Σάββατο, 12 Αυγούστου 2017



Love and Existence: Analytical Study of Ahmadi Khnai's Tragedy of ...

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AḤMAD-E ḴĀNI – Encyclopaedia Iranica

AḤMAD-E ḴĀNI (1061-1119/1650-1707), a distinguished Kurdish poet, mystic, scholar, and intellectual who is regarded by some as the founder of Kurdish nationalism. He was born in the region of Hakāri, now in Turkish Kurdistan. He studied in traditional religious schools and in order to further his education traveled in different areas in Kurdistan. He may also have traveled to Syria and Egypt. There is considerable evidence e.g., in his epic Mam u Zin, to suggest that he lived a long time in Jazira, then the capital of the Kurdish principality Botān (Rasul, p. 30). The main works attributed to Ḵāni are: ʿAqidā imān (The article of faith), Nubārā Bečukān (The first fruits for children) and Mam u Zin (Mam and Zin). These works were studied in traditional Kurdish schools from the time of Ḵāni up to the 1930s. ʿAqidā Imān (Le Coq, pp. 33-39) is a long poem that consists of 73 distichs in which Ḵāni explains the foundations of Islam in Kurdish. Nubārā Bečukān is an Arabo-Kurdish vocabulary written in verse that Ḵani finished in 1094/1683. It is the first dictionary ever written in Kurdish. Nubārā Bečukān contains about 950 Arabic words with their meanings in Kurdish (Le Coq, pp. 1-33). The third and the most important of Ḵani’s works is his Mam u Zin, the national epic of the Kurds, that has been frequently published and translated into southern Kurdish (Hažār), Arabic (Al-Buṭi), Russian (Rudenko) and Turkish (Bozarslan). The epic of Mam u Zin is the best-known Kurdish literary work in and outside Kurdistan. If Malāye Jaziri (1570-1640) laid the foundations of Kurdish classical literature with his poems and his classical Diwān (Hartmann), Ḵāni, by writing Mam u Zin, made an important contribution to Kurdish written literature, which came to be regarded by some as the first expression of Kurdish nationalism. Ḵāni adapted the folkloric story of Mam and Zin, also known as Mame Ālān (Zāzā), as the basis of his epic and recomposed it in the framework of a classical Oriental epic. He gave full vent to his learning and his philosophical, mystical and political thoughts. Mam u Zin is the story of a pure and divine love between a young Kurdish man, Mam, and a Kurdish princess, Zin, that ends with the tragic death of the two lovers.
Ḵāni wrote the work of 2655 lines in northern Kurmānji dialect of Kurdish in 1105/1694, as a maṯnavi in the meter. The introductory parts are devoted to praising God and the prophet Moḥammad. In contrast to many classical Oriental epics, Ḵāni did not devote a special chapter to praising the rulers of his time. In three chapters of the introductory parts, usually classed the Dibāča, Ḵāni expressed his political views about Kurdish nationalism. He explained the subjugation of the Kurds (Akrād, Kurmānj) and the direct occupation of their country by the Turks and the Ṣafavids. Ḵāni explained the oppression of the Kurds and the occupation of Kurdistan that resulted in the absence of an independent Kurdish state governed by a Kurdish king. Such a monarchy would have liberated Kurdistan and extracted the Kurds from the hands of the vile (Rudenko, p. 32). Mam u Zin is an important source for understanding the different aspects of the Kurdish society in the 16th and 17th centuries. The political thoughts of Aḥmad-e Ḵāni are an expression of Kurdish nationalism in its preliminary form. Many Kurdish poets followed Ḵāni in praising the Kurds’ struggle for freedom and liberation. The most prominent among them was Ḥāji Qader-e Koyi (1824-1897). Ḵāni spent the last years of his life teaching in Bāyazid, where he died in 1119/1707.

M.E. Bozarslan, Mem û Zin (with Turkish translation), 2nd ed. Istanbul, 1975.
M.S.R. Al-Buṭi, Mamō Zin (Arabic translation), 4th ed. Damascus, 1977.
Hažār, Mam u Zīnī Ḵāni, Baghdad, 1960. M. Hartmann, Das Kurdische Diwan des Schêch Ahmad, Berlin, 1904.
A. von Le Coq, Kurdische Texte, Berlin, 1903.
ʿE. M. Rasul, Aḥmad-ī Ḵāni, Baghdad, 1979.
M.B. Rudenko, Mam ī Zīn (with Russian translation), Moscow, 1962.
A.Sajjādi, Mežūy adabī Kurdī, Baghdad, 1952.

F. Shakely, Kurdish nationalism in Mem û Zîn, Uppsala, 1983.
N. Zaza, Memê Alan, Damascus, 1957.

Search terms:
 احمد خانی ahmad kani ahmad khaani ahmad khani
 ahmad khany ahmad khaany    
(F. Shakely)

