President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Zhomart TOKAYEV
This year marks the 175th anniversary of the birth of Abay Kunanbayuly [Abai (Ibrahim) Qunanbaiuly]. To commemorate the anniversary of the great son of our people, a specially created commission began preparatory work. It is planned to organize large-scale events both at the national and international levels, which should not only be festive celebrations, but should lead to the expansion of national consciousness, self-knowledge and spiritual perfection.
Of course, Abay Kunanbayuly left an indelible mark on the history of our country as a scientist, thinker, poet, enlightener, founder of modern national literature, translator and composer. His poems and prose reflected national identity, life, worldview, character, soul, faith, language, traditions and the spirit of the people, which were later rated as a unique phenomenon, called the world of Abay.
Last year, the baton of reading excerpts from the works of Abay passed. In this action, proposed by a schoolgirl named Lailim, I took part, supporting the initiative. This action, in which many took an active part, from schoolchildren to adults, including world-famous ones, lasted several months.
Thanks to this, the whole of Kazakhstan once again looked into the depths of Abay’s heritage, showed respect and reverence for him, used his edifications as an effective way of educating the modern generation. I hope that the challenge, the baton of reading Abay’s poems this year in honor of the poet’s anniversary will be actively continued.
Elbasy, First President and Leader of the Nation Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev, in his article “Looking into the Future: Modernization of Public Consciousness” emphasized the importance of updating public consciousness. The preservation of national identity and its adaptation to modern requirements has become a national problem, because the modernization of consciousness opens the way to the breakthrough development of the country in the 21st century.
In this regard, I consider the heritage of Abay to be extremely demanded. The works of the great poet are relevant today. Abay’s ideas can always be spiritual food for all of us.
In view of the foregoing, in the interests of modernizing the nation and country, it is necessary once again to rethink his works and take them into service in our practical activities.
In this article I would like to share with the public my thoughts about the relevance of Abay’s instructions for our days, about what lessons we should learn from the works of the great poet.
Standard, ideal of national character, mentality
Revival and modernization is not only a departure from the past, but also openness to the new, to fresh values.
In fact, this is a process of development and modernization, during which there is harmonization, the convergence of national values with the positive trends of today. In this case, we cannot circumvent the legacy of Abay. After all, the great thinker more than a century ago called upon the nation to improve, to renew, in order to correspond to the new time.
The words of the Leader of the nation also testify that the poet’s heritage will be valued as an eternal will: “Despite the changing times and changing worlds, our people continue to consult with Abay, each time discovering more and more new dimensions and depths of his greatness. “Abay will always be with his people, over the centuries, urging Kazakhstanis to conquer new heights.”
If we turn to the writings of Abay, we will clearly see that he sincerely wanted to improve and develop his people, this idea runs through all his works with a red thread. It is known that the basis of progress is education and science. And Abai wholeheartedly wished that the Kazakhs constantly studied, mastering new knowledge. The meaning of his words “Do not brag until you master science” is that you cannot reach heights without mastering knowledge. In another admonition, “Take possession of science not to get rich,” he emphasized that studying science is necessary for the prosperity of his people. That is how one should understand the other words of the Great Abay: “Do not think about profit, think about honor; strive for knowledge.”
This understanding is extremely relevant today. Strictly speaking, it has become even more relevant than ever, because we see how the science of the 21st century is rapidly moving to new heights. And our task is not only to keep up with progress, but also to move to the forefront.
To do this, we need, first of all, to modernize the education system. A lot of work has been done to this end, but there are still gaps in domestic education. Ways to improve it are highlighted in the election program and at the August conference last year.
The adoption of the Law on the Status of a Teacher is one of the useful initiatives in this direction. This is a step towards improving the quality of education. In general, in any society, the place of a teacher is special. Teachers play a key role in educating a literate and educated young generation. We must respect and honor teachers. Therefore, the state should work to increase the authority of the teaching profession, and create the necessary conditions for them to succeed.
Abay especially emphasized that one of the good deeds is the study of foreign languages. The poet, in the twenty-fifth word of his book, “Words of Edification,” wrote that it gives the person knowledge of a foreign language: “Having studied the language and culture of other nations, a person becomes equal among them, is not humiliated by worthless requests.” In other words, in order to become equal with more developed peoples, it is very important to learn their languages.
At the same time, in the new historical conditions, we all need to pay attention to the development and enhancement of the authority of our native language. An additional priority remains the study of English. The more languages young people learn, the wider their opportunities. At the same time, serious attention must be paid to knowing your native language. As Abay said, no doubt, it will be beneficial for our people if the younger generation has fully mastered science, respected its language and knows many foreign languages.
