February 9 is the birthday of Alisher Navoi, the talented poet and outstanding thinker, the founder of Uzbek literature, the glorious son of the Uzbek people.
His full name is Nizamiddin Mir Alisher. He wrote his poems under the pen-names of Navoi (in his poems which were written in the old Uzbek language) and Foni (in his poems which were written in Persian language). In literature, poetry, Alisher Navoi is the successor of the tradition of the poets of the East - Rudaki, Firdowsi, Omar Khayyam, Saadi, Rumi, Hafiz, Jami.
Alisher Navoi was born in 1441, in the city of Herat, one of the main cultural centers of the East at that time. He lived in that period of history when the region was ruled by the Timurids, the descendants of Amir Timur. From a young age Navoi was friends with the future ruler of Khorasan Husayn Boyqaro.
Since childhood absorbed the beauty and refinement of literary language Farsi, Alisher very early realized his mission to become the founder of Uzbek literature. While studying at school, he was fond of reading poetry, especially admiring the lines of Saadi’s “Gulistan” and “Bustan” and Farid ud-Din Attar’s poem “The conversation of the birds."
According to the information of great historian Hondamir, an old poet Lutfi met with Alisher Navoi, when he was a child and Lutfi appreciated his talent.
When the poet and adherent of the arts, Husayn Boyqaro, came to power, Navoi became a mulazim. In 1469, he received the post of stamper, and in 1472, the poet became a minister of the state. At his post, Navoi provided great assistance to musicians, poets, artists, and calligraphers, for which he was very popular among the people.
Alisher Navoi was also a builder to have founded, restored, or endowed some 370 mosques, madrasas, libraries, hospitals, caravanserais, and other educational, pious, and charitable institutions in Iran and Afghanistan. In Herat, he was responsible for 40 caravanserais, 17 mosques, 10 mansions, nine bathhouses, nine bridges, and 20 pools.
Among Alisher’s constructions were the mausoleum of the 13th-century mystical poet, Farid al-Din Attar, in Nishapur and the Khalasiya madrasa in Herat. He was one of the instrumental contributors to the architecture of Herat, which became, in René Grousset’s words, “the Florence of what has justly been called the Timurid Renaissance”. Moreover, he was a promoter and patron of scholarship and arts and letters, a musician, a composer, a calligrapher, a painter, and a sculptor.
Navoi’s best-known poems are found in his four diwans, or poetry collections, which total roughly 50,000 verses. Each part of the work corresponds to a different period of a person’s life:
– Ghara’ib al-Sighar (Wonders of Childhood)
– Navadir al-Shabab (Rarities of Youth)
– Bada’i’ al-Wasat (Marvels of Middle Age)
– Fawa’id al-Kibar (Benefits of Old Age)
To help other Turkic poets, Alisher wrote technical works such as Mizan al-Awzan, and a detailed treatise on poetical meters. He also crafted the monumental Majalis al-Nafais, a collection of over 450 biographical sketches of mostly contemporary poets. The collection is a gold mine of information about Timurid culture for modern historians.
Alisher Navoi dedicated some of his works to Uzbeks. So, in the poem “Alexander’s Wall” you can find the following words:
“On the shah’s crowns and magnificent clothes
I’m tired of looking
One of my simple Uzbeks is enough for me,
He has a skullcap on his head and a robe on his shoulders. ”
The literary heritage of Alisher Navoi is about 30 collections of poems, scientific works and poetic treatises. They fully reveal the spiritual life in Central Asia, which experienced a flourishing of arts and sciences at the end of the 15th century. The pinnacle of Navoi’s creativity is considered to be “Khamsa” – a collection of five poems based on folk legends. His “Khamsa” includes the following dostons: "Hayratu-l-abror", "Farhod va Shirin", "Layli va Majnun", "Sab'ai sayyor", "Saddi Iskandariy". Navoi was the first poet who created completed “Khamsa” in the old Uzbek language and proved that such great work could be written in turkiy. Another landmark work of the poet was the allegorical poem about the ideal state structure “The Language of Birds”.
Navoi brought classic Uzbek literature to a new level through his poetry. Navoi's poetry surpasses his earlier classic Uzbek literature in the breadth of its subject matter and the diversity of its genres. In poetry, as in the epics, he expressed the current issues of secular and religious, Sufism. Navoi's religious works have also been published: Arbain, Munadjat.
A more detailed text of the Sufi prose work "Nasaim al-muhabbat" has been published, which contains information about 750 Sufi sheikhs. Navoi also created scientific works. Among them are works comparing Persian and Turkic languages: "Muhokamat al-lughatayn"; on the theory of aruz - "Mezon al-avzan", on the theory of the problem genre - "Mufradat".
In addition, he wrote pamphlets on historical topics: "Historical property of Adjam", "History of the prophets and judges". He compiled his artistic letters into the collection "Munshaat". His royal works are on the life of Jami - "Khamsat al-mutakhayirin", "Khalati Sayyid Hasan Ardasher", "Khalati Pahlavon Muhammad".
Alisher Navoi's last work was "Mahbub ul-qulub". It reflects the poet's latest social and political views. On January 3, 1501, the poet died.
The well-known statesman, commander, talented poet, historian, geographer, translator Zahiraddin Muhammad Babur spoke of Navoi as follows: “Alisher bek was an incomparable person, since poetry has been composed in the Turkic language, no one else has composed so many of them and so good". There is no exaggeration in these words written in "Baburnama" and this truth will surely be unanimously recognized by everyone.
In honor of this great figure in Uzbekistan, a whole city is named - Navoi, the Big Theater, the National Park, the university, schools, streets, the metro station, the main library of the country, which is located in the city of Tashkent and is the largest library, are also named after Alisher Navoi. The name of the poet is the research institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan. It is noteworthy that monuments to Alisher Navoi have been erected in many cities of the world.