Гульсифат Шахиди

Страна : Таджикистан

Я, Гульсифат Гаффоровна Шахиди, родилась 1 января 1955 года в семье экономистов Гаффора и Масруры Саттаровых. Является журналистом, литературоведом, прозаиком. Выпускница отделения журналистики Таджикского Госуниверситета. Медалистка, Ленинская стипендиатка, кандидат филологических наук. По книгам Шахиди Гульсифат проводились Литературные и Творческие вечера в Лондоне, Москве, Нью-Йорке, Вашингтоне, Стокгольме, Кембридже, Минске, Калининграде, Суворове, Душанбе, Тель-Авиве. Член Союза писателей России и Евразийской творческой гильдии. Живёт и работает в Москве и Лондоне. Супруга известного таджикского композитора Толибхон Зиядуллаевич Шахиди (род 1946), мать троих сыновей и десятерых внуков.

После успешного окончания (красный диплом) университета начинает свою творческую деятельность в Душанбе, где работает корреспондентом Молодёжной республиканской газеты. Затем поступает в аспирантуру и успешно защищает диссертацию на тему таджикско-русских литературных связей 20-30-х годов прошлого века. На основании диссертации написала научно-популярный очерк. По окончании аспирантуры работает зав. группой синхронного перевода Парламента Республики Таджикистан. Последующие годы работает в Москве и Душанбе редактором, а затем заведующим радио и телевидения таджикского филиала МГТРК «Мир». Выпустила несколько радио и телепрограмм, сюжеты и клипы. Позже начала свою литературную деятельность. Написала и выпустила десять книг, большое количество статей, рецензий и отзывов.

Country : Tajikistan

Цикл статей

The Great Men of the Tajik People

Since ancient times, there has been a tradition with the Tadjik people: when a child is born, a handwritten volume of the wisdom of the centuries – the original text of the Quran or the book of ghazals by Hafiz, who recited the Quran in verse, is placed under the child’s head. It is believed that this helps a child to grow up wise in life and inspired in creative activity.

Such belief in the power of a written source is not accidental. Not many places could be found on the earth, where so many greatest scientists and poets, talented artists and architects were born. Their names occupy more than one page. But even a few names give an idea on ​​the spiritual highness of the people. Scientists Avicenna, Al-Khorezmi, Al-Farabi and Al-Beruni, such first-rate stars (according to Goethe) like Rudaki, Firdousi, Khayyam, Rumi, Saadi, Hafiz, Jami, the masters of artistic creativity Borbad, Mani, Behzod are known far away outside of ancient Sogd, the state of Samanids and Mavrennakhr (Transoxiana) – the main territory of modern Central Asia. One can argue about the details of the biography of each of the greats, but one fact is indisputable: the native language of these and many not-mentioned classics of world culture is Persian.

The ancient science of the East has served as the basis for the development of many areas of natural science and philosophy. Three pillars of science were well known: Al-Khorazmi (YIII-IX cc.), who discovered the fundamental canons of arithmetics and algebra and had a great influence on the development of mathematics in Western Europe; Al-Biruni (IX-X cc.) – the philosopher who commented on Aristotle and was given the name of the Second Teacher (i.e. the second after Aristotle); and, of course, Avicenna, who considered himself a student and a successor of the great scholars of the West and the East and who really was such, because he summed up and developed the experience of Greek, ancient Roman, Indian and Asian scientists in his book “Canon of Medicine”.

Medieval Europe got acquainted with that masterpiece of medical science already in the XII century, as soon as it was translated into Latin and for five centuries it had been a theoretical and practical guide for European doctors. The acute need for the book “Canon of Medicine” was the reason that it was published in Venice in 1483 and then was republished several times. The belles-letters and philosophical writings of Avicenna had a great influence on the subsequent development of the literature of the peoples of the East and the West. The motives of his belles-letters and philosophical narratives can be found even in “A Divine Comedy” by Dante, who mentioned him as an outstanding thinker.

