Jun 24, 2013

A Day from Evdale Zenike's Days (Rojek Ji Rojên Evdalê Zeynikê) ..


Section One

1.1 Introduction

      It was not an easy decision to start working on a Kurdish novel, as there are almost no sources found that study Kurdish literature in English language. But we made our mind starting reading Uzun's A Day from Evdale Zeynike's Days 'Rojek ji Rojen Evdale Zeynike'. Then because of the good techniques the author has used in the novel, we thought it would be a topic of great interest and importance to do a research on regardless of how difficult it would be.
     Our research will give a general analysis to the novel through writing its basic structures such as: plot, characters, themes and settings. It will study the use of symbols in the novel, as there are, of course, several of them. But ahead of that some definition of symbols are explained with examples.
   Symbols are objects that an author uses to indicate a deeper meaning in addition to their literary meanings. So this research will focus discovering the hidden symbols between the lines of a novel that hasn't been a topic in any research. The research will also count some symbols with their universal meanings comparing with Kurdish culture and then implementing it with the events in the novel with support of relevant examples and quotations.

1.2 Uzun's biography

     Mehmed Uzun was a contemporary Kurdish writer and novelist. He was born in Urfa, the Northern Kurdistan[1] in 1953.
     After graduating from the local high school, he continued his studies in Ankara. In 1972 he was arrested and condemned to two years' imprisonment. In 1976, after issuing the Kurdish journal Rizgari ("Liberty"), he was arrested again, imprisoned and released after six months. In 1977 he went to Sweden as a political refugee; there he remained until 2006.
     Although the Kurdish language was outlawed in Turkey from 1920 to 1990, he started to write in his mother tongue. As a writer, he achieved a great deal towards shaping a modern Kurdish literary language and reviving the Kurdish tradition of storytelling. During his time in Scandinavia, he became a prolific writer, author of a dozen Kurdish language novels and essays, which have made him a founding member of modern Kurdish literature in Kurmanji dialect. In June 2005 he returned to Istanbul, Turkey. He was a member of the PEN club and the Swedish writers association.
     On May 29, 2006, it was revealed that Uzun had been diagnosed with cancer. Following treatment at the Karolinska University Hospital of Stockholm, in Sweden he returned to Diyarbakir, Turkey, where he died on October 10, 2007, aged 54.
     With untiring determination and great efforts, banished from his country to a separation, and sadness, he has created a Kurdish literary language in the barren landscape of exile; he has recorded, collected, rewritten and recreated. (Berglindh, 2001)
     Mehmed Uzun was charged several times in Turkey due to his activities in the field of Kurdish literature. According to UNHCR official website, in 1972, at the age of 19, Uzun was arrested and taken to the military prison in Diyarbakir, the regional capital, on charges of supporting separatism Kurdish independence from Turkey. He was arrested on March 21, 1976 as managing editor of a Kurdish-Turkish magazine, and was accused of "separatism" and jailed in Ankara's central prison. During his trial in the summer of 1976, he attempted to prove the existence of the Kurds and the Kurdish language. The prosecutor's argument was that the Kurds and their language had no form of existence. Anyone claiming the opposite was considered a separatist and deserved to be punished. He was sentenced to eight months in prison. After release, he was still under the threat of indictment on account of his responsibilities as editor of the aforementioned magazine, and consequently he chose exile and left for Sweden in 1977. The regulations prevailing in Turkey at the time made return to his native country impossible.
     Subsequently, in 1981, by decision of the military regime, he was stripped of his nationality. He resumed his linguistic quest in Stockholm, aided by grants from the Swedish government. To collect vocabulary and folklore, he visited an Iraqi Kurdish leader in a rebel-held mountain valley of Iraq, spending evenings in a tent listening to Kurdish poets and storytellers by the light of an oil lamp. He learned Arabic script to read classical Kurdish poems of the 16th and 17th centuries. Later, he hunted down rare copies of a magazine published by Kurdish exiles in the 1920s. The ill-fated adventures of these pioneers form the backbone of two of his novels, which, like all of his fiction, detail the struggles of Kurds through the ages. He also led an editorial board of intellectuals, who would pay for Kurds to fly to Europe to brief them on obscure vocabulary.
     In January 2000, Uzun was allowed to visit Turkey after 23 years of exile. More than 6,000 people greeted him in the city hall of Diyarbakir for a conference on Kurdish language, literature and identity, a gathering that would have been unthinkable only a few years before.
     According to Los Angeles Times, Uzun has said in the conference that Turkish should remain as the official language, but Kurds should be educated in Kurdish in their own regions.  "How can a language be banned? How can a ban be imposed on the identity of a people?" Uzun asked. "I am saying this not as a Kurd, but as an intellectual"
His novels
1.     Tu (You), Novel, 1985.
2.     Mirina Kalekî Rind (Death of a Nice Old Man), Novel, 1987.
3.     Siya Evînê (Shadow of Love), Novel, 1989. Translated into Swedish as
4.     Rojek Ji Rojên Evdalê Zeynikê (A Day from Evdal Zeynikê's Days), Novel, 1991.
5.     Bîra Qederê : Roman (Memory of Destiny: A Novel), 1995
6.     Ronî Mîna Evînê Tarî Mîna Mirinê (Light like Love, Dark like Death), Novel, 1998.
7.     Hawara Dîcleyê, Novel, 2003. 

