Through the eyes of the granddaughter, who didn’t have a chance to see him.

Жусуп портрет. 1933
Jusup. The portrait. 1933

“INSTEAD OF DEATH» (“AJAL ORDUNA” in Kyrgyz) is the name given by the 25-year-old author in the distant 1935 to the life-affirming drama about the tragic Chapter in the life of his people. The play telling about people’s confusion, about the Exodus of people from their homes to foreign land in 1916, was a resounding success! And no wonder: on the one hand the event was still fresh in the memory of the people, the audience saw on stage the drama that it had personally experienced. On the other hand, the author, playwright Jusup Turusbekov, was himself the eyewitness of those days: at 6 years of age he with his father and mother made all the way through the harsh mountain passes and snowy peaks to the foreign country where no one was waiting with open arms for him or his family. Together with the masses of people the child marched on his small feet all the way bleak to  Kashgar of China and back, and the parents could not stand the harsh transition, and passed away upon return to their place of origin – to the shores of the sparkling as if nothing had happened, Issyk-Kul lake. The orphan! What a fate awaits the boy, who lost his parents and has already learned the difficulties of life?

Short and bright destiny in a pivotal era, in times of significant and complex historical processes of the first half of the 20th century, in which he managed to become not just a spectator or a victim involved in the vortex of history, but took the place of an active participant in cultural events of his time, the place of the Builder and of the Creator.

At the age of 10 years, after wandering around the relatives, Jusup gets in a boarding school in Tyup, open for children left without parents on the site of a former monastery. And then, at the first contact of the future poet and playwright with literacy, he showed his unquenchable thirst for knowledge and his creative nature. He read much and deeply, not parting with books. So they say – those who were at school with him, and the villagers who remember him being with books in his hands wherever he appeared, all the time spent in summer in his native Koksay village. Poet was reading in all languages known by him: Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Tatar and Russian, which he learned at school.

The teenage orphan, who went through the cataclysms of the era and personal loss, took as happiness the opportunity to obtain education and create. These were the years when in Frunze, the capital of the Autonomous region and then an Autonomous Republic, began to emerge the first newspaper in the Kyrgyz language: “Erkin Too” in 1924 and “Leninshil Jas” in 1926. The editorial staff worked with a small team of professional staff, and the only news providers from the regions were “rabselcors” (workers rural correspondents), young voluntary reporters of newspapers, and Jusup was among them. And from that time on it always happened in his life, he was in the thick of life, where there is scope for creativity.

It is interesting that at a young age, not being protected by parental care, Jusup was already quite self-reliant and an independent person. He wrote in a newspaper article which ridiculed aristocratic habits of the heads of his educational institution, for which he was expelled from boarding school.

Кыргызмамбас, Киргосиздат, QЬRQЬZ MAMLEKET BASMASЬ, 1930-е г
Kyrgyzmambas, publishing house. QЬRQЬZ MAMLEKET BASMASЬ, 1930th

In search of justice, he arrived in 1928 in Frunze, the capital of the Kirghiz Autonomous Republic and got a job in the editorial staff of the newspaper “Leninchil Jas”. During these years, life in the capital was in full swing: new Newspapers and magazines were published, in 1926 founded the publishing house Kirghizmambas (Kyrgyz Mamlekettik basmasy – Kyrgyz Republican publishing house), enthusiasts created a music and drama Studio, which became a professional theater already in 1930, and later transformed into the State Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Jusup became a member of the literature club “Kyzyl Uchkun”, created in 1928 by Bazarkul Daniyarov, Sydyk Karachev, Kasym Tynystanov. Fellow writers were active members of the circle – the poet Mukai Elebaev, writer, Kasymaaly Jantoshev, Tashym Baijiev and others, almost all of them later left their own considerable literary and spiritual trail in the history. One can imagine the atmosphere of these meetings: live literature discussions, non-formal style, enthusiasm, inspirational faith in a brighter future, and a sense of the pioneers. If someone saw a movie of the Soviet era “Shine, Shine, my star”, he will know what feelings possessed Iskremases (Iskremas – the personage of the movie) in those early years. It was then the young poet had in print the first poems, then he became a part of a literary fraternity. As Jusup contemporaries wrote about him, the poet was actively working on his own works while honestly editing materials submitted to the journal. He oversaw the creative achievements of other poets and writers, and sincerely rejoiced in the success of colleagues.

Сов бюро коллектива ВЛКСМ при Тверской окружной совпартии
The team of Soviet Bureau of Komsomol at Tver region soviet party. Jusup is standing first on the left

His dream at this time was to continue education. That is why he happened to go to the city of Tver, to Soviet Party School, where the opportunity to study was opened and where he spent the years 1928-1931, continuing during the holidays his editorial work in the newspaper “Leninshil Jas”. To answer the friends’ question why he did not go the Literature Institute and whether he did not intend to write poetry, Jusup clearly explained: it is important to get an education that is the Supreme value, that is what matters and the rest is talent. New experience, new friends, difficulties of being far away from home without financial support combined with deeper acquaintance with the works of Mayakovski, being seized by Pushkin and Esenin and other great poets, all of these were not in vain. Jusup had returned as a mature person, actively involved in creative activities, was editor of the newspaper “Kyzyl Kyrgyzstan”, “Leninchil Jas”, publisher of “Kyrgyzmambas”, literary consultant in the writers’ Union and the Director of the Kyrgyz Republican drama. And he was at this time 22 – 24 years.