Omar Khayyam is known in Europe as a poet – the master of quatrains, a jovial and a free-thinker, the laconic poems of whom combine the depth, the elegance of form and rare wit with astonishing zest for life. But not everyone knows that Omar Khayyam is first and foremost an outstanding astronomer, a mathematician, the author of a mathematical discovery, which has been rediscovered afterwards and named Newton’s binomial, an author of an unsurpassed in accuracy even in our times calendar, a wise Aristotle-successor philosopher.

A poetic word was not only a way to express one’s own inspirational thoughts and to concentrate the age-old wisdom of the people for Oriental masters of the pen, but also an important means of educating people and influencing the powerful men. Therefore, for example, Rudaki (IX-X centuries) was not only a poet, the founder of Tajik-Persian literature, but also a tutor: he was called with respect “an Ustod” (a teacher). And he is called like that till now. The poets of the East were mentors not only in their creative activity. A great poet, a philosopher Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi (XIII century) raised and educated his son – later on the founder of Turkish poetry Sultan Valad, and the wise and sedate Jami (XY century), being a poet, a philosopher, a philologist, a musicologist, became a teacher and a mentor for the founder of Uzbek literature Alisher Navoi.

Goethe highly appreciated Tajik-Persian poetry. Being inspired by it, he created a book of poetry “West-Eastern Divan” (a Persian name for a collection of poems). Ithad a great influence on European literature, on the formation of fiction interest in Eastern poetry and poetics. That has become possible because Tajik-Persian poetry is not only literature, but also wisdom and knowledge, it is a textbook of life, and everyone can find something very valuable, cherished in it. To do this, one needs a little (according to a wording by Pushkin), it is to truly understand the “truth of the ancient East.”

No Matter Where You Come From, It Matters Who You Are

There is probably no other such language in the world, in which there would be so many local lingos, dialects and parlances. For example, when I arrive from a planned trip to my beloved Dushanbe, many of my friends meet me, and everyone inquires: ‘Chi heli, chitu shum, nazmi-mi, chi hol dori, sozi, tinchi, citaroi, tuzuk haid-mi’, etc., and etc. And all this means just one thing – ‘how are you’, or ‘how do you feel’? Although, currently one dialect dominates, being now understandable to everyone. You might think that people begin speaking closer to literary language, but no, in usual conversation, young people use mostly southern dialect in the street and in everyday life.

This is how my city meets me every time with a variety of dialects, as well as with the multitude of changes and the multicolor brilliance of nature uniqueness. Like warm summer breeze spreads the petals of unique mountain flowers all over the world, in the same way many of us have been spread by our Tajik land around the world. Many of them currently live in different parts of the world, and unite into diasporas. But everyone is looking forward to meeting with their native land.

When passing each time along the main avenue of the city, you notice how the city is transformed. Everything is changing, but my favorite middle alley pleases as always, because it does not change (although it is now stuffed with a lot of advertisements) and has been the main place for so many years, where we meet our best friends, go to date our loved ones, we see respected elderly people “aksakals” – or ‘Ustods (teachers), recollect the past … Every time I pass near the alley, I always give my word that I will come here the first thing.

The city is changing, people are changing. And this I feel it especially keenly, when I go to the weddings of my friends or relatives. Once, when choosing a bride or a groom, many questions arose, concerning from which region, district, locality, and sometimes even a bystreet (!) the candidates come from. And any other nationality was utterly out of the question. And besides, the genealogy was studied, of what kinship the person was, his caste, etc. If a guy fell in love, the relatives at home immediately asked, where she came from. When a guy from the north of the country married a southerner, or vice versa – such cases were rare, and not very welcomed by relatives, friends and especially neighbors. Though laugh-making, but it was really that way. Now everything has changed, and although they still ask habitually, where from a bride or a groom comes from, everyone has become accustomed to the fact that young people do not care about this. And as the great Rumi said, it does not matter that you are from the North, from the South, from the West or the East, the main thing is that you have Love for a person in your heart!

Actually, I am happy that I have many such faithful and sincere friends. They are all from different regions, cities, countries. I cannot imagine my life without their participation. Wherever we live, we are united by the main thing – sincere love for our Fatherland, for its capital – our home-city Dushanbe.