Section Two: A Day from Evdale Zeynike's Days

2.1 Plot

     The events of the novel take place in a typical Kurdish city, or more accurately, a typical Kurdish princedom at the era of the Ottoman Empire. All the events go around one man who is called (Evdale Zeynike). The story is told by a narrator called (Fermane Kiki). The narrator tells the story of the man, starting from dawn to another dawn, including the afternoon and the night between them.  Every time of the day leaves an impression on readers. Each time is included several events and developments which are similar to the nature of that time.
     The story has four major times through when the events rise and fall. It starts with dawn, passing through afternoon and night and ends with another dawn. Evdal’s day seems to end with a dawn, rather than an ordinary ending like others, which is night.
     At the dawn of the novel, the story starts from the end. Here Evdal, having lost his eyesight seven years ago, is waiting for some news, news of the birth of his grandchild, news of his adopted daughter Meyro and his student Bengin, who escape to another place in fear of Egid Beg, news of the broken-winged Crane, which he has been looking after for some time.
     At the dawn of Evdal, he is the (Dangbej)[2] of Tahar Xan, a just Kurdish prince who is ruling a Kurdish princedom. Evdal is famous not only in his own city, but the entire places of the four pieces of Kurdistan know him, or have heard about his voice. He has relationship with not only Kurds, but he has been friendly with other ethnics and nations as well such as Ermens, Ezidies and Arabs who lives along with Muslim Kurds and in and around the land of Kurds. At Evdal’s dawn, he marries Gule, an Ermen girl, in spite of the obstacles he faces, because she is from a different religion and has been selected by another man to be married to him. In spite of her refusal at first, he keeps trying to persuade Gule until she agrees. Then they have a son ‘Temo’ whom Evdal wishes to be just like him, to inherit his voice and knowledge. But Temo doesn’t turn out that way. He is not as clever as Evdal wishes his son to be. One day, six years and Evdal’s losing his eyesight, Temo brings a broken-winged crane home which cannot fly and it's left from its folk. Evdal is very concerned about the Crane and has it inspected by many practitioners and doctors, but with is no cure. The Crane remains with Evdal until the end of the novel. Many times happens that Evdal sings for the broken-winged Crane and resembles its sufferings with his own as an old and blind man. The Crane has two wings but can’t fly into the sky and Evdal has two eyes but can’t see anything in the world.
     In the afternoon of Evdale Zeynike’s Day, many crucial things happen. He loses his most valuable treasure which is his voice, then his eyesight. He gets to know another Dengbej called (Shex Sile). 
     One day a caravan coming from a far place reaches the city of Tahir Xan and cannot go further because of rain. Tahir Xan, who is known for his generosity and hospitality to guests and strangers, invites them to his house for the time they are able to leave. After Tahir Xan hears that a Dengbej called (Shex Sile) accompanies them and he has a good voice, he invites him to his council and let him sing for him. Here, Evdal, as a special folk singer of Tahir Xan feels that Tahir Xan no longer cares for his voice. Several days after, Evdal suggests a session for him and Shex Sile to sing in Tahir Xan’s council. The house of Tahir Xan is filled with people from the city and other places. The competition between Evdal and Gule in a side, and Shex Sile in the other lasted two days and nights. It causes Evdal to lose as his eyesight. Evdal spends seven years in this way. Then Evdal decides to leave the city of Tahir Xan and ask Tahir to permit him live in a village near Sipane Xelate Mountains. During these years, wars happen between Kurdish princedoms themselves, and between Muslims and non-Muslims. Ottomans also attacks Kurdish lands and destroys many villages and people are migrated from their homes. Ottomans attack Tahir Princedom as well and send Tahir Xan to Istanbul, then he is exiled to an unknown place to die there. One day Evdal has a dream, in his dream, his mother Zeyne, Tahir Xan and many other Dengbejes want Evdal to sing for them. After Evdal tells the dream he had to his wife Gule, she says that if a man doesn't work, he'll get stained. Evdal considers her speech and decides to have some students to teach Kurdish songs, myth and history.
    Then the author turns the novel to Night. At the night of Evdal's Day, terrible things happen to him and tragic accidents takes place all of which influences Evdal in a way or another.
     First, the author comes to describe his novel's another two characters, Meyro and Bengin. The characters are very near to Evdal. As the novel says, Ottomans mass killed the Ermens who were living with Kurds in some areas.  They burned their homes, destroyed their villages, killed their youth, sent the old and remainders to exile. Many Ermens flee to Kurdish areas to be protected by Kurdish villagers. Meyro is one of the children whom parents were killed by Ottomans and she is kept by a Kurdish family. Evdal takes her to Gule her to bring her up. She Agrees on that and names her 'Meyro', the Kurdish name of 'Virgin Mary'. But Evdal calls her Tavbanu, as he thinks she is like the bright of sun. As for Bengin, he is the son of one of Evdal's friends. His father dies when they settle in the city of Tahir Xan, next to Evdal's house. Evdal decides to adopt Bengin and teaches him a lot of things.  Evdal loves his two adapted children so much. When they grow up, they fall in love. Then Evdal agrees that Meyro and Bengin be married. But then things change.  After Tahir Xan dies, one of his cousins takes the rule of the Princedom. He is called Egid Beg, who has tight relations with Ottomans. Egid Beg has a son who loves Meyro in one side and asks for her hand after she has been engaged to Bengin. The son keeps this matter secret from his father. After refusing his proposal by Evdal, saying that this is against Kurdish traditional to marry another's woman, the son dies after suffering from an illness and falling from his horse. When Egid beg comes to know that his son's request to marry Meyro has been refused, he decides to arrest Meyro and Bengin. Evdal sends them to Shingal Mountains, the lands of Kurdish Ezidies, where they protect everyone who wants shelter and protection. Egid Beg sends some hundreds of his men to take the two lovers back, but the Prince of Ezidies refuses to give them. After a bloody fighting, Egid Beg's force arrests Meyro and Bengin in a cave and poisons them to die there. The night of Evdal was a nightmare. The night of the Kurdish princedom was a nightmare as well. Everything Tahir Xan planned has been destroyed by Egid Beg. During his era, the country is going through a difficult time by being attacked by Ottomans and mass killing Ermens who lived along with Kurds in their lands.
     In Night Chapter, the author devotes four successive sections to Meryo and Bengin and their love story. Then he talks about the situation of the Kurdish princedom at the era of Egid Beg, who unlike his cousin, Tahir Xan, paved the way to enemies to destruct Kurds’ lands.
     Evdal’s day ends with another dawn. At the Dawn of his day, he is still on the Sipane Xelate Mountains with his family, students and all his fellow villagers. People even from other parts of the country gather on the mountain to show their condolence and support to Evdal. He receives good news and bad news at the same time. He gets confused, feels happy and sad at the same time. The bad news is having Meyro and Bengin killed by Egid Beg. The narrator calls this section 'Black News'. The good news for Evdal is that his son's wife, Zin gives birth to a son. Evdal names him after Bengin. Despite of being blind and physically weak, he goes to the highest peak of the Mountain carrying the broken-winged Crane. He looks at the sun and sings as much as he can. His eyes cures and the wings of the Crane cure as well. He flies the Crane, it flies, but then it returns to settle on Evdal’s knee.

