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June 23rd 1904 was the time when famous Kazakh akyn[1] and Chingiztau foothills inhabitants’ representative named Abay Kunanbayuli (or Abay Qunanbayuli) passed away. His real name is Ibrahim. However, according to Kazakh custom name «Abay» given by his mother is used for identification nowadays.

    Abay’s father called Kunanbay was a famous biy[2] and Tobykty family hereditary ruler. Abay’s great-grandmother (Qunanbay’s great-grandfather) was born approximately in 1750 in the river Irgiz. He was batyr[3] and biy of Tobykty family. He became at the head of Tobykty family. Sometime later after another tribe called argyns led a nomadic life from side of Turkestan, one of the south towns in Kazakhstan, Kunanbay came to lands between Chingiz Mountains and determined them as the most suitable land in order to grant his people with pastures of this land.

    Oskenbay, Irgizbay’s son was reputed as a justful biy in his tribe and was in need as a judge for neighboring families and tribes. There people from the distant families were coming to him, counting on his mind and shrewdness. They were hoping for the right resolution of their arguments. Being pacified by his powerful will and mind, they return home, then.

    Kunanbay, Abay’s father was not only authoritative and tough but also intelligent and clever man, who taking people’s opinion into account. Besides Tobykty, he was heading other families. In times of Chingizid representatives’ government, he stepped in fight with hereditary sultans. He won the fight and became the 1st sultan from Black Bone[4] Kazakhs. Earlier only Kazakh aristocrats were in power.

    There was a time, when Kazakhs superficially considered themselves as Muslims and could not even imagine other religions. Thus, they did not discern any customs and rituals. But Kunanbay accustomed people to Sharia law (Islamic law) in a way to avoid any confusion with other religions. If somebody committed particularly serious crimes, Kunanbay implemented the severest measures of punishment, provided Sharia law. In time of Kunanbay’s government there were mullahs[5], who were orientating people toward theology science. In this way he tried to form a model of righteous man for people.

    In the times, when majority of Kazakhs were protecting their own children from Russians’ influence, Kunanbay strived for providing own children’s with Russian education. One of his sons, Haliola graduated Omsk officer training corps and Paul’s cavalry school in Moscow. He had always got exclusively top marks in every educational institution. Carrying out cornet’s duties, Haliola became ill of consumption and passed away.

    When old Kazakhs did not know about hajj[6] in their lifetime, but there was its time, in old age Kunanbay pilgrimaged to Mecca. After that he was not engaged in temporal matters any more, but devoted himself only to public worship and led an isolated life until his death.

    Abay’s mother called Ulzhan was descendant of Bertys biy from Karakesek and Boshan families, inhabited Koo, Edirey and Myrzhyk lands, ownership of Karkaraly County. Her father called Turpan and her kinsmen were Kantai and Tontai, popularly known for their eloquence and a penchant for humor.  

    Tontai was fairly wealthy man. It was that when he was sick a couple of times, mullahs and hodzha[7] were coming to him to inquire about his health and to express respect. When it came time to die and he was laying on his deathbed, mullahs visited him again. And then he said: «It has already been awkward to recover after so many diseases and so many clerics’ visits. Now I can no longer die».

    As to Abay, he was born in 1845 in the year of the Snake. And in 1904, in the year of Snail he died at the age of 60.

    From 10 to 12 years having receiving primary education in a Muslim school in aul, about the age of 13 Abay studied at the Semipalatinsk madrassas in mullah called Ahmed-Riza. Being in the madrasah[8], he also studied at the Russian parochial school. Finally, after 4 years at a Muslim school he completed his education at the age 14. Leaving matters, which were not typical for adult life, he overtook with adults in possession of knowledge and even surpassed them in that case. Having drawn people’s attention, he rendered a great assistance to his father in his own successful battle with former representatives of Tore[9]. Notable people from the same families as he was, apprehended him seriously and have unwittingly influenced by it. In those days, whatever the nominees of the people did, it was said that a bi would be nice. They just didn’t know that time these biys have already expired.