Real Paradise is Lost Paradise

The great Jalaluddin Rumi said: ‘The sweetness and enjoyment of a place of rest are proportional to the troubles of a journey. Only then you would begin to enjoy your hometown and kinsfolk, when you have experienced the tortures of the life in exile.

Have you ever thought that everything in life is repeated? While we are young, we are careless, talking more about the future. And when we become adults, especially when the first gray hair appears, when ailments and hard experience accumulate over the years, we look back more. And it seems to us that it was then, in the past, that everything was fine. Nostalgia is a special kind of person’s state – the state, which is fundamentally important for comprehending one’s own life, one’s own destiny, one’s position in society. This state comes gradually, as if sneaking, gradually – a person, facing the past years, suddenly finds himself in a crowd of acquaintances and strangers, who have gathered due to some sad event … After leaving Motherland home, we often think that now everything will be better, and we feel happy. But alas! Happiness is not reality, but only reminiscences. On finding himself in a foreign country, not everyone finds understanding and not always compassion, and sometimes some persons face even hostility and intolerance. Homesickness becomes more and more tangible. But culture still takes its course, in case this is the real need of the society. Tolerance is a wonderful topic for various kinds of projects and conferences. This is good, but in everyday life we, unfortunately, do not feel it, especially in CIS countries… It so happened that on Ramadan holiday I was in London. Before the holiday ‘Ramadan’ I went shopping to a huge supermarket ‘Azda’ (this was a global network of American supermarkets) and saw the following picture: above each cashier, over each grocery department there was a big poster with an oriental landscape and the words “Id Muborak!”. I remember that on the 40th anniversary of a newspaper “Vechorka”, a video clip with “A Song of Dushanbe” composed by Alexander Zatsepin was shown, which had been professionally made by Iranian cameraman Mehdi Naini on the order of the newspaper chief editor. This video clip was included into Internet site “YuoTube”, and was watched by a large audience of listeners – about 12 thousand people. Many people left their comments: “I had a lump in my throat”; “It’s filmed with love, thank you!”; “Ich liebe my Heimatsland, I love you, my native Dushanbe”; “Thanks to the author. I miss my homeland a lot. I look and feel heavy in my heart”; “It’s very nice! Zinda bosh, ey vatan!” Returning to homeland is always pleasant, even through a clip in Internet, you always feel longing for home, and positive recollections do not leave you. Kamol Khujandi, a famous medieval poet, having left his homeland, began to write touchingly charming poems about his native land, and left a whole cycle of ghazals “Garibi” for us. And the great Saadi, having spent half of his life in wandering, left wonderful gazelles about the love for his native sources. But, my friends, in order not to be so sick at heart and sad, let us recollect careless folklore. They say that time-tested proverbs are irrefragable… Here, for example, “who remembers the past, loses the sight!” (an idiom with the meaning “let bygones be bygones’. Why so? Maybe, it is a painful condition to feel nostalgia, to feel homesick, to be sad? Or still a person cannot live without bright and aching sadness? And another proverb says more cheerfully: “it’s all over the hills now, and sin is to be divided in half”. Marcel Proust, a French poet, a philosopher and the “apologist” of nostalgia, said simply and clearly: “Real paradise is lost paradise!”

Time Contrasts

           When I walk over my native Dushanbe, I think about the greatness of the most famous representatives of classical arts. I feel delighted with the music of genius and bright Mozart, the creations of Michelangelo or of frantic Dali, I recall the lines from the poetry by Firdousi and Shakespeare, the rubaiyt ​​of jolly Omar Khayyam – the quatrain poetry about life and death, and I try to stop this moment. In my dreams, they are all my supporters, friends, mentors.

          A fancy car that drove at speed over a loose after a shower road brought me back to reality, because it doused me with dirty water and rushed away. As if it had fulfilled someone’s task. The contrast struck my heart: my dreams and this dirt. How could I revenge to that careless driver? To shake my fist to follow him after? It would be stupid. Well, God be with him. As Nietzsche considered, “There is as much egoism in generosity as there is in revenge, only this egoism of different quality”.

