Astana hosts an Eurasian Literary Forum under a title “The Power of a Word in a Modern World” these days
An Eurasian Literary Forum under a title “The Power of a Word in a Modern World” has been held today in Astana. The event was organized by the Writers’ Union of Qazaqstan under the facilitation of the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Qazaqstan within the framework of “Ruhani Zhangyru” governmental program, aimed at modernization of national identity. The event will last by tomorrow. The Forum is organized on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Astana – the main city of Qazaqstan.
The event is participated by a lot of guests from all over the world (including Great Britain, Germany, China, Russia, Turkey, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, Armenia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Azerbaijan and others.)
International experts and the creative intelligentsia, including writers and poets are discussing issues related to a role of literature in modern world in the context of globalization and ways of development of regional literature.
Tomorrow several panel discussions will be held in the premises of «Hilton Garden Inn Astana» hotel. They are devoted to the following topics: ‘Modern poetry’, ‘Modern prose’, ‘Key issues of drama’ and ‘Current state of literary translation’.
Within the framework of the forum a signature of a Memorandum on Cooperation between the Writers’ Union of Qazaqstan and the Writers’ Union of Iran is expected. In a library of the National Academy of the Republic of Qazaqstan will be held a meeting of the writers of Qazaqstan and Russia.
Homesickness in the works of Bakhytzhan Kanapyanov (part 1)
Writings about homesickness can remind us what we really love about home.
Homesickness in the works of Bakhytzhan Kanapyanov is described in two of his writings. They are: ‘Bakhchysarai’ and ‘Tamga of Issyk Kul’. The story ‘Bakhchysarai’ is about an old-man, who had been resettled from the Crimea to the northern part of Qazaqstan. And a novel ‘Tamga of Issyk Kul’ tells about one hundred and twenty-five Japanese prisoners of war.
Small pieces of art with complete certainty represent themselves a study that shed light on a state of solitude and yearning of the settlers, their self-awareness and their own view of the causes and consequences that induced them to be in their ‘locations’.
The novel ‘Bakhchysarai’ describes a tragic story of the life of the Crimean old settler Kemal, who with his old wife Ani had to live twenty years in a foreign country, firstly, in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), and then ‘here in the north of Qazaqstan’.
Like many of his compatriots who were widely spread over the territory of the Soviet Union, some of them found themselves in the Mari ASSR, some of them were deported to the Urals or to the Kostroma region, Uzbekistan or Tajikistan, he was expelled in the May days of 1944. Unlike other deported peoples who were returned to their homeland in the late 1950s, the Crimean Tatars were deprived of this right formally until 1974, and in fact until 1989.
After paying part down and part on time for a small house Kemal and Ani lived quietly. They had not really hung out with their neighbors. Within two or three years their housing had been transformed, ‘gradually turning into a garden house’, where every empty piece of land was strewn with flowers and even seedlings, that were a wonder for those places, were growing up well enough. The trees seem to have survived along with the old people in spite of all adversities.
‘The garden house’ stood out against a background of a gray town, creating its own unique atmosphere. In the Encyclopedia of Symbols, as is known, the ‘garden’ is treated as a symbol of creative freedom of the spirit and a symbol of the cultivated consciousness. Therefore, the old man, constantly ‘cultivated his garden’: he ‘planted trees and various species of plants, burning the weeds, pruning branches of trees, and digging the ground’.
Only the haunting tune ‘Bakhchysarai, Bakhchysarai’ helped him to drive away black thoughts and saved from attacks of nostalgia. Being a visually verbal sign of the image of the Crimea, this tune connected through ‘the years and cities’ the hero who had got older in a foreign country with his homeland.
The novel is autobiographical. The author remembers how the light-faced old Ani entertained kids on the street with all kinds of delicacies from Tashkent, and ‘the old man engaged the kids to his gardening experiments’. Or, how the narrator’s father and Kemal talked for a long time and from the lips of the old man mixed with the Qazaq-Tatar speech sounded familiar toponyms ‘Cairo’, ‘Alushta’, ‘White Mosque’. A peaceful course of life of the ‘prisoner’ of a foreign country ‘here in the north of Qazaqstan’ destroyed once the boy's desire to share his impression of the legend of the emergence of Bakhchysarai, read by his father from ‘The Legends of the Crimea’. On the statement of the boy, the prototype of the author, that he knew the legend, in the blink of an eye Kemal's eyes faded, taking a blank incurious stare in the dim light of the coming evening, and ‘eternal grief and horror about the past’ froze up in them. ‘Well, tell me, what do you know about Bakhchysarai?"- asked the old man.
