Turkmenistan is rightly proud of Magtymguly Pyragy, the 18th century philosopher and poet. He was not only a poet but a spiritual leader of Naqshbandi Sufi cult, he was also a traveller, who travelled to distant places for education. He got education from the renowned institutions of his time. He got his early education from his well learned father, who was a renowned scholar of his time.
Magtymguly lived in the most trublent and chaotic era of Central Asian history. The political disturbance and upheaval was engulfing the Central Asia, radical changes were taking place, a major change had taken place in Persia. The emergence of modern Afghanistan under Ahmed Shah Abdali was a hovering threat for the area.
The regional political stability was shaking, the Turkmen tribes were disunited and were being governed by Persia. The whole political scenario was a source of golden chance for an independent state, factions among the Turkmen tribes,took advantage of these developments in the region, they started lobbying for an independent Turkmen State by the unification of all tribes. The visionary and foresighted Magtymguly was the first Turkmen poet who gave the idea of a Tukmen State, he played a constitutive role in Turkmen modern history by providing a poetic vision for a unified Turkmenistan for the first time by uniting the Turkmen tribes.
The dream of the philosopher poet for a United Turkmenistan was never realized in his life time. But the idea of the philosopher poet did not go in vain, it shaped in reality after passing nearly a span of century. The Russian conquest of the areas now called Turkmenistan in 1881 was the result of disarray of Turkmen tribes, who were at draggers drawn with each other. After the socialist revolution in Russia, the new regime after establishing her authority in Turkmen areas, in 1925, made a unified Turkmenistan under USSR.
The poetry of Magtymguly is distinct and unique from other Turkmen poets of his time. His poetry is a beautiful amalgam of nationalism, personal feelings, mysticism and love for an independent Turkmenistan. His thoughts and feelings were deeply effected and injured, when Turkmen tribes were forced to be ousted from their homeland and were plundered as a result of clashes with Persians and Khivans. This all filled his poetry with the feelings of deep resentment and repentance. A strong social protest is also expressed in his poems.
Magtymguly is pioneer of many innovations in Turkmen poetry, he was the first poet of his time who introduced the use of classical Chughtai, the court language of the Khans of Central Asia, this was incorporating many Turkmen linguistic features, this shows his zeal to unite Turkmen people. He is unique nationalist who loves Turkic languages rather than neighboring persian, his whole poetry exemplifies this trend, he prefers the use of turkic language in his poetry than any other language. This all makes him the founder of Turkmen poetry, literature and language.
Magtymguly poetry is the symbol of revival of national conciousness that paved the way for future development of Turkmen literature, poetry and language
He is fortune enough to be respected and revered as a holy person among all Turkmen communities and his poems are often quated as proverbs in Turkmen society. His poetry keeps the ability to be adopted in Turkmen music.
An interested story is narrated regarding the beginning of his poetry. It is said that his first poem, ”By night when I was asleep revelation” was composed in a very strange manner. It was the time when he was a young boy. His parents were attending a wedding, he was not with them because he was sleeping at home. During his sleep, he began to foam at the mouth, some one present at the scene called for his parents, when they hurried to the house, his father awoke him, during this whole practice, he began to recite his first poem. Similarly, one of his poems recounts of a dream in which Omar Khayyam bestowed upon him the gift of poetic invention. When we come across the different aspects of his poetry, we become astonish that the personal painful feelings take up universal themes. His work includes elegies on the deaths of his beloved ones. He lost his father and children, his two brothers disappeared during their ambassadorial journey. If we sum up his all work in few words then it comprises, incitements to Turkmen unity, tirades against unjust mullahs ( religious leaders) and Khans, Praise of religious figures and lamenting at losing his beloved ones.
Keeping in view his meritorious services for Turkmen people, poetry, literature, culture, language, versatility and prowess in political and spiritual awakening, many organizations and awards bear the name of the everlasting poet, such as the national Magtymguly Youth Organization, an educational program for rural youth, founded in 1991.
Since 1992, The Magtymguly International Prize has been awarded annually to distinguished Scholars
The life, personality, poetry, ideas of the Turkmenistans’ National Poet can be compared with that of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, the Pakistan’s National Poet. During the course of comparison we find amazing similarities between the two poets. Though their age difference is about one hundred years, but inspite of that, there are many similarities between these shining stars of 18th and 19th century.
Magtymguly and Allama Iqbal are poets of hope and inspiration for their nations. Their early education was completed under their well versed fathers, both went at distant places for higher education, and got education from renowned institutions of their time. After completing their education they adopted education as their profession.
Magtymguly and Iqbal both were pioneer in innovation of many new techniques in their poetry. They made their respective languages rich by introducing new words. Their poetry is message of love, unity and revolution. They expressed their feelings of grief at the deaths of their loved ones. Their elegies bear great similarity. These unique national poets of Turkmenistan and Pakistan similarly express their feelings against the unjust attitudes of Mullahs and the powerful elite class. Their poetry expressed the deep love for religious characters specially belonging to the descendants of The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), this is because both were belonging to Sufi cult of islam.
Their love for Naqshbandi cult of Sufi chain is seen in their poetry. They dreamed for independent home lands for their nations.
But that is the mockery of fate that they could not live till the independance of their new born countries, luckily both philosopher poets got fame and respect during their life, both were praised and honoured from the foreign rulers and their nations. Magtymguly and Iqbal were both praised, awarded and respected almost in the same way. To express in written form the precious poetry and thoughts of both poets need many volumes, and it is impossible to express in a single article or a book.