Abay Qunanbayuli

Infobox Person
name = Abay Ibrahim Qunanbayuli

image_size = 150px
caption =
birth_date = birth date|1845|8|10|mf=y
birth_place = Shinghis Mountain, Kazakstan (in what is today East Kazakhstan Province)
death_date = death date|1904|7|5|mf=y
death_place = Jidebay Valley, Kazakstan
occupation = Poet, Philosopher, Composer

Abay Ibrahim Qunanbayuli (Kazakh: "Абай (Ибраһим) Құнанбайұлы", Russian: "Абай Ибрагим Кунанбаев.") (August 10, 1845 - July 5, 1904) was a Kazakh poet, composer, and philosopher. He was also a cultural reformer toward European and Russian cultures on the basis of enlightened liberal Islam. His name is also translated as Abai Kunanbaev.


Early life and education

Abay was born on Shinghis Mountain (in today's East Kazakhstan Province), the son of Qunanbay and Uljan, Qunanbay's second wife. They named him Ibrahim, but because of his brightness, he soon was given the nickname "Abay", (meaning "careful") a name that stuck for the rest of his lfe. His father's economic status enabled the boy to attend a Russian school in his youth, but only after he had already spent some years studying at a madrash under Mullah Ahmet Ryza. At his school in Semipalatinsk, Abai encountered the writings of Mikhail Lermontov and Aleksandr Pushkin.


Abay's main contribution to Kazakh culture and folklore lies in his poetry, which expresses great nationalism and grew out of Kazakh folk culture. Before him, most Kazakh poetry was oral, echoing the nomadic habits of the people of the Kazakh steppes. During Abai's lifetime, however, a number of important socio-political and socio-economic changes occurred. Russian influence continued to grow in Kazakhstan, resulting in greater educational possibilities as well as exposure to a number of different philosophies, whether Russian, Western, or Asian. Abay Qunanbayuli steeped himself in the cultural and philosophical history of these newly-opened geographies. In this sense, Abai's creative poetry affected the philosophical thinking of educated Kazakhs.


The leaders of the Alash Orda movement saw him as their inspiration and spiritual predecessor.

Contemporary Kazakh images of Abay generally depict him in full traditional dress, holding a dombra, the Kazakh national instrument. Today, Kazakhs revere Abay as one of the first folk heroes to enter into the national consciousness of his people. Kazakh State University in Almaty is named after Abay, so is one of the main avenues in the city.

Among Abay's students was his nephew, the historian, philosopher, thinker, and poet, Shekerim Qudaiberdiuli (1858 - 1931).

Statues of him have been erected in many cities of Kazakhstan as well as in Moscow.

A film on the life of Abay was taken in 1983 titled "Abay" made by Kazakhfilm. He is also the subject of a novel by Mukhtar Auezov.


Abay also translated into Kazakh the works of Russian and European authors, mostly for the first time.

* "Book of Words, Aikyn, David & McKane, Richard (translator's) Almaty: El Bureau, (1995)" (Kara So'zder)
* "Abay: Eki Tomdiq Shigharmalar Jinaghi, Almati: Jazushi Baspasi, 1986"
* "Duniede, sira, sendey mağan jar joq, Almati: "Jaylyn", 1990"
* "Ata Aqyly, Almati, Balausi, 1994"

External links

* [http://www.kz/eng/abai/abai1.html Abai: A biographical sketch]
* [http://www.abay.nabrk.kz/index.php?lang=en Site dedicated to Abay]
* [http://www.tyurk.ru/file3_43_1.shtm Poems by Abay] ru icon

NAME= Qunanbayuli, Abay Ibrahim
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Абай (Ибраһим) Құнанбайұлы (Kazak); Абай Ибрагим Кунанбаев (Russian)
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Kazakh Poet, Philosopher,
DATE OF BIRTH= August 10, 1845
PLACE OF BIRTH= Shinghis Mountain, Kazakstan (in what is today East Kazakhstan Province)
DATE OF DEATH= July 5, 1904
PLACE OF DEATH= Jidebay Valley, Kazakstan

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