Kemal listened to an incoherent story of how once the son of Khan Mengli-Girey went hunting and witnessed the deaths of two snakes. One serpent, all bitten and exhausted, stopped resisting and lifelessly lowered her head.
And from the forest along the thick grass the third serpent hurried to the place of the battle. It pounced on the winner serpent and a new bloody massacre began. The son of the khan at that moment was thinking about his father, his tribe and his people. They were at that moment like that half-dead snake.
As bitten by the serpent they had fled to the fortress and trembled with fear there. Somewhere the battle was going on, but who would win in it: the Golden Horde or the Turks? But he and his farther Mengli-Girey could not rise any more, like that snake ... Some time passed, the boy continued the story. The young Khan noticed that the snake had moved and slowly crept to the water. A snake putting all its efforts approached the river and plunged into it.
When it crawled out the river-bank, there was not marks of injuries left on her. The son of Khan Mengli-Girey rejoiced, that was a lucky sign! They are destined to rise! They were still alive like that snake ... And the long-awaited news came: The Ottoman Port defeated the Horde Khan Ahmed, who once killed all the warriors of Girey, and Girey himself was cornered into a fortress on a steep rock.
On the spot where two snakes fought in a mortal combat, the Khan ordered to build a palace. And, Bakhchysarai sprang up ... Two serpents that fought in the battle by the order of Khan were engraved on the palace’s coat of arms. It would have been three: two that were in the struggle, and the third one, which was half-dead. But the third snake was not engraved: Mengli-Girey was very wise man ...
Without suppressing his feelings in the half-madness from the heard, the old man sobbed bitterly: ‘It is me, I am the third snake, which is half dead. I am suffocating from poplar fluff. I did not die when I was transported by Red Army to Tashkent, and there were fluff that killed me, and there is not for me either the native river or the stones of Bakhchysarai. A-ah-ah?’.
For a long time after this story, Kemal was not seen. And only a neighbor Aisha told that he was put with some kind of nervous breakdown in the hospital. Soon the garden he had cultivated withered. The space of his foreign land narrowed to the size of his house, where he skillfully sewed men's jackets and suit coats days and nights.
When the author came to the fitting of the jacket ordered by his mother, he only ‘silently glanced through the thick lenses of his glasses and did not say his usual saying: ‘Bakhchysarai, Bakhchysarai!’. These words sounded not only as an eternal memory of the motherland and biographical models of childhood and adolescence, but also as a gap between two worlds: the homeland, personified by memories of Bakhchysarai, and the foreign country where he was forced to live.
In spite of Kemal’s external well-being in a foreign country during twenty years he felt a sense of doom, but these words helped him to maintain a sense of dignity and gave meaning to his life. For twenty years the old man lived in two worlds, which were in different spaces of his personal earthly existence.
The first world is a real life, life with an old woman in a foreign country with timeless longing in the heart for his motherland. The second one is a rich world of legends about Bakhchysarai and Simferopol.
The memory of the motherland resisted the pressure of time. Life, it seemed, was already entering the newly found track after the story with the legend, voiced by the boy.
Kemal had felt fatigue, humility, exhaustion of forces, when suddenly another humming knock of Soviet power shocked him: the Soviet ruling power on the legislative basis prohibited any kinds of private labor.
The conflict, imposed by the contemporary historical period, consisted in the withdrawal from him of the ‘Zinger’ sewing machine and the knitting loom. A feeling of homesickness seemed to have grown into a tragedy of a break with a new homeland and the only earthly good - to work with his own tools.
‘Bakhchysarai, Bakhchysarai!’ - roared over the crowd either from heaven, or from the side of Kemal's house. – ‘Bakhchysarai, Bakhchysarai! I am the third snake, only the stones of Bakhchysarai can save me,’ - the old man shouted in Tatar language, splashing out of his mouth with an epileptic foam.
He cracked his pillow with his teeth, and the bird flu shot up over the crowd and began to circle slowly over the policemen, over old Ani, over old Kemal, ‘who was shaking in convulsions.’ As if summing up by this act results of his life and the impossibility of existence between the two worlds.
The old man died, not at home, but in a psychiatric hospital. Some people in dark doctor’s overall tied the old man and took him there. And only in the process of burial of the dead old man could not meddle the Soviet power, since death calls everyone.
About the novel ‘Sultan Beibars’ of the famous screenwriter and publicist Yermek Tursunov
The novel of the famous screenwriter and publicist Yermek Tursunov is dedicated to Sultan Beibars, an outstanding ruler and commander of the East, whose roots were originally from a Qazaq tribe ‘Qipchaq’. The tribe inhabited the territory of Western Qazaqstan.
