Shoqan Shynghysuly Walikhanov
A portrait of Shoqan Walikhanov in his military uniform
Kushmurun fort in Kostanay Province
|Died||April 10, 1865 (aged 29)|
Village of Sultan Tezek in Almaty Province
|Other names||Shoqan Walikhanuli, Kazakh: Шоқан Шыңғысұлы Уәлихан, Shoqan Shyńǵysuly Ýálıhan; Russian: Чокан Чингисович Валиханов, given name Muhammed Qanafiya Kazakh: Мұхаммед Қанапия|
|Occupation||Scholar, Historian, Ethnographer and Folklorist, Officer in Asiatic Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs|
|Known for||Kazakh historian, ethnographer, and civil servant|
Shoqan Shynghysuly Walikhanov (Kazakh: Шоқан Шыңғысұлы Уәлихан, Shoqan Shyńǵysuly Ýálıhan; Russian: Чокан Чингисович Валиханов), given name Muhammed Qanafiya (Kazakh: Мұхаммед Қанафия, Muhammed Qanafııa)[nb 1] (November 1835 – April 10, 1865) was a Kazakh scholar, ethnographer, historian and participant in The Great Game. He is regarded as the father of modern Kazakh historiography and ethnography. The Kazakh Academy of Sciences is named after him. His name is written Chokan Valikhanov in English based on the transliteration of the Russian spelling of his name, which he used himself.
He was born in November 1835 in the newly developed Aman-Karagai district within the Kushmurun fort in what is nowadays the Kostanay Province of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Shoqan was a fourth generation descendant of Ablai Khan, a khan of the Middle jüz. Shoqan's family was very respected by the government of the Russian Empire, and Walikhanov's father was awarded, during his life, six appointments as senior Sultan of Kushmurun okrug, a term as chief Kazakh advisor to the frontier board, a promotion to Colonel, and a separate term as senior Sultan in the Kokshetau okrug.
Shoqan spent his youth in his father’s traditional yurt. His father Chingis arranged his son’s early education, enrolling him in 1842 at age six in a small private school, or maktab, which provided a secular education. Here he began his studies of Arabic script, which was widely used as the writing system at that time.
At an early age Shoqan moved from his father’s home to the estate of his paternal grandmother Aiganym, in Syrymbet. Shoqan was enrolled in the Siberian Cadet Corps by his grandmother.
Walikhanov entered the military academy in Omsk in 1847. After graduating from the Omsk Cadet School, where he read not only Russian but also English literature, Walikhanov traveled extensively in Central Asia in the late 1850s. It was during his stay in Omsk that Walikhanov first made the acquaintance of Fyodor Dostoevsky.
His work combined military intelligence and geographic exploration and other things. His first successful expedition was his 1855-56 mission to the region of Issyq Köl. He was afterwards called to the capital in St. Petersburg in 1857 to report, and there he was elected to the Russian Geographical Society.
On June 28, 1858, Walikhanov began the expedition that would lead him to instant fame throughout Europe and into the pages of history. Serving as a decoy to the geo-political intentions of the mission, Walikhanov embarked with a caravan of 43 men, 101 camels and 65 horses. Following his successful passage through the Chinese border without suspicion, the caravan arrived in Kashgar in early October of 1858. Over the course of a half-year, Walikhanov took meticulous notes regarding major towns, including maps, the goods in the bazaars, the languages spoken and the customs practiced.
The expedition ended following increased suspicions, and they left Kashgar in April 1859. Walikhanov returned to St. Petersburg and became a fixture of the intellectual and cultural life during his short stay (1860 - spring of 1861) in the capital. The young Walikhanov was a staunch proponent of Westernization and critical of the influence of Islam in his homeland. In the words of the ethnographer Yadrintsev, for Walikhanov European civilization represented "the new Quran of life."
In the spring of 1861 he became seriously ill with tuberculosis and had to leave St. Petersburg. He returned to his native steppe region in hopes of restoring his health. He never returned to St. Petersburg while frequent relapses in his health prevented advances in his career. In letters to his friend Dostoevsky, Walikhanov mentioned several unsuccessful plans to return to St. Petersburg. Walikhanov also mentioned campaigning for a political position in the West-Siberian Governor Generalship, centered in Tobolsk, like his father. In 1862, he successfully ran for senior Sultan, but Governor-General Alexander Duhamel ru:Дюгамель, Александр Осипович refused to confirm his position due to Walikhanov's health.
