Posts tagged Arabic

Elbar’s Grandmother had roots in western China

My grandmother was born in 1937 in China (Yrymchi). She was a Jeweler’s daughter and the youngest of nine children. She was a spoilt child, because she lived in luxury. There were a lot of servants in their home. She finished secondary school.

When she was sixteen years old she met her first and one love and her future husband. He was a cowboy’s son. He was born in 1935 in Kazakhstan. There were thirteen children in his family. He is the only who is still alive. When she met my grandmother, he fell in love with her.  Later they sought ways to be in marriage, then they celebrated their wedding. After that, he took her to Kazakhstan from China to his house. After one year their first son was born. Their family was young so he met a lot of difficulties on his life’s way.

During their life my grandfather changed a lot of professions. His last profession was a teacher and later he became a director of the school. He knows five languages. They are: Arabic, German, Russian, Uigur and Kazakh language. Also he can write in Persian because he finished school in Mosque and later became a Mullah in the mosque. He taught children there.

What about my grandmother? She worked in a collective farm. She gathered tobacco in the fields. Work was hard and she was always tired but she also had to look after her children. But my grandparents loved each other and that is why they are still together. They lived together for fifty years.  During their lives nine children were born in their family. So their children have become grown-up and now they look after my grandparents.  So they enjoy their time now. Every year they travel to different countries.

My grandmother often visits her relatives in China. I think they had and still have an interesting live. They are an example for me of strong family. I love and am  proud of my grandparents.

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Aisulu’s Humorous Grandma Believed in “Simplicity”

My Grandma was born in 1920 in Aulie ata – former Taraz in Zhambyl oblast. Her father was born in Kazan and was a tailor. He was a very interesting person – curious and smart. Being a little boy he dreamed of a career as a soldier and wanted to enter Kazan’s cadet corpus, but his mother wouldn’t let him go there because she believed that that there he would be made to change his religion. So he failed in his dreams and became a pupil of a tailor. In early 1900’s he took his family and moved to Kazakhstan in search of better life. At last he settled in Aulie ata, where my Grandma was born.

Grandma was brought up in a very big and united family there were 5 brothers and 3 sisters and she was the eldest of sisters. That is why she had spent all of her childhood looking after younger brothers and sisters. She attended only two classes of primary school and then her parents decided that it was enough for her. At that time in Kazakhstan there was used an Arabic alphabet and till her death she had been writing everything in Arabic and it was rather funny to open her phone book and see all the names written Arabic alphabet. And another curious thing about her was that if you ever met her you would never say that she is unable to read and write in Russian! So clever, wise and well-mannered she was. You’ll laugh but she was really surprised when I had told her that the Earth was like ball. All her life she thought that the Earth was as flat as a table! But I think that was not her fault it was the fault of her time.

She was born and raised in a very hard and tough time. Collapse of tsarism, civil war, years of victimization, famine, collectivization and so on and so on… Her eldest brother was arrested in 1930’s and then killed in a prison. He was only 28 years old, a talented poet but he left three little kids and a pregnant wife. Those were cruel times… She only told me once about the famine of 1930’s. It was caused by collectivization and thousands of people died during the famine. People were dying on the streets, even the richest ones were starving to death.

She married my Grandpa at the age of 20. He had just graduated from a Saint-Petersburg state university. A young well-educated Kazakh man, he was 27 and needed a wife. A “public enemy’s son” he changed his surname and left his home city – Aktobe. He moved to Aulie ata where he got acquainted with Grandma’s father and became his good friend. So that when my Grandpa told him that he is looking for a wife Grandma’s dad offered him to pay his attention to his daughters. So that is how the love story was! Grandma didn’t know my Grandpa well but married him because her father wanted so. Her father was sure that this young man would never hurt her and would take care of her. And he had been right they lived a long life together, gave birth to four children.

The most important thing my Grandma taught me was – the simplicity. Be simple everywhere with anyone, the more you respect everyone the more everybody respects you. If you are simple it will be easier for you to rise and then fall. All of our life we are kind of climbing up and down the mountains and it is easier to make your journey with the help of people who are ready to help because they respect you. Talk to people in a simple manner, and never think that you are better then the others. People are just not the same, no one is better no one is worse.

Money was nothing for her. She had never measured people with money. And she had never respected someone just because of his treasures and money. She believed that the true treasure in this life is a good friend.

She loved her family very much and when I told her that I’m going to go to study abroad, the first thing she said was: “But you won’t be able to come when I die…”. Good sense of humor, isn’t it?

I decided to name my first daughter – Asiya… After my Grandma!

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Wisdom of Nations – Proverbs (Part IV)

“Some are wise and some are otherwise.” Ben Franklin turned this saying around with “Some men are weather-wise, but most men are other-wise.”

