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Z. V. Togan
(Istanbul, 1969)


The sources constituting the basis of these memoires were taken out, prior to our [Togan, along with other prominet leaders of the Turkistan National Liberation Movement] departure at the beginning of 1923 from Turkmenistan to Iran, via the Kabul Embassy of Bukhara and merchants travelling to Muhammedabad. Quite a few valuable documents were taken out to Finland by my compatriot Osman Tokumbet the same year. The notes and documents that had been recorded in a similie of cypher, and taken out via various means, were read and decoded in collaboration with my compatriots who had fallen prisoner to the Germans during 1943, who were aware of the events contained therein. Additional voluminous [updates of] information was also obtained from them. Those materials were brought to the Turkish Republic by the late Saffet Arikan, then the Ambassador to Berlin. During 1957, extensive use has been made of the Russian newspaper colections at the "Hoover War Library," originally collected by F. A. Kerenskii, and by his permission, and with the aid of the library director, a Professor of Polish origin, W. S. Sworokowsky. Use also has been made of the microfilms of the Turkistan newspapers, originals of which were collected with care by Mr. Richard Pierce of Berkeley University during his visit to Russia [Soviet Union], also with his aid. I must here experess my gratitude to these individuals.

To assure the correctness of the information provided herein, I have asked my friends who have participated in the inclosed events, such as Abdulkadir Inan, Kocaoglu Osman, Abdullah Taymas and the combatants Shirmehmet Bek and Kirghiz leader Parpi Haci, to read the manuscript.

The first draft of this work was written in Berlin during 1924, but due to the unavailability of a suitable publisher, it's publication was delayed. Finally, a compatriot of mine, who had saved capital as a high school student, provided for the eventual printing [of this volume], desiring to aid the national publications. He wishes to remain anonymous. Author and poet Orhan Saik Gokyay undertook the task of revising the original manuscript which had been written under the influence of Eastern Turk dialects, in order to render it readable in modern Turkish. I offer my sincere thanks to both.

A few photographs, though referenced in the text, were unavailable at the time of the printing. I offer my apologies for their omission.

18 February 1967 (Istanbul)

I dedicate these memoires to my beloved wife Nazmiye Ungar Togan, who had aided me in their compilation.


Our Family --

At the beginning of my life, as I shall chronicle in this book, it could not have been foreseen that I was going to lead a great political movement of the Urals and Central Asia during this century and a liberation struggle of mass scale among the Turks; and that I was also going to attain international prominence as a person conducting research in the field of Oriental studies.

The entirely medieval simplicity of the lives of the Bashkurt and Tatars, comprising some agriculture and forestry, in the southern portions of the Ural mountains, in a village flanked by the mountaineous forest as well as the steppe, could have left me a modest and docile peasant like my relatives living today in Soviet kolhozes.

Despite that, the character of our life, seemingly very modest in this setting of elevations and yaylas [summer pastures], especially its historical manifestations which I have listened to in my childhood, was drawn from living memories and their reflections, possessed of a nature that could drive its members to adventures, to make plans for the present, the future and the benefit of Turk and Islamic world. Keeping all this in mind, it could be said that my life may be regarded as a logical result of historical memories living within the people. Except, in order to shed some light on the circumstances, it is necessary to relay some details to my readers which may appear utterly uninteresting at first sight.

The kernel of our village was constituted by perhaps a count of 30 or 40 emigre households of Tatar and Muslim Chuvash Soqli Qayli and Ungut Boy, [extended family, groups of families acknowledging one leader] the majority of which was settled in the middle of the last century.

In order to understand these tribes better, it must be added that Bashkurts differ from other Turks by the manner they substitute "Z" and Ch" for "dh" and "S," and comprise four groups: 1. Mountain Bashkurts (Bürcen, Usergen, Tamyan); 2. Yalan (Plateau Steppe) Bashkurts (Yurmati, Kudey, Geyne, Irekti, Yeney, Tanip). It is possible to determine that these two groups were living in the Urals at the time of Jesus. Mountain Bashkurts use "S" for "H," majority of the Yalan Bashkurts use "Th." But, those of the latter, living in the West and the Northwest have largely become Tatars. 3. The third group consists of portions who have arrived in various centuries and joined the Bashkurts: Qipchak, Qangli, Suvun, Uran, Qayli, Qatay, Baylar (i. e. Bayat), Kerey (Kerait), Churas, Nogai, Qirghiz, Merkit. Those of them who have settled among the Mountain Bashkurts speak proper Bashkurt, and the majority of those who have gone towards the West are under the influence of the Tatar dialect. These three groups have been in the Bashkurt army during the last centuries and have paid a different tax to the Russians. 4. The fourth group came from the West to Bashkurt lands, from the region of Bulgar and Kazan, after those districts have been occupied by the Russians, they are refugee Tatars (or, Tipter, meaning "Defterlü" in Ottoman), Buler (Bulgar), Misher and Muslim Chuvash tribes. Russians called these refugees, who came from the area of the Kazan Khanate, "Bashkiri Pripushchenniki," meaning "those Bashkurts accepted into the body."

The first three groups out of the aforementioned four are semi nomadic, in possession of large lands and yaylas and have maintained their tribal organizations. The fourth group had been farmers since early times, having lost their tribal organizations, historical dastans [ornate oral histories] and traditions.

I am a member of the Sokli Kay of the third group. Although I am considered an historian for the past 55 years, I know the least about the history of my own tribe. It is said that the Sokli Kay and Unggut tribes, constituting the foundations of our village, were residing on a branch of the Yigen, which in turn is a tributary of Ak Edil river, composed of 12 dispersed homesteads, settled on two hills belonging to Kuzen and Baki, and around a well of Yakub, since the 1800s. During the 18th century wars they had suffered many casualties, land remained vacant. Later, our village suddenly grew, when the tsarist government brought a crowded group of Western Bashkurts called "Minzele Misheri" and settled them on the lands confiscated from us, as a separate subdivision. The villages on the branches of the Yigen river, Ermit, útek and Togay were very small Bashkurt settlements at the end of the 18th century.

It is written in Selim Umidbaev's book, "Yadigar," that the útek and Tukun villages belonged to the "Kichi Tabin" tribe. Since the name of the "Erbit" was spelled as "Ermit," it follows that at one time they must have been included among the ranks of the Western Siberian "Tümen." But I do not know to which tribe they belonged. Their lands were confiscated as well, and given to refugees driven away from Western Bashkurdistan. The confiscation of their lands caused them to rebel against Russia under the leadership of "Küsük Sultan," "Murad Sultan," and "Sultan Cerey."

It is said that our ancestors were living under the administration of "Küsük Sultan," whom they highly revered, in Erqaragay at the Tobol basin, and Irendik and Chubarkol of Eastern Ural. During the heat of the summer, they migrated to the mountains named Ak Biyik. Under the leadership of Küsük Sultan, they had gone to Kemelik, Kuban and fought against the Russians. Neighboring "Katay" Bashkurts were our allies, but "Arlar," from another neighboring villages did not accept this sultan. These "Arlar" would not intermarry with us. Since "küsük" also meant "little dog," the people of Arlar would say: "Your sultan became 'it küsük,'" ridiculing us. In return, we would say: "Ar, who had swallowed snakes." Our other relatives had lived in the Eastern Ural villages of "Kusi," "Ismail," and "Nogay" as well as the "Mukas" village of Yurmati Ulus.

Earlier, Kusi and Nogay villages were located towards the east of our village, in a region called "Kusi Yurtu" along the Yigen river. Those of our ancestors who joined them later moved on to the Irendik region of Ural, but mine stayed where they were. However, they continued to intermarry. There is a river called "Bitire" [from "bitirmek," i.e. coming to an end] on the Eastern side of the Ak Biyik yaylak. The road leading to the town of Timech crosses it several times. Perhaps 150 years ago, two bridal processions had met on their respective journeys, one going to "Kusi," the other arriving from Kusi, coming to us. The bride going away from us was crying, weary of seeing the crossings called "turkun," which were constant reminders to her that she was getting further and further away from her mother's home, complaining with: "you keep telling me that the end is in sight, what an endless end is this?" The other bride, arriving from Kusi, to express her desire that she did not wish to see the crossings come to and end, for she did not have a notion of what awaited her at the "Yigen" river basin, was repeating with running tears: "If the crossings came to an end, and my heart caught fire, could the waters of Yigen extinguish the flames?"

I had many times visited the Kusi and Nogay villages at Irindik after I turned fourteen, and stayed with old "friends" and "elder sisters," and had taken down "Muradim" (Edige) [fixing them on paper] which we also knew, adding it to our versions. One of my first works of scholarly research were the papers I published in 1911 in connection with this dastan.

During spring, our horse herds, as they grew accustomed to from the times of our ancestors, would go to the Ak Biyik yayla without any supervision. During the aforementioned visits, I had learned that the inhabitants of Kusi also had the tradition of taking their horse herds to Ak Biyik during hot summer days as well, and even related songs keeping those memories alive. In those songs, the general theme was as follows: "God gave us a mountain such as Ak Biyik, so that we could erect our white goat skin tents. Wild colts playfully and voluntarily rushed into the rope stables, as if saying 'tie us, no need to use the catching ropes.'" This means the climate of this place was very cool even during the hottest days, so the colts liked to be in the rope stables.

This yayla is perhaps one hundred kilometers from us. Our ancestors lived in yaylak and wintering quarters far away from each other, and died in batllefields equally distant. The tombs of some are known. About one it was said that "he died in Kuban." It is the Northern Caucasian city. About another ancestor, it was said that he had gone to Mansil in "Tumen" and became a martyr in a battle fighting against the Russians and the Kalmaks on the Eastern side of the Urals, in a lake region called Chubar Köl. The elders, such as my grand uncle Veli Molla and Gusam Aga of Uggut, knew the old dastans very well. These dastans were in verse, narrations about the Golden Horde (Edige, Cirence, Isaoglu Emet, etc.). One of our ancestors, named "Allah Berdi," remembered as an individual who knew these dastans extremely well, was buried at a high yayla called Karli Bülek some three kilometers from our village. He was known as "Allaberdi [God-given] Nogay" and his burial place was called "Allaberdi Ölügü [Where Allaberdi is buried]." Since it was reported that there were quite a few tall individuals among our ancestors, my father exhumed this Allaberdi's remains and determined that he was indeed tall, and discovered pieces of sword in the burial as well.

Along with Allaberdi, a contemporary Nogay Bey is also remembered, named Burnak, and a yaylak was associated with him, along the Nigush river, near Ak Biyik. When other Nogay Beys [leaders, rulers] migrated to the Kuban basin, it is said that along with this Burnak, Allaberdi had stayed here. In addition, there were "Nogay Ogullari," members of the ulema, who were said to be of Nogay Mirza lineage, in the city of Isterlitamak. One of their ancestors was said to be buried in this "Allaberdi Ölügü." They were my father's and my uncles' teachers. They used to visit us as guests, and despite being of the ulema, they were addicted to alcohol. My fifth generation ancestor Ishtogan (from whom my last name is derived) of the "Küzen Ogullari" had died at Kemelik, very far from us, fighting the Russians. Around our village, there are places called "Russian died," "Russians broken." While ploughing, pieces of weapons used to be discovered at those locations.

Though all of the foregoing constitute only oral traditions concerning the history of my lineage, nonetheless they influenced my development. This stresses the point that my ancestors, in contrast to the Bashkurts of our neighbors, have descended from martial, nomadic, and much travelled stock. Our homeland, termed "tubek," was actually "Yigen Boyu" region, but the Ak Biyik yaylaks and Irendik district of Eastern Baskurdistan became the homeland of my ancestors. They have travelled throughout this zone, participated in all political events deliniated by Mansil in Western Siberia, Erkaragay in Tobol, Kemelik in Western Baskurdistan, Kuban river in Northern Caucasia; in the retinues of Khans, Beys, "Mirzas," fighting against not only the Russians, but also the Kalmuks. The small Kalmuk village neighboring ours had arrived at the time when our ancestors were fighting against the Buddhist Kalmaks. However, the identities of those individuals regarded as belonging to the leadership, such as Küsük Sultan, and among our direct ancestors, Burnak Biy [Bey], Allaberdi and Kuzen Biy were unknown.

It was after I grew up, learned Russian, started working at the archives of the "Land Boundaries Commission" in Ufa during 1912, followed the Russian publications pertaining to Western Siberian history, acquired information on Bashkurt genealogy that I discovered "Küsük Sultan" to be the grandson, living during the 17th century, of the famous Kucum Han of Western Siberia and also the son of Ablay Sultan; that Burnak and Allaberdi Beys were Nogay Beys who had lived during the 16th century; that our ancestors were in the retinue of Küsük Sultan, and under his leadership, as well as his brothers Abaga and Qansuvar Sultans have fought against the Russias in Western Siberia, around Astrakhan and Kuban, and since these princes were deriving their maintenances from scattered lands they controlled, they were widely dispersed.

The Turkish language ferman given to a Bashkurt Bey by Küçük Sultan in 1663 was published in the "Historical Materials" by the Baskurdistan Academy of Sciences during 1943. The participation of our ancestors in the campaign of this prince was also recorded in a geneology owned by Hidayet Sufi residing in the Askar village. The genealogy of the Burnak and Allaberdi Beys, along with the geneologies of their descendants, the "Nogay Yurmati," living today in a village close to ours, were among those published by the Baskurdistan Academy of Sciences during 1960. It is recorded in the Russian sources that during his fight against the Russians, Küçük Sultan had 6400 Nogay troops , and those Bashkurts in his retinue stating: "We are fighting to establish an independent state, similar to the one formed by Küçük Han."

"Sultan Murad," son of this "Küçük Sultan," was among the leaders of the uprisings, had travelled to Crimea and later to Istanbul, met the Sultan; had been taken prisoner during the fighting in Daghestan and executed. "Sultan Gerey" was the nephew of "Küçük Sultan," had assumed the names of "Kara Sakal" and "Suna" while he was hiding from the Russians. It is not known when our great ancestor "Kuzen Qart," who gave his name to our village, had lived. However, the mountain next to our village is also named after him. Two of the grandsons of this Kuzen, Aydaq and Curaq, along with 42 other Beys of the Yurmati Urug of Teltim oymak, had sold land belonging to them during 1757 to the Tatars of Said (Kargali), who were situated along the headwaters of the Isterli river. Photographs of the Turkish and Russian language texts of the contract were published in the Materials Pertaining to the History of Baskurdistan during 1956 by the Baskurdistan Academy of Sciences. (See Photo 1). Other documentation concerning land and familial lineages were present among my family papers. The names of the "sultans" who led our grandfathers, "Sultan Murad," "Bahti Gerey," "Sultan Gerey," were among those most often given to children until recent times.

Our urug [extended family] is Soqli Qay; a branch of the Qay or Qayli, to which belong also the Senekli Qay, Yurektav Qay, Tavli Qay, that were near us. According to tradition, before arriving in its present location, this urug was resident in the Irendik region of Eastern Urals. Large groups of Qay (Qayli) tribe are found in Western Baskurdistan. It can be determined that the "Yalan Qatay" and "Orman Qatay" tribes, which are close to us, on the banks of the Iset river, had constituted military groups during the time of the Khans, from the existence in history of "Katay Kalesi" (Katayskii Ostrog) and "Kay Kalesi" (Kay Gorod) from the beginning of the 17th century. The other urug in our village is Unggut, and this tribe was also prominent with the designation of "Ak Tatar" during the time of Chinggis Khan. I surmise Qay, Qatay tribes joined the Bashkurts at the time of the Karahitays, and Tabin and Ungguts, at the time of the Mongols. Since the Katay tribe was one of the mainstays of the descendents of Shiban, of Chinggisids, after their occupation of Maveraunnehr they were called "Katay Hans." This was related by Herberstein, the German ambassador of the 16th century. My father knew little of the Bashkurts to the West of our village, as all his relations were with the Eastern Bashkurts. This is the result of their fighting, on the same side, against the Russians during the time of Küçüm Han and his sons. My father caused me to become engaged to the daughter of Haci Mehmet Yaksimbet oglu of the Tungevur Bashkurts, living on the banks of Yayik river, when I was still fourteen years of age.


From a cultural standpoint, it will be observed that no person of prominence in learning or other fields had emerged from my family. Despite that, Soqli Qay had played a role within the enlightened circles of our country. The house of Velid Bay, my great [probably Great Grandfather] ancestor, was a central place of meeting during the first half of the 19th century, where public banquets were also given, Bashkurt Canton Presidents, Russian Generals and Governors were received among the guests. It was said that an old "Kimiz ayagi" [on which the kimiz container was placed] and a very old torn carpet in our house were presented to our sixth ancestor by a Bey as a momento.