Walikhanov collected materials on Kazakh judicial practices in 1863. This was part of a government-backed project given by Duhamel, and led to the 1864 Memorandum on Judicial Reform. In 1864, Shoqan was assigned to help with Colonel Cherniaev's continued conquest of Central Asia. Cherniaev’s forces marched west from the fortress of Vernoe (modern-day Almaty). Chernaiev advanced towards the Khanate of Kokand, planning to attack the fort at Aulie-Ata (modern-day Taraz). Shoqan unsuccessfully pushed for a negotiated result without violence. Cherniaev won an easy victory and returned to Vernoe. Shoqan left Chernaiev after the events at Aulie-Ata and, after stopping Vernoe, moved to the village of Sultan Tezek on the Ili River north of Vernoe. Colonel Cherniaev, however, was not unhappy with Walikhanov's work, and recommended him for a promotion.
Shoqan spent his last remaining months in the village of Sultan Tezek, eventually marrying Sultan Tezek’s sister, Aisary. During this time, letters of correspondence to General Kolpakovski, military governor of Semipalatinsk oblast, dated between November 1864 through February 1865, addressed Muslim revolts and rebel activity in nearby Qulja. Kolpakovski held such esteem for Shoqan that he offered Shoqan a position in his administration once his health was restored.
Unfortunately, Walikhanov succumbed to his illness on April 10, 1865 at the age of 29. He was buried in the nearby cemetery of Kochen-Togan in present-day Almaty Province. N.I. Veselovskii, who in 1904 edited a collection of Walikhanov’s works, said that the short life of Walikhanov was a “meteor flashing across the field of oriental studies."
Walikhanov and Dostoevsky
While still in Omsk, Dostoevsky had met Shoqan Walikhanov. In Dostoevsky's opinion, Walikhanov was a brilliant, intrepid person, a scholar and ethnographer, and a talented folklorist. In their correspondence, the two intellectuals admitted their great mutual love and admiration.
When Dostoevsky served in Semipalatinsk, he met Walikhanov once again. The two men were also closely acquainted with renowned geographer Peter Semenov Tian-Shansky and Baron A. E. Wrangel, who came to Semipalatinsk from Petersburg in 1854 to serve as the new district prosecutor.
Dostoevsky wrote from Semipalatinsk on 14 December 1856 one of his most enthusiastic letters ever, addressed to his friend Walikhanov:
You write me that you love me. I will tell you without ceremony that I have fallen in love with you. Never, to anybody, not even to my own brother, have I felt such attraction as I do to you, and God knows how this has come about. One could say much in explanation, but why should I praise you! And you will believe in my sincerity even without proof, my dear Vali-khan, and even if one were to write ten books on this theme, one would write nothing: feeling and attraction are inexplicable
There is a statue of Walikhanov and Dostoevsky in the city of Semey, Kazakhstan, near the local Dostoevsky museum.
Walikhanov produced many articles and books devoted to the history and culture of Central Asia. A short list:
- 'Chinese Turkestan and Dzungaria' Walikhanov and other Russian travellers, The Russians in Central Asia, London, Edward Stanford, 1865.
- Traces of Shamanism among the Kazakhs
- Regarding the camps of Kazakh nomads
- The Kazakhs
- Forms of Kazakh Traditional Poesy
- Issyk-Kul Travel Journal
- Kul-Ju travel journal
- Notes on Djungars
Walikhanov also compiled epic poetry, including "Kozy-Korpesh - Bayan-Sulu", as well as what he called the Iliad of the Steppe, the Epic of Manas.
Walikhanov's report of his trip to Kashgar in 1858-59 remains a valuable account on the situation in Xinjiang in the aftermath of Wali Khan's invasion of the region and on the eve of the Muslim Rebellion of the 1860s.
