I entered into small comfortable flat. My eyes immediately set on one of the famous photos, hanging on the wall.
«No, I had never jealous feelings towards him. There is no doubt whatsoever. I loved my father, whom I lost, when I was one year old, but still loved him. Everyone loved him. And they continue to love him now» – stated Leyla Akhunzade, receiving me. She is Dilbar’s daughter, who was the only love of the great Mikayil Mushfig.
She agreed to confide us her inmost, which is so hard to talk about...
Tell me, please, how did Mikayil Mushfig realize, that Dilbar was destined to him?
Their whole history is a continuous interweaving of accidents. Dilbar’s uncle, Idris Akhundzade was a literature teacher and his close friends were Huseyn Javid and Ahmad Javad. Once he arrived in Ganja at his brother's house and saw his niece`s hard life with stepmother in her father’s house. Without thinking twice he took her away to Baku. Who knows, would Dilbar and Mushfig have met, unless that happened?
And her uncle’s wife took Dilbar to her graduation party. The event had not yet started, visitors were crowded in the lobby and at the next point young, handsome, talented fellow student, ready to declare about himself to the whole world, came up to her.
- Dilbar, let me introduce myself: my name is Mikayil Mushfig.
She heard of him previously too, after all, he was her uncle’s close friend and he talked about Mikayil, but that was their first meeting. Was that destiny or accident? He sat behind her. Her dense, abundant, long hair in thick tresses would turn out to be darts of love: while unleashing her hair back, it touched his face - the heart of the poet surrendered without any struggle. For each rendezvous he brought her a "gift" – that was her wish.
- I am kindly requesting you to meet more often.
- All right, but with one condition!
- I will do everything, tell, me what condition it is.
- for each our rendezvous compose a new poem
From Dilbar Akhundzade’s «My days with Mushfig» memoirs
He would devote to her his best strophes, would talk with her, using verses, would send her letters with strophes, and she would inspire him to delicate lyrics. He told her once «Oh, Dilbar, you see, you infatuated me! I am afraid, they will tell, that Mushfig has become a lyricist».
Remember my sweetie, one day demise
Love sparks reflected in my eyes
From instant your hair inspired me
Thin veil of fog enveloped me
And no hills, nor plains I could see.
(M. Rasulzade’s translation)
He would seek chance to meet her, to wait for her and would garment his feeling in verses. But she would make him suffer much, before she uttered her precious “yes”. Nevertheless, she agreed to meet taking one condition into account.
Her mother always wanted one thing: to get education at all costs, to start in life, to become independent. She was unhappy in her life, therefore she wished to protect her daughter. In connection with her mother’s wish Mrs. Dilbar began delaying the issue of wedding. The poet agreed with the case too. He quite often addressed himself to female image in his creative activity. Long engagement was embodied in lines, separations, lovesickness, and long-awaited meetings tested them. But love didn’t not weaken, in opposite, it got strengthened from day to day. Their engagement, as well as their wedding, became the century’s event. Unfortunately, photos weren’t preserved, but if one only looked through the list of visitors and would understand all its grandiosity: Huseyn Javid, Abdulla Shaig, Ahmed Javad, Bulbul, Samed Vurgun, Mir Jalal, Rasul Rza and many others! It was not simply wedding, it turned out to be a genuine holiday of beauty, love, music and, surely, poetry.
Their house was always full of visitors: these were whether great poets and writers or homeless children, whom Mushfig often ushered home to feed, to dress, provided them with shoes and then helped them with settlement at orphanages. Mrs. Dilbar then graduated from the medical university, became an activist and even the deputy of the Baku Soviet.
Two years passed after the second joy lighted up their loving hearts, as their son, Yalchin was born. But, to their deep grief, he didn’t not live even more than a year ...
«Since the first days of our marriage life I have understood meaning of the work with a word and a poet’s life contents. Only then I started to understand the value of painstaking efforts put by Mushfig to achieve fluidity, melodiousness of a verse, sometimes toiling over each word, breaking his back on each line. He stated: “The unhappiest moments of my life are the minutes spent without verses».
Dilbar Аkhundzade «My days with Mushfig».
Many married couples, foreseeing threat looming over them, filed for divorce in advance with aim to guard, at least, their wife and children. There were cases when couples refused from each other. But Mrs. Dilbar did not take similar versions into account , did she?
Certainly, she didn’t. First, he was detained and then they come for her. Inquisitions proceeded one after another, tortures proceeded one after another... She did not renounce him and protected his name to a finish. Her tresses were cut off in the prison, which were a poetic symbol of their love. I can’t explain the reason, but she was tortured more, comparing with all others. She was told to sign a paper, certifying that he was a member of the nationalist and other organizations. She responded negatively. She was told: Disavow him, admit him guilty. She responded negatively"...
«Ah, Mushfig if only, one could retrieve all those days back...»
Tortures seriously affected her health...
As her doctor admitted, a whole bunch of diseases was detected at Mrs. Dilbar, such as myocardial infarction, kidneys, nervous system, diabetics... When they understood, that they couldn’t crack her and, as a result of tortures she became out of head, she was moved from the prison hospital to the psychiatric hospital. With aim to remove her from the psychiatric hospital, the doctors, who recognized her, wrote a medical certificate, as if, she was healthy. She moved to her mother to Ganja and was treated for a long time there. Initially she spoke nothing, understood nothing, did not know, who she was, who Mushfig was... Doctors recommended her to start a new life, to acquire a family. You may realize, she was quite a young girl, when all this rushed on her fragile shoulders. No husband, nor children, there was no sense to wake up in the morning...