    At the age 20 Abay has become a recognized sheshen-speaker[10] in the nation. He was well informed about the decisions of the old traditional formation biys with regard to particularly difficult legal situations, in which there were the common people. Being superior to other biys in mind, he had a sharp mind and memory. Moreover, he took great number of age-old memorates, sayings, stories, and tales of wise men in the nation that became parables and popular expressions. It was clear that if everything were back to the old times. Abay would be one of the greatest biys, not inferior to bi of past generations.

    Although he had little time, Abay managed to read plenty of theological literature in accordance with the spirit of the age, when Islam and science were coming into force. He was reading books in Arabic, Persian and Turkish.  Therefore he became more educated in the matters of religion and science. A rare tenacity he had. Moreover, no one could compete with him in the knowledge of Persian and Arabic language. Uneducated and ignorant mullahs avoided him in every way, because they were afraid of revealing their hypocrisy and lie in Abai’s presence. Hypocrisy and lie were their means, by which simple folk was subordinated to mullahs. So thereby they were escaping a shame of ignorance exposure.

    By no means, Abay aimed at show of himself as devout man in public worship.  At the usual time he was not zealous in Mohammedan prayer, i.e. Namaz[11]. But when time of Ramadan[12] came, he was keeping Oraza[13] and sticking to rules of Namaz. Observing others’ haste in reading Mohammedan prayer, he tried to read prayer unhurried and measured, as it were, teaching people by saying: «Hurrying in reading Namaz, Mohammed prayer destroys your own spiritual mood».

    But particularly strict Abay was in the diligence. Whatever Abay did and whatever consoled advices, he always said: «There are two different matters in the world. The first one is pleasing to God and the second one is humane». With the phrase «The main thing in public worship is purity of soul and treating the man with compassion» Abay expressed his negative attitude to hojjas and pharisees[14], who were posing as religionist and too pious people. He also added: «People like these pretend to be sincere servants of God for the homely people. But actually they do such things for glory and honor. They are not candid with the simple folk. The man, who sincerely worships God, does not show it to others. The word «God» has great, indeed. God knows that words must match deeds. To have benevolent heart and pure soul is the irreplaceable way to the truth».

    At the age of 30 Abay’s fame was spread across the steppes. Elders of other families were aspiring to friendship with Abay, even to become related with him in order to avoid quarrels and conflicts. Being friend with Abay, they together ruled thieves and violators with a rod of iron. To be more concrete, criminals were forced not hurt anybody. Soon any thief did not dare to cross the territory of neighboring auls[15]. However, in spite of successful struggle with theft phenomenon, the custom of barymta[16] remained. Furthermore, there were formed some parties of people, not obeying the new rules made Abay and other elders’ life created many problems.

    Abay was a person of natural gifts in his time. However on account of mass ignorance of people, he couldn’t display his gift and power of words. Therefore, most of his flourishing life he spent to fight with the groups of his noisy and troublesome enemies. It is said in one of Abay’s poems:


What can you explain

to this foolish profane?

But their nature is not peaceful, an itch gnaws at them.

They understood only lies.

No evil scares them,

they are gripped by raging passions

No able to leave the home land,

not able to get rid of trouble-makers,

we sit without a twinge of conscience,

not funding any other refuge.

God decreed me to be unhappy from birth,

he condemned me to a futile battle with a dishonest people

He locked me up in bitter isolation,

and that’s how I learned to be humble to my fate.


Extract from the poem «We’ve lived a lot…»


Translated by Richard McKane


    At the age of 14, Abay had already been written poems and it aroused surprise among adolescents of the same age. In his poems he was ridiculing or joking on someone. Adolescents of the same age used his verses in aityses[17], by learning them by heart but did not consider him as a poet. Poets were not held in respect at that time by reason of poor peasants’ learning of poems by heart to praise some buy in the hope that comes his way. The rich knew poets’ intentions and this fact was flattering them. They said, there were never any baksy[18] or akyns in poor peasants’ family.

