Author: Valentina REZNIKOVA
Huseyn Javid is the author of 15 well-known plays, including seven tragedies, and the lost manuscripts Attilla, Chingiz, Demon’s Inspiration, Telli Saz and the screenplay Koroghlu. However, all his available dramas and tragedies – Mother, Maral, Azer, Sheikh Sanan, Sheyda, Iblis, Abyss, Prophet, Teymur and others – correspond to the realities of the present day. Huseyn Javid is a playwright, poet, thinker and just a citizen, whose name they tried to erase from life and history by burying him in Siberia under number 59. Yet he is still in dialogue with his people. Because he is Javid, which means eternity...
On December 5, 1941, a man was buried in the village of Shevchenko, Irkutsk Region, Russia in the local cemetery. His name was not indicated on the gravestone though. The burial place has been listed under number 59 up until October 1982. Only through the efforts of the late Heydar Aliyev was it possible to dispatch a group of three people from Nakhchivan to this distant Siberian land to identify the burial place of the poet. It happened on October 14 with the help of local residents. On October 26, Javid’s remains were returned to homeland. On November 3, a solemn ceremony of burial took place in Nakhchivan. He was buried next to his parents' house. Today the entire family of the poet rests in this mausoleum. In 1981, by the order of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan headed by Heydar Aliyev, and by the decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR, the Museum of Huseyn Javid was established under the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan (ANAS) – 8 Istiglaliyyat St., Baku, where the poet and his family once lived.
Today the director of the museum is Doctor of Philology, Honoured Artist of Azerbaijan, author of monographs about Huseyn Javid – Gulbeniz BABAKHANLI. The objective is to preserve and promote the heritage of Huseyn Javid. There is a constant work on the study of his philosophical, artistic and civic views; especially during the pandemic.
"We have so far published 30 volumes of Javid’s studies. This multivolume edition will allow researchers and those interested in studying the works, biography, social and political views of Huseyn Javid to refer not to the archives but to our edition. It contains the most detailed information ever collected by scientists and the staff of our museum."
"Is you work available for the national of Azerbaijan only?"
"No, anyone who studies the works and philosophical views of Javid."
"Including those living in other countries?"
"There are a lot of them. In Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan. There is even a professor from the University of Massachusetts (USA). In addition, we have published Aphorisms by Javid in three languages (Azerbaijani, English and French) and two volumes of his dramas in Russian. There are also three monographs about Javid. The works of Javid’s son, Ertogrul Javid, were published in 13 volumes. Five books of Javid of historical nature have been published in Azerbaijani. Some of his works, including Sheikh Sanan, Prophet, Maral were published in Persian, and all of them are available in Turkish."
"Do you plan to interact with young people of different ages and simply visitors interested in the fate and works of the poet?"
“We were one of the first in the country to open virtual tours on the website of our museum. Anyone can get information they need from this online resource. Before the pandemic, we held all kinds of competitions, including international ones on a regular basis. We would also hold concerts, discussions of Javid’s individual works and creativity in general. We keep photographs and video recordings of this active activity in our archives and on the museum's website. We do not limit ourselves to the museum space. Our staff constantly visits schools and universities, delivering lectures on the poet's heritage, and discussing his works. In October of each year we always organize a series of events dedicated to the whole Javid family. October is the month of Huseyn Javid's family. Because, by some fantastic coincidence, all of his family member, including Huseyn Javid himself, his wife and his children, were born in October.”
"His son Ertogrul was also a gifted poet..."
"He was very talented indeed. Had not he passed away so early, he would certainly have become a great artist, composer, writer, or a research scientist... But despite his short life span, he left as much for his people as many of us would not have done in our entire lives."
"We have done a scrupulous analysis of Ertogrul’s works and included in detail all available information in thirteen volumes that we have released so far."
"What are his works about?"
"His studies are mainly focused on the ethnic centuries-old culture of our people. He collected information and described in detail our traditions and rituals, wrote down the texts of national mughams, dastans, works of ashugs. He wrote a textbook called School of Balaban, detailing the techniques that will allow you to master this musical instrument. Our edition of his works also includes his unfinished work on the transposition of folk music on conventional musical notation."
"It’s unbelievable that he has managed to do so much before he passed when he was 24 only."
"Yes. He was gifted, versatile and enthusiastic. He found it equally easy to study music and fine arts, literature and languages, chess. You can learn more about Ertogrul’s life in one of the rooms of our museum called The Fame of Javid. Here you will find documentary evidence reflecting the fate of a young man who loves his people and its culture. We also present his drawings and various recordings. You can even find his pocket chess there. These are very rare and dear exhibits for us."
"Which of the items do you think is the most valuable?"
"Javid's original manuscripts, of course. They miraculously survived! The table at which the family dined and which was always covered with a handmade tablecloth contains secret drawers. Javid would keep his manuscripts there. In 1937, when NKVD conducted a search in his apartment, they did not realize that there might be boxes in the table covered with a tablecloth, containing the poet's manuscripts. That’s how the manuscripts survived. The rest of Javid's works found in the house were burned. Javid asked to keep at least the copies of his works. But his request was denied.”
Gulbeniz-khanim told us about the creative searches and educational activities of the poet, playwright and citizen Huseyn Javid. She paid special attention to stories about the members of his family, about the moral and intellectual upbringing of children, about the trustful and touching relationship between Javid and his wife Mushkunaz-khanim. She was the first person Javid would read his works to. Reportedly, she had a phenomenal memory. After the death of her husband, she helped her daughter, Turan, to restore Javid’s lost works by memory. Javid was a wonderful father. He taught his daughter Turan languages, including Turkish and Farsi, gave a versatile education to his son Ertogrul, taught his wife to read and write. Peace, friendship, love and harmony reigned in the family.
