Spring 2001 (9.1)
days I'm trying to devote my time to researching everything possible
about the history of my grandparents, whose lives were forever
disrupted when Soviet forces captured Azerbaijan in 1920. After
living 17 years in Eastern Oceania - that vast area of the Pacific
Ocean where remote islands comprise a huge triangle between Hawaii,
New Zealand and Easter Island - I have taken a sabbatical in
Paris to devote myself to this task.
My grandfather was Jeyhun Hajibeyli (1891-1962), younger brother
of Uzeyir Hajibeyov, the great composer (1885-1948). Just like
nearly everyone else in the Hajibeyov family, I, too, am a professional
musician, and my specialty is the digital restoration of old
Unfortunately, what I know about the history of my family is
rather piecemeal. Grandfather Jeyhun grew up in Shusha [a part
of western Azerbaijan that is now occupied by Armenian troops].
He went to France for the first time as a 22-year-old student
in 1913. As I understand, he returned again as one of the delegates
representing the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan at the Versailles
Peace Conference in 1919 at the end of World War I.
When the Soviets took over Baku a few months later in April 1920,
my grandfather never returned to Baku, as he feared for his life
because of his intense political and journalistic involvement.
My own father, Teymuchin, was born in Nice, France, later that
year. His older brother Jeyhun had been born in Baku in 1918
and was later killed in World War II by German troops in eastern
France. Grandfather Jeyhun died of a heart attack in 1962.
Around 1965 my father and I were able to secretly meet our cousin
Niyazi, the famous Maestro (1912-1984), while he was touring
in Paris, and this, despite the fact that two KGB agents were
watching him. In 1985 my father was able to return to Baku to
visit the surviving members of our family, but for some strange
reason, my visa application was denied.
In 1989, my father wrote a book entitled "La Question du
Haut Karabagh - Un Point de Vue Azeri." In 1992 he died
after a serious bout with cancer.
Grandfather Jeyhun was quite a prolific writer; he didn't stop
his activities even though he was away from his native land.
In 1926, for example, he wrote "Histoire de la Presse en
Azerbaidjan in Revue Azerbaidjan." In 1933, he wrote "Le
Dialecte et le Folklore du Garabagh" for Le Journal Asiatique
(it has since been translated into Azeri).
I am planning to make a CD-ROM of the documents, photos, writings
and other sources that I find documenting the lives of my family
members who were separated from the homeland. I also plan to
write a biography about Grandfather Jeyhun. Still there is a
black hole from 1940-1948 - the war years. There are so many
things to discover when I set foot in Baku for the first time
in my life, which I hope to do this summer. If anyone can provide
further details about my family, I would be so grateful.
You may wonder about my name: Jean-Clement Jeyhun Bailly Hadjibeyli.
When Grandfather Jeyhun arrived in France in 1920, the name Hadjibeyli
had already been Russified to Gadjibekoff, so he decided to change
it back again to Hadjibeyli. My father later shortened it to
Bailly, but I decided to retain both Bailly and Hadjibeyli.
(9.1) Spring 2001.
© Azerbaijan International 2001. All rights reserved.
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