Military memoires of our ancestors

It was said that the majority of our family friends were from among those who had served in the old Bashkurt army alonside our fathers. Prominently, Karmishogullari from the Makar village, six kilometers from our village, and Kackinbayogullari from the Alagoyan village. Kackinbayoglu Shemseddin Molla and my great uncle Veli Molla had served together as non commissioned officers. A very old man, Ömer Haci of the Karmishogullari was the Canton President. Contemporary members of this family, as teachers and officers, had served in our national movement, in the front ranks of our army. It is said that a Yusuf Karamishev had reached the officer rank of major. Our people had always liked to listen to the songs dedicated to him, and the melodies on the ney. My friend, the late Dr. Tagan, and Prof. Jansky had published those scores in the scholarly journals of the Vienna Academy of Sciences.

Some members of these families also learned Russian, due to their military service. Veli Molla was one of them. Prior to his military service, Veli Molla had studied in a medrese. Veli Molla was posted to Sirderya, and my father to Daghestan. Both made time to learn good Arabic and Persian. Veli Molla had works in Arabic and Persian, but, since I was very young, I only learned from him, in Turkish, the historical national dastans Edige, Cirence, Isaoglu Emet. While my father was serving in Gunib of the Caucasus, where Seyh Samil's headquarters were located, he had met the scholarly secretary of that Seyh named Dibr al Indi, and had corresponded with him, and his brother, in Arabic, until the 1905 revolution. There must have been other good reasons for my uncle and my father to learn Arabic, but I could not determine those. However, it was reported by a Daghestani Ömer Akay, who would visit my great ancestor Velid to teach Arabic to his sons among whom was Veli Molla, that after completing his military service, my father had stayed on in the Caucasus for another year studying Arabic.

No attachment among the Bashkurts to Russian culture is discernible among those who had served in the Bashkurt army until 1860 [when disbanded], nor among those educated in Russian military schools who served only in Russian military units. Major Yusuf and other officers wore official Russian military uniforms while on home leave, but had never shown favor to Russian music, songs and were never attracted to Russian dances and games. In the home of the Karmishogullari, there was no Western or Russian furniture, the house and gardens were entirely in the Turkistan style of the Syr Darya.

Some Bashkurt historians' writings, published during the Soviet period, suggest such an attachment is at the behest of today's Russians. Otherwise, though the technical superiority of the Russians was acknowledged, from the moral culture perspective, it was generally and absolutely believed that, like other Muslims, Bashkurts were superior. Those Russians who entered our midst such as ironmongers, grocers, etc. would quickly learn our language, often their children would come under the influence of Islam, and sometimes, contrary to prevailing Russian laws, they would become Muslims. In addition to those Russians who had considered the Bashkurt life original, and wrote about it, Polish (origin) General Siyalkowski, the military governor of Orenburg, while a guest of Major Yusuf in the Makar village, had expressed his fascination with the originality of the Bashkurt life, and expressed his great admiration for Bashkurt music. He recommended that Bashkurts preserve their traditions.

The presumption that their ancestors also held the West in adoration is also prevalent among the educated of the Turkish Republic. The wish of some of the educated Turks to regard Fatih Sultan Mehmed as a lover of the European, especially Italian renaissance, is contrary to history. Fatih was a proper representative of the Islamic civilization of which he was a member. As he looked down on the European civilization, was proud of his own, so did the 18th and 19th century enlightened Bashkurts, who were willingly or otherwise in contact with the Russians. They knew their national culture, which is in origin Central Asian, and were proud of it.

Mollas of the Bukhara Khiva type

The group our family got on best with were the mollas. Among the more prominent ones were Nogayogullari Serefuddin and Kemal from Isterlitamak, Abselam and his son Bekbulat Molla of Sayran village, Sultan Gerey of Yumagoca village, Allam of Kunsak village, Nimetullah and and Zeynullah of Isterlitas, Seydioglu Abdullah of Mollakay village of the East of the Urals, and a prominent one with the name of Zeynullah Isan of Troysk. These individuals knew Arabic and Persian, possessing theological knowledge, belonging to the Naksibendi tarika of Bukhara, were heads of their medreses, book reading personalities. Neither my father, nor Veli Molla maintained any appreciable contact with those who were unenlightened, fanatic. The most scholarly of those seyhs were Zeynullah of Troysk and Mollakay Abdullah. Abdullah had studied in Bukhara, was an authority in theological sciences, a master in writing Arabic and Persian poetry and belonged to the "Muceddid i Halidi" branch of the Indian Naksibendis. Their medreses were established in the model of Bukhara, especially of the Khorezm type. These were not fanatic men, for example, like those Kiskar and Tunter mollas of the Kazan area or many of the "Ishans" of the Bashkurt il. All were astute individuals, cognizant of politics.

Arif Sayrani and Hizir Molla

Among those, Isterlitamak Nogayogullari had the most influence on our family. They considered themselves descendants of the Nogay Oybakti Mirza, maintained contacts with the likes of Kursavi, Mercani of Kazan, Cardakli Hekim of Western Siberia and with Bukhara. It is said that they also held political views. My uncle Veli Molla and my father had studied in their medrese. In their milieu, some men of thought had matured, they valued sciences and branches of knowledge such as mathematics and history. One of the distinguished personages studying in the Nogayoglu medrese was the aforementioned Bekbulat Molla's brother Arif Sayrani, from the neighboring village of Sayran. This individual, while studying at the Nogayogullari medrese, along with Nizameddin of the Katay urug, from the Kuruc village, had been inspired by "Al Tarikat al muhtla," written by Mercani of Kazan, inculcating the "modern" understanding of Islam at the time. As a result he became interested in mathematics and philosophy, went to Bukhara during the first half of the last century in order to expand his knowledge in those areas. Upon observing that these types of knowledge had degenerated at that locale, he wrote a letter in Arabic expressing his deep grief, and sent it to his uncle or father, appended to a copy of the book "'Akaid Nesefi." My father had that letter published, through the great Tatar scholar Rizaeddin Fahreddin and historian Murad Remzi. Arif describes the ulema of Bukhara with "the turbans on their heads are high as the mountains, their claims wide as the oceans, but they are ignorant and insignificant." Another one of his letters in Arabic has been published in a book by the historian Sihabeddin Mercani of Kazan. This individual {Arif}, accompanied by his fiery friend Nizameddin, left Bukhara for Herat and Kabul, to undertake scholarly activities, and from there went to Bagdad via Iran. He was disillusioned once again and both perished in poverty during 1856 under conditions suggesting suicide. The adventurous lives of these two individuals, seeking true knowledge and reform in social life, their disappointment upon observing the demise of intellectual life in such Islamic centers as Bukhara, Herat, Rayy and Bagdad constituted a significant tragedy at the time.

Among the members of the Yurmati urug, interest in the positive aspects of Islamic civilization was not confined to Arif Sayrani. In fact, an imam by the name of Hizir, living in the village of "Buce," four kilometers from ours, knew geometry quite well. My father had arranged for me to study geometry with him. This person used to determine the kibla of the mosques using the "Rub i mucayeb" (Astronomical Quadrant) method of the mathematician Ulug Bey, grandson of Timur. This was medieval knowledge and had diminishing relation to the developing mathematics available in contemporary Turkey or Russia. This imam, it was said, had also determined the peak heights of Ulkum and Alatav mountains, which were the highest in our vicinity, with his simple instruments. Hizir Molla lived out the last years of his life as the imam of Bacik village, was pleased with my learning Russian and expressed his desire for me to be an engineer. After his death, I, too, determined the kiblas of some newly constructed mosques, using his method.

During my youth, the influence of Khiva on the national life of the Southern Ural Bashkurts was continuing and manifested itself in many respects. For example, a gift of an outfit called "Khiva Capani" would be made at the wedding ceremonies. When I was in Khiva Khorezm during the winter of 1920, I was astonished to observe that the style and embroidery of the unlined blond furs worn during winter were the same as the ones we would wear. The haircuts and beard trims were also alike. In short: the milieu to which my father belonged was under complete influence of Bukhara and Khorezm, and perhaps abandoned the seminomadic life style during the 19th century, or perhaps not entirely. The visible center of this cultural milieu was the Sayran village, seven kilometers to our South, and the Makar village, a similar distance to the North East. That is to say, villages of Arif Sayrani and Major Yusuf. Though the Russians had studied, with imperialist aims, vast areas that lay between China and Tibet, down to the village level, they had entirely neglected the Ural environs. The Geographical Society they had established in Orenburg had only studied Ziyancura town, from among Baskurdistan cultural centers, and had published some studies on it, but that type of research had not spread in our direction. The existence of towns such as "Sayran," "Selci," "Yapanci," "Sart Hasan," that had reared some distinguished personae; and their possession of historical inscriptions, point to the populations' having been detached from the Western Turkistan towns, known to be historical civilization centers, of "Sayran," "Selci," "Yafenc," and settled in our territory.

Influences of the Kazan School

When my father married Ummulhayat (my mother), the daughter of Satlikoglu Kafi of the útek village, where a mixture of Bashkurt and Tipter were living, he entered into a somewhat different world maintaining contacts with Kazan, instead of Bukhara and Khiva. Valuable scholars had emerged from útek since earlier times, one of them, Kockaroglu Emirhan, who had died in 1826, had studied in Daghestan, Istanbul, Egypt and Hijaz. He and his son Ahmetcan, a foremost theologian who settled as an imam somewhere in the vicinity of Kazan on his way back from the pilgrimage, had introduced some modernism into Islamic theology. Our relative from my mother's side, Oteguloglu Abcelil Hazret (died in 1859), who had a medrese at the útek village, had studied at Khiva Yeni Urgenc; my maternal grandfather, Satlikoglu Kafi (died 1900) had lived in Bukhara and Khiva. Reportedly, both learned good Persian. The Persian culture, present in our village earlier, had developed further with my mother's arrival. While my father was teaching me Arabic, my mother was teaching me Persian.

On the other hand, Emirhan and his son Ahmetcan, both of whom settled in Kazan environs as imams, were inviting their relatives to Kazan for study. The "Kazan sympathizers," who had emerged in our area, in competition to those of Bukhara and Khiva, rose from this útek village. Their principal representative was my maternal uncle Satlikoglu Habibneccar, who admitted me into his medrese when I reached the age of eleven. Mercani of Kazan was known under the name "Sihab Hazret" in our parts. His independent views pertaining to Islamic precepts were received well even among "Bukhara type Mollas." But, his historical works were held in utter distain due to their containing passages belittling Kazakhs and Bashkurts. Consequently, even Habibneccar was viewed as a "lackey of Sihab Molla." Mercani had misunderstood a point made by the Arab traveller Ibn Fadlan explaining a shamanic fetish called "tos," and wrote that there was a "phallus" cult among the Bashkurts. Because of that, Mollakay Abdullah Hazret, who knew Arabic very well, burned Mercani's book "Mustefad al axbar" in a fire, in my father's presence. Outside of these three circles, several other individuals had contributed to my maturation. One of them was Mollagul Divana.

Mollagul Divana

My mother regarded Persian not merely as a language, but also as the vehicle inculcating mystical thoughts of the 13th century Persian Sufi writer Attar and the 18th century Sufi Allahyar of Bukhara, who wrote in Turkish and in Persian. In this respect, she was under the influence of a dervish named Mollagul Divana he was fifty years of age when I was very young who used to visit us often. This dervish of the Sengim Kipcak urug had lived in and around "Turkistan" (the city of "Yesi" in Syr Darya) and belonged to the Yesevi tarika, which was not well known among us. His zikrs consisted of reciting aloud religious verses all the while rocking back and forth and bouncing about. Though my father belonged to the Naksibendi tarika, reciting their zikrs silently in their mouths, he liked the zikrs of others called "cahri" and would remind Mollagul of the Sufi codes in Arabic at the end of a namaz, causing Mollagul to take notice, jumping and responding with "yahu." (*) {(*) "Ya Hu ya men Hu/Cered al emre(?) illa Hu" etc.}

I understood that these jumps and gyrations, throwing the head back and forth, resembling a dance, were called "erre" in Persian, meaning "bicki zikri", and in Turkish, "capkin." My mother greatly enjoyed these zikrs, which Mollagul would perform at the end of namaz at our home, when not going to the mosque to do so. My mother would memorize the Turkish and Persian verses recited by this dervish, write down some and have me memorize them as well. These were all religious, moralistic poems. The poetry he used to relate from the great Turkish Sufi of the 12th century was emotive.

For example: "If I were to ask about the path from those who arrived at the truth/ Would it be wrong to place my head on their knees and rub my face?/ If I were to climb the peaks of tall mountains to become an ascetic/ Melding with the clouds, causing endless rains to fall/ Would it be wrong for me to resuscitate drying trees and grow lush gardens?/ If I were to touch the clouds as a Sunkar bird/ Descend down to become a hunter and stalk rapacious beasts/ Joining sparrows, repeat God's name ninety one times/ Would it be wrong to fly about along with the nightingales? (*) {(*) Turkcesi.}

I could never forget the time when Mollagul was visiting us during a bayram. He (or, my father) apparently had previously related a story to the population, concerning the prophet. In any case, everybody knew of it. The contents of the story was as follows: During a bayram, the prophet noticed a destitude orphan, who, watching the children of the rich riding on luxuriously ornamented camels, was crying: "I wish I, too, had a camel." In order to please the child, the prophet pretended to be a camel, placing the orphan on his sholders, moved about the crowd, jumping. When Abubakr intervened, stating that this was unbecoming of him, the prophet responded with "in that case, the child should purchase the camel under him and release it." Abubakr, handing six walnuts to the child, had him free the prophet. Mollagul, singing the versified story in lyrical form, placed me on his back, moved about among the congregation that had gathered next to the mosque. My father caused me to free Mollagul by giving me six walnuts. Commencing to recite the following poem in Turkish to me, attributed to Sems Tebrizi, my father repeated it exuberantly perhaps ten times in a row; all this being done as if it were a short theatrical act: "That child did not know the identity of the men under him, being a mere child; otherwise, he would not have sold it even if presented with the world entire and the universe." (*) {Turkcesi}

The proceedings made me cry too, because Mollagul had acted the part of the prophet, and my father, that of Abubakr.

Mollagul would sing, in lyrical form, some of the religious verses and used to play the flute, known as "kuray." He would thus bring alive the Islamic traditions before the adults and the children. According to him, the famous Sufi Sems Tebrizi, who recited Persian poems, also recited them in Turkish, was a fiery dervish, caused the Muslims to be overwhelmed with joy through his verses and dances.

Mollagul passed away during the Russo Japanese war. When I visited home, accompanied by a detachment of troops during revolutionary times in 1918, I discovered a notebook belonging to Mollagul preserved in our house. After his death, my father and mother appended to it additional Turkish and Persian poems they had heard from him earlier. My father would recite those poems along with Mollagul. Often, my father would recite them when he was alone. Those poems were so fluid, so lively that they would effortlessly place themselves into a person's memory. There were times when Mollagul would behave strangely. For example, sometimes he would steal something from my father. My father woud say "let him." But once he stole a silver pocket watch which came from Mekka as a present. My father caught and beat him. Despite the fact that he had a huge body, he cried, saying "I did not take it Molla, I admired it as a possession of a friend" and recited a Persian poem with the content "gold becomes more beatiful as the jeweler pounds it." (*) {Farscasi} Truly, Mollagul was not a thief, but would walk away with the properties of those individuals he considered to be his true friends.

When he came to visit us during the summer months, he would stay in the summer dormitory of the medrese adjoining our house, called "alacik." The summer kitchen was there, too. All of us children would sleep there as well. Upon Mollagul's arrival, my mother had a goat skinned and prepared it to be boiled in the cauldron. Mollagul, stating "and this is Mahmay's," offered a leg of it to our dog by that name. My mother was angered and crowned Mollagul with the ladle. Mollagul immediately recited a Persian poem suitable for the occasion, and addressing his wife, who was perhaps one hundred and fifty kilometers away, shouted "Rehile, Ustabike is beating me." "Ustabike" means "Ustad bike," schoolmistress. My mother did not forget the poem he recited during this incident, and entered it into Mollagul's notebook; meaning: "The aroma drew me inside (into the kitchen), and caused the ladle to be placed on my head." (*) This was not a poem he composed at that instant, but one of the thousands of poems he carried in his memory, selecting the appropriate one as needed.

