Abai's children. How did their fates turn out?

It is difficult to find in the history of Kazakhstan a person who would have such a huge impact on the socio-political thought of the Kazakhs of modern times as Abai Kunanbayev.
Фото: e-history.kz 01.10.2022 01:56 1306

My article "Children of Abai" was published in "Kazakhstan Truth" on June 11, 1994. Then there were a lot of responses on the topic. It is strange, but to this day there is a lot of unexplored in the biography of the poet himself, his entourage, the fate of his descendants. For example, until now, Abai is shown only as a poet and thinker. He was actively engaged in politics, was elected as a volost and was held accountable for political "unreliability". His house was searched by the tsarist gendarmerie. The fate of his descendants has also not been fully investigated. And it was tragic.

It is difficult to find in the history of Kazakhstan a person who would have such a huge impact on the socio-political thought of the Kazakhs of modern times as Abai Kunanbayev.

A genius nugget born in the distant steppes of Eastern Kazakhstan, he absorbed all the pain, anxiety and hopes of the Kazakh people, who found themselves at the end of the nineteenth century and in a very difficult social and political situation. As a thinker, he subjected the culture, way of life, customs of the steppe people to a thorough and critical analysis; as a poet, he sang the nature of Kazakhstan in his poems and raised the poetic art of his people to a new height. He bitterly and mercilessly ridiculed all the vices and shortcomings inherent in human nature.

The great Abai also proved himself as the finest lyricist. The name of the poet and thinker is on many lips today. A monument has been erected to him in Almaty, the city, university, villages and streets are named after him. The poet's life is fully reflected in the novel by the outstanding writer of our time M. Auezov. The works of Abai, the son of Kunanbai, are constantly being studied and translated into many languages of the world.

But today we will not talk about him, but about his children. Speaking almost daily about Abai, we sometimes completely lose sight of the fact that he, too, was an earthly man, like anyone else, he could suffer deeply, hate, be proud and love. Abai loved children with special love.

Few Kazakhstanis know that the Soviet authorities, while allowing them to talk about Abai, nevertheless carefully concealed the fate of his children from the public. Few people think about why there are no descendants of Abai left in the Semipalatinsk region, in the area named after Abai. Why did this happen? And what made them leave their native places?

Parents, giving life to children, are unable to predict their fate. From two wives, Dilda and Aigerim, Abai had ten children, including seven sons and three daughters. Abai's children grew up in a special poetic and musical atmosphere. The firstborn of Abai Akylbai showed himself in poetry. Akylbai, who knew both Eastern and European culture well, while still a very young man, wrote the poem "Dagestan".

In this work, where Caucasian motifs were clearly heard, Akylbay conveyed to his compatriots the indomitable spirit and love of freedom of the peoples of the Caucasus. I do not recall that anyone else could convey to the steppe people the essence of the philosophy and culture of the mountain peoples with such persuasiveness and expressiveness.

The poem "Dagestan" was published in 1918 in the magazine "Abai" with the signature: Akylbai, son of Abai. His next poem – "Zulu", written on the plots of the famous English writer and publicist G. Haggard "King Solomon's Mines", is published in the magazine "Sana" ("Intellect"). This is all that came out, since almost a whole list of Akylbai's works was lost in the following years, which turned out to be tragic for Kunanbai's descendants.

Akylbay skillfully played musical instruments and sang well. His songs have been preserved, arranged at one time on musical notes by Mukhtar Auezov. Akylbay left three sons and three daughters. Today his descendants live in Almaty and in the East Kazakhstan region.

The talent of his grandfather and father was inherited by Akylbay's eldest son Aubakir. Aubakir wrote a number of interesting things, including the poem "Mamai Batyr", which describes historical events dedicated to the wars with the Dzungars and the return of Kazakh tribes to their ancestral lands- the winter quarters of Abraly and Karkaraly.

Abai had particularly high hopes for his third son Abdrakhman (Abisha). After graduating from the Russian school in Semipalatinsk, Abish enters the Mikhailovsky Artillery School in St. Petersburg. After finishing his studies, the young man returns to his native land, but soon falls seriously ill and dies.

Having endured the death of Abdrakhman hard, Abai now transfers all his love to Magauia (Magisha). Abai often takes him on trips with him, teaches him poetic skills, but soon Magish also dies of consumption. There was no limit to Abai's grief and suffering. This is how Mukhtar Auyezov describes Abai's condition after Magaui's death: "... Abai, breathing heavily, almost fell on the edge of the dying man's bed. His eyes, which frightened Aigerim, still looked lifeless, large tears, like wheat grains, continuously rolled out of these wide-open eyes." The early death of the children hastened the death of the poet himself. Abai died the day after the forty-day commemoration of Magish.

The poem "Medgat-Kasim" and a number of songs remained from Magish. Fragments of the poem "Enlik-Kebek" and "Abylai" have also been preserved.

Shakarim, the son of Abai's elder brother Kudaiberda, should be attributed to the spiritual heirs of the poet, without any exaggeration. After the poet's death, Shakarim, fulfilling the precepts of Abai, goes on a journey to Turkey and the countries of the Middle East. He visits Mecca, Medina, works in major libraries and archives. Shakarim knew Arabic, Turkish and Russian well. He was in correspondence with many major thinkers, and in particular with Leo Tolstoy.

