It would be true to say, that Gabdulla Tuqay’s first teacher was Khabibrahman khalifa, a descendent of intelligent family in those times. Just to mention that he was a younger brother of the region’s progressive-minded religious leader Hazrat Fatkherahman, so needless to say that Gabdulla’s path to religious and educational enlightenment was right on time as angels were approving him by saying “Amin”. Future poet studied in Qirlay madrassah for two and a half years — until uncle Badri came along and took him to Kushlauch in the fall of 1894.
«Teacher is an educator, a person who teaches lessons and develops kid’s souls”. Rizaeddin Fahreddin.
The madrassah, where young Gabdulla studied alphabet, was located at the foot of peasant Sagdi’s lot and another neighbour Ahmetkhan bey Muhametzyanov’s manor. If you pass through Sagdi Salikhov’s lot and garden (this year it was turned into a museum under the open sky by joint-stock company “Tattelecom), then go down to the well by Iya river and look at the mosque on the other side, you might be able to see the madrassah’s foundation “stitches”. Today, Communication Company is doing improvements on Ahmatkhan bey’s two-story log house. As opportunity arises, it would be great to unearth the foundation pieces of that very first school of our nations loved Gabdulla – the madrassah, and then, if it will be pieced together with Sagdi and Ahmetkhan’s lots, it could become the collective historic-ethnographic conservation area that showcases lifestyle in Tatar village in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As we see it, there would be a memorial board dedicated not only to Gabdulla Tuqay himself, but one for his first teacher Khabibrahman khalifa too.
By the way, there were more teachers, who gave education to orphan Gabdulla, who had to move from village-to-village, city-to-city after leaving Qirlay behind. His classmate Kamil Tukhvatullin (son of Hazrat Motiygullah) wrote in his memories: «Gabdulla Effendi (sir) was about ten years old, when he moved from Kazan to Uralsk. His first teacher here was Fatkhutdin Rakhmatullin». In his memories he also notes that the future poet “from very young age had very gentle, tender soul and paid great attention to his schooling”.
But from all the teachers who taught this very young Tatar boy, may we say even — teenager, who was the one that brought him to the heights of literary capacity where he could translate works of Pushkin and Lermontov? And how can we not acknowledge, that only deep understanding of Russian poetry and having its brightest representatives as his examples helped Tuqay to rise to such unprecedented heights in the Tatar literacy? We find the answers to these questions in the letters of Uralsk historian Gabderakhman Kaltiev. «When Tuqaev arrived in Uralsk in 1895, his uncle-in-law Galiasgar Gosmanov took him to school of famous old teacher of Uralsk Oblast’ Ahmedshah Sirazetdinov”, notes historian in his letters to a writer Ahmed Faizi. “Ahmedshah Sirazetdinov was Tuqay’s first Russian mentor and the one who taught his lessons in European manner. Gabdulla, then going by last name of Garifov, was very smart and gifted student, and borrowing books that Ahmedshah Sirazetdinov had in his collection, he got acquainted with works of the Russian classics. He would read those books to the point where he would loose himself in them and later he started translating them too”. The author of the letter says that Gabdulla Tuqay, who in his earlier works used a lot of Arabic, Farsi, Turkish words, after exposure to Russian literature started creating true Tatar poetry. In his opinion, Ahmedshah Sirazetdinov was the mentor who taught Tuqay how to use the right Tatar words and how to translate correctly from Russian to Tatar.
Gabdulla was able to absorb all that education from his teachers, mentors, and he was able to develop it given his natural talents and direct it to work for his nation – that is why we favor our Tuqay. Only the talent that is directed to working for the people brings you the eternal recognition.
Translated by Gulgena McCall