Аннотация: When I see theft and dishonesty, I remember my mother. When someone wants to throw me off my path in their desire to line their pockets, I remember my mother.
The yellow moon slumbers behind the clouds. I look skyward as if into a dark forest.
Mother has lost her way somewhere among the stars and she lovingly looks down on me from the heavens.
All those years that passed and I remain the same. I don"t wait for fated miracles.
In the darkest hour - I have mother and she lovingly looks down on me from the heavens.
If the soul is full of autumn longing. I drive myself away from my familiar places.
Mother will ask God in my stead, after all, she lovingly looks down on me from the heavens.
The land where the modern city of Taraz has now taken root, was settled by people from time immemorial. This is evidenced by the preserved relicts of the past and even rock paintings and carvings.
Yet the history of the city of Taraz itself, which stood on the Great Silk Road extending from China to Europe, stretches back thousands of years.
The romantic name of Taraz is a symbol of weights and measures, equality and justice, has for many years, as one would like to believe, embodied the thoughts and aspirations of the tribes and peoples who lived on the endless expanses of Central Asia. Early written records left us clues about murderous wars, about building of irrigation canals and bridges, about crafts and trade, about the city"s exuberant flourishing era and its utter destruction by the armies of Genghis Khan.
At one time the capital of the medieval Karakhanid nation, the city of Taraz now laid in ruins for many centuries with neither its ruler nor its people.
It was only at the end of the 18th century that the warriors from the Kokand Khanate crossed the Tien Shan spur mountain range from the Fergana Valley and built a fortress here.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the first settlements occupied by Uzbek settlers from Namangan sprung up near the fortress. Among them were my grand... grand... parents. The Namangans were followed to the new lands by Uzbeks from Tashkent, Margilan and Ura-Tepa.
Thus a city quickly sprung up atop the ruins of ancient Taraz and acquired its new name of Aulie-Ata, which is translated as the Holy Elder.
The city was home to craftsmen and merchants. During the spring bazaars, the settled town-dwellers traded their goods for various livestock products from the nomad Kazakhs.
My ancestors built a mosque on the foundation of the medieval rulers" tomb and they diligently held their service until the very last days of the tragic massacre of priests and the faithful.
In 1864, Russia conquered and subjugated Aulie-Ata as well as many other cities within the Turkestan territory.
Troops entered the city and people began to be relocated on a massive scale from the European half of the country to the southern outskirts of the Russian empire.
New houses, military barracks, churches as well as wool and leather processing plants were built in the city.
Villages with Russian names sprung up on the lands surrounding the city: Rovnoe, Golovochevka, Mikhailovka, Lugovoe, Grodekovo, Pokrovka.
The Uzbek elders spoke well of the first Russian settlers, who endured many hardships and sorrows. They walked on foot and only a select few had wagons with feeble, panting horses. They walked for months and years, crossing lifeless steppes and semi-deserts. Many of them laid down their lives in empty, nameless recesses without making it to the bountiful southern lands. The names of the brave and courageous, the hardy and the skilled, names like Nikolai, Pyotr, Semyon, Mikhail, Alexei, Georgiy, Grigoriy and many others have been immortalised in the names of villages until this day.
The settlers took up residence on pristine lands by rivers and springs near some backwater roads. They quickly built up their life in their new place.
The local residents suddenly saw houses grow before their eyes, heretofore unknown houses with slanted roofs with chimneys that let out smoke when the weather began to cool.
The locals were especially amazed by the vegetables cultivated by the Russians: potatoes, tomatoes and cabbage, which were first sampled in secret and timidly by the youth, and then later approved by the elder generations as well.
The first settlers and their children were jacks-of-all-trades. They could saw huge trees into neat little planks, they made elegant horseshoes, miniature ploughs, shovels and pitchforks, metal hoops for wheels, barrels and kits. They were masters at their craft in the full sense of that word, building houses with open-work shutters and carved gates, church bell towers with striking patterns, ornamental chests as well as the pride and riches of the women - spoons, barrels and other household items. Formerly barren lands now saw wheat grow and gardens blossom. The Russian livelihood was improving and ever growing.
