"Zhambyl is my real name, the People is my true name"

February 28 is the birthday of Zhambyl, a giant of poetry. Zhyrshy was born in 1846 at the foot of Mount Zhambyl.


Zhambyl Zhabaev is a singer and storyteller, zhyrshy, a poet, an outstanding personality of Kazakh poetry. He contributed to the development of the art of aytys and singing traditions for over a century. The poet witnessed many events of the Kazakh society and communicated them through his zhyrs (works) to the people.  He helped to inspire and support people in difficult times through his poems. In 1941, the Soviet Union consisting of 15 republics was suddenly attacked by Nazi Germany, and when men stood up to defend their country, Zhambyl took up his pen and encouraged them again with his fiery verses. The verses of the singer-songwriter, who defied the enemy with his pen, cheered in the midst of the Maidan, raising the spirit and will of the sons and daughters who were defending their country, their land.

Zhambyl was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labour and the Order of the Badge of Honour for his contribution to Kazakh national culture and literature. In 1941 he was awarded the Stalin Prize.

His best works were appreciated and translated into more than forty foreign languages.

"Zhambyl is the brightest and most talented singer of our era", wrote the great Kazakh writer Mukhtar Auezov. Russian Soviet poet Nikolai Tikhonov called him "the honour, the voice, the heart and the truth of his people".

Zhambyl Zhabayev's name was given to one region, several districts of Kazakhstan, a number of settlements, institutions and educational institutions, temples of art.  The Kazakh people have solemnly celebrated at the international level Zhambyl's 100th, 125th, 150th and 175th birthdays. This year marks the 176th anniversary of the poet's birth.

He devoted his life to the propaganda of universal values, the propaganda of justice and patriotism.  Legacy of the man who raised a banner of national word in the Great Steppe is a mirror of life history of Kazakh people.


Author: Moldir Adamzhan

Photos: from the press service archive

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