journal for July, 1937, will be found a Bibliography of Kurdish Periodicals and Books published in Iraq up to the end of 1936, with a short introduction on the distribution of Kurdish dialects. Twenty-four years have now elapsed since the first number of Pishl^ewtin (September 20, 1920) was issued to a delighted Sulaimani, and a quarter of a century since
Kurdish was made for the first time the official language of an administration. The present is thus perhaps an appropriate moment to bring the record up to date and to analyse progress.
At first sight the literary output of the Kurds in this period seems to have been astonishingly meagre. The four-page Pish^eustin, with changes of the name to Bang y Kurdistan, Rhoj y Kurdistan, Umiyd y Istyqlal, Jiyanetuc and Jiyan, has continued to appear in Sulaimani, as a bi-weekly, weekly, or fortnightly, almost without interruption (the temporary rival Zuban, No. I, 16, was published during the eleven months of Jiyan's suspension from March, 1938, to February, 1939, so that Sulaimani has never been without its newspaper) and must still be considered the main bulwark of Kurdish literary activity.
In the first four years counting from 1920 only one real book was printed, the Collected Works of the classic poet Shaikh Muhammad, “ Mahtui," and this was primarily due to the initiative of a British officer, Captain V. Holt, then Assistant Political Officer and until recendy Oriental Counsellor at the British Embassy in Baghdad. The year 1925 was marked by the first publications outside Sulaimani: in Baghdad, Salih Zaki Sahibqiran began the issue of Diyariy’ Kurdistan, No. I, 12, a magazine in three languages; at Ruwandiz Saiyid Husain Huzni Mukriyani, the Kurdish Caxton, founded the Zar y Kirmanciy press and printed two short religious tracts (VI, 2 and 3). For the next five years output continued on much the same scale, with brochures little more than pamphlets, mosdy of contemporary verse or histories of Kurdish dynasties or religious matter; half of these were written, printed, illustrated with woodcuts and published by the indefatigable Saiyid Huzni at his little hand-press at Ruwandiz; the rest were printed in Baghdad. In 1931 appeared the first two books of any size, a collection of biographies of Kurdish celebrities by S. Huzni, and the first volume of the History of the Kurds and Kurdistan by Muhammad Amin Zaki Beg (now, 1944, a member of the Iraq Senate); among other items the list shows three small editions of classic poets published in Baghdad by Kurdi and Meriwani.
This first peak of 1931 was followed immediately by a slump in 1932, the last year of the Mandate, when politics tended to monopolize attention, but there was a partial recovery in 1933. From 1935, following the taking over of the former Municipal Press by the talented and whimsical