2.2 Characters

2.2.1 Evdale Zenike

     He is the protagonist of the novel. His name is Evdal, his second name (Zeynkie) is derived from his mother (Zeyne), because his father dies when he is a little child and his mother brings him up. So he is named after her. In the Arabic version of the Novel Evdale Zeynike is known as the symbolic father of folk songs and classical Kurdish songs, he became famous when he was old during Ottoman era. (Al-Husseiny, 2010).  He is known as the Homeros of Kurds as well. When the novel starts, Evdal has lost his eyesight seven years ago. But his concern is not his blindness rather than the destiny of his adopted daughter and his student (Meyro and Bengin) and the broken-winged Crane.
     Evdal is the Dengbej of Tahir Xan, the prince of a Kurdish Princedom, Dangbej of all Kurds in all parts. His role in the Kurdish community is important as a barer of Kurdish literature, history, language and rhetoric. Evdal was a Muslim Kurd and he respects all religions and ethnicities that lives in and outside Kurdistan and values them equally.  He marries Gule when he is thirty. They have a son 'Temo'. Then he adopts an Ermen girl and brings a son of his friend up. Seven years ahead of Tahir Xan's toppling by Ottomans, he moves to a far village near Sipane Xelate Mountain. There, he establishes a school in his house and students from all over Kurdistan gathers to the school. He was teaching various aspects of Kurdish literature, language and history. After Egid Beg's order to arrest Bengin and Meyro, he sends them to Shingal Mountain; there he has some friends from Ezidies who will protect the two lovers. From since and on, he goes up on Sipane Xelate Mountain and doesn't come down till he gets all news about them. He believes that Sipane Xelate is the only thing that can heal him from his sufferings. At the same time, after Temo gets a broken-winged Crane to home, he is too concerned with its sufferings, believing that they both have the same suffering, the Crane has wings but cannot fly, and he has eyes but cannot see. On Sipane Xelate, hundreds or thousands of people gather with him to show their support. He is singing for them sometimes, and sometime he is telling Kurdish stories.

2.2.2 Gule

     Gule is Evdal's wife; she was a 15 years old Ermen girl when Evdal marries her. The narrator describes her early age as a young girl as a piece of gold and a drop of milk, her hair is long and blonde, her figure is like of a nymph. No one was to compete with her beauty. She is a Dangbej of a nice voice as well. When Evdal first sees her, he likes her and wants to marry her. She is Non-Muslim in one hand, and engaged in the other, that's why the dream of Evdal to marry her is hard to achieve. Eventually Evdal was able to convince her and marries her. She is a great support to Evdal, especially when he loses his eyesight, she urges him to gather some students in a room and teach them.

2.2.3 The Crane (Quling)

     The Crane in the novel is found by Evdal’s son, Temo, six years after Evdal's blindness, with its wings broken and unable to fly. While Evdal is blind, he tries to cure the Crane, he has it inspected by many doctors and practitioners but the attempts go nowhere. When he goes up on the Mountain he takes it with him. At the end, when Evdal’s eyes cure, the Crane’s wing cures as well and it is able to fly again. But instead of joining its flock, it returns and lands on Evdal’s knee.
     The Crane appears in the Dawn time of the novel, the narrator has accounted it as a character in the novel in a devoted section . The Dawn is the beginning of Evdal's Day during when he is blind, at the same time the Crane is found broken-winged and left from its flock.
     Evdal and the Crane have the same suffering. Evdal cannot see and the Crane cannot fly. Many times Evdal resembles the Crane to himself. Evdal is very concerned with the Crane, but at the same time, they become friends. Evdal is very fond of the Crane, and vice verse, when the Crane doesn't hear Evdal's voice, he will make sounds and cry. Many times happen that Evdal embraces the Crane and talked to it. And the Crane will silently look around. Things that Evdal is telling the Crane are about their sufferings. As the narrator mentions, Evdal is seeking for a remedy to the Crane, but he doesn't know that its remedy is his voice.

2.2.4 Tahir Xan

     He is a prince of a one of the Kurdish Princedom in Northern part of Kurdistan. He is a unique wise Kurdish man, a shelter for the poor and the homeless, and friends of scholars. He is just and generous. Despite of his richness, he is humble. Tahir Xan is in favor of knowledge and knowledgeable people; he establishes a school where lessons of Kurdish history and languages have been taught. He has a good relation with other Kurdish princedoms that time, and people of his princedom love him. Some cousins of him are in dispute with him, so the Ottomans exploit this chance to topple Tahir Xan and replace him by one of the cousins of him. Then he is arrested and died in exile.   

2.2.5 Bengin

     Bengin is Evdal's student. His father ( Biroye Dengbej) was a friends of Evdal. When His mother died, Bengin and his father were moving from place into another, as they come to Tahir Xan's city once, Bengin's father died. Bengin is just 11-12 years old then. Evdal and his wife Gule bring him up. At the meantime, Evdal and Gule have adopted the Ermen girl (Meyro). They both grow together and fall in love when they are young. Bengin marries Meyro, but a day after their wedding; they flee together to Shingal Mountains. Bengin is clever and genius, his behavior is of gentlemen, he is still and steady in his works. Everything Evdal wished to be in his son 'Temo' exists in Bengin, that's why he considers him as his second son and love him. Bengin and Meyro are killed by men of 'Egid Beg' in Shingal Mountain.

