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Kurdish Scientific Society

The Kurds in Iraq have been actively involved in planning efforts since the mid-1920s. A major obstacle to formal and group efforts in Iraq, as well as in other countries where Kurds live, has been the need for acquiring government permission for any organized activity.

The first organization that dealt with language cultivation, "Jemiyetí Zanistí Kurdan" (Kurdish Scientific Society) was founded by three Kurds in Sulaymaniya in 1926. The organization was licensed by the Interior Minister in a letter addressed to the Governor of Sulaymaniya liwa, copies of which were sent to the Chief of Police and the Administrative Inspector of the province. The main purpose of the Society, according to its program, was "to diffuse science and knowledge in Kurdistan by a) publishing journals and scheduled treatises and, b) translation and composition of textbooks and other [books]..." (Article 1). It was emphasized (Article 5) that the Society would not get involved in politics in any form (Jemiyetí Zanistí Kurdan 1926).

The Kurdish Scientific Society's revenues came from membership admission fees (minimum one rupee), monthly fees and donations. According to the Kurdish paper Zarí Kirmanjí (No. 1, May 24, 1926, p. 8), 2,520 rupees were donated by twenty-two notables soon after the formation of the organization. An early effort in language reform was the purification of vocabulary. The Society went through many upheavals; it was closed after the mass anti-government protest of the people of Sulaymaniya in September 1930, reopened in 1932, disactivated due to financial problems in 1936, and finally its licence was revoked in 1938. During the last years of its existence, the Society devoted all its efforts, under the leadership of Piramerd, to the propagation of literacy in Kurdish (Sajjadi 1943:14-16).

Sources: Prof. A. Hassanpour, "Nationalism and Language in Kurdistan 1918 - 1985", UAS 1992