Mirza Shafi Vazeh
Mirza-Shafi Vazeh (Azerbaijani: Mirzə Şəfi Vazeh, 1794–1852)(Persian: میرزا شفیع واضح), also known as the "sage from Ganja", was a classical bilingual poet of Azerbaijani poet and Persian language who continued the classical traditions of Azerbaijani poetry from the 14th century. His verses were translated into nearly all European languages.
Mirza Shafi was born in 1794 in Ganja. His grandfather Muhammed Shafi was a nobleman of Ganja, and his father Kerbelayi Sadykh was an architect in the palace of Javad-khan, the last ruler of Ganja. Young Shafi got his primary education at a madrassa, where he studied Arabic and Persian. Vazeh interrupted his education at madrassa after the death of his parents and his brother, and due to his daring stance against ignorance and backwardness of religious clergy. He began to work as a book copier, using his exceptional hand-writing skills, and later as a secretary and house keeper in the estate of Pusta-khanum, the daughter of Javad-khan.
In 1840 Vazeh moved to Tiflis where, with help of his former student Mirza Fatali Akhundov, he secured the position of teacher at a boy’s school. In Tiflis, Vazeh became even more devoted to literature. In 1844 he established a literary society "Divan-i Hikmet" which gathered many prominent Azeri, Russian and foreign intellectuals living in Tiflis.
Among the members of this society was Friedrich Martin von Bodenstedt, a German poet and traveler, who became Vazeh's friend and student in Azeri and Persian language and literature. Vazeh rarely put his verses into written form and his friends transcribed most of his works during their gatherings. Von Bodenstedt was one of the scribes, and translated Vazeh's poetry into German, upon his return to Germany. He published the translation in 1851 as a book named "The songs of Mirza Shafi". The book became popular, was republished and translated into other European languages. However, after Vazeh's death in 1852 F. von Bodenstedt denied Vazeh's authorship claiming that it was his own verses and he presented them as belonging to Vazeh in order to add an exotic air to the book in order to enhance its popularity.
Vazeh’s verses, which were translated and published throughout Europe in 19th century gained attention in Azerbaijan only in the beginning of 20th century. Azerbaijani philologists S. Mumtaz and H. Hamidzade played a key role in collecting and publishing those of Vazeh's original verses which have been preserved to date. In his poetry, Vazeh glorifies the joys of life, and the wisdom and goodness of a man.
- ALGAR, HAMID. "ḎU’L-LESĀNAYN , "possessor of two tongues"; epithet often bestowed upon bilingual poets.". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2011-05-01.
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