MEM-Ê ALAN – Encyclopaedia Iranica


MEM-Ê ALAN (Kurdish romance), probably the best-known Kurdish tale, and the one most often regarded as representative of Kurdish verbal art generally. 
Versions of the tale were reproduced in most of the early works on Kurdish oral literature (see Pryn and Socin, 1890; Von le Coq, 1903; Mann, 1909; and Makas, 1926). 
It has now been shown (Chyet, 1991b, pp. 27-28) that, in its popular form, the romance is particularly closely associated with Kurmanji-speaking areas (although a Mokri version from Mahābād was reproduced by Oscar Mann). 
However, a written version of the tale by Aḥmad Ḵāni (d. 1770, see AḤMAD-E ḴĀNI), entitled Mem û Zin, became the most famous work in classical Kurdish literature, which apparently also led to a wide appreciation of the popular tale throughout the Kurdish-speaking lands. Neo-Aramaic and Armenian versions of the work have been collected (Chyet, 1991b, p. 27), and Aḥmad Ḵāni’s literary work has been translated into Sorani Kurdish (Hažār, 1960).
In popular performance, the romance is usually told in a mixture of prose and poetry (conte-fable), a popular type of performance in Kurdistan and neighboring lands (see Chyet, 1991b, p. 27-28). Various oikotypes, or groups of variants specific to region versions, have been shown to exist (Chyet, 1991a, passim). 
The core of the tale of Mem and Zin is a story of star-crossed lovers, which serves as a foil for a range of miracles, adventure stories, and other tales which vary in different oikotypes and, to a lesser degree, in each individual performance.
The male protagonist of the tale is Mem. 
He is the heir to the ‘City of the West,’ which belongs to three brothers who remained childless until the Prophet Khidr (Ḵeżr) helped one of them to have a child. 
A horse of miraculous properties (Bor, or Bozê Rewan) is often said to have been given to Mem when he was still very young. 
The heroine is Zin, the daughter of the governor of Jazira Botân (the region of modern Cizre in Turkey), which is far away from the City of the West. 
It is then told that, one day, fairies (pari) realize that a boy and a girl exist who are more beautiful than anyone else on the earth. 
They want to see the two together, and by means of magic they take Zin to Mem’s bedroom while she is asleep. 
When the two protagonists wake up and each discovers the presence of the other, they cannot agree in whose room they are. 
When this question is settled, they talk, exchange rings, and chastely go back to sleep. 
Zin is taken back to her own home in her sleep. 
On waking, both protagonists think they dreamt the encounter, but the rings prove that it was real. 
They discover that they have fallen in love. 
Zin, who is engaged to be married to another man, becomes sick with love, but she is powerless to do anything. Mem prevails upon his parents to let him go to Jazire Botân to look for Zin. 
Before reaching the city, he has various adventures, which he survives with the help of Khidr.
Mem’s antagonists throughout story are Bako, a male figure sometimes said to be a sorcerer, and a female accomplice (his daughter or sister). 
In most versions of the tale, when Mem arrives in Jazira Botân, he is forced by custom to accept the hospitality of Chako, the man to whom Zin is engaged, and his two brothers, one of whom is the brave and noble Qaratâjdin. 
As the purpose of his visit becomes clear, his status as a guest of his rival’s family leads to much soul-searching on both sides, since various aspects of the central concept of honor come into play: as hosts, the family is obliged to do everything in their power for their guest (who is prevented by custom from simply going away), while as a fiancé, Chako is honor-bound to defend his engagement. Eventually Mem is poisoned by Bako, and Zin dies seven days after him. 
They are laid in one grave together, but a rose bush grows between them, and its roots separate them even after death. 
This fundamental storyline allows the storyteller (degbêj) to address a range of romantic, adventurous, and moral topics.
The protagonists are often assumed to represent Kurdish cultural ideals but, as Chyet (1991a, p. 81) has remarked, Mem is portrayed as a beautiful, highly sensitive youth without most of the typical features of the warrior-hero. 
Zin’s active and more or less public commitment to the man she loves in the latter part of the tale also runs counter to the cultural norms accepted in Kurdistan. It would seem, therefore, that the figures of Mem and Zin represent idealized alternatives to the harsh realities of Kurdish life, rather than exemplary heroes to be emulated by ordinary Kurds.

M. E. Bozarslan, Mem û Zîn, 2nd ed. Istanbul, 1975.
C. and O. Celîl (Dzhalil Dzhalilov and Ordukhan Dzhalilov), Zargotina K’urda (Kurdskiǐ fol’klor), 2 vols., Moscow, 1978.
M. Chyet, “‘And a thornbush sprang between them.’ Studies on Mem û Zîn: A Kurdish Romance,” unpubl. Ph.D. diss., Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1991a.
Idem, “A Version of the Kurdish romance Mem û Zîn: with English Translation and Commentary,” in Corolla Iranica: Papers in honour of Prof. Dr. David Neil MacKenzie, ed. R. E. Emmerick and D. Weber, Frankfurt, 1991b, pp. 27-38.
A. von Le Coq, Kurdische Texte, Berlin, 1903.
E. Ev’dal, “Məm y Zine,” in Folklora Kyrmança, Yerevan, 1936, pp. 293-301.
Ha’âṝ, Mam u Zînî Kòanî, Baghdad, 1960.
R. Lescot (ed. and tr.), Mamê Alan, Epopée kurde, Paris, 1999.
O. Mann, Kurdische und Persische Forschungen IV.II.1-2:Die Mundart der Mukri-Kurden, 2 vols., Berlin, 1906-9.
H. Makas, Kurdische Texte im Kurmanjî-Dialekte aus der Gegend von Märdîn. 3 vols., St. Petersburg/Leningrad, 1897-1926.
ʿA. Sajjādi, Mêžūy adabî Kurdî, Baghdad, 1952.
(E. Prym and) A. Socin, Kurdische Sammlungen, 2 vols., St. Petersburg, 1887-90.
M. B. Rudenko, Mam ī Zīn (with Russian translation), Moscow, 1962.
E. M. Rasul, Aḥmad-î Ḵānî, Baghdad, 1979. N. Zaza, Memê Alan, Damascus, 1957.
(Philip G. Kreyenbroek)

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