2.2.6 Meyro

     Meyro is Bengin's beloved and Evdal's adopted daughter. During Ottoman's attacks on Ermens, her family is killed and she is found by some villagers in a forest. When Evdal first sees her, he asks the villagers to permit him taking her and bringing her up, they agree. 'Meryo' is the Kurdish name of (Virgin Mary), the name is selected by Gule, but Evdal is always calling him (Tavbanu) which means sun bright, because she is as bright as sun. When Meyro becomes fourteen, she is like a full moon, very beautiful. Bengin is in love with her and often sing over her. They were both killed by Egid's men.  

2.2.7 Shex Sle

     Shex Sle is another Kurdish Dengbej. He comes to the city of Tahir Xan when their caravan passes by and can’t go further because of rain, so he stays in Tahir Xan's house and sings for him. This matter disturbs Evdal a little, because he is the only Dengbej of Tahir Xan. Despite of his physical weakness, Evdal invites Shex Sle one day to compete in singing Kurdish folk songs. They continue singing for two days in Tahir Xan's house, which leads to the blindness of Evdal. Hundreds witnesses that competition, even Gule supports Evdal by singing in favor of him. 

2.2.8 Temo

     Temo is Evdal and Gule's only son. Temo is not as clever as Evdal wanted his son to be. He wanted him to be just like him, a Dangbej, to be a knight and follow his path, but when he grows up, he doesn't appear to be like that. It is Temo who finds the broken-winged Crane. Temo's wife, Zine, gives birth to a son in the same day of the news of killing Bengin and Meyro. Evdal names him after Bengin.

2.2.9 Egid Beg

     Egid is Tahir Xan's cousin. He has relations with Ottoman leaders. That's why when the Ottomans topple Tahir Xan, they replace him with Egid Beg. He is completely opposite of Tahir Xan, a man in favor of money and wealth. Under the recommendation of Ottomans and working for their interest, he pulls out the policies of Tahir Xan which was based on a fair rule and coexistence, and brings Ottoman troops everywhere and increases taxes and increases his hatred on non-Muslim minorities and friends of Tahir Xan. When Egid Beg knows that Evdal refused to give his daughter Meyro to his son Cheto, he orders to kill Bengin and Meyro. So Evdal sent them to Shingal to be protected, but Egid sends his men to Shingal Mountain and kills both of them there.

2.2.10 Cheto

     Cheto is Egid Beg's son, but is very different to him. Cheto is mainly under the influence of his uncle Tahir Xan rather than his father. When he grows up, he falls in love with Meyro without her awareness to him. He sends some men to ask her hand when she was engaged to Bengin, But Evdal, as her father, refuses. At that time, Cheto doesn't know that she is engaged and he regrets doing that, so he makes the men promise not to tell his father regarding the matter. But after a while of sickness, he fell on a horse and died. Someone tells Egid Beg about asking Meyro's hand and the refusal of Evdal, which makes him angry and orders that Bengin and Meyro to be killed as a punishment of what happened to his son.

 2.3 Themes

 2.3.1 Coexistence

     The events of the novel takes place in Northern Kurdistan, where in addition to Kurds, other ethnicities live such as ‘Ermens’ who are Christians. Although in a part of the novel, the author says that ‘Ermens’ and Kurds weren’t likely to marry one another’s girls because of their differences in religion, but the protagonist ‘Evdal’ married one of ‘Ermen’s’ girls ‘Gule’, and for him, there was no such difference between them.
For Evdal, Christians were like Muslims, and Ermens were Kurds, he valued them equally. He was not only Kurds’ minstrel (Dengbêj), but minstrel of other nations who lived in Kurdistan as well such as Ermens, Assyrians, Kildans.” (Uzun M. , 1991, p. 32)
      In the novel, ‘Evdal’ has travelled all over Kurdistan and some parts of Arab countries where he sang Kurdish folk songs and stayed for long times. He has had relations with all people who lived in Kurdistan and neighbouring countries regardless of their religions and beliefs. When ‘Meyro and Bengin’ are pursued by ‘Egid Beg’ (the Kurdish prince who comes to rule after ‘Tahir Xan’), ‘Evdal’ sends them to Kurdish Ezidies around Shingal Mountain to protect them against ‘Egid Beg’. They defend on them and many of them are killed by Egid’s soldiers.
     During Ottomans' attacks on Ermens in the area of Serhed in north of the country, many Kurdish villagers sheltered Ermens and protected them from Ottomans. Evdal himself was going to the villages around to tell them that they must refuse to help Ottomans to attack Ermens, because they're Kurd's cousins and neighbours.

 2.3.2 Love

      The novel contains two main love stories of the actual characters, and another one story that is told Evdal. Three separate chapters are devoted to the love stories. The story of Evdal and Gule is with a happy ending, but the other two ends with tragic outcomes. The love stories in the novel are affected by the external factors and obstacles which lead to sad and catastrophic endings. This is with exception of Evdal and Gule's love story which ends with their marriage.
       In his therties, Evdal was invited to a wedding party in a neighbouring village, where he sees an Ermen girls called ‘Gule’. He falls in love with her and after a long strugle, he can persude her to marry him. The way Evdal find Gule is very famous in Kurdsh traditional. There is a common traditional which is participating men and women together in Kurdish dancing. It’s a chance for boys to find the girl they likes to marry. The love story of Evdal and Gule becomes very famous accross Kurdistan and then becomes a subject for menstrels’ songs.
     The second love story in the novel is of ‘Bengin’ and ‘Meyro’.  Bengin is one of Evdal’s students whose father was a friend of him. His father dies when Bengin was just 11-12 years, so he is brought up by Evdal. His beloved ‘Meyro’ is also Evdal’s adopted daughter. She was just a small child of four years when her Ermen parents were killed during Ottoman’s invasions on Ermens. Evdal finds her in a Kurdish village where she is sheltered and saved. Evdal and Gule bring her up like their daughter. In this way, Bengin and Meryo grow up together, and when they become young, they fall in love, which eventually leads to their marriage.
Yes, when Bengin and Meyro become sixteen, their head were out of their mind, their hearts were full of feeling, and they caught the fever of love. But they were infallible to an extent that still the male and female fly haven’t landed on them and they were sitting together silently, for half of days, staring at one another. Or Bengin would put his hand over his ear and would sing for Meyro from the sunrise until the sunset.” (Uzun M. , 1991, p. 105)
    This shows the pure love between Bengin and Meyro.
    The third love story in the novel is told by one of the novel’s characters. Evdal resembles the traditional Kurdish love story of Xece and Siyabend with the story of Bengin and Meyro. He claims that they faced the same fate and destiny. Xece and Siyabend, are two Kurdish lovers who escaped to Sipane Xelate Mountain. There, on the highest peak of mountain, Siyabend falls when he tries to hunt a goat. Xece throws herself after him and both died and buried on the mountain.

