Nur-Sultan (UNA-OIC) – This year Kazakhstan celebrates the 175th anniversary of Abai Kunanbayev, the Kazakh poet, composer and philosopher, whose books were translated into many foreign languages.
The name of Abai is known worldwide just as Shakespeare, Goethe, and Pushkin are well-known in many countries. His books were translated into many foreign languages. Consequently, it can definitely be said that Abai made a contribution to not only Kazakh culture and folklore but world literature as well.
Abai’s popularity in Kazakhstan is undeniable, where Kazakh people respect him and are proud of his works. The memory of the great Kazakh is kept at the state level and his written works are studied at schools and universities. The Kazakh literature has a separate direction of studies – Abai studying.
Philosophical essays, pieces of poetry, poems of Abai are periodically published not only in the Kazakh language, but also in the languages of the countries of near and far abroad. In this regard, Abai’s works occupy an important place in the process of foreign reception of the Kazakh literature.
Most of the books with Abai’s works in the foreign languages were published in 1995 when the 150th anniversary of Abai Kunanbayev was celebrated at the world level under the auspices of UNESCO.
At that moment the book “Abai’s Works and Thoughts” was published in Iran, “Selected Poems of Abai Kunanbayev” – in Pakistan. The publication of the book in Farsi was a significant event in the cultural life of Kazakhstan and Iran, since before that Abai’s works had not been published in Iran. The publication of this book became possible thanks to the efforts of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Iran to Kazakhstan, Rasoul Eslami.
The book “Selected Poems of Abai Kunanbayev” into Urdu was translated by famous Pakistani translator Khalid Iqbal Yasir.
The book “Abai Kunanbayev. Selected Works” came out in the capital of Mongolia – Ulaan Baator. The collection of selected poems by Abai Kunanbayev “La poésie est la reіne des mots …” (“Poetry is the queen of languages …”) was published in France in 1995. At the same time, the book “Abai Kounanbaiouly. Reflexions en prose, poèmes “Iskander” et “Masgoud” was published as well. In Turkish, “Selected Works of Abai” are accompanied by a foreword by Ziya Yılmazer who in 1995 was the Deputy Chairman of TURKSOY. The appearance of the book with Abay’s works in Turkey became possible thanks to the activities of this organization.
The translation process of Abai’s works into foreign languages continues in the 21st century. In the 2000s, three books were published in Germany: “Abai. Buch der Worte” in 2001, “Abai. Zwanzig Gedichte” in 2007, “Abai. Twenty Poems” in a “Kasachiche Bibliothek” series. In 2010, in the Year of Germany in Kazakhstan and in honor of the 165th anniversary of Abai Kunanbayev, the book “Abai. Poetry and Prose. Words of edification” with a foreword by Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Kazakhstan Rainer Schlageter went out. In 2006 the collection “The Book of Words” and the poems “Iskander and Masgut” were published in Bulgaria. The presentation of the book “Abaj Kunanbajuly. Słowa” in Polish was held in 2013.
The work of the great Kazakh poet and thinker Abai has received well-deserved recognition from foreign researchers, writers; they highly appreciate his works, compare them with outstanding personalities of their peoples. In their opinion, Abai is a classic not only of Kazakh, but of all world literature. So, in conclusion, can be stated that the positive reception of Abai Kunanbayev’s creativity helps to strengthen the spiritual and intellectual image of Kazakhstan.