“Swim like a stone (brick).”

“The game is not worth the candle.” French (referring to gambling and the undertaking is not worth the risk or effort.)

“The wind cannot be caught in a net.”

“There is no royal road to learning.” (Euclid said this to King Ptolmey’s request about geometry)

“To be between the beetle and the block.” (Chinese – between you and me)

“To be wise behind the hand.”

“To go for wool and come home shorn.” (Many seek to better themselves and end up losing what they already have.)

“To pick the plums out of the pudding.”

“To plough the sand.” Arabic (insults should be written in sand, compliments should be carved in stone.)

“To stick like a limpet to a rock.”

“To throw a stone in one’s own garden.”

“Tread on a worm and it will turn.” Shakespeare (No matter how lowly a creature is, it will respond to ill treatment OR defenseless creature will attempt to defend itself.)

“True coral needs no painter’s brush.”

“Wear the old coat and buy the new book.” (Austin Phelps an American educator and clergyman – 1820-1890)

“When Greek meets Greek, then comes the tug of war.” (Competition will be particularly fierce when two people of similar caliber encounter one another.)

“When the moon turns green cheese.” Sarcastic to a person who is gullible

“Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.” Thomas Gray (1716-1771)

“With time and patience the leaf of the mulberry becomes a silk gown.” Chinese

“You cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs.” Russian equivalent – When the wood is cut, the chips fly. This means in order to achieve something, it is inevitable and necessary that something should be destroyed.

“You must spoil before you spin.” (Making mistakes before becoming proficient)

“Zeal without knowledge is a runaway horse.” (Action without deep thought will fail)

All proverbs from the last four blog entries have been taken from “Dictionary of English Proverbs, Sayings and Idioms in Russian, Kazakh and German” by Sakina Akmetova, published by Mektel in Almaty, Kazakhstan 2009

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Maira’s Grandparents from Gambul Region

All my grandparents lived in Gambul region, Merke. My Great-grandfather Gatin was born in 1904. He was very strong. He was a chairman of his village. He liked playing with his grandchildren. He liked to ride horse, he was good rider. But once he fell in horse races and broke his leg. After that, he had problems with his leg and his left leg was amputated.

My great-grandmother name is Bubuchai. She was born in 1902. She was very quiet and kind. She loved children greatly. She gave birth to eight children. Grandmother Raikhan was only daughter to her parents. Other children died early. They were ill with bad sickness, it was an epidemic. My grandmother told me interesting history. The great-grandfather gave daughter to children’s house in Kyrgyzstan. Thus he wanted to save her from death. Later he kidnapped his daughter from children’s house because chief of children house didn’t want to give her back. Thus he rescued his daughter’s life. Then the great-grandmother couldn’t give birth to child. Kazakhs considered that only sons were continuator of race. The grandfather wanted to have son. My great-grandmother agreed that her husband was married second times. So the great-grandfather was married to my second great-grandmother Asil. Unfortunately the second wife didn’t give birth. My great-grandfather lived with two wives in one house peacefully. Great-grandmother Bubuchai helped my grandmother raise up my father as well as all of my uncles and aunts. I remembered great-grandmother Bubuchai lying in bed. She was ill about a year. I and my grandmother called on her every day. She gave me sweets every day. She died when I was four years old. Great-grandfather Gatin died in 1984 when he was 80. His second wife died last year.

My grandfather Abdraman was born in 1902. My father and grandmother told me about my grandfather Abdraman. He had green eyes as my father and brown hair. He was a very strong believer where he observed all duties of a Muslim. He read “namaz” five times a day. He didn’t like to be photographed. So we have only one of his photos. He could have read books in Arabic languages. He had many old books in Arabic. My grandmother saved these books all her life. Now my uncle keeps these books. My grandmother was the second wife to my grandfather. His first wife died when he was in World War II. They had a daughter. He come back home in 1946. So he was married to my grandmother in 1947.

My grandmother Raikhan was born in 1922. She was beautiful and spoilt. One young man had fallen in love with my grandmother. She loved him too. They were married when she was fifteen years old. At that time girls married early. After a year she gave birth to a child. In 1940 her husband was taken away in Soviet Army. Then started World War II in 1941. He didn’t come back home because he died in war. Her son was adopted by the great-grandfather. So my grandmother was married to my grandfather in 1947. He was much older than his wife, by twenty years. They raised up four sons and two daughters. My father was the first child. My grandfather died in 1968 so I didn’t see him. I was raised by the grandmother. I lived with grandmother until 1987. She died in 2001. She lived to be 80 years old.


