Magazine PEARL

The Herzegovina Museum Publishing


The first issue of Biser came out of the First Muslim publishing house and printing house in Mostar, which was bought a year earlier by Muhamed Bekir Kalajdžić, that determined and destined young man of Bosnian and Bosniak graphic practice at the beginning of the second decade of the 20th century, just at the time of the bitter end of the initial upsurge of his cultural projects. people.
Muhamed Bekir Kalajdžić was born in Mostar in 1892, fourteen years after the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The occupation was not only the confiscation of space and the removal of the Turkish state administration, but also the cancellation of the original assets of the centuries-old cultural layers that Bosniaks accepted and appropriated: this first of all referred to the Arabic script and its Bosnian derivative Arabica, abolished by law and put out of state use. With that stroke of a pen, overnight, the Bosniak people became illiterate in the eyes of the new masters of Bosniak land and Bosniak destinies.

Written by: dr. sci. Ibrahim Kayan

One enraptured young man from Mostar, in the age of complete decay and oblivion of the previous cultural paradigm that lasted for four centuries and the new one was only being born slowly and painfully, completely different from the previous one, imagined in the middle of his small town, on his own dime, to publish a newspaper issues of education, culture and literature of their people. The idea was more than ambitious, especially if you know that, in 1911, he had not even reached his twenties yet!
A whole century has passed since then, a full hundred years.The young man signed himself as Muhamed Bekir Kalajdžić.
He gave the paper the name – Biser, and the subtitle: Paper for spreading education among Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina.1
The first number of Pearls was published on 1. VI. 1912 and concluded its first year on 12 May 1913. Until the 7th issue, Biser was edited and signed by the Editorial Board, and from the 8th issue, starting in January 1913, it was headed by the most prominent editor-in-chief. poet of Bosniak poetry of the revival period – Musa Ćazim Ćatić.
In this honor, the Museum of Herzegovina, which through its Department of Literature takes care of the written cultural heritage of all the peoples of Mostar and the region, is putting into circulation a reprint edition of Bisera suitable for classical library institutions and its digitized edition for wider use in the teaching practice of our schools and universities. The reprint and digitized edition are parts of our scientific project, which still lacks the first part, the monograph on Biser.

The historical sequence of the Austro-Hungarian 40-year rule of Bosnia and Herzegovina, declared a “new age” and “Europeanization of Bosnian culture”, was preceded by a large, complex and still unstudied and unread written heritage that was created and developed during four full centuries of Ottoman administration. Some of those centuries, due to the reach of the aesthetic and thought level, were called golden periods.
Because of this, because of the “pressure” of the heritage on the cultural being of the heir, the “new era” of new proclaimed political, educational and cultural visions, there was more than the “complexity” of the circumstances in which Muslim Bosniaks found themselves, above all others.
After Sarajevo, Mostar made the most significant and brilliant contribution to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and especially Bosniak culture and literature. Texts in Turkish, Persian and Arabic, but also in Bosnian, both scientific and literary, have been produced practically since the first days of the Ottoman administration – through the verses of Herceg Stjepan’s grandson Ali-beg Hercegović Širi, world names of poetry and philosophy, such as Zijai Mostari , Derviš-paša Bajezidagić, Ali-dede, Šejh Jujo, Fevzi Mostarac, whose names are only a small part in the chain of authors of the 16th and 17th centuries. and XVIII centuries. In the XIX. In the century, doomed in all respects, the horizons of thought of the scientific and literary discourse of mufti Hadži Mustafa ef Sarajlić, Hadži Mustafa ef Mukić or Hadži Mustafa Sitki Karabeg, who was tragically killed in the days before the entry of the Austro-Hungarian army into Mostar, are still opening. In the second half of the same century, Rahmija Mostarac, Omer Hazim Humo, Ali Fehim Džabić, and Joanikije also appeared.
Pamucina, Prokopie Čokorilo, Petar Bakula and others. Literally: hundreds and hundreds of author’s names from Mostar, covered the sky with the starry glow of beautiful and scientific words above their unique and incomparable city, their Mostar.
Their works were handwritten until the second half of the 19th century. century – copied by hand and thus multiplied and shared around the world. The wonderful box of lead letters arrived at the Turkish borders of the Bosnian Eyalet only in 1866