         The most crowded crossing at the center of Dushanbe, the corner of Rudaki Avenue and the House of Press is known to all the citizens and even to the guests of the capital. This is a kind of brand. Here they sell the most valuable food product of the city population: pan-cakes, and now it is business, that is why the food product is sold with extra charge.

          Once, I was buying bread, and next time two untidy boys scolded at each other with very bold and revoltingly gross expletive in Tajik. I stopped their talk and requested not to bastardize our native language. I advised to read the books of Hafiz, Rudaki, Pushkin, our contemporary writer Mirzo Tursunzade. To my question, whether they knew who Pushkin was, I immediately heard the answer: “Alexander Sergeevich”. I was agreeably surprised, because I did not expect such a quick reaction from the boys, who seemed to me to be homeless and hungry.

           I remember well my childhood and youth impressions from meetings with the contemporary poet Mirzo Tursunzade. He and my father walked in the courtyard of our houses in Sviridenko Street (now it is Bukhoro Street). As if I hear even now his amazing stories about Tajik-Persian poetry! The timbre of his voice was soft, melodic, especially when reading genius eastern classics.

             In the early eighties of the already previous century, during the festival ‘The Days of Soviet Literature’ dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Honoured Poet of Tajikistan Mirzo Tursunzade, I was present at the opening of his house-museum. I was entrusted to conduct the first excursion with the guests, the famous figures of world literature. Here, I met with Chingiz Aitmatov, an outstanding Soviet writer, who noted with admiration during our conversation that he had just been in the homeland village of Mirzo Tursunzade called Karatag. He was struck by the fact, that old and young people recited by heart the poems written by Rudaki, Ferdowsi, Khayyam, Hafiz, Saadi, Rumi, Jami, as well as by modern poets. “Surprisingly, there were gray-haired old men with no education, and children of preschool age among them,” Chingiz Torekulovich Aitmatov said in amazement.

          A blank sheet of paper may absorb everything: history, treatises, poetry and prose, musical heritage. But a man, the most tragic and happy creation, cannot in any way assimilate the experience of historical collisions, paradoxical phenomena in the relationship of civilizations. I was fortunate to attend the meetings and discussions of my mentors: Vohid Asrori, Goib Kalandarov and Otakhon Latifi, to listen to their opinions expressed at discussing philosophical topics.

         John Updike, a well-known American writer, called Soviet readers ‘amazing people’ in one of TV shows. He was amazed that people read books in the park on a bench, in an elevator, and in Subway, and evening concerts of poetry with participation of such famous poets as Yevtushenko and Akhmadulina could not accommodate all striving spectators in the 60s.

          The world of electronics and Hollywood impose American way of life upon us, at the same time destroying something very quivering in our souls. Philosophers reflect on this, publish treatises, referring to the experience of history. They believe that culture is only a thin apple peel over the red-hot chaos of life. And people on the Earth continue ‘to die for metal treasures’.

         … Those boys at Dushanbe intersection guiltily pronounced “mebahshi” (‘sorry’), and then confidently uttered the name of Russian genius “Alexander Sergeevich” (Pushkin).

          Of late, Russian writer Dostoevsky emphasized in Pushkin the quality of “reincarnation of his spirit into the spirit of foreign peoples.” Read his “The Eucharist to Koran” and feel the high morality of the writer. Goethe’s thoughts about Khayyam and Hafiz are also consonant to the thought. Isolated existence of peoples and cultures is fiction today. That is why the generic consciousness of mankind is returning in a new way, as well as the time for myth reinterpretation.

           “The more we move away from Soviet era, the more we see that this is not an accidental phenomenon in world history,” Chingiz Aitmatov said in one of his interviews.

           Nietzsche, a German writer, suddenly said, seemingly entangled in his arguments about a man, about God, about religions:

To live some proper rightful life, 

You should be higher, than your being.

So, learn to rise yourself,

To stare from above at living.

             I asked a taxi driver once: “Why do you speak to me using pronoun ‘you’ in singular (with little respect)?” He carelessly answered to me: “And are two in number to name you in plural?”

