Abay Kunanbaiuly: Man with Strategic Vision


Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

Abay Kunanbaiuly was pioneer of expansion of national consciousness, self-knowledge and spiritual perfection which he used to win hearts and souls. He was man of respect and reverence which he used an effective way of educating the modern generation. He had strategic vision about modernization Public Consciousness by emphasizing the importance of updating public consciousness. He spread spiritual means to overcome worldly problems.

Undoubtedly, Abay Kunanbayuly left an ineradicable mark on the history of Kazakhstan as a scientist, thinker, poet, and enlightener, founder of modern national literature, translator and composer. His poems and prose reflected national identity, life, worldview, character, soul, faith, language, traditions and the spirit of the people, which were later rated as a unique phenomenon, called the world of Abay.

He gave to the world immortal words. Abay Kunanbayev is the great poet, writer, public figure, founder of modern Kazakh literature, reformer of culture in the spirit of rapprochement with Russian and European culture on the basis of enlightened Islam.

Abay’s major work is “The Book of Words” a philosophic treatise and collection of poems where he encourages his fellow Kazakhs to embrace education, literacy, and good moral character in order to escape poverty, enslavement and corruption.

He believed value of harmonization in achieving the desired goals of development and modernization. He termed convergence of nation must for participatory development of the nation to improve, to renew and in order to correspond to the new time. His teachings were so strong that it despite the changing times and changing worlds, it is still relevant.  I hope that Abay will always be with his people, over the centuries, urging Kazakhstanis to conquer new heights.

He highlighted the importance of education and science for immense development and glory. Abai wholeheartedly wished that the Kazakhs constantly studied, mastering new knowledge to conquer their inner and outer worlds. His words “Do not brag until you master science” surely depicted strategic importance of education, knowledge, wisdom, and science which he considered essential to reach heights.

In place “take possession of science not to get rich” he showcased importance of education and science by connecting both attributors of development with wealth even Adam Smith “Wealth of nations” endorsed his thinking. He correlated profit, and honor with striving of    knowledge.

Ours is the age of science where we witness wonders of sciences rapidly moving to new heights. The government of Kazakhstan announced various policies and programs to modernize its education system. It has also announced “Law on the Status of a Teacher” which is indeed one of the useful initiatives in this direction which improve the quality of education.

Abay considered study of foreign languages for greater human connectivity through removing psychological barriers and of course development. He termed study of foreign languages vital for eradication of vicious circle of prejudice, hatred and discrimination and instrumental to create cultural diversity. Modern discipline of “public administration” upholds his revolutionary work about cultural studies terming it dancing among different diverse cultures.

Being prominent regional expert of Kazakhstan and CIS I amaze that he had vision of “professionalism”, “smart knowledge” and last but not least mastering of multidimensional disciplines for human survival and development. He rightly pinpointed essential ingredients of development i.e. self-knowledge, constant self-development, desire for knowledge and sciences. He actually coined the concept of “intellectual nation”.

Reflections in his works instill in every person a sense of patriotism in relation to his people, country. That is why one of the directions of modernization and development of the country is the development by the young generation of the heritage of wise Abay so that his teachings become the life principles of youth.

Abay was strong supporter of statehood for socio-economic prosperity and economic development. He valued rule of law and public order as a universal responsibility. He disliked instability in the system. He spoke of strengthening the power of the country, state and national unity. He promoted the idea of creating a just society.

Being prominent regional expert of Kazakhstan I believe that most recently announced initiative “A State Listening to the Voice of the People” is to develop the idea of a just society. A constructive dialogue having participatory mechanism between the state and society strengthens trust in the state. It diminishes concept of untouchables from the society and institutionalizes spirits of rule of law, social justice, accountability and speedy development in Kazakhstan society thanks to strategic thinking and rich heritage of Abay.

Abay highlighted importance of merit, fair-play and equal right to everybody so he nurtured concept of equal right of the today corporate world. He appreciated a man by his merits not by his position. In this sense, the great poet, by his example, directed the Kazakh youth on the right path.