The world does not change every day, but every hour. In all areas, new horizons and previously unknown prospects appear. New scientific knowledge serves the progress of mankind. The time has come when only knowledge will allow you to break ahead. To keep up with the times, we need to have a clear, open mind. This step requires the ability to combine the best achievements of modern civilization with our national goals. At such a time, we must abandon our old customs and habits that do not correspond to the present.
That is why Abay, constantly evaluating critically some actions of people, said: “They do not strive for deep reflection, for deep knowledge, they only lie and spread rumors.”
The poet encouraged people to master different types of art. He clearly realized that this was a requirement of the time, and constantly spoke about this to his people. We can say that the idea of forming an intellectual nation, which we are talking about today, originates from Abay. Each word of the great thinker was aimed at the development and improvement of his people.
Therefore, it is important for us to pay special attention to the deep study of Abay. To know Abay is to know oneself. Self-knowledge and constant self-development of a person, the desire for knowledge and sciences is an indicator of improvement. This is the meaning of the concept of “intellectual nation”. And the words of Abay should become a guiding light for his descendants.
Abay called for raising every Kazakh child as a patriot of the country. His legacy is a school of sound patriotism, the basis for honoring his people. Therefore, if we want our citizens to be educated, we should reread Abay again and again, to delve into the meaning of his poems.
We need to learn to love our country as Abay loved it. Although the great poet sharply criticized the vices of his people, he had only one thought – to bring the Kazakhs, his people to the forefront.
The rich heritage of Abay serves the formation of new qualities of the Kazakh nation. Reflections in his works instill in every person a sense of patriotism in relation to his people, country. That is why one of the directions of modernization and development of the country is the development by the young generation of the heritage of wise Abay so that his teachings become the life principles of youth.
A supporter of strong statehood
To prosper as a sovereign state, we need to strengthen our statehood.
It should be understood that maintaining the rule of law and public order is a universal responsibility. If the people do not have respect for the authorities, then not everything is good in the state. At the same time, citizens, and especially young people, need to explain the meaning and content of a respectful attitude to statehood. And again, it is necessary to turn to the heritage of Abay.
The great poet in his works spoke of strengthening the power of the country, state and national unity. He promoted the idea of creating a just society. These views of Abay are especially valuable in the 21st century for Kazakhstani society, its unity and prosperity. The attitudes of the sage Abay correspond to the principles of a civilized state. Justice will be firmly entrenched only if the rule of law, government transparency and accountability to the people are at a high level, and civil society representatives are actively involved in state affairs.
My concept of “A State Listening to the Voice of the People” was proposed to develop the idea of a just society. A constructive dialogue between the state and society strengthens trust in the state. Members of the government, including ministers and akims, should take into account the proposals and wishes of citizens when making decisions on issues of state and social importance. I think that this is the only condition for the formation of a just society, about which Abay spoke.
The great poet has not in vain noted that “in the absence of a stable power, rumors rule the country.” In this case, it is obvious that the people are unhappy with the governing bodies.
The government should always listen to the people so that there is no reason for those about whom Abay spoke: “They do not know how, except to spread rumors.” A National Council of Public Confidence has been created in the country so that representatives of government and society can jointly discuss and make decisions on problematic issues. I carefully monitor its activities, and meet with members of the council in order to prevent the empty formalization of his work.
Abay in his writings attached great importance to the problem of meritocracy. He appreciated a man by his merits and merits, and not by his position or position. In this sense, the great poet, by his example, directed the Kazakh youth on the right path.
Currently, Kazakhstan is undergoing a process of political modernization. Thanks to the program of the Leader of the nation, a new generation of managers comes to government structures. Despite this, the country often makes statements about the need for radical political changes. However, this process must be approached with extraordinary responsibility, on the basis of national consent, state capabilities and the preservation of manageability by society. Those who, using populist ideas, make a fuss about rapid political reforms, do not think about the future of their country.
Populism as a negative trend has become global. Throughout the world, voices are often heard of those who, without a clear strategy, are eager for power using empty slogans. About these populists and empty chimes, Abay said: “They will be excited by empty chatter and will leave, lurching in the cold.” Without a doubt, this is a dangerous trend that undermines the development of any country and weakens the cohesion of the nation.
As Abay said, we absolutely do not need excessive boastfulness, arrogance, contention. We need to move forward, carefully and deeply analyzing the situation in the world and within the country. It is important to understand that the basis of our stability and development is harmony and unity within the country. In the interests of the future of our state, in order not to lose the fruits of our many years of hard work, we need to pursue a consistent evolutionary development policy.
