NAVAYI-GUMRU – Historical Story by Vagif Sultanly / Translated from Azerbaijani by Javid Abbasli

Historical Story by Vagif Sultanly
Miranshah organized a grandous party for listening to the new work by famous composer Abdulgadir Maraghayi, well-known in the entire East and highly valued by Amir Teymur, Miranshah’s father. A month ago when the composer presented to him the manuscript of the newly written work and expressed his desire of holding such party, the ruler nodded assent and since that time the unexampled preparation works started in the palace garden. The mostly skilled craftsmen of Tabriz were invited to the palace and involved to restoration of the garden. The restoration and repair works lasting more than two months changed the appearance of the garden beyond recognition.
Now, the variegated ranges of the decorative trees surrounding the garden gladdened the sight and, the scent of the fragrant flowers expanded all over the garden. The lanterns hung on the patterned on wooden supports along the pavement through flower bushes illuminated the night and, the beautiful Tabriz carpets laid on the pavements took the stepping people to the worlds of imagination. A slow music warning start of the party soon brought a magic mood to the garden.
Although the entertaining parties were held often, the palace was decorated so luxuriously and sumptuously for the first time. Its reason were known for everybody: the composer’s new work was devoted to Khalil Sultan, Miranshah’s son and Amir Teymur’s grandson.
Last summer Miranshah sent his teenager son to Amir Teymur’s reception in Maverennehr. His target was opening his son’s eyes and supporting the guy’s learning the fighting craft and secrets of protection of the power. However, a bit later Miranshah’s father told him that Khalil Sultan fell in love with Shadimulk, one of the palace suites and was not interested with power and, advised to take him to Tabriz for a while. Miranshah respected this advice and, Khalil Sultan had been in Tabriz over two months. Everyday he insisted in returning Samarkand; however, Miranshah dissuaded his son thinking that the time will settle everything. This musical party organized in the palace had the target of calming Khalil Sultan and releasing the thoughts about Shadimulk from his mind.
Abdulgadir had been anxiously rehearsing for several days repeatedly performing his new work with the performers not hiding own delight with beauty of the work. Each time he stopped the music in certain place adding new tints and making his best for turning the work into irreproachable work or art.
However, his anxiety suppressing his soul was increasing more and more and he could not calm: “I wonder, could musicians perform the work as I want? Besides, would the ruler like this performance against so many rehearsals?” – these questions he addressed to himself would be responded soon.
Miranshah, son of which the music was devoted to, appeared in the garden together with the palace suite and before climbing to the throne in the upper part of the garden he reached the performers and greeted them. The performers in blue caftan and patterned turban watching the ruler’s approaching stood up and were staying motionlessly. Miranshah personally knew each of the performers wearing the same dress except the singer especially invited by the composer for singing his work. In fact, the reason for the ruler’s approaching the performers before sitting on the throne was getting acquainted with the singer.
The young, thin and swarthy singer became flustered with appearing face to face with the ruler and, falling on knee, bowed his head. Miranshah allowed him stand up.
“Which side of Azerbaijan you are from, son?” – he asked.
“I am from Maragha”, – quietly answered the singer without raising his head.
“Are you from Maragha, too?”
Abdulgadir stepped ahead:
“Your Majesty, everybody born in Maragha has a beautiful voice…” – the composer tried to say more for completing own thought; however, kept silent not finding appropriate words.
Going aside from the singer Miranshah seized Abdulgadir’s hand and went towards his throne in accompaniment of the suite. After the ruler’s sitting on the throne the performers took their places on the carpet in front of Miranshah.
Khalil Sultan, the ruler’s son was sitting on the right of his father and, all attention of the composer sitting on the chair on his left was paid to the performers; they were slowly attuning the instruments and waiting for the composer’s hint for starting performance.
The guests of the party were sitting on the carpets laid in the garden. The servants in tidy dress were pouring fragrant sherbet and red wine from silver jars for the guests and offered sweets smelling cardamom, cloves and ginger.
Upon the ruler’s permission, the composer hinted the performers to start playing and, a slight music collapsed the silence of the night.
Maintaining the traditions of royal parties, firstly the performers played a music devoted to Amir Teymur and then to Miranshah and, the dancers’ performance were demonstrated.
After a short pause there was announced performance of “Navayi-Gumru” devoted to Khalil Sultan expected by everybody; a strict silence reigned in the garden. The guests got completely captivated by the singer’s magic voice sounded under the performer’s accompaniment.
The sound of the oud was groaning like appearing from under the ground and, the moan of santur created a magic harmony joining to the canoon’s jingle. The singer was singing with a great inspiration and, his sound was penetrating the listeners’ heart and releasing the soul from the body.
Everything in the amazing verdure of the palace garden was attuned to the musical harmony. The guests were charmed by the magic and attraction of this harmony and, heard and felt nothing. The sound of the music was dropping from the strings and fondling the spirit of the night.
In was one of the biggest works in Abdulgadir’s creation and, uncommon performance of the song amazed also himself bringing him to an indefinite world full of magic and secrets.
In fact, Abdulgadir devoted this song to Khalil Sultan; however, the rhythm and sound of this music were demonstrating the bitter fate of the people exposed to terrible suffers. However, the words were common; expression of the real essence of the song in the words was dangerous and, evident reflection of this suffer may cost his life. Thus, all words were absorbed by the rhythm and sound of the music.
