The name of Tukay means a whole epoch in the intellectual development of the Tatar people, its literature, art and the whole culture making....

Vakhit Imamov   We are a nation of Tuqay!

Of course, there are writers out there, whose names we remember with sadness and miss them wholeheartedly. Chuvash’s  Michael Sespel ‘ took his life at age of 22 as a protest against wrongful allegations, when he was accused of handing out bread cards to his relatives during his tenure as County Commissioner after revolution of 1917.The great Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov was shot to death when he was only 27 as a result of jealousy over his talent and because he wouldn’t kneel down for ignorant kings. Another poor Tatar poet, 26-year-old Babich Shehzad was stomped to death by Tatar-Bashkir soldiers, who followed the army of Kolchak with Zeki Validi, Alkyne Slimguy troops, but later switched  to Bolshevik Commissioners side following false promises stating that “ Bashkirs would get  freedom to build an autonomy state”. But none of them was able to create  6-7 volumes worth of great works and earn the love of its people.  Only our Tuqay was recognized as a nation leader during his lifetime!Â
But, despite our believes that “our Tuqay is known in every corner of the world”, sadly, even related nationalities don’t give enough attention to him. In the past, there was built an alley that gathered monuments of great talents of Turkic world in the city of Astana.  On that alley, Kazakh brothers lined up best known personalities of Turks, Azeri, Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Turkic peoples, not counting their own. But our great Tuqay — the one they were raving about as a “mentor, bard” —  didn’t find a place between them. I think, the reasoning behind all of it is really easy: even if we built our own State and were a great nation that resonated to the whole world thousands of years earlier than them, today we don’t have the same level of independence, or to say, we are standing too short next to them. In 1990, when we were going after the status of the Union Republic, the leaders of Kazakh and Kyrgyz  Republics Nazarbayev with Akayev decided to be against us, and showed that they were looking down at us, now they confirmed those feelings again. But we are forgiving, we have open hearts and brotherly feelings, since we named one of central streets of Kazan city by name of  Nazarbaev. But what’s the moral of it:  not just independent people, but even the ones that have shackles on their hands don’t let us close to them. Just look, even Ufa, the city that easily may be named as Tatar’s second capital, doesn’t hurry to put a monument to the Great  Tuqay…Â
Can we say to ourselves that we celebrate Great Tuqay’s anniversary to the level what it deserves to be?  At least for his 100-year anniversary, select works of Gabdulla Tuqay were published in 6 volumes. At the request of cultural heritage fund “Jeyen”, Ramil Islamov, the doctor of Philology along with the candidate of historical Sciences Zavdat Minnullin published two volumes of “Tuqay — in memories” — collections of memories written by his peers. Eventually, after one hundred years of his death, Tuqay’s 130 poems were translated to Turkish and published as a magazine and book. The scientists of Institute of  language, literature and art of  G. Ibragimov  prepared the long-promised two-volume “Encyclopedia of Tuqay”, but half of it was cut out at the time of publishing, because the budget did not have money for it. Even then it was not published to the anniversary date of Tuqay. We were hoping that articles about Tuqay would be produced in theaters. Just the Youth Theatre of G. Kariev, directed by Rinat Ayupov, released three special showings, but other theaters were flooded with shows written by European and Russian authors.Â
And, of course, we were expecting that Tuqay Literary Museum in Kazan would be updated too. This museum building is very precious to us, because, in part, it is located in the house of Imam Shamil – master speaker, symbol of the struggle for independence in the Turkic world. The talks about luxurious remodeling and updating the facilities of Tuqay Museum had started upon the celebration of his 125th anniversary. High ranking bosses promised to remodel the museum at least to Tuqay’s 130th anniversary. We believed, because other museums in Kazan city as Lev Tolstoy Museum, Boratynsky and Aksenov museums have been remodeled to the best order. Money was funded and remodeling masters found. Surprisingly, our Tuqay Museum was left alone as an orphan child, just like the poet was himself in life. If we ourselves are pushing the nation’s mirror – Tukay – behind the black curtain and forget his heritage, then there is no point in accusing our other neighbors of leaving him out of the celebration of Greats of Turkic People. However, our Turkish, Arabic friends, Kazakh, Gagauz, Chechen, Chuvash brothers will come to anniversary celebrations.Â
It’s a great shame for the leading Republic and the nation to show the guests a museum with cracked walls and leaky roof. The thing is, one heritage building is not enough for us Tatars. The greatness of our millennial literature heritage is long overdue to be matched to Academic Theaters.  The literature needs its own Art Museum.
 Some of our children, thank God, are singing with pride Tuqay’s great “Tugan Tel” song along with their parents. The majority of our nations children are left out of it too: they are using their “big brother”s language as they are growing up. After all, sometimes we would like to dream and see them kids to start singing in Tatar and bring flowers to Tuqay Monuments. Only one condition stops it —  just like Tuqay was dreaming —  our nation needs to wake up one day. We have a solid foundation. Our treasure chest has a jewel that makes us proud in front of Turkic, and what is more  — before European-Asian world too.Â
We are a nation of Tuqay!

Translation by Gulgena McCall

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