 2.3.3 History and Traditions of Kurdistan

       Kurdish History is another main theme in Uzun’s novel and is explicitly implied through the characters of the novel. The author wants to show readers the prosperity that one of the Kurdish Princedoms had in one specific era when ruled by a wise Kurdish man. And how it turns upside down when he was exiled and his cousin came to rule the princedom. But at the same time, it talks about the separated parts of Kurdistan which joined to Turks and other states. The novel implies briefly the invasions that the Ottoman mounted on Kurds lands in side, and mass killing the Ermens in another side.  When the novel talks about a typical Kurdish Princedom, it reveals one of the wisest men of Kurdish history who ruled that princedom. ‘Tahir Xan’ was the prince of that princedom.
                     “Land of Tahir Xan was wide and rich; his rule was fair and flexible. The boundaries of his princedom reach the boundaries of Persian, boundaries of Qefqas Mountains, boundaries of the Kurdish Princedoms of ‘Bedlis’ and ‘Hekare’ His palace was big, his dwelling was in good order, his council was always bright and full.” (Uzun M. , 1991, p. 63)

    Then the novel provokes a sensitive historical issue which is the mass killing of Ermens by Ottomans. According to the novel, the Ermens were accused by Ottomans of helping their enemies. Kurds sheltered many Ermens and saved them from being killed. The adopted daughter of Evdal ‘Meyro’ was one of the Ermens whose parents and relatives were killed in the Ottoman’s attacks.
     In addition to showing some aspects of Kurdish community in the novel, the author tends to imply many aspects of Kurdish traditional and norms through the events and the characters of the novel. The way they used to live, their attitude towards other minorities, how they respected guests and strangers. These are obvious when reader goes through the novel. The person who did not take these traditions into his or her consideration would be despised by community. The example of this is the attitude of Egid Beg towards Bengin and Meyro. When a delegation by Evdal is sent to him to forgive the two lovers and let them live, they tell him Kurds’ tradition towards mates. They say that in Kurdish traditional, if a person sees a couple of snake mating, he should not kill them in any way, so what about two human couples married, how one dares to separate them.

 2.3.4 Role of Minstrels (Dengbej) in Kurdish community

     Minstrels (Dengbej) are people in Kurdish traditional who sing a special kind of folk songs, often in gathering of many people, or even they visit other places and villages. The subjects of their songs are in general: love, Kurdish history, Kurdish legends, wars and so on. They’re known for their respect in community. Many of them tell the spoken form of history from their ancestors to the new generation and teach the new generation what they know.
     Minstrels in Kurdish community were teachers and historians at the same time. Evdal is a major example of this. Evdal is the special Dengbej of the Kurdish Prince Tahir Xan. The author introduces him as the Dengbej of the whole Kurdish nation as well. Through his songs and theology, he tells the history of Kurds and the love stories happened in the past. For example, im a devoted chapter, Evdal tells the story of Xece and Siyabend to people around him on Sipane Xelate Mountain. After he loses his eyesight, Evdal receives students across the Kurdistan, from different places, in order to teach them Folk song, Kurdish history and other knowledge related to Kurds. According to the novel, his students increase to hundreds.
He started teaching the youth the rules, ways and principles of being a (Dengbej). Evdal taught them Kurdish language and literature and introduced them to poets and authors of 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18th centuries and read their poems and writings. Evdal explained to them songs, myth and stories, then told them their sources. Evdal’s minstrel friends were attending as well, and stayed to help Evdal, sometimes for days, and sometimes for months.” (Uzun M. , 1991, p. 83)
     In absence of formal school and educational institutions, (Dengbej)s were acting as multi-subject teachers to Kurds.

 2.3.5 Tyranny of Ottoman Empire and treason

      One of the themes that the novel implied is the tyranny of Ottoman leaders and the series of invasions they mounted on Kurdistan, and at the same time, the novel shows the treason some Kurds did against the Kurds in general and some Kurdish princedoms.
     The Ottomans were the major actor of toppling the Kurdish Princedom of Tahir Xan, where Evdal used to live. They appointed the people to lead the princedom who could protect their interest in the area. The Ottomans destroyed what Tahir Xan has been establishing through his rule, such as his big library, where has been the source of getting knowledge to Kurds in the area. Ottomans gave the green light to Egid Beg, Tahir’s cousin who took the rule of the princedom by the support of Ottomans, in order to attack Ezidies to get back Bengin and Meyro. According the novel, Ottomans were trying to urge their agents from Kurds to fight their brothers (Kurds) and to make internal wars against each other.

2.4 Settings

    The events of the novel occur in Kurdistan (Lands of Kurds), on Sipane Xelate Mountain, in Tahir Xan's Princedom and on Shingal Mountain.
   Time is unknown however the events of the novel imply that it is during Ottoman Empire Era.

