Simply About Difficult

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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Tortune or Fortune of Seid Mirbabayev?

''I have never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don't understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.''
Sophie Loren

After waking up a bit late today without having a breakfast I hurried to leave house to visit some of my relatives. It is not a big secret that people especially after retirement become very emotional and get hurt fast about such small details like not often visits of friends and relatives. In addition to my wish to make them happier I always find too many topics to talk to them. For instance, last year during one of my visits I got a very rare picture of my ancestor Sheikh Shamil with his family. For those who do not know about this great historic figure, Shamil was a leader of anti-Russian resistance and third Imam of the Caucasian Imammate.
--> It is possible to come across name Imam Shamil in ''Hadji Murat'' by Leo Tolsoy and he...but about it we will talk next time. Not to lose too much time in traffic I asked the driver to choose seaside way(Tip for those that are in a hurry). Passing by the building where now SOCAR(State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic) is located I started looking at the building and places around more carefully. This is one of my favourite buildings in the whole country(Pictures of the building can be seen below). Exactly that moment an idea of writing about one of the millionaires that is closely related to the history of this building came to my mind. All the way around I was thinking about the fact that unfortunately, there are too few historians that have written books and articles about Azerbaijani millionaires. Let us hope that someone will write about them and next generation will have enough sources to read about forebears. For now let us come back to the main topic of this post. For some people name Seid Mirbabayev may sound too distant, some may recall some information about him, but generally this post is dedicated to him and different aspects of his life.

''Long live Seid! You really made this wedding!''- Was shouting to be heard through loud music father at the wedding of only child. That day was very special for one of the most richest families in Baku in the beginning of the 20th century. Uncle of the husband-to-be was so excited about the wedding and happy about news of oil overflow that he decided to share some parts of his land  with the singer. -''Seid I want to give you some land. So far there was no oil but it is expected to come soon. If you are lucky enough this land will bring you a fortune!''. That day became turning point in the life of Seid Mirbabayev. A famous singer became one of a few millionaires in Azerbaijan.

As I already explained why I decided to write about Seid let us carry on to the one of the conversations between Seid and Zeynalabdin Taghiyev(another national industrial magnate and philanthropist). Once Seid came to Taghiyev to ask for an advice from ''aghsaggal''. Aghsaggal* is a person who is not necessarily old but very wise about life. This word is a part of Azerbaijani folklore and has been used for centuries.

''Zeynalabdin I want to buy a house. A house that will show my might and wealth. I want it to be one of the most beautiful buldings in Baku''-said Seid, looking at the works of art on the walls that Taghiyev brought from Rome not long ago. As a reply to this Zeynalabdin suggested him to take any of his houses but Seid gently refused an offer. ''Then there is one house, I know on market. I will give you a letter. Take it and go to Tbilisi to buy the house from the owner. Moreover, you should become a sponsor of ''Gori'' Gymnasium. There are two reasons you should do it. First of all, respect to you will double in a very short time. Second reason is that we will be able to send more muslim children there. The same way it happened with Aga Musa after I advised him to do so. Now half of the school is muslims'' -Advised Taghiyev.

Everything happened as Zeynalabdin said. The owner of such a beautiful building again became an Azerbaijani magnate. Seid bought more profitable land and his budget increased spontaneously. However, too many things changed with the repression of 1920. As most of other magnates of his time Seid left Baku for Paris. By the year of 1929 he bankrupted and was left without a life he was used to live. It is said that Seid was very shy about his past. About being singer. He was spending too much money on buying and destroying cd's recorded in Warsaw. It is said that he even spent last amount of money on own song recording and broke it so that no one would hear it anymore. Seid died in 1953 in Tehran. He probably thought that noone will even remember him as a singer but magnate. Could he know that people were still listening to his recordings and appreciated him as a unique singer rather than as a random millionaire? People should never try to hide their past as it is past that makes them present.

28 August, 2011
Baku, Azerbaijan

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