Left: Designing the monumental tribute to
Mammad Amin Rasulzade, esteemed as the Founder of the Democratic
Republic of Azerbaijan, (1918-1920). Sculptor is Omar Eldarov.
On May 28, 1918,
Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Russian Empire,
naming itself the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. This selfrule
lasted 23 months during which Azerbaijan became the first secular
state in the Orient with a European-like Parliament and a Cabinet
of Ministers. The country adopted a national flag and anthem,
established a state university and sent a delegation to Paris
to meet with U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. At the time, the
Caucasus region was very unstable.
Azerbaijan, in particular, was plagued by frequent conflicts
with Armenia. Azerbaijan's self rule ended when Red Army troops
entered Baku on April 28, 1920 and set up the Soviet government.
However, the symbols that were created during this period-the
flag, as well as the national anthem were again dusted off and
re-adopted when Azerbaijan gained its independence from the Soviet
Union more than 70 years later in 1991.
To the Azerbaijani
This poem is dedicated to our national flag, which I saw fluttering
above the parliament house upon my first arrival in Baku after
the British had come here on April 10, 1919.
Turkistan 1 winds are whispering
their troubles to you,
Kissing you on your forehead, my flag!
Let the Black Sea send your three colors
As a gift to its friends, my flag!
I met you on
my way to Turan, 2
Your shadow ever falling over my head!
Let the tears watering my eyes
Tell everyone of their grief, my flag!
You got your colors from Gayi khan, 3
Moslem beys 4 have gotten older like
You, Elkhan's descendant, stronghold of religion,
You brought delight into my soul, my flag!
I stepped forward,
fierce winds in my chest,
I want to kiss the holy place
where your shadow falls!
The star of heavens, that beautiful fairy, 5
Has taken shelter in the moon in your lap,
- referring to all of the Turkic nations.
2 Turan - the entire area of Turkic nations,
from the Altay Mountains to the Black Sea.
3 Gayi khan and Elkhan - the names of
legendary Oguz knights.
4 Bey - used here to mean the title given
to noble men, members of gentry.
5 Beautiful fairy - referring to the flag's
moon, which he says resembles a fairy.
Translated by Aynur Hajiyeva
Ahmad Javad (1892-1937), an important poet and public figure,
was arrested by the Soviet regime in 1937 for alleged crimes
against the Azerbaijani people. Like many other talented writers
and poets, he was sentenced to death. After Stalin died (1953),
Javad's name was cleared. Since Azerbaijan regained its independence
in 1991, Javad's name has gradually been restored as one of Azerbaijan's
most important poets. His poems are once again being published.
(7.1) Spring 1999.
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AI 7.1 (Spring 1999)
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