Isfarayin Yesterday, Today
توحدی، کلیم الله. اسفراین، دیروز، امروز. مشهد: انتشارات واقفی، ١٣۷۴، ۲٧٩ص.

Tavahhudi, Kalim Allah. Isfarayin Diruz, Imruz. Mashhad: Vaqifi, 1996, 279pp.


Isfarayin Yesterday, Today

اسفراین، دیروز، امروز

Kalim Allah Tavahhudi has worked extensively on the culture of the Kurds of Khurasan. The book Isfarayin is more a collection of documents on the geography and history of the city of Isfarayin, which the writer has assembled over the years. 

The documents have been transcribed with great care with most appended at the end of the book together with reproductions of their originals. Ranging from land deeds to tax records to letters to officials and transcripts of interrogation sessions, these documents provide a plethora of information. Most of the documents are briefly surveyed in the space of a hundred pages in Chapter 2 entitled “Isfarayin in History”. In this way Tavahhudi attempts to trace Isfarayin’s history from the Arsacids up to the Pahlavis.

The variety of documents on the one hand and the great historical breadth on the other detract from the book’s unity. However, the spine that holds together all this disparity is the continuous account of insecurity and looting in Isfarayin, and the abduction and captivity of married women and girls. Through these documents a lively picture of instability emerges in which Mongols and Uzbeks, Afghans and Turkomans, and even local rulers are constantly engaged in incursions and lootings.

The book mainly focuses on the Kurdish population of Isfarayin; it does not have much to say on other ethnic groups such as the Tat, the Turks and the thousands of Afghans and others. The discussion on some customs and habits can be of great value to anthropologists, while its main readership would be historians.

Iradj Esmailpour Ghouchani
Translated by Sofia A. Koutlaki

Ghouchani, Iradj Esmailpou. '"English abstract of 'Isfarayin Yesterday, Today'". Translated by Sofia A. Koutlaki. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 54. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations Abstracts - The Aga Khan University
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