Although Gutenberg’s machine came to the Bosnian Vilayet 400 years late thanks to the last Ottoman reforms, the experience of printing until the realization of Kalajdžić’s visions was not without any foundations. The beginning of Bosnian printing is connected, therefore, with the year 1866, and the appearance of the first pages of Bosanski vestnik (in the Bosnian language) and Bosna i Sarajevski klujenik (in the Bosnian and Turkish languages).
Bosanskohercegovačke novine, a political newspaper, launched in Sarajevo just after the Austro-Hungarian occupation of our country, was printed in Bosnian and partly in German, which, a little later, would change its name to Sarajevo list, giving wings to the publication of a large number of new papers that began to address the Bosnian people. , their different cultural, religious and national interests.
From then on, the printed offer, focused above all on the vital interests of the endangered Bosniak-Muslim population, will be printed
beings, to be significantly multiplied by the publication of a series of newspapers and magazines written (most often) in Bosnian and Turkish (Vatan, Rehber, Tarik, Muallim, Mishab, Jeni Rehber, Bošnjak, etc.), with the highest reach in Bašagićevo Behar. Unfortunately, the newspapers had a hard time surviving, first of all due to the lack of stronger material and professional support… but also the small number of the newly formed first generation of Bosniak intellectual elite educated in Vienna, Graz, Prague and, later, in Zagreb.
The first printing press will arrive in Herzegovina, in Mostar, in 1871, five years after Sarajevo.
The first printed booklets (1873), in the fields of religious education, catechism, and textbooks and fiction from domestic and translated literature, were under the auspices of the Printing House of the Catholic Mission. The printing house would often change its name: it was called Tiskara franjevacka, Tiskara don Frane Milićević, Brzotisak don Frane Milićević and Tiskara “Glasa Herzegovac”.
The printing house of the Vilayet of Herzegovina, started working in 1876, was short-lived, notable only for the fact that it printed the first Herzegovina newspaper – Neretva, the official organ of the Vilayet. A total of 38 numbers were performed.
In 1891, the First Serbian Printing House of Vladimir M. Radović was formed, and it operated until 1904. The first Serbian opposition newspaper Srpski vjesnik was printed there. The printing house also published books by the most important domestic and foreign authors (Šantić, Ćorović, Matavulj, Dostojevski, Pushkin, Petefi, etc.).
The publications of the Printing and Art Institute Paher i Kisić are particularly significant for that entire period. Among their well-known publications are the magazine Zora and the “Mala biblioteka” edition, but even today the lesser-known newspapers Musavat, Narod Hrvatski, Težak, Delo, Hercegovina, Narodni list, Palangar…
It is, in the shortest strokes, a sketch of the printed history of Mostar and Herzegovina.

The first issue of Bisera came out of Mostar’s Prva Muslimska nakladna bookstore and printing house, which was bought a year earlier by Muhamed Bekir Kalajdžić, that determined and destined young man of Bosnian and Bosniak VI graphic practice at the beginning of the second decade of the 20th century, right at the time of the bitter end of the initial upsurge of cultural projects of his people.
Muhamed Bekir Kalajdžić was born in Mostar in 1892, fourteen years after the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The occupation was not only the confiscation of space and the removal of the Turkish state administration, but also the cancellation of the original assets of the centuries-old cultural layers that Bosniaks accepted and appropriated: this first of all referred to the Arabic script and its Bosnian derivative Arabica, abolished by law and put out of state use. With that stroke of a pen, overnight, the Bosniak people became illiterate in the eyes of the new masters of Bosniak land and Bosniak destinies.
That endless mass of “illiterate Muslims”, which received only the first few generation of educated intellectuals in the West and began to educate another, depoliticized and humiliated, impoverished and fundamentally shaken – this young man, this Kalajdžić, warns that, as a nation, it is necessary to give it the condition survival, future and life in it. The condition is in “adaptation”, in Europeanized education and culture, but shaped by one’s own language and the production of one’s literature – without renouncing the Islamic concept and Islamic values, but permeated and inspired by them. Kalajdžić took over the essential program principles from Bašagić’s Behar and tried them with all his might, within the limits of one’s powers, to follow consistently. What was absent in Behar was also absent in Biser.
The painful absence of political topics was based on the Austro-Hungarian regulations for that profile of the newspaper – and the regulation was respected to the utmost. Even through them! So, for example, there is no mention anywhere that the Great World War started, and the tragic issue of mass emigration to Turkey is only mentioned here and there in the context of a completely different topic! “Such an attitude of Biser towards the political, state-building and national status of Bosniaks is a consequence of the general political climate and the immature national consciousness of Bosniaks”, rightly stated in their monograph on Biser by Dr. L. Hadžiomerović and Dr. M. Memija.