Abay disliked negative human traits that impede the development of society and bring discord and confusion. He focused on improving the quality characteristics and competitiveness of our people. He was great admirer of social responsibility. Abay coined the “concept of “Mature, Holistic man” or “A man of integrity”. This concept, which is now widespread, was developed and promoted by Abay in the 19th century.

Human life along its entire length is accompanied by the maintenance of various contacts, without them the personality would be separated from society.

To him communication is holistic and only means to make bridges of trust and respect. Abay said: “Combine the mind, will and heart in yourself, and then you will become a mature independent person”, bearing in mind that a person must have a clear mind, a strong, cold will and a warm, kind heart. He considers these three concepts in constant unity, but believes that the first two should obey the heart which has been philosophy of life of the Kazakh people.

The great thinker in his works describes those who, labor and ability to farm, achieve prosperity, calling, thereby, in the interests of improving their well-being, to learn new crafts and professions. The poet praised initiative and honest work. For example, in the tenth word of his book, he concludes: “Who will not become rich, if he works hard, will seek and find his place in life?”

Abay rightly correlated prosperity with craft which paves the way of greater socio-economic prosperity. Massive diversification and achieving desired goals of smart economy is derived from his teachings through which Kazakhstan government and its people succeeded to get rid of the psychology of dependence on raw materials and to determine the maximum development of small and medium-sized businesses as the main priority.

The scientist Abay is a genius of the Kazakh land of a world level. He sowed the seeds of wisdom for all of humanity. His inspired from the folklore of the Kazakh people, the art of words of the East and West, Russian literature and the study of works on the history of mankind.

Abay believed in religion “Allah is true, the word is true, the truth is never false.” Obviously, he came to such conclusions as a result of research and comprehension of the works of philosophers of East and West. In the thirty-eighth word, he expresses his attitude towards God.

Religious philosophers who studied the spiritual views of Abay pay special attention to his concept of “Orthodox Muslim.” The concept of a “true Muslim” probably concerned not only the Kazakhs, but the entire Muslim world. Abay dreamt of maintaining the spiritual purity of all people on Earth. Abay is an amazing personality among world-class thinkers. ”

The merits of Abay cannot be overestimated. His instructive life and genuine creativity is role model not only for the Kazakh people, but also for the whole world. Abay’s ideas about man and society, education and science, religion and traditions, nature and the environment, state and government, language and communication have not lost their significance for centuries, because the poet’s legacy is the spiritual source for all mankind.

According to Kazakhstan government during 2020 more than 500 events of the international, national and regional levels dedicated to the 175th anniversary of Abay will be organized.

The main event will be the International Scientific and Practical Conference “Heritage of Abay and World Spirituality”, which will be held in August in the city of Semey in collaboration with UNESCO. Also in October in Nur Sultan an international conference will be held on the topic “Abay and issues of spiritual rebirth.” These meetings will make it possible to comprehensively study the personality and heritage of Abay, to outline the directions for using his work for the benefit of the new Kazakhstan of the 21st century.

One of the important projects is the translation and publication of the works of the great poet in ten languages. In particular, the work of Abay will be translated into English, Arabic, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, German, Russian, Turkish and French. Several documentaries and the television series “Abay” about the life, heritage of the poet, and his role in the development of Kazakh culture will be prepared.

Celebrations in honor of the poet will include cultural events. This year, international and national theater and music festivals dedicated to Abay’s creativity will be held with the presentation of awards to the winners. The State Prize for the best works in the field of literature and art will now be called the Abay State Prize. The promotion of the name and heritage of Abay will be continued abroad. It is planned to create “Abay centers” at the embassies of Kazakhstan in Russia, France, Great Britain and other countries.

Abay Kunanbaiuly was great social reformer who tried to transform his society up the level of a civilized state wherein merit, social justice, rule of the law, accountability, fair play might be achieved through hard work, institutionalization of education and science. He highlighted numerous human traits to get desired goals of national unity and self-dignity. He coined various concepts and disciplines of 21th century mainly, good governance, professionalism, smart economy, emotional intelligence, human psychological development, participatory community development, gender studies, sciences and above all humanities.