Yulduz Khaliullin: ''We need to go further – present the book about Tatars in Library of U.S. Congress''

Soviet and Russian diplomat about Rafael Khakimov’s predecessor in London

Yulduz Khaliullin: ''We need to go further – present the book about Tatars in Library of U.S. Congress'' Photo: Maksim Platonov

Employees of Sh. Mardjani Institute of History presented the English version of The Golden Horde in World History at Oxford recently. Head of the institute Rafael Khakimov is going to present the book in many European scientific centres. So Russian diplomat and expert in Eastern studies Yulduz Khaliullin having positively accepted the result of the joint work of scientists and TAIF recalls pioneers, those who told the West about Tatars and advise not to rest.

TAIF gave the information greenlight

One of the first Tatarstan companies has recently run a non-major campaign: it subsidised the translation of the multivolume edition of The History of the Tatars as well as The Golden Horde in World History in English prepared with English historians. There is no sense in trying to calculate the prime cost of the translation of several thousands of pages into good English – I think millions of euros or dollars if it was done within a short period of time, just several months, as Rafael Khakimov stated during the presentation of the books at Oxford University.

The Golden Horde is quite a well-examined topic. For us, Tatars, it is very important that it sound from a perspective that is favourable for us. There will be found critics even after this edition because it is a usual topic for polemic and discussions. The sponsor of the translation and edition of the books – TAIF – took the initiative on time during the recent, not very good events of the financial and social life of Tatarstan. Against a background of negative publications of the federal media about Tatarstan in three areas: bankruptcy of Tatfondbank advertised as Sharia banking, about $200m lost by Tatneft in Ukraine (Kremenchug oil refinery) and sudden resignation of relatively young Ildar Khalikov from the post of prime minister, the edition of the multivolume book The History of the Tatars becomes quite a positive event, at least for the external environment, which, in my opinion, should be used at different levels and in different areas during the year.

The Golden Horde is quite a well-examined topic. For us, Tatars, it is very important that it sound from a perspective that is favourable for us

Pioneer Ravil Bukharaev

I don't know how the problem of the style of the English language and accurate correspondence to Russian and Tatar original texts of the big monographs was solved if about 50 translators and editors worked there. It is a very important moment that only experts can understand – historians who know both languages (Russian and English) at a high level. Nevertheless, it is a big event when the 1,000-year-old history of the Tatars entered the international stage.

In this respect, I would like to remind that my good friend, poet and opinion journalist, historian and translator Ravil Bukharaev who started his artistic life in England right in the Central Asia Centre at Oxford University almost 25 years ago launched this process in Great Britain. As for translations of best examples of the Tatar language and poetry, Ravil Bukharaev was an awesome translator here, of course. I wrote about his merits in numerous Moscow newspapers including Nezavisimaya Gazeta:

''The book The Story of Joseph, which is an English translation of Qíssai Yosıf written by founder of the Tatar literature Qol Ghali, has appeared in one of the prestigious London publishing houses Global Oriental recently. <…> This book is a result of the cooperation of a team of four people headed by Ravil Bukharaev living in three centres of the European continent – London, Saint Petersburg and Kazan. They are poet and philosopher Ravil Bukharaev, translator and literary scholar Fred Bick, artist from Saint Petersburg Azat Minnekaev and Kazan scientist and linguist Nurmukhammet Khisamov. Six thousand poetic lines in modern English, over forty illustrations in colour surprisingly recreate wonderful religious and literary plots of the past centuries that tens of generations of people of the East and West admired during the narration.

<…> Ravil Bukharaev, in fact, became an unofficial envoy of Tatarstan to London as ''voluntary exile'' like genius Irish writer James Joyce liked to call himself whose artistic activity lives in three centres of continental Europe: in Triest, Zurich, Paris. Curiously, all three worldwide famous novels of Joyce, which became life changing in the 20 th century world literature, were full of Irish, Dublin plots. Ravil did almost the same thing. Homeland is seen better from far, so to speak. I experimented it first-hand because I spent almost 20 years in South and Southeast Asian countries – from Jakarta to Kathmandu – due to my service.

My good friend, poet and opinion journalist, historian and translator Ravil Bukharaev who started his artistic life in England right in the Central Asia Centre at Oxford University almost 25 years ago launched this process in Great Britain

In London, Bukharaev managed to bring the Tatar poetry to the world stage. Together with English expert in Eastern studies David Matthews, he published Historical Anthology of Kazan Tatar Verse in 2000. Over 50 poets from Qol Ghali to Fannur Safin were included there.

It is also important that multilingual poet Ravil Bukharaev had a reputation of an author who worths reading for both philosophic meditations and just for aesthetic pleasure in Moscow, Kazan, London and Saint Petersburg where his collections of verses were published in last years and are still published. In my opinion, it ensures the success of the comeback of the medieval romantic, lyric and modern Tatar poetry to the forefront of the 21 st century where Shakespeare traditions remained for centuries.''

We need to go further — Library of U.S. Congress

Rafael Khakimov says 500 copies of the book were edited. But I tried to find them (in English) in main Moscow libraries but could not do it. At the moment they are absent in catalogues of the biggest Moscow libraries.

We, Moscow Tatars, we account for hundreds of thousands of people, hope to see the English version of the multivolume book this year. For instance, in the International Tatar Centre where Ravil Akhmetshin (deputy prime minister of the Republic of Tatarstan, plenipotentiary representative of Tatarstan to Moscow) actively works to prepare its opening. Earlier Tatarstan got the building of big Enthusiast cinema.

We need to go further: to make a presentation in the USA, considering the Oxford experience, particularly in the Library of U.S. Congress. Razil Valeyev (Tatarstan State Council deputy) or even very speaker of the Tatarstan Parliament Farid Mukhametshin for greater prestige could head the delegation. By the way, we can do it on our own. For instance, I presented my book Prоfessor Abdus Salam. Nobel Laureate at Cambridge, Oxford and even in the Library of U.S. Congress on my own.

By Yulduz Khaliullin