Since discontinuity is a tragic feature of the cultural history of the Bosniak people, then it is really not at all strange that the request of the new paper, before the Editorial Board even touched upon the principles of the program, highlighted the aspiration, literally – the necessity of establishing continuity with the defunct Behar (1911) and the suspended Gajret (1912) and its finished and complete end (1914). 3 Bookseller and publisher (Mostar, 1892 – Sarajevo, 10. IX. 1963) – He finished high school and kindergarten in Mostar, and he had to leave the trade school because he strongly advocated for the rights of Bosniak students in that school. He bought the printing house from Đura Džamonja, a politician and editor of Osvit, and opened the First Muslim Publishing Bookstore and Printing House in Mostar in 1910, with a branch in Trebinje. A group of young Bosniak writers lived in Mostar (Abdurezak Hifzi Bjelevac, Husejn Đogo (Dubravić), Salih-beg Bakamović, Mirhab Šukri Karišiković, Omer A. Balić and Hadži Muhamed ef. Behlilović), who, with Kalajdžić’s strong support as a publisher and owner – collaborated in Biser.
The paper was first published as a monthly, and in 1913 as a semi-monthly in the format of the earlier Behar. One of the most important moves in Kalajdžić’s publishing and editorial work is certainly the decision to hire the poet, essayist and translator Musa Ćazim Ćatić as the editor of Biser. In the period from 1912 to 1915, 36 books entered Kalajdžić’s Muslim Library. The First World War interrupted the publishing activity, and in 1918, in order not to have to go to the army, he restarted the publication of Pearls. After the First World War, the bookstore grew and the publishing activity almost completely stopped, since Kalajdžić had to sell the printing house during the war. Before II. World War I moved to Sarajevo and opened a bookstore. His room with a shop in Varoš was a meeting place for those Bosniak public workers who were engaged in writing, between the wars and during World War II. world war. After the liquidation of the private sector in trade in 1945, the First Muslim Publishing Bookstore ceased to exist Then his property was also nationalized, so he lived in extremely difficult material conditions until his death. He left an indelible work on Bosniak culture:
he published a total of about 70 books, and the magazine Biser, along with Behar, is certainly one of the most important magazines of the “deaf times” of Bosniak cultural history. In addition to the 100th anniversary of his birth, Mostar and Sarajevo intellectuals held a scientific symposium in his honor on October 3, 2002, and the Mostar Revival published Proceedings from that meeting.

Kalajdžić’s project was announced in the program as a message of the urgent and urgent need for national renewal of spirit, education and culture, which was stated in the editorial of the first issue of Bisera with very careful and carefully chosen words. The script that will be written in is Latin, and the language, although the name is never mentioned anywhere, is obviously Bosnian. The editorial guarantees that the writers of the texts will be domestic authors, but that the pages of the paper will be open to foreign writers, obviously also Western, whose texts do not oppose the “pure Islamic spirit”. In this way, the Pearl “could reach all layers of our people”. In particular, there is a very decisive and undeniable rejection of “empty politics”, which “will have no place in our paper”.
This program summary radiates the effort to “record the tradition” and “modernize the tradition” – and reinterpret it anew for the people, and to include in the literary blocks of the paper, along with folklore oral material, also European literary forms more or less not/known as adopted by Eastern literatures literary practice.
An editorial with programmatic intentions is signed by the Biser editorial office. The editor-in-chief has apparently not been found yet. Program responsibility is assumed by an unnamed group of people, made up of persons of various spiritual, civic and purely profane professions. From the 8th issue, judging by the published welcome to the arrival of the first professional editor, Biser fills the glodur column with the name, not at all anonymous, Muse Ćazim Ćatić.
In addition to his editorial work, Ćatić published a truly astonishing number of his texts in Biser, under his name, various initials or pseudonyms. He published “a third of his poems”6, countless translations from Turkish and Arabic, then three literary essays, two of which are certainly of anthological value, and the texts he prepared, edited and prepared for the press – an unknown number. He edited it from January 1913 until the invitation to the front in 1914, which followed Princip’s assassination in Sarajevo. He never returned to Mostar, the city to which he gave more than any environment in which he lived. In which he wrote his most significant works, in which he translated and published them in a dozen books, including his only poetry collection published during his lifetime, Poems from 1900 to 1908.7
The book was published at the end of 1914, half a year before the poet’s death in Tešnje, on April 6, the green moon of April 1915, and the tormenting jennaza on the outcast plot for foreigners, rebels and non-believers, called the Hangman.
The structure of the paper itself, its thematic interest and classified areas, it was already emphasized in the first editorial of Biser, follows its model, and the model is the first Bosniak newspaper Behar.
Biser devoted a great deal of space to the issue of the spiritual Bosniak tradition, to the issues of Islam, and he was particularly occupied and devoted both in the East and in the West to the current topic (of course, for different reasons), the “pan-Islamist movement”. In this way, Biser showed that he is at the level of the “feeling of time” of Muslim thinking in general, and Bosniak thinking in particular – offering him reading as an important contribution to the understanding of pan-Islamic ideas and their theoretical and intellectual understanding. This is completely understandable if one knows that it was the era of complete and total enslavement of the entire Islamic world, literally all countries – except Turkey, a power that the West seized like Gulliver, a giant completely blocked and condemned to slavery!

