Article Archive for Year 2012
Karajan breaks his in-laws out of prison and rides away upon Baychobar. But, as he parts ways with Barchin, she makes a terrible oath.
Kokemen Kaska [the vezir of Baysir Bay] was the head of the executioners. He realized that Khan was changing his mind. Speedily coming to the jailhouse, Kokemen Kaska released Baysari Bay and Altun Sach to Karajan.
Baysari Bay recognized the Baychobar, walked around it, hugged it. He Jumped and mounted Baychobar; Karajan mounted behind him, followed by Altun Sach. The horse’s chest got longer and he galloped away.
Editor’s note: NewEurasia’s Mary Mitchell recently went to Kyrgyzstan in search of the country’s beautiful textiles. In a remote yurt, she found beautiful examples of traditional tush kiyiz, a dying form of embroidery. Here is her report.
Lying inside a tent on the side of a mountain pass between the north and south of Kyrgyzstan, Gulanda wakes only when cars stop to buy the Kumis and Qurut she sells.
A little way down from her tent, following a steep rocky path, is the yurt that she spends her summers in with a selection of her children and grandchildren. Today her daughter Gulnara is visiting, on a week’s holiday from her job with a Uyghur herbal pharmaceutical company in Bishkek.
Gulnara’s generation has left the nomadic Kyrgyz lifestyle and all its traditions behind for a new life in the city. Among these traditions has been embroidery style known as Tush Kiyiz.
Thanks to his encounter with Barchin, Karajan has discovered the horrible truth of his own connection to the political upheavals and devastation plaguing the land. He vows to seek justice.
Karajan mounted his horse, saying to Barchin,
“My mind became upset on this field.
Kungrats are in a revolt over their honor,
and when the owner arrives from the land of Baysun
Taysha Khan will be in trouble.
Mounting horses from every direction,
countless Kalmaks died in Isfahan.
When I look, I see that your house is on fire Taysha.
Valiant Alpamysh arrived from the land of Baysun.
When the roses of the garden wilt before the ninety days of winter,
when my time is up, the appointed hour cannot be deferred,
all my limbs [shall be] devastated.
When he was our guest for the six days,
Padishah, hear that I am crying,
draining my life away,
consuming my sustenance at every stage of my travelling,
eating my nine camels,
even when the Kalmak could not eat one baby camel.”
Thus, Karajan was displaying his degree of friendship towards Alpamysh.
“Hear me, Taysha Khan!
If you had nine camels eaten at every stage of travel,
you cannot keep it up until the end of time.
Won’t you admit that!
You are an impostor!
When I listen to the God in the morning,
I become angry and [vow to] take your head!
You will die doing what you have always done!
Of all your bad deeds, you do the worst to me!
You have imprisoned my father and mother!”
In my last post, I wrote a bit about the scene for Turkmen Pop singers at the moment. Now I want to delve a bit more deeply into their professional conditions. It’s not great, even considering the decent income that some of them can earn from weddings.
After befriending Alpamysh, Karajan decides to go find the latter’s beloved himself. He treks until he sheds “bloody tears”, but finally succeeds. But can he convince Barchin to return with him?
One of the most interesting things about Karajan’s wrestling match with Alpamysh is how it becomes a tale of islam: he is literally forced to submit to God. And yet, once Alpamysh decides to be merciful, friendship immediately ensues. The notion here is that submission and mercy in the One True Faith bring harmony and unity.
Moreover, now converted to the cause, Karajan is also strongly inclined to take matters into his own hands and help Alpamysh resolve the plight of Barchin…
It has been almost two years since we last saw our hero, Alpamysh. He has ridden to the Kalmak camp to rescue his beloved Barchin. There, he confronts the impetuous and violent Karajan for the first time. Some of the spiritual power behind the Hero’s quest has already been intimated, but much is still to come, particularly now as the two warriors face off for an epoch-making wrestling match, one with more than a few similarities to Jacob’s struggle with the angel!
