Emblem of the Tudeh Party


By Nassereddin Parvin
Encyclopaedia Iranica

Donya (lit., "The world"), name of several Persian journals and newspapers. The earliest Donya was a Marxist monthly journal published in Tehran from Bahman 1312/February 1933 until Khordad 1314 /June 1935. Its founder and editor was Taqi Arani, a chemist who had become a Marxist while studying in Berlin.

Donya was the first theoretically oriented Marxist journal in Persia. Because of official and popular opposition, however, communism was never openly promoted in its pages. In the first issue the editorial aims were explained in detail, particularly adherence to dialectical materialism and rejection of "idealism." "It attempts to make the reader's thinking familiar with the level of civilization of mankind today; its style and orthography will not conform to any restrictions of conservatism."

The journal was divided into four main sections, devoted to science, industry, philosophy, and society respectively, with commentary on political and economic events overseas under the heading "Manzáara-ye donya" (World view). In fact, much of the space in Donya was devoted to scientific reports. Because Persian politics were not covered, the journal was never suppressed. Although contributors alluded to dialectical materialism in obscure academic language, they avoided controversy.

The major writers were Arani, who sometimes wrote under the pseudonym Ahámad Qazi; Iraj Eskandari, who wrote under the name A. Jamshid; and Bozorg Alawi, who wrote under the name Fereidun Nakhoda. Donya was usually printed at the Ettela'at printing house in Tehran, in issues of thirty-two double-column pages, measuring 14 by 21 cm; the normal print run was 200 copies. The journal was illustrated, and advertising was restricted to books. An annual subscription cost 25 rials, a single issue 2 rials.

Publication of Donya was suspended after twelve issues, perhaps owing to lack of funds, or Arani's appointment to a government position. When Arani and his colleagues were put on trial in 1317/1938 the publication of Donya was cited against them in court. Collections of Donya are preserved in the Malek Library, Tehran, and in the Central Library of Fa@rs in Shiraz; the works of Ara@n^, including his writings for Donya@, were published under the title Atar o maqalat in Florence in 1975.

Donya was revived as the theoretical organ of the Tudeh Party in exile in 1960 and was published in Europe until 1974; the contributors were anonymous. The journal began as a quarterly of 96-120 pages, measuring 15 by 22 cm, but later it was reduced to appearing twice a year, with 140-60 pages, measuring 11 by 15.5 cm and in smaller print. The price of a single copy was 40 rials in Persia and 50 cents or the equivalent elsewhere. A third series was launched in the summer of 1975, also in Europe; it was published in Stassfurt, near Magdeburg, in former East Germany, and carried an address in Stockholm.

In this series Donya became a political, rather than a theoretical, research-oriented publication. It appeared monthly, in the same format as the previous series but with 56-64 pages. Each issue cost 15 rials. The fourth series was initiated in Tehran in March 1979; the journal appeared monthly, with 156-224 pages in approximately the same dimensions as those of the third series. Donya was distributed as a supplement to the newspaper Nama-ye mardom, the organ of the Tudeh Party. Each issue cost 150 rials.

During this period the owner of the franchise was Manuchehr Behzadi and as before the names of other contributors were not listed. After the Tudeh Party was banned in Persia a fifth series of Donya began irregular publication in Germany in 1984 but also carried an address in Stockholm. In addition to political articles all these series of Donya, especially the fourth, included poetry and brief historical and literary notices. They carried no advertisements and few illustrations. Complete runs exist in some European and American libraries, but, because the Tudeh Party and its publications were usually banned in Persia, only the fourth series, which was published in Tehran, can be found in Persian libraries.


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