People began to live better and richer. Relations with the locals began to seem business-like. Neither side intervened in the private affairs of the communities. The Muslim mosque and the Christian church stood as peaceful neighbours, always tolerant towards each other.
Trade flourished. Goods began to arrive from Russia. Each Uzbek family tried to obtain the Russian wonder - the samovar.
But the idyllic life did not last long. After the sudden, violent death of the Russian Tsar in 1917, the Muslims claimed that some kind of demon took possession of the Christian souls. The locals felt that their minds had clouded and they began to burn and destroy their churches, killing each other. Soldiers in overcoats, with sabers and odd pointed hats with a red star a bit above the forehead immediately arrived on horseback to establish order. They confiscated homes and arrested the wealthiest of the villagers. Others had their cows, calves and horses taken away. New leaders appeared in leather jackets and jodhpurs. The remaining downtrodden villagers were told that the enemies of the people were gone now and a new life will begin without the Tsar and without God.
They also disposed of the religious Muslim ministers at the same time. Mosques were closed. Religious rites were prohibited. All spiritual ministers who could read the Quran, including my mother"s father, were secretly arrested one night and sent to the oblast centre of Chimkent. None of them ever returned...
"God has gravely punished us for our sins by sending drought and hunger to our land," those of the Orthodox faith repented. In 1933-1934, packs of hungry dogs began to wander the desolate villages.
The jackals would dig out graves and eat any remains. Women became widows, children became orphans and families were left without their breadwinners. The hunger took many a thousand Russians, Uzbeks and Kazakhs.
My mother"s parents were originally from an ancient Uzbek settlement that comfortably nested into the mountain-side landscape of the Fergana Valley. "There, on the other side of the mountains, that"s where your house, your courtyard and your land lies. Remember! In a place called Almas there is a mosque with a spring that flows in the yard with holy fish. This is the mosque of your ancestors. And the fourth courtyard from the main entrance to the temple is our house," my grandmother on my mother"s side would often tell me.
We called my mother"s mother Katta Oii. She came to the holy Aulie-Ata to be with her family before she was fourteen years old. She was soon married off to the spiritual minister of the city mosque whose ancestors were also from Almas. My mother was born into a religious family here, in a typical Asian house surrounded by high fences. From her early childhood she was taught how to work and be obedient.
My mother knew how to read and write Arabic, she embroidered well, prepared the most delicious eastern dishes and radiated beauty. Her name was Habibahon. From the time when she was six years old, my mother wore a niqab and no stranger could see her face. After she was married, she spend the majority of her life in a different yet much the same closed off courtyard and that"s where my elder sister Muharamhon, my younger brother Shukurzhon and me were born.
Our parent"s courtyard consisted of two parts. The first part was called Ichkari or the inner court. This was where the main house was situated with its spacious rooms and large windows.
The rooms had various niches where, as if on display, coloured teapots, bowls and china plates were neatly placed. There were two enormous niches - Mehrob - in the main wall opposite the main entrance that held two brightly-coloured chests with musical locks. Neatly folded and layered multi-coloured down quilts and fluffy decorated pillows were placed on top of these chests.
A large oval mirror with a carved frame found its place between the niches. There was also a cabinet with glass doors and pullout drawers that locked with a key.
It held dinnerware with especially beautiful gilded decorations as well as my mother"s golden rings, bracelets and earrings. The floors in the rooms were traditionally earthen.
Woven reed flooring would be laid on the earth. Then it was covered with a thick woolen felt. And in the main big room, the felt would then be covered with a beautiful Iranian carpet.
The house was adjoined by a summer kitchen and in the far corner of the courtyard, behind fragrant rose bushes, hid the cleanly-swept eastern toilet with all the necessities and a separate run-off pit for draining soapy water after washing and bathing. The centre of the courtyard was taken by my grandfather"s lush vegetable garden that was surrounded by my mother"s delicate flowers, which bloomed from early spring until late fall. The inner court could only be accessed by a gate after passing through the outer court, Tashkari. The outer court held the separate living room, kitchen, stable and other buildings.
