Three Words about the Meaning of Life
November 11, 2018, on the stage of the State Academic Russian Drama Theater named after M. Gorky in Astana, the next show of the play by the Spanish playwright Alejandro Casona ‘The Third Word’ or its other name ‘The wild man’, adopted in CIS countries was held with great success.
Despite the fact that the premiere of the performance took place on June 28, 2013 and continues to be staged for the past 5 years, the public interest to the performance does not fade. The play ‘The Third Word’ was written in 1953, later it was translated into eight foreign languages. It is not obsolete at all, it offers the audience to reflect on the eternal themes of Life, Death and Love.
The main stage director Bekpulat Parmanov, who made a number of theatre plays - both fairy tales and plays for adults, presented his own interpretation of the Spanish classics.
A touching and passionate, romantic comedy tells the story of a young and wild man, whose name is Pablo. For twenty years he spent in the mountains with his father, who protected him ‘from books and women, so that his son would keep clean’.
After the death of the father, the hero remains alone, but the caring aunts Matilda and Angelina invite the city teacher Margarita Luhan, who did not expect to meet such a mature age student. The student was 24 years old. The teacher was invited to teach him to read and write ... The year spent on the estate of the Saldanya family greatly changes both the teacher herself and her student ...
In the play, from the very beginning to the final remarks, the circumstances and the characters acting in these circumstances collide in the conflict. What is important and valuable in Life? What to choose? To be uneducated, but sincere or civilized, but greedy and cruel?
In fact, learning good manners is much easier than humanity.
During time, spent together She would get to know what was Death and God, he would discover for himself the meaning of Love - the Third Word. Love made a wild Pablo learn reading and writing and deepen his knowledge further, besides that he mastered rules of etiquette and modern manners, remaining pure and sincere. Love turned a teacher spoiled by civilization into a loving woman, ready for sacrifice.
This is a romantic story about sublime love, about its transforming and cleansing power.
The leading roles were played by the tandem of young and promising actors of the theater Maskim Yashchenko and Anastasia Vorontsova.
The role of Pablo is one of the first big roles of Maxim Yashchenko, and the role of teacher Margarita Luhan is one of the first big roles of Anastasia Vorontsova. Both actors graduated from the Qazaq National University of Arts, located in Astana (Qazaqstan).
According to the leading actor of the theater, Maxim Yashchenko, the theater troupe each time plays this performance with great enthusiasm and pleasure on the stage, because already at the rehearsal stage they were all conquered by the play of the Spanish playwright. The troupe with this performance went on tours around Qazaqstan. They staged the performance in Petropavlovsk, Uralsk, Almaty and others places.
According to the actors, the audience really likes this play, because it brings them kind and light feelings and memories.
A novel ‘The Teacher’s Return’ of Anuar Alimzhanov
The name al-Farabi is associated with the formation and development of Arabic philosophy of the Middle Ages. This great son of the Qazaq steppe was a follower of Aristotle, a talented thinker and moral ideal of his time. Therefore, the famous Qazaq writer Anuar Alimzhanov dedicated one of his most outstanding works for him. The work is called ‘The Teacher’s Return’.
The work of Anuar Alimzhanov takes readers to the Middle Ages, more precisely to the tenth century. The scene of action is the cities of Central Asia and the Middle East. There was a small settlement under a title ‘Vasij’ near the rich city of Otrar in the 9th – 10th centuries (now the territory of modern Qazaqstan). Exactly here two directions of the Great Silk Road, opening the way to Europe were formed. Al-Farabi was born in this village approximately in the seventies of the Xth century.
Abu-Nasyr al-Farabi lived in Otrar until he was twenty years old. Here his journey for knowledge started. The visitors of the big trading city were not only merchants, but also travelers, sages, scholars, poets and preachers. Books were one of the greatest assets of that time. Therefore, the caravan carried with them the ancient scrolls. Some of them remained in Otrar. Later on, a big library was established there.
Curious and thirsty for knowledge al-Farabi sought to learn as much as possible. He was interested in everything: treatises on astronomy and medicine, the theory of the great philosophers, the basis of psychology and pedagogy, logic, law and music.