    Finally, realizing the power of his own gift, Abay began to create his works systematically. Mainly for the reason that being ignorant, the former and akyns were writing poems in order not to make people aim at self-education but to achieve their low and mercenary purposes. Pointing to the fact that poetry has lost its meaning and value among the Kazakhs because of akyns’ ignorance, Abay emphasized that he was writing poems not to derive benefit for himself but to call clearly for science and education and to open Kazakh people’s eyes to the state of affairs by saying parables and reading lectures:



Poetic speech, the Queen of literature, implies

The finest words put well together by the wisest bards.

Words that a person easily can memorise,

Words that will smoothly flow and touch the heart.

Lines cluttered with unnecessary words

Speak of the poet’s helplessness and lack of culture.

Alas, there are so many ignorants among the poets,

So many readers who’re not competent to judge.

At first, we know there was the ayat[19] and the hadis,

And in composing them the beitas[20], too were used.

Why would the Prophet choose this form of writing

If it had neither harmony, nor melody, nor rhythm?

A learned mullah in his evening prayers,

A seer in his predictions and his omens

Will rhyme his speech and chose his words with care

To give them a harmonious and flowing sound.

It’s true that everybody wants to be a poet,

But genuine poets only few of us become.

Who of us, Kazakhs, can compose a poem, whose form

Would be a thing of silver, and the words pure gold?

Let’s take my predecessors, for example:

The biys, who had a well-known predilection

For garnishing their speech with proverbs. The akyns –

Those wingless poets who could neither read or 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 the 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


But still they did not make a fortune for their pains.

And, judging by their like the Kazakhs had the notion

That poets windbags were and poetry was nonsense.

I shall not speak in proverbs like a clever biy,

Nor shall I beg for coppers like an old akyn.

I shall keep to the point, because the moment’s ripe

To speak of you, my reader, and improve your mind.


Extract from the poem «Poetic speech, the Queen of literature, implies»


Translated by Olga Shartse


    While embodying his skill Abay would have remained unknown, if not for acquaintance with an educated person named Eugene Michaelis, exiled to Kazakh land in 1870. There was one more Abay’s Polish-born acquaintance, named Severin Gross, while intending to supplement book «Ancient Kazakh traditions and customs», published under Michaelis’s and Makovetsky’s authorship. Both of Abay’s aquiantances and friends, then, Gross, majoring in law, and Michaelis, majoring in exact sciences, participated in St. Petersburg demonstrations for the abolition of serfdom and authoritarian tsar’s regime and for capitalism development in the middle of the 19th century. Therefore, Gross and Michaelis were exiled from St. (Saint) Petersburg to Kazakhstan and while frequent visiting Abay, both of them were main people, who affected Abay’s decision to study more for self-education.

    Thanks to above-mentioned political figures Abay familiarized with books of famous Russian writers such as Pushkin, Lermontov, Nekrasov, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Saltykov –Shchedrin, Dostoevsky, Belinski, Dobrolubov and Pisarev. So Abay learnt much about foreign fiction and was indebted to his friends, Gross and Michalis, especially to the second one. Till his dying day, Abay said again and again: «We can say, I value Michaelis more than my father, because he opened my eyes to the world».

    In the last years of his life, Abay was keen on reading of the following books: Spencer’s «Experiments», Lewis’s «Positive arbitration». He was also reading Chernyshevsky’s articles and his biography and European scientist, Draper’s researches. In particular, Abay was pleased to read Lermontov’s works and translated many of them as Kazakh song in the form of poem. Sometime later, he took a great on translated the well-known Lermontov’s poems such as «The thought», «The dagger», «The sail» and «The prayer».

    Abay made easily understood translation of Krylov’s fables from Russian into Kazakh language. He also translated Pushkin’s poem «Onegin». This version was widespread in Kazakh land. Kazakh have already known Tatjana’s letter to Onegin, extract from poem «Onegin» in Abay’s version.

    Abay was considered as follower of Russian writers, Tolstoy and Saltykov-Shedrin. His poems contain criticism of Kazakh pupils’ extended intention to be just lawyers or police rank in order to regulate their life well. Kazakh poet from was calling them to read his two preceptors’ works and to follow them as well as Abay did earlier. Being grieved for his tardy all modern sciences learning, Abay says about his unrealized dream in the following verse:


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.