Pursuing only such a policy, we will be able to achieve all our strategic goals and bring Kazakhstan to the ranks of developed countries.
Harbinger, predecessor of renewal of society
Obviously, the foundations of a new Kazakhstan will be built by a new society. This means that we must first of all focus on improving the quality characteristics and competitiveness of our people. It is also necessary to get rid of the negative traits that impede the development of society and bring discord and confusion.
Today, a number of intellectuals around the world talk about the crisis of classical capitalism and are skeptical about its future. They note that in the world a gap is growing between rich and poor, between educated and uneducated, between urban and rural residents. This gap is increasing at an accelerated pace. Business thinks only of profit, the intelligentsia is isolated, everyone is responsible only for himself. Cities are growing rapidly, and small settlements are declining. Scientists believe that all this is associated with a weakening of social responsibility.
Will social responsibility return? Of course, this is not an easy task. The solution to this complex problem can be found in the idea of Abay about “Mature, comprehensively developed man.” The concept of “Mature, Holistic man” corresponds to the English term “A man of integrity”. This is characteristic only for those who are very confident in themselves, striving for good, superior goals. This concept, which is now widespread, was developed and promoted by Abay in the 19th century.
Human life along its entire length is accompanied by the maintenance of various contacts, without them the personality would be separated from society. Communication, of course, involves mutual responsibility. This responsibility is violated when selfishness intervenes. That is why Abay said: “Combine the mind, will and heart in yourself, and then you will become a mature independent person”, bearing in mind that a person must have a clear mind, a strong, cold will and a warm, kind heart. He considers these three concepts in constant unity, but believes that the first two should obey the heart. This is the philosophy of life of the Kazakh people.
Proceeding precisely from such principles, our people, even in the most difficult years, have always been friendly to representatives of other nationalities. Even if they had nothing to eat, they considered it their duty to share a piece of bread. There was always respect for the elders, respect for the younger, help was made to a stumbling person, and support to the fallen. Adhering to these values and passing them on to a new generation, our ancestors did everything possible to preserve themselves as a nation.
We need to return again and again to Abay’s concept of “Mature Man”. Our scientists need to conduct new research in this direction. I believe that the concept of “Holistic Man”, in fact, should become a fundamental pillar in any area of our life, in government, in education, in business and family affairs.
One of the constant themes of Abay’s creative work is the struggle against laziness and idleness. The poet constantly condemned aimless pastime, passivity and urged to be active in life, by constant work to hone his skills. Struggling with laziness, he delved into psychological aspects, explaining that through an active life position one can overcome the problems that arise. That is, he already at that time used the categories of such a modern and sought-after concept as “emotional intelligence”. He urged us to get rid of the psychology of boasting and idleness, to diligently improve my professional skills, and constantly seek new knowledge.
We all are well aware of Abay’s poetic lines: “If you work tirelessly, you will be full”, “Satiety and idleness spoil a person”, “Believe in yourself, your work and mind will save you.” Each person must firmly grasp these key concepts and with his honest work be an example to others.
Our people understand the value of labor. We remember that our older generation through its hard work in the deep rear contributed to the Victory. And today we see the tremendous achievements of the working people of the country. Recently, some of them have been awarded high state awards.
It is especially important to say that today, in peacetime, every citizen must be aware that his decent work directly affects the development of the country’s economy.
Abay not only set an example of hard work with his high efficiency. The great thinker in his works describes those who, through their labor and ability to farm, achieve prosperity, calling, thereby, in the interests of improving their well-being, to learn new crafts and professions. The poet praised initiative and honest work. For example, in the tenth word of his book, he concludes: “Who will not become rich, if he works hard, will seek and find his place in life?”
According to Abay, in order to have prosperity, you need to learn the craft, because “wealth eventually runs out, but skill doesn’t” (the thirty-third word). I think that the ideas of the great poet are relevant today for Kazakhstani society. That is why today we note that it is necessary to get rid of the psychology of dependence on raw materials and to determine the maximum development of small and medium-sized businesses as the main priority.
Personality in World Culture
Almost every modern civilized state can be recognizable thanks to its historical, world-famous personalities. Among them may be politicians, statesmen and public figures, commanders, poets and writers, figures of art and culture. The Kazakh people also have enough outstanding personalities, among them Abay occupies a special place. However, we have not yet been able to adequately introduce our great thinker to the world.
Over the years of my diplomatic service, I often met with politicians and experts from various countries, and discussed with them many universal problems. In general, they are well aware of the political and economic achievements of Kazakhstan, but they are not sufficiently familiar with our spiritual and cultural values. The question arises: “Why don’t we reveal the Kazakh culture and lifestyle of our people through Abay?”