Section Three: Symbolism in A Day from Evdale Zeynike's Days


3.1 Symbolism

    Parsons (2009) observes regarding symbolism that it's an object, or even an animal, that represents an abstract value or entity. For instance, the dove is a symbol of peace, the eagle a symbol of power, and the lamb a symbol of innocence. He goes on by saying that when an item is mentioned rather regularly throughout a novel, especially a personal item belonging to one of the principal characters, the reader must ask what it might symbolize .
     Symbols allow authors to impart ideas above and beyond the literal level of the text. A symbol represents, or stands in place of, something else. (Rahn, 2010). It is when the author uses an object or reference to add deeper meaning to a story. (Mork, 2010)
    A symbol, in the broadest use of the term, is anything which signifies something else; in this sense, all words are symbols. As commonly used in criticism, however, "symbol" is applied only to a word or phrase signifying an object which itself has significance; that is, the object referred to has a range of meaning beyond itself. (Beebe, 1960)
     Symbolism in literature can be subtle or obvious, used sparingly or heavy-handedly. An author may repeatedly use the same object to convey deeper meaning or may use variations of the same object to create an overarching mood or feeling. Symbolism is often used to support a literary theme in a subtle manner.  Symbol is a widely used term in many disciplines, referring to the process by which a person, place, object, or event comes to stand for some abstract idea or conditions. As normally used in literary study, symbol suggests a connection between the ordinary sense of reality and moral or spiritual order. (Quninn, 2006)
     Regarding examples of symbolism in literature (Nair, 2010) says that symbolism need not necessarily have to be symbols that are easily recognizable or ones that are commonly used. They can be subtle symbolic representations used to hint at something without making it an obvious and overwhelming statement. There are many famous examples of symbolism in novels in English language, for example in MacBeth, William Shakespeare was a master of symbology. In this play, he uses blood to symbolize guilt and a raven to symbolize bad luck. And in Animal Farm: An allegorical novel, the entire story symbolizes communism and the evils that come out of following the ideology. Each animal character in the book is a symbol for a key character in the Russian revolution.

3.2 Symbols in A Day from Evdale Zeynike's Days


3.2.1 The Mountain

“Kurds have no friends but mountains” a Kurdish proverb
     Kurds and mountains have said to have been always interrelated. Having mentioned the famous proverb regarding this, makes the above statement obvious. Mountains have always sheltered Kurds in hard times of their history.
     The novel clearly implies the relationship between Kurds and mountains through the relationship of Evdal with Sipane Xelate Mountain. Evdal spends his whole Day on Sipane Xelate, believing that the only thing that can heal his sufferings and shelter him from the tyranny of Egid Beg is mountain. So it can be said that mountains have great significance in the novel. It is the first day of Newroz when Evdal goes up on the Mountain, having heard the news of arresting Bengin and Meyro by Egid Beg's men ten days ahead of that.
     As (Symbolism Wiki, 2006) notes, mountain can symbolise obstacles. Climbing over a mountain also can symbolise overcoming obstacles and making progress, spiritual or mental improvement or rising. Mountains are places that are known for their quietness, isolation and hardness and difficult places to reach. So it can symbolise loneliness as well.
     So taking into account these above mentioned analysis of mountain as a symbol, the mountain's symbol in Evdale Zeynike's Day does not necessarily have the same resemblance. For Evdal, mountain is not an obstacle, however, he has many other obstacles in his life, but at the same time some obstacles are removed when he is up on the mountain, one of them is his blindness, because when he is no Sipane Xelate Mountain, his eyes cure, which means that Evdal has made some improvements when he was on the Mountain.
"Evdal's eyes opened.. Then, a flash of light hit his eyes. He didn't believe it. He thought that it was the warmth of his soul. But then, the light increased little by little, deepened and strengthened. Darkness of the night was gone, bright and light filled his eyes." (Uzun M. , 1991, p. 152)
    Fraim (Symbolism of Place, 2001) also observes that mountains are the nearest place to the heavens on earth, which implies their symbolic importance in stories. He notes that a character has a better understanding on things. The character can perhaps see the division of ecosystems from his high observation point. Throughout history, again he observes, mountains have symbolized constancy, eternity, firmness and stillness. Mountain tops can represent the state of full consciousness.
     Mountains for Evdal were very valuable and important, especially Sipane Xelate. Although Evdal was thinking that the fate has turned around his face from him and caused his blindness and what happened to Bengin and Meyro, and what happened to Tahir Xan and his Princedom, but did not surrender. He was still singing his songs, he established his school and was teaching his students what he had learned from his ancestors, and telling traditional stories to the people around him. This proves his stillness and constancy.  [3]
     Regarding the significance of mountain to Kurds, Bakir (Kurd and Mountain, 2013) says that mountains for Kurds have been a symbol of freedom, victory and resistance for a long time. He observes that Kurds indicate to mountains as the castle of resistance. Whenever they felt any threat or tyranny from neighbouring nations and states, they would revolt, and the cradle of their revolutions would be the mountains. He goes on by saying that some people consider mountains as a factor of protecting Kurdish nation and language.
    When Evdal heads to the Sipane Xelate Mountain, he has already lost his eyesight, at the same time his adopted daughter 'Meyro' and his student 'Bengin' have fled to Shingal Mountain when Egid Beg wants to arrest them. Evdal thinks that the mountain shelters him and heals his sufferings. There, on Sipane Xelate, his eyes and the Crane's wings cure. Good and bad news come at the same time.  "Evdal didn't come to Sipane Xelate for Prayer or supplication. He came for speech, the speech that was the remedy of his heart, the sage of his sadness and wounds and friend of his life." (Uzun M. , 1991, p. 26) So he strongly believed that the mountain can heal him from his sufferings.
    Apart from Sipane Xelate Mountain some other mountains are mentioned in the novel, each one has its special significance, whether for Evdal, or Bengin and Meyro or to Kurdish nation as a whole.
"Five of the country's mountains were of a great value to Evdal; Agiri, the land of bravery, Modesty and the brotherhood of Kurds and Ermens. Nemrud, land of civilization. Cudi and Herekol, the place of ancient history and moral lessons. And Sipane Xelate, the tomb of Xece and Siyabend, the nest of lovers and broken-hearts." (Uzun M. , 1991, p. 28)
     As we've mentioned before, when Egid Beg wants to arrest the Bengin and Meyro, they flee to Shingal Mountain, around where Ezidies' areas lay. They hide the couple in a sacred cave of theirs. After moving into another cave, the couple are arrested and poisoned by Egid's men.