Жусуп жана Күлсүн. 1932
Jusup & Gyulsyun. 1932

At this time, Jusup married for love on the graduate of the Pedagogical school, Moldakhmatova Gyulsyun, with whom they became the parents of three children, giving the eldest daughter the name Lilya, in honor of the Muse of Mayakovski Lilya Brick.

It was at this time the collections of his poetry were published: “the Poetry of Jusup” (1932), “Joyful youth” (1933), “Selected” (1935), and later, “The homeland” (1939). The glorification of the creative work – that is the main topic of creations. His poems became songs. Abdylas Maldybaev, the young composer, in the future the recognized author of many musical works in different genres, composed music for a poem addressed to the girl “In a red scarf”, about the joy of working together with the girl and her beauty merging together, written without pathos, with the touch of humor, lending a lyricism and warmth of the subject. The song became popular and performed so far, and in addition to her and others – «The harvest Melody» (Terim kyusu), “Black-eyed” (Kara Koz). Approximately at this time he wrote the poem of a remarkable beauty – “Esimde”, to which the inimitable music written of Atay Ogonbaev, and performed for the first time by warm and lyrical Musa Baetov. The song is certainly among the most frequently performed and beloved up until now, the song where words and music are harmoniously connected to each other that made the song really popular. This song is forever inscribed in the history of authors of words and music.

Turning to the topic of free labor and changes in his native land, the poet experimented with the form and word. There is an influence of Mayakovski in the poem “Hey, land!” but this is not imitation, but rather the creative application of new skills to his native language. During these years, Jusup translated into Kyrgyz language the play “the Stone guest” of Pushkin “Little tragedies” series and also made other translations for Kyrgyz reader, for example, of Heinrich Heine.

In the works, addressed to children, poet in poetic form calls for the acquisition of knowledge.

"Ажал ордуна". Сцена из спектакля 1938 год
“Ажал ордуна”. Сцена из спектакля 1938 год “Instead of death”. The scene from 1938 performance

Own experiences, fellow countrymen inquiries, the exchange of ideas with fellow poets, many of whom had a similar fate, the work of a literary editor, literary discussions, painstaking work with words, the creative impulse – all of these led Jusup to the creation of mature work for stage about historical event, one of the largest in the twentieth century and in the life of the people – the rebellion of 1916, the Exodus to China and returning home – drama “INSTEAD OF DEATH”. Originally it was published work and theatrical performance with the musical accompaniment of Abdylas Maldybaev. However, the success of the play, the true interest of the viewer led to the fact that it was transformed in a musical drama. The music was written in creative collaboration of three composers – Abdylas Maldybaev, Vladimir Vlasov and Vladimir Fere. This variant was shown as one of the key events during the decade of the Kyrgyz art in Moscow in May 1939. It was a great success and then went off the scene for many years.

Within the same Decade of Kyrgyz arts the first Kyrgyz Opera “Aichurok” based on the Kyrgyz epic “Semetei” was on the stage. Already proven creative alliance of three composers Abdylas Maldybaev, Vladimir Vlasov and Vladimir Fere wrote music. The libretto was written by the creative cooperation of 3 co-authors –  Jusup Turusbekov, Kubanychbek Malikov and Joomart Bokonbaev.  More than 75 years passed by, while opera was periodically on the stage of the theatre, and up to this day it has a grateful audience.

Жусуп читает книгу детям. В светлом берете - дочь Лиля. На коленях - сыновья
Жусуп читает книгу детям. В светлом берете – дочь Лиля. На коленях – сыновья. Jusup is reading a book to children. I the light beret close to him – the beloved daughter Lilya. Sons on the knees. Right before the wae – spring of 1941

Jusup was already a famous poet and playwright in Kyrgyzstan when at the age of 31 in 1941 was mobilized to the front the great Patriotic war. He could use the exemption from conscription as a creative worker, but did not and were killed in battle in 1943.

On the battlefield he continues to write, and his poetry from the hot spots of the war went to the newspapers “Kyzyl Kyrgyzstan” (Red Kyrgyzstan) and “Leninchil Jas” (Lenin Youth). The fragment of his letter from the front preserved, where he asked his wife to send “Notepad, Notepad!»

Being at the front every day exposed to mortal danger in battle against the Nazi invaders, he wrote the poem “The Tragedy of the Robber,” with the idea that this war is a tragedy for Germany. A poem telling us that the German people in this war are the victims of interests and the greed of a handful of people. A work written in the trenches, the poet had sent from the front by field mail to the editorial office of the newspaper “Kyzyl Kyrgyzstan”, where before mobilization he was the editor. So, in the midst of the war it was published in No. 1 of 1942.

33 years, flying in a blink. Life, combining the hardships of fleeing people in a foreign country, return to their Homeland, a thirst for knowledge, love, family, friends, poets, beloved interesting work in a first print media of his native land, creative communication, protection of the Motherland from the enemy, heroic death on the battlefield. Life, witnessing the creativity, poetry, songs forever loved by people, deep historical drama about the life of the people, libretto of the first Kyrgyz Opera, translations of world masterpieces into the native language and the poetic voice of the defender of the Motherland.

Asel Daniyarova

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