You could walk or ride into the Tashkari through the large massive gate with a metal lock.
Apart from this courtyard, we also had my grandfather"s summer house with a fruit orchard and a vineyard. Conversation in our house was akin to that of a high society, built on mutual respect and equality. Young and old alike talked together in a friendly manner and only by using the plural, more respectful "you". Requests were voiced like favours. No one would ever, under any circumstances talk negatively about someone else.
Before the 1941-1945 War, we had many relatives. I counted about eight cousins and stepbrothers just on my mother"s side. These were my uncles on my mother"s side. I had a lot more uncles on my father"s side. And my aunts were innumerable.
My grandfather on my father"s side had three brothers. The youngest grandmother had a sister and a brother. All of these relatives including their wives, children and grandchildren made up one big family where special affection, love, support and mutual assistance reigned supreme.
My earliest childhood memories are filled with celebration. Our court would often be bursting with guests. Our relatives were as happy to see each other as if they hadn"t seen one another for years.
Hugs, kisses, smiles and laughter were a time-honoured tradition. Delicious bread would be baked outside in the tandoor in the court, fragrant jam would be made inside large copper kettles and tea would be heated up in a large samovar, polished to perfection.
Terrible news and panic burst into our houses unexpectedly. Enormous black loudspeakers, installed on the tall pole near the market, began to announce the treacherous attack and the beginning of the war for all to hear.
The city emptied instantly. Men went to war. The faces of the women, the elders and the youth were crestfallen. Everyone awaited the worst with terror.
And it did not take long to arrive. The first messages from the front came home, "Your son (husband) heroically laid down his life..."
Every morning, families would fearfully wait for the postman and his letters. The small letter, the letter, dubbed by the people as the death letter, spared no one. We would learn of its arrival by the harrowing, heart-wrenching screams of young and old voices, carried from the court where another sorrow had just settled in. Neighbours and relatives immediately went and joined them and everyone mourned for a great number of hours.
The loud screams of the women and the wails calling upon God from frail grannies mixed with the children crying and coalesced into one drawn-out howl that would at times fade and at others flare up with new vigor as new relatives would arrive. Then the elders would appear and among them a surviving Mullah who could say prayers. The mourners would go quiet for some time. The Arab prayer would flow like a song and only after the Mullah would utter Omin, the sitting mourners would repeat Il-lya-ha Omin, turning the palms of their hands and holding them like an open book before their face.
Then the Mullah would continue his appeal to God in Uzbek and ask for a place in heaven for those innocents who left this world, and long years for their relatives and children... The prayer would end with a loud Al-la-hu Akbar, which was repeated by all those present. In but a moment, the hoarse female wailing would resume and this would go on for a long time as new mourners would arrive.
The elders tried to calm them down, tell them not to cry, but this didn"t always help. The mourning rites for those who died on the front lines were carried out as scrupulously as for those who died at home. The mourning and public prayers happened on the first, the third, the seventh, the tenth, the twentieth and the fortieth days. The one year anniversary would be observed separately.
All close relatives would be clad in dark clothes for that year and sorrow would forever grace their face. The sorrow also shortened the life of those who were still living. The letter did not spare our family either. My eldest grandmother could not handle the grief and departed this life. My grandfather soon followed. The courtyard emptied. The roofs began to leak. There was no one left to prepare firewood for the winter.
Custom dictated that only the men would go to the market and purchase produce for the family. Now these responsibilities were divided between my younger grandmother and my mother. My grandmother sold her house with the garden and we were able to live off this money for a while.
The winters were cold. We made it through by warming up in the traditional Asian manner, in the so-called sandal. The sandal is a small rectangular recess inside the house that is covered by a short wooden table with a down blanket. Wood would be burned in the courtyard and the hot coals from the fire would then be carried inside this makeshift furnace where they continued to smoulder and warm our legs and our hearts.