«For the whole night I didn’t sleep a wink. Dilbar was out of her head. She was taken to the hospital, single-bed ward. She was made injection and was treated with sedative yesterday. She slept till evening. During the night everything repeated. She stamped in the cell and was telling something, writhed in hysterics. Not all words were distinct. “Let Mushfig come... call my father...tell my dad to take me from this place. I will die for my sweetheart... All people here think that I have gone mad. They continue telling me, that I don’t exist, Oh, Allah, have a mercy on me”. She was talking tenderly of Mushfig, as if, he was with her in her cell. Then she repeatedly shouted and writhed in hysterics. Her position crushed pitiable courage we ever had. All in all, she was our Mushfig’s wife, that was our Dilbar».
From Dilbar cellmate’s diary
27 February, 1938
Tell me about her after-imprisonment life and discharge from the hospital. After all, hence she became «a spouse of the enemy of the people» which meant only one thing - troubles continued.
Yes, many people turned away from her. It was very hard. She wasn’t taken to any job, she was given the cold shoulder, but there were good people too...
After obtaining of rehabilitation me, my mum and my brother moved to Baku, for some period we lived at Mushfig relatives’ place. I called his sister, as my aunt. She brought gifts, walked with us. I loved them, as close people. What a talented woman was she! She used to cook very tasty dishes, sew, draw, and play! Mushfig was very talented too: he used to take my mum's tar and not simply sang songs, but even performed mugam – Here, what kind of a person was he! And his sister took after him. Mum lived in her thoughts with Mushfig, constantly she spoke, wrote somewhere, but recalling something, she copied her writing to paper... At Mushfig’s 80th anniversary she felt, as if, she said goodbye to him. Mum wasn’t supposed to speak with speech, but again, as if, some unknown forces have lifted her and held, when she spoke, but she was already so weak! I was sitting and was shivering from the thought, that she would fall.
It doesn’t wrap into a person’ head, how after all these sufferings, she managed finding a nerve and an inspiration to restore his lyrics? The woman, which has passed through all circles of hell and she even did not recognize sometimes herself, would write memoirs eventually...
There is a word “möcüzə” (a miracle) in the Azerbaijan language, that is, the only explanation of mine to the below mentioned. At the time of Mushfig’s detainment, a big folder, called «Dilbarname», was left on the table, all verses he kept in that folder and all that disappeared. Throughout his life he collected national songs, legends etc., all was taken away and nothing was delivered back to her. But she not only restored a part of his works, but started even writing herself. This was a miracle, a real miracle! However, my mom never called herself a poet. I remember, she used to wait for me to wake up and read her next work to me. Ah, what a pity that I did not write them down, alas, so much was lost!
Light of my eyes, my sweetheart
How should I exist, if thou art gone away,
Daffodils, violets of thou garden are in bud,
How should I gather them, if thou art gone away
Dilbar Аkhundzade «If thou gone away»
(M. Rasulzade’s translation)
Many women stated, he had devoted his verses to them. Once Mrs. Dilbar made a joke on this issue, explaining that he could devote a verse not simply to a girl, he would meet, but also would see in his dream. And still, didn’t her female heart feel something wrong?
When we were there, there was no such speech on dedication of his verses to someone. Maybe yes, maybe not. Nobody put his hands to confirm this precisely. Her name was indicated in many verses. Many verses were set to music and became songs. Even, if he devoted something to someone it was normal, as he was a poet.
Could she realize the dream of his mum?
She realized it partially, not completely. She was very capable, studied well, could become a good doctor, a teacher, she was able fulfilling a lot. But after that tragedy she was already with physical disability, that is why, her possibilities were restricted. Our mum always repeated to us: Acquire a profession. The only thing, which our mum was grateful to the Soviet Union, was the right of women to study and to work. It was hard for her to grow us up. «Previously, I often thought: why did I make it (started a family)? But, it is so good, that I have got you!» - she had told to me shortly before she went out of this world. She lived whole her life in fear.
When did you realize that your mother was a wife of a great poet?
I have grown among poets, musicians, composers. The life seemed very beautiful indeed, all of them chanted praises to beauty, to love... Surrounding environment forms you, as a person and changes your outlook radically. Many people came for a visit my mum. I adored these evenings, when all of them gathered in our house. Verses, verses, verses... In such a case, it seemed to me, as if, they tried not recall hard, negative reminiscences. I have preserved her manuscripts and my debt was to publish them. I dreamt so much of article about her in Russian because of lack of information about our women in the Russian language. I could write myself, but I don’t write, though I would like to. By the way, the first kid’s name in our house, in Mrs. Dilbar’s honor, is Dilbar. And she gave name to my daughter in Nigar Rafibeyli’s honor. She had a chance to see grandchildren, though for a short time, but she had...
INTERVIEW: ARZU JAEED PHOTO: FAMILY ARCHIVE / PARVIZ GASYMZADE