Posts tagged Kozha

Happy Victory Day and Isa’s Grandparents

Today is the day that all the billboards around Astana have been leading up to, the 65 year anniversary when WWII ended.  Quite a celebration among those still living who fought in the Great Patriotic War.  I was pleased to find on my bike ride yesterday a billboard showing at least 65 of those older veterans who are featured on big billboards perhaps throughout Kazakhstan.  All I know is that they are bigger than life here in Astana.  Also, I have another story from a former student that rings true of a story I read before.  I think this student from Astana might be related to another student I had in my class in Almaty.  A Kazakh leader in an army had to convince his troops to go through the river even though it was cold and icy.  He soon died afterwards from hypothermia. I need to find the similar story from the other student about this same war hero because these two people are probably related and don’t know it.  One last poem dedicated to the heroes who are still living:

“Human strength and human greatness
Spring not from life’s sunny side,
Heroes must be more than driftwood
Floating on a waveless tide.”

The following essay is from Isa’s family.  All my students have amazing stories about their ancestors.  I’m proud of all who write to let me in on their families’ greatness.

“Do you know that in Kazakhstan relatives from father’s side more intimate than from mother’s? So, I will start about my grandparents from father side.  I know that my ancestry from father’s line were Arabs. My clan like royal family in Britain, but with another predestination, they came from Arabia hundreds years ago for the purpose of propagation of Islam. Clan’s name is Kozha. It’s very respected family. Members of the family were always involved to regime.

At home we have a sword which descends from father to son. And in the future father will give me this family relic, because I am his first son. Sometimes the whole of clan assemble together at grave of common ancestor. I have been at this gathering once. I didn’t see my grandfather, because he died before my birth. He was well-educated. He was first mechanical-engineer in our village. Also he taught young people how to repair engines. People who have known him say that he was good in every respect. His death was heroic. Father said that people from our village had to cross river. It was winter. Somebody had to test ice for strength, and my grandfather said that he would do it. At the middle of the river he came down to water. But he came up. He fell sick. He had supercooling. He died after that. But people say about his heroism every time. It wasn’t only once. People remember him as the hero. Both of my grandfathers were sturdily-built .

Clan from mother’s side was very warlike. It was very trustworthy clan. A lot of famous Kazakh warriors were from this kin. The name of kin is Argyn. They were well-known as good riders.  My grandfather from mother side lived near coal mine. Once when he were child he found dynamite, he didn’t know what was it. He played with it, and it exploded. He lost three fingers and one eye. But it wasn’t end for him. He finished school and university. He was popular veterinary. He very liked horses. Horses were something for him. He had horses for race-meeting. My grandmother was brilliant mathematician. She could do difficult problems mentally. She finished only school, but she was very clever.”

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Talk with Anara about Kazakhstan (Part I)

We had a Kazakh family visit us for several days and the following is what I found out about Kazakhstan culture. I learned there is a fourth grouping of Kazakh in the traditional sense of the Kazakh tribes. There are the first zhus who were the farmers, the hard working types. They are known to be deliberate and rational thinkers. Nazarbayev comes from this category.

Second, are the intellectual Kazakhs from which Abay and Valihanov came from. They are known to be wise and good advisors. They are the dreamers and philosophers, that is the second zhus.

Third are the warriors who were in the western part of Kazakhstan. They are not afraid of taking risks and are the best in business. Of course, it helps that most of the oil being drilled out of Kazakhstan comes from the territory where they once fought hard battles to protect their borders.

The fourth group of Kazakhs don’t mix with the other three groups, they are known as Kozha Kazakhs. They are considered the royalty or “white bones.” They believe their original stock is from an Arab tribe and they are the “blue bloods” among Kazakhs. This, of course, was more true before Soviet times, but if someone even now says, “I’m a Kozha Kazakh,” this is meant to impress the listener.

To sum up, there is a Kazakh proverb that goes with these groupings: The older zhus, give them a staff and put them in charge of the livestock. Give the second group of zhus a quill from a feather and they can prove everything with their writing. Then the third zhus, give them a long javelin and put them in front of the enemy to fight.”

Something else Anara told me was about her family’s background on her dad’s side. Her grandfather, who was from the Semipalatinsk area, escaped to China from the Soviet communists in the 1930s because he was considered a rich man. He had big pieces of gold that he broke off and used as bribes so he could escape with his family. There was other gold and treasures he had buried and is still underground somewhere to this day. Anara’s father was born in China, some of Anara’s aunts are living in China still. In 1963, when the borders opened up between the Soviet Union and China, he went back to the Taras area. Anara’s grandfather, a former prominent Kazakh shepherd, worked with 200 government turkeys in a collective farm under the Soviet regime.

Anara also said that the Uighurs, who live in western China, have a very rich background. They have a deep history with their own alphabet, own capital and they had their own land in China. There was also a famous tribe called, the Nimans, who were the original Christians. When Mohammed came along later in Kazakh history, many Kazakhs converted from paganism over to the Muslim faith. (to be continued)

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