Al-Farabi traveled a lot. His thirst for knowledge brought him to Shash (now Tashkent) and Samarkand, and later to Bukhara. A young man studied and worked there. Scientists suggest that the sage had a prestigious profession — he was a judge, but his enthusiasm for science forced him to abandon this path.
There is an assumption that one of his acquaintances gave al-Farabi one of Aristotle’s works. He was fascinated by the reflections of the ancient Greek thinker and, under the impression of them, changed his course of life.
When al-Farabi was 40 years old he arrived in Baghdad, at that time it was a center of science and arts of the medieval Arab world. Poets, philosophers and orators flocked there.
The scholar brilliantly mastered many languages of the Turkic group, but did not know Arabic. In Baghdad, he had to learn two languages spoken by the wise men of the Middle Ages - ancient Greek and Arabic. In total, the philosopher knew 70 dialects.
Abu-Bishr Matta ben-Yunis, who is a translator of the works of ancient Greek scientists Aristotle, Euclid, Plato, Galen, helped al-Farabi to learn about the laws of logic, the fundamentals of cognitive theory.
Over time, having learned that the famous doctor and astronomer, the Christian philosopher Johanna ben-Haylan, lived in Harran (now the administrative center in the province of Sanliurfa), al-Farabi moved to that city and became his student.
Returning to the cultural and economic center of the Arab Caliphate – Baghdad, he with great passion restarted to study the Aristotelian treatises. For example, he read ‘About the Soul’ two thousand times.
Al-Farabi very quickly became a leading intellectual, everyone in the caliphate knew about him. Talent and fame are associated with jealousy and envy. At last the great scientist was forced to leave Baghdad. In the early forties of the XI century he moved to Damascus, where he lived the rest of his life.
At the end of his life, al-Farabi had to face many difficulties, primarily of a material nature. He worked as a garden watchman. Almost all the money went to the candles: in their light, the thinker at night wrote down reflections. The famous al-Farabi’s work - the social utopia ‘About the righteous city’ was created in that way.
Soon the ruler of Damascus, Saif ad-Daula Ali Hamdani learned about the scientist. He extended his patronage to al-Farabi. However, the role of the courtier was foreign to the philosopher. He had chosen a solitary life.
The scientist visited Egypt as an old man and after returning to Damascus at the age of eighty he died quietly. The resting place of the scientist is located in the Damascus Small Gate.
The works of al-Farabi (more than 100 treatises) formed the basis of medieval philosophy and the philosophy of the Renaissance. His merit was the Europeanization of the science of the Arab world, the systematization of scientific knowledge.
The enormous contribution of a scientist to the development of cognition theory was evaluated by his compatriots of the twentieth century: at the end of the second millennium, the Qazaq National University was named after the philosopher.
Al-Farabi’s knowledge was universal. He was interested in both the humanities and natural sciences. Al-Farabi devoted his whole life to the study of the Aristotelian concept of reasoning - formal logic, Platonic ontology and gnoseology - the theory of being and cognition.
Thanks to his works a new era in the Arabic philosophy of the 9th – 10th centuries began, particularly a gradual refusal from mysticism and religious dogma towards the development of the cognition theory and the formation of a holistic picture of being. He is recognized as the founder of eastern peripateticism, a philosophical system that grew up on the Aristotelian doctrine.
The philosopher tried systematically to learn the world order. The main positions of his cognition theory he outlined in the treatise ‘A word about the classification of sciences’. The scientist proposed this system as the basis of higher education. At the top of the sciences, in his opinion, there is linguistics (writing, reading and poetics), followed by logic, mathematics, physics, metaphysics, and politics.
Al-Farabi was a supporter of the deductive method and believed that the world is not eternal, it is changeable.
The philosopher argued that there are 4 forms of mind: passive, relevant, acquired and active. In a rational way (not in the process of mystical insight), in his opinion, one can comprehend God.
The Thinker created a social utopia. Its main provisions are set out in the treatise ‘About the righteous city’. He believed that man is able to create an ideal society if he is guided by reason and constantly develops his intelligence.
In this scientific work, the scientist reviewed almost everything - from the planning of the ideal city, its architecture to the tax system and legal proceedings.
Sages should manage the perfect city. Each area of society’s activity should be governed by the best talented people. The elite gains knowledge through reflection. The elite group of people with the help of artistic images, poetic speeches educates citizens, forms their morality.
