Attention Azeri-speakers and Communists!

by ConnieBobroff

Can anyone please help me with the word 'arkadash'? In modern (Istanbul) Turkish, it means "friend" but during Mashruteh and later, in northern Iran/Caspian/Caucusus, it meant "comrade" (like Persian 'rafiq' and also Azeri 'yoldash') in the communist sense. It was used by the mojahedin who were among the most active azadi-khahan. (Not to be confused with Mojaahedin-e Khalq, etc who came later in the Pahlavi era.)

If I ask young Azeri speakers about this, they often incorrectly tell me it means "brother" and a lot of other things. (There is another word which sounds similar but it's not this.) Only older Azeris know 'arkadash' but they know it well and have no doubt about the communist usage. Unfortunately, it's not documented in any dictionary or book on pre- or post-WWI Iran that I can find.

I am asking because Jamalzadeh used this word in a Persian story. You'd think if someone like Jamalzadeh used this word, even though Azeri, it would still appear in every single Persian dictionary ever written but this is not the case. (Think of the equivalent situation of any foreign word appearing in English literature....)

Do you have any insights on this usage in Iran of 'arkadash'?

I have not seen it in any of Jamalzadeh's other writings. Likely he picked it up during WWI during his travels in Istanbul, Baghdad or Iran.

Thank you very much for any assistance in getting this word into the Persian dictionaries.


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Mohammad Ali Jamalzadeh
Oct 18, 2010
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