فارسی

Layeq Sherali

A Tajik poet and Iranologist

Born: May 20, 1941, Panjakent, Tajikistan
Died: June 30, 2000, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
In recognition of his years of scientific and cultural services, the Society for the Appreciation of Cultural Works and Dignitaries honored him the title of an Iranian dignitary during a commemoration ceremony on May 25, 2021

Biography

He was born in Mazar-e-Sharif village of Panjakent district, to a farmer family. His mother was well-educated and his father was a master carpenter. As Layeq mentioned in his memoirs, although his father was illiterate and did not directly contribute to his education, he had ideal character traits; sensible, honest and straightforward.
Layeq was sent to maktab to receive basic education in his hometown under Karim Razzakov, whom he found worthy of respect to the extent that he always remembered him as his first teacher. Layeq then entered the Teacher Training School in Panjakent, which was considered one of the famous and prestigious schools of the Republic of Tajikistan, and completed his education in 1958. During these days, he educated under famous scholars such as Qutbiddin Razzakov and Abdul Jabbar Sharifzoda. 
At this time, he began to compose poetry under the penname "Fathi". In 1959, he went to Stalinabad (Dushanbe) to continue his education and studied at the language and literature department of Taras Shevchenko State Pedagogical University (Tajik State Pedagogical University named after Sadriddin Aini). In the same year, his first poem “Naam” was published in Shargh-e Sorkh journal and introduced him as a "very talented young poet", and thereby, enabled him to attain the attention and support of scholars such as Mirzo Tursunzoda and Baghi Rahimzoda. In 1964, he began to serve as the editor of the literary branch of Radio Tajikistan and a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Tajikistan. In the composition of the poem "To my mother" and generally in creation of his “Madarnameh”, as most researchers believe and he himself also admitted, he was inspired by the Russian poet, Sergei Yesenin (1895-1925), and the Iranian poet, Iraj Mirza (1874-1926). In 1965, as the youngest Tajik poet, he became a member of the Union of Tajik Writers. Later, he held different positions as a member of the Tajikistan newspaper ‘Komsomol’ (1967-1970), director of the poetry branch of the ‘Voice of the East’ magazine (1970-1975), advisor to the ‘Union of Tajik Writers’ (1976-1981), editor-in-chief of the ‘Voice of the East’ magazine (1981-1991), People's Advocate in the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union (1988-1991), head of the Tajik-Persian Language International Foundation (1991-2000) and an Attorney of Dushanbe House of Representatives (2000). In 1991, He earned the title 'People's Poet of Tajikistan'. 
Layeq had expertise in classical Persian poetry. For him, the 1960s to 1970s were the years of exploiting the works of famous Iranian poets such as Rudaki, Ferdowsi, Rumi, Sa`adi, Hafez, Sa`eb Tabrizi and Kalim Kashani, the years of familiarity with the Tajik history and the contemporary poets of Iran, Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan, such as Malik al-Shu'ara'(1887-1951), Iraj Mirza (1874-1926), Mohammad Iqbal (1877-1938), Nader Naderpour (1929-2000), Forough Farrokhzad (1934-1967), Khalilullah Khalili (1907-1987), and Wasef Bakhtari (1942). Among all the poets, the influence of Ferdowsi, Khayyam and Rumi is evident in his works. He also translated several literary master pieces into Persian.
By familiarity, translating and exploiting the poems of other great poets such as Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), Sergey Yesenin (1895-1925), Rasul Gamzatov (1923, 2003) and others he was regarded the first Tajik poet who combined the Tajik Persian poetry with the elements of the world literature in his poetry and created the first prominent literary examples of such a combination in current Tajik literature. Also, in the 80s-90s he composed his best known collections such as "Khane Cheshm" (1982), "Khane Del" (1986), "Aftab Baran" (1988) and "Mother's Praying Hand", in form of couplets, quatrains, and sonnets embodying human feelings and thoughts of the late 20th century. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that since he witnessed the bitter events of the 90s in Tajikistan, the dispersion of the people, the destruction of the homeland and the humiliation of the nation, his poems are full of pain and sorrow at this time. 
He was a poet who followed the literary traditions of the great scholars of Persian literature. Therefore, his poems consist an amalgam of the tenderness and smoothness of the sonnets of Sa`adi and Hafez and the subtlety of Saeb and Kalim Kashani. He became deeply attached to Khayyam's quatrains, Shams's ghazals and particularly Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, and inspired by them in different ways. Therefore, he wrote the most eloquent poems about Shahnameh which includes ‘Kaveh's Eighteenth Son’, ‘The Soul of Rakhsh’, ‘Rostam's Pride’, ‘Kaveh's Cry for His Seventeen Sons’, ‘Tahmineh's Lamentation over Sohrab's Death’, ‘The Last Battle of Rostam’, ‘Ferdowsi and Timur’ and others. Layeq is known as one of the promoters of Ferdowsi's national and patriotic concepts among the Tajik Persian readers as well as those interested in Persian culture in Central Asia.
It goes without saying that his literary heritage is not only limited to poetry, but he has left about 150 valuable poetry and prose translations, articles, reviews, reports and interviews on literature and culture, language and history, and important issues of his time. Some of his poetry collections have been published in Russian under the titles of ‘Shafaq-e Sobh’ (Dushanbe, 1963), ‘Zemin-e Mirasi’ (Moscow, 1971), and ‘Sim-e Baran’ (Moscow, 1979), as well as his single poems have been translated and published.in Kazakh, Uzbek, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Turkmen, Armenian, Georgian, Azeri, Lithuanian, Kyrgyz, Maldivian, English, French, German, Bulgarian, and Czech languages. 
Layeq finally died in 2000 in Dushanbe and was buried in Luchob cemetery. The people of Tajikistan always honor the memory of this renowned folk poet and have placed his statue in Panjakent. Several schools and streets in Dushanbe and other districts of the Republic of Tajikistan are named after him.
In recognition of his years of scientific and cultural services, the Society for the Appreciation of Cultural Works and Dignitaries (SACWD) honored him the title of ‘Iran`s dignitary’ in a commemoration ceremony on May 25, 2021.
 

Works

Among his many published works are:

•    Sar Sabz (1966) 
•    Elham (1968) 
•    Nushbaad (1971) 
•    Sahelha (1972) 
•    Teshne Del (1974)
•    Khak-e Watan (1975)
•    Rize Baran (1976) 
•    Mard-e Rah (1979)
•    Varagh-e Sang (1980)
•    Khane Cheshm (1982)
•    Rouz-e Sephid (1984)
•    Khane Del (1986)
•    Aftab Baran (1988)
•    Jaam-e Sarshar (1991)
•    Man-o Darya (1991)
•    Aval-o Akhar Eshgh (1994) 
•    Mother's Praying Hand (1995)
•    Rouh-e Rakhsh (2000)
•    Engareha (2001)
•    Divan-e Del (2007)
•    Divan-e Piri (2008)
•    Divan-e Zaman (2011)
•    Sad-o-yek Ghazal (2013)
•    Elham az Shahnameh (2014)