Al-Farabi created a unique theory of music.
The ideal world of which al-Farabi dreamed was a world ruled by a philosopher — a man who had comprehended the depths of knowledge and had repudiated the temptations of being and material values. He believed that every person from birth is predisposed to virtue, the mentor’s task is to discover this quality in a person.
Achievements of the great philosopher, his wise maxims and admonitions are a huge contribution to the development of world science.
Anuar Alimzhanov shows in his novel the path of the great scientist al-Farabi from Otrar. It is a path of a bright mind from ignorance to acquiring a mastery of advanced fields of scientific knowledge. It is al-Farabi’s search for a city of justice, a kind of ‘Atlantis’, a lost promised land, similar to the one about which great Plato wrote.
Al-Farabi’s dream was to find a social ideal for all peoples living along the Silk Road, a model of a city of harmonious relations. The same eternal dream had all intellectuals and romantics of that time.
About the Author
Anuar Alimzhanov is a well-known Qazaq writer. He is a laureate of the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding and the State Award of the Qazaq SSR. He touches upon different topics in his novels, short stories and essays. His works were translated into many foreign languages.
Didar Amantay and his novel ‘The Flowers and The Books'
Flowers give rise to pleasing thought
They are a symbol of freedom and loneliness.
Books develop a sense of thought.
They are a symbol of spirituality and overcoming chaos.
The brightest representative of modern Qazaq literature Didar Amantay in his novel ‘The Flowers and The Books’ with the help of a main hero of the novel – a writer Alisher conducts his own philosophical and religious search.
This novel, which also became the winner of the ‘Contemporary Qazaqstan novel’ competition in 2003, was published in English, along with his other works as part of the book ‘Selected Writings: (1991-2011)’ in 2013 in the United States.
The epigraph to ‘The Flowers and The Books’ is taken from the words of the ‘Book of Tengri’: “Which of them is inferior to one another: darkness, avoiding light, or light that disperses darkness?”. The confrontation between light and darkness, stated in the epigraph, defines the plot and structure of the book’s narration, starting with the first part, entitled ‘Alisher’:
Fog covered the ground. The sky sagged lower. Under its oppression it was impossible to straighten one’s shoulders, people were forced to crawl. The hardest of the torments was precisely that weakness to straighten up.
As it turns out, it was a dream, but it is not much different from the reality in which the hero of Didar Amantay lives – his name is Alisher, he is a young writer, a resident of the megalopolis, who dreams to write ‘The Book of Tengri’.
According to him, Alisher is worried about three questions: what is the book, what is the connection between today and the past, who are the Turks?
The hero of Didar Amantay is not able to complete the novel devoted to events from the history of the ancient Turks – ‘about the collapse of the great dynasty into two camps’, about how people, having broken into ‘forty clans’, destroyed the laws established by God.
As a result, the root rituals of matchmaking and brotherhood were forgotten, the essence of morality was misrepresented, memory and mind were lost ... Alisher’s book should become ‘mourning’ for the Turks who lost faith in Tengri.
The book contains a long list of authors from all over the world, whose thoughts are similar to the author’s. Among them are Qazaq prominent writers Abai and our contemporary, Olzhas Suleimenov.
The nomadic Skythian-Saka civilization and the realities of the modern metropolis are oddly converging. According to the author and his main hero Alisher, contemporaries slowly drifted away from their Turkic cultural roots, they lost belief in God Tengri - the supreme deity of the Central Asian steppe peoples, where ‘Nature is the Supreme Ruler, losing its magical and mysterious aura today’.
The purpose of creativity is to cure the sick and to save the dying. Basically, the book is assigned to deny non-existence. Didar Amantay’s novel is imbued with hopeless sadness. In other case it may provoke the reader to broader thinking and alleviate his suffering.
Not coincidentally that everything around smells of books and book dust for Alisher: ‘It may be assumed’, says Alisher, ‘that all literary techniques are exhausted, and talent is fully replaced by the dexterity of writing’.
However, all his travails associated with the process of creating the book, and the book itself, excerpts from it, included in the narrative, prove otherwise. ‘The reader has changed.... He will choose himself what he is interested in’.
