A prominent Chechen poet Arbi Mamakayev was born into a peasant’s family in the village Nizhni Naur, Nadterechny District of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1918.
He was orphaned at an early age, when his father and his uncle, both guerrilla fighters, died in Russia’s Civil War. Arbi Mamakayev was brought up at the orphanage in the city of Sernovodsk, and then took a course of studies to qualify for an enrolment in university. In the 1930s he took up work at the newspaper “Leninsky Put’ ” and at the radio, and also took a course in play-writing. But his forte turned out to be poetry. Arbi Mamakayev had his first poems published back in 1934, and these were warm lyrics. In his early poems he sings of his country’s nature, his people’s life of that time, and also of his people’s historical past. The poet’s first collection of poems “The waves of the Terek” came off press in 1940. By that time he had become a mature poet. Small wonder then that during those years he turned to big poems, and one of these – “Aslaga and Selikhat” – is believed to be one of the best achievements of Chechen modern literature.
In the early 1940s Arbi Mamakayev was executive secretary of the Writers’ Union of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. At that time his plays “Wrath” and “Reconnaissance group” were staged at the Chechen-Ingush drama theatre, and his major prose and poetry works (“On the way to the home village”, “In the Chechen mountains”, “Shatoi” and others) came off press. Also during those years he translated into the Chechen language poems by Mikhail Lermontov, Kosta Khetagurov, Taras Schevchenko, Samuil Marshak and other authors.
Arbi Mamakayev is one of Chechens’ most-loved poets. He wrote an important page in Chechen history, and people will always need his stirring lyrics. He died in 1958.