Sixth Conference on Pioneers of the Turkic World: Zeynalabid Batırmurzayev

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The famous Kumuk poet Zeynalabid Batırmurzayev was commemorated in an event held in TURKSOY Headquarters on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of his birthday.

The commemorative event took place within the framework of TURKSOY’s series of Conferences dedicated to Pioneers of the Turkic World which aim at introducing illustrious artists, scholars, authors and intellectuals of the Turkic World to the wide public.

The Sixth Conference of TURKSOY on Pioneers of the Turkic World hosted by TURKSOY Secretary General Dusen Kasseinov gathered Kamil Aliyev, the Chief Editor of the Yoldaş Newspaper of the Dagestan Republic subject to the Russian Federation  published in Kumuk language, the Chief Editor of the “Tangcholpan” journal Supıyanat Mamayeva, the Director of the Kumuk Theater Skandarbek Tulparov, the Folk musician Osman Ibrahimov and the dance ensemble “Children of the Caucasus”  along with along with representatives of the  Kumuk Diaspora in Turkey and many other guests.

In the opening speech he delivered at the event, TURKSOY Secretary General  Dusen Kasseinov said that the Kumuk People’s poet Zeynalabid Batırmurzayev played a key role in the culture of the Kumuk people as well as in Dagestan in general in the beginning of the 20th century and added that  Batırmurzayev strongly contributed to the development of Kumuk literature with poems and articles he wrote in Kumuk language.

Prof. Kasseinov who also said that despite his young age and the difficult times he lived in, Batırmurzayev was an extremely zealous and creative poet who dedicated his work to the people. Furthermore, Batırmurzayev was the first to unite all Kumuk intellectuals in Dagestan and publish the first literature journal in Kumuk language “Tangçolpan”, thus making a unique contribution to the literature, language and enlightment of the Kumuk people as well as to the development of its culture.

Mr. Kasseinov further said that it is therefore a key priority for TURKSOY to  support and preserve of Turkic peoples whose language and culture are theratened to disappear. In this respect, Prof. Kasseinov stressed that:  “Unfortunately the Kumuk people are also among peoples whose language and culture are threatened. We therefore consider it as our duty to further support publications in  Kumuk language in order to transmit Kumuk culture to future generations”.

Prof. Kasseinov concluded his speech saying:  “Poets are the conscience of humanity. Zeynalabid Batırmurzayev is one of the best authors of the Kumuk people who skillfully described its feelings. May he rest in peace as we commemorate him today”.

The Chief editör of the Yoldas Nuewspaper Kamil Aliyev who expressed his happiness to be in Turkey and in TURKSOY Headquarters to commemorate Zeynalabid Batırmurzayev said that Batırmurzayev is a very special poet fort he Kumuk people as he contributed to their enlightment.

 Mr. Kamil Aliyev further said:  “Today, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Yoldas and Tangcolpan newspapers which were first published by Zeynalabid. These newspapers further play a key role in the cultural life of the  Kumuk people. We are commemorating and paying tribute to Zeynalabid Batırmurzayev who played a key role in the publication of newspapers and journals in Kumuk language in the beginning of the 20th century.”

Aliyev who also said that April 1917 marked the beginning of a new era in the history journalism of the Kumuk people added that the Yoldas newspaper is in fact the continuation of the newspaper "Zaman".

Aliyev who added that for 100 years, the Yoldas newspaper has been a guide, fellow and educator of the Kumuk people also stressed that in the first years of its publication, this newspaper was the common newspaper of all kindred peoples of Turkic descent living in the Northern Caucasus.

Aliyev who extended his gratitude to TURKSOY for organizing this event to commemorate  intellectuals of the Kumuk people such as Zeynelabid also stressed that the Kumuk people will remain integral part of the Turkic World.

The Chief Editor of the "Tangcholpan" journal  and Peoples Poet of Dagestan Supiyanat Mamayeva extended her gratitude to TURKSOY for gathering the Turkic World under its auspices and organizing this event dedicated to the commemoration of the Kumuk peoples poet Zeynalabid Batırmurzayev.

Mamayeva who greeted the staff members of TURKSOY on behalf of the readers of the "Tangcholpan" journal said that the journal celebrates its 100th anniversary and still continues to enlighten its readers just as it did in the past.