The chapter ‘Flowers’ is one of the most lyrical in the story of Didar Amantay, because all flowers are the desired children of the Earth and the Sun. Before you bring the flowers to your house, every flower would come to bloom. And how do you like spotted leaves of coleus, changing their color in the shadows and twilight?
Flowers, giving rise to high thoughts, become a symbol of freedom and loneliness, and books, developing a sense of thought, turn into a symbol of overcoming chaos, a symbol of spirituality.
In the end of the novel, Alisher dies in an ambulance, without completing his work. And before that, all the drafts and sketches were burned by him.
Flowers, that are given so much attention in the story, all wither, devoid of attention and tender care from the side of the owner - but there are lines from manuscripts that ‘do not burn’. Therefore, the reader does not experience a sense of loss, although the hero’s point of view is expressed by the phrase: ‘The time of literature has passed ...’
However, the author himself does not think so, demonstrating not only a deep knowledge of the ancient history of the Turks, Turkic mythology, but also a postmodern game with words, sounding phrases, returning the word to its original musicality - this explains the long list of flowers and books.
Perhaps, through the ability to ‘internal’ hearing and speech, Didar Amantay brings to the main point - the thought about a dialogue between cultures and civilizations.
- I wrote the novel ‘The Flowers and The Books’ in one year, and I started working on the book itself as a young man, it is dedicated to eternal issues in the life of any person - the search for oneself, God.
I share with the reader the most intimate - my feelings and understanding of everything that surrounds us. I tried to stretch an invisible thread of enduring values between our ancestors and contemporaries.
Certainly, it is very important for me and I am glad that my works are recognized by foreign readers, literary critics, this means that we are bound by many things and have no boundaries for literary creativity, the author of the book noted.
‘This novel is about flowers not withering away, and books never stopped reading. I will not exaggerate at all, calling Didar Amantay as the creator of eternal values. Having passed through criticism and misunderstanding, the author managed to keep his philosophy, his view of things and remain an independent person.
I am convinced that after years the works of Didar Amantay will not lose the interest of the readers, because they bear the originality of thought, deep content and love of the writer for his work,’- said a prominent Qazaqstani cultural figure Murat Auezov at the presentation of the book.
The Qazaq-English translation of the six stories and the novel ‘The Flowers and The Books’ was carried out by a Qazaq translator, writer and blogger Zaure Bataeva and Angela Hakkila (USA).
- Our collaboration with Angela was inspired by the creative (and linguistic) tandem of the Volokhonskaya-Pivert (the authors of the new translation of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov into English). Qazaq is my mother tongue, English is Angela’s mother tongue. She is a doctoral student at the Faculty of Oriental Languages at the University of Wisconsin, she speaks several languages, and from Turkish languages she knows Turkish and Qazaq. Our modest work is the first attempt to present modern Qazaq literature to the English reader in translation from the original - from Qazaq, - said Zaure Bataeva.
Previously, several stories by Didar Amantay were translated into English and included in the collection ‘The Stories of the Great Steppe: The Anthology of Modern Qazaq Literature’.
About a novel ‘The Fair love’ of a famous Qazaq writer Sabit Mukanov
One of the most significant works of the prominent Qazaq writer Sabit Mukanov is the novel ‘The Fair Love’.
The plot of the novel ‘The Fair Love’, at first glance, is quite traditional: two lovers - a young man Burkut, a girl Bates - enter into an unequal struggle with those who put obstacles them, encroach on their rights for love. This struggle takes the character of a universal struggle for individual freedom, the right of free choice.
High and mighty defend their right to rule powerless people. Burkut’s father, who is the main opponent of the new system is described very brightly. Scenes of a merciless and brutal fight between a father and a son are depicted colorfully on the pages of the novel. Bates’s struggle for her freedom has also been violent and tragic. However, the main attention of the readers is not focused on that fight. The lyrically touching and at the same time dramatically sad story of love of the young man Burkut and the girl Bates is a key plotline of the novel.
The writer embodied in them the best features of their generation: the desire for knowledge, for inner harmony, self-respect, the ability to defend his or her right, determination, intolerance to falsehood.
