Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Stamp to commemorate the 170th Anniversary of the birth of the Karakalpak National Poet Berdakh

Designer: S. Sharipov
Paper: coated
Printing process: offset
Perforation: comb 13 3/4 : 14
Size: 26 x 37 mm
Sheet composition: 50 (10 x 5) stamps
Printing run: 35.000
Michel catalogue number: 174
15.00 (S). red-brown and light-blue.

Berdakh's monument, Nukus

In 1997, in connection with the 170th anniversary of the birth of the great Karakalpak poet-thinker Berdakh, the Karakalpak State University decided to construct a museum. Completed in 1998 the museum is a three-storey building with one large and six smaller domes. The designer was Orynbay Toreniyazov, a famous architect of the republic and the winner of the State Award of Berdakh.

Berdakh is considered the first historian of Karakalpak people. His book "Shezhire" is a genealogy of  not only the Karakalpak people, but comprises data on the Turkic people as a whole. In "Shezhire" he describes the 300 most important characters in Karakalpak history. He was also famous for his poetry devoted to national heroes including the great poems "Amangeldi" and "Ernazar biy". Besides poetry, Berdakh also wrote some well loved "Bakhsy" folk music which that was famous not only among Karakalpaks but their neighbours as well the Khoresmian Uzbeks and Turkmens.

The museum has expositions depicting history, ethnography and culture of Karakalpak people. The organisation of the museum is into thematic halls of archaeology, ethnography, art and history. In addition it has materials about clerical educational institutes of the past and the present - madrasahs and maktabs, the first Soviet educational institutes and about the history of formation of higher and secondary education institutions in Karakalpakistan.  It also contains a collection of old manuscripts in the Arabian, the Persian and the Turkic languages.

Berdakh, pseudonym of Berdimurat (son of Kargabai) (1827–1900) was born in a remote village near modern-day Muynak. His father was a poor fisherman and his mother, who gave him the nickname Berdakh, died when he was 10 years old. His father also died while Berdakh was still a child leaving him an orphan. Berdakh studied in a local maktab and at the same time earned a living from sheaparding fellow villagers' cattle.

His brother assisted him to enrol in Karakum madrasah, a Muslim religious school, but in time Berdakh dropped out to study folk poetry and narrative classical masterpieces under a  tutor, Kunkhoja, (1799–1880) who was famous for his folk poetry. Ajinyaz, (1824–1878) another famous poet of that time, also played a significant role in Berdakh's life. For much of his life Berdakh also earned a living playing the dutar and singing at weddings and different festive occasions.

He was the author of lyrical, satirical, and didactic verses, as well as historical poems (The Genealogy, Aidos bii, Amangel’dy, Ernazar bii, and others). In the narrative poem ‘Tsar Samodur’ (The Petty Tyrant Tsar) Berdakh depicted the people’s struggle against a despotic Khan. The poet exalted labour as the basis of life and the source of man’s spiritual wealth. He ardently opposed social oppression and the oppression of women. Before the October Revolution, Berdakh’s works were disseminated by storytellers, poets, and readers.

During Berdakh's lifetime their developed strong national movements among the peoples of the Amu Darya and Aral Sea territory, especially among the Karakalpaks. Karakalpakia became a hotspot of discord within the Khanate of Khiva. The Khiva Khans constantly imposed heavy duties on its people and ruled with a heavy hand. Berdakh wrote not only about social problems of his time but also about the protection of women's rights and dignity. Berdakh influence in his homeland is still strong and his statue has a prominent place outside the Karakalpak Parliament.


Tanglamalï shïgharamalarï. Nukus, 1956.

In Russian translation:

lzbrannoe. Nukus, 1958.


Saghitov, I. Berdaktïng tvorchestvosï. Nukus, 1958.

The Great Soviet Encyclopaedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


No comments:

Post a Comment