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7 July 2009 12:37
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MAKHAMBET OTEMISULY (1803-1846) is a distinguished Kazakh poet and political figure. He is best known for his activity as a leader (with his friend Isatay Taymanuly) of rebellions against Russian colonialism.

This activity is believed to have resulted in his murder in 1846. His first rebellions took place against Zhangir-Kerey Khan of the Inner Bokey Horde. Because the rebellion was badly defeated and a bounty was placed on Utemisov, he had to flee the region.

Makhambet's early education took place at a Russian language school in Orenburg. He knew very well Russian, Tatarian, Arabic languages. It's obvious from his letters wrote by him.

At any rate, his poetry was more closely tied to Kazakh culture and literary tradition. More than fifty poems attributed to him have been transmitted, some in writing, some orally. The first publication of one of his poems dates from 1908. The major themes of his poetry were of two types: political criticism of Russia or the khan, or more general poetry devoted to themes about human existence and life. In one directed against Khan Zhangir, Makhambet calls the khan a wolf, a snake, and a scorpion. A number of poems are of a warlike and heroic nature, some addressed to his companion-in-arms Isatay Taymanov. Makhambet also composed meditative poems (termed tolghau in Kazakh), on themes such as the decay of morals or the transience of human life.

The struggle for freedom became the meaning of his life.

Source: Kazakhstan, National Encyclopedia, Vol. 3

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