3.2.2 Blindness of Evdal

     Blindness is the case where one cannot see. It is a condition that affects one’s eyes. Literature uses the condition to symbolize a lot of things. We may say one is blind to something if he or she fails to notice it, e.g.: He is blind towards the sufferings of his wife. Blindness may symbolize carelessness, negligence, and indifference.
   We also take blindness to metaphorically relate to impartiality. Blindness indicates a state of being unaware of conspiracy or being in the dark where the truth is separated from us usually by someone who plans to conspire against us.
    When we are extremely sad and separate ourselves from the world even that is a state of blindness. Lack of realization of our surroundings is blindness again.
    During Evdal's blindness, many incidents happen that affects Kurds in general and Evdal particularly. During this time, wars occurs among Kurdish princedoms, between Muslims and Non-Muslims, and the Ottomans attack Kurds' areas, and the most importantly to Evdal, the Ottomans invade Tahir's princedom and topple him before sending him to exile. These are implied through the blindness of Evdal. The narrator has devoted a chapter to these incidents and has named it  ' Black and Dark Years'. They are black and dark years for both Evdal, as he is blind and cannot see and for Kurds, as wars occur and their lands are invaded.  All of these are symbolized through blindness of Evdal.
"During those years, the situation in the country worsened directly. In many areas, wars occurred between Kurdish princedoms, or between Muslims and non-Muslims. But it was clear that hands of Ottomans involved in the wars. Because when the fire of wars set ablaze, Ottomans attacked Kurds. At the meantime, kings of Ottomans Kor Rashid and Pala Osman turned Kurdistan upside down and burned it." (Uzun M. , 1991, p. 77)
    Blindness in literature, as a source notes, can symbolize psychological, spiritual, moral, intellectual blindness, in which the character lacks knowledge or enlightenment in some area. The figurative blindness in a story usually means the character who is blind usually has to find some way to "see" an aspect of life he or she has been missing. 
    Evdal does suffer from physical problems, and he has psychological sufferings as he loses precious people near to him. From the day he loses his eyesight until he went up to the mountain, he speaks few and sings little. He decides to leave the city of Tahir Xan where he used to be the major Dangbej, and settles in far village around Sipane Xelate Mountain. When he hears news of invading Tahir Xan's city, he is affected deeply and as the narrator says he doesn't say a word for forty days and night.

3.2.3 The Dawn

     Dawn is a time when Evdal’s Day begins and ends. The starting Dawn of his Day, Evdal wonders the news of the broken-winged Crane, the expected birth of his grandchild and news of Bengin and Meyro. When the first Dawn begins in the novel, Evdal is already on Sipane Xelate Mountain, with thousands of people from around villages and other parts of the country, seeking support and waiting till the next Dawn.
       Dawn is the beginning of the day, and means the outset of something. It can represent renewal, and a second chance. Dawn is the sun coming up again after the night, which in some tradition cultures represent rebirth or surviving. Dawn can symbolize rebirth as well as strength after going through hardships.
      As we've mentioned before, the novel starts and ends at the Dawn. The first Dawn, Evdal has been up on Sipane Xelate mountain for forty days, waiting to some news. At the second Dawn, things happen, bad news and good news come at the same time. The bad news is that Bengin and Meyro, the two most valuable people to Evdal, are poisoned and killed by Egid's men. And the good news is that Zin, Temo's wife gives birth to a son, Evdal then names him after Bengin. The other good news and perhaps the most importantly is the cure of Evdal's eyes and the Crane's wings. The Dawn was a new beginning to Evdal, Gule, Temo, The Crane and all the people around. After all the sad incidents that happen, they're all happy now.
                    "The Crane flew, it flew as it wanted and more. And then, it returned to Evdal and waited for Evdal and landed on his knee.  Evdal was laughing… Gule was laughing. Temo was laughing… people were laughing..  and regarding us, we have nothing to say more…"  (Uzun M. , 1991, p. 154)
    This is how the novel ends. All are happy, laughing, Evdal recovers as well as the Crane, and another Bengin comes to life. Life goes on.

3.2.4 The Night

    In Evdale Zeynik's Night, the rising actions continue until the climax. Night is a chapter in the novel which includes several sections, in which the narrator tells the story of Bengin and Meyro, their escape to Shingal Mountain and the tyranny of Egid Beg when he is appointed by Ottomans in Tahir Xan's princedom, and the devastation Egid causes to Kurds' lands and the destruction he makes of what Tahir Xan has been building during his rule.
     Night time can be representation of serenity and calmness for some writers but can be a source of evil and unrest for others.
Generally in English Literature, night time is associated with gloominess, sadness and disparity. Some of the writers like Ibsen and Chekhov have also used night time as a time of transition in terms of day and night. Similarly some writers use it as a source of depicting some character's personality. Moreover, writers like Thomas Hardy use night time as a time of devastation in which the characters are usually destroyed by nature. Mostly, in Hardy's novels we see the major characters dyeing in night time.
    In the Shakespearean world, tragedies mostly start in the night time. Macbeth, Othello and Hamlet all start in the night time. In Hamlet, we see super natural element appearing in the night time. Late King Hamlet's ghost appears in the night time and tells the story of his murder in the night time. In this play night is used to create certain tension in front of the audience, so that their attention may be captured right from the very beginning of the play.
    During the night time of the novel, the narrator tells the story of Bengin and Meyro, their life, their love story and their escape to Shingal Mountain, and eventually their murder by Egid Beg's men in one of the Mountain's cave.
    At this chapter, the narrator tells the story of Egid Beg, when by the support of Ottomans, he is appointed as the new prince of Tahir Xan's Princedom. He closes the school that Tahir Xan has established, and let the Ottomans take all of Tahir's books in his library.
"An ignorant and a bad person like him took over Tahir Xan's place and started to rule. By permission and recommendation of Ottomans, he dissolved the policy that Tahir Xan establish based on a just rule, and made the tribes fight each other, deployed Ottoman soldiers everywhere, increased taxes and made brothers enemies.. and he stated to have unlimited hatred against non-Muslims." (Uzun M. , 1991, p. 109)
    So Night in the novel implies the tragic things that happen to the people near Evdal and the princedom of Tahir Xan. It symbolises sadness, death, devastation and destruction.

