Musa Calil (Dzhalil) Tatar Poet

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I took this photograph of The statue of Musa Cälil, Tartar poet and resistance fighter, which stands outside the Kremlin in Kazan. There is an honour guard standing in front of the statue in the run up to Victory day (9th May  2017). Having never heard of  Musa Calil  I decided to do a little research.

Musa Calil (1906-1944)
(Also transliterated as Musa Dzhalil)

Despite being executed by the Nazis in 1944 as leader of an underground organization Musa Calil (pronounced Jalil in English) was posthumously convicted as a traitor. His literary achievements as a Tatar poet were largely forgotten and his bravery as a resistance fighter in the Great Patriotic War (World War II) unknown until the 1950s            Calil was born in the village of Mustafino in the Orenburg Oblast (province) 900 miles southwest of Moscow near the border with Kazakhstan. Post the 1919 revolution Russia was embroiled in a civil war. Orenburg was under the control of the White Movement (a loose coalition of forces opposed to Lenin’s Bolshevik form of socialism). Calil became a Bolshevik activist, rising through the ranks of the Komsomol (Communist Union of Youth). By 1925 Calil was .an instructor with the Komsomol and had published his first poems. He was nineteen.

Kazan Tatarstan

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If you ask the average English speaking person to name a city where Asia  meets Europe they will probably say Istanbul – if you mention Kazan the response is often, where? Standing on the banks of the Volga and astride the Kazanka river the thousand year old city of Kazan in Tatarstan was founded on the a junction of the northern silk road. Kazan is still a vibrant example of eastern and western cultures meeting and mixing in harmony; even the name means cooking pot or cauldron in the native Tatar language.