Abdulgadir felt Gumru’s love as a wind suddenly blowing in the early years of his life; however, he always tried to step aside the sad imagination of this tragic love. The beautiful girl he had never called by name was looking like a tender turtle-dove…
Initially the composer did not want to return to own divine love nor remember Gumru being afraid of the anxiety caused from this love. Feeling unworthy of Gumru’s love and unable to respond mutually, he avoided this love trying to forget it and deceit himself and own future with thoughts of impossibility of existence of such love…
However, later he realized that it is quite impossible. In the years of living in Samarkand Gumru’s love deprived him dreams; the anguish of his Motherland and near relations appeared in the view of that girl tormenting and grieving him.
Abdulgadir searched for Gumru everywhere, asked everybody about her, left Samarkand for Baghdad and Arbil with hope of seeing Gumru, but could not find her. As though, this girl had never been born in the world… Subsequently, his work devote to Amir Teymur’s grandson had willy-nilly turned into “Navayi-Gumru”.
Abdulgadir had not written this work with pen; this music appeared from his spirit and soul and created as divine magic and miracle. He converted own soul into musical sound and rhythm. It was neither a song nor a music; it was impossible to listen to; it trembled the listeners’ spirit reminding a human being of existence of grief until the death.
Now, everybody listening to the music felt the divine love hidden in its sound and rhythm and could not hide own amazement by the might and power of this love.
The composer was not aware that Gumru was sitting behind thick curtain on the window of the dark room of the harem situated near to the palace garden and absorbing the music into her soul as a grief. He did not know that his lover he was searching for many years was as near as the music was heard. He did not know that the girl feeling that this music was devoted to her was trembling in anxiety and desired to release from the loneliness and loveliness and join to this sound, melt own yearning in the harmony of this music. He did not and would not know it…
Callousness and cruelty having stuck on Miranshah’s face all over many years disappeared under magic of this divine music and were substituted by kind and polite lines. The music had penetrated to Miranshah’s soul and spirit so much that he gazed at endlessness and fell into thoughts.
“I wonder, what will be our fate?” – Abdulgadir got started from these words appearing from Miranshah’s lips. – “Maybe, the ruler asks him for rescue?! Oh my God, what the words are these…”
… Suddenly Miranshah crossly stood up and the music stopped. The guests still being under attraction of the music looked at the ruler.
Miranshah was out of himself; he still was influenced by the music penetrating to his soul and spirit and turning topsy-turvy his mind.
As the music stopped, a silence reigned in the garden. Miranshah turned to the composer standing close to him:
“Whom is this music devoted to, Abdulgadir?”
The composer got completely lost from this unexpected question; indeed, looking at the Miranshah’s changing lines of face he felt that the ruler had left for the world of imaginations. “Why did the ruler put this question? Since he does not know whom is this music devoted to? But a month ago I told him that this music is devoted to Khalil Sultan? Unless he knew, why did he organize this solemn party? No, it is not a simple question”.
Although being started from Miranshah’s sudden question, he calmly answered:
“It is devoted to Khalil Sultan, your Majesty!”
Miranshah’s face changed:
“How do you dare to lie me?”
Abdulgadir was shocked with this unexpected accusation, got pale and silent.
“This song is not devoted to Khalil Sultan!..”
“It is a love-affair!”
A strict silence reigned over the garden. Everybody was waiting for the end of this dialogue. The people were anxious of Miranshah’s rage against the great musician.
Not waiting for response, Miranshah sat down on his throne.
“Damn it!” – he said and turning to Abdulgadir said that he wanted to listen to the song again.
The music started to sound louder and louder, removing the anxiety and the composer got calm seeing that the ruler’s rage disappeared.
Young Khalil Sultan was out of himself from the song devoted to him and, his anguish getting calm after his father’s advices was blown again. His soul was burning with the grief for Shadimulk he left in Samarkand. “Abdulgadir could feel my senses, enter the depth of my soul. As if, he is aware of all events. I wish Shadimulk also heard this music”.
Feeling that he was not able to stand this separation more, the young man was trembling in anxiety. “I wonder, what is Shadimulk doing without me? Her father wanted to kill her but he could rescue his lover. But why I left her? No, Shadimulk will never forgive me. Furthermore, I myself will never forgive”.
Khalil Sultan stood up and imperceptibly left the party. The song conjured his soul and inspired his power. No obstacle could stop him know.
Leaving the palace through secret ways, he rode his horse and, galloping, started to move towards Samarkand.
…After the music’s stopping Miranshah turned right side for hearing Khalil Sultan’s opinion. Doubting a trouble, he called the guard and asked about Khalil Sultan.
The guard returning immediately said that Khalil Sultan had left the palace on his horse. Realizing the situation, the ruler ordered to cut all ways from the city, find and bring his son.
But it was too late; Khalil Sultan was riding as if on wings.
[1] Oud, santur, canoon – ancient oriental musical instruments.
[2] The name “Gumru” is translated from Azerbaijani as “turtle-dove”.
Baku, December 24, 2005
Translated from Azerbaijani by Javid Abbasli

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