MUKHTAR KAZIMOGLU: FOLKLORE IS THE MIRROR OF THE HISTORY
- You originally focused on modern Azerbaijani literature and language. What stimulated your interest in Azerbaijani folklore?
- Of course, my first scientific investigations were about the modern Azerbaijan prose. Before I investigated the modern Azerbaijan prose according to the psychologizm problem. It is clear that psychologizm is the principle of the artistic reflection. The main condition of this principle is to reflect the life events in the hero’s perception, to give the larger place to the “thinking” hero in the art work. The most convenient hero for the tales and stories basing on the psychologizm principle, carrying the name “the psychological prose” is the hero having the self-knowing process. Such hero becomes double-faced inwardly, in his inside His voice comes face-to face with the Strange voice, one of the voices refutes and affirms the other. The root of such double-facing being characteristic for the psychological prose goes to the mythological thoughts. In the mythological thinking of the world nations the hero creates parallelism with the anti-hero, the true hero creates parallelism with the false hero, and one of them completes the other one. In the folklore of the world nations the false king becomes the magic power source of the real king, the false hero becomes the magic power source of the real hero and the false betrothed becomes the magic power source of the real fiancé. The death of the false hero plays the important role in the rebirth of the real hero and gaining the invincible power-force. In the mythological thinking system and in the folklore tuned up this system the real and false hero types being opposite each other and at the same time together inside, to reject and to demand each other shows its attitude to the written literature, the heroes of the written literature combining the positive and negative, the good and the bad, the good and the evil, dramatic effect and comism take their beginning, of course, from the real and the false hero system in the mythology and folklore. Mentioning all of it I want to say that the psychologizm problem carried out by me took me to the mythology and folklore little by little, and my scientific investigations in folklore-study were carried out in two directions: typology of folklore and the written literature, to draw the problems of folklore investigated less in Azerbaijan.
- You began work in the Mythology Department of the Institute of Literature in 1983, when Azerbaijan was still part of the Soviet Union. To what extent was specifically Azerbaijani Folklore permitted to coexist alongside the prevailing Soviet culture?
- It is undeniable fact that during the Soviet period a lot of works were done in the branch of investigating Azerbaijan folklore: the text-books, monographic books were prepared, the specification of Azerbaijan folklore, especially one of the branches being the genre specification of Azerbaijan oral folk literature; the folklore examples of different genres were collected, the special volumes consisting of proverbs and sayings, riddles, quatrains, jokes, etc. were published. Publishing of Azerbaijan tales and eposes in five volumes on the base of the academic principles was one of the most important achievements done in the branch of compiling Soviet period of Azerbaijan folklore-study.
Adjoining with it, it is necessary to note that there were also some gaps in Soviet period of Azerbaijan folklore-study according to the political regime and ideology of that period: the work of collecting was not carried out widely instead of the richness of Azerbaijan oral folk literature. The compiled and published folklore examples were adapted according to the Soviet ideology, especially to the class struggle ideology and the ideological analyses were given widely in the investigations. To investigate the oral folk literature isolated from the music, dance, carpet-making, folk medicine, folk architecture and other branches of folklore, including from the ethnography is one of the wrong points of the Soviet period of Azerbaijan folklore-study. It is pity that today Azerbaijan folklore-study can’t avoid the same incorrectness yet.
- What led you to join the Folklore Palace Scientific-Cultural Centre, which latterly became the Azerbaijani Folklore Institute?
- Formation of the separate Folklore Institute on the base of the Scientific-Cultural Centre named Folklore Palace is the point of importance, attention and care of the folk culture gained the independence in Azerbaijan. Working at the Institute of Folklore as my other colleagues, my folklorist friends my main aim is to carry out the collecting, publishing and investigating of Azerbaijan folklore in the world standards level, to introduce Azerbaijan folklore to us and to the world.
-What is the focus of your own research and publications?
- If you mean my scientific investigations in the folklore-study branch, the main aim in these investigations is to draw the identity of the folklore, the folk culture basing on the principles of the formation orally and passing from the generation to the generation verbally, to investigate that identity from the different aspects.
-Where have they been published, and have any been translated into foreign languages?
- Many of my scientific investigations have been published in Azerbaijan. In foreign countries my scientific investigations have been published in different foreign languages, such as in the Turkish, Russian, Ukrainian and English.
- In particular, your doctoral thesis and other publication focused on the folk culture of laughter in Azerbaijan. Why is humour and laughter so important to Azerbaijanis?
- The theme of my doctorial thesis the folk laughter carries the different content from the satire in the written literature. If there are impassable barriers, the uncompromising relations among the criticised and being criticised sides in the satirical works, but it is difficult to look for such barrier and the uncompromising relations in folk laughter. The criticized and being criticised sides, laughing and making laugh sides are near and in each other, because they are players of the same game called the mockery, the fun. As the other nations, the Azerbaijanis look at such laughter as the symbol of the rebirth, the power, the force.