The scientist Abay is a genius of the Kazakh land of a world level. He sowed the seeds of wisdom for all of humanity.
According to our researchers, who have deeply studied the poetry of Abay, its strength and origins are inextricably linked with the folklore of the Kazakh people, the art of words of the East and West, Russian literature and the study of works on the history of mankind.
Abay’s deep reasoning attests to a comprehensive study of religious subjects: “Allah is true, the word is true, the truth is never false.” Obviously, he came to such conclusions as a result of acquaintance, research and comprehension of the works of philosophers of East and West. In the thirty-eighth word, he expresses his attitude towards God.
Religious philosophers who studied the spiritual views of Abay pay special attention to his concept of “Orthodox Muslim.” The concept of a “true Muslim” probably concerned not only the Kazakhs, but the entire Muslim world. Thus, the thoughts of our wise Abay on a religious theme can be used to promote his personality to the world level. As you know, we regularly hold in our capital congresses of leaders of world and traditional religions. It is necessary to use such events to promote the ideas of the great Abay, so that as many people as possible get acquainted and join the Abay’s dream of maintaining the spiritual purity of all people on Earth.
As you know, the artistic image of Abay in the novel by M. Auezov “The Way of Abay” was highly appreciated by world literature. But this is only one facet of acquaintance with Abay. To know the real Abay, the poet Abay, it is necessary to reveal the meaning of the ideas set forth in his verses and prose. His works should be translated into the main languages of the world, preserving the entire depth of his thoughts. We still have not been able to do this fully. Translation of these national poets into other languages is not an easy task. A translator must have the same talent as a thinker. Our abaylogists, linguists and citizens of our country who are interested in this matter should pay special attention to this.
The leader of the nation, Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev, noted: “Abay is not only a great scientist who made an invaluable contribution to the spiritual treasure of the Kazakh people, but also a wise man who contributed a lot to make the Kazakh people create their own state. Abay is an amazing personality among world-class thinkers. ”
Indeed, the works of the wise poet can enrich the spiritual life of not only the Kazakhs, but also of all mankind, they repeatedly speak of universal values. His “Words of edification” are the common property of the peoples of the world. This is a collection of classic ideas. Instructions, sayings, edifications are different names for one particular genre.
In his “Words of Edification” Abay, exalting the common heritage of mankind, ascended to an unprecedented spiritual height, far ahead of his time. The basis of his “Words of edification” is humanity, culture and kindness. When we look for an alternative to the words of Hakim, the essays of the French thinker Montaigne come to mind. However, if Montaigne was thinking more about his personality and human nature, the main mission of Abay’s Words of Edification is to make others think, reflect, and determine the goals. The “words of edification” of a great thinker is a very valuable work.
The higher we can raise the name of Abay in world culture, the higher will be the authority of our country. In the modern era of globalization and information technology, the word Abay should make all people on the planet think.
There are enough personalities in the world who have made a significant contribution to the development of various fields of science and education and have been recognized by universal thinkers. For example, with the word “China” we immediately recall Lao Tzu and Confucius, with the word “Russia” Dostoevsky and Tolstoy come to mind, with the word “France” we recall Voltaire and Russo. We must also reach such a level that at the mention of Kazakhstan we would immediately remember the name of Abay. It would be a great honor if foreigners, welcoming us, said: “The Kazakh people are the people of Abay.”
The merits of Abay cannot be overestimated. His instructive life and genuine creativity are role model not only for the Kazakh people, but also for the whole world. Abay’s ideas about man and society, education and science, religion and traditions, nature and the environment, state and government, language and communication have not lost their significance for centuries, because the poet’s legacy is the spiritual source for all mankind.
As long as there are Kazakh people, the name of Abay will always be in demand. If we hold high his precious words as a spiritual treasure, then the authority of our homeland in the world will certainly increase.
First of all, we must promote Abai as the cultural capital of our nation. It must be remembered that abroad, the assessment of Kazakh identity, culture, literature and spirituality will directly depend on the degree of world fame and recognition of our outstanding personalities. Therefore, the international community needs to introduce Abay as a brand of a new Kazakhstan. This is the sacred duty of today’s generation.
Format of anniversary events
If we want to renew our national consciousness and form a competitive nation, we need to carefully read the works of Abay. His views on various social processes are very useful for modern Kazakhstan. Abay, as an image not only of his time, but of modern society, is the sacred spiritual core of the nation.
