Magomed Mamakayev is a poet, prose writer, journalist and literary critic who made a valuable contribution to 20th century Chechen literature.
Mamakayev was born into the family of a Chechen farmer, in the village of Achkhoi-Martan, on December 16, 1910. He lost both parents at the age of ten and was brought up in an orphanage. His narrative poem “Talking With Mother” (1934) reveals all he went through as a boy: the pain of his early loss, the sorrows and joys of his boyhood years. Magomed Mamakayev was an active member of the Young Communist League and a student of the Moscow-based Communist University of the Working People of the East. His first writings give us an insight into his inner world: “The Argun Morning,” “The Swallow.””The Pondar,”and the epic poem titled “The Bloody Mountains”(1928)
Mamakayev took up journalism at the turn of the 20’s. He shared with the readers of “Revoliutsia i gorets” and “Na podyome” magazines his own view of the civil war in Chechnya. Prominent poets and prose writers Maksim Gorky, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Eduard Bagritsky (who was the first to translate what Mamakayev wrote into Russian,) Alexander Fadeyev, Alexander Serafimovich, Mikhail Sholokhov, Alexander Tvardovsky and Nikolai Tikhonov helped mould his system of values. Mamakayev underlined the role of Russian intellectuals in the promotion of Chechen literature and the arts, as well as the importance of efforts to bring closer together the Russian and Chechen cultural traditions.
Mamakayev was, in his capacity of a party functionary, a Soviet leader and a staff worker of the “Groznensky Rabochi” and “Leninsky Put” newspapers, bent on educating his people. Together with T.Elderkhanov and M.Isayeva, he launched the first Chechen language political and literary magazine.
Poetry occupies a special place in the artistic heritage of Magomed Mamakayev. He was the first Chechen poet to turn to the genre of narrative poem and he did much in the field of prose. His books “The Ice Has Broken” (1958) and “The Motherland’s Road” (1960) introduced the Chechen reader to the genres of travelogue, documentary sketch and essay. His epic novels are considered classical pieces of Chechen literature. “The Myurid of the Revolution” (1963) is devoted to the civil war and Chechen, in particular A.Sheripov’s, involvement in it.”Zelimkhan” (1967) speaks of a noble hero as a Chechen Robin Hood.
Magomed Mamakayev was a celebrated public leader as well as a favorite fiction writer of Chechnya. He edited books of poetry, literary almanachs and magazines, was engaged in the efforts to compile an anthology of Chechen and Ingush poetry. He paid much attention to the upbringing of the younger generation of Chechen writers. What he did for the Chechen letters emblazons his name in the history of Chechen culture. He died in 1973.
I didn’t know much about Magomed Mamakayev, my grandfather, ’till I read this. In fact, I never even met him. His son/my father, Zelimkhan Saidjanov, born in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, in 1948, looks a lot like Magomed, naturally… Anyways, great to learn all these things about one of my ancestors. One’s got to know his family. I wish I could get his books or read his stuff somewhere, at least. Thanks for publishing.