Nahili Samurai

Gokdepe – Gonubek translation part 1 | January 13, 2008

Musician that died during the Gokdepe battle
Account of events about

Gönübek

by one Turkmen
who participated in battle

Prepared for print:

Seýitmyrat Öwezbaýev

Türkmenovedenie magazine
1927, 1st edition

Translated to Turkmen:

Nargylyç Hojageldiev
Aşgabat 1991
“Altyn guşak”

Transliteration from Cyrillic to Latin:

Akmurat Gürgenli

2006 year.
Parag

From the edition

While publishing this narrative, we believe it’s our duty to tell one thing beforehand: in order not to lose the influence of feelings he experienced during events, the recitals by the Turkmen who didn’t forget bloodshed of years 1880—1881, are left intact; despite the fact that on the third hand it doesn’t adhere to timeline, the depicted events don’t fully correspond to chronology, and much focus is given to Teke attacks.
S.Öwezbaýev was concerned with documenting of a big collection ofTurkmen legends popular among people, memoirs, tales and samples, this narrative is a tiny part of that collection. This story describes last days of Turkmen life crushed by severe force of tsar’s imperialism. Here, the shadow of British lion, which lost calm because of its rule is also apparent.

Türkmenovedenie magazine
*********

Aman aga, Amangeldi Göni, Gönübek was the only and the best example of “Türkmenchilik” epoch. He was from Teke’s Sychmaz tribe’s Arabic line. He was Nurberdi han’s first advisor and his right hand. His opinion, his word were perceived as the opinion and word of the nation, all of society of that time. Without his participation, not even one big council could take place. He was an unmatched musician, father of Turkmen music, there’s probably no one who can play like him even now. He was a fervent smoker. He would pick a few respected old men and ride from Ahal’s one side to another, they would stop in almost every village, they would comprehend disagreements between villages, reconcile feud enemies, get to know opinion of the people on social and political events. In private life Gönübek was a modest, spartan man. Everyone respected and honoured him for his sympathy, modesty, and perceiving everyone equally. His house was always crowded. His family and friends from imminent and distant villages would live in house for many days. An old tradition had survived in his house. The person to fell asleep or got hungry earlier than others was considered done something shameful. Of course, people slept and ate in his house. But here’s a different point. Everyone had to sleep at the same time, everyone had to eat at the same time. People from various places discussed national issues and share everyday cares.
When forage, flour, sheep for slaughter were required for visitors and guests, Gönübek would send the first man to meet his eye to any random prosperous people, all needed things were made ready straightway, as if from his own storehouse or flock. To turn down his request or to ask for payment wouldn’t even cross minds, all these things were simply sent for Gönübek. Many of his friends and relatives, respectful people would bring required things by themsleves as well.
Everyone respected this person, honoured him, recognized his word, he would rejoice when nation rejoiced, and grieve together with the nation, spiritual support of people, this man lived like that, and continued like that.
Let me tell about several of his trends that describe how he was a man of his word. We, with a few hundred people including Kerimberdi işan, Nurberdi han and a few other respected people of that time gathered in Gäwers village. There was a hearsay that Persians were going to attack that place. In Näzdepe—(village 25 km from Bami, in 1869 all the village population was driven away as captives to Iran by Büjnurt ruler Haýdarguly han[Şatlu])—
We gathered to prevent a repetition of such incident. All of the assembled people divided into groups, and lived in villagers’ houses. A special field was cleared up, and Kerimberdi işan, Nurberdi han with many other people who read namaz would gather there and read namaz. Kerimberdi işan traveled to Mecca and back in 6 months, people respected him for being haji very much. Once when Nurberdi han went to Mary, Gurbanmyrat ishan attempted to be Ahal’s han, he was even named “sultan Sanjar’s successor” (It would be right to write Sanjar the 2nd – AG), this matter ended with bloodshed between Tilki and Ganjyk villages, Gurbanmyrat işan lost respect of people after this.

In our struggles with neighbouring countries for generations the most difficult, the most bloody, the most audacious was the conflict with Russians. On the approaches of Gökdepe fortress walls, inside, on the desert escape road, during the fortress battle, during demolition, during three days after the capture, more than 15 thousand people died. All our property was scattered. Captured women with children, and only childrens themselves appeared in different countries, passed from hand to hand of victors, and neighbouring enemies that took advantage of our grief. The forces were unequal. The fate of losing people was obvious to everyone, to every person. The 12th of January, the cold, winter day was the last day of our free life and the day Turkmenchilik was put into the grave. From that fatal day our new life started growing on the battlefield of our whole old life.
The understanding of what woes despotic life will bring, the understanding of violence, constraint, moral and material losses the defeat will bring, gave force to fortress defenders, inspired them for big heroism, sacrifice, and “self-sacrifice”. Of course, “self-sacrifice” of those days wasn’t equal to “self-sacrifice” of our days. It’s necessary to state that the inequality of forces, the inevitability of our misfortune was clear much earlier than that day. Nevertheless we continued to fearlessly defend the fortress.
The English representative, the man who spoke in their name[O’Donovan “Turkmenvedenyýe” magazine comment-AG] promised help with weapons. However to the very end that help never came. Hard days were nearing… The dead were gone, they finished their matters, therefore they were peaceful, happy, if only we could die sooner… not to see this dread… disgrace… humiliation” thought was sinking into the minds. The animal-like fear was long forgotten, guys fearlessly went into attacks, without any precautions, stepping over dead bodies of their kinsmen. “Better die than live” thought had captured young and old minds alike.
Some moments, some situations revive in my mind as if it happened today. I remember, it was a cloudless, sunny day. My wound was getting better, but wasn’t fully cured. Rifle bullets were falling inside the fortress, occasionally a grenade exploded. Children were running, collecting bullets, and their fathers, in their unoccupied time, were melting those bullets, and making shots for their rifles. This matter ended with death of some children, even so the bullets needed to be collected, able children continued to do this job. Russians approached the walls of fortress. From the behaviour of people, their conversations, the danger of enemy approaching like this was evident. I got out of my cover. People were going towards the fortress wall, some were running with swords, knives, shears bound to the tip of stick. All people who had rifles, pistols-revolvers were already there and firing bullets onto enemies. I gave best wishes to people passing near me, and observed their sullen faces.
Around eighty steps from me one elderly woman was walking towards me. She was walking with a basin of just baked bread on her side. She didn’t even care to observe the incidents around her or the noise they created. I forgot about everything with giving best wishes to people passing by me. When I looked at the old woman with bread again, she was lying dead. She was covering half of the hot blood-drop bread heap with her body. People running by her side stopped at her body. They squatted down, took a little piece of blood coloured bread and sent it into their mouth:
– God, please give us an easy death like this as well!– they would say, and keep going.

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