The Shoqan Walikhanov spring
The Shoqan Walikhanov spring is a spring in the State National Natural Park Altyn-Emel. It is located in the Kerbulak district of Almaty region, on the road to the singing Dunes, among the tract at the foot of the Maly Kalkan Mountains. Shoqan Walikhanov names the spring. The path of the great scientist and traveler Shoqan Walikhanov ran from Russia to Kashgaria in 1856 year through the territory of the now existing national Park. The expedition stopped to rest just at the site of the tract where the spring is located. Since that time, believed that the water in the spring is healing and can cure many diseases. There is a small stream from which possible to drink water in July and August months, when the spring mostly dries up.
Sail Smail, head of the department of publicist programs in the Kazakh language of KTK TV channel: - In ancient history books, Shokan is often described as a mediator of the Kazakh-Russian friendship. In this film, we tried to show Chogan in another aspect. On the left we can say that we have stayed longer. The film about Shokan will help to compress and fill the history.
The path of Shokan is a chronicle of the whole epoch. So the creative team traveled from Syrymbet to Omsk and St. Petersburg. And the trip to Kashgaria to heighten the feast of Shokan. At the age of 22, he went to the secret territory as a merchant. It turns out that he returned to St. Petersburg and became a member of the intelligentsia. Here he wrote essays about the history, ethnography of Kazakhs in Omsk. However, he did not publish it. Kazakh scientist lived only 1 year in St. Petersburg. No finance. This is a proof of his father's letter to his son. Later, he returned to the country. - Let me tell you: Do not waste money for free in Petersburg. Understand our situation. I can only send 1,000 rubles per year depending on our funds. Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in St. Petersburg. The original of the Shokan heritage is kept here. Each of them is rich in value. You do not have permission to hold some.
Makpal Mussina, historian, author of the book "Shokan in St. Petersburg": Of course, though he looked in any way, he was more than a man. With knowledge he interfered with everything. He was very clever. He knew a lot. History and practice have shown that such people are usually unnecessary. Previously, to get acquainted with the historical treasures, it was necessary to go abroad and visit museums and libraries. Documents that have been copied to the digital system have reduced such anger. It is also convenient to read and copy information interesting from the multimedia portal sponsored by Kaspi.kz. The Bank is also active in supporting historical values. And a documentary about Shokan will be broadcast on our channel on February 23 at 20:00.
Use of materials from the site ktk.kz The material is allowed in the first or second sentence of the text, if there is a direct hyperlink to the material to be placed in one font as the main text.
- Shoqan was his pen-name, and later became his official name.
- "In the Footsteps of Chokan Valikhanov - Birthplace and Childhood". www.valikhanov.si.edu. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Futrell, Michael. Dostoyevsky and Islam (And Shoqan Walikhanov). 'The Slavonic and East European Review'. Vol. 57, No. 1 (Jan., 1979), p. 20
- "Expedition Overviews - Second Expedition (1858-1859)". www.valikhanov.si.edu. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Taken from "The Meteor Flash", at the Smithsonian Institution site
- Futrell, Michael. Dostoyevsky and Islam (And Shoqan Walikhanov). 'The Slavonic and East European Review'. Vol. 57, No. 1 (Jan., 1979), p. 21
Works by Walikhanov available in English
- "General view of Dzungaria" and "Travels in Dzungaria", by Captain Walikhanov: in Michell, John; Walikhanov, Shoqan Chingisovich; Venyukov, Mikhail Ivanovich (1865), The Russians in Central Asia: their occupation of the Kirghiz steppe and the line of the Syr-Daria : their political relations with Khiva, Bokhara, and Kokan : also descriptions of Chinese Turkestan and Dzungaria; by Capt. Walikhanov, M. Veniukof and [others]. Translated by John Michell, Robert Michell, E. Stanford
- Information on Shoqan from the Smithsonian
- Artwork of Shoqan Walikhanov
- www.neweurasia.net (biography) (in English)
- www.peoples.ru Shoqan Walikhanov (in Russian)
- Shoqan Walikhanov in Omsk (in Russian)
- (in Russian) (in Alexander M. Kobrinsky's library): Shoqan Walikhanov (photos, biography)
- (in Russian) Biography from the UNESCO branch in Kazakhstan