- 内陸アジア史研究 (ISSN:09118993)
- vol.31, pp.49-72, 2016-03-31 (Released:2017-05-26)
This article discusses the complex self-consciousness of Mirza Fatali Akhundzadeh (1812-1878). He is esteemed as one of founders of the Azerbaijani identity in the presentday Republic of Azerbaijan, but he is also regarded as one of the first 'Iran nationalists' in the context of the history of Iran. It is true that he thought of Iran as his homeland and was proud to be an Iranian, but he also noticed non-Iranian elements in himself. For instance, he was not a native Persian speaker—he grew up speaking Turkic; he was an inhabitant of the Caucasus as well as a subject of the Russian Empire. Thus, he defined Iranians as descendants of the Ancient Persian Empires and insisted that his distant ancestors were connected to them.He did not always recognize himself as Iranian. He used different group names depending on each situation. For example, when he spoke to Turkish people in the Ottoman Empire to enlighten them, he used 'Mellat-e Eslām (Muslims)' as a group name to communicate that he was one of them. He also called himself a 'Tatar' when he wrote letters to Russian officials. 'Tatar' was a Russian term applied to Turkic-speaking people in the Empire.