Toktogul Satylganov (1864 – 1933)

Toktogul Satylganov was a talented poet, singer-improviser and virtuous komuz player of Kyrgyzstan. He was born in poor family living in Suusamyr district in our days known as Toktogul district of Djalal-Abad region and never learned to read and write. When he was 12 his parents had to send Toktogul to serve local bai (feudalist) as a junior herdsman, which was almost slavery. Close relations with other destitute people played a decisive role in forming his character.

His early poetic talent was discovered with a help of his parents. His father Satylgan was known as ingenious poet in his community. Mother of Toktogul was a witty woman and knew many tales, legends and traditions. When Toktogul turned 13 years old he started to compose songs and play komuz himself. In his first songs like "Because of the poverty" young poet sings about cruelty and inhumanity of his muster Kazanbai and rightless miserable existence.

In 1882 Toktogul faced a famous king’s singer Arzymat on a poetry competition and scores a victory. On this contest Toktogul showed himself to be not only outstanding singer but also a fearless exposer of evil and a poor peasants rights defender. His glory traveled all over Kyrgyzstan.

He authored many lyrical, satirical, and philosophical song and poems that became classics of Kyrgyz literature. Toktogul’s freedom praising songs initiated furious anger of feudalists, manaps, mullahs and tsarist officials. In 1988 during Andijan rebellion tsarists made up a fake denunciation of Toktogul’s participation in revolt and arrested the poet in July. In August the court’s declared a death sentence but later with a help of "Tsars mercy" capital punishment was replaced by penal servitude in Siberia for 7 years.

Being in Siberia Toktogul follows the way of thousands of revolutionists from all over Russia and living with Russian socialistic idealists extends his political outlook and understanding of equal will of international labor to obtain freedom from feudal rules. Here he composed a number of songs describing convicts’ life and made komuz of Siberian pine with an axe.

In 1902 with a help of his Russian friends Toktogul got over many difficulties and succeeded to escape and in 1903 came back to his motherland. Upon return poet composed a number of songs describing happiness of a man who received his motherland back: "Meeting the native land", "Greeting desirable nation", "Mama, dear, living? Healthy?". In many of his songs of that period Toktogul predicts the end of tsarism and tells about the people who fight for happiness of labor and calls Kyrgyz people for friendship with "elder brothers" – Russian working masses. Enraged tsarist regional rulers locked the poet in Namangan prison but mass disturbances rased to protect him made officials change their mind and release disobedient democrat.

Toktogul was the first akyn (poet) who welcomed the Great October Socialistic Revolution and became not only a herald of new era but an active participant of revolution. During this period he wrote his outstanding poem "What woman gave a birth to such a person like Lenin?", which was a start of Kyrgyz soviet literature. During years of soviet power he wrote a number of songs about communistic party and soviets, kolkhoz idea development. His works were translated into all soviet republics’ languages and published abroad.

Many of the streets, parks, schools and libraries were named after Toktogul Satylganov. Also a district, town, Bishkek concert hall and the biggest reservoir in the country wear name of the great Kyrgyz akyn-democrat of the XIX-XX centuries.