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Kemal Pasha – A Progressive Man

Mustafa Kemal Pasha was a Turkish marshal revolutionary field Statesman, author and founding father of the republic of Turkey. Pasha was the first president of Turkey from 1923 to 1938. After the first world war Turkey was devastated. During the time of Kemal Pasha, Turkey rose from the ashes. Kemal brought sweeping reforms in Turkey at all levels of Turkish Society. Rightly Kemal Pasha was being called Ataturk. Ataturk means Father, Kemal Pasha was the father of modern Turkey.

In the international Situation of Europe at that time there was a term called – The Eastern Question. And it has been said – The eastern question has always been an international question. Let us know – what is the eastern question ? Among the European nations Turkey was the only muslim Country. The rest were Christian Countries. So the Christians wanted to eliminate Muslims of Turkey from the heart of Europe. It may be argued that the eastern question caused the First world war. Austria annexed Serbia by annexing Bosnia in 1908. Russia helped to organize the Balkan league of Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece which went to war with Turkey in 1912. Militarily they were successful, but they fought between themselves. The full concert of Europe – Britain , France, Austria and Russia – all had interests in the future of the ottoman empire. Eastern question was a complex question. At that time Turkey was the sickman of Europe. At this juncture Kemal pasha came to the resque of Turkey.

    Kemal was a military genius. He had accomplished experience in the first world war in the battle of Gallipoli (1915). In the year 1923 he formed the Turkish Republic and he became the first president. His aim was to build a modern progressive and secular nation state in Turkey. So he started rigorous reforms in political, economic and cultural fields. He made primary education free and compulsory. He introduced latin based Turkish Alphabet. Turkish women were given equal civil and political rights.  

He made a homogenous Turkey, Kemal Pasha was an outstanding personality, He was innovative. One example is celebration of children day. In Turkey it was totally different. On that day in important Govt. departments a child was made to sit as the Head of the Dept. and on that day his/her decision is final and had to be obeyed. Indeed Kemal did what the multitude could not do, He imitated some Christian manners also to adjust the eastern question.

      Jawaharlal Nehru in his book- Glimpses of world History, has written elaborately about Kemal Pasha and showered enormous praise on Pasha. Even he lighted Diyas in his prison cell in Ahmednagar Jail to celebrate the birth of Republic of Turkey under Kemal, The Ataturk.  Now we may quote a few words from Kemal’s speech-

      “The best the truest order is the order of civilization. To be a man it is enough to carry out the requirements of civilization.”

      In fact Kemal Pasha was simply outstanding both as a man and as an administrator. In world History, he was a phenomenon. He is worthy of adoration and imitation.

The views expressed are the writer’s own.)

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Radhakanta Seth is a former Income tax officer in Sambalpur.  He is a freelance writer and his articles have been published in some Oriya dailies like Sambad, Samaj, Dharitri, and English dailies like The Telegraph and in a sociological journal ‘Folklore’ published in Kolkata.

He can be reached at radhakantaseth2

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