Bakhtygul Makhanbetova

Kazakh Literature

Bakhtygul Makhanbetova

International literary agent, Almaty, Kazakhstan

kzonlyenglish[at]gmail.com


Hello, I am Bakhtygul Makhanbetova, an international literary agent from Kazakhstan. Thank you very much for this chance to talk about Kazakh Literature and national values of the Kazakhs.

This year, the 131-st studying period (1889-2020) of Abai researchers noted in Kazakhstan. The Kazakhs are very proud of Abai Kunanbayuly. Despite the fact that pandemic time has made big changes in the celebration program of the 175th anniversary of a well-known Kazakh poet, a great thinker, a composer, a philosopher, the founder of written Kazakh literature, and its first classic, we have been keeping on promoting Abai’s thoughts within the country and abroad. I consider, Abai is unique with his specific peculiarities as a coach and tutor of all humans and the ideas of the group of Abaeologists help us accept him more confidently. He deserves to distinguish him among the world celebrities found in one line. While surveying the long discovery thoughts on Abai’s works, I have found out huge revolutionary attempts to portrait him as a phenomenon.

Obviously, there are many fruitful results of Abaeologists. I have been reading several new research books by one of the main Abaeologists, Mekemtas Myrzakhmet. The book I have chosen to tell you is full of awesome details that let you accept Abai easily with the right keys to his philosophy. It is great to take into consideration the facts from the research work of Professor Mekemtas Myrzakhmet “Doctrine of Abai “The Holistic Man”. Owing to the list of serious resources of his work, you make sure; the Kazakh people are the representatives of the Old Turkic culture. We are descendants of the Saks. From Herodotus’s saying, the world history tells us about the Skiffs’ monotheistic nature before the holy religions appear in the history. Therefore, the ancestors from the early history period believed in the Great Power. So said, there mentioned the old history of the Turkic humanistic portrait of a perfect man “Kamili insoni” based on six unique doctrines. First, it is connected with the name of Alp Er Tonga by Turkish or Afrosiyob by Persian (VII century BC) and his “Ahi or Generosity Doctrine”. Then comes Al –Farabi’s “Intellectual Man Doctrine” (X century) based on his “Kind city dwellers” (12 best features of a state ruler). Third, Zhusup Balasaguni’s “Generosity Doctrine” (XI century) based on “Qutadgu bilik” with four heroes’ dialogues (Fair, Wisdom, Wealth, and Kindness) that show us a model of having good features in one person. Fourth, Khoja Ahmet Yassawi’s “Divan -i Hikmet” – “Book of wisdom” (XII – XIII centuries) based on Laduni science as “Hael ilimi” that is open for a certain group of strong intellectual people as they are called “Sufis” to understand the importance of the spiritual treasure that lets you get closer to the Creator. Fifth, in the XIX – XX centuries appeared “Holistic man” Doctrine by Abai that opens unique features of a human like hot efforts, radiant mind, and warm heart that based on the main loves to God, Humanity, and Justice. Sixth, “Science of conscience” by Shakerim (the beginning of XX century) proves that conscientiousness, justice, and kindness in a man form conscience. It is the food of the spirits. If you lead by radiant mind, your heart does not darken and harden. Cold minded people never think of the future of the world safety as they know well only destroying ways of the Humanity and the Earth. So said people of the Turkic nation must be born to follow the ideas beginning with Alp Er Tonga and ending with Shakerim’s. It is essential to tell the world about the importance of the six doctrines of the Turkic world that can be a perfect model of humanism in the world. The specific peculiarity of the existence of the Turkic nation based on strong doctrines followed systematically one by one. Mekemtas Myrzakhmet finds out, the more developed last two ones are the best doctrines perfectly suit the concept of "Great consciousness" discovered by quantum physicists in present days.

It is important to say, Mukhtar Auezov is the first researcher of Abai. The writer’s novel –epic “The paths of Abai” translated into more than 130 languages, opened the world the features of a great Kazakh poet, and reformer, Abai Kunanbayuly. It is hopeful that a young prospective Abaeologist, Akniet Ozatuly started to research Abai in his work “Millenniums’ Abai”. It shows his extraordinary efforts to introduce the world of Abai from his own points of view.

