Alash Orda: Magzhan Zhumabayev

Magzhan Zhumabayev, a famous poet, writer, publicist, prose writer, translator and teacher, one of the founders of the new Kazakh literature.

Magzhan Zhumabayev was born and raised in a wealthy Kazakh family with many children. His father Beken, ancestor and Zhumabai Hajji, Shonai, Utegen, Utemis are well-known, noble people from the subgeny Құдайберд of the Atygay tribe Argyn. Beken from his first wife, the Uzbek Gulsum, had seven boys and two girls: Musilim, Kaharman, Magzhan, Mukhametzhan, Saltai, Galizhan, Sabyrzhan, Gulandan, Gulbaram. Thanks to the care of the father all children received the necessary primary education, while not every parent could afford such luxury. He also had a nephew named Shamil, whom he wanted to make his heir.

After the February revolution, Magzhan Zhumabaev was appointed to the regional committee of the Alash party. At the Second All-Russian Congress in Orenburg he was elected together with Akhmet Baitursynov to the commission on drawing up school textbooks. In early 1918, the poet was arrested by representatives of the “Ush Zhuz” party and spent about 7 months in prison in Omsk. Aesthetic and artistic views of Magzhan were formed during the years of social activity and confrontation. He conceived a literary association of Kazakh writers, which he called “Alka” (“Board”) and wrote the program of the organization. This intention was considered by the Bolsheviks as a sign of nationalism, an attempt by the Alashordians to resuscitate and harm the Soviet system. Zhumabayev’s idea to unite poets and writers of Kazakhstan was later expressed in creation of the Union of Writers of Kazakhstan in summer 1934.

Magzhan Zhumabayev, as an Alashordinian, pan-Turkish and Japanese spy, was arrested in Petropavlovsk and then sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Before the trial he sat in Moscow, in Butyrka, and served his sentence in Karelia and Arkhangelsk region, in particular, in the infamous SLON. In 1934, he wrote a letter to M. Gorky. In 1936, thanks to the petition of Maxim Gorky, he was released early from the Svirsk camp of political prisoners… Having worked as a teacher of Russian language and literature at a secondary school, Zhumabaev arrived in Alma-Ata at the invitation of Saken Seyfullin. On December 30, 1937 Magzhan was arrested again, and on March 19, 1938 he was shot by NKVD.

More than 20 years his second wife Zuleikha kept the archive of the poet in the attic, believing in the revival of Magzhan. Finally, on July 8, 1960, Magzhan Zhumabaev was posthumously rehabilitated by the decision of the military tribunal of Turkmenistan. His poems were returned to the people.


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