Little Mahutbek became a witness to the attack of enemies on his village, before his eyes they killed his father and local inhabitants. He managed to escape death, but he was captured, sold into slavery in a distant country. By the will of fate his name was inscribed in the history of this country in gold letters. He had severe trials in his life, he overcame betrayal of friends, loss of loved ones. He was deprived of his past and could not see good prospects for the future. But the only thing the enemy could not take away was his spirit of freedom, which allowed him to survive and from an ordinary slave to get to the top of the Ruling power, bringing with himself prosperity, wisdom and development for the country and its people.
Sultan Beibars established a huge and one of the wealthiest empire, which included the territories of Palestine, Libya, Jordan, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Turkey. The Mamluks' empire, created by him, never suffered defeat. Sultan Beibars was recognized by the Arab world as a saint, since he saved Islam from enslavement. The Arab East could at some point turn out to be Buddhist or Catholic. But this did not happen largely due to the military genius of Beibars. It was he who stopped the Mongols, and later - the Crusaders, who went to Jerusalem to free the Holy Sepulcher.
In Egypt, the Mamluks were the soldiers whom the Egyptian traveling salesmen bought in Italy's slave markets and were being transported to do service for them. Sons of the Great Steppe or as it was called at that time Desht -i Qipchaq in Islamic sources were particularly prized. Everyone knew that there were no better soldiers and riders in the world than nomads. They received an austere military upbringing and were converted to Islam. The word ‘mamluk’ means in Arabic language ‘property’. But Beibars managed to change the original derogatory meaning of the word ‘mamluk’ by his actions and achievements. Since the time of Sultan Beibars, the Mamluks have become a powerful knightly military caste and some of them even were rules of the country.
Mamluks’ power in Egypt, North Africa and the Levant lasted from 1250 to 1517.
In the novel, the hero appears before the reader in various hypostases. A beloved son of the valiant leader of the Qipchaq nomadic tribe; a weak-willed slave, biding his time; an obedient disciple, who comprehends Eastern wisdom; true believer, who came to ‘a new God’ and dedicated his life to serve Him; a noble warrior and a defender of the Sultan; a ruler and a conqueror; a patron and a cleric, who spread and strengthened Islam throughout the territory of ruled by him land.
Becoming the leader of a country without being born in it, Beibars all his life dreamed to return to his homeland. Spoken language of the Mamluks army were Turkic languages. When submitting the command, the troops used the ancient Qazaq instrument, which is called a ‘kobyz’. The Mamluk troops used to live in traditional Qazaq jurts in campaigns.
About acts of bravery of Sultan Beibars, a former slave many legends were composed. One of them tells how the Sultan once inbreathed the odor of wormwood, heard the forgotten native word from childhood, and he more strongly than ever wished to get back to his homeland. Beibars decided to leave the throne and to return to the land of his ancestors, to the native Qipchaq steppes, but on his way to home he died in the territory of Syria. The body of the Sultan is buried in the mausoleum named after him in Damascus, which exists by today.
Yermek Tursunov says that he was interested in Sultan Beibars personality since he was a student at the University, as a result later he wrote the novel ‘Mamluk’.
He believes that Sultan Beibars is quite comparable in scale to Genghis Khan, to Napoleon, and to Alexander the Great.
A legendary figure, which personality is studied very little. Beibars in Egypt, for example, a canonized figure, he is an icon. They never tell Beibars, but call him ‘the father of victory’, ‘the king of kings’, ‘a defender of the faith, because he stopped not only the Crusaders, but also the Mongols, defended Jerusalem, which was the capital of the Arab world’, says the author of the book.
The writer described the scenes of battles very colorfully. The novel has a dynamic plot, it describes military exploits, grandiose battles, fateful deeds, bright characters, an exotic environment.
The novel contains elements of adventure and that’s why it would be of interest primarily to young readers or readers who like reading adventure books. The book has already been published in Russian and Arabic languages. The author promised, that very soon the English version of the book will be available for English-speaking readers.
About a remarkable work of an outstanding Qazaq writer Saken Zhunusov ‘A House in the Steppe’
A novel ‘A House in the Steppe’ of a famous Qazaq writer Saken Zhunusov is the writer’s response to the Virgin Lands Campaign, realized in Qazaqstan and the collectivization of the 1930s.
In a novel ‘A House in the Steppe’ we see a skepticism of the main hero to the external world and its rejection by him.
The writer constructed the story on the basis of real historical events took place in one of a tseliny sovkhoz (a State farm) of the Northern Qazaqstan. According to the author, virgin lands development unveils its specific problems. The scale of problems is so wide, they start from economical sphere and penetrate into the spiritual, moral nature of man.
