Gabdulla Tukay

Gabdulla Tukay

The name of Gabdulla Tukay is known not in Tatarstan only but also far beyond its borders. Creative work of Tukay is multifaceted: he is a poet and a publicist, a literary critic and a public figure. Day by day the name of Gabdulla Tukay becomes brighter, sparkles with new facets of talent.

Kyrlay and Koshlauch villages became the places that inspired Gabdulla Tukay to create melodic, folk works that glorify the nature of this region.

It is no mere chance that Kyrlay became a memorial center to perpetuate the memory of Tukay. In his autobiographical essay “What I remember about myself” the poet wrote: “It was in Kyrlay that my eyes first opened to the world around me and I began to remember myself”. Not for nothing the poet dedicated his fairy-tale – poem “Shurale” (1907) to this village, to its beautiful nature, hard-working people.

Gabdulla Tukay was born on 14 (26) April, 1886, in the family of mullah in the village Kushlavych, Kazan Governorate (nowadays Arsk district, Tatarstan).

His father Muhammadsharif was a wise and capable imam. The mother of the poet Mamduda knew how to read and write and wrote poems that was quite a rarity for women of that time.

The family lived very happily, however, it was not long. In August, 29, 1886, when Tukay was five months old, Muhammetgarif died.

Then his mother got married and left three-year-old boy to a poor old woman. In few months she took him back, however she died when Gabdulla was four. Since that age the boy had neither father nor mother and his unhappy life began.

Firstly, the boy was removed to his poor grandfather Zinatulla. In his family Gabdulla was a useless mouth. Eventually his grandfather sent him to Kazan where in the market-place Gabdulla was taken by Mukhammedvali, a handicraftsman. In his family the boy felt lucky for the first time. However, the local life passed like a dream: the adoptive parents fell ill at the same time and thinking that death is not far off decided to send him to his native village. Soon in June 1892, Gabdulla was taken to upbringing by Sagdi Salikhov from Kyrlay village.

Little Tukay lived in the quite wealth family of Sagdy in 1982-1895. Living in Kyrlay, Tukay began his familiarization with plough-tail and understood all the beauty of the motherland and its people. “Kyrlay put me up to life,” wrote Tukay in his memories (“What I remember about myself”, 1909). The period of his life in Kyrlay influenced his work a lot.

He began studying in Kyrlay. However, he had to endure difficult times in his life again. Sagdy’s daughters died and Sagdy himself suddenly became an invalid. His superstitious wife connected all that misfortunes with the orphan. Her treatment of Tukay became worse after her own son was born. Fortunately, at the beginning of the winter 1895 he was taken to the family of his aunt Gaziza Zabirova (Usmanova) in Uralsk.

There he studied in Mutygia madrassah and simultaneously attended the Russian classes. The madrassah was based on the old system of education, shakirds, though, were quite active. They had freedom and possibility to read periodical literature written on the East languages and study Russian. Students began to require new educational programs adoption and longed for high knowledge.

Uralsk is a region that left a deep mark on the poet’s life. Here he observed Tatar life, saw the life of the people, their poverty and ignorance. All this led to the poet accepting the revolution of 1905 without a doubt. Tukay actively worked there on and published a lot of poems and articles on the Revolution theme. He also participated in demonstrations that occupied the town. The fighting spirit of glorification and protection of democratic ideals run through all his works. In the same 1905 Tukay published not imitative poems as earlier but his own original ones such as “About freedom”, “One word to friends” in which he protects the progress and equality of peoples.

Tukay spent 12 years in this city. However, his soul is always drawn to the Order, to his native land. And in the autumn of 1907 he left for Kazan forever. The poet’s love for the native land, Kazan can be understood in the poem “Pair of horses” (1907)

In Autumn 1907 Tukay came to Kazan. At last he was in his native land. Here in Kazan he communicated with young people, writers, poets, met ordinary workers, created his most beautiful works. They were printed on the pages of different newspapers, magazines and books.

«Bright Kazan» drew him by its rich cultural environment, necessary for the poet. There were newspapers, book publishing houses, theatre, there lived people, who were close to Tukay by their ideas and spirit. There he became a close friend of Khusaen Yamashev, a first Tatar bolshevik, entered the society of democratic writers, became a friend of the youth, which grouped around the newspaper «Al-Islakh» («The Reform»). F.Amirkhan, a famous writer, was an initiator of this newspaper publishing. That time it was one of the most progressive printed editions. The period of life in Kazan became for Tukay the golden age of his talent, time of his glory. There he became famous as the poet, journalist and public figure.

Here the poet met his Muse, who inspired the poet. This girl he fell in love was Zaituna Mavludova. G.Tukay had seen her five times only. However  in the poet’s soul a few poems about love were born and that was enough. Zaituna also loved Tukay. However, Tukay did not give vent to his feelings.

Where did Tukay live this time? Although the poet changed his place of residence in Kazan several times, however, the history includes the room number 40 in the hotel “Bulgar”. Here he created his works at night, here he wrote the greatest point of satire-the poem “hay Bazaar or New Kisekbash”. This room had never been empty in Tukay’s lifetime. It came to his close friends – Fatih Amirhan, Sunalei Sagit, Sagit Ramiev, Dardmend etc.

At the beginning of 1913 though being seriously ill, G.Tukay continued working in the printing house, where he breathed the air sated with leaden evaporations, but wrote in spite of everything. On the 2nd (15th) of April, 1913 at 20 hours 15 minutes Gabdulla Tukay died at the age of 27.

Kazan didn’t see  such a procession of thousands of funerals. That day all Tatar newspapers devoted special issues to him.

Tukay’s death was thus a great loss not only for the Tatar people and literature, but also for many writers and poets of Russia and the Turkish people.

The poet died. However, his immortal works remain in our hearts. It is through these works that he will live forever among us. Tukay is immortal. He is the pride of our people. Not only ours, but also other peoples. Many honor his memory-the memory of a great man who devoted his whole life to the great duty of serving the people.

And now the creativity of Tukay does not lose its effective power. The Tatar national ballet “Shurale”, created by composer Farit Yarullin on the basis of the poem-tale of the great Tukay, went beyond our country, bypassed many countries of the world and everywhere met the most enthusiastic reception.

Songs on the words of Tukay performed by artists of the Tatar state Philharmonic named after Gabdulla Tukay sounded from the scenes of Italy, Malta and countries of far Africa. In Finland, for many years, one of the departments of the society for cultural relations with Russia is the “Tukay Society”.

The annual state prize of the Republic of Tatarstan named after Gabdulla Tukay has been established in Tatarstan, and every year on the poet’s birthday – April 26, we learn the names of its regular laureates – writers, musicians, artists. The Central square and one of the streets of ancient Kazan are named after Tukay.

Indeed, the name of Tukay means a whole epoch in the spiritual development of tatar people, in the formation of its literature, art, culture. The poet will live in the memory of his grateful people forever.