- What are the current aims and objectives of the Azerbaijani Folklore Institute?
- Of course, it is difficult to speak about the aims and duties of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Institute of Folklore in a short interview. In short, I can tell that being busy with the collection, compiling and investigational works in the archaic folklore, classical folklore and the modern folklore directions and to prepare the multi-volume “The basis of Azerbaijan folklore”; to publish many-volume folklore anthologies of all regions of Azerbaijan, including the Southern Azerbaijan, the other regions (for example, Karkuk, Darband, Borchali) where our countrymen live; to create Azerbaijan folklore atlas enter the list of our urgent aims and duties of our Institute.
- How does the Institute work with other government organisations?
- As the Institute of Folklore acts attached to Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences firstly it liaises with the Academy organizations, for example, Institutes of Literature, Linguistics, Archaeology and Ethnography, History, Information Technologies and etc., it tries to investigate the folklore in details with those organizations in the cooperation conditions. It is not accidental that I mentioned the Institute of Information Technologies. The problem is that today the internet system plays the important role as the other branches in propaganda and investigation of the folklore. The collaboration with the Institute of Information Technologies helps us to organize our works today’s demands level in the direction of internet and folklore, the digital folklore.
- What is published in the Dada Gorgud periodical?
- The journal “Dede Gorgud” published attached to the Institute of Folklore is the scientific-literary journal. The articles about the different problems of Azerbaijan folklore, the folklore examples from the different Turkic nations are published in this journal.
-Which music CDs have been released by the Institute?
- The separate Folklore Studio acts attached to the Institute of Folklore. With the help of that Studio the special album-discs reflecting the different branches of Azerbaijan folk music are produced. The following album-discs such as “Music folklore of Garabag”, “Halays”, “Ashug music”, “Azerbaijan folk eposes”, “The repertoire of “Irs” ensemble” have been produced by our Institute. Such materials are important to form the Folklore Fund at our Institute.
- One of the most important works published by the Institute is the nine-volume “Garabag – Folklore is also a History”. What does this contain and how was this material collected?
- The book consisting of ten volumes “Garabag – Folklore is also a History” includes the folklore examples collected from the Garabag inhabitants. The examples have been collected from the Garabag regions not being under the occupation and the settlements where Garabag refugees live. The folklore examples have been written in the books as they were told by the tellers.
-How does this serve to support the fact that Garabag is irrefutably Azerbaijani territory?
- Formation of many oral folk literature examples in Garabag, in Garabag dialect of the Azerbaijani language by Azerbaijan Turks, to protect those examples in memories and telling them orally is the fact of the culture, it is also a fact of history. Of course, Garabag folklore is the mirror of Garabag history. One of the realities finding own reflection in this mirror is the symbol of Garabag becoming the native land, to combine the idea Azerbaijan in itself:
Shaki, Shirvan, Garabag.
Tehran jennete donse,
Yaddan chikhmaz Garabag.
(Translation: My lovely places are Garabag, Shaki, Shirvan, If Tehran becomes the paradise, No one can forget Garabag)
-You recently led a delegation during the multiculturalism conference in Mulhouse. What is the value of attending such conferences?
- The conference held in the Upper Alzas University in Milhous of France served the aim of recognition the nations according to the multicultural values. To hold the conference devoted to the multiculturalism in the Upper Alzas University was not accidental. The problem is that the Upper Alzas University has the collaborations with many state organizations in Azerbaijan. The positive result of the collaborations is that the department Literature and Culture named after Nizami Ganjavi, Mahsati Ganjavi hall have been created there, the lesson Azerbaijan language and literature is educated to the students of the philology faculty at the University. There are also definite relations between the Upper Alzas University and our Institute. Pier Tiluan’s role in this collaboration is very high, he has composed some musical works to Khojaly tragedy and the 31st March in 1918 massacre. Visiting the Institute of Folklore ANAS many times lately the composer has composed the symphonic poem on the base of the plot of the epos “The Book of Dede Gorgud” with the request of the leadership of the Institute.
- Are there any plans to publish the work of the Folklore Institute into English and other foreign languages?
- There is a great need to translate the valuable scientific works and folklore volumes published by the Institute of Folklore into English and the other foreign languages. To realise this need properly is still a wish.
-Which projects are the Folklore Institute working on?
- We have just completed the project “The genesis of the state symbols, etiquettes, ceremonies and holidays in Turkic nations according to the folklore”. As a result we have published the monographic book in two volumes called “Folklore and statehood thinking”. This year one of the main projects will be “Azerbaijan-study and multiculturalism in folklore”. To investigate the national-cultural variety as one of the common values of Azerbaijan folklore is the main direction of the same project.
January 11, 2017
"TEAS" magazine, 1/2017