Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ten Great Tatars

Shigabutdin Mardzhani (1818 -1889)

A scholar and religious leader, he laid the foundations for contemporary research into the Kazan Tatars and the history of the region. His major work, Reports on the History of Kazan and the Bulgar, remains a valuable source for contemporary historians.  One of the most significant figures in the history of the spiritual life and culture of the Tatars.  With an encyclopaedic knowledge, he was one of the greatest of the true, scholar historians, as well as a religious leader, populariser and teacher.  He laid the foundations for contemporary research into the history of the Kazan Tatars and of the Kazan region in general.  His work has been recognized both in the East and in Europe.
Mardzhani - "The historian's job is to investigate all the material at his disposal, without exaggeration or understatement, impartially and dispassionately."

Kayum Nasyri (1825 1902)

After the long period of severe cultural repression, Nasyri was one of the first Tatars to enroll at Kazan University.   As an educator, writer, teacher, and scholar Nasyri made a unique contribution to the study of the history and culture of the Tatar people.  He was one of the first Tatars to be accepted at Kazan university as a voluntary student.  Later he wrote text books for students on the Tatar language, arithmetic, geometry, botany and history, and created the first scientific grammar of the Tatar language and the first Tatar dictionary.  For the first time ever in 1871 he began the publication of annual Tatar calendars which included a good deal of material of general scientific interest.  Of Nasyri's other works, the following are perhaps the most significant: "Fruits of My Conversations on Literature", "On the Education of the Kazan Tatars: Their beliefs and Rituals", "A brief History of Russia".

Galimdzhan Barudi (1857 - 1921)

Barudi was a religious educator and reformer, who organized "Mukhammadiya," an important Kazan madrasa. In the early days of the Soviet Union he was the spiritual head of Russia's Muslims, elected mufti by the General Congress of Muslims in Moscow. He didn't live long enough to witness the destruction of the mosques, or the mass executions and exiles of the muftis.

Gabdulla Tukay (1886 - 1913)

The most popular of Tatar poets, he wrote lyrical and tragic poetry, satire, children's poems, and fairy tales. His fairy tales remain popular today and have inspired many pieces of music and paintings. He died in a hospital in Kazan at the age of twenty-seven.

Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev (1892 - 1940)

Sultan-Galiev was one of the leaders in building the nation states of the Soviet Union. He was a member of the board of Narkomnats, the state committee on questions of nationality, and also head of the Eastern Section of the Red Army Political Organization. He helped prepare the joint Tatar-Bashkir Republic, which was later replaced by two separate states. Deemed ideologically untrustworthy, he was first arrested in 1923. He survived another seventeen years before Stalin had him shot.

Baki Urmanche (1897 - 1990)

Urmanche is considered the greatest Tatar artist of the twentieth century. He was not only a sculptor, painter, draftsman, but also an expert on languages and philosophy, on Tatar folklore and history. At one time a political prisoner in the Gulag, he survived to become a revered public figure.

Salikh Saidashev ( 1900 - 1954 )

Saidashev - "The Founder of Professional Tatar Music" - composed songs, marches, musical, and tunes that ares still played in Tatarstan during official celebrations.  His talent anticipated the development of Tatar music in the 20th century.

Musa Jalil ( 1906 - 1944 )

Jalil was one of the dominant figures of Tatar culture in the 1930's, a dangerous time for intellectuals and artists. He was a poet, a publicist, a brilliant organizer; he wrote librettos; he was also a humorist and entertainer. Taken prisoner by the Germans in the Second World War, he became a leader of the underground resistance and was later guillotined. His most famous works are the Moabit Notebooks, which he wrote while imprisoned.

Nazib Zhiganov ( 1911 - 1988 )

Zhiganov was the greatest Tatar composer of the Soviet era. Unlike Saidashev, who wrote ditties, he produced classical operas, symphonies, and chamber music, and headed the Tatarstan Composers' Union from its inception in 1939 for many years. He was also the rector of the Kazan Conservatory, which opened in 1945.

Sofia Gubaidulina (1931 - )

The only woman on this list ... One of the most significant contemporary composers in the world, she was born in Chistopol (a Tatar town), but studied piano in the Kazan Conservatory, where she composed her first pieces. Her challenging, highly avant-garde music is now performed around the world. She lives in Germany.

from "Lost Cosmonaut" by Daniel Kalder and other sources.

much more here

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