The most important researcher, who did a lot to open the treasures of Al-Farabi to the world, is Professor Akjan Al -Mashani. The biggest scientist, geologist and writer, Akjan Al -Mashani contributed properly into the researching world as #1 Farabiologist. He is the author of the first historic novel “Al –Farabi”. He left a very valuable research work “Al-Farabi and Abai”. In fiction, we can also name Anuar Alimjanov. He is a classical writer, the author of the novel” The return of a teacher” about Al-Farabi.

Therefore, I am very happy to keep on stressing out further, great feelings from the poetry world of a popular Kazakh poet, Mukhtar Shakhanov. I would like to accent on the main idea of his poem about Four Mothers - “Every man has four mothers except the one who gives a birth to him. The homeland, your native place is your origin, and your glory. The mother tongue, your native language is the treasure you cannot sell. Native customs and traditions keep your generations safe and blessed. Your native history though it is full of pages of tragedy and bitter truth, helps to maintain the national code. If you are unable to care about the mother who gives you a birth, then you are unable to value four others.” Perfectly said, I hope, you will agree with the poet. However, the number of mankurts and kozkamans, people without four mothers, is being increased everywhere. It is a horrible fact. Because of the past policy of having one soviet nation in the USSR, more than 100 nations lost their national identity, spiritual values, national traditions, and stopped existence by the collapse of the empire.

We know, some writers felt its consequences and they tried to warn the public even during the soviet period. The novel “Kuyshi” by Abish Kekilbayev, written in the sixties of the XX century, presented the history of the mankurts. Spiritual mankurts or kozkamans appeared in the eighties in the novel “The stormy station” by Shyngyz Aitmatov showed us more developed mankurts. Academician Rakhmankul Berdybay defines; mankurts are people who have lost their roots, and kozkamans – enemies who intentionally attack on the independence of a nation. Professor Dandai Yskak features Abish's mankurts subjected to violence and torture by the hands of the enemy and they are not as horrible as another type of mankurts.

If I mention a novel - myth by Oralkhan Bokei, it is the portrait of almost lost nation of the totalitarian system. He tells readers how the spiritual weakened humans try to cope with the meaningless lives and how the society members become less responsible and crueler during the period of globalization by the examples of bees in his work.

Brilliant works connected with the national cultural values by Akseleu Seidimbek is a unique contribution into the Kazakh Culture Treasure. The Kazakh Mythologies properly identified in the research works of a great scientist Serikbol Kondybay and all his books keep specific Turkish distinctions and the detailed study of the cultural themes.

The period of Kazakh history from the XV century to the middle of XIX century is full of tragic events. During the soviet period, the first Kazakh writer presented it strongly in the trilogy “The Nomads”. It was Ilyas Esenberlin.

The steppe where Abai was born became the territory of nuclear weapon testing during the soviet period and that took hundreds of the Kazakh people’s lives. A well-known classical writer, Medeu Sarseke is a living witness describing all those horrible events in his documentary novel.

The remarkable authors, Rakhymjan Otarbayev, Kajygaly Mukhanbetkaliyev, and Mukhtar Maghauin tried to open the eyes of the people to the true pages of the Kazakh History. They paid a big respect to the national heroes who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation in their works.

The years of Independence in Kazakhstan made a group of intellectual people think hard about the future of the country. Professor Orazaly Sabden by studying Abai and other great figures suggests one essential idea that can change the situations in the whole world. He defines the steps of the programs in his book about Abai, future of Kazakhstan, and World Civilization and points to the solutions of the issues based on his own points of views.

A young representative of Kazakh literature, critic and Alasheologist, Eldos Toktarbai is sure that mentor Abai through his mental world helps human to work out their own personality drawbacks. Eldos finds Literature, that it is not an instrument of upbringing. It is a part of culture, from which you need to get pleasure and recognition. In present days, the group of young Alasheologists’ efforts reiterate the directions of the most valuable contributors into the Kazakh culture of the beginning of the XX century like Alikhan Bokeikhanov, Akhmet Baitursynov, Magzhan Zhumabayev, Mirjakyp Dulatov, Jusipbek Aimauitov, Smagul Saduaqasov, Mukhtar Auezov and other Alash leaders.