Extract from the poem «When I was young I didn’t give much thought to knowledge»


Translated by Richard McKane


    Deploring his neglected opportunities, Abay was striving for providing his children with Russian secondary and higher education, afterwards. He did not want to be like those Kazakh, who sent their children to study at school in order to be worthy of people’s great praise. In fact, such Kazakhs derived benefit, afterwards, for example to used his children, who were policemen or lawyers by profession, in order to go unpunished while their criminal business, for example, corruption or plunder. So unlike such kind of people, Abay set himself education and science as an object. This emotion state was reflected in his following verse:


Children are one of the joys of life.

I’m not against teaching children.

I put my son in the madrasah, so that he could acquire knowledge

And not so that he could gain favour and status.


Extract from the poem «When I was young I didn’t give much thought to knowledge»


Translated by Richard McKane


    As soon as Abay’s second son graduated town school, Abay took his tuition fee and sent him to study in Tyumen real school, where pupils learn mainly mathematics and subjects of natural sciences. In those days hardly anyone from the Kazakhs sent their children to study in Russian cities and spent for it a hundred rubles per year.

    When Abdrakhman graduated from the university, he was entering technological university of St. Peterburg and met a certain Losev, former uyezd chief, who advised him to join St. Michael’s artillery school. Abdrakhman followed Losev’s advice. He always considered service to the people as his duty. Moreover, he was giving hope after graduation, but unfortunately for his parents he fall ill with bone tuberculosis and died in 1895. But he was studying further and preparing to enter the military artillery Academy.

    Study of the scientific works in Russian awoke Abay’s soul, soul of poet. Having realized, that he may be Kazakh poet in need, Abay tried to avoid secular bustle and idle talks in which the idlers were drawn. He decided to devote himself to creative work. Although, people were not leaving him along, he took every opportunity to state on paper his thoughts, racking the mind, till ignorant people interrupt his work. Young people, who admired Abay, recopied his works and quickly spread them across the steppe. Abay’s works, in which he criticized of Kazakh people’s shortcomings, were just so spread all over Kazakhstan.

    Realizing himself as a deeply and hard thinking poet, Abay wrote verses about his concern on forgetful people, who superficially apprehended poetry. There were people, incapable to estimate true essential creative work:


I shall not speak in proverbs like a clever biy,

Nor shall I beg for coppers like an old akyn.

I shall keep to the point, because the moment’s ripe

To speak of you, my reader, and improve your mind.

If I were to describe the batyrs’ plunderous raids,

Or write in racy verse of love and pretty girls,

You’d hang upon my words, you’d never have enough,

Because you’re used to hearing idle gossip,

Which dulls your mind and takes it off more serious things.

«But such is life», you stubbornly persist.

All round your money takes the place of human values,

So you’ll forgive me if I sound too indiscreet.


Extract from the poem «Poetic speech, the Queen of literature, implies»


Translated by Olga Shartse


    Abay’s poems were permeated with his feeling of bitterness that one can understand. You see, it often happens that having gathered at Abay’s house instead of heeding his words and scrutinizing poet’s admonitions, some of his relatives senselessly apprehended them and even misinterpret their sense. Ironically, Abay’s relatives’ consideration of his admonitions in poems as deceitful gave a rise to creation of new work.


Save me – how can I preserve

my heart from evil people –

their wicked snake-in-the grass talk

Tears it into forty pieces.


Those I loved are no longer.

My friend has turned into my enemy –

light darkens with evil.

I cannot find support from anyone.


Extract from the poem «Save me – how can I preserve»


Translated by Richard McKane


    Finally, Abay got tired with particularism and clannishness, which was tearing simple people apart. He understood that people are wide of the sense of human nature improvement, and as a result, his soul was dark. He wrote the following verse about his wish to seclude himself from people at home:


I proudly scorned ignoramuses

and arrogantly called them fools,

and strove to change my age,

considering myself to have a giant’s brain.


But didn’t find support

in the struggle with the dark host of fools

Set in their way

they didn’t hear my exhortations.


There’s terror in how they look,

they are seized with madness.

Not one of them stood their ground.