This topic must have been very interesting for the Bosniaks – because they found themselves, as a small, Muslim nation, in the same situation – on the edge of a world, on a war line that declared itself to be the frontline of Christianity, 5 “Bisera” editorial board: A word or two about the founder of “Bisera” , Biser, year I, June 1, 1912, p. 1-2 6 Muhsin Rizvić says: “Out of about one hundred and sixty poems that Ćatić published in various magazines, almost one third were published in “Biser” during his editing of this paper”, V. Review of the literature of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1985, p. 146. Musa Ćazim Ćatić did not exist since 1945: his name was not mentioned anywhere, his poems were not in anthologies, his books were not published. In 1964, Abdurahman Nametak, from Mostar, defended his doctorate on Ćatić’s literary work at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Zagreb. The collected works in Dr. Nametok’s editorial office were Ćatić’s first publication after the war, in the small town of Tešnj, in 1968. In Mostar, however, it never occurred to anyone that the name of this tragic poet, whose picture is even on modern BH banknote, not a single school in Mostar, not even the smallest alley in our town. Neither to him, nor to Muhamed Bekir Kalajdžić. Not to any writer, except Aleksi Šantić and Osman Đikić. Did this city really only have two poets?

Antemurale Christianitatis, I am completely alone and beheaded: the address where they would ask for help and protection over their threatened honor, over their property, over their culture, over their faith and over their homeland – no longer existed anywhere. Biser, of course, is also interested in questions that question the relationship between “Islam and socialism”, the editors are interested in the substantial opposition of “theists and atheists”, but also in the social aspects of Islam towards the poor,
they open up to the more modern aspects of pedagogy – education, they write about ethics and psychological peculiarities (human characters), communicative forms of social conventions, and “eternal” thematic debates about women in Islam, opposites and permeations of Islam and Christianity, etc.
Considering the literary sections, Biser is persistent and from the first to the last issue he finds the scattered, oral treasures of the Bosniak people, mostly lyrics, stories, proverbs, sayings and all the force of smaller folkloristic materials.
Among the most prominent collectors is the agile Fehim Hadžibaščausević, who is already a noted Bosniak folklorist in Behar, then Zumreta Azapagić, followed by F. Musakadić, F. Arnautović, S. Agić and numerous other collectors who still live the traditions of the patriarchal Muslim milieu. The editors often publicly begged and asked their readers to write for their own paper. This shows that the “author’s courage” took shape slowly and that every more literate author was appreciated and sought after. A new, second generation of Bosniak writers from Mostar was just emerging. From the older, Bašagić’s generation, only Šemsudin Sarajlić appears, and never, for example, Osman Nuri Hadžić, the first
Bosnian novelist created in tandem with Ivan Milićević under the common name Osman – Aziz.

