Apr 15, 2011

Sheikh 'Ubad Allah Nehri's Movement

Abdulla Hawez

Kurds throughout the history struggled to gain their right as all other nations in the region and the world to have its independent state. Kurdish principalities which were the hope of establishing Kurdish state were all collapsed. One of the main problems that Kurds have never been so strong is the tribal mentality among Kurds, and because there weren't nationalism awareness in this era, all the principalities have sentiment to their tribes instead of Kurdish national sentiment. Kurdish principalities were surrounded by two major empires which they were superpowers in this period of time; all these weak principalities couldn't resist the huge power of those two empires. If the Kurdish principalities were united under Kurdish sentiment and took away their difference that could give a momentum to Kurds and might change the direction of the history. After a dozen of tribal principalities, the dream of independent Kurdistan had started for the first time ever with the rising of Sheikh Ubad Allah Nehri.
Sheikh Ubad Allah Nehri's father Sheikh Taha Shamzinee was a governor of a district under the Qajar or Iranian's rule. Sheikh Taha first rebels when Shah tried to take a tax from people instead of giving it to him which people of this area rejected this decision of Shah. In the 1877- 1878 Sheikh Ubad Allah lead the Ottomans army in a battle against Russians in Bayazid which they could crush the Russian army badly. That gave him a special prestige and became widely well-known in all around the region. In 1880, he supervised a conference which 220 Kurdish tribal leaders participated, there he asked for a united of Kurdish tribes and get ready to revolt against both Iranian and Ottoman empires for ending the repression and discrimination that Kurds faced from both empires. Then he asked British's consulate in Anatolia to support his movement with guarantees to protect Christians.
In the same year, in 1880, Sheikh Abidullah Nahri's battle for independence of Kurdistan started in the northern west spot of Turkish-Iranian borders. Both empires tried to speared rumors about him and create tension between Kurds and Armenians; he appointed an Armenian as his adviser for regional affair. Sheikh Abidullah's troops which overall were approximately 20,000 fighters swept to the deeper Kurdish districts in the Iranian empire. In a very short of time, they could control most Kurdish-Iranian cities. There he established Kurdish official institutions. Because of his rapid move to the deep of Iranian empire, he could sweep the wide area, and take authority from the Iranian empire. Also because he was spiritual and religious leader of Naqishbandi oder In Mahabad when they took control of it, the cleric announced Jihad against Shiite rulers in the territory which that gave a spiritual momentum to his troops.
Afterward the Shah called Sultan to send troops to curb Kurdish revolution, as they have a treaty for those conditions before. But the fighters of Sheikh Abidullah could still more forward further. As the battle became harsher, most tribes withdraw their men because they were afraid of the consequences of the battle. Sheikh remains fighting with only 2000 fighters and stand against giant coalition troops of both empires. Later, when Sheikh's troops became close to city of Tabriz, Iranian empires asked both Russian and British troops to crush the Kurdish revolution. In 1882, the triple force of Iranian, Ottoman and Russian seized the Kurdish fighters in all sides. Then, In October 1882, Sheikh Abidullah was captured in Hakkari by Sultan Muhammad II and moved to Istanbul. IN 1883, he with a hundred other Kurdish families exiled to Hijaz. After living honorable life, he passed away in 1888 in the same city of Hijaz.
Sheikh Ubad Allah Nehri's revolution wasn't a normal battle in Kurdish history. He is first Kurdish leader to give priority to Kurdish sentiment over tribal sentiment. He used nationalism to collect all Kurds under a united roof to struggle for their longstanding dream of independence. He was a truing point in Kurdish history, as he raised nationalism sentiment and started continues struggle to independence. If we look at the history after him in Kurdish territories, they mostly inspired by him. For instance, in 1886, Kurds resist Sultan Abdulhamid II, or in 1898, Sultan Abdulhamid II threatens the Kurdish nationalist thinker Miqdad Medhatr Badrkhan to stop the publication of his Kurdish language paper. Those and other events show a rising of nationalism among Kurds. Sheikh Ubad Allah Nehri was a great nationalist leader that first started a long way for a united and independent Kurdish state. This dream is still continues.

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