Where lies the cause of the estrangement amongst the
Kazakh, of their hostility and ill will towards one anoth
er? Why are they insincere in their speech, so lazy, and
possessed by a lust for power?
The wise of this world long ago observed: a sluggard
is, as a rule, cowardly and weak willed: a weak-wiled man
is cowardly and boastful: a braggart is cowardly, stupid
and ignorant: an ignoramus has по inkling of honour, while
a dishonourable person sponges on the sluggard he is
insatiable, unbridled and good-for-nothing: he bears no
good will towards the people around him.
The source of these vices is our people’s ргеоссира
tion with one thing alone: to own as much livestock as poss-
sible and thus gain honour and respect. Had they taken up
arable farming or commerce, had they been interested in
learning and art, this would never have come to pass.
Parents, having increased their own herds, will do
their best to ensure that their children’s herds grow ever
fatter, so that the livestock can be left in the care of herds
men and they can indulge in a life of idleness gorge
themselves on meat and koumiss, enjoy beautiful women,
and feast their eyes on fast horses.
Eventually, their winter pastures and grassland
become too small and, using their influence or position,
they will by hook or by crook buy up, wheedle or seize
pastureland from a neighbour. That person, fleeced as he
is, will in turn put pressure on another neighbour, or else
will have to leave his native region.
Now, can these people possibly wish one another
The more poor there are, the cheaper their labour. The
more numerous the destitute, the more abundant the free
winter pasturage. My neighbour is eager for my ruin, andi
concealed animosity grows into an open and bitter enmity
We bear malice, we litigate, we split into cliques and bribe
influential people for support, so as to gain an advantage
over our opponents, and we scramble for the emoluments
A loser will not toil and sweat -he will seek affluence
in other, devious ways: he will show по interest in either
commerce or tilling the land he will side now with one,
now with another party, selling himself and existing in
misery and disgrace.
There is по end to pillage on the steppe. If there were
unity amongst our people, they would never condone a
thief who, making adroit use of the support