16 April 2003, 01:06

Kachaev, Omahan

Kachaev, Omahan (or Uma-khan, first half of 19th century - 1900), Lak mystic poet. Pen name - Darvish. Born in Kumukh, Dagestan, in a family of dynastic warlords of Kazi-Kumukh khanate. Omahan Kachaev's great grandfather, Kacha, was famous as a hero participated in resistance to the Persian intruder Nadir-shah (1736-1747); his grandfather had a fame of a wise man and enjoyed much authority among the fellow residents; his father, Zakarya, was a major squire. A family library was kept in the house - textbooks on rhetoric, divans by Abu-l-'Ala' al-Ma'arri, Kamal Hodjandi, Hafiz, and Fizuli, Mesnevi by Djalal ad-din Rumi, Ikhya' 'ulum ad-din by al-Gazali, al-Futukhat al-makkiya by Ibn 'Arabi, a major Arab mystic philosopher. Omahan Kachaev received theological education. There is a story that during a fight between the Kachaevs and their rival family, Omahan Kachaev at the age of 12 killed a man and received a dagger wound, remaining lame and scar-faced. Several years later, before committing a hajj, he came to the feudists and reconciled with them. After a two-year pilgrimage, Omahan Kachaev returned to Kumukh. Later, he was accused of belonging to the 1877 uprising and exiled to Usman (now in Lipetsk Region) where he spent two years. There, Omahan Kachaev took the mysticism path, his teacher is unknown though. He called imam al-Gazali (d. 1111) and 'Abd al-Kadir al-Gilani (d. 1166), the eponym of Al-kadiriya order, which entitles researchers to consider Omahan Kachaev a follower of this order's ideology.

Omahan Kachaev led an ascetic way of life, committed the ritual of 40-day seclusion (khalva), fasted year around, with the exception of uraza-bayram and kurban-bayram holidays. Wrote prose in Arabic and poetry in Lak language. While being in exile, Kachaev created a poetry collection, rewrote it in seven copies, and sent to Dagestan to his four sons and three daughters.

Omahan Kachaev's compositions are characterized with both typological commonness with Turkic-Arabic-Persian poetry tradition and individualistic originality: ghazals are written in syllabic white verse introducing a redif. A part of them became folklore songs. Motives of seclusion and indifference to the world are principal in Omahan Kachaev's creations; along with them sound the themes of exiled poet's melancholy for the left homeland, of courage, humanity, and love lyrics. The saturation of contents and thought sharpness make his poetry close to the folkloric genre of aphorism.

Omahan Kachaev is buried in his family cemetery in Kumukh. Two manuscript Darvish's Divan collections of his were kept by his great grandson; manuscripts of his other works are kept in private collections. The persona and art of Omahan Kachaev remain under-researched in scientific literature.

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