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Ájiniyaz Qosıbay Ulı (Karakalpak: Әжинияз Қосыбай улы, Ájiniyaz Qosıbay ulı; Uzbek: Ажиниёз Қўсибой ўғли, Ajiniyoz Qoʻsiboy oʻgʻli) (1824–1878) was a Karakalpak poet, who is also known by his pen name Ziywar.[1]


Ájiniyaz was born in 1824 at the southern coast of the Aral Sea, in the village of Qamısh buǵat of the Muynak District, at the mouth of the river Amu Darya, where the Karakalpak tribes as ashmayli and kiyat used to live. Ájiniyaz’s father Qosıbay, his brothers Baltabek and Aqjigit were the brave men of their time. His mother Nazira was an eloquent and charming lady.


Since the childhood Ajiniyaz had been interested in the knowledge and study. First he attends the medresse of Khojamurad-imam and then, after his mother’s death he takes classes of his uncle Elmurad. Apart from attending classes, the future poet is engaged in rewriting books what made him a well-known person. By the age of 16 he had rewritten some poems of Alisher Navoi. Ajiniyaz continues his education in Khiva. In the cultural center of ancient Khorezm he attends first the medresse of Sher-Gozi where the classic of the Turkmen poetry Maktumkuli had studied before, and then joins the medresse of Kutlimurat-Inak. Nowadays at the entrance of this medresse one can see a writing: “Here in 1840-1845 a poet Ájiniyaz Qosıbay Ulı used to study.” In the medresse of Kutlimurat-Inak apart from spiritual disciplines Ajiniyaz studies poetry of the Oriental classical poets such as Navoi, Khafiz, Saadi, Fizuli. He rereads poems of these admitted authors with a big interest what made him later start his progressive lyric poetry.

After the graduation from the medresse of Kutlimurat-Inak Ajiniyaz returns to his native village but soon he leaves it again for Kazakhstan where he had stayed for a year. Coming back he marries a girl named Khamra from the tribe ashmayli who bore two sons and a daughter for him. The descendants of the poet at present live in the Kungrad, Qonliko’l, Shumanay regions and in Nukus.

The Kungrad rebellion[edit]

The Kungrad rebellion of 1858−1859, one of the important events in the history of the people inhabiting the Khorezm oasis, made a big influence on the poetic nature of Ajiniyaz. A big patriot and educated person he could not remain indifferent to this event and he took an active part in it. Afterwards he will be deported to Turkmenistan by the authorities of Khiva as one of the leaders of the rebellion. During the deportation period the poet translates into Karakalpak many poems of Maktumkuli.

Life in Kazakhstan[edit]

Three years later Ajiniyaz comes back home where he is persecuted. Under these circumstances he leaves for Kazakhstan. It is considered that it was the third trip of Ajiniyaz to Kazakhstan during which – in 1864 there happens a significant event in the life of the poet: together with a Kazakh poet Kiz-Menesh he takes part in aytis a competition in poetry. In comparison with the other traditional genres of the folklore of that time aytis gets especially popular. In 1878 it was described in the Tashkent newspaper Turkistan walayati. According to the contents of one of Ajiniyaz’s poems he was 40 years old at that time:

      ... When there is wedding, you’ll wear red chapan,
      And burn from love in the fire of your beloved.
      I was born in a year of a sheep, now I am 40, Kiz-menesh,
      Will you marry me, clarifying the age!

The years spent in Kazakhstan refer to the golden age of the poetic activity of Ajiniyaz. At this period he created a big number of his famous poems. Coming back to his native place Ajiniyaz opens schools in the villages «Bozataw», «Kamis buget», «Jetim uzak» for the children from poor families where he teaches them skills of grammar. Besides, till the end of his life – the poet died in 1874 − he keeps writing poems.

Bozataw tragedy[edit]

Ajiniyaz was not only one of the ideologists of the people’s rebellion but also an active participant of the Bozataw tragedy which like a serious injury had left an awful scar in the history and in minds of the Karakalpak people. The hard trial suffered by the native people bore Ajiniyaz’s famous poem Bozataw:

      Century of Land with nation, nation is with land,
      Grief is awaiting us, landless in exile.
      We won’t forget the pain, tribe will disappear
      You were our bread-winner, dear Bozataw.
      Heard, firing started out before sunrise,
      Slept as free before-woke up as a slaver,
      Hands were tied up-where is the struggle…
      Your son was captured suddenly, Bozataw.


  1. ^ Ajiniyaz Kosibay-Uli. Biography of the Poet. http://www.ndpi.uz/img/menu/26/ajiniyaz.htm (accessed on 2018-08-28)