Zhvandūn, generally known as “Zhwandun,” was one of the most popular magazines published in Afghanistan in the second half of the 20th century. It began as a progressive magazine published both in Persian and Pushto, beginning in May 1949. The magazine presented articles on Afghan and global history, archaeological discoveries and artifacts, poetry and language, biographies of Afghan and foreign figures, arts and culture, philosophy and religion, and other topics relating to culture and everyday life, including music, dance, plays, health, and households. While Zhvandūn presented articles on literary, historical, educational, and entertainment topics throughout the time it was published, the changing social and political dynamics of Afghanistan influenced the character of the editorial content. In the 1960s, the magazine reflected the royalism of the Kingdom of Afghanistan. In contrast, the leftist regimes of the 1980s promoted revolutionary content, such as discussions of Marxist ideology, anticapitalist chants, and articles on agricultural reforms. While Zhvandūn marketed itself as a magazine for khanawadah (families), its main audience was the post-World War II generation of urban Afghans of various backgrounds: students, academics, writers, poets, researchers, and general readers. Zhvandūn was published every 15 days until 1952, when it became a weekly publication. On May 6, 1954, the management of Zhvandūn was given to the Riyasat-i Mustaqil-i Matbu’at (Autonomous Directorate of Publications). The Vizarat-i Ittilaʻat va Kultur (Ministry of Information and Culture) took over the magazine in 1970, and managed it until 1982, when control was transferred to Itihadyah-yi Navisandagan Jumhur-i Dimukratik-i Afghanistan (Union of the Writers of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan). The renamed Union of Afghan Writers issued separate editions of Zhvandūn (one in Pushto and another in Persian) under the mujahideen government in the 1990s, until the magazine ceased publishing in 1996.
Sponsor: Afghanistan. Ministry of Information and Culture | Union of the Writers of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
Project Director: Kāwah, Shīr Muḥammad
Director: ʻUsmān’zādah, ʻAlī Muḥammad
Place: Central and South Asia; Afghanistan
Institution: Library of Congress
Physical description: 35-37 centimeters