Sad news would arrive constantly. Out of all of my mother"s relatives, only one came back from the war, heavily wounded and shell-shocked. All men on my father"s side died. Life turned into ongoing funerals. My mother took me with her to every wake and her tears and her cries have been eternally burned into my memory.
Time came for me to go to school. My mother opened the musical chests and took out a bright taqiyah, light summer sandals, a light dress shirt, coloured pencils and notebooks. These chests stored many of the things that kept me going until I became of age as well as the things that served as my sister"s dowry.
When the cold came around, my mother pawned off her jewellery and bought us clothing. She bought me a warm short overcoat with a fur collar, a winter fur hat, boots and candy. Grief and misfortune came at us from all sides. My mother suddenly fell ill. For the first time she could not get up in the morning and asked us to make tea ourselves. Horribly cold days would not let up. The bone-chilling wind would continue its relentless offensive.
For the entire day before she got sick, my mother baked hot bread outside and she caught a terrible cold. She was running a high fever. The doctors diagnosed pneumonia, but the shots and the medicine didn"t help. The fever continued. Mother started to be delirious. She moaned and called our names... My brother and I lied at the corner of the sandal buried into a single pillow. Every night my mom was surrounded by older women who slowly uttered prayers in a low voice.
My mother repeated some words in a whisper. One day she came to and asked the younger grandmother and us to approach her. We surrounded her, sitting on our knees. She opened her eyes slightly and looked over all of us. Her eyes brimmed over with tears. Closing her eyes again, she was quiet for a long time, and then she began to speak, "All people come into this world by the will of the Creator for a trial... People who are leaving this world must repent their sins and ask for forgiveness... You know our neighbour, the old Russian named Maskayev. Ask him to forgive me for my sin... This summer when there was a strong wind, several ripe peaches fell from his garden into our yard. Early in the morning I gathered them into a small bucket and left them in the kitchen. I hoped that when a man of family line would come home I would be able to give the peaches back to their owner... But I couldn"t... My children did not know about this and ate them... This is my carelessness and my sin. And another thing... at the green market, to the left of the entryway there is an older blacksmith with a grey beard. I bought a metal scoop for ash from him and I did not have enough small coins. I owe him two tanga. I intended to bring it back to him, but then I fell sick... Ask him for forgiveness and return my debt."
Mother spoke slowly. Then she fell asleep, repeating several times, "God will forgive... God will forgive..."
I was awakened by the shrill scream of my sister... "Mother, who are you leaving us with?"
"Quiet... quiet... you can"t... it"s still night," my grandmother said, sobbing. I was quickly being clothed into something new. Uncle Dadazhan had arrived. He lifted me from the ground and I was suddenly in the saddle in front of him.
The horse quickly trotted us along the houses of our relatives and friends. I recognised many of them. My mother took me here for wakes. It was the dead of night. Everyone was still asleep. The entry gates were closed. My uncle stubbornly knocked with the handle of the whip. A dim kerosene lamp would light up inside the courtyard and a hoarse elder woman"s voice could be heard.
"It"s me, Dadazhan. Me and Abrolhon came to tell you that my niece Habibahon has left us and departed for the other world," my uncle would proclaim loudly and we would move on, leaving behind screaming and crying relatives.
Dawn began to break. We arrived at the gates of the green market and without much difficulty found the blacksmith with the white beard who had just opened his stall and began to make a fire in the stove. We were in a hurry. My uncle tied the horse and loudly greeted the owner. "Welcome, may peace and serenity be upon you," the blacksmith replied and extended his palms folded together to me and my uncle.
After exchanging handshakes they lightly grazed their cheeks with their hands and stroked the ends of their beards. I attempted to follow suit. "I"ll make tea," the blacksmith bustled about. "No need to worry, we are in a hurry," my uncle began his speech. "The daughter of the renowned town Mullah, išаn Saithan, the mother of the present Abrolhon, our beloved niece Habibahon asks for your forgiveness and asked for us to repay her debt for the metallic ash scoop that she purchased from you," my uncle uttered his long speech and then added, "By the will of the Almighty, she departed this world today."
