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A. Bukeihanov. ABAI (IBRAHIM) KUNANBAYEV

June 23, 1904 in Chyngys mountain of Semipalatinsk district died in the native steppe popular Kirghiz poet Abai Kunanbayev. His pen-name is Ibrahim (Abraham), but the Kirghiz steppe, following the poet’s mother, gave him tender name Abai and that we keep him.
Abai’s father was from the generation of well-known leaders and biys of clan Tobykty. His great-grandfather Yrgyzbay was Tobykty biy and warrior, who was named by the name of the river Yrgyz in Torgai region where he was born in the 50th of the XVІІ century, one of the few leaders of his generation brought Tobykty clan from Turkistan to Chingis Mountains, representing excellent pastures for cattle. His grandfather Oskenbai was a fair biy, people from different clans came for fair resolution of disputes. Abai’ father had an enormous influence on other Kyrgyz clans, which was confirmed at the election of Kunanbay as a head of sultans in Karkarala region. At the end of life Kunanbay went to Mecca, and returned from there and withdrew from worldly affairs, which made him even more popular. His mother Ulzhan was from generation of well-known in clan Boshan byi Bertys, like Yrgyzbay, which brought Karakesek clan to Karkarala region: in the mountains of Kuu, Edrei and Myrzhyk. The most popular brothers and comedians Kontay and Tontay were Abai’s mother Olzhan native uncles.
Rich Kontay was ill for a long time, the mullahs and hozhy used to ask about his health and Kontay said the dying: “Yes, it has already ashamed of you no end to recover, it is time to die”. Abai died at the age of 60.He was born in the year snake in 1845 and died in the year of the hare in 1904. From 10 to 12 years old Abai studied in the Kirghiz steppes. He was 12 years old he entered to Mullah Akhmed-Rizi medrese in Semipalatinsk, being with him; he has visited the Russian parish school for 3 months when he was 14 years old.
This 4-year education in medrese and 3-month training at the Russian school his education ended. He returned to the steppe, despite his 15 years, he became an assistant of his father, who played an influential role the leader of Kyrgyz clans that led the struggle for political supremacy with the Sultan clans, which the regulations of 1822 year about Siberian Kirghiz provided the monopoly rulers of the Kirgiz steppe. Despite his youthful years, Abai took a prominent place among the leaders of that time, the steppe predicted Abai the fate of famous byi. For 20 years of his life Abai was first famous speaker, who knew the life of people, traditions, he knew by heart many cases and decisions of the famous biys in Kirghiz steppes. He had an unusual memory. Abai knew the folklore, proverbs, fairy tales, aphorisms and sayings created by sages of Kirghiz steppe. There is no doubt that Abai in the old days would have become bi and the recognition of his talent as a writer and artist. The new time characteristic and the consolidation of the successes in the steppe of Islam pay attention to Abai’s knowledge, consisting of books in Arabic, Persian and Turkic languages. Thanks to the leisure and ability, self-taught, he knew Arabic and Persian languages, he could freely read. One of the proverbs about mullahs and hozhy was: “naive people, and money-grubber priest”. They were afraid of the meeting and talking with Abai, who exposed their spiritual poverty. It should be noted his attitude to rituals of Islam. Abai did not observe Muslim fasting and performed five times daily prayers. His act was against rite. At the age of 30 Abai became famous influential Kirghiz. Abai with his talent and knowledge went into the fight of Kyrgyz parties.
At the age of 14 Abai wrote satirical poems, and they learned by the youth and the author did not give them any interest. Probably he was ashamed to humiliate himself as “aқyn” (poet), who despises the steppe aristocracy. Kyrgyz sultans were proud that they were not any “bucksy” (witch), no “aқyn” (poet). Abai wrote that they have turned the art into beg for money from the rich, and distinguished themselves from the artisans “aқyn”:

For garnishing their speech with proverbs. The akyns—
Those wingless poets who could neither read nor write,
Who spun their crudely rhymed and worded tales
And, fingering the strings of their kobyz or dombra,
Cried out their lofty-sounding dedications,
And then passed round the hat, collecting coppers.
A shame that they should thus discredit poetry.
By fawning on the rich, by tricks and flattery,
They managed to get gifts of cattle and of sheep.
While living on the charity of other clans
They boasted of the fabulous riches of their own.
They did not flatter everybody—just the purse-proud bais.
But still they did not make a fortune for their pains.

