Myrzhakyp Dulatov – poet, writer, publicist, teacher, public person, one of the major representatives of the Kazakh culture and literature of the early XX century. He was born in 1895 in the Zhangildinsk district of Turgay region.
He lost his mother, Demesh, at the age of two and his father, Dulat, at the age of 12. Myrzhakyp graduated from elementary school in the village and in 1897, he enrolled in a Kazakh-Russian pedagogical college and graduated in 1902 as a village teacher.
In 1904, there was an event that changed his life. In Karkaraly he met Akhmet Baitursynov and Alikhan Bukeikhanov. Under the influence of these two leaders of emerging Kazakh reformist nationalist movement, he developed an anti-colonial worldview. Dulatov’s political creed clearly defined, when in 1909 he released his first poetry book, “Oyan, Kazakh!” (Wake up, Kazakh!) under the pseudonym Argyn. The book was immediately confiscated. He was able to republish it in 1911 and returned to Turgay. In an interval Myrzhakyp published his debut novel “Bahytsyz Jamal” (Jamal the Unfortunate) in 1910. The history of the oppressed Kazakh women became the first work of prose in modern Kazakh literature.
Dulatov simultaneously emerges one of the leaders of the Kazakh reformism and the national liberation movement. His publications put him under police and imperial surveillance. Once in the black list, he could not get a job in the city for a long time. He was arrested in Semey in 1911 and served one and half years prison term.
After his release, Dulatov was regularly published in the magazine “Aikap” and the newspaper “Kazakh”, which he founded in 1913 with A.Baitursynov also recently released from Semipalatinsk prison and with A.Bukeyhanov, until it was closed in autumn 1917 by the Kerensk Government. In his poems and articles, he criticized socio-economic and political situation of the Kazakh people under imperial administration. In 1913, he published a patriotic poem “Azamat” (Citizen).
In the summer of 1917 Myrzhakyp Dulatov was one of the organizers of the First All-Kyrgyz Congress in Orenburg, where the first Kazakh political party “Alash” was formed. After the proclamation in 1917 of the Kyrgyz (Kazakh) autonomy that they see in the future federal Russia under the control of Mensheviks, Dulatov became a member of the government “Alash Orda”, together with its leaders Bukeikhanov and Baitursynov. Up to May 1919 “Alash Orda” tried to negotiate with both red and white. But it
was renounced neither. Supreme Ruler of Russia Admiral Kolchak refused to negotiate and the Bolsheviks who have come to the power abolished “Alash Orda” Autonomy in February 1920. Its leaders were amnestied, and although included in the local government, were constantly under People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs supervision.
Dulatov returned to publishing and teaching activities, and from 1922 to 1928 he lived in Orenburg. In 1928 Myrzhakyp opposed the cancellation of the Arabic alphabet, including language reform by means to sever people’s ties with the people’s written history, which will lay the foundation of losing their native language, people alienation from their own history and tried his best to defend the rights of the Kazakh language and religion. The future proved that he was right, but on December 29, 1928 Dulatov was by the authority of People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs on charge of Kazakh nationalism.
He was sentenced to shoting, but then replaced to 10 years of cage. M. Dulatov died in the Solovki cage hospital in October 5, 1935. Dulatov’s Name and Work were prohibited for a long time. Only on November 4, 1988, they were rehabilitated. His daughter Gulnara, born in 1905, a doctor by profession, has done much to preserve the literary heritage of his father and his rehabilitation.
In 1991 collected works of Myrzhakyp Dulatov, including poetry, prose works, newspaper and magazine articles were published.