Abaza Literature Week

Karachay-Cherkess State National Library named after Khalimat Bayramukova traditionally opens a new year with a month of local history and national literature. And traditionally the month was opened with a week of Abaza literature. These days in the library there is an exhibition of books written by Abaza authors including even some publications of 30s of the last century, printed in the Latin alphabet, and collections of recent years.

The day before, in the library was held an evening of Abaza literature. Librarians try to make diverse this kind of events. As a rule, they focus on some general issues of literature, and individual works of writers. Zarema Shebzuhova, being responsible for this evening, also followed this tradition. This time general literature part of the evening was devoted to folk traditions in the works of Abaza writers. People’s poet of KCR Larissa Shebzuhova told very interesting facts about how Abaza traditions had been reflected in the stories and novellas of Shahimbi Phizikov Kali Dzhegutanov, Bemurza Thaytsuhov and other prose writers and how deeply the authors were able to convey the spiritual and educational value of these rites and rituals.

Unfortunately, many works of the Abaza literature classic writers became very rare and are not easily accessible for a wider audience. In this regard, the International Association for Assistance to the Abaza- Abkhazian ethnos “Alashara” is now implementing a program to re-release the best works of Abaza classics. Last year, thanks to “Alashara” finally was published a third volume of collected works by Kerim Mhtse. From day to day we expect a new edition of the first novel in Abaza language “Azamat” written by Ismail Tabulov and collection of fairy tales, which at the time were collected by Tatlustan Tabulov and Konstantin Shakryl. Head of the culture department of “Alashara” Murat Mookov spoke about this project during the event.

The second part of the evening was devoted to Kerim Mhtse. Candidate of Philology Aishat Dzyba chose translation works of the poet as the subject of her research. Using actual examples she described how Kerim subtly translated some nuances of the original foreign-language authors into Abaza language. He also translated his own poems in Russian. He did it very subtly and skillfully, and singer and poet Bilal Khasarokov showed it during the evening.  He wrote a song based on the Russian text of the poem “I could not reach the star,” and the music exactly met the original text of the poem in Abaza language. It is also a very important indicator of the perfect translation.

In the last years of his life, Kerim Mhtse began to translate poetry of Abaza authors into Russian. There is no doubt that his translations would have helped to popularize Abaza poetry. But fate gave him too little time to implement his plans.

At such a meeting, of course, people shared personal memories related to Kerim Mhtse. A deputy chairman of the public organization “Abaza” Shchors Chagov, a writer Kulina Salpagarova from Karachay-Cherkessia and an editor of “Abazgs” Rosa Pazova shared their memories during the evening.

The author of these lines also had an opportunity to share his memories related to Kerim Mhtse. I was lucky enough to work with Kerim more than four years in the editor’s office of Abaza newspaper, and when I switched to the TV studio, he often became the main guest of my programs. In the newspaper’s office he was a model of creative attitude to any work. Regardless of whether he wrote an essay or a small caption under the photo, Kerim always found some highlight and created masterpieces of journalism using it. His journalism had the same elegance, depth and imagery, as well as his poetry. His participation in television shows in advance ensured audience success. His reflections on his life and work, his frank talk about himself generated interest among the audience. All of his speeches carried the stamp of good citizenship, because they came from a man who considered himself responsible for the fate of his nation.

The guests of the meeting – which mainly were high school students – with great attention listened to everything that was said, and certainly learned a lot from each speech.

Chief Editor of “Abazashta” Fardaus Kulova, culture editor of the newspaper Asiyat Dzherdisova and daughter of Kerim Mhtse Olesya noted the importance of such events and expressed their gratitude to the organizers of the evening, as well as students of the 8th and 9th schools of Cherkessk, who read verses of Kerim Mhtse and their teachers Fata Kickova and Lydia Apsova.

Georgy Checkalov,
Specially for “Abaza Country”

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