Recently, Serik Aksunkaruly represented his famous poem “20 episodes of the XX century” with his absolutely bizarre editing as Abai had already predicted all pains the humans feel through the time and found at least himself inside the world of Abai. “The Question Mark”, a long poem consists of big nine parts, appeared during the first months of pandemic period by a talented poet, Galym Jailybai. “Mankind is facing the End Times! “, says the author. Man, who has risen to the heights of civilization and reached the limit of scientific and technological progress, who has lost his human nature found in the Four Books of Heaven, who has turned out as a social animal, is now wondering how he will answer these questions.

A man’s life is full of achievements and successes, while he does make many mistakes and commit many sins in his life to cope with his deeds. Tynymbai Nurmaganbetov, Kuandyk Tumenbai, Turysbek Sauketai, Yerbolat Abiken presents natural portraits of the heroes in the works with a sarcasm and humor. You can see mostly inhuman behavior of the heroes as the society stays without any national ideology.

Saule Doszhan visited the nuclear weapon tested region; talked to local people while preparing her books, based on realistic events happened in the last decades of the XX century and the years of the Independence of today’s Kazakhstan. She tells us about the life story of a brave woman who could overcome all her life difficulties as the victim of Semipalatinsk nuclear weapon tests, a survivor of the first Independent State period, and a winner of her fate in her duology “Tragedy and Fate” and “Unbroken Hope”.

Very strong ideas based on the truth and sincere feelings in the works of talented writers, Aigul Kemelbayeva and Ayagul Mantai can make you think deeper about the meaning of life. Their fans are always sure about the purity of their works and believe in the big literary successes of their favorite authors.

Torgyn Zholdasbekkyzy, a young writer, leads you to understand the importance of your life as a human. She describes her own struggles with her incurable disease. You will be pleased with her mastering how well she could create her disease as a live hero in her novel.

One more idea around literary contests in the country is full of paradoxical pictures. Some contests held once and no ideas found after. The poetry contest dedicated to Abai’s 175th anniversary announced its winners list. One of the winners of this project, a popular writer, poet, and composer, Israil Saparbai shared his feelings about his nominated poems “The origins of Faith Flower” interconnected with Abai’s “Holistic man” doctrine (38th word) and stressed that it is hard work to get the philosophy of a savior of the humans. Ularbek Nurgalymuly, a talented poet and literary critic, is pleased with the presence of different literary contests in the country in present days, but he does not agree with the age limits of participation into some literary events. Nevertheless, in general, the authors usually accepted by the readers, win their love and get their big interests to their books.

From the history, we know that, great Abai introduced his own poetry and the masterpieces of the Russian and European authors through his melodies and translation even in the XIX century. Nowadays, we are proud of one promising young popstar; Dimash Qudaibergen has made the world learn the Kazakh language through his songs recently.

Owing to the history of the influence by Soviet Russia, we distinguish the Kazakh society as Kazakh speaking and Russian speaking. Some Russian speaking/writing authors from Kazakhstan become popular in Europe and the USA, thanks to their extraordinary literary nature like Danyar Sugralinov, Aigerim Taji, Zira Naurzbayeva, Lilya Kalaus and Oral Arukenova. The freelance nomad travel writer, Madi Raimov is a popular author in the country. His second book of his Georgian travel stories is going to be published soon. A popular bilingual author, Bayangaly Alimjanov presents his works in Kazakh and Russian languages as he finds himself in prose for adults and children, poetry and playwriting, screenwriting and producing.

One admiring thing, a former Russian speaking Kazakh, Kanat Tasybekov has prepared a unique program based on Situational Kazakh. Hundreds of people improve the speaking skills by attending his weekly language clubs.

Some sad things if I mention, it may show a picture slightly in the country. I do not think keeping the position of the Kazakh translator is the solution of the governing structure and business. Another issue with the change of Cyrillic to Latin to form a new Kazakh Alphabet that has been lasting for 25 years of discussions. Only a few authors are pleased with the fact that their books published by the support of the government and sent to the libraries. Kazakh writers do not get royalties, at the same time buyers do not find their favorite books in the bookshops where dominated literature in Russian. The solution I can see here only to reform the mechanism that starts to work out those drawbacks.

In conclusion, I would like to say that all we need to care about is to value our human features and behave like humans when our hearts beat thanks to God. Moreover, we need to respect everyone who can share their valuable thoughts through their books. God gifts you and your duty is to pass it to others, otherwise, it will hurt you inside. Any creation is a complicated process as if you give a birth to your child.

It is an honor for me to share these thoughts here.

Thank you for your attention!