Nevertheless, there is a literary core: Hifzi Abdurezak Bjelevac, Husein Đogo Dubravić, Salih Bakamović, Mirham Šukri Karišiković, Nafija Sarajlić, Jusuf Tanović, Muftić Hazim, Hamdija Mulić…
It can be said with certainty that the formation of Bosniak literature of the Austro-Hungarian period – started in Sarajevo’s Behar, completed and concluded – in Mostar’s Biser. Biser, for its part, certainly contributed to the final establishment of forms and genres that neither Bosnian nor Bosniak literature of the Turkish period had in its composition (e.g. sonnets, prose poems, novels, dramatic forms). Interestingly, the influences of Western literary currents did not (always) come from direct readings or translations of Western authors, but also through Turkish writers (in this sense, the literary relationship between Muse Ćazim Ćatić and his poetic idol Teufik Fikret is illustrative).
The strong influence, undeniably, came from the neighboring literatures, Croatian and Serbian, but also Slovenian – which is recognizable in the texts of a number of our novelists and poets.
Education and schooling, strongly emphasized in the program sections of the founder of Biser, are supported by a series of articles more, admittedly, about the history of education in the Arab world, in the Ottoman Empire, and somewhat less about tangible problems that touch living times and living needs. In this second group of texts, among the local authors, the contributions of the top pedagogue of his time, Hamdija Mulić, are unavoidable, with a didactic-moralistic sensibility, close to the literary forms of short stories, with a very visible effort to recognize the necessary demand of the time – the formation of “national consciousness and the general progress of Bosniaks”.
A significant number of texts are translations, dominated by those from Eastern languages and from French. Musa Ćazim Ćatić achieved a gigantic translation job: he himself translated the largest number of texts which, after being published in Bisera, were also published as independent books (M. Akif: Jedan vaz; from the same author: Basic Principles of Islam; O. Namik: Teiste and certificates; A. Naim: Foundations of Islamic morality). Besides Ćatić, Salih Bakamović (translator from Turkish and French), Ahmed Rešidkadić (from Turkish), Muhamed Zahirović (from Turkish), and Muhamed Tufo (from Arabic) and many others are certainly the most prominent.
In addition to these main and most important sections, Biser also had different sections of an informative nature: on endowment issues, on agriculture, on the establishment and work of social associations, on banking, on the distribution, number and destiny of Muslims in the world, on health and holidays. He had obituaries, notes on humanitarian actions, and most recently, small contributions and the so-called streaks.

Biser is undeniably a unique Bosniak attempt to strive for cultural and literary continuity, in the most beautiful sequences and realized, despite the darkest political time of the Austro-Hungarian occupation and the terrible destruction of the First World War, before and during which it began and ended its publication.
Writers, almost all of them, of name and importance, of the period in question published in Biser.
In addition to standard literary forms, Biser was the place of publication of numerous poems, sonnets and essays by the most important Bosniak poet of the first half of the 20th century and the editor of Muse Ćazim Ćatić, the first novel by Hivzija Bjelevac Pod drim suncem, satirical and humorous texts by Husein Đoga Dubravić, he affirmed, publishing her exceptional lyrical writings, Nafija Sarajlić and the verses of Šefika Nesretin (i.e. Šefika Bjelevac). He spread Islamic and civil education. He brought together a whole series of translators and diligent collectors of oral folk treasures. He affirmed completely new authors, honorably making his great contribution to the Bosnian and Bosniak cultural paradigm.
In this, in the educational, cultural and literary sense, Biser is unique and represents one of the most important newspapers in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Although Biser did not have social and political issues in its program content, which certainly diminishes its dimension of historicity and time situation, nevertheless through some forms of other journalistic or literary genres – it broke through to the light what seeks the seriousness of Bosniak collective life and cries out for its social realization and satisfaction.
Thus, Mostar’s Biser is the only one in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the deepest deafness of the Austro-Hungarian period, and after the failed project of Kállay’s concept of Bosniak (as a state nation of members of all religions), but also of the “estranged” historical Bosniak name – he came before his unnamed people with an invitation to establish , no less, no more, than “Matica Muslimanska”! It would be, says the proclamation published on the cover, that fundamental institution with the meaning of unquestionable authority, such as “Matica Spska”, “Matica Hrvatska”, “Sveto Jeronimsko društvo”, “Society of Croatian Writers”, “Yugoslav Academy” have in their nations. and the like.8 The action, of course, is not a success: the idea was not only late in itself, but it was also published and
attempted to be launched – in the final, most difficult year of the war, 1918.

Yes, Muhamed Bekir Kalajdžić, the owner of Biser, Musa Ćazim Ćatić, editor-in-chief, the Editorial Board and all other Biser collaborators, emerged from a neglected and finished time that left behind an empty historical shell in which a difficult and painful question rang: Why The West is progressing and the Muslims are failing.
It is their great merit that they tried to answer, in forms appropriate to the educational and cultural-literary space, to difficult questions of personal and collective consciousness, in the ways they knew and knew how. In this way, with a mind that, obviously, could not be smarter than its time, they joined the greatest Bosniak leaders such as the people of Herzegovina – Medmed-beg Kapetanović Ljubušak (founder and editor of Bošnjak) and Safvet-beg Bašagić (initiator and editor of Behar ), papers that literally produced the revival material of the Bosniak cultural and literary space in the political era of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.