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Ainash’s Grandparents Difficult Lives


In my life I have seen my grandparents very few times. Moreover, I have not met my first grandmother in this life. We are used to living in the city, but my grandparents lived outside of city. So I have been there only on summer holidays. In spite of this, it was the best holidays of my life because it allowed me to play a lot with nothing else to do. The history of my grandparent’s life is not very well known by me because they did not like to talk about their lives and considered that children don’t need to know about the difficulties of their experiences. I know it only from my mother’s history.

My grandfather’s name was Turmuhambet. He was born in 1919 in Dzhambul city. He was tall, thin, quiet and a very kind person. My grandparent’s family worked on the railway. In the family were two sons and my grandfather was younger. He graduated only seven years at school. After that he went to serve in the armed forces. However, the war came and he began to serve in the regular Army. He served in the regiment, which Iran won in 1941. After 2 years in Tehran held a meeting of the anti-Hitler coalition leaders – there are General Secretary of the Central Committee of CPSU Joseph Stalin, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Consequently, the city had been completely blocked by troops and special service for three conference days. My grandfather was at that time in those troops. Unfortunately, my grandparent lost his brother in war.

My grandparents became acquainted on Victory Day’s celebration. Thus, my grandfather married my first grandmother. My first grandmother’s name was Kanymkul. She was not tall, but thin and a modest woman. She was born in 1927. My grandparents lived together 31 years. They had 8 children; there are 5 boys and 3 girls. After the war my grandparents moved to the village. My grandfather worked as an accountant and then foreman. He learned the Arabic language and wrote poetry. They have not been published, though. Grandmother was a housewife. She brought up children, supported a house and cared for the livestock. She died at 49 years old. Grandfather married a second time, 8 years later. Her name was Aigan and she was much younger than him. In their life together there were no children. My grandfather died at 85 years old, 2 months after the death of grandmother Aigan. He became ill after the grandmother’s funeral and was never able to recover from this loss. These were difficult times for our family.

In conclusion, I would like to note that grandparents of our generation lived in difficult times. They had many experiences of grief and suffering in protecting the homeland. Currently, there are a few retirees who remain and who served and fought in the Soviet army. Our country cares about them. They are providing incentives and working on social programs for them. But, in my opinion, this is not enough for the elderly, as well as our concern and love brings them more happiness and comfort. We must not stop talking with them and listen to their stories. The main purpose of their life was a peace for their grandchildren. Our main task does not forget history and persons who created this story.

Now I am very sad that I have spoken little with my grandparents about their lives. That gave them little time. But I know that every summer, which I spent with them, brought no less joy.



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“Kazakh Grandmother” Kanat’s narrative

She used to tell her stories in low voice and mentioning names like she was retelling incident took place yesterday. My grandmother. As every old man she liked to repeat her stories several times with new interesting details. Listening to her stories you will understand her jokes every time more and you understand why she laughs and why her face comes sad.


She was born in a family of rich and noble mullah (imam). With the new regime in the country, her father came under pressure was accused of being religious and outstanding rich. He was sent to camp in Siberian Russia, constructing bridges in distant areas and who was sent back to Kazakhstan before his actual death time. He survived after traditional medical treatment and lived till his old age. My grandmother started learning writing and reading after sixteen, during Soviet regime. She could write and read Kazakh in Arabic and Latin alphabet and finally she learned Russian alphabet-based Kazakh writing.


One story that interested me in 1930s is dispossessions of kulaks, my grand-grandfather was one of them. Cattle, possessions and valuable items were taken from my grand-grandfather. In one of the spot checks of those groups only women were in the house. My grandmother at those times had very expensive belt made of gold of about 5 kilos. Being afraid to lose that golden belt she threw it into fire in the furnace. At that time nobody could find or nobody tried to collect remains of golden belt.


Another moment in her life was time of starvation of 30s where population was fleeing to neighboring states and peoples’ bodies were lying in the streets like shot dogs. She remembers: “One day we went to central market for products and we witnessed that one boy grabbed one loaf of bread and was going to run, but tradesmen caught him and started to beat him and kick him. Next moment he was all in blood but chewing bloody bread.” Due to that starvation problem in the family, my grand-grandfather sold his daughter, my grandmother for a sack of grain in the age of 16. At that age she married my grandfather. She experienced problems with having children, but at the end at the age of 50 she had 5 live children.


Along with exciting times and fact my grandmother could tell about people who played important role in local and country’s life. One of them, Zhangeldin, was one of the Kazakh Bolsheviks and Pioneer Revolutionaries. He along with his army passed through aul (village) of my grandfather and needed provisions for his army. So, my grandfather provided them with the best horses and food. 


Like that golden belt, everything that was old by my grandmother looks like never-happened story. Revolutionaries, kulaks and starvation turned into modern history where my grandmother lived up to. I do not like to face the same difficulties as she met in her life, but to be able to respond to challenges of life like her.

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