(Free translation of the prose: ignorant stupid singers composed the song of nonsense, with the balalaika in his hands, shouted at the gathering, praising the head, begging in other clans, like a beggar; golden word of the song turned into copper, sold their soul; one cheated, another mesmerizing; cursed by God, boasted of the wealth of its clans, looking for rich boasters, no matter how much collected pennies, selling word from them was not wealth). This is the characterization of Abai to Kyrgyz improviser “aқyn”. Abai had an outstanding poetic talent. At this time, Abai got acquainted with the politician Gross, who collected materials for the pamphlet “Legal practices of Kirghiz”in the steppe, published under the editorship of Mr. Makovetsky, and Michayles, who had a huge influence on Abai’s education. Both, Gross and Michayles stayed at Abai’s house in the steppe, acquainted him with the Russian literature. Abay got acquainted with Pushkin, Lermontov, Nekrasov, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Saltykov, Dostoevsky, Belinsky, Dobrolyubov and Pisarev. Until the last minute of his life Abai with touching gratitude remembered Michayles. Subsequently, Abay read “Experiments” by Spencer, “Positive philosophy” by Lewis, “The mental development of Europe” by Drepera, articles from old books “Contemporary” by Chernyshevsky and knew of his fate. Abai was Particularly fond of Lermontov’s works and he loved to do translations. Abai translated Kyrgyz excellent poems “Duma”, “Dagger”, “Sail,” “Prayer,” etc. Abai translated a lot of Krylov’s fables. Abai translated into Kyrgyz language “Eugene Onegin”, especially in the steppe popular “Letter to Tatiana”. In 1899, in Kokonsky Kyrgyz singer Adylhan offered us listen to “Letter to Tatiana” to the accompaniment of his violin. The same evening Adylhan who knows a lot of original Abai’s poems sang us some of his translations of Lermontov, while explaining that Lermontov was unhappy with life, and Pushkin treated her like a sage. Subsequently, this author had to make sure that in the Kirghiz steppes in different regions’ akins “knew and sang the balalaika (dombra) Abai transfers from Pushkin and Lermontov. Abay was an admirer of Tolstoy and Saltykov. Abai dedicated a special poem to pupils which wicked satire, castigating the desire of Kyrgyz children to be a bribetaker clerk, a hedge lawyer, police officer, invites them to read Tolstoy, Shchedrin and tried to be what they were. Abai regretted that he did not study in his youth, he expressed the following lovely poetry:
«When I was young I didn’t give much thought
To knowledge,
I saw the use, but didn’t test it out.
When I grew up, I didn’t know how to latch onto it.
I stretched out my hand to it very late.

(Free translation of the prose, one of the joy of a man is children, I tried to teach them, sent children to school, not in order to serve and receive grades, but to study and know). After graduating of city college Abai gave the second son Gabdrahman to Tumen vocational school, which cost him several hundred rubles of annual rate. Abai was the first Kirghiz, dared to sacrifice so much for the education of children. After graduating of vocational school, he went to entered to the St. Petersburg Institute of Technology. Here, on the advice of a friend he entered to the Mikhailovsky Artillery School. Unfortunately, Gabdrahman died of caries in 1895, preparing to enter the Artillery Academy. Introduction with Russian literature gave his leisure reading and writing of poetry, which, unfortunately, not collected. Each poems, words spoken or written by Abai, on the first scrap of paper came across, understood and learned by the youth. Poetry of Abay, especially satirical, are found in all parts of the Kirghiz steppes. In the minds of his talent Abai down attitude to his brethren, at which he wrote:
«Жан көрінбес көзіме,
Арғын, Найман жиылса,
Таңырқаған сөзіме қайран сөзім қор болды,
Тобықтының ізіне»
As stated earlier, Abay did not take part in public affairs. Abay its voluntary withdrawal in the background expressed in the following lines:
«Өзімде басқа шауып, төске өрледім;
Казаққа қарасөзге дес бермедім;
Еңбегімді білерлік еш адам жоқ,
Түбінде тыныш жүргенді теріс көрмедім.»
Free translation of the prose, striking the enemy on the head, rising above the verbal tournament did not give any Kazakh prize, in the end, finding those who would rate the merits, concluded to live away from the fight. May 14, 1904 died his favorite son Magauyi. He had a poor health. This loss had affected Abai disappointingly, he stopped talking, avoiding human society. Abai died after 40 days the death of Magauyi. Dashed line is deeply sensual, written in 1893:
«Жүрегімді құм қылды.
Өткен адам өлген жан;
Ақыл іздеп ізерлеп,
Бәрін сынап сандалған,
Бірін таппай солардың,
Енді ішіме ой салған,
Тұлабойды ұлатты,
Бәрі алдағыш сұм жалған,
Басыңа тиді байқадың,
Бәрінен басты шайқадың,
Тағы бар ма айтарың,
Нанғыш болсақ енді нан».

Free translation of the prose, bleeding heart, how to remember the dead, he worked, looking for wisdom, thinking to find happiness in it, but did not find any wisdom or happiness, a place where atonement sad thoughts. Cheat fate deceive me not one. Took it blows appreciated them. Do you keep the faith in happiness? Original works of Abai and his translations of Pushkin (excerpt from “Eugene Onegin”), Lermontov, Krylov collected by his son Turagulom and in a short time will be published Semipalatinsk Subdivision Imperial sian Geographical Society, edited by A. Bukeikhan. Abay presented remarkable poetic power and the pride of the Kyrgyz people. There’s never been Kyrgyz poet, so elevating spiritual creativity of the people, as Abai. Wonderful his poems dedicated to the four seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) would have done honor to the famous poets of Europe.

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The institute of Abai was opened in Kazakh National University named after Al-Farabi on the 24th of March, 2009. The Academician of International High School Science Academy, Doctor of Philology Science and professor Zhangara Dadebaev was chosen as a director of the Institute of Abai.
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