Alpamysh is a Turkic dastan, i.e., ornate oral history, and a prime representative of the Turkic oral literature of Central Asia. This literature has been and remains the principal repository of ethnic identity, history, customs, and the value systems of its owners and composers. Set mostly in verse, the Alpamysh dastan is known and recited from the eastern Altai to the western Ural mountain ranges and as far south as Band-e Turkestan. It commemorates the Turkic people’s struggles for freedom, on one level materially, but at a deeper level spiritually.
This translation was produced over a span of seven years, with research conducted on three continents, ten countries and almost two dozen cities. I worked on it originally to explore the effect of Soviet policies upon local cultural traditions and literature, as well as to dig deeper into Central Asia’s mythic, shamanistic past and cast more light on the fertile interaction between the region’s ancient Tengriist beliefs and the later Islamic import. The copyright’s mine and I’ve happily turned the manuscript over to NewEurasia to re-publish it, with edits by Schwartz. Enjoy!
Editor’s Note: NewEurasia’s Khan continues his coverage of the Turkmen contemporary music scene, this time focusing his lens upon Pop. The scene is still in its infancy, but its not doing badly for itself. And it helps that weddings are so popular in Turkmenistan…
Turkmen believe that music feeds the spirit. There’s nothing superstitious about that. Western scientists have proven the effects of music upon the mood of listeners, and even plants. Pop Music in particular is quite powerful. The style’s basic chordal structure of A-A-B-A (lyric, chorus, lyric, chorus, bridge, chorus, climax) appears to have real neurological impact, digging itself deep into the brain, pretty much regardless of this or that specific instrumentation. Everyone’s susceptible to it, even people in the most repressed societies like North Korea or my own. That’s why such regimes are even more nervous about Pop Music than about alternative styles like Hip Hop: they know that they cannot ban it, but they also cannot let the Pop singers lyricize unregulatedly.
Of course, Turkmenistan is a direct inheritor of the Soviet censorhip legacy. But this legacy can be complex. In the Soviet era itself, to an outside observer, it would seem very paradoxical that despite the restrictions, the Turkmen SSR nonetheless produced a free spirit like Atabay Charygulyyew (Atabaý Çarygulyýew). Today, controls are actually much tighter.
The Alpamysh is a Turkic dastan, i.e., ornate oral history, and a prime representative of the Turkic oral literature of Central Asia. This literature has been and remains the principal repository of ethnic identity, history, customs, and the value systems of its owners and composers. Set mostly in verse, the Alpamysh is known and recited from the eastern Altai to the western Ural mountain ranges and as far south as Band-e Turkestan. It commemorates the Turkic people’s struggles for freedom, on one level materially, but at a deeper level spiritually.
It’s a pretty big undertaking; posts shall run over the course of the remainder of 2012. We hope you enjoy them!
Editor’s note: To mark world food day, Emil Baghirov, a blogger from Azerbaijan, travelled to the Tartar region in the center of the country to find out how Oxfam-supported strawberry farming is changing rural women’s lives. Here are his impressions.
This post has been provided courtesy of Oxfam.
Editor’s note: Today is Blog Action Day. This is an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers with the goal of sparking discussion and collective action. This year the theme is ‘The Power of We’, and with our new partners at Oxfam, NewEurasia is sharing the story of Arzu Geybullayeva, a prominent Azeri blogger and author of “Flying Carpets and Broken Pipelines (http://flyingcarpetsandbrokenpipelines.blogspot.co.uk/).
In rural Azerbaijan, many women shoulder the burden of caring for their families and earning a living while their husbands migrate to Russia to find work. Arzu travelled to Sheki in Northern Azerbaijan to meet another Arzu, Arzu Cabbarova, who defied stereotypes and overcame personal tragedy in order to set up several organisations which empower women to earn an income of their own. This is Cabbarova’s story.