Section Four


In his novel 'A Day from Evdale Zeynike's Days', Uzun has made a famous Kurdish Dengbej as the protagonist and defined him as the bearer of Kurdish history and literature.
Through the analysis of the novel, we came to know that the author uses several themes that related to the period of time during which Kurds witnessed internal wars and invasions  launched by Ottomans on them and other minorities that lived in the area.
We came to know that Evdal as typical Kurdish person had a good relation with all non-Kurd and non-Muslim minorities at that time. Marrying an Ermen woman and adopting an Ermen girl is good example for proving that.
 Our research came to the conclusion that there are several symbols used in the novel which have important indications and interpretations such as mountain, the dawn and night.
    We came to know that some symbols remain universal in literature regardless of the cultural differences. Their interpretation has proved their universality as we've compared and implemented them in our research with the support of examples and quotations from the novel.


a.     Books
Beebe, M. (1960). Literary Symbolism: An introduction to the interpretation of literature. San Francisco: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Quninn, E. (2006). A Dictionary of Literary and Thematic Terms. New York: Infobase Publishing.
Uzun, M. (1991). A Day from Evdale Zeynike's Days. Istanbul: Avesta.
Uzun, M. (2010). A Day from Evdale Zeynike's Days. (M. N. Al-Huseiny, Trans.) Damuscus: Dar Al Zaman.

b.    Electronic Documents
Ahmadzadeh, H., & Allison, C. (2007, November 16). Mehmed Uzun, Defender of Kurdish in Turkey. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/mehmed-uzun-400551.html
Bakir, M. (2013, February 08). Kurd and Mountain. Retrieved April 25, 2013, from Govari Koch: http://govarikoch.com/%28A%28yId8PeM9zgEkAAAAYjM3MTMwMjAtNzcwNi00Y2U0LTg0OTgtMWZhMTU3ZTU0OGJml6IYAhtwcbTClJld4klQko1Lfis1%29%29/Detail.aspx?id=248&LinkID=3&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
Berglindh, U. (2001). Mehmed Uzun - An Introduction. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from Mehmeduzun.org: http://mehmeduzun.org/article/mehmed-uzun-introduction
Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (3rd ed.). (2008). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Evdalê Zeynikê. (2012, April 30). Retrieved April 29, 2013, from Wikipedia.org: http://ku.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evdal%C3%AA_Zeynik%C3%AA
Fraim, J. (2001). Symbolism of Place. Retrieved 04 08, 2013, from Symbolism.org: http://www.symbolism.org/writing/books/sp/2/page6.html
Mehmed Uzun, 54; novelist was prosecuted for fighting Turkey's ban on use of Kurdish language. (2007, October 13). Retrieved April 23, 2013, from Los Angeles Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2007/oct/13/local/me-uzun13
Mork, R. (2010). What is symbolism in literature. Retrieved March 16, 2013, from Life123.com: http://www.life123.com/parenting/education/children-reading/what-is-symbolism-in-literature.shtml
Nair, T. (2010, May 11). Symbolism in Literature. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/symbolism-in-literature.html
Parsons, J. (2009, Novermber 15). Symbolism in Writing a Novel Enhances Theme. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from suite101: http://suite101.com/article/symbolism-in-literature-enhances-theme-a169860
Prominent Refugees, 1953 Mehmed Uzun. (2001, http://www.unhcr.org/3b72551654.html). Retrieved April 25, 2013, from UNHCR.org: http://www.unhcr.org/3b72551654.html
Rahn, J. (2010). Reference Guide to Symbolism in Literature. Retrieved March 16, 2013, from brighthubeducation.com: . http://www.brighthubeducation.com/homework-help-literature/126289-understanding-symbolism-in-literature-a-guide/
Symbolism Wiki. (2006). Retrieved 04 08, 2013, from Wikia.com: http://symbolism.wikia.com/wiki/Mountain
Symbolism. (n.d.). (Random House, Inc) Retrieved March 16, 2013, from Dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/symbolism
Symbolism. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2013, from Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolism
What Does Night Time Symbolize. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2013, from Blurtit.com: http://www.blurtit.com/q201770.html
What is the symbolic meaning of dawn? (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2013, from Answers.com: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_symbolic_meaning_of_dawn

[1]  Kurds call the part of Kurdistan that was joined to the state of Turkey as Northern Kurdistan, in Kurdish means 'Kurdistana Bakur', or sometimes north of Kurdistan ' Bakura Kurdistane'. 
[2] Dengbej is a Kurdish term that used for the people who sing folk songs. 
[3] The same quotation is mentioned in Section III, Themes, Role of Minstrels (Dengbej) in Kurdish community

THIS Research was presented by Shvan B. Rasool and Issam Abdul-Aziz Saqeed to English Department, Faculty of Humanity, University of Zakho as a part of gaining BA certificate .. 



  1. Are you gratuated? that's good topic that you have chosen. It's also nice to see that someone from 'başur' choose a topic from 'bakur'. hope to see the reverse. congratulations..
    Shivan, ez te ji dil û can pîroz dikim. Babeta ku te hilbijartîye jî gelek balkeş e. HevÎ dikim ev tişt di nav kurda de zêde bibin.

    1. Yes Kake Kasyan .. I've chosen this topic because I found it very interesting .. Mehmed Uzun one of greatest Kurdish novelist. I don't care whether it's from Bashur or Bakur .. they're All Kurds.