Abai had three sons and three daughters from Aigerim. Abai's eldest son from Aigerim Turagul was born in 1875. Turagul also showed a literary gift early, he translates into Kazakh the stories of Jack London, Maxim Gorky's "Chelkash", A. Neverov's novella "I want to live". Turagul played the dombra perfectly, composed poetry and was an unsurpassed speaker. In addition, Turagul was closely associated with the leaders of the growing Kazakh intelligentsia Alikhan Bukeikhanov, Mirzhakup Dulatov, composer Amre Kashaubayev, famous wrestler Khajimukan and was among the participants of the Alash-Orda movement.

Abai's death seemed to have swept away the protective wall with which he protected his family. Blows, one heavier than the other, rained down on his loved ones, and above all on children and already grandchildren. The years of the First World War laid a heavy burden on the steppe dwellers, then the revolution of 1917 broke out. A short lull was replaced by the flames of the civil war, Dutovism and Annenkovism.

Concerning the fate of Abai's children, it is impossible to bypass the tragic pages of the 30s and the years of the Great Patriotic War. The struggle against the so-called "Baysko-Kulak elements" and the collectivization that followed it, which began in Kazakhstan, hit the children of Abai particularly hard.

After the suppression of the Abralinsky uprising, all the children of the propertied strata, including the children and grandchildren of Abai, were subjected to total persecution.

The policy of persecution has scattered Abai's children all over the world.

In line with this policy, all the descendants of Kunanbai were automatically ranked among the "feudal elements" with all the ensuing consequences. Endless harassment, nagging and restrictions on rights began. In order to protect themselves from further persecution, almost the entire Kunanbayev family was forced to move away from their native places. In the 30th year, Magaui's son Zhagipar moved to Shemonaiha near Ust-Kamenogorsk. He died there in 1934.

The Turagula family is moving to Southern Kazakhstan. In 1934, he dies. Some of Abai's children were forced to seek protection outside Kazakhstan – in Kyrgyzstan and Siberia. Some settle in Almaty.

The fate of Shakarim himself turned out to be particularly tragic. As a strong and educated person, Shakarim could not understand and accept the inhumane policy of collectivization. It is quite possible that he openly expressed his disagreement with the inhumane policy of the Soviet government. Then, probably, these bitter confessions were born in him:

So where did the soul go,

what did nature give them?

Only troops and weapons

yes trading business –

That's what the "sciences" are doing

all the centuries until now,

Forgetting about compassion

in the wilds of furious evil...

(Translated by V. Tsybin).

It is known that a number of Kunanbai's grandchildren became the head of peasant unrest in the Abralinsky parish. As representatives of the propertied classes, Shakarim's sons Gafur and Akhat and grandson Bayazit are being driven into prisons in Semipalatinsk. Unable to withstand the humiliation and torture, Gafur and Bayazit end their lives by suicide.

In the autumn of 1931, Shakarim was brutally murdered by GPU employees without trial. The names of these executioners are also known. The body of the thinker and poet was thrown into a dry well, and the name was anathematized. Now few people remember that until 1989 it was forbidden not only to publish Shakarim's works, it was forbidden even to mention his name as a sworn "enemy of the people". His invaluable work on the history of the Kazakhs and shezhire was also banned.

Despite the warnings of the authorities, the surviving Akhat in 1961 digs out the remains of Shakarim from the well and transfers them to the Zhidebai tract and buries them next to Abai. They say that when Akhat was transporting the remains of his innocently murdered father, the streets of the district center – the village of Karaul were crowded with people. But there was not a single party worker among them, who, as you know, liked to attend any mass events.

The surviving grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Abai survived everything that fell to the lot of an ordinary Soviet man. Of Abai's nine grandchildren and great-grandchildren who participated in the Great Patriotic War, only two returned home. Magaui's children Mekail, Izkail, descendants of Akylbay Berekehan, Zhoshyhan, Kuzair, Kalysher, Toktash, Kapsalyam, Alkhan died the death of the brave in the war. Grave Russians remained in Ukraine, Belarus and on the Russian plains.

Alpash Ospanov and Ishan Zhagiparova, who returned from the war, lived in Almaty. Ishan went to the front as a volunteer and served in aviation units. Alpash Ospanov fought near Moscow as part of the 34th Rifle Brigade. This is only part of the information we have, but of course other searches are needed.

The name of Abai began to be restored only in the 40-50 years, thanks to the efforts of Mukhtar Auezov, Kanysh Satpayev, Kaim Mukhamedkhanov and their associates. The poet's work also began to be studied. And already in the 60s, a monument was erected to him in Almaty, streets were named after him, but the fate of his descendants was still hushed up.

The fate of Abai's children is, by and large, a repetition and reflection of the tragic fate of the entire nation. Endless experiments on man, on nature, and at the same time endless praise of the achievements of "socialism, the field of national politics, the successful overcoming of the remnants of feudalism; myth–making"; double morality at the state level - and at the same time alienation and rejection of man himself from his true purpose and meaning of being.

And yet somehow it is light in my soul from the fact that, despite all the hardships, the children of Abai did not break down and did not change the principles that their great ancestor preached. And today, when, according to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan K.K. Tokayev, the commission for the full rehabilitation of victims of political repression is working, there is a need to restore the whole truth about the children of the great poet and thinker.

B. G. Ayagan

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