The first conductor in Azerbaijan, the native of Shusha – Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev – Qarabag
The first conductor in Azerbaijan, the native of Shusha – Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev

On December 11, 1933, the playwright, publicist, diplomat, a native of Shusha Abdurrahim bey Haqverdiyev passed away. Qarabag.com has prepared material on public, political, and cultural activities of the classic of Azerbaijani literature.

Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev (Abdurrahim Akhverdov, Abdurrahim-bey Akhverdiyev) was born on May 17, 1870 in a noble family in the village of Agbulag near the city of Shusha.
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 11]

Having lost his father early, Abdurrahim for several years was in the care of his uncle and then of his stepfather, who taught him Russian literacy.
[Selected works.  A.Akhverdov. 1938, p. 7]
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 12]

In 1880, Abdurrahim entered a sixth-grade school in the city of Shusha, and in 1881 he moved to the Shusha Realni School. In 1884, at the age of 14, he wrote his first comedy “Haji Dashdamir”.
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 14]

In 1890, A.Hagverdiyev moved to Tiflis, where he graduated from a Realschule.
[“Marallarım”. A.Akhverdov. 1960, p. 102]

In 1891, he entered the Leningrad Institute of Railway Engineers (now Emperor Alexander I St.Petersburg State Transport University), and soon attended lectures in Oriental Studies as a visiting student. It is also known that he attended lectures at St. Petersburg University (now St. Petersburg State University).
[“Marallarım”.  A.Akhverdov 1960, p. 102]
[Streets of Baku are named after them. 1962, p. 51]
[Selected works. A.Akhverdov 1938, p. 9]

As a student, A.Hagverdiyev wrote “Yeyarsan gaz atini, gorarsan lazzatini” (1892) and tragedy “Daghilan Tifag” (“The Breaking of Unity”, 1894). In his last play, he raised the question of the emancipation of a woman for the first time in Azerbaijani fiction.
[Streets of Baku are named after them. 1962, p. 51]
[Selected works.  by A.Akhverdov 1938, p. 33]

During his years of study in St. Petersburg, Hagverdiyev retained the connection with his native land and spent his summer holidays in Shusha. In 1897, he, together with the Azerbaijani singer-khananda Jabbar Garyagdioglu, staged the scene “Majnun over Leyli’s grave” in Shusha.  The future Azerbaijani composer, 12-year-old Uzeyir Hajibeyov, also sang in the boys choir accompanying this scene.
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. Pp. 18-19]
[D.Ahmed. The chosen ones. 2020, p. 177]

Hagverdiyev was one of the main founders and active members of the “Islamic Charity Society” established in St. Petersburg, which helped orphaned children, poor and starving families of Karabakh.
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 22]

In 1899, after graduating from the university, Abdurrahim bey returned to Azerbaijan and lived in Shusha and Baku.
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 22]

In the summer of 1901, Hagverdiyev organized the first “Oriental concert” of Azerbaijani khanandas and ashigs in Shusha.  In 1902-1903 concerts under his direction were held in Baku.
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 24]

In 1904, he was elected a member of the Shusha Town Council (self-government).  In 1905 г, Hagverdiyev was elected a member of the First State Duma from the Elizavetpol Province and left for St. Petersburg. After the dissolution of the Duma by the tsarist government, Hagverdiyev returned to Azerbaijan at the end of 1906 as an inspector of “Nadezhda”, the insurance and transport company.  In 1908-1911, he worked in the same position in the shipping company of the Azerbaijani philanthropist Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev.
[“Marallarım”. A.Akhverdov 1960, p. 104]
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P.29]

Hagverdiyev published his humorous stories, feuilletons and essays in the satirical periodical “Molla Nasreddin”, which had been published since 1906.  Among them were cycles of works “Marallarım” (“My deer”) and “Letters from hell”.
[Selected works. A.Akhverdov 1938, pp. 9-10]
[“Marallarım”.  A.Akhverdov 1964, p. 104]
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P.29]

Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev conducted Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s first Azerbaijani opera “Leyli and Majnun”, which was staged in Baku in 1908.
[“Marallarım”.  A.Akhverdov 1964, p. 103]
[V.Vinogradov. Uzeyir Hajibeyov. 1947, p. 16]

Abdurrahim bey is one of the first researchers of the life and literary heritage of the Azerbaijani poet and public figure Mirza Fatali Akhundov. In 1911, in honor of his centenary, Hakverdiyev wrote the play “Xəyalat” (“The Ghost”).  He was one of the organizers of Akhundov’s anniversary events.
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 36]

In 1916-1917, A.Hagverdiyev worked as an editor in the Tiflis magazine “News of the Caucasian branch of the Union of Cities”.  After the February revolution of 1917, he was elected a member of the Tiflis Executive Committee and its central council as well as a county commissioner of the Borchali County (now Kvemo Kartli, Georgia).  In 1918-1919 he represented the interests of the Azerbaijani population in the Parliament of Georgia.
[“Marallarım”. A.Akhverdov 1964, p. 104]
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. Pp. 41-43]

After Azerbaijan gained independence in 1918, Abdurrahim bey held a number of positions:  the first diplomatic representative of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) in the Mountainous Republic (now Dagestan, Russia).  He also worked as the ADR Ambassador to Armenia in 1919-1920.
[Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (1918-1920) Foreign Policy (Documents and Materials) 1998, p. 129;346]
[“Marallarım”.  A.Akhverdov 1960, p. 103]
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. Pp. 36;43;55-56]

In 1920, after the establishment of Soviet power in Azerbaijan, Hagverdiyev was appointed commissar of the State Theater, then the head of the Arts Department of the State Committee for Cinematography. From November 1921 to the 1930s, Abdurrahim bey taught the history of Azerbaijani literature and the Azerbaijani language at the Azerbaijan State University (now Baku State University).  In 1922-1925 he held the position of secretary of the Oriental Faculty of the University.  At this time, he wrote works: “Love of the Padishah”, “In the shade of a tree”, “The Old Generation”, “The Gates of Justice”, “Vaveila”, “The Golden Calf”, “A Red Woman”.
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 51-53]
[Selected works. A.Akhverdov 1938, p. 103]

In 1923-1925, Hagverdiyev headed the first scientific research institution of Azerbaijan – “Azerbaijan Scientific Research Society”.
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 54]

In 1924, he was elected a corresponding member of the Local History Bureau of the USSR Academy of Sciences.  In the same year, he was a delegate to the first Local History Congress of Azerbaijan convened in Baku.
[Streets of Baku are named after them. 1962, p. 52]
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 54;60]

In 1928, Hagverdiyev was awarded the title of Honored Artist for many years of literary work and for a number of merits in the field of cultural construction.
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 60]
[Selected works. A.Akhverdov 1938, p. 10]

Abdurrahim bey translated into Azerbaijani the plays of the English poet W.Shakespeare “Hamlet”, “King Lear” and the stories of the Russian writers A.P. Chekhov, M. Gorky.  Many of Hagverdiyev’s works have been translated into Russian, Georgian, Uzbek, Tatar and other languages.
[Streets of Baku are named after them. 1962, p. 52]
[Selected works. A.Akhverdov 1938, p. 34]
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 50]

Abdurrahim bey Hakverdiyev died in Baku on December 11, 1933 from heart disease. He was buried in Baku, on the Alley of Honor.
[M.Mammadov. Life and creativity of Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev. 2008. P. 61]

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