June 5, 1908|
January 6, 1938 (aged 29)|
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Most of his poetry is about romance, nature, feelings. Despite this, he soon became one of the slandered and criticized poets in the Union of Azerbaijani Writers. Soon afterwards, Mushfig was arrested and executed by Soviet authorities at the age of 30 during the Stalinist purges in the USSR. In 1956, he was exonerated posthumously. Nikita Khrushchev era of de-stalinization has resulted in Mushfig's poetry being famous in Azerbaijani society.
Life and poetry
Mikayil Mushfig was born in the city of Baku of Baku Governorate in 1908. He received his elementary education at Russian-language School in Baku. After the establishment of the Soviet regime in Azerbaijan in 1920, he studied at Baku Teacher's School and in 1931, he graduated from the Department of Language and Literature of the Baku State University.
Mikayil started his professional career as a school teacher. While being involved in teaching he started writing poems. His first poem Bir Gün ("The Day") was published in the Ganj fahla newspaper in Baku in 1926. At about this time, he adopted the pen name Mushfig (Perso-Arabic for "tender-hearted"). Along with Samad Vurgun and Rasul Rza, Mikayil Mushfig became one of the founders of new Azerbaijani Soviet poetic style in 1930s. He translated a number of poems from Russian as well.
In his poetry, Mushfig glorified the work of industrial workers and peasants and lauded the construction of industrial enterprises in Baku and other cities. According to Mushfig's wife, Dilbar Akhundzadeh, Mikayil welcomed the transition from the Perso-Arabic script to the Latin script that took place in Azerbaijan in 1927. His excitement was expressed in the following verse:
- And at parting,
- My soul wants to tell you:
- "Goodbye! Your last day has come,
- Wretched old alphabet!"
When Stalin and Mir Jafar Baghirov decreed that traditional Azerbaijani musical instruments, including the tar, were to be banned, Mushfig wrote a poem in response titled "Sing Tar, Sing". The popularity of his poem with the public convinced the authorities to rescind the tar ban.
Arrest and execution
In late 1930s, as been confessed by writer Mehdi Huseyn in one of the Ilyas Afandiyev's memories, it was very common among poets and writers to slander each other and accuse each other of nationalism or spreading religious propaganda. The reasons of such slanders were generally connected with personal problems and bitter rivalries between certain poets and writers. Mushfig also came under the barrage of criticism in the Azerbaijani Writers' Union along with some other literary figures of the era such as Huseyn Javid, Ahmed Javad and Yusif Vazir Chamanzaminli by some of the literary figures who were serving the interests of Stalin's regime in the USSR branded Mushfig as a "chauvinist" and a "petit-bourgeois poet". He was arrested in 1937, charged with treason as "the enemy of the state", and executed in 1939 in the Bayil prison near Baku. He was later officially exonerated. Even though, Mushfig wrote poems about Joseph Stalin, during in de-Stalinization policy of the USSR he was portrayed as an "anti-Stalinist" poet.
- Küləklər ("The Winds"), 1930
- Günün Səsləri ("The Voices of the Day"), 1932
- Collection of Poems, 1934
- Selected works (2 volumes), 1960
- Duyğu Yarpaqları ("The Leaves of a Feeling"), 1966
- Poems (2 volumes), 1968 and 1973
- Yenə O Bağ Olaydı ("I wish it was that garden again"), 1976
- Ədəbiyyat Nəğməsi ("The Song of literature"), 1978
Songs to Mikayil Mushfig's poems
- SOSREALİZM BİZƏ NƏ VERDİ? - Elchin Afandiyev (non-English)
- Farid Alakbarov, "Poet Mikayil Mushfig," in Azerbaijan International, Vol. 10:3 (Autumn 2002), pp. 50-51.
- "Poet Mikayil Mushfig (1908-1939)". Azerbaijan International. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
Mushfig's wife writes: "The famous tar player Gurban Primov visited us, expressing his grave concern. 'Yes, yes, I've heard about it,' Mushfig told him. 'I can't believe it...To deprive the nation of its favorite national instrument means to deprive it of joy and condemn it to eternal sorrow.'"
- Agalar Memmedov - an interview with Heydar Huseynov Archived 2016-02-15 at the Wayback Machine.
- Dilbar Akhundzadeh, "My days with Mushfiq", Baku, 1968