Burkut and Bates personify a new generation of young people who embody the future of the Qazaq people. The integrity of nature and dedication, beauty and wealth of the inner world, determination in their actions, intolerance to evil, lawlessness, injustice and cruelty distinguish them. The writer put a lot of effort on creation of the images of lovers.
The real story that occurred on April 2, 1928 in the city of Kyzyl-Orda gave an impetus for writing this work. The writer accidentally witnessed the tragic event - the murder of a man. ‘When I approached the victim, it turned out that I knew him. It was Mustafa Koshekov, an employee of the ‘Enbekshi Qazaq’ newspaper! The victim and the killer were cousins!’. As a result of this event, the writer had an inner need to express his emotions. In order to thoroughly study the basis of the future work, Sabit Mukanov asked appropriate people to appoint him as a public prosecutor in court of Sultanbek Abeuov, who killed the man. Immediately after the bloody events, he met with Batima Makasheva, the prototype of the image of Bates and Sultanbek Abeuov, who had already been imprisoned.
Initially, Sabit Mukanov called his work ‘Gone Astray’. He began writing it in Kzyl-Orda, immediately following the events and the first version of the novel was completed in Leningrad (now in Saint-Petersburg) at the end of 1928.
The novel in the political environment of the 30s was criticized as inappropriate to the spirit of the times. Later the author returned to the novel and reworked it and published it under a different name - ‘The Fair Love’.
In the novel ‘The Fair Love’ the vital material that served as its basis had been radically reworked, enriched by the imagination of the writer, who openly expresses his point of view on the life and fate of the heroes.
Sabit Mukanov’s novel ‘The Fair Love’ is written in the form of memories of the heroes of the novel. The work is full of bright colors. The writer describes in detail the history of the place where the events took place, gives insight on the customs and traditions of the Qazaq people.
Readers are attracted by the masterful construction of the plot, the ability to weave real situations into it, the description of the inner world of the characters.
About the Author
Usually, the writer shows himself in literature as a representative of a particular genre - poetry, fiction, historical novel, biography or journalism. This cannot be said about Sabit Mukanov, whose work is at the origin of all the above-mentioned genres of Qazaq literature.
Sabit Mukanov wrote: ‘The place where I was born and brought up is called Zhamanshubar. There was an endless wide steppe. The rich greenery of grass and tress grew at that place’. Later, in his trilogy ‘The School of Life’, he tells in detail about his family, the place where he was born.
He describes with bright colors nature, sunrise, the sky, Lake ‘Dos’, near which there was a place called Zhamanshubar (now the village of Dokuchaevo, Zhambyl district of North Qazaqstan region).
Sabit Mukanov loved the place where he was born and grew up and from his childhood he cherished those memories. It was a source of inspiration for him. He was orphaned early and that is why knew what was the need.
In spite of the fact that his parents’ relatives gave shelter to him and his sister, he had to work as a slave for the rich people of the village.
He learned to read and write from the mullah, and from the age of 15, under the influence of the creative work of folk akyns (traditional Qazaq poet-singers) and a collection of poems of a great Qazaq writer Abai, he began to compose his first poems. He inherited the gift of songs from his parents, and possessing an excellent memory for learning sayings, fairy tales and poems, he often took part in aytys (song-competitions), improvised and composed funny, humorous versus.
When the October Revolution came Sabit Mukanov was a teenager, he took part actively in the events. In 1919, he completed a teacher’s course in the city of Omsk, at the same time he worked as a secretary of the famous Qazaq writer Magzhan Zhumabayev. In the early 20s of the last century, Sabit Mukanov participated in the Civil war. It was during these years that he began consciously to think of being a poet.
While studying at the workers' school in Orenburg, he met and made friends with another eminent Qazaq writer Saken Seifullin, who helped him to become a professional writer. At the age of 25 he acted as an editor of regional newspapers and magazines. Later on, he was appointed as an Executive secretary of the newspapers ‘Bostandyk Tuy’ (‘A Flag of Freedom’) and ‘Kenes auly’ (‘The Village Council’), published in Petropavlovsk.
Sabit Mukanov had a wide range of writing skills, he could write a poetry, a prose, a drama. His creative legacy is dozens of novels and short stories, hundreds of poems and poems, numerous essays and short stories, more than two hundred literary-critical articles. His works have been translated into many languages of the world.