23 April 2003, 17:18
Mechilany (Mechiev), Kyazim
Born 1859, died 1945. Balkar theologian, thinker, poet, founder of Balkar poetry and literary language.
Born in the village of Shiki, in the upper course of Khulamo-Bezengi Gorge. His father, a famous blacksmith and craftsman Bekki, being a serf (kula), was twice sold by the dukes during his young years; he had three more sons and five daughters. Kyazim Mechilany learned the basics of Arabic reading and writing from a local effendi (according to other data - from a visiting Dagestani mullah), then spent three years in the village of Bezengi studying with a famous effendi Chepelleu Byozyulany. The latter studied in Vladikavkaz and Cairo, was engaged in natural sciences, enjoyed the reputation of a famous doctor, possessed a unique library, and, according to testimonials, was a Sufi sheikh. He sent the young man to madrasah of the village of Lesken. Upon return to his native village, Mechilany met favorable treatment from the ulamas of Khulamo-Bezengi, who hoped to see him as a head of the community (zhamaut, of Arabic djama'a) soon. Along with the cleric activities, Kyazim continued the smith's work, inheriting his father's craftsmanship. In 1890, he committed a hajj (pilgrimage), after which he stepped aside from the official cult practicing. In 1900-1917, traveling in the Middle East, he visited Istanbul, Baghdad, Mecca, attended lectures in Omeyades' madrasah in Damascus, and Cairo University.
The social process and military and political events in the Caucasus after the February Revolution 1917 were reflected in his works and in his active social position: in spring, he participated in the village's meeting. As a poet, Mechilany could not avoid the officially encouraged themes in the "epoch of socialist construction". In spring 1932, Kyazim Mechilany was elected the deputy of the First Congress of Distinguished Kolkhoz Workers in the city of Nalchik; in 1938, was admitted in the USSR Writers' Union; in November 1939, received the rank of the "honored artist of Kabardino-Balkar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic" (zasluzhenny deyatel iskusstv Kabardino-Balkarskoy ASSR).
Kyazim Mechilany wrote in Balkar language using Arabic characters. Among the early samples of religious and philosophic character are his Lessons on the Purity of Human Body and Spirit, Kyazim Mechilany's Edifications to Women, poems Iman-Islam (The Faith Is Islam) and Prophets, and religious poem songs (zikir, of Arabic zikr). Already in the initial period of his creative work, love lyrics started to emerge. Mechilany's poetry was undoubtedly influenced by Arabic, Turkic, and Persian literature; he translated certain poems (dastan) into his native language, in particular, Turkmen poet Molla Nepes's Legend of Takhir and Zukhra; his poem Buzzhigit was a kind of a dedication to teachers. Mechilany's works' main topics are religions and moral search, the issues of power and fairness, good and evil, a human's place in the world and in the society. His compositions are characterized with depth of thought, richness of images, fine shades of emotions; at the same time, they express the tragic notes of the perception of life and psychological tension similar to the social and emotional atmosphere of that time. The basis for Mechilany's views were the realities of life and the traditions of the highlanders; the moral pivot - their ethics code (tau adet). One of Kyazim Mechilany's spiritual followers was effendi Sayd Kalabekov; K. Kuliev and S. Shakhmurzaev were the followers of the artistic direction founded by Mechilany.
Kyazim Mechilany died in exile in Karakolsky County, Taldy-Kurgan Region, Kazakhstan, ibidem buried.
Mechilany enjoyed highest authority in his native land; his "stone library" (its shelves were made of flat stone polished by his hands) was known well beyond the settlement of Shiki. Many Mechilany's compositions alloyed with the folk songs of the Balkars; some of them were distributed in lists; a part of his manuscripts and compositions written down at his dictation was lost forever in 1942 together with the archive of Kabardino-Balkar Scientific Research Institute. Kyazim Mechilany's heritage as that of a Muslim writer has not yet become a subject of study and research in the country's science. His compositions are most completely presented in a two-volume collection published in Balkar language in Nalchik in 1989.