They stubbornly moved back


Extract from the poem «I proudly scorned ignoramuses»


Translated by Richard McKane

    On the 14th May, 1904 the beloved son of Abay, Magavya (Magish) passed away. After Magavya’s health has become much worse, Abay took away him to the village.

    When Magavya died, the world seems to collapse for Abay. His appearance strangely changed much. He grew thin and hunched. He was avoiding people, who were going to present their condolence to him in order to distract his mind from his sorrows. However, it did not yield any good result. Abay more often was aspiring to isolate him from the world. Feeling that his strength was falling, he did not meddling in other villagers’ business and died in40 days after Magavya’s death. Abay quoted his favorite Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov’s verse, written in 1896, which reflected his state of those times:


Should, deep into your soul, dark melancholy creep,

Should fierce and stormy passion claim it,

Far from men’s sumptuous feasts, their noisy revels keep

Your mate – your frenzied Muse and tameless,

Do not demean yourself; trade not in anguish or

In ire, and, pray the never-healing

Wounds that erode your sole do not display before

A heartless rabble and unfeeling.


What is’t tous, in truth, if suffered you or not?

Why need we share your fears and yearnings,

The foolish hopes of years long gone and long forgot,

Remorseful reason’s  qualms and stirrings?

Look yonder! Look, I beg! – Along a well-trod way

The common herd untroubled hastens;

How smug, how pleased they look, how little care display!

See? – No tears mar their placid fears.


Yet there’s not one among them who has not by dark

And threatful fate been cruelly punished,

And his brow lined by grief, approached life’s half-way mark

‘Thout crime or tragic loss and anguish!…

They scoff at your abuse and at your tearful plaint,

More studied than it is impassioned.

You’re a tragedian who daubs his face with paint

And waves a sword of cardboard fashioned.


Extract from the poem «Trust not yourself»


Translated by Irina Zheleznova


    It was mentioned above that Abay was growing and developing at that time, when respectable Kazakh dzhigits[21] were completely setting hopes upon a chance to be a full member of clan or united group of Kazakhs. Such kind of union ensures reliable protection from enemies and financial aid. At that time young Abay did not show great enthusiasm to the activity of writer. Therefore it was minor thing for Abay, until he met Eugene Michaelis and Severin Gross and read Russian writers’ books. At a mature age he was frequently expressing regret for tardy entry of the path to science. It was explained by constant meaningless bustle of his life for many years, aroused because of examinations of discord between Kazakhs, all of whom wanted to have more land with pastures. Also it pained him to understand that poems, written in those years, turn out to be poor and superficial. His every work of those days was not an example for people and lacked motives for doing better things in the world. He was saying that if his poetry turned out to be incomprehensible and unnecessary and even if he was enraged because of failing to influence upon people’s mind, you should not judge him too much but understand that Abay spent most of his life among ignorant people, who did not serve as model for imitation. Again and again with a heavy heart he wrote about all negative things of Kazakh people’s life in the following verse:


Is not the cold damp earth to enclose my clay when it


Will not my fearless tongue become like a timid maid?

Will not my heart be frozen, turned into lifeless ice,

My heart, that fought against vice and the buddings of

                  love obeyed?


Will not the final hour arrive for me just the same

As it must for all other people, with certainty, soon or


Will not my stern descendants notice them and condemn

The countless mistakes and errors that I so rashly made?


Yet I will not, alas, be able to make reply.

Though you are free to condemn, bear, I beg you, in


That I was harassed enough during my earthly life.

To punish me twice for the same offence would be

       indeed unkind.

Make an effort to understand; to your sympathy I


It wasn’t really so simple, my torn and suffering soul.

My way through this arduous life was difficult, strewn

                       with thorns.

I fought with the darkest of darkness, take account,

        I beg, of it all.


Hot-tempered was I and one time a little bit feather-


I used to practice deceit and was given to envy and spite.

Though later I grew more wise, yet to this day remain

Imperfect in many ways, barred by my faults from

                the light.

I wasn’t entirely free to seek the road to perfection,

Condemned to err by my foes – by those who had borne

                                   me hate.

They pestered and harassed me more than I should

      like to mention.

May the Almighty God relieve you from such a fate!

