Thoughts on the life of M.F. Akhundov

Mirza Fatali Akhundov (1812 – 1878) is a great author, playwright, and philosopher. Indeed, he is founder of the national theatre, literary criticism, realist narrative, democratic philosophy and aesthetics in Azerbaijan, as well as the first reformer of the Azeri alphabet. Following Nizami Gancavi and Muhammed Fuzuli, Akhundov started a “new era” in Near Eastern literature. He is the person, who opens new levels of philosophical reflection in the Islamic cultures of this region. After six comedies, not to mention a short story “Deceived Stars”, Akhundov worked as a social reformer from the 1960’s till the end of his life. This is evidenced in his fight concerning alphabetical reform as an attempt to enlighten and raise Azeri culture and language. Continue reading

Introducing Mirze Alekber Sabir to Britain

Mirze Alekber Sabir

(Shamakhi 30.05.1862 – Shamakhi 15.07.1911)

During his life, Mirze Alekber Sabir made and sold soap to earn a living. However, he was the founder of humourous poetry and revolutionary satire in Azerbaijan, as well as in Near Eastern Literature. His radically democratic poetry, with its social realism, nationalistic character, and modernist outlook, played a big part in the progress of Azeri culture and political thought. Indeed, Alekber Tahirzade from the region of Shirvan came to hold positions of honour after his death. Sabir was his nickname meaning “patience” or “patiently”. This is telling, when we remember that his father was a devote muslim, who had a little grocer shop in Shamakhi city, and wanted his son to be a confessor. That’s why, he sent the young Sabir to an ecclesiastical Moslem school, when he was eight. Now, the first duty of pupils at this school was to learn reading the Koran. Yet, he hadn’t finished reading the Koran, before he learned writing. Due to this, he was badly beaten by his mullah.

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