In the historiography of Iranian constitutionalism and the constitutional revolution, the reformist movement is treated as a receptive movement crafted by the ideas originating chiefly from nineteenth-century Western Europe or Russia, with no dependencies on Asia or the Middle East, excepting the Ottoman Empire. Even in the case of the Ottoman Empire, the study of the cross-border link has been limited to the nonreciprocal impact that the movement for change and reform in the Ottoman Empire had on late-nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century Iran, with no reference to the possible impact that Iranian constitutionalism might have had on the Young Turk revolution of 1908. In the case of Transcaspian connections, the historiography of Iranian constitutionalism has been usually limited to its reference to a few nonreciprocal links between Iran and the northern frontiers, where mainly the Caucasus was in charge of producing revolutionary literature or dispatching revolutionary agents to the south in order to save the constitution from being slaughtered by Qajar despotism.

In a corresponding fashion, in Soviet historiography the study of the reformist movement of the early twentieth century in the Caucasus and Central Asia was generally treated as an isolated, self-contained movement, confined within the geographic borders of Baku, Tbilisi, and Bukhara, or at most within the southern region of the czarist empire, Turkistan. The occasional reference to the cross-regional dimension of these reform movements, if ever, was merely to its association with the political reforms exercised during the same period by the Russians or Tatars in different parts of the czarist empire. Here, too, what has been largely overlooked is the bond between the reform movements in the Caucasus and Central Asia and the corresponding movements in neighboring countries, namely, Iran, Afghanistan, India, or the Ottoman Empire.

In this study, I examine the impact that the Iranian constitutional revolution had on the reformist movement of the early twentieth century in the Caucasus and Central Asia and Afghanistan. Further, I sketch the Indian connection that made such an impact possible. My observation in this study is derived from highlighting historical examples at specific moments, rather than adopting a checklist approach, and covering as many spaces as possible over a certain period of time.

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