We all know well that each Kazakh has a dombra in a place of honor. I believe that in every family there should also be a book by Abay and a novel by Mukhtar Auezov “The Way of Abay”.
The next generation should follow the bright path of Abay, and this was what the great poet dreamed of. To this end, we need to study the heritage and lifestyle of Abay in order to follow his covenants.
This year more than 500 events of the international, republican and regional levels dedicated to the 175th anniversary of Abay will be organized. The main event will be the International Scientific and Practical Conference “Heritage of Abay and World Spirituality”, which will be held in August in the city of Semey in collaboration with UNESCO. Also in October in Nur Sultan an international conference will be held on the topic “Abay and issues of spiritual rebirth.” These meetings will make it possible to comprehensively study the personality and heritage of Abay, to outline the directions for using his work for the benefit of the new Kazakhstan of the 21st century.
One of the important projects is the translation and publication of the works of the great poet in ten languages. In particular, the work of Abay will be translated into English, Arabic, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, German, Russian, Turkish and French. Several documentaries and the television series “Abay” about the life, heritage of the poet, and his role in the development of Kazakh culture will be prepared.
Celebrations in honor of the poet will include cultural events. This year, international and national theater and music festivals dedicated to Abay’s creativity will be held with the presentation of awards to the winners. The State Prize for the best works in the field of literature and art will now be called the Abay State Prize. The promotion of the name and heritage of Abay will be continued abroad. It is planned to create “Abay centers” at the embassies of Kazakhstan in Russia, France, Great Britain and other countries.
I would like to note that all these cultural events need to be carried out economically, without squandering.
The cemetery of the Kunanbay dynasty of the son of Uskenbay in the Akshoky village of the East Kazakhstan region will be landscaped.
I believe that the government should also take a number of measures aimed at further perpetuating the identity of Abay.
Semey is one of the most sacred places in the history of the Kazakhs, so the city of Semey, which occupies a special place in the spiritual development of the country, should be given the status of a historical center. The birthplace of the Great Abay, Shakarim Kudaiberdiev and Mukhtar Auezov deserves special respect. In this regard, it is necessary to develop the socio-economic complex of the city and modernize its historical and cultural objects in accordance with new requirements. I instruct the government to take appropriate action.
Within the framework of the anniversary year, it is necessary to equip the Abay mausoleum and create favorable conditions for the public who want to visit this sacred place – the well-known Zhidebay and honor the spirit of the great poet. It is also necessary to pay special attention to the state historical-cultural and literary-memorial reserve-museum of Abay “Zhidebay-Borili” and turn it into a center of scientific and educational work. In Zhidebay it is necessary to build a new corresponding building with the name “Legacy of Abai”.
State support should be given to the Abai magazine, founded in 1918 in the city of Semipalatinsk by Mukhtar Auezov and Zhusipbek Aymauytov, which was again published since 1992.
These and other large-scale events will be held in honor of the Great Abay, they should reveal to the general public the greatness of its rich heritage. I urge all Kazakhstanis to take an active part in this noble initiative.
We attach paramount importance to the 175th anniversary of Abai as an event aimed at renewing public consciousness, which will give a powerful impetus to our development as a single country, a holistic nation.
I think that the main goal of this holiday is that we, Kazakhstanis, as if will give an account of ourselves to the Teacher of the nation. To pass the exam before Abay is a serious test that requires constructive practical activity.
Implementing the program, launched by the Leader of the nation and supported by the country’s population, we have reached significant heights, ahead of schedule, we have become one of the fifty most developed countries. Now we set a goal to enter the top thirty. The legacy of Abay will help us in our movement to these new frontiers. The main thing is whether we can understand, comprehend and take into action this help of Abay?
This great holiday should stimulate the search for solutions to the strategic problems facing the nation. I think that on the eve of the holiday, every citizen of our state should think about it. About what has Abay left to us? What did Abay demand from us? What did Abay expect from us? What affairs of his people did Abay admire? Could we learn from these cases? What actions of Kazakhs upset Abay? Did we manage to fix them?
And the most important thing is that we will achieve a lot, if we think about it, we will go to the depth of the poet’s thought and understand whether we are doing five righteous acts and getting rid of the five bad habits that he spoke about.
The legacy of Abay is a sacred value that opens the way to the development of our people and their unity as a nation.
In general, if we follow the advice of Abay in any area of life, we will become strong and achieve our goals as a modern society and state.
The dream of Abay is the dream of the people. To achieve this dream and fulfill the mandate of the poet, we do not need to spare our strength. Abay’s instructive instructions will lead the new Kazakhstan to new heights in the 21st century. /// nCa, 22 February 2020