When you walk through these rooms, you try to imagine how their day would begin and end, what was life like in this house? Even now, after so many years, the things that surrounded the members of the family seem to keep them warm. Involuntarily, you get a feeling of absolute harmony, which seemed to have frozen in anticipation of the coming tragedies. Did Javid himself anticipate such a catastrophic turn of events when he wrote his last play, The Devil's Revenge? What did he think about and believe in when going into exile? His house-museum keeps not only his creative heritage, but also answers to many such unexpected questions.
Museums set inside the houses of their former owners always seem to know more than we can think of. The personal initiative of Heydar Aliyev to create 27 house-museums in Azerbaijan was a wise and long-term program to preserve the moral identity of our people. Before we would not even have thought about it. But today it is a very important part of our life, which will prevent us from forgetting, or rather throwing away the historical past of many generations of educators who sought to preserve the self-consciousness of the people as they tried to preserve their own dignity.
Theatrical style of the exposition
It makes no sense to describe in detail the structure of the museum halls. You have to see and feel the ambience yourself. But it is worth talking about the thematic focus of the names of the exhibition halls. So, the hallway is called Javid's Immortality. The first room (previously the living room) is called Javid's Life. The second, smallest room is Javid's Tragedy. Fourth - left hall - Javid's Fame. And if you think about it, the thematic arrangement of the exhibits precisely in this sequence allows us to interpret the entire exposition as a dramatic composition of the play entitled The Life of Huseyn Javid. According to the rules of the genre, there is a plot and development, a conflict, a tragic denouement and a life-affirming ending. As in any theatrical performance.
This is sort of a theatrical reflection of Javid’s works on the stage. It is a documentary evidence that one of the planets in the limitless cosmos is named Javid, which means Eternity.
Mysterious variations of fate
Things and personal items of Huseyn Javid and his family members create a special atmosphere - an atmosphere of almost home comfort. Here is a tablecloth made by his wife Mushkunaz-khanim using the cutwork technique. Here is a set of threads and crochet hooks for work, a hand sewing machine, pieces of jewellery. And here is the poet's pince-nez, his pen, handwritten notes, books that he read, making notes in the margins... Here is the folder from NKVD with a copy of the indictment.
On June 4, 1937, Huseyn Javid was arrested. His criminal case number is 24938. Investigation, which began on June 7, 1937, was finished on May 26, 1939. Long 23 months, 711 days and nights. Javid was very sick but had to spend those days in the damp and dark cellars of NKVD. It is clear that the poet did not hide his views. It is clear that the poet did not see anything anti-state and illegal in his views on the revival of the ancient state of the Turks of Turan. Arguing on this topic with his friends, acquaintances, young colleagues, he clearly did not even imagine that these very dreams would play a fatal role in the life of himself and of his family.
"Is this the real reason behind his death?” we asked the Scientific Secretary of the Fuzuli Institute of Manuscripts, Cand. Philology, Assoc. Prof, Azizagha Najafzade.
"Huseyn Javid also wrote his works in the Ottoman language. He and many of his contemporaries worked to create a common literary language that would be understandable and could unite all Turkic peoples into one single state. Like the Turan State, which dates back to I millenium BC."
"What do you mean? Did he try to invent a special alphabet?"
"Not an alphabet exactly. Linguistically, Turkic peoples have a lot of words similar in meaning and pronunciation. Javid tried not only to systematise this vocabulary, but also to develop its general linguistic features. Perhaps this could also be the reason for NKVD to pay special attention to the poet."
"Is that why he was accused of pan-Turkism?"
"And in pan-Islamism too. His drama Prophet is of special importance and has been reprinted several times, but it’s never been staged theatrically."
"So, we can assume that he was not reported to the authorities?"
"I have not researched this issue. But many researchers believe that Javid’s activities were sufficiently transparent, as they say today. There were heated discussions in Soviet newspapers, as well as controversy about his works. So, it is quite likely that there was no need to report him..."
"Can we see the results of Javid’s linguistic searches in the latest publication of his works?"
"Only in the museum. In fact, when his works were published in our days, changes in speech were adjusted to please modern readers, adapted to the modern language. But his daughter, Turan-khanim, has made personal corrections in the published books. She believed that his works should be preserved in their original form."
"I read somewhere that exalted souls flare up in the heaven as stars. There is a painting in the Javid museum showing the planet named Javid. Is this a real fact?"
"Absolutely. Javid is a planet discovered by an admirer of the poet's works, an Ukrainian scientist Nikolai Chernykh. It has been known since 1997."
The Latin word porta means gate. And most likely museums are the Gates of Time. Museums are our guides between the past and the future of various cultures, designed to serve faithfully and truthfully for the peoples representing these cultures. Museums are not only repositories of the historical, documentary, cultural, informational and moral memory of the people. They are much more than we think. In their essence, importance, functionality. Therefore, you need to go to museums with your children, friends and relatives. It is very important.
“Huseyn Javid is really dear to us. He is a great personality in our history, and he left a great legacy. As long as our people, our history live, the legacy of Huseyn Javid will also live. Our people will use his legacy as well. Javid’s works are the national treasure of Azerbaijan. "