             That episode has brought me to the conclusion that our minds are confused, not because knowledge has turned the world upside down, but because we cannot reconcile with this transformational change. We are not psychologically prepared for the secret of the connection of times. Someone, in order to comprehend this secret, hastens the future, rushes forward. Someone turns his attention exclusively to the past. Ideals are more convenient to project on those ones that have been at least partially implemented before. In the search for truth, mankind does not find proper answers. Boris Slutsky, a Russian poet, wrote:

Sooner, I or may be later disappear to another world,

But unfinished speculations won’t stop together with my mort.

They were started long ago, hundreds years fore my birth,

And will last for long and longer, will continue on the Earth.

         … The rain stopped, it became coolly and sunny, I decided not to remember about that smart car, which so quickly slipped past, splashing mud over me.

“How Wonderful it is to Live. How Badly We Live … “

                 The global world begins with personal one.

                 Once, I arrived to Moscow by a plane crowded with migrant workers called “Gastarbeiters”. What a word it is?! When I went out through customs, I saw, how they stopped a young guy, who could not speak a word in Russian. It seemed that his documents were in order. I had to become a translator for a while. Otherwise, my countryman would have to prove that he was him for a long time. The guy was just happy with the unexpected help, and I was very sad because of him.

               Victor Pelevin, a well-known Russian writer, reflecting on the norm of happiness that a person should have in life, argued that no matter what happened, that portion happiness could not be taken away. One may talk on what is good and what is bad, only when you know, at least, how and why a person is formed. And do the reasons of that happiness matter for us, if the happiness itself produced by souls is similar?

             Sooner or later, everyone thinks about the meaning of his existence. Many cannot solve this difficult question. Thanks God, there are those who build a temple in their soul. For them, the main thing in life is to understand the thesis ‘I‘ll see you off, and I’ll be seen off by others’.

            Time is the space between an action and its result. Everyone, whose life is rich in action and deeds, knows the way it is fleeting. A plane full of young people who, in search of their daily bread, go to the unknown – this picture remains in memory for a long time. The guy, who spoke an incomprehensible dialect in his native language and could not explain for a long time, where his surname was in his passport, and where his name was, changed his quiet native mountain village for a cruel and unpredictable metropolis in search of happiness. So, by whom and what for is a man created? And again, Omar Khayyam’s question comes to my mind: “Who are we, and where are we from?”

           He sadly replied to my question ‘Where are you going to without any professional skills?’, that poverty forced him to go to distant lands. His father was killed, and his mother was to take care of 10 children. His elder brother came to Moscow two years ago to work and they lost contact with him. There is no work there, at home, and if there is, then very little money is paid. “All hope for my assistance,” he finished his sad story.

           Later, I had the opportunity to become a participant in a conference on the development of self-awareness and self-education held in London. Speaking about the true mission of a man and mankind, the head of the Academy, Shaykh Fazlullah, said in his report that only a person, who knew firsthand what suffering, deprivation and illness meant, could understand another person, who seeking for healing and support.

            People are united into a single organism, which is interconnected with strong ties. Without sympathizing with others, you, first of all, do not sympathize with yourself. After all, the global world begins with personal world. The conference was attended by scientists from different countries of the world, who were united by the desire to say about the incomprehensibility of harmony, and the simultaneous strive in men to understand a neighbor, as the like.

            The entire cultural and aesthetic heritage of mankind has taught us moral virtues – the true beauty of men for centuries. The lessons that books, paintings, masterpieces of musical art give to us are invaluable. And wisdom should not be complicated, dull and difficult to understand. And, as they say in ancient scriptures, the first step in search of wisdom is silence, the second step is listening, the third one is remembering, the fourth step is application, and the fifth one is when you can share your knowledge with others.

           How is he there now, my occasional fellow traveler, a boy from a distant mountain village? On saying goodbye, I asked him, where he was going to. He answered, ‘To Cherkizon, there are a lot of natives there, they would probably help’. Cherkizovsky market in Moscow is closed now. Where did he go to? Or maybe he found a brother and settled down somewhere else? God, grant. G. Adamovich was quite right in the poem dedicated to Marina Tsvetaeva his fellow Russian poet, saying:

I am not to blame, that there is so much of pain.