It is said that he even used the suras of the Koran in such masterly manner. I tried to use them as he did. Mollagul liked me very much, and had me memorize Turkish and Persian poems of morality in my childhood. For instance "if you greet the guests forthright, God will bestow upon you countless blessings;" and "son, do not offend people with your tongue, so as not to weary God." Also, "God, who can provide the fish to feed the birds flying in the sky may also grant powers of state to his smallest servant." But, he did not provide an interpretation of this last one, and indicated I would understand in adulthood. I did not insist. Though my father sometimes flogged him, he also used to say that Mollagul may be an evliya. When I presided over the Bashkurt government in 1918, my father reminded me of Mollagul's poem, asking "do you now comprehend the meaning?"

When I related those poems to Ahund Yusuf Talibzade of Azarbaijan (in 1922), who knew Persian literature very well, he explained that those were all from 12th 13th century poets Attar and Celaledddin Rumi. It became apparent that Mollagul also knew history. For example, he used to remember a poem concerning Seljuk rulers Sencer and Karahan Arslan Hakan's often visiting seyh Ahmet Yesevi, who had spread a "Turk mysticism" centered around Syr Darya; {they} knocked on Yesevi's door, kissing the earth on his threshold as well as his feet. I used to consider that an invention. Apparently that, too, was quoted from Rumi's works. Though I never took the poems Mollagul taught me during my childhood seriously, I discovered they had all had been relayed from grand personae.

My teacher Zeki Halife and I would consider Mollagul's behavior, such as addressing his wife afar, back at home, when beaten with a ladle on the head by my mother, a fraud and regarded him a thief. My father, on the other hand, supposed him learned and even a member of the "erenler," admonished me to earn his "alkis," meaning praise, and avoid his "kargis," imprecations. On my part, I would transport him to see his friends in the neighboring villages, using our horses and carriages. In any event Mollagul aided my understanding in a considerable way, by helping me learn Persian and Chaghatay literature, how Yesevism and Islam spread among the masses and became their property. He categorically shunned those who were ceremonious and lacking cordiality. He also severely criticized my father for taking an officious approach of religion. For instance, he did not find it expedient that my father would rouse me for the morning namaz. He would say "he is still a child, he has not yet acquired a taste for namaz, why do you compel him?"

Another anecdote: As long as I remember myself, on the wall of our guest house, which we called "Agoy," there was a sizeable poster hanging. Along its borders it contained Sufi poetry taken from Yesevi, Attar and from other mystical poets. In its middle, as I recall, the heads of three dervises were drawn. The blue colored tears running from their eyes were depicted as forming rivers, leading to a lake, finally engulfing the village. Supposedly, these dervises were clamoring with "ah'un min al isq," meaning "oh, this love," Allah, Allah. Addressing Mollagul, I queried: "Uncle, what is this? God is not visible, it is not known where he is, how can one fall in love with him. Is Allah a "Leyla" so that a "Mecnun" can fall in love with him? It is absurd that their tears are forming rivers. How can that be?" Because of my question, my father slapped and reprimanded me, calling me a swine. Mollagul immediately intervened with: Molla, what are you doing? The child does not possess the ability to understand mysticism, can mysticism be acquired forcibly? God created him thus, though he may become "sagacious," but not a "Sufi." If anything, he may become a "starshina," but not a "seyh" or "murid." In Russian, "starshina" refers to the rank of governor of a township, or, in the army, to the rank of "major." My father would not object to his interferences of this nature, instead, accept them. This was to my benefit. Mollagul did not at all like the mollas, known in Islam as "ulema i rusum," of the formal type. He would not go anywhere near my maternal uncle Habibneccar because of his overly formal approach to being a molla, or the zealous Kessaf Molla of our village, who was of the Bukhara type. When he died, I was only fourteen years of age, and had not appreciated his worth. I began understanding him somewhat, after he passed away, from the poetry he had me memorize and through my mother and father. I also began to understand the inner thoughts of my mother and father only from the entries they made in Mollagul's notebook, which was in their hands during 1918.

My Learning Russian

While I was still six, seven years of age, I began learning Russian along with Arabic and Persian. My learning these three languages at such an early age caused me to save quite a bit of time later in life, and allowed me to concentrate on other topics instead of struggling to acquire them after I grew up. Why did I start learning Russian this early? There is a reason. While my father was serving in the army, he had suffered tremendously, and resolved that, if he were to have a son, to have him learn Russian before anything else.

He used to recall the event as follows: In Islam, when "nocturnal emmission" (pollution, ejaculating semen during a dream) takes place, it is customary to wash the body in "ritual total ablution." One night, my father experiences that event in the army. But, he is caught by the officer of the watch during the "ritual ablution." Upon the request of the military doctor, my father's company commander orders my father imprisoned and condemns him to be prostrated under sandbags for hours as punishment. As my father moans under the weight of the sandbags, the Daghestani Beys, called "Samhal," in their thick uniforms, serving in the Russian army, happened to be by. Samhal inquires from the young Russian officer the cause. Commander recounts the event. Samhal asks the commander whether he could take my father to his own unit to serve out the punishment. But my father, not knowing Russian, addresses the Samhal in Arabic, which pleases the latter immeasurably. After the punishment period, as the Samhal returns my father, tells the Russian commander: "he is a worthy youth, promote him to sergeant." But, since my father could not speak Russian, he suffers immeasurably as a sergeant, and receives beatings often.

At that juncture, my father resolves that, if he could return home, get married and father a son, to have him learn Russian before all else. In our village, there was no school teaching Russian. There was one in the neighboring Makar village, but he did not wish to send me there. Instead, he charged Abdurrahman Menglibayev, a Tatar student in his medrese, a graduate of the "Russian City School" (Middle School), to tutor me privately in Russian. Two years later, another "Russian City School" graduate, Sahibek Ozbekov, son of a close friend of my father came to the medrese. When Abdurrahman left, Sahibek tutored me in Russian. When I reached the age of eleven, Sahibek prepared me, by tutoring me in other subjects as well, to sit for the primary school exams during the summer. I went to the school in Makar a few times during the summer. During spring, I sat for the exams there. The schoolteacher, Miftah Karamisev, gave me a diploma indicating I had passed. He also added that in four years, with private tutoring, I had learned better Russian than his own students, and recommended that I be sent to the Russian city school in Isterlitamak. I also insisted. However, my father and my mother were strictly against it. Instead, I was taken to my maternal uncle's medrese in útek, during the fall (1902). That bigoted Kessam Molla's fabricating gossip: "Molla Aga is sending his son to the Russian school" prevented my going to Isterlitamak.

My Education in útek (1902 1908)

Though this village was fourteen kilometers from ours, my maternal uncle's circle was quite dissimilar to ours. I usually stayed in my uncle's house, in its richly stocked library section.

All five sons of my maternal grandfather were imams, so were his three daughters' husbands, who were his pupils. His eldest son, my uncle Habibneccar (photograph 3), was taken to Kazan by the aforementioned son of the wealthy trader Kockaroglu Emirhan, became a student of one of the greatest minds, masters, philosophers of the time, the renowned historian Sehabeddin Mercani; and later became his famous assistant. Habibneccar published, in Turkish, his book pertaining to Islamic history, "Miftah ut Tavarih," meaning "Key to Histories," as well as Arabic commentaries to the well known medrese textbooks on Islamic metaphysics and philosophy. The Arabic footnotes he produced were written while the latter books were being typeset, as a means of correcting them, also appending biographies of their authors, in Arabic. Hamid Sengari, a friend of my uncle's, wrote many such footnotes. Also, the "Qalyubi" anecdotes, which my uncle translated from Arabic literature, were also published.

Habibneccar was also informed about politics. He had read the "Tercuman" newspaper, published by the educated Crimean Muslim Turk Ismail Gasprinskii, from the beginning, meaning since 1883. In sufism, he was a disciple of the progressive seyh of the time, Zeynullah of the Tungatar urug. Habibneccar also would obtain the latest publications from Turkey, and read them. He, like my father, occupied himself with the Arabic language as well as the philosophical and moralistic works in that language.

But, there were points where their life views diverged from each other. My uncle had learned of the spherical nature of earth's constitution from the translation of Flamarion. He knew astronomy and mathematics in its contemporary form. On the other hand, my father considered these topics from the perspective of 12th century Islamic thinker al Ghazali, whom he regarded to be the only teacher in such matters. He believed in the spherical nature of earth , that the moon is smaller than the earth and closer to earth than the other heavenly bodies, that the sun is larger than the earth and further away, knew of the solar and lunar eclipses. But he did not believe in the fact that earth rotated around its axis, because Gazali, under the influence of Ptolemy, stressed the heliocentric theory of the universe. My father, in his sermons, enthusiastically related from Gazali's "Ihya ul ulum al din," meaning "Resuscitation of religious knowledge," but would also read certain portions of the same work in bed, to fall asleep. I would ask my father: How is it that one work can create such excitement and induce drowsiness? He would answer with: Son, this book contains sections to effect both. Later on, upon reading the French scholar G. Bosquet's analysis of the said volume, I found a similar opinion and realized the essentially correct prognosis of my father.

I knew of Ghazali's date of death, expressed in reiterative figures (A. H. 505; A. D. 1111), since I was perhaps ten years old. My father wished to die at the age of sixty three, as did Ghazali and our prophet. But, his wish was not granted. When he died in the hands of the Bolsheviks, after having been subjected to prolonged tortures, he was well past eighty. My father regularly received Gaspirali's newspaper as well, reading only the important news, would not necessarily understand the articles pertaining to the contemporary intellectual currents, would believe in the advertisements. For example, he would regard long haired Anna Chilag, appearing in a hair tonic promotion, as real. Hence, my father's circle, though distant from fanaticism, was conservative. Habibneccar's milieu, on the other hand, was enlightened and progressive. These aspects bound me more to my uncle than to my father.

My Father's Personality

Though my fathers environment appeared comparatively undistinguished, in many respects I preferred it to my uncle's. My maternal uncle and my father were friends, but their characters and the life views they held were truly different. Habibneccar in Kazan, along with two other "assistants" of Mercani, Abbas and Sadri, indulged in excesses and all were involved in scandals. About them, a satirical poem was written:

"Neccar, Abbas and Sadri/ Though it is said that they are students/ They are distinguished in merrymaking/ Their eyes on the girls. (*) {T} Abbas went to Istanbul, but did not refrain from immoderation, and satires caught up with him. Neccar, whose reputation followed him to Istanbul due to those satires, became an imam in his village, and later, seyh. But his life was a mystery to me. Even though I lived in his household, I used to think "I wonder if he still drinks?" My father, on the other hand, was a simple and completely sincere man, held no secret for me. My uncle was overly pompous toward his students, while my father, though an authoritarian, treated his students and sons as a friend and a real father. If he noticed a fault, he would definitely mete out punishment, but often turned a blind eye toward the offenses. He had never imbibed intoxicants in his life. The namaz was compulsory in the family, but he knew that when he was away we did not perform it, and would not pursue the issue.

He was extraordinarily disciplined. He would rule with an iron hand when we were involved in the family herd management activities. He would place a cushion called "kopcik" on his saddle, {but} not allow anyting soft to be placed on ours, requiring us to sit only on the leather saddle cover, even if we were to be riding fifty kilometers.

Our cover at night, at home or in the field, was a wool capote called "sekmen" (cekmen). During summer though the herds had shepherds, he would make us, his sons, responsible for any cow or sheep that was left behind, got lost or became ill. We had no less than five horses at home. At night, he would send us to "Qunalga," meaning to take them for grazing where the grass was best. We would stake with a lengthy rope those horses which had a tendency to run away. We would get up at night to change the places of those stakes. During morning prayers, we would bring the horses home. If we were to be still asleep by dawn, my father would most definitely slap our faces.

He was faithful to old customs and traditions in the highest possible degree. He was always in conflict with his lieutenant, imam Kessaf Molla, for customs not found among Miser, Tipter and Tatars. Reportedly this person, behind my father's back, would say "molla prefers zakon to sheria." Having studied in Bukhara, what Kessaf Molla referred to as "zakon," meaning Russian official laws, were in actuality Bashkurt traditions not necessarily in step with sheria. This manifested itself in inheritance matters, custom of "inci" (insi), and the "honey" drink.

"Inci" (insu) means division of property of all types equally, based on the principle of parity among men women of a family, without regard to gender, and branding of all animals accordingly. "Inci" is a fundamental law governing the family affairs, such as the slaughtering of animals for religious sacrificial occasions or for banquets, zekat and inheritance. Reportedly, our village was famous for keeping "bees," producing "honey" and for partaking freely of "bitter honey." A relative of ours, Ehil Molla, an aged imam, was in the habit of drinking and leading the congregation in that state. It is said that Kessaf Molla would object: "the namaz cannot be performed under his leadership." In return, my father would only say: "if anyone is in doubt, let them repay their debt at home," {and} not contravene the aged molla because of this bitter honey matter. My mother, too, would surreptitiously produce this bitter honey for her own consumption. Though my father would see the "kurege," the wood container where bitter honey was fermented, he turned a blind eye. He would even hand my mother the honey water generated from washing the "ekmekli" portion of the honey from the hives, through which process candle wax is extracted, with the request that she "pour it out." My mother would not, instead storing it in her "kurege." This would turn into the most potent kind. And my father would act as if he was not aware. Kessaf Molla would hear of this, and about my father, whom he greatly revered, would say: "In Molla Aga's house, there is no shortage of unlawful honey." Kessaf Molla insisted on compliance to sheria to the letter. He had followers among the Tipter and Misers. They, too, would gossip about my father.

Since my father held the primacy of old traditions in the village life, there would be conflicts. According to my father, the main occupation of the village was to raise animals and provide pastures. His agriculture was confined to the "corn" he would plant, as much as could be carried in the skirt of his gown called "bismet" or "yilen," and the area where it was planted. The seeds of his annual planting would not exceed two or three skirtfulls. The planted field would be surrounded by a fence called "kerte," as done by everybody else. But when the Misers arrived, it is said, they had encircled the village with a fence, in Russian style, and called it "Ukalsa" (okolitsa) in Russian. The pasture was removed, all having been converted to planting fields. Then, conflict broke out between those keeping animals and the planters. My father regarded as natural the raids of the animals on the fields, returning from yayla in the fall. Miser, Tatar and Russians stood against him.

During summer, Misers and Russians were renting the winter pens of our animals, to plant potatos there. Our people would not eat those, regarding them grown in filth. Misers also planted vegetables, like the Russians, and surrounded them with hedges. Our neighbor, Siddik Miser, once beat me, stating I stole a cucumber and accused my father of raising his son as a thief. A row broke out. Whereas, my father did not recognize the right to punish humans to them, for taking cucumbers or chickpeas. My father, faithful to all ancient nomadic traditions and customs, viewed life where "one custom made place for another according to necessity." Meaning, in adapting to changes in life, the central reference point was custom, and not sheria. From this standpoint, he was much more amenable to progress not only with respect to Kessaf Molla, but also to my maternal uncle Habibneccar.

Years passed, he used the winter pens of our animals to grow potatos, having us eat large potatos. He even grew cabbage, had his relatives get used to potatos. In adapting to life, also planting fruit trees in the garden, he surpassed the Miser and Kessaf Molla who did not have any. When I was older, I persuaded him to increase our planting field by five ten hectares. Earlier, would harvest grass with a scythe, but as the sickle caused us backache, we would employ Tatars or the Russians as day laborers to do that job. In time, my siblings got used to the sickle as well as the machine {harvester?}.

Earlier, we would feed our animals in open pens (kerte), even during the winter. In time, we had "ahur," "saray," meaning barns, constructed like those of the Miser. The Bashkurt village school next to our house, comprising two rooms, took the form of an excellent medrese similar to those found in a Tatar township. In other words, my father speedily adapted the medieval life of my youth to contemporary times. In ten years, by the time I left our village at the age of eighteen to study in far off places, radical changes not seen for the past few centuries had taken place in our lives. The factor facilititating this change was my father's ability to keep "religious" matters separate from affairs of "life," and sheria away from the business of "life," subjecting "life" to custom.

My Father's Medrese

My father's medrese comprised four buildings. He would have one hundred fifty to perhaps two hundred students. The majority of these students were dag Bashkurts, and children arriving from distant locations. They would study for four months, returning to their villages before the snows melted. Fermenting honey secretly, without letting my father know, they would hold drinking parties. They would also organize regular wrestling and dancing events during Thursday evenings. There was a very tight disciple among them. The news of bitter honey parties would not reach my father's ears, and I would not at all report them. The head, called "kadi" would be elected during fall, as soon as the medrese session began. He would be seated on white felt and raised high by four individuals, while other students would pinch, sometimes even needle him here and there with an awl, causing him to cry. But, later he would get his own back. This was the "Han," meaning rulership, tradition of the old Turks. We have later learned that the election of "kadi" in medreses was entirely a Khorazm tradition.