Mamayeva who also said that Batırmurzayev's works always expressed the Kumuk people’s ideas and feelings  added that “language is an essential component of the preservation of a nation" and that Batırmurzayev made a unique contribution to the preservation and expansion of Kumuk language.

Skandarbek Tulparov who also delivered a speech at the event touched upon the role played by  Zeynalabid Batırmurzayev in the enlightment of the Kumuk people as well as in the establishment of the Kumuk theater. Tulparov who said that the Kumuk language was one of the most widespread languages in the Northern Caucasus in the beginning of the 20th century, added that thanks to intellectuals like  Batırmurzayev, the Kumuk theater was established in Dagestan in 1906 even before the establishment of theaters performing in Russian language. Tulparov  added that despite the influence of the Soviet regime which put an end to cultural activities  in Dagestan for some time, the Kumuk theater performing in Kumuk language resumed its activities after the establishment of Russian theaters.

Prof. Dr. Çetin Pekaçar from the Gazi University whon also delivered a speech at the event said that the Kumuk people are the third biggest population of Dagestan in terms and that they have been preserving  their culture, traditions and language throughout centuries. Prof. Dr. Pekaçar who gave some information on the history and cuture of the Kumuk people also informed the audience about research activities carried out on the Kumuk people as well as about the regions of Turkey where Kumuk people migrated to.

In the event where the folk musician Osman Ibrahimov performed Kumuk folk songs the  performance of Kumuk Folk Dances by the Folk Dance Ensemble “Children of the Caucasus” under its art director Mayram Kazimova was extremely appreciated by the audience.

At the end of the event, TURKSOY Secretary General Dusen Kasseinov extended TURKSOY’s  Medal of Molla Panah Vagif to  Kamil Aliyev and Supiyanat Mamayeva. TÜRKSOY tarafından hazırlanan "Molla Penah Vagif Madalyası" takdim etti. Kamil Aliyev  extended the “Yirci Kazak” medal to Secretary General Kasseinov and Deputy Secretary General Prof. Dr. Fırat Purtaş. The event ended with the presentation of a plaquette and certificate of appreciation to the keynote speakers prior to a group photpgraph taken as a remembrance of the day. 


-Who is Zeynalabid Batırmurzayev?-

            The famous Kumuk poet Zeynalabid Batırmurzayev was born in 1897 in the village of Aksay in Dagestan. Zeynalabid’s father Nuhay Batırmurzayev was a jeweller and author. Nuhay Batırmurzayev was one of  the first prose writers who wrote in Kumuk language. Zeynalabid who was born in a family of intellectuals received a rather good education. He went to school in the city of Hasavyurt in Dagestan and pursued his education in big cities of that time such as Kazan and Heshtarhan. As a young author, he actively participated in students’ movements during the Russian Empire, and this helped him broaden his mind. Following the October Revolution in 1917 he worked in the public administration of Dagestan and actively took part in political affairs of Dagestan.

            Between 1917-1918, Zeynalabid Batırmurzayev initiated the publication of the Tangcholpan literature journal which was the first literature journal to be published in Kumuk language. Many of Zeynalabid’s poems and articles have been published in Kumuk language in this journal. In 1918 Zeynalabid worked as the editor of the newspaper   “A People of Workers” published in Kumuk language. As a young activist, Zeynalabid devoted all his work to political affairs of Dagestan while also working on the development of Kumuk litareture. In these years he wrote many  poems and theater plays in Kumuk language and translated Lev Tolstoy’s  “The Caucasian Captive” into Kumuk language.

           Other authors of that time qualify  Zeynalabid as a combative author. As he was left-handed, someone once asked him  why do you write with your left hand”, and he answered: “because I use my right hand to hold a sword”.

            During the civil war in Russia between 1918-1919, Zeynalabid created squadrons to protect Kumuk villages of Dagestan against Denikin’s army and he acted as the chief commander of these squadrons. In the autumn of 1919, his squadron was defeated by Denikin’s armed forces and he was taken captive  before being executed by a firing squad together with his father. The death of this poet and his father who wrote in Kumuk language was one of the heaviest losses for the Kumuk people and its literature.