Oyan, Qazaq”: A Challenge to Colonialism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


A history of literature is not one-day process. It is the fruit of several centuries, which constantly develops with its spiritual necessities. The early 20th century was a difficult historical period for the Kazakh society, which focused on keeping its existence in the historical arena. At that time, the Soviet empire’s colonization policy caused too much pressure on Kazakhs. This period witnessed not the peasants’ overbearing voice from the khan’s period, but “zhyrau” genre, which was becoming popular in order to awaken people. At the colonization period, awakening people, calling them for independence was not easy. Kazakh poets were forced to deliver their ideas indirectly through metaphors, fables and other techniques.
One of the early 20th century poets, who openly described the social situation in the Kazakh steppe and attempted to awaken people and inspire them when the nation’s fate was under material and spiritual pressure, was Mirzhakyp Dulatuly. His first poem “Oyan, Qazaq” brought to the Kazakh literature a strong motive, brave voice and sober idea.
M. Dulatuly’s “Oyan, Qazaq” collection of poems was first published in 1910 in Ufa. In 1911, “Oyan qazaq” was also published in Orynbor.
Open your eyes, awaken Kazakh and stand up.
Do not spend your youth in darkness.
The land is lost, religion is gone, and the situation is bad,
My Kazakh, there is no time to rest.
He described Kazakh nation’s difficult situation in this epigraph of the book. In these four lines, he describes four troubles of the nation. His attempt to awaken people is seen from his designation of these problems throughout the book. However, this book was prohibited and its author was sent into exile under the soviet censorship.
In this article, we will describe “Oyan, Qazaq” collection’s ideas and civil principles.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOtarlıq sayasatqa qarsı turğan «Oyan qazaq»
PublisherADES-IV (International Symposium on Asian Languages and Literatures Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Kazakh literature, alash, genre, poet

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