Though the official director of the medrese was my father, the actual administration was in the hands of this elected "kadi." Not allowing the internal matters to reach the medrese owner, called the "muderris," was considered a talent of the "kadi." My father's skill was in appearing as if he had not heard of those events. In this manner, the medrese life was the mirror of our community, and its history. In it, there was not the trace of the new pedagogical system called "usul i cedid." Except, my father had designated an assistant of his, named "Zeki Halfe," with the task of teaching mathematics and geography to those interested. He also had students who could teach Russian. But my father categorically refused the proposal by the Russian government to open a Russian elementary school next to the medrese. And even I had opened a "village library" in this medrese.

The jurist Bashkurt Sultanov, sent to us as the government district commissar (zemski nachalnik), was the son of Ufa mufti Sultanov. He, like the Tatar girl Zeyneb Abdurrahmanova, who was sent as the government doctor, had studied at the St. Petersburg university. Both would visit us often, discussing politics and educational matters. Perhaps these two had also influenced my father's evolution into a reformer from that of a medieval village imam. In my father's medrese, I studied Arabic and religious lessons with him, learned Persian from Zeki Halfe and Kessaf Molla, Russian and mathematics from Sahibek. But, one occupation that pleased me most was my participation, as a standard fixture, in wrestling competitions, though allowed to the students only during Thursday evenings, were organized among our household nightly. I did not neglect the "honey parties" either. Folk stories would be recited until the lights were put out for sleep, and I enjoyed them very much.

Once Again, From My Mother

Because, when I was imprisoned at Orenburg in 1918 by the soviets, and in the Turkish Republic by Ismet Pasa during 1944, deprived of all reading material, I realized the importance of my mother's influence on me, {and later} while reading the poems I had learned from her and also Yesevi's inward supplication prayer piece called "Seb i Yelda." During the events of 1944, memories of my father were long forgotten, but my mother's image was next to me like the angel called "hafaza feriste." Sometimes, as I did back at home, I felt as if I was inhaling her fragrance. Her charm was in her poetry, full of ethical suggestions. I am of the opinion that my mother had not committed the smallest sin in her life and that she was infinitely honest with me. The Persian and Turkish poems she taught me were not confined to moralistic pieces; among them there were literary and aesthetic ones. When I later read Navai's works in their entirety, I realized that those "gazel" my mother had me memorize were select ones. I do not know who taught those to my mother. Because, the portions of his "Divan" we had did not contain them. Furthermore, the moralistic poems and stories she taught me were in the nature of a "chrestomathy," an anthology, and the majority of them were in my mother's memory. Those were mainly pieces taken and compiled from Attar, Celaleddin Rumi, Navai, Yesevi, Sufi Allahyar.

During the beginning of 1957, I was in Pakistan as a guest Lahore University. There, at the home of my friend Muhammed Baqir, the professor of Persian literature, I was astonished to discover that the army commander of Haydarabad Nizam, a Bukhara Ozbek by origin, had his son read the same books and poems my mother personally had me read, realizing how widespread this educational program was among the 19th century Turks.

I surmise that my mother did not know the authors of those Persian poems. I found out, only later, that they were select pieces, and that the pronunciations I had learned were correct. The contemporary Iranian ruler, Muhammed Riza Shah, during the two audiences I had with him, asked where I had learned Persian. When I responded with "from my mother," he said "I wonder if your mother was Iranian?" Because, he had noticed that my pronunciation was different than that of Bukharan Tajik. Like my father's Arabic, my mother's Persian was of the literary type, perhaps grafted onto the Kuzenogullari and Satlikogullari by the Daghestani masters since the 18th century. She had also taught me namaz "niyet" {formal resolve to perform HBP} in Persian. I remained forever indebted to my mother for lovingly teaching me Persian, which allowed me to learn Middle and Near Eastern life quite closely, and giving me the chance to make many very good friends there.

My mother knew absolutely nothing of politics. She did not look at the arriving newspapers. Except stating that the name of God may be in them, she would not permit them to be left under foot, or anything to be wrapped in them. She was very religious. She would never neglect the namaz and, like my father, would rise before dawn. Delighting in poetry, my mother's speech was very correct. She spoke corroborating her every sentence with a proverb or with the insertion of aphorisms.

A Poem of My Mother's and Freud

My mother knew how to write, and while teaching her students prayers, she would write them. But, she would not write letters. However, when my father was angry with me during 1908, when I was in Kazan, she wrote one or two letters. Nevertheless, there were poems she wrote to my father. These were kept scattered in my father's books. Every now and then, the property "inci" would cause a fuss. My mother was very sensitive towards the animals she had brought from what we caled "turkun," the bride's father's house. When one of those animals was sold, without securing her complete acquiescense, she took offence to my father. Then, my father wished to marry a second woman, or, it is said, at least threatened to do so. Consequently, my mother wrote the following poem:

"You said there is no other sweetheart to love/ You had not loved anyone else, have you changed/ You are the one who had tasted my ruby red lips, and the one who broke my seal/ Are you a stranger, what is the meaning of this jest? (*) {(*)}

Possibly, the last two lines were quoted from another poet, but my mother had used them very fittingly. With its completely clear meaning, this poem had remained in my memory. However, until I grew up, I had not paid attention to its reference to the sexual relations between husband and wife. In general, whether or not there were sexual relations between our mother and father would not even enter the minds or imagination of us children. Whereas they would have us read the religious instructions regulating sexual relations, sometimes they would have some of the cows mated in our presence, to prevent them becoming barren, or we would observe the birthing sheep that had been brought into the warmth of the household, during the winter, for the purpose. To us, these were normal and natural affairs. Due to that, we had memorized our mother's poem as a beautiful piece. There were times, perhaps, when my sister Sare and I recited this and similar ones. But, according to the Viennese philosopher Dr. Freud, this is not simply the case:

While I was studying in Vienna, during 1935, I had rented a room on Berggasse No. 9, to be near the History of Art Seminar of Prof. Strezegovski. I knew that there was an institute on the floor below me, but I was not aware that this was Freud's Psychoanalysis Institute. One day, the landlady said: "The residents below you are complaining of your very hard steps at night. Could you wear slippers?" I agreed, but kept forgetting and the request was being repeated. One evening, the landlady said: "The Professor is asking for you." This person introduced himself as Professor Freud, said there were sensitive instruments in his institute, and, because of that, repeatedly requested that I wear slippers in my room if possible. I had never seen Freud. Except, a Syrian Armenian student, said to be working under this Freud, had given me the books by the person in question. I had read some of them, but had not liked his philosophy at all. I responded to Freud with "I am a person who had arrived from the steppes of Central Asia. I wonder if I could have my feet comply with this stipulation."

Freud invited me to his room. There, I told Freud that his writings pertaining to a girl of six seven years of age lusting after her father was inapplicable to the Bashkurts and Kazakhs, translating my mother's above poem.

I stated that I had grasped the sexual allusion of "breaking my seal" in this poem only after reading Dr. Freud's pamphlets.

I conversed with him several more times after that. I had analyzed the Arab traveller Ibn Fadlan's writings on the old Oghuz that their understanding of sexual relations was entirely different from other Muslims and the Arabs and had compared those writings to Herodotus' records pertaining to sexual relations among Scythians. During our second conversation, I relayed all this to Dr. Freud. I even said to him: With your conversion of psychoanalysis into your "philosophy," which is an important and interesting branch of knowledge, you are providing material to the "perverts" who unabashedly write about watching their naked sisters through keyholes. He was not at all angered by my words. He wished very much to continue our talks, but as I had moved from Austria to Germany, there were no further opportunities.

The Training My Maternal Uncle Habibneccar Provided

My maternal uncle's medrese comprised seven buildings. He had over three hundred students. Many of them, quite different from my father's, studied six seven months of the year. There were even students who continued their education during the summer. On my part, I would arrive late to this medrese {and} leave early, returning to our village. For there were duties to be performed in our village to which I had grown accustomed (for example, towards Spring, taking the animals to our forest houses, called "otar," and staying with them), which were not a part of útek's routine; or, perhaps not undertaken during the {medrese} session. My father, too, was requiring me to return early, to look after the animals. Accordingly, I would be home by mid March. Thus, my medrese education would last for four months at most. Nevertheless, I would continue my lessons with my father, to remedy those interrupted due to my leaving early.

At útek medrese I would learn Arabic language and literature. Though my father was quite proficient in Arabic, he knew nothing of Arabic literature. My uncle would personally tutor me in those, because I would mostly stay in his house. Since, at the time he had no children, he would treat me with care, as his own. He would also tutor other students at his home, separately. He placed specific importance on the knowledge of "beyan u bedi," meaning Arabic rhetoric, and the biographies of famed scholars and personae. In that context, I read the book entitled "Muvattal" until I left his school. From biographies he had me read portions, from Arabic translations, of Ibn Hallikan, Taskopruluzade, Abdulhay al Luknevi of India; and the "Resahat," written and published by Murad Remzi, again, a friend of my father's, which is about the sufi biographies of Central Asia. I very much liked to read those biographies and enjoyed comparing this "Resahat" to its Persian original, found in my uncle's library.

My uncle would tell me that I could learn fikh and kelam on my own, completely exempting me from those lessons which he taught in his medrese. And I personally avoided them. The reason for this was in the Turkish book I used to take from my uncle's desktop and read. This was a book published by the Turkish political activist and scholar Mehmed Arif Bey, entitled "Bin bir hadis." In this book, while commenting on the Prophet's hadis "O Lord, I take refuge in you from useless knowledge/skills and those unacceptable actions and worship," Mehmed Arif Bey had regarded those branches of scholasticism, such as kelam and mantik, as unnecessary knowledge that had become the curse of Islamic nations. That hadith had a very sharp influence on me. On the other hand, I placed importance on reading history books in Arabic, and enjoyed it very much.

Also, Sahibek Ozbek, who had been studying in my father's medrese, had moved to my uncle's. I continued to learn Russian from him. This friend later became an officer in the Bashkurt army, did not accept the truce we were observing with the Soviets during 1919, with my permission went to Ukraine, served in the Wrangel army. Subsequently I heard that he was wounded in Crimea, went to Istanbul, and died there.

My uncle was pleased that the Russians were losing the Russo Japanese war, that commenced in 1904, began daily sending a horse courier to Isterlitamak, to collect the telegraphic bulletins. He used to have me read those. This caused my Russian to further improve and provided a reason for my taking an interest in political affairs. {In útek} there was a tailor named Toktamisoglu Gerey. He was a person who studied and had a good command of Russian and was well read. My uncle suggested that I further my Russian with him. I studied with this person, reading Pushkin's "Pugachev Rebellion" and the poems he wrote describing our Prophet, imitating the Koran. I rendered those into Chaghatay Turkish, which we used at the time as the literary language. My uncle would carefully read those translations. While comparing the Russian poet's translation of the "Vadduha" sura with its original, he had said "though he did not translate verbatim, also added a few things, he understood its meaning better than many of our commentators." Later, my uncle had me translate Pushkin's writings concerning his family history, "The Arab of Peter the Great" and said: this Son of an Arab certainly likes the Koran.

I had earlier mentioned that, when in útek continuing with my studies, I mostly stayed in my maternal uncle's house. He had numerous flocks, sheep folds and stables. I enjoyed feeding fodder to the horse herds even during winter. In our region, the harvested grass contained dried berries in abundance. I relished picking and eating those berries from among the dry grass, watching the animals. I liked the animals. If I was not present in class, reportedly my uncle would say: he is most likely to be in the kerte (meaning stables), fetch him.

I also busied myself with mathematics, and reading the books my uncle had ordered from Istanbul. While I was still sixteen eighteen years of I age, I read and summarized works by Ernst Renan, Dr. W. R. Draper, and the German Schopenhauer on religion and knowledge, as well as those published in Istanbul, those pertaining to religion and Islamic social problems, in Arabic the works of Egyptian Muhammed Abdu and that of Ferid Vecdi and their likes. Reading the studies of Renan and Draper had more closely interested me than the refutations written against them. I acquired a desire to read their complete originals. The influence of the Turkish press caused in me an inclination to smoke. My uncle's second wife discovered the butt of the first cigarette I ever smoked, and handed it to my uncle. On account of that, my uncle beat me. Nontheless, I occasionally smoked.

How I Was Spending My Summers

During spring, I used to return to our village from the medrese for the sake of our animals. This was because the fodder prepared in summer would be depleted by March. In the forest we would cut the branches of a tree called "yila," bring back and feed those to the animals. We would take the animals out for grazing, at spots where the snows had melted. We, ourselves, would gather the wild potatoes, called "sarana," and other certain roots, found where the snows had cleared, cooking and eating them. I preferred remaining alone with nature and animals to the medrese.

I would attend on horseback, in turn, the farmers' festivals called "Saban Toyu" of the Tatar villages, during the first half of April; and traditional festivities of the Bashkurt villages called "yiyin," towards the end of May. At times I would enter the races with our horses, observe the wrestling competitions, and even personally participate in the youth matches. We would be occupied with the affairs of the honey bees beginning at the end of April. Containing over one hundred hives, our bee garden, called "Umartalik," was in Qarli Bulek, four kilometers away at our old yayla and burial site. There was also located the "Alacik," the yayla house, as well as the "izma," the building used to store the hives during winter.

We also had hives placed among the branches of large trees, and these and the "suluq," the hives carved into pine tree trunks, were meant to attract new swarms. Those [suluqs] were completely scattered over an area of one hundred kilometers in length. In April, there was the task of cleaning and placing beeswax in those "suluq," some of which were inherited from our grandfathers, to prepare them for occupation by wild swarms. I undertook those tasks with my nephew Nur Muhammed and my friend Ibrahim Kackinbay. Ibrahim's family had as many suluq as we had.

Simultaneously, our horse herds (generally comprising four unbroken herds) would already be at the yayla. After our lands and pastures were confiscated by the Russian government and added to their treasury, our people had to abandon the yayla life; [this occurred] a long time ago. Except we had "Han Yeylevi" next to our village houses, and the "Alacik" at the yayla of the "Qarli Bolek" mountain. On the other hand, our animals had not at all abandoned the yayla life. They would leave, without needing any permission or such from us, to Mesim and Ak Biyik yayla at the beginning of every April. They would stay there until fall. Those yayla were the property of the "Alagoyan," that is, belonging to the village of the aforementioned Ibrahim Kackinbay.

The agriculture and life of the Misers in our village was more regulated compared to ours. They planted plenty of cereals, grew vegetables, kept their animals in the village year round in sheds called "abzar," (*) {(*)} sold their crops, made a good living. The agriculture of our two urugs, as I had explained, would consist of two "skirtfulls" of corn, our animals would spend the winter in open pens, known as "kerte," a loan word from old Iranian languages, and not come to the village but spend the summer in the yayla. Consequently, we would not devote much time to agriculture or for constructing animal pens. While our family's horse herds were at the mountains during the summer, I would be their herdsman. I did not at all like the crop growing business. To me, it was a pleasure to reap fodder grass for the animals, but grain harvest (using a sickle), requiring excessive bending, was a torture. I could not do it.

All our business was in the forest. The forest "Aygir olgen," once belonging to our urug, that had been confiscated from us by the Treasury, was thirty five kilometers from us. Every year the Treasury would allocate to us a portion of that forest to cut some wood from that location, and we would take that load to the market and sell it. Also, we would have linden tree barks unravel in running water, separating its fibers called "Salabas" and market it. When all that was completed, until fodder grass reaping time, I would go after the horse herds to "Ak Biyik" yayla, take care of them, feed them salt, drink the kimiz prepared by the womenfolk, visit others to drink kimiz, participate in the games held at the yayla.

In June when the sheep slaughtering time, called "Teke zamani," arrived, my father, and sometimes my mother, too, would join me. We would stay with the families taking care of our animals. The most delightful time of the season was spent performing the task called "Bilemqarav" in beekeeping. This comprised inspecting, on running horseback, the "suluq" hives carved in the upper parts of the thick pine tree trunks, to determine whether "free swarms" had occupied them, or, observing how well the reconnaissance parties leaving the wild bee colonies accepted those hives. However, each of those "trees" belonging to us was located on a mountain or in a riverbed, and despite riding on best of horses, it was only possible to see ten fifteen of them in one day. I used to perform this "Bilemqarav," taking approximately fifteen days every year, with my friend Ibrahim Kackinbay.