"Oh God!" cried the blacksmith and threw up his hands. Right away he crouched down and began a prayer with wishes for a place in heaven for my mom. After he finished his prayer, the old smith wiped his tears and let us know of his own sorrow, that he has been left all alone without helpers and his two sons died on the front lines. "Before God and before you I hereby proclaim three and a thousand times that I forgive the debt of two tanga and you do not have to repay them to me," the hunched man with the white beard stated. "Thank God, thank you for your forgiveness. But you must accept the two tanga from the hands of her son," my uncle said and he handed me the two 20-kopeck coins.
I extended my hands with the coins to the smith. He hesitated, but then took my shaking hands, kissed them and broke down while hugging me. I burst into tears.
When we returned home, our courts were filled to the brim. In the inner Ichkari court, the women were sobbing vehemently. The older men and adolescents crowded the outer Tashkari court. My uncle called my sister and brother from the Ichkari. We knocked on the door of our neighbours Maskayev and timidly entered their court. My sister held my younger brother in her hands and cried, I was holding onto my sister and cried too. My uncle asked for forgiveness for our mother and ourselves. The old Maskayev was crossing himself and wiping away tears.
Everything suddenly went quiet. Men carried the brightly decorated funeral bed with my mother"s body on their shoulders from the Ichkari and set it down near the entrance. The farewell ritual prayer was said. The gates opened. I was placed at the front. We headed towards the Tunkurush cemetery. I walked with a stick in hand. I was wearing a multi-coloured, striped national dress, taqiyah and new boots.
The years run along, increasing their pace as they go. It"s no wonder they say that "time flies".
I"m now an old man, my granddaughters are 17 and my grandson is 21. We will be celebrating my eldest daughter"s 50th birthday this year. We have already celebrated mine and my wife"s "golden anniversary" with our friends and family.
Of course, there are a lot of memories. I can describe the path travelled like a mountain road, treacherous and bumpy. We followed our path without turning off and without stopping. There were many obstacles and just as many temptations to travel sections of the road by dishonesty and deception. But every time the temptations revealed themselves, a holy image of my mother would appear in front of me.
I am indebted to my mother"s and my ancestors" genes for my worldly outlook, which I can put into the following words: "When I see theft and dishonesty, I remember my mother. When someone wants to throw me off my path in their desire to line their pockets, I remember my mother."
. My family is my wealth and treasure
About The Author - Abrol Kakharov
- Engineer-Mining, Ph. D, Professor. http://auroral.narod.ru/ Phone. (416) 364-4381, firstname.lastname@example.org
- 2010 Consultant in Accra republik of Gana
- 2009 Gen. Consultant Comp. Sunsara Sarl Republic Cote d"Ivoire
- 2000 Gold Mining corp. " Abrol-aka". Expert and Consultant in Yukon, Guyana, Russia, Peru, Chili, Republic Cote d'Ivoire
- 1994-97. Professor at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
- 1991-94. Director Marjanbulak Gold Mine, Uzbekistan.
- 1994-85. Research Fellow and Professor Academy of Sciences, Uzbekistan.
Mining group and Bioorganic Chemistry Institute.
- 1972-85. Director UzbekGold Corporation, Uzbekistan.
- 1967-72. Director Uranium and Gold Mines, Uzbekistan.
- 1994 The University of World Economy and Diplomacy. Received formal title Professor of Economics and Management. Moscow, USSR.
- 1982 Moscow Central Certification Committee of the USSR. Received Doctorate degree in gold mining (Economics and Management)
- 1969 Economy Institute, Candidate of Science. Uzbekistan
- 1959 Middle Asian Polytechnic Institute, Diploma in Mining Engineering. Uzbekistan
Publication and patents :
- USSR Patent # A.C. 153533 'C'. More then 60 articles and 3 books.
Awards and decoration:
- Awarded 5 decorations from the Government of the former USSR and Uzbekistan.