‘Along with heroic labor I tried to show in it a collapse of a private property, its last symbol in a waste-land of Great Nomads – a lonely house’ – wrote the author.
The writer shows in an image of antihero Karasay, how the human personality collapses. A moneymaker and speculator cut off from the world in a bastel-house. All his corrupt desires were aimed at an iron chest, hidden in a cot.
For example, in a thirst for savings he lost his elder son – Zhalel, he bothered his younger son, whose name is Khalel, to go to school, making him speculate. He made a homeless child Dik (Tursun) his hand inviting him once to his house.
With her pretended interest Agashka Yapishkina fell beyond customs and traditions of local people and people who worked on virgin lands development. Appeared at random on tselina she ‘turned out to be a useful person’ for Karasay. Because of her Karasay’s wife Zhamish left him after 30 years of ‘a voluntary solitude in this deserted house’.
A way of life of another heroine of the novel Raikhan Sultanova counters view of Karasay and Agashka. She is a unique woman of the Great Steppe, whose rough life made her strong and brave. She is a symbol of strength of spirit.
The novel is based on ideas of tolerance and humanity. For example, after the death of Raikhan’s father a care about the girl takes on his shoulders Kurgerey (Grigory), relations between Khalel and Tamara are unselfish, unity of opinion characterizes Morgun and Raikhan.
About the Author
Saken Zhunusov was born in a large family in a village under a name Kyzyltu, situated in Kokshetau region in 1934.
He graduated from the Philological Faculty of Qazaq State University in 1955 and worked as a teacher at a secondary school of his native village. Having completed postgraduate studies, he worked as a senior teacher in higher educational institutions of Almaty and Qostanay.
He acted as a literary employee at the magazine ‘Pioneer’, an Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper ‘Qazaq adebieti’, a Head of the Literary Department of the Qazaq Academic Drama Theater named after Mukhtar Auezov, a Director of the Qazaqstani branch of the Literary Fund of the USSR, a Secretary of the Writers' Union of Qazaqstan.
He completed courses of Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow. For a long time Saken Zhunusov worked as an anchorman of the programs ‘Kesh zharyқ’ (‘Good evening’) and ‘Cinema. Time. Contemporary.’.
Saken Zhunusov in a modern Qazaq literuature is one of the most outstanding writer among writers of older generation. For half a century of his creative activity, he enriched Qazaq literature with four novels, dozens of plays and a lot of stories. He is an author of more than a hundred studies and critical articles on the problems of literature and theater.
Saken Zhunusov was engaged in journalism. His articles amaze with their truly intellectual, patriotic ideas and thoughts. His style of writing impresses the reader with original manner devoid of stereotypes and ‘explosiveness’ in his texts. He possessed such qualities as courage and uncompromising.
His publications about time and about himself were published as a separate book under a title ‘Saken-sery is talking about the people, the people are talking about Saken-sery’. The book contains his reflections on the past and future of the people, the fate of Homeland, language, culture, national mentality of Qazaq people.
Concerning a role of history in his works the writer noted: ‘A person who has no memory, no history, no spiritual biography, is doomed to spiritual poverty and is not able to succeed in modern environments.’
Saken Zhunusov's works are interesting not only because they reflected the problems of the life of the nomadic people, he dreamed of spiritual revival of the individuality, which, in his opinion, is possible only through self-knowledge and upbringing of the sense of responsibility of each person for the future of the nation and country on the whole.
The motto of the writer's life and creative activity was the truth. He was deeply convinced that only the truth and universal values can unite people and lead to a new path of development. As a writer Saken Zhunusov enriched literature with new themes, ideas, conflicts, plots and images.
Saken Zhunusov's drama is widely known in the country. His plays ‘A Tragedy of Azhar’, ‘Wounded Flowers’, ‘A Crossword’, ‘Prisoners’, ‘Leaders and Their Shadows’, ‘Spilled Blood’ and others have been staged for decades on the stages of the theaters of Qazaqstan. He is the author of about twenty plays.
Saken Zhunusov is a laureate of the State Prize for the play ‘An Equinox’, as well as the laureate of the ‘Astana-Baitere’" Prize for the play ‘Ablai Khan’ and ‘Criminals’.
He achieved significant success in a literary translation. In particular, he translated into Qazaq language the works of Leo Tolstoy, Oles Honchar, Stefan Zweig, and also: ‘Fiesco’s conspiracy at Genoa’ by the German classic Friedrich Schiller, ‘The Old Man and Death’ by Tatar playwright Tufan Minullin, ‘The End of the World 2000’ by the Russian author Igor Vovnyanko.