Ahmad Javad was an Azerbaijani poet in the early twentieth century. Javad grew up under the watchful eyes of his parents, learning three different languages (Turkish, Persian and Arabic) and studied English Literature. His claim to fame came from the fact that he wrote National Anthem of Azerbaijan. In addition to being a writer, Javad was also a teacher, a volunteer army fighter and an activist. One of his main focuses was fighting for the independence of Azerbaijan. He fought in a number of wars including World War I and the Balkan War. Javad was just one of the many writers during that time period who spoke and advocated against the Soviet system and communism. The ideas they had were considered a threat to the Soviet system and because of this, any one voicing their opinion against this was arrested and killed, including Javad
Childhood & Early Life
Ahmad Javad was born on May 5, 1892 in the village of Seyfali in Shamkir Rayon, Azerbaijan, and homeschooled for most of his primary education.
He graduated from Seminary in 1912 in Ganja and became a teacher and active participant in the literary and socio-political life inside the city.
He joined the “Caucasian detachment of volunteers” to fight on the side of Turkey during the Balkan War.
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In 1916, “Goshma”, a collection of Javad’s poetic works, was published.
In 1919, another collection of his poems “Dalga” was published.
Javad joined the political party “Musavat”, the oldest political party in Azerbaijan. He joined on the advice of Mammed Amin Rasulzade, the only president of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan.
In 1920, he became a teacher and headmaster in the village of Gusar Rayon. He taught the Russian as well as the Azeri language.
From 1920-1922, he was the public education’s branch manager at Quba Rayon.
From 1922-1927, he continued his studies in history and philosophy at Azerbaijan’s Pedagogic Institute. At the same time, he was a teacher at the technical school.
He was member of the Union of Soviet Writers of Azerbaijan and between 1924 and 1926, he was the group’s senior secretary.
After his move to Ganja in 1930, he became a teacher at the Ganja Agricultural Institute. He eventually progressed from a teacher to associate professor, finally ending up as the head of the Russian and Azerbaijani languages department.
In 1934, he became an editor in the translation department of the Azernashr Publishing house.
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Javad became the head of the department of documentary films at ‘Azerbajanfilm’ film studio, after he left his position as editor at the publishing house.
Javad is most well-known as the writer of the National Anthem of Azerbaijan, which was used during the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. This time period lasted only from 1918-1920.
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was re-established in 1991 and Javad’s writing was re-established as the National Anthem.
He was also the writer of the Turkish National March, “Chirpinirdi Gara Daniz.” Translated to “The Black Sea Struggles,” this song is most well-known in Turkey and is also one of his famous works.
Awards & Achievements
After his translation of “the Knight in tiger skin” by Shota Rustaveli, Javad was awarded the first premium in 1937.
Personal Life & Legacy
Javad married Shukruyya, the daughter of the Ajarian Duke, in 1916. Shukryaa’s parents were vehemently against her marrying Javad, so the young couple ran away together.
They had five children: Yilmaz Akhundzade (1936), Niyazi (1918), Aydin (1921), Tukay (1923), and Almas (unknown).
His first arrest came in 1925 after the publication of his poem “Goygol.” Critics said that Javad was a Nationalist and a Pan-Turkist, and was sending messages to the Musavat Party in Turkey using this poem.
In 1937, Javad, along with many other writers, was arrested and accused of being an “Enemy of the People” because he had close ties with people outside of the Soviet Union.
His sons Niyazi, Aydin, and Tukay were also arrested. They were accused of being children of an “Enemy of the People.”
After his arrest, his wife Shukryya was given the option of divorcing him and save herself from being sent into exile. She however refused. She believed the only thing worse than divorcing her husband, would be finding out that he was killed.
Shukryya, who was unaware that her husband was already dead, was sent into exile for 8.5 years in a camp called Aljir in Kazakhstan. During her time there, she worked as a seamstress for soldier uniforms, often working 16+ hour days.
Javad was shot to death on October 18, 1937 at the age of 45. He was killed almost immediately after his arrest.
Javad was also a translator for classical writers like Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Gorky.
Javad was arrested three times: 1923, 1925 and 1937.
Two major translations he is known for are Shakespeare’s “Othello” and “Romeo and Juliet”