Sunday, 4 April 2010

A Simple Guy

Here's a cute little video by Kyrgyz pop singer Sultan Sadyraliev: "Jonokoi jigit" (Simple Guy).

"Jigit" has a special meaning in many Turkic languages. In Kyrgyz language today, it means young man or boyfriend. (I'm not quite sure about the nuance, so I translated the name of the song simply as "Simple Guy".)

In Tatar, jigit and batyr have had similar meanings - brave young man, valorous knight. The jigit is the young hero who sets out on a journey in life, ready to learn what it means to be a man.

The Tatar poet Gabderrahim Utyz Imyani (1754-1836) was born in Chistopol, the second-largest city in the province of Kazan before 1917. He travelled throughout Central Asia for many years before returning to his hometown and becoming a teacher. He wrote a poem about the deeper meaning of the word jigit. I found this translation in Historical anthology of Kazan Tatar verse: voices of eternity, by Ravilʹ Bukharaev and D. J. Matthews (Routledge 2000). It is a richly illustrated book with numerous translations of poetry and detailed historical commentary.

What it means to be a Jigit

O proud and valiant horseman, sitting high upon your steed!
Display your virtues to your land and let it pay them heed.
If neighbours are in penury, then help them in their plight.
Your duty is unselfishness and doing what is right.

Make a promise and fulfill it; Faith you must obey.
Offending others for the slightest thing is not your way.
Let evil words not cross your lips; for liars have no use.
A simple smile conveys a perfect answer to abuse.

And do not boast that you are better than your fellow-men.
For beauty will not linger; it soon passes. And what then?
The most that you can hope for is a day or two, not more.
And then you'll rot and feed the worms. And that's the final score!

For in this world are rich men and the poor whom they despise;
And fools as well dwell in our midst, and those whom we call wise;
If someone isn't master then he's but a servant's brat.
But common sense will tell us that it isn't quite like that.

One is crowned by fortune, and another's blessed by wit.
Whichever gift he's served by, he will be no worse for it.

The moral of these verses is not very different from the theme of Sultan's modern music video. The simple guy is rewarded in the end...


Anonymous said...

he looks somewhat like Mika Häkkinen

Tinet said...

Nooooo ...! :oD