Ibrahim Kackinbay

Ibrahim, two years my senior, was the son of "Alagoyan Basi" village imam Semseddin Kackinbay. Semseddin, whose height was close to two meters, had served alongside with my paternal uncle Veli Molla, who also was very tall, in the Bashkurt cavalry Regiment and participated in the Syr Darya campaign of the Russian army against Khokand, under the command of the aforementioned Major Yusuf. Like Veli Molla, Semseddin also knew Arabic, Persian and Russian well. Both were thoroughly cognizant of Chaghatay literature, especially with the writings of Ahmet Yesevi, Navai, Sufi Allahyar and their likes. Among Burcan Bashkurts, the seyh Seyyidoglu Abdullah and this Semseddin Kackinbay were very cultured individuals. Both had spent time in the Syr Darya region. They had brought the culture of that area to Baskurdistan, like our neighbors Major Yusuf Karamis of Maqar village and Bekbulat Molla of Sayram village. They also were in possession of Arabic and Persian manuscripts. Among Semseddin Molla's books, there was one containing the versified story of two youths, named Mihr and Musteri, who were very close friends. Molla would liken me and his son Ibrahim to this Mihr and Musteri, reading some poems from that book. During 1958, in Washington {D. C.}, I saw an excellent copy of that work, adorned with illuminations, at the Freer Museum.

Semseddin was having his son Ibrahim educated at my father's medrese. Like me, Ibrahim had learned Arabic, Persian, along with Russian, and knew the last one better than I. Compared to our {family}, the Persian and Bukhara culture had a stronger influence on his. Ibrahim was extraordinarily handsome. He was a very intelligent youth with a thin and elegant body. Our clothes, long silk sashes, called "belbav," heeled boots; breastbands, buckles, kuskun, stirrups, girths of our saddles; our saddles themselves, with their "pommels" and "backs" decorated with inlaid silver by itinerant Daghestani jewelers; our belts and even our whips, were identical. Ibrahim's mother had those made for us, and had woven our sashes with her hands.

I would spend time with Ibrahim during the winter, upon my return from útek, and during the summer, in the months of May, June and September, when I used to stay with them. After his father's death, his mother had Ibrahim married, stating she was left all alone. Thereafter, he always regretted not having been able to continue with his studies, and that he was compelled to tend to family wealth, which was considerable. His horse herds were held in high esteem. They were called Sulgen variety. Ostensibly, according to myth, their mares were impregnated by stallions emerging from the cave and lake found near the village of Sulgen. Ibrahim had presented me, as a gift, with one of his best running horses and a mare. After the arrival of this mare, we felt proud that "noble species" had entered our wild horse herd.

Though Ibrahim interrupted his {formal} education, he maintained his love of reading. He truly read widely. Among his favorites he enjoyed reading in Russian, Lermontov; in Persian, Attar and Allahyar; in Turkish, Navai and "Muhammediye." Very cordial letters were exchanged between us. These letters used to arrive in longish thin rolls, in the style I later observed in Bukhara. Often these letters were embellished with popular poetry or quotations from old literature. I recall one instance. Despite the falling snow, two of our herds did not return to the village or the stables. I wrote to him, requesting his help to pursue the missing herds from his direction, while we would be searching from ours. In his response, rather than plainly stating "of course I shall," he wrote a piece in the following manner:

"A human should regard his friend a sultan, and himself a slave/ His friend a spirit, and himself a body/ If the friend were to ask for his bork {fur cap}, one must be prepared to present his head/ And if asked for his life, be ready to give it up." (*) {(*)} In fact, he searched the mountains for several days with his servants, some eighty kilometers from us, finding our herds, escorted them all the way to our village.

Summer life of the Bashkurts may appear lazy, but when it comes to tending to the animals, forestry, beekeeping and military matters, no trace of laxity can be found. Ibrahim was a prime example. They had roamed the mountains for days, running on horseback for perhaps two hundred kilometers. Ibrahim's father had him memorize many portions from the works of Navai; Yazicioglu's Muhammediye and the divan of Kemal Ummi from Ottoman literature; Attar and the divan of Hafiz from Persian; and the verse hikemiyet section of the "Nuzhet ul Arvah" named book, which was very popular at the time of Timur. I had not read that last work. Later, during 1913, upon arrival in Bukhara, I sought it out and repeatedly reading it, recalled Ibrahim. Afterwards I saw copies of these works containing miniatures. Semseddin Molla owned a few manuscripts in Persian, but there was not enough time to determine what they were or what happened to them.

Ibrahim and I would recite versified sections from classical Chaghatay literature during kimiz parties, and when we would become intoxicated, switch to popular songs. My friend Ibrahim played innumerable airs on the Bashkurt flute called "Quray." His voice was, to the highest degree, high pitched and clear. Since he enjoyed hearing the echoes of the melodies he sang, he would ascend up Takya Susak mountains, facing other ranges, sing and play the flute. There, when at the Yaruv and Karaagac yayla, the Kackinbay [urug] would play a game requiring the participants to pick up a whip from the ground, on running horseback. Those who could not pick up the whip would themselves be struck severely with a whip; the individual running away, to avoid being whipped, would throw a whip to his pursuer. If the pursuer could not catch the thrown whip in mid-air, then he would be whipped. Ali Shir Navai relates a similar horse pursuit game in which he himself played during his youth with a Rumi (meaning, Anatolian) Turk named Sari Tula:

"If I and Sariq Tula would get underway together/ Without noticing mountain, plain, plateau, occupied place or desert/ Freeing my arm from a torn shepherd's cloak/ Let him run away, I giving chase; he pursuing me, I getting away." (*)

Ibrahim would always recite these poems. There was also the tradition of young man and girls chasing each other on horseback. Reportedly, in the generations before us, those young man who could not get away would be whipped by the girl; and, in return, if the girl could not get away, the young man had the right to kiss the girl. A girl named Urqiye, a relative of Ibrahim was a participant in those games. His wife "Ak Gelin" would be in the gallery. In our village, in my youth, our elder sisters Muhiye and Kulsum were no less accomplished riders than their male counterparts. But, influenced by the Tatar settlers in village, who themselves constituted a community overly affected by the Islamic culture, a little reservation entered amongst us with respect to women. On the other hand, those traditions were still alive here and there among the Burcen. When I would catch up up with Urqiye, she would behave as if she was addressing the horse underneath her, recite the song "Kara Yurga" taken from old dastans "It would neither have the rider lady kissed nor have her embraced." (*) In this poem, the word "bikec," referencing "daughter of the Bey" was used in the same meaning as "mademoiselle." But, the Kackinbay would pronounce it as "Bikecni," instead of "bekesti" as it would be among the Bashkurts. Probably, the popular poetry they recited, called "quba yir" was under the influence of the Nogay dialect. I only realized that later. During those chases, I sometimes caught up with Urqiye, grabbing hold of her wrist, but would not kiss her. Because, among our generation, it was not done. The elders would laugh and say teasingly that they used to kiss, therefore so should I. At times Urqiye would catch up and whip me. Then, "Ak Gelin" whould shout "tear away the skin of this Tatar." Because, according to Tatars we were Bashkurt, to the Burcen, Tatars.

Among the family of the Kackinbay, the best of kimiz was drunk {during summer}, and the honey wine was consumed in the fall, after moving to the Alagoyan tamagi kislak, known simply as "Idhma," where the Alagoyan river met Ak Edil river, and very lively dances was performed. The namaz would never be abandoned, even when drunk. It was not conceivable to find anyone not observing the fast during the Ramadan. My love of dastans, national games and races were inculcated by my elder uncle Veli Molla and this Kackinbay. Ibrahim's mother, who was as capable as a man, and his wife were literate, being the daughters of Mollas.

My Other Friends

During my youth, my most intimate friends were my nephew Nur Muhammed of our village; Aziz, the son of an Imam from the neighboring Makar village; and, Emir Qaramis (Karamishev), son of the Russian primary schoolteacher Muftaeddin. Nur Muhammed did not continue with his education. He and I together would undertake forestry business, look after the cattle, hunt, and when the winter set in, go hunting rabbits on skis. Aziz, who also had authored some works, was a very intelligent and poetic young man, studying simultaneously in the medrese of the Troitsk seyh and the Russian school. He was studying in the medrese of the Troitsk seyh along with Mecid Gafuri, who had later become famous. Both would go out to the Kazakhs during the summer as teachers, returning in the fall, and stop to see Aziz on their way to their villages. Though Aziz had a greater poetic talent than Mecid, he perhaps did not have a published work. On the other hand, two small poetry collections of Mecid were published. I met with this lame poet (probably during 1907), before he and Aziz had visited us [which they did] several times later on. Both would recite their own poetry, my father and mother would greatly enjoy that. At that time, Mecid had read his poems with the content "Bashkurt used to live in independent communities along the banks of Idil and Dim rivers, foreigners arrived and enslaved them," which was later published.

Mecid was my senior, probably by eight or nine years, and Aziz, I think, by five. On the other hand, Emir was my junior by two years. Despite that, he had facilty in poetry and recited the verses of Mecid and Aziz from memory. Later on, Emir embarked on a Russian education and studied in a military school; [and] finally, among the military units which we had established in cooperation with him, he became the commander of the first cavalry regiment during the 1917 national movement, before commanding a division.

Members of the Karamisev family, to which Emir belonged, comprised educated individuals. They held officer rank in the Bashkurt army of the 18th 19th centuries, and occupied the post of "kanton (banner) chief," also serving with my maternal great uncles, as mentioned above, under the command and administration of Major Yusuf. They had abandoned nomadic life, but their village civil affairs were regulated. Their homes were whitewashed, surrounded with gardens, containing fruit {trees}, especially apple. Major Yusuf had published, in Russian, works pertaining to the statistics of the Syr Darya village life and the social life of Kazakhs. Among the members {of this family}, the one closest to our family, and to that of Kackinbay, was one aged and wealthy individual named Omer Haci. In the past, when Baskurdistan was autonomous, he had served as the chief of kanton, had seen Turkey and Hejaz. He was the closest friend of Zeynullah Isan of Troitsk. One member of this Karamisev, named Ahmed, had gone to Germany many years with his mares and wife, to make kimiz for a member of the Emperor's family. Consequently, he had learned some German. He would speak to us about the beauty of Germany, show photographs, meaning he would conduct German propaganda. But we best liked Karamisev's father, the Russian teacher Miftah. Later, many of them had taken positions by my side, in the military and civil administration, during the Baskurdistan independence movement. My other close friends were Bekbulat Hazret, Nuri Muezzin and Osman Haci Ilyasoglu families from the villages of Sayran and Arlar, to the south of us. They had performed various duties during our national movement after 1917. One such person was Abdullah Kanton Ilyasov, whose name shall be encountered again.

My Father's Troitsk Trips

The imece (ume) [community work], my father would organize at the end of {each} July, to harvest grass of the pastures at Iraman, was a delightful affair. The majority of the villages of our tribe's "Elciktemir" branch would attend, many animals would be slaughtered. This had the character of our family festival. When this was complete, my father would leave to see his friends and seyhs. This trip would be terminated with his visit of Seyh Zeynullah in Troitsk, who was his pir. On the way, there would be banquets, at their yaylaks, with his friends and sheys belonging to the urugs of Karagay, Kipchak, Burcen. There learned, religious, even political matters would be discussed. On the way back, my father would stopover at the villages of Mehdi and Emin, there visiting with his friends among the Muslim Kazakh tribes of Tungevir, Tungatar, Tamyan and Katay, who considered themselves to be descendants of the Chora Batir of the dastan fame. This trip would last a month and a half. I joined three such trips, which were repeated every year, mainly to look after the horse and the carriage. Each trip had contributed positively to my intellectual development. The 1904 trip coincided with the Russo Japanese war, the 1905 with the Russian revolution, and the 1906 had taken place at the time of the Russian "Duma" struggles. I did not at all like mysticism. I despised those seyhs I considered hypocrites, though I respected the individuals I regarded to be models of sincerity, ethics, virtuousness, including Mollakay Abdullah Hazret, Kulbakti Abdulhannan Hazret and my father's pir Zeynullah Hazret of Troitsk.

I was learning valuable lessons from the above mentioned three seyhs. For instance, during 1906, Zeynullah Isan had treated me very kindly. Despite my young age, he asked me various questions, listening attentively to the answers I provided and favored me with words of an explanatory nature. Possibly he was testing me. One morning, during the tea gathering, he again asked me questions, and I answered them to the best of my knowledge. Then, in front of everybody, saying: "Son, take this, you may buy something," presented me with a gold ten lira. I purchased with this money, from the Tatar bookshop a book named "Hizmet," by Gazali on theological criticism, publications pertaining to Islamic social and philosophical matters printed in Egypt and Istanbul, books on astronomy and physics, Arabic translations of Tolstoy's "Kreuserovo Sonato" and some Russian novels, "Mulkaleme i Franseviye" in Turkish, to learn French; and also, from a Russian bookstore, Tolstoy's work "Years of Hunger," which chronicles the hunger reigning in our country in 1891, when I was born.

A few days later, the seyh inquired how I spent my money. I detailed what I had purchased one by one. He approved, telling me that since I knew Russian, it would now be very good for me to learn French. He was also pleased with my choice of books on astronomy and physics. Especially when I told him of Tolstoy's book on the years of hunger, he told me that I had bought a good book. It transpired that the seyh had given me the money to try me. During later assemblies, he again asked me which ones I had read and what they contained. When I related that I had purchased Gazali's "al Munqidh an al dalal," meaning "Prevention from taking the wrong paths," he said "you cannot understand that yet." I responded "I bought these type of books to read after I further improved my Arabic," upon which he patted me on the back and gave me more money. Reportedly the seyh had mentioned in other gatherings, that though I was only fifteen years of age I had acted with prudence in my selection of books. When I heard that, I was certainly puffed up. As he was held in very high esteem among our circles, his positive words had greatly encouraged me. If it had not been for such encouragement, my life could have turned to directions other than scholarship. As the poet Tokay of Kazan had pointed out "What has not happened to this humble servant, except my people had patted me on the head, giving me the desire to rise." (*) If it had not been for the patting of this seyh, I could have become an employee (prikazchik) in a commercial enterprise at the age of fifteen.

Our Contacts With The Kazakhs and The Siberian (Tumen) Tatars
These trips were providing us with contacts not only in the Middle and Eastern Bashkurt domains, but even with the Kazakhs. This had great advantages later, during the organization of the 1917 1918 Baskurdistan National Movement. The tsarist government, with the aim of inserting a Russian province between Baskurdistan and the Kazakhs, vilolently seized millions of hectares of Kazakh lands, driving away the Kazakh Turks from there. But in 1904 1905, they, especially the Kipchak tribe, were still living contiguous to the Bashkurt lands and continuing to raise cattle. Among them, we had visited two very wealthy families who were friends of my father, that of Nayza and Nurpey Haci, and had become their guests. Reportedly this Nurpey Haci was of my father's age, and later two of them went to pilgrimage together.

They were closer to the aforementioned Er Karagay region, further to the East of Troitsk. These Kipchak, during the 18th century rebellion, had protected the Bashkurt refugees. Nurpey Haci knew many dastans and was a great poet. I had taken down many poems from him. The Soviets mention an aged Kazakh poet named Nurfeyz Bayganin, propagandizing on their behalf. They even published some of his works. Later I learned by chance that this Bayganin was our Nurpey Haci. This person was very nationalistic and religious. The most complete version of the great dastan "Koblandi" is the one he recited. During these trips, I had met the sons of Musa Haci of Tipter Ahun village, Isa Ahun of the Tungatar Bashkurts and Abdullatif Hazret of Saqmaqus village in Tamyan. These were all educated individuals, and undertook important duties in government during the 1917 1918 national movement. Musa, son of Murtaza of Tamyan became the Commander of our Second Division.

In 1907, my father and my maternal uncle Habibneccar together took the train to Troitsk, travelling via Ufa and Cheliabinsk. I took them to the Devleken station, and saw the railroad for the first time at the age of fifteen. In the dark, the lanterns of the train appeared in the distance, growing brighter. Our horses were shying. Especially when the intense noise of the locomotive was heard, it was no longer possible to hold back the horses; the carriage was slammed against a wall. Only after we had left the houses behind, with the greatest difficulty, we were able to stop the horses. Since my father and my maternal uncle were in the carriage, we had a very narrow escape.

