He who works only for himself, is likened to cattle, stuffing his belly. Worthy works for mankind.
“The novel-epic of his distant relative of the famous Kazakh writer M. O. Auezov” The Way of Abai “is devoted to the difficult fate of the life of the great poet-educator Abai Kunanbayev, for which he was rightly awarded the Stalin Prize of 1949 and the Lenin Prize of 1959. The novel shows a complex picture of the life of the Kazakh society of the second half of the XIX century, when the centuries-long nomadic way of life of the Kazakhs collapsed. “In the breadth of the range of themes, depth of mastery and artistic development, the novel” The Way of Abai “is an exceptional phenomenon, Academician K. Satpaev wrote.
Abai is the son of the rich and avid feudal lord Kunanbai. When he returned to his native village, his father tried to involve him in his affairs. As an envoy of Kunanbai, Abai traveled the auls and obeyed his father’s orders. In these scenes it is clear that Abai has all the makings to become the same famous bai as a father, but not at all the order that Kunanbai was waiting for and demanded. After all, Abai is not interested in power for the sake of power, personal well-being and well-being to the detriment of the interests of justice and truth. Probably, Abai became like that because of his love of reading. The author writes that he liked to read oriental works. Influence on the formation of Abai’s views was also influenced by his grandmother Zere and mother Ulzhan, who loved the boy tenderly. They wanted Abai to be a worthy person, instilled in him positive qualities. Abay liked the folk art. When the well-known akyns came to them in the village, mother persuaded them to stay for a month to please Abai. Abai was very fond of his people. He did not want to put up with the world of lawlessness and crime, did not suit him and many cruel patriarchal laws.
Throughout the novel, Abai stands along with the people. All his life he is accompanied by Erbol – a simple man, a friend and comrade from his youth. Thanks to Erbol Abay manages to meet with impunity his first love, “engaged” Togzhan. Thanks to Togzhan, Abai knew the taste of true love, and throughout the book we meet Abay’s memories of her. The second great love of Abai, or the continuation of the first, was the love for Aigerim, which resembled Togzhan. Abai decided to marry her, but the rights to the girl belonged to another. Abay managed to prevent the marriage of Aigerim by paying her father completely to her father and satisfying all the material claims of her fiancé.
Slowly, painfully, the conflict with his father is brewing. When Abai grows up, his relationship with his father worsens even more. The first case of acute resistance to the opinion of the father is the execution of the poor and innocent Kodar. In the unfolding after this fight, Abai refuses to accept the side of the cunning Kunanbai. And the older Abay becomes, the more he has contradictions with his father and his supporters, and later followers: Takezhan, Urazbaev, Maybasar, and others.
How vehemently Abay protects the poor when the hard times come for the people – jute. He, without fear of his father, distributes hay and livestock to the poor to reduce their plight.
Many years of friendship connected Abai with Darqembai. Smarted by the life of Darkambai – this is the pain itself, the suffering of the people, its vitality. One of the many poor people, he stands out by the determination of character, a living language, a clear mind, lives worthily with an understanding of his moral correctness. It is this feeling that allows him, defending the interests of Darmen, to throw in the face of Kunanbayu sharp, like a whip, words.
Abay is characterized by friendship with the Bazarals. This person is like a steppe eagle. He is really a brave man, capable of great things. It is a steppe rebel-loner. Boldly, with reckless deletion under cover of night, he avenges the rich for his humiliation and insults. He goes through endless persecution, gets into hard labor. In the end, Bazaraly’s path intersects with Abai’s path, and he begins to serve people.
Abai becomes an intercessor of the people, he is a poet-fighter, he has an indisputable moral authority. He spoke out against the outdated patriarchal-tribal traditions that remained strong in the time of Abai. The youth perceive Abai as a mentor. Among the “new” youth and sons of Abai – highly gifted young men – Abish, Magash. How Abai loves them, because he sees in them the future of his people.
A great role in the formation of Abai’s personality and creativity was played by friendship with Russian revolutionaries and acquaintance with Russian culture. As avidly Abai read books that he was transported with whole carts. Literature and art – this is a special place in the life of Abay. He lives by them, he brings up new talents. His love of folk art is endless. Interesting scenes are devoted to the translation of Abay’s “Letters of Tatiana” by Alexander Pushkin. Not only the translation of wonderful Pushkin’s lines revealing the depth of Tatiana’s feelings was made, but also a melody, a new song, was created. Abay with this song expressed all the power of his feelings for his beloved girl. Thus, the “Letter of Tatiana” has acquired a new life – it has become a favorite song of the Kazakh people.
Abai, and at the end of his life, kept his enlightenment ideals, loyalty to the cause of people’s prosperity and the inflexibility of the fighter. The path of Abai was a path of suffering caused by social and personal reasons. He suffered because his people were humiliated, offended, oppressed, because there were everywhere visible stinking ulcers of the surrounding patriarchal-feudal life. He suffered because of personal irreparable losses: his educated, talented son Abdrakhman, who had studied in St. Petersburg, left the world, and followed by Abdrakhman and another son – the gifted poet Magash. The loss of two sons together with other adversities proved to be an unbearable burden for him. Abai dies, thinking longingly about the fate of a lonely tree, stricken by a storm and dying in ignorance, whether its seeds scattered throughout the world will yield fertile shoots.
“When a great man dies, the light left by him continues to illuminate the ways of mankind for long, long years,” said Henry Longfellow. And Abai is really that great man, whose creativity also lives to this day, and will live for a long time.