And you, my dear, I am not at all convicting.

All is by chance, all’s forced, in vain.

How wonderful it is to live. How badly we are living …

          Until a person is capable of mercy, he’ll be alive. A lot of things remain unchanged around us – a lake, a mountain, a river, a spring, a parental home, a native side … But something disappears while you live. In fact, you yourself lose this “something”, when you irreversibly disregard some most important things, and you can only choose words and describe, what is happening in your soul.


A Medical Treatment Room            

         Of late, total prophylactic medical free examination was announced in Moscow, as well as throughout Russia. And elderly people were also of concern. It seemed that, after looking at us, the government decided to extend retirement age. Note, that there at the top of power, they do not think about raising pensions, and whether it is enough for maintaining health, elementary survival.

        “Well, okay. I also went to a clinic with my wife, two pensioners due to the invitation from the clinic. We were given a stack of papers for laboratory testing.

The next day, early in the morning, with empty stomachs (without eating and drinking), we went to undergo medical tests, holding each other by elbows.

       -‘Galya, haven’t you forgotten to take the requisition?’, I remembered suddenly.

       – ‘No’, Tolenka.

       – ‘And the jars of analysis are not confused?’

       – ‘No, honey. Although at our age, their content does not differ much’.

       – ‘Well, I’m still a male, dear!’

       – ‘This question is to be put to me, dear!’, my Galya answered with a smile.

      So, with the conversations, we reached the clinic. There was a crowd of people at the medical treatment room. We got into a queue line. It was noisy. Everyone who came with jars was sent to a pharmacy for some reason. I began to listen and realized that Galya and I would have to run there too. It turned out that from now on, analyzes should be taken only in special plastic pharmacy containers.

        The nearest drug-store was closed and we went to another one.

      – ‘Galya, never mind, it is very useful to walk in the morning with an empty stomach on foot. As if we are passing an exam for survival’, Tolya joked.-‘We shall endure everything, of course, but as for the future old retired people, it is unlikely,” Galya said, being short of breath on walking.

     – We bought, what was ordered, and went back. On the way back, we met other patients halfway, running in the direction of the same chemist’s shop. Apparently, they were eager, like us, to start eating as quickly as possible. As nutritionists recommend, one is to eat in little portions, but often and, the most important thing, at due time. But how could we have breakfast, when everything from our jars had to be moved to another vessels! Sorry for the unpleasant details.

      Finally, we stood again in a queue line. People reacted to everything that happened in various ways. Not only did they have to queue twice, but more over, they had to listen to the comments and reproaches of a nurse.

-‘Why couldn’t they warn us about pharmaceutical test containers at once?”, one of them resented.

       – ‘They could have written announcements and fix them on the door!’, the second added.

       The nurse was very annoyed and was afraid that she would not have time to serve everyone before a car, fetching the analysis to a central laboratory, arrived.

      – ‘You are using God knows what for analysis? Aluminum cans for coffee, and glass containers for honey, for jam, and even it is not clear what else.’ she muttered.

       Anatoliy could not stand it and, jokingly, rhymed:

       – ‘But it’s pretty! Better than in a bottle of milk or beer’.

       – ‘No way!’ the nurse stopped the chat. ‘One patient has just brought his urine in a bottle for cognac! Imagine how hard it is for laboratory assistants?! There is no time for the main work left!’

       Then one person from the queue could not stand it and answered:

      – ‘They might have drunk it. They say, urine is more useful than alcohol’.

      Everyone in the queue laughed. And the nurse’s eyes almost popped out of their sockets. But then, she could not stand the temptation, and also laughed.

       Our turn came.

      – ‘Where are your requisition?’ the nurse asked.

       We showed our papers. She looked at us and calmly said:

       – ‘And you do not need to undergo these tests. Only blood tests and fluorography’.

       Tolya looked at his wife Galya, and she looked at him in amazement and sighed:

      – ‘Yes, old age is not joy. And so much running in vain!

      – ‘Never mind, Galenka, we have just worked up an appetite by walking! Let’s go home and have breakfast, my dearest?’

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