To be buried leaving so much unfinished and unaccomplished,

All I intended – undone; could ever a fate be worse?

But let me not to give away all of my sorrowful secrets –

Nothing is so indiscreet, so apt to betray as verse.


The Poem «Is not the cold damp earth could enclose my clay when it dies?»


Translated by Dorian Rottenberg


    Besides creativity, Abay enjoyed with the talks with some very few relatives and friends, who could partially understand the sense of his works. While engaging in talking, Abay’s interest in life and thirsty of knowledge appeared. Having missed out all themes concerning money, he was telling inquisitive and purposeful dzhigits more about things he understood himself and felt deeply. If we go into details, he was telling about what deeds and features of character could match the notion of humanity, what way of science cognition is necessary, what way of life building is considered to be right, what scientists were in the past and what their viewpoints on the universe were wrong. In that way, Abay spared no time and no effort in such parties in order to make talks more productive for young people and to make the model of humanism for imitation. Furthermore, Abay enjoyed that work. He was tirelessly setting young people on the right path. However, he was losing his temper and was being downright angry, if someone just expressed his claim on current business and house-keeping and goods prices conditions. Whatever people were ignorant, soon dzhigits resembled pupils of madrasah, who had attended the course pretty much. They had already been understood many things and phenomena and could discriminate between good and evil. They had become educated. Abay played the role of teacher for inquisitive young people, not caring whether someone could understand his intentions or not. So this period of life Abay described as the best one in the following verse:


Don’t rush after chance in a headlong chase,

But let talent’s call forever be heeded

You are a stone from the world’s very base,

So take up your place where most you are needed.


Extract from the poem « Don’t rush after chance in a headlong chase»


Translated by Tom Batting


    Sincerity and friendship were the clearest and noticeable things Abay liked in his life. Having found friends but not like-minded persons, he considered that the greatest thing in the human world is living in love and in harmony with the closest relatives: with wife and with sons had not passed away yet at that time:


He who would live ‘thout love is less than man,

To envy him no beggar righty can.

He who is loved and loves, though poor he be,

Will never know the depths of misery.


Love is the bright, the ever glowing light

That banishes the fears and dark of night.

‘Thout love, as dust is all your wealth and fame,

And you, O bard, have nothing to your name!


Extract from the poem «O heart, you pray for agony and bliss…»


Translated by Irina Zheleznova


Text was translated by Shamenov Akhan,

master of Abay institute



[1] Akyns or aqyns (Kazakh: ақын, [ɑqə́n]) are improvising poets and singers in the Kazakh and Kyrgyz cultures. Akyns differs from the so-called zhiraus, who are epic story tellers and song performers.

[2]Biy is the judge, who investigates issues on Kazakh common or customary law.

[3] Batyr is a historical Turco-Mongol honorific title[1], in origin a term for “hero” or “valiant warrior”.

[4] Black Bone is the middle caste of people from poor strata of Kazakh society.

[5] Mullah is a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law

[6] Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

[7] Hodzha is the representative of ecclesiastics, being aristocrats.

[8] Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious (of any religion).

[9] Tore is a man of khan (aristocratic) origin.

[10] Sheshen-speaker is the speaker, who addresses a meeting.

[11] Namaz is the statutory prayer, made by Muslims for 5 times in a day.

[12] Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, when Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours in a complete fast every day during this month,.

[13] Oraza is the Muslims’ fast, lasting 1 month.

[14] Pharisee is the priest, pretending to have his faith in God.

[15] Aul is a type of village in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

[16] Barymta is one of the ways of family arguments solution, characterized by unauthorized seizure or stealing livestock, especially, herd of horses from offender as compensation for damage.

[17] Aitys is the genre of oral literature and the song contest among akyns in improvisation or among bis or speakers in logomachies.

[18] Baksy is the witch doctor and medicine man, who cures people by using rituals in accordance with heathen culture of ancestors.

[19] Ayat is the same as hadis: prayer in the Koran.

[20] Beita – a meter much used in Oriental poetry.

[21] Dzhigit (djigit or jigit) is the skillful and brave horseman in the Central Asia.

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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.