This time, on the way back from Troitsk, my father went to Nimetullah Haci at the Siberian town of Mancil, and had brought back two political books of Yadrintsev, the discoverer of the old Turk monuments of Orkhon, entitled "Siberia as a Colony," and "Condition of non Russian Nationalities in Siberia." When my father indicated that his son (meaning, I) knew Russian, Nimetullah Haci had presented him with these two works. This was a grand gift. I was translating articles, those I could understand, from these two books, to my father and maternal uncle. In these, the theories suggesting that the elements of non Russian nationalities are condemned to extinction were being refuted, defending their life and equal rights. Both of these works had an enormous influence on my political maturation. Reportedly, before my father, my great maternal uncle Veli Molla had also visited this Mancil village. Apparently, our ancestors had contacts with the Tumen Tatars of Western Siberia.

Mysticism of My Father

My father, as soon as he returned from his trip, said "Let us go to Fazkan." What we called Fazkan was one of the Kackinbay at the Alagoyanbasi village. "Fazkan" possibly means Fazlullah or "Fazil Han." He had the temperament of a sufi, and was an unconventional, generous, stouthearted man. Reportedly, he used to say "If 'Ahmetsah' were to receive 'isanlik' (meaning, attain the rank of 'seyh') from his seyh, I will be his first disciple." Now, this year, Seyh Zeynullah had given my father the rank of seyh, as well as the written certificate. But my father said "the {present} times are no longer the time of mysticism, those days are gone; when Isan (meaning seyh) made {elevated} me, I agreed, but I shall not accept anyone as 'disciple,' and will not allow anyone to address me as 'isan' but will accept Fazkan {as a disciple} because I had promised."

Fazkan was a peasant with some wealth. He was a student of Mollakay Hazret. He knew Persian and some Arabic. He was perhaps one hundred kilometers from us. We arrived at his place, I approached my father to help him dismount from his horse. There were sounds, even noises in the house but nobody came out. Finally somebody appeared. It was Fazkan himself, certainly drunk. He kissed my father's stirrup. He helped my father dismount, took him to the house. Inside of the house smelled of "bitter honey," in fact terribly so. My father said "Swines, you drank." In reality, they were merrymaking that day. Fazkan responded with: "When they heard of your arrival, the kurege (meaning, honey barrels) ran under urunduk (the sofa), and the guests out from the windows." A little later, we performed the afternoon namaz. Fazkan cried much. My father and Fazkan together recited aloud a verse of the Yesevis: "You appear to be a sufi, but you are yet to become a Muslim" and a poem of Mollagul's, becoming exuberant.

The meaning of these {latter} verses, causing one to lose his wits, the origins of which go back to Sems Tebrizi Mevlana as I once mentioned above, was as follows: "A drunk man is saluting you; the soul of this man, whose heart you stole, is serving you from afar. You know how to create out of nothing and to cause what exists not to be, listen to the greetings of this drunkard; he is a drunkard who has both of his hands caught in your trap. You are the taste of every lip, altar of every sect, the moon in the sky is standing guard around your house every night. (This beloved), at a glance, is giving you wings and you take flight; at another glance, it is the anchor of your ship, you are unable to move; one instant it is your morning, another, your evening. He is causing you to shiver one instant, at another, causing you to laugh heartily; at one glance you are enchanted, at another you become like lifeless glass, like a stone. It matters not, if I cannot become a body, then I shall become a soul, if not a jewel, than the blood of gems; dear heart, never fear that you shall acquire notoriety, you will attain good renown in this regard."

I was disraught that they had forgotten the world by falling into such a fanatically enraptured state. In order to prevent my father from further foolishness, I said "Father, shall I water the horses?" He responded with "Do so," and praised me on this occasion "Now, Ahmet Zeki has awakened us, being sober minded. It is not proper to fall into ecstasy. I like mysticism and its poetry but not fanaticism. Let us rise." However, that night, it is said that my father had accepted Fazkan as a disciple and vowed never to be a seyh {beyond that}.

The second day Fazkan had a mare skinned, invited the mollas of all neighboring villages and gave an excellent banquet. This feast was given to immortalize the boundless friendship the Kackinbayogullari had towards us, continuing for many generations. I spent the night with Ibrahim Kackinbay, and we passed the time drinking honey. My father knew that, but did not come near us in order not to see.

Kackinbay had very close relations with the Kipchak urug of the Kazakhs. As before, Ibrahim again at length recited to me the poems of Kazakh poet Seydali, and the "Kizcibek" dastan. Because, his late father was close friends with the family of the Kazakh author Saydalin (Saeydalioglu), living in Troitsk. Ibrahim knew well his translations from Puskin's poetry. Ibrahim showed me such friendship on that occasion, I never forgot the occasion in my life, as well as "Fazkan's discipleship festivities."

On his part, reportedly, Fazkan would proudly say "Molla became a seyh, did not accept anyone as disciple except me." He was a strange person like Mollagul. He was a good conversationalist. He knew many poems and dastans. Though he occasionally drank to the extreme, he never gave up namaz. Towards the God whom he dearly loved, he was as fearless as the Anatolian dervish, who, addressing his God with "O Lord, are you drunk?" upon spilling his carafe of wine.

One day, my father had gone to visit a friend at another village. I stayed with Fazkan perhaps for a week. One hot August [day] in late afternoon, Fazkan returned home exhausted from pitching cut grass. I asked him if he had not forgotten the afternoon namaz. He responded with: "The afternoon namaz does not matter; if you have other business, you slam it against the 'kerte' (wall) and go on. God will wait, but the dried grass will not. You can make it up to God, but not to the grass. I know that better than God." My father, who had accepted Fazkan as his only disciple, knew of his curses of this nature. He said: "Fazkan had lost his front teeth in the war with the 'zemlamer' (Russian agricultural engineers). He only does good to the Muslims. God will forgive his occasional curses. He is the most sincere Muslim among my contemporaries. He is one of the most loved servants of God." Thus, this was my fathers's understanding of sufism and Islam. Nevertheless, it is reported that Fazkan did not drink after that date. My father said: "The only benefit of my becoming a seyh appears to be preventing Fazkan from drinking," laughing heartily. What strength and power my father's laughter possessed.

Our Life During The Fall

During the fall, I would be busy not only in the bee fields at the village, but also at the "suluk" hives at the mountains, collecting honey. We used to perform that task accompanied by my friend Mehmet Kafi of Qulgun village and at Burcen with Ibrahim Kackinbay. During the fall, at home, I also would work on physics. I had acquired physics apparatus during Troitsk trips. A room in my father's medrese ostensibly served as my "laboratory." An elder friend, Aziz, from the Makar village, whose name mentioned earlier, was helping me. I was working on electricity generation and telegraph. I was operating Morse between our house and the medrese.

During spring of 1907 I had ordered a globus by post, collect on delivery, from Ufa or Troitsk. It became necessary to go to Isterlitamak post office to take possession, thirty five kilometers from us. I had saddled a horse and undertook the trip without my father's knowledge. I was instructing the medrese students in astronomy. I had written those lessons in the form of questions and answers, taking place between two individuals named Ahmed {Togan's first given name} and Said. I had benefited from Flamarion and also from the work of a Syrian scholar named Huseyin al Cisr. These were new topics in our country, and were of interest to the students. This was my first scholarly work. My father disliked these lessons, because, as I had mentioned, he did not believe in the movement of the earth. I had constructed a larger globus. I was showing the students the rotation of the earth around the sun, using a lamp in the dark. When constructing this sphere, I had used dough instead of glue. Because of that, mice had eaten it during the summer, as I had left it in my room at the medrese, causing my labors to be wasted. My father was pleased with that {outcome}, quietly laughing, stated that even the mice did not believe in the rotation of the earth. In addition to the Russian books on physics, I also had their Turkish versions printed in Istanbul. I had purchased them in Troitsk.

I had mentioned several times that I enjoyed apiculture. I used to apply to our bees whatever I learned from books on the topic, and a Russian language periodical entitled "pchelovodstvo" (beekeeping). Upon the arrival of fall, I would personally place the hives in their winter sheds. These bees would never touch {sting} me, regarding me their friend.

One of the occupations of the fall was to take to Isterlitamak those animals I raised for sale within our herds, and to prepare winter meats at home. Probably the most pleasant task of the fall was this meat butchering and preparation for the winter. This was called "sogum." Plenty of sausage (qazi) would be made. In connection with this occasion, many reciprocal banquets would be held.

Much honey wine would be made in the village from the honey produced. Some Bashkurt imam would also drink this wine, supposedly in conformance to Islam. I had earlier spoke of an imam among our relatives, Ehil Molla. He would collect honey as "osur" {tithe} from the population, drinking all. The congregation performing namaz in his leadership was just like him, and they liked Ehil Molla better than my father. The behavior of our imam was in conformity with the views held by Alishir Navai and the Kazakh poet Abay. In his time, it is said that much wine was consumed during "sogum" days. Alishir states: "you must add splendor to your gathering with wine, from sunset until yellow dawn. Forget neither God, nor forsake wine; for God is great, he shall forgive you in the morrow." (*)

Summing up, in the fall, I would not return to the medrese before collecting the "suluk" honey with my own hands, placing the beehives into their winter quarters, going hunting with rifle and falcon during the early snows, hunting ruffled grouse, pheasant (qirgavul), and rabbit with my friends. Our animals would never return to the village and their pens before the snow cover deepened. They liked "tebin," meaning digging the snow with their hooves to {get at, and} eat the grass. Upon spotting us from afar, they would run away. In order to find these rebellious animals in the forest during deepening snow, skis would be used. In any case, when the snow cover thickened, they would go to the grass piles {prepared for them in summer} called "keben" in the forest. But, those among them keeping to the tebin tradition ardently, perhaps left from the times when our ancestors were living in the East of the Urals, would attempt to run away when we wished to round them up at the grass piles. Nonetheless, we would catch them, and bring them to their senses by administering an appropriate beating. Just like our Bashkurts beating the women they love, to bring them to reason.


Influences On Me Of Arif Bey Of Turkey, An American, Murad Remzi And The Arab Philosopher Maarri

Owing to the special care of my maternal uncle, I had learned quite a bit at útek by the time I reached eighteen years of age. My maternal uncle was a scholar who loved history, having read one of the primary sources of the Islamic history, Ibn ul Esir, from beginning to end, had translated portions of it into Turkish and published. He had also read from the Turkish the Cevdet Pasa Tarihi, and almost memorized it. He knew the Russo Turkish war of 1877 with al of its details. In fact, he had obtained a work pertinent to that war by a Russian by the name of Griaznov and would have me read it occasionally. Among those Turks, whose names mentioned before, he had me repeatedly read Mehmet Akif Bey's "Basimiza Gelenler," concerning this conflict. I had read this work while we were under the impressions caused by the defeat of Russians by the Japanese. I treated the words contained in a letter appended at the end of this work, written by an American addressing the Khedive of Egypt, containing the words "How can you, a population of seven million people, tolerate the yoke of two three thousand English? You do not possess patriotism. You are logs clad with clothes" as an admonition to all Russian Moslems.

On one hand, the works of the aforementioned Iadrintsev, and on the other, the book by Mehmet Arif Bey had greatly influenced me. A scholar of our country, by the name of Murad Remzi, was living in Hejaz. This person was a friend of my father and that of my maternal uncle. He had been a guest of ours during the summer months. He had written a two volume work on the history of the Kazan Turks and Russian Moslems. My maternal uncle had read many portions of this work while still in draft stage. It was published in Orenburg during the winter of 1907 1908. That winter my father had gone to pilgrimage, and, despite the fact that I had not yet completed my seventeenth year, had left his medrese to me and to a halife of his. I spent the entire winter reading this work, one thousand three hundred pages long, relating its contents to those students able to comprehend and especially to Ibrahim Kackinbay. It recounted the past of the Turks with great pride, and the Russian cruelties with great sorrow.

I had opened a library in a corner of my father's medrese, under the name of "People's Library." I collected money to buy books for it. I arranged for newspapers to be brought in. Some newspapers, as I had informed them, were sending their publications for free. In this manner, from Petersburg "Ulfet," and in Arabic "Et Telmiz;" from Kazan "Beyan ul Haq" and "Yulduz;" From Orenburg "Vaqit;" from Astrakhan "Edil;" from Baku "Irsad," and the journal "Fuyuzat" were arriving. My father was taking "Tercuman" from Crimea for some time. In addition, in Russian "Berjevie Vedemosti" newspaper and the "Niva" journal was coming. In our village, I and my paternal uncle Alikerrar Molla were reading those {latter?}. Since he had been a teacher among the Kazakhs for many years, he even used to mix Kazakh into his speech. He was raising my interest in Kazakh language and literature. Under his influence, I had ordered all of the Kazakh books and pamphlets printed in Kazan for our library. Essentially, my father had an affinity towards Kazakh due to old familial traditions. Though he himself had not lived among the Kazakhs, he had friends among them such as Nurfeyiz Haci and Nayza Bay. He had gone to pilgrimage with them.

For the purpose of obtaining books for our library, I established contacts with booksellers named "Sark" in Ors, and "Sredniaia Aziia" in Tashkent. The owner of "Sark" was an educated person named Ahmet Ishaki. His father Ishak Hazret was my father's friend. Possibly he had studied in Turkey. He would obtain and sell the "modern" publications printed in Turkey and Egypt. He was procuring even the Russian publications on Islam. This person aided me greatly. He was circulating regular catalogs and informing me of new items by letter. Through him, I had brought in the journal "Malumat" from Istanbul.

Among the books I acquired from Tashkent were the Russian biographies of Kazak Sultan Kine Sari and his son Siddik Sultan, who had rebelled against Russia, the memoires of the Afghan Emir Abdurrahman Han, and the Kashgar Travelogue of general Kuropatkin. There were Persian originals and the Russian translations of the Abdurrahman Han's memoires. Kuropatkin, while he was the Russian ambassador to Yakub Bey in Kasgar, had a Bashkurt officer in his entourage by the name of Suyergulov, from a prominent family we also knew. From this aspect, it was of interest to me. This book also included some writings by Suyergulov. Through this means, I had become familiar with Kasghar environs.

The memoires of Emir Abdurrahman Han contained a lively history of his struggles for the independence of his people; but since I read this work while comparing it to its Russian translation, it was useful in learning both languages. I knew the "Kine Sari" and "Nevruzbay" dastans printed in Kazan. Murad Remzi also had included in his history the undulating life story of Siddik Sultan, son of Kine Sari, which had also become a dastan topic. Because, as Murad Remzi had served as a teacher for years next to Siddik Sultan and his brother Ahmet Sultan, he had written of them with high praises in his book. When Murad Efendi was our guest, he had also provided me with information not included in his book. Kine Sari and Siddik Tore were brave men who had struggled for the independence of our people. My paternal uncle Alikerrar, whose name had been mentioned, had taught me poems about them. For example, I would never forget the following piece:

"We attacked the enemy like a storming snow/ With the cries of Abilay, Abilay! (asking help from his spirit) we let our horses run, encircled them {the enemy}, crushing/ If God is not in your heart, where could your soul rest?/ If you do not have a State you can behold with your eyes, how could your mind be at peace?" (*)

Alikerrar would not only teach me those, but have me memorize them.

Among the books I secured for the "People's Library," there was also the one by the Han of Khiva, "Secere i Turk," printed in Petersburg. Imam of Sayran, Bekbulat, and my father's assistant Kessaf Hazret, who had studied in Bukhara, would always read books in this library. While Murad Remzi and Kine Sari were inculcating to us the idea of freedom from Russian imprisonment, Arif Bey and Emir Abdurrahman were suggesting that our national question could take its place among the issues of the world. Emir Abdurrahman was a man of our times, may of his words acted as a sav administered to our wounds. When the English mixed in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, he had gone to Khiva via Iran, and liked its Han and people. From there, he had gone to Bukhara, did neither like its Han, nor its people. Thinking that the Russians, who had occupied Samarkand, would come to terms with the English, he had arrived in Samarkand with his retinue. At first, Russians had received him well, but upon hearing his sympathy towards the Kazakh Sultan Siddik Tore, and Cure Bek of the Ozbek Kinegis urug, who were protecting the independence of Turkistan, the Russians had taken him in the middle of the night, ostensibly for consultations, to Tashkent.

Upon realizing that no good would come of the Russians, with the hope of acting alone, trusting that the Russians would act af if they did not see, he had returned to his country through Maca mountains, Hisan and Badakhshan. With the aid of native Katagan and other Ozbeks, he had liberated Balkh, later Kabul, had reestablished today's Afghanistan. As he had independent ideas and reformist posture, he had set up some factories, printing presses, introduced western style medicine, western type uniforms, followed the world politics from afar, with attention and devotion.

Though he had crossed over to the Russian side as an enemy of the English in the beginning, he had returned to his country as an enemy of the Russians. According to him, the Asians would in the end realize that the Russians were expanding by killing and swallowing the Asian nations. Though he did not like the policies of the English, he believed that the only salvation for the Asian nations lay in their joining {cooperation?} with the Western nations. My maternal uncle and my father, reading the newspaper of Mustafa Kamil of Egypt after the Russian revolution, had formed a negative idea about the English. English were considered a deceitful people. From that perspective, my maternal uncle {and my father?} did not like Abdurrahman Han's inclination toward the English. According to him and my father, it was necessary for the Turks and the Asian people to follow an independent path. All their hopes were in Japan, and because of that they attached importance to the news that the Japanese Emperor, in 1907, was searching for a religion, inclining towards Islam, and a Turkish delegation was sent there. My father did not care too much about my working on Pushkin and Iadrintsev's books. Despite that, he would have me read and listen to my translations from those passages from Pushkin's Pughachov Rebellion touching upon the Bashkurt, and from Iadrintsev, those complimentary words about the Altaians and the Kazakhs. He would state that, as there were individuals among the English siding with the Afghans and the Egyptians, perhaps among the Russians the likes of Iadrintsev would proliferate and that would benefit us; reciting an Arab aphorism, probably from Gazzali "Moanings and cries touching the nerves of the child of the cruel comes to the aid of the oppressed" and would pray for Iadrintsev.

The newspapers, journals and books I had obtained for the "People's Library" during the years 1906 1908, and the discussions at the side of my father and maternal uncle, even though I was sixteen years of age, had given me a sort of "weltenschaung." As a result of that, I wanted to improve my knowledge via Russian. I had set myself the aim of attending Russian teachers' school (uchitel'skaia shkola), to compare the historical information I had learned from Islamic sources against the information provided in the Russian sources. This idea was inculcated in me especially by Murad Remzi. I had mentioned that he had my father and maternal uncle read certain portions of his book while being printed during those years. He wished that I would learn Russian history, especially that of Soloviev histories he was unable to utilize. He had especially liked the works of Iadrintsev.

That winter (1907 1908), I gave some lessons at my father's medrese, on Arabic language and on the life of the Prophet, from an Arabic language work entitled "Nur al yakin." The affection I had, in truth received from my maternal uncle, towards Arabic literature was not allowing me to attend solely to {studying} Russian. My reading of Musa Carullah Efendi's works was especially increasing my affinity towards Arabic literature. That year, Ahmed Ishaki published {Carullah's} book analyzing the philosophical ideas contained in the Arab poet and philosopher Abu'l Ala al Maarri's "Al Luzumiyat."

I considered that work a masterpiece of the Arabic literature, charmed by his ideas and especially by his liberal thoughts on religion. But, Musa Carullah had published the portion of this work only up to the letter D. Through Ahmet Ishaki, I had obtained a copy of {Maarri's original of} this book, lithographed in India, containing marginal commentaries. When I could not completely understand this work, requiring commentaries and explanations, my desire to better learn Arabic language was further increased. Since I was {naturally} disposed to overcoming difficulties, Maarri's statement "the fact that treasures and truths being carefully hidden increases my determination to seek and solve them" altogether captured my mind. I especially liked his following words about religion: "every religion contains superstitions; can you essentially point to a single people, privileged to arrive at the truth?"

If I Were To Leave My Environment To Study At Far Away Locations, Where Should I Go And What Sould I Study

Niyaz Maksudov, who later became an imam in New York and died there in 1956, was at the time studying in the Beirut American College. He was inviting me to go there. I thought that, if I were not to stay in Russia, leave and go as far away as Beirut, I could descend into the depths of Arabic literature while learning English. On his return from the pilgrimage my father had brought back, from Arab lands and Istanbul, works that were very important to me. By Spring, the thought that I would no longer be contained in Kuzen and útek villages had taken hold in my mind. I had decided to go somewhere and continue with my education on a larger scale. On the other hand, my father wished to name me his successor as the imam in the mosque and the muderris of his medrese. According to his thoughts, since I knew Russian, I would be of value to our nation as an imam who had the {appropriate} knowledge to be involved in "zemstvo" (township or provincial council) matters, or even a member of the Duma. With this aim, he wished to have me get married immediately. In fact, he and his friend Haci Mehmet Yahsimbertov, from the East of the Urals, had agreed that his daughter Nefise to be married to me. But now, they wished me to marry the daughter, whom I had heard to be beaituful but had not yet seen, of Abdurrahman, a wealthy Bashkurt of Katay urug of the Mirzakay village. Actually, they had even bought trousseau and such. This was influenced by a very close friend of my father, Sabir Hazret, the imam of Mirzakay.

But when my mother stated that they would not force me to marry against my will, [I realized that] they [sic] suspected that I had intentions of going away for education. My mother, Nur Muhammed and Aziz were agreeing with me [on continuing with my education] on this particular point. Upon my return from útek during Spring, my father's friend Sahserif Metinov, who was a member of the Duma (Russian Parliament), had arrived. In my father's presence, he encouraged me to continue my Russian education, stating "what would be the outcome of becoming a teacher?" This person, knowing good Russian, presented [me] with the works of Prof. Hrushevsky on the Ukrainian autonomy movement and those of Prof. Maxim Kovalevskii on international law. With that [gesture], this person wished to draw me into his field, politics.

In May, I went to Alagoyanbasi, to Ibrahim's. One day, we were leaning against two pine trees close to one another, in front of the summer huts called alacik. I told him my secrets entire. I detailed how Niyaz Maksudov was inviting me to Beirut, and how Dr. Zeynep Abdurrahmanova and Sahserif Metinov were encouraging me to stay in Russia to continue with my higher education. He [Ibrahim] feared that if I entered the Russian environment, I would be lost to him and insistently advocated that I marry the daughter of Haci Muhammed [sic, Mehmet?] immediately. He stated that he would persuade my father in that direction. His wife, "Ak-gelin," was listening to us while boiling "qurut" (cheese). To her husband, she said "would it be right to hinder someone who wishes to continue with [his] education?" And I said "God Bless you." If my mother, Ibrahim, Nur Muhammed and Aziz insisted [in unison], I was going to agree to be married. If my mother did not give her consent, the thought of going to far away lands would be removed. Although there had been times when my father was cross with me, until that day in my life, I had never injured my mother's feelings. This intervention of Ak-gelin had caused my life to enter into a major turning point. Because Ibrahim was able to exert influence on my father. I had decided to leave in the direction of Orenburg, before the end of June.

Though I liked the milieu of my village, Kuzen, along with the yayla of Aliekber, Alagoyanbasi, Ak-biyik, I was belittling it since I considered [this area] to be very undeveloped in material culture. But, I could only later understand that the Russian authors Tolstoy and Aksakov were correct in idealizing the Bashkurt life philosophy. The stratum comprising the spiritual leaders of this milieu had introduced me to the Turk, Arab and Persian cultures, also to the Western and Eastern thinkers, and had provided me with the ethical values and a political ideal, which I did not at all feel the need to alter later.

YEARS OF 1908 - 1916


My Going To Orenburg, Thence To Kazan --

My life betwen the years of eighteen and twenty six years of age was spent under great difficulties, studies, teaching and scholarly research, first in my homeland Bashkurt il and Kazan, later in travels between Ferghana and Petersburg-Bukhara, research and gradually opening [in?] to a relatively large[r] milieu. I entered into this [new] milieu by degrees, by leaving our vilage on 29 June 1908. That day, when my father and mother were guests in another village, I left home on foot, without taking a single coin from the household, with a pack on my back containing a round loaf of bread, a loop of sausage, a chunk of dry cheese (kurut) and an amount of tea. I wrote a letter to my father stating "I am determined to study, I cannot get married." I added an old Arabic aphorism to it with the content "he who marries before his time is like the rat tying a broom to its tail, [becoming] unable to fit into his hole." I asked them not to be offended, requesting that they pray [for me]. I did not inform anyone in the village. Though I had told my friend whom I liked very much, with whom I always used to go graze the horses at the pastures, spending the nighths huddling together, my nephew Nur Muhammed. But I had not let him know of the exact day. Our neighbor, the beautiful Miser girl Leylibedir, whom liked very much, was a talented student of my mother's. She and I had read together books on religion and ethics in Persian and Turkish. She used to come over to get water from our well. Just as I was about to leave, she showed up. I did not tell her in order not to cause her to cry. My brother Abrurrauf, who was the only one aware of this business, and I mounted a single horse, took the "Togiz-qir" mountain range route, against usual custom, to make use of the [extant] footpaths [there]. My brother was going to see me off for ten kilometers, and return. We dismounted and both of us cried much. Because, this was the beginning of my still continuing adventurous life. Abdurrauf also regarded this [event] just like Ibrahim Kackinbay, with trepidation. I left on foot, Abdurrauf remained behind, crying, watching until I disappeared from [his] sight. Since I was a youth recognized in all nearby villages, I bypassed the Sayran village on my route, following the rural paths. I encountered a Bashkurt from that last village, named Omer Kirav. "Where are you off to, on foot?" he asked. I told him that I was looking for a horse, and he responded with "this is not the 'tubek' (regular grazing pastures) of your horses." I indicated that I was looking for the horses of our guests. This person became suspicious. We said good-by and I continued with my journey. But, I thought that this man would inform my father of the place where he saw me. I did not wish my father to follow me by no means. I turned my path into an entirely new direction.

That day was what the Christians called "Troytsa" (Trinity), the "Little Easter" day festivities [SIC; Russian Orthodox Church customs and calendar?]. I arrived in the Russian vilage of Verxotor, exhausted. Russians say "Bez Troitsi dom ne stroitsia," meaning "Before Easter Day, house cannot be built." According to Russian creed, it was an auspicious day to start [new] undertakings. I danced with the Russian girls with the small bag on my back. I sang along peasant songs such as "v sadu li vogorode devushka guliala," which I had earlier heard from the Russians. The girls were hugging and kissing me, saying "Bashkirinuk" (little Bashkurt). I was saying to myself what sins I am committing, if it goes on like this, I shall be ruined. A young man tried to force me to drink vodka. When I declined, pouring out his glass, he spilled vodka on me. I cried at that. Because, though I drank honey since my childhood, let alone drinking vodka, I could not tolerate a drop of it touching my clothes, wine being "necis" (filthy) according to the Koran.

The Russian girls removed and hid my back-pack. I was of the opinion that they had wicked intentions. I was aking myself how would I be able to live among these unbelievers, away from my father and mother. Finally, they laid me down on the green grass, in a drunken state, next to a Bashkurt shepherd who was also drunk. Even though he was intoxicated, he had observed the preceeding events. He said "you know their language, you ara dancing with them, of course they will hide your bag, pour vodka on you. What are you crying for. Lie down and go to sleep." They had brought my bag and placed it next to my head. Next morning I left that place before sunrise.

Freedom Of Religion Festivities at Meleviz --

When I arrived at the town of Meleviz three days later, I learned from a Bashkurt teacher who had come to attend the Moslem festivities, that Omer Kirav had relayed to my father where he had seen me, that my father immediately mounted his horse to follow me, but encountered a wealthy friend of his named Kadi, at the village of Aznay, who was able to persuade my father to discontinue with his pursuit and intention of turning me back. I was relieved when I heard all this.

In this Meleviz, there were a group of Tatars who had been forcibly converted to Christianity by the Tsardom. These remained Moslem in their hearts. Taking advantage of the prevailing partial freedoms following the 1905 revolution, they had openly returned to Islam and constructed a large mosque. And now, there was the opening ceremonies of this mosque. On this occasion, imams from many a village, and prominent individuals from among the Tatars nd the Bashkurt were invited. Several hundred sheep, may oxen and cows were sacrificed. Many people brought kimiz from the surrounding villages. They had me sit [for the feast] with the Molla. While the news, as reported in the newspaper "Alem-i Islam," was being discussed to the fact that Islam was spreading among the Japanese in large degree, the conversation turned to whether the Japanese could still be considered Moslems even if they would not join one of the true [canonically recognized] sects. When I stated that there was a pure Islam above all sects, quoting by way of proof from the works of Ibn Teymiyye, ibn Qayyim al-Cavzi, I was subjected to the attacks of the fanatics. [On the other hand] there were others present who stated that the sect and tarika were detrimental to the Moslems, siding with me. Apparently my words had attracted the attention of a Tatar merchant by the name of Ilac (Ilaceddin) Bayezitov. He invited me to his home and those imams who appeared to have open minds towards the topics that were under discussion [at the earlier gathering]. It was understood that Ilac Aga wished to facilitate free and open talks among those competant on the topic. Very enjoyable discussions took place. Those molla present [at this second gathering] heard that I was intending to go to other countries for educational purposes. They advised me to go to Egypt in order for me to broaden my knowledge in Islamic topics. The fact that there was a merchant interested in the thought of Ibn Taymiye in this isolated corner of Bashkurt lands was at the time the positive manifestation of the developing national cultural movement among the Bashkurt and the Tatar. This person also gave me money, four - five liras.

The Konakbay Beauty --

I left Meleviz on foot. I avoided the main road, as a precaution against [the possibility of] my father following me. Even at night, I slept among the wheat. In this manner I stopped at an "alacik," meaning a summer house, near the small village of Konakbay. I was going to eat there, but they were very poor. The adults were not at home, so a sister and a brother, ages twelve and fourteen boiled some water for me. I had tea with bread. Both of them were of extraordinarily beautiful creations. It was indicated that a beggar had died, and they were going to make a quilt out of his dirty, torn "çapan" (overcoat). O Lord, I said [to myself], how destitute these people are, how can they subsist. However, I was truly captivated by their beauty. I gave them [all] the bread, cheese and sausage I had in my bag. I kept asking myself what beauty is this and, in turn, what destitution. Celaleddin Rumi had a poem reflecting this strange contrast seen in the life of the Turks: "blacker and poorer the felt tent, the more the Turk beauty in it will shine like the [full] moon." They had one goat, which they milked to drink. But among the Bashkurt, generosity sometimes goes too far. If, for example, a highly esteemed friend or an "isan" seyh, to whom the father of these siblings regarded himself as the "murid," then he [father] would not hesitate to kill and serve this goat, which has been providing his family's daily sustenance, to the visitor.

I thought to myself I would marry this girl if I were not going away for education. When her brother left the alaçik, to change the goat's grazing place some distance in the vicinity of the alaçik, I wondered if I should kiss this girl, but I was hesitant to put this thought into action. When she affectionately asked me if I would come back [to visit] next year, I explained to her that I was on my way to far away places for education. In response, she gave me an amount of white string and a needle, saying "as you are going on a long journey, perhaps this will be of use." Possibly this was a tradition, or even a good omen.

[After leaving their place] I became a guest to a friend of my father's, named Nebi Haci, a wealthy man of the Musa village, [located] somewhat away from the road. He was a very fat man. He stated that even if my father would arrive looking for me, he would not surrender me, but instead let me escape. He indicated that he, too, did not wish me to remain stuck in the village surroundings, even had told that to my father, suggesting to him that I should be given educational opportunities. Next day, while I was leaving, he provided a carriage to take me to the Kargali village. In addition, he gave me some travel money. He further began giving me fabric [sufficient] for a suit of clothes, suggesting that I would have it tailored in Orenburg. [In response] I told him of the needy state of the family living in the alaçik near Konakbay and I asked him to send two quilts to them as if a present from me, instead of the fabric he intended to give me.

After I left the Haci, in his carriage, my mind was occupied with that girl named Züleyha and her brother. I was telling to myself that it is a good thing that I did not take advantage of the circumstances and kiss her, for, in our village, there was no such tradition, and probably the thought [of kissing] was placed in my mind by the novels I had read.

Time marched on. During 1913, when I was on my way from Orenburg to Isterlitamak, riding post horses, I passed a location near the Konakbay village. I recalled a poem of Geothe's addressed to a girl named Züleyha, since I learned German during those years, as if it had been written for my Züleyha. I regarded Geothe's fetish in "Lass die Renegatenburde, mich in deinem Kuss verschmerzen/ Denn ein Fitzliputzli wurde Talisman an deinem Herzen" perhaps corresponding to the white string and the needle given to me by my Züleyha. I asked a [resident of] Konakbay, whom I saw at the post station, the news of Züleyha and her brother living in the alaçik near the village, indicating I had earlier met them. He told me that both were now married and their first offspring were born, adding that a poor student had once became their guest, later sent two quilts [to them]. He asked me if I was that person. When I responded, without mentioning [my] infatuation [with her] "they were very poor, I had sent them that present via Nebi Haci," this man said "but it was said that you were a poor student. We referred to that girl as 'Züleyha Huluv [sweet].'

My Arrival In Orenburg And The Students Of Hüseyniye --

As I had very little money, I was spending it only on food. With the permission of its muezzin, I was sleeping at a corner, resembling a room, of the "grass market" mosque. I was rising for the morning namaz, going to sleep after the yatsi namaz. I got very dirty. I bought soap and went to the Sakmar river to wash my clothes. But while washing them, the river carried away my single shirt. Though I had another, I had not brought it with me [to the riverside]. While attempting to catch it, I was caught in the whirlpool of the river. I was a goner. But the vein of a tree extending into the water saved me. Grasping it, I emerged and got out. The currents had dragged me quite a distance. Though the underwear was lost, I thanked God, I was saved. As I was approaching my clothes on the bank, some students came over running, who told me that they were studying at the Huseyniye Medrese. They were living here [I was informed], called "roshcha," meaning resort, during their summer holidays, and had seen me caught in the whirlpool. A Bashkurt youth among them, whose name I later discovered to be Bektemir, with whom I stayed friends for a long time in our lives, until his death, approached me and told me to give thanks to God for saving my life. And I said "yes, God punished me for throwing myself into the water without knowing well how to swim, but had mercy on me and extended the vein of a tree at my hour of death." He said "do not worry, I shall teach you how to swim."

He took me to the barracks where they were staying, noticing that I was left without a shirt, gave me a clean one [of his]. We ate with them. Some of his friends, among them Kavi, the brother of Abdullah Battal, were of the type, in today's terminology "rebellious youth," in that day's expression "dehri [materialistic, atheist]." I became friends with them after this incident. They were laughing at my outfit. Because, I only had Bashkurt village clothes on me. On my head [there was] a "kirpuvli bork" and "takiya," on my back gowns termed "bismet" and "yilen," on my feet, shoes called "çetik" and "kata." The spare shirt I brought from the village was of the Bashkurt style referred to as "kirbavli'" and [underneath the gowns] I was wearing "uçkurlu"cotton [long] underwear, without trousers. One day, one of these mischievous younsters, while we were among his friends, pulled the cord of my underwear, called "usqur" [to cause my underwear to fall down]. He almost disgraced me. Everybody laughed. They told me not to wear these [clothes] here any longer. Bektemir gave a [pair of] trousers sewn by the city tailors. This was the first "European type" summer trousers I had worn in my life. Among us, trousers are worn only during winter. Due to my outfit, these [students] were much deriding me and regarding me a naive peasant. Among them, there were those who knew some Russian, and speaking of socialism. Upon discovering that I knew Arabic and Persian well, and much better Russin than themselves, they were astonished. "Al-Luzumiyat" of Abu'l-Ala Maarri, Russian scholar Iadrintsev's "Polozhenie inorodtsev Sibirii" and "Pendname" of Attar were the only books I had brought from home in my bag.

At a Russian bookstore, I found the Russian-Arabic dictionary of Arab Cezvi. As I had very little money, I went back and forth for three days in a row, deciding whether I should buy it. Finally, I bought it. This was a great blessing to me. Utilizing it, I would occasionally sit down and translate separate chapters from Iadrintsev's book into Tatar (Chaghatay), and read them to Bektemir. For example, I had translated "Reasons for the decline of the non-Russians and their talent for cultural life" and "Importance of nomadism on the history of humanity" as much as I could understand. Thanks to this [activity], my credit increased among the "rebellious youth." Bektemir was the son of a well off village imam. He gave me one of his own light overcoats. As a result of this, more and more, I began resembling a city dweller. Some of these students asked me to give them lessons in Arabic and Russian. I hesitated [and declined], on the grounds that my knowledge was not sufficient to teach others. They asked me to move in with them, but I did not see it fit to join these youths, some of whom were drinking and gambling. I left the mosque and moved into the home of a small merchant, a Mi_er Turk from our village. Bektemir taught me swimming very properly. We would go swimming in the Sakmar river, where there were no whirlpool and bathe every day. These students were asking me what I intended to do. I did not yet know, but I was stating that I would definitely obtain an education.

[My] Examination By Kemal Bay --

Just in those days, the revolution had taken place in Turkey. I used to go to the kiraathane [coffee house] operated by the Tatars and read the copies of "Sura-i Hummet" newspaper published by the Jeunne Turc in Paris. The Russian papers were also carrying detailed information pertaining to the revolution. This event, once again, drew me to the Turkish side. Upon recommendation of Musa Haci, I had made the acquaintance of a wealthy Tatar by the name of Kemal Bay Ubaydullin. He received my desire to go to Istanbul, Beirut and Egypt with interest. But, suddenly, he bagan to examine me according to his own knowledge. He asked "do you know the kirk farz?" Since I did not know any other farz than namaz, zekat, oruç and hac, I could not at all answer. Next, he asked me some of the prayers, I did not know them either. Because, my uncle had taught me some Arabic, stating that I would later easily learn the religious lessons, and no time was left for that. Since he was a liberal thinker, he only attached importance to the prayers that were farz [obligatory] and neglected to teach me those that were sunnet [Prophet's own habits]. Kemal Bay asked me those "sunnet." I was not able to answer well. Present also was the man looking after his business matters, his "upravliaiushchi." He, too, looked at me with disdain. He continued with "tell me, since you claim to know Arabic, in the Koran, there is a reference to the four animals made helal [canonically legitimate] to the Moslems; in one place it is stated that there were four pairs, in another, eight pairs." I responded "I understand the Koran partially, but I do not know "esbab-i nuzul" [reason of descent] or "ahkam" [judicial sentences, ordinances]. Later, Kemal Bay told me "before going to Istanbul and Egypt, there are plenty for you to learn here. Attend the Zahid Hazret Medrese, begin studying. I shall provide you with aid. But, I cannot help you to travel to Istanbul this year, since I have a large construction." Upon hearing all this, I recalled the words of Abu'l Ala al-Maarri, in one of his poems: "The poorest people on this earth are the rulers who need money to assemble large and powerful armies."

After leaving Kemal Bay, I felt anger within myself towards my maternal uncle. [and, as if addressing him] You taught me "Mutavval," "Nehc al-Balaga" books of syntax, literature, rhetoric of scholars such as Molla Cami, Teftazani; encouraged me to read histories such as Ibn Hallikan, but did not teach me fourty farz; caused me to bring shame upon myself. I related the incident to my friend Ibrahim Kaçkinbay in a detailed letter. Though Kemal Bay and his "upravliaiushchi" indicated that I could visit them occasionally and that they would help me, I did not go anywhere near them again until [the day] I left Orenburg. But Kemal Bay's scolding caused me to give up my thoughts of going to Egypt and Beirut environs. Because, according to him, what I had learned from my maternal uncle were nothing. And I said to myself, I would not busy myself with your fourty farz.

Rizaeddin Fahreddin --

That year, in Orenburg a literary journal entitled "Sura" began to be published under the direction of the great scholar Rizaeddin Fahreddin. This person, again during that year, had published a very good work on the life and philosophy of Abu'l Ala al-Maarri, whom I also admired very much. I had read that book while I was still at our village. I visited Rizaeddin Hazret, a very good friend of my fathger's. He received me as if I was an adult. He was residing in a single story house owned by the Remeyev [family], the publisher of the journal. We discussed many topics pertaining to history, literature and especially about Al-Maarri. Naturally, I could not tell him about the "Fourty farz" incident. I described my worries about education. It appeared that he knew some Russian. He showed me various history books and the Soloviev History. This, too, was a sort of examination. I told him that I was between two dilemmas, that of attending the Russian schools and going to Syria. He advised me to stay in the country. This person, during 1926, on his way to Pilgrimage, spent some time in Istanbul and was a guest in my house in Samatya [suburb]. He recalled our meeting in Orenburg, and that he had encouraged me to study in Russian, adding "It was very proper for you to stay in Russia, because, if you had gone to Syria, you would not have accomplished these undertakings that you have among the Eastern Turks, during those revolutionary years. Among our educated who have come to Turkey, other than Yusuf Akçora and Ahmed Agaoglu, none is discernible who had retained their personalities, leaving a trace in this milieu."

I also visited the poet Zakir Remeyev, at his home, who was one of the publishers of the "Sura" journal. I had visited this person, with my father, during our 1906 Troitsk trip, at the goldmines east of Irendik mountains, called "Sultan;" meaning, we were [already] acquainted. His poems were beautiful and he was versed in Chaghatay literature. When I had arrived in Orenburg, he had taken two lines from a work by Ali _hir Navai (originally, that poem was by the 14th century Altinordu poet Horezmi) "God, who had created a mole on the face of my beloved, also created her hair as long as her height," rearranging them into four lines, in a most beautiful manner, had decorated the front cover of the "Sura" journal. I stated that this piece had taken a more beautiful format in Zakir Bey's hands, and recited some other poems of Navai that I could recall. He was immediately recording those into his notebook. For example the one [which states] "A person cannot be happy away from home, nor any good can be found in the compassion of the strangers; Even if a red rose were to be grown in a golden cage, it is not as desirable to the nightingale as a thorn nest" was one I liked very much. Obviously, he knew that that poem was reflecting my circumstances. I explained to him that I would be going to Kazan, with the intention of entering Russian teachers school and he thought it reasonable. But I did not mention my financial condition. Nevertheless, he suggested that I go and see a writer at the "Vakit" newspaper office, by the name of Yarullah Veliyev. Next day, this [person] gave me fifty lira in the name of Zakir Bey.

Zakir Bey spoke very sincerely. He asked me where [how I was able to] I had read the works of Navai. In response, I told him that my father had a copy of his "Divan" and at Alagoyan, at the Kaçkinbay; and the printed copy of his "Hamse" at Sayran village, [at the hands of] Bekbulat Hazret. Apparently, Zakir Bey had not yet seen the "Hamse" and the "Divan" of Navai, only having read his "Muhakeme [Muhakemat al-Lugateyn]."

Astrakhan Trip and Abdurrahman Ömero_lu --

I left Orenburg aboard a freight train, to go to Astrakhan first, then to Kazan, with the monies given me by Nebio_lu Musa Hac_ and Zakir Remey Bey. Along the way, I disembarked at the city of Buzavlik, and met with an imam and author by the name of Aliasgar Ça_atay. This person, under the pretense of liberalism, had issued a work smearing the Prophet's wife Ay_e. From our talks, I saw that he took all he wrote on this topic from Russian missionary works, and he did not have any of the Islamic history sources in his home.

In Samara, I spoke with imam Fatih Murtazin who was publishing a journal entitled "Iktisat." He was an educated person. We had very sincere talks about our national life. He suggested to me that my simply studying economics or gaining admission into Russian teachers' school would not suffice, and that it would be better for me to seek ways to enter the university, and as I had reached the age of eighteen, it would be necessary for me to prepare for the [related entrance] exams privately. These suggestions were also made to me, [in the past] in our district, by Dr. Zeynep Abdurrahmanova and lawyer Sultanov. I was astonished to discover that Fatih hazret was of the same opinion.

I left that place, by boat, for Astrakhan. My only reason for travelling to that city was to speak with Abdurrahman Ömerov, who had just started to publish a new newspaper by the name of "Edil." This person, a Kara-Nogay Turk, had been a student of my maternal uncle at the Mercani medrese of Kazan. When I was little, once he had come to our village looking to visit his teacher. Together with my paternal uncle and my father, had roamed all of the region alongside upper Aq-Edil and Yayik, visited the places mentioned in the old Nogay dastans such as yaylaks of Eremel, _ikmamay and others. He was in continuous correspondence with my molla maternal uncle and my father. This person was living in a suburb of Astrakhan, called "Tirek." He made me a guest in his house, took me to see the Nogay villages in the vicinity. This person, too, was a lover of the old Turk dastans. He had works which he had prepared in that vein. He had published some [of them] in the form of pamphlets. His knowledge of Arabic language and literature was also excellent. He had translated into Turkish and published the Arabic syntax book called "Kafiye." I consulted him about my education [plans], but, as he knew of my talent in writing, suggested that I stay in Astrakhan as a writer and get married there. But, I indicated that I had the thought of going to Kazan and continue with my education, leaving by boat.

I left for Kazan, as a semi-stowaway, among the cargo of a boat. But, before arriving in Kazan, I thought of staying somewhere, to earn some money. After passing Saratov, [I] disembarked at a [boat] landing called Balakov and walked to the farm of a Russian named Prokhorov. I was wearing my winter clothes that I had made for me in Astrakhan, and I was carrying my books on my back. The distance [to the farm] turned out be thirty kilometers long. My feet swelled. I arrived at that farm in the afternoon, entered a tea house and wrote my mother and Ibrahim Kaçkinbay each a letter. I told them of the difficulties I was experiencing, adding that, since I had resolved to pursue education, I would withstand all. I did not have the courage to write my father, because I knew he was cross with me.

I worked at the threshing machine of that farm for fifteen days. On one hand, this [occupation] had the nature of an enjoyable entertainment for me. I had thought of staying there possibly for twenty five days, but the director (upravliaiushchi) of the farm became angry with me upon discovery of a defect in the threshing machine. I was very distressed. I asked that my wages [be paid to me] thinking "may no benefit be derived from earnings made under insult." When the director realized that he was in the wrong, he paid me for the sixteenth day as well. I returned to the Balakov landing on foot, to preserve my earnings. There, I had to wait for the [next] boat for one day. In the meantime, it transpired that a Kemelik Bashkurt by the name of Güzeyir was returning to his village with his carriage. I asked him whether he would take me along so that I may see the Kemelik region Bashkurt (meaning, the Bashkurt of the Kemelik river basin), because it is said that an ancestor of mine named Istogan had died there. He gladly took me along. We had arrived at a place called Solak, and to villages whose names I now cannot recall. During our 1917 Baskurdistan movement, many very valuable personages joined us from among these Kemelik Bashkurt. This trip of mine turned out to be of use for matters that were to take place nine years later. Next day, I again returned to the Balakov landing with someone who was going there. I could not catch the boat, it became necessary to wait for another. I took this opportunity to write my mother and to Ibrahim a long letter describing my labors at the Russian farm and my Kemelik trip. Though I never wrote poetry, I wrote this letter describing [that chapter] of my endeavors in rhyme. Later on, I learned that many acquaintances had read that letter and copied [by hand]. On the boat, I busied myself with translating Pushkin's work the Pugachev Rebellion.

Mercani And His Works --

As soon as arriving in Kazan, as he was my maternal uncle's master, I visited the medrese of Sehabettin Mercani and his son Burhan Molla. I spoke with the müderris Safi Hazret and the the other halifes in his medrese. Mercani certainly was the greatest Islamic scholar who emerged from among the Moslems of Russia during the last centuries. He was also known among the Russian Orientalists. He had attended their congresses. But, Safi Hazret, who was managing his medrese did not satisfy me. My relations with Kasim Hazret and his entourage was good. But I regarded the milieu of Mercani as mine, since my maternal uncle was trained there. I was reading, in the libraries of his son Burhan Molla and the elder of Kazan, Alimcan Barudi, the "Vefayat al aslaf" named as yet unpublished eight volume history by Mercani in Arabic. One volume of this work, constituting the introduction, was printed. Mercani had expressed many liberal thoughts in that "Mukaddime," matching Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldun. Mercani had devoted this great work of his, as he had mentioned in the Arabic summary of his "Muntahab al-Vakfiye," published during 1881, to the history of the Caliphs, biographies of Islamic scholars, and in the final volumes, he wrote about the Volga region, Turkistan and Ottoman scholars. As I had heard certain things about this great work ever since my childhood, it was a great pleasure reading it. Though we learn, from the publications of the Russian [sic] Academy of Sciences Kazan filial, that today this great work is in the Kazan university library, we again learn, from the publications of the same Russian Academy, that not even a Russian summary of this work is done, nor even an index of it is yet compiled. The numerous initiatives I had undertaken to bring a photocopy (film) of this work to Istanbul University, via Prof. Ali Muzaffer Bey, the Turkish ambassador to Moscow, did not yield a result. During 1908-1909 I had read this eight volume work from beginning to end, producing a one volume of summary in Turkish. In 1915, on the 100th anniversary of Mercani's birth, Archeological Society of Kazan University had produced a summary from that summary, which was, on that occasion, published in Russian. It is an astonishing fact that, among the Eastern Turks, no individual had emerged to read and prepare a concordance of this very important cultural historical source. Apparently, lately, from among the Kazan Tatars, no historian equipped with appropriate command of Arabic had emerged.

To be continued

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