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Mustafa Shokay

Kazakh social and political activist, publicist, ideologist of the struggle for freedom and independence of the Common Turkestan.

Mustafa Shokay ((Shokay, Chokay, Chokay-ogly; Kazakh language: Мұстафа Шоқай (ұлы); Russian language: Мустафа́ Шока́й). Mustafa was born on 25 December 1890, in Akmechet (now Kyzyl-Orda, Kazakhstan). He died in 27 December 1941, Berlin, The Third Reich.) - Kazakh social and political activist, publicist, Kazakh thinker, scholar, statesman and public figure, ideologist of the struggle for freedom and independence of the Common Turkestan. He is the grandson of the ruler Torgai son begs Yer Shokai, maternally derived from the Kazakh khanate of Khiva.

Mustafa Shokay was born into an aristocratic family. During this period the status of family was evaluating by the number of cattle, and Mustafa’s family was pretty rich in their village. Mustafa’s paternal grandfather was the Datkha, which in Persian means - "a wish, request, Justice", also Datkha was equal to a Sultan and was higher in title than Bey. Mustafa’s grandfather was electing Prime Minister - Datkha of Khiva’s khan. Datkha could subordinate only to the Khan and help him to manage the Khanate. The mother of Mustafa was Bakty, she was intellectual in her own right and she was a descendant of the famous Batu Khan. Bakty was well-educated, owned Arabic and Persian languages. Mustafa Shokay was born on 25 December 1890, in Akmechet, (today Kyzyl-Orda), Kazakhstan. He was from the Middle Juz (horde) of the Kypchak’s tribe, Torgai clan, Shashty popliteal, Boshay knee, Zhanay popliteal. Before October Revolution in 1917 Shokay’s Family and about 30 of his relatives lived in one village, which was located in 5 kilometers from the station of Sulu-Tube. They lived in nice yurts, (nomad’s houses). The father of Mustafa had 2 wives and the mother of Mustafa was his second wife. He had 2 sisters and 3 brothers. Mustafa was the last one in their family and the difference between his Sadyk brothers was 15 years. Another brother’s name was Nurtaza. Based on Mustafa’s word, his mother taught to read and right in childhood. When he was 5 year old he learned to play on the dombra. From childhood he was musically gifted, and had a great ear and for music. From a young age, Mustafa was so highly educated. In their village was a mullah, who was taught to read the Koran. Mustafa was distinguished by the fact that he had perfect memory and he knew all, of the sura from the Koran by heart. When he was 7 years old his father took him to Akmechet Mustafa had to go to school, in Akmechet, where he would study in Russian; it was feared that he would forget the Kazakhs and forever be Russian. Moreover the mullah added to all of this, that Russians will put on you the cross. Mustafa was really afraid, he did not want to go, but his father calmed him and persuaded him. Mustafa started his studying in the Russian school, but he became very sick and left his studies. In the 1902 he was admitted to Tashkent gymnasium and in 1910 he graduated with the school’s gold medal. General Samsonov(Alexander Samsonov (1859–1914), a Russian military commander during World War I) was against of Mustafa’s gold and insisted another student should win. The gold was had handed to Zeprometov, he was Russian. The director of Tashkent gymnasium disagrees and also Zeprometov said that Shokay should get the gold medal. It was the great event in 1910. The intentions of Samsonov caused outrage not only within the ranks of the local youth, but also from the Russians. All of the professors and Russian intellectuals were ready to strike. That strike was provoked by the administration, showing the unfair treatment to the student in favor of the officials. Trying to smooth over the scandal, Samsonov proposed Mustafa as an interpreter in his administration, but Shokai refused and went to St. Petersburg, where he entered the law faculty of the University (1910-1917). In 1912 Mustafa’s father died and the local village people asked him to return home for a time at the request of fellow to replace the post of his father – a judge. Moreover, because of death of his father Mustafa interrupted his education for a time. Then, in connection with the Stolypin agrarian reform in Kazakhstan have become massively resettled peasants of Russia, the land for which was collected from the local Kazakhs began land disputes.

During study in St. Petersburg, Mustafa was trying to protect not only the interest of his countryman, but the whole Kazakh nation. However, in 3 July 1907, Tsar Nikolai II issued a decree depriving the electoral rights of the indigenous peoples of Siberia and Central Asia. They lost their way with little representation in the State Duma of Russia. But the Kazakh politicians and intellectuals continued to fight for the interests of the people. Working in the Duma, Shokai met with prominent Muslim political leaders of Russia and became friends with Ahmad Zaki Validi, the future chairman of the Bashkir autonomy.

In the midst of heavy the First World War June 25, 1916, Tsar Nicholas II issued a decree "On the requisition of foreigners", attracting the indigenous population of Turkestan and the Steppe region in age from 19 to 43 years to rear work - digging trenches, despite the fact that the Muslims were exempted from military service due to the deprivation of electoral rights. The decree came in the days of Ramadan and the height of the agricultural work that has outraged the entire nation. Then was launched a powerful uprising in Turkestan and the Steppe region. In the Kazakh steppes rebellion led Amangeldy Imanov. In the State Duma there were protests. Mustafa Shokai entered his commission as a secretary and translator of the Muslim faction. Subsequent performances of Kerensky in the Duma with the analysis of the Turkestan uprising against the imperial government policies brought him huge popularity throughout Russia. When he returned to Petrograd, Shokai prepared materials for their performances in the State Duma of their faction. However the State Duma was dissolved by Tsar Nicholas II, and then he himself abdicated.

During his student life, in fact during his all life, Mustafa was not involved in any political party. He was a democrat, with big heart without the slightest hint of socialism, who loved his homeland and his nation. Mustafa never spared himself in the name of the future of his people. There were politicians for peace or for the war and Mustafa belonged to the politicians for peace. Mustafa’s character was soft and easily vulnerable. He knew that to work in the State Duma he had to be a strong person. He never tired of studying; solving his mistakes and works on building his character. Shokay admired and highly valued Mustafa Kemal. Shokay considered that Turkestan needed a political reformer like himself. Although Mustafa Shokay did not have any hostile emotion to bigots or to representatives of other nations. He loved to make discussions or argue with person, who has different political opinion. In arguments he was calm and ever respected his opponent’s standpoint. The big mistake of Mustafa in all his life was that he trusted others because of that he had a lot of trouble. He always took any inhumane acts to his heart. He was able to find the way to heart of people throughout honesty and the ability to empathize with others. Sometimes he stood really heatedly, defending his position, but in all cases did not hurt the feeling of his opponent. Mustafa was the enemy of narrow-minded nationalism. He defended his interest for position of Turkestan’s people union. However, the Russian nationalist recognized Mustafa’s position, but they did not want to regard with interest of Turkestan’s nation, also with non-Russian nations. These principles of Russian democracy really hurt the feeling of Mustafa Shokay and for this reason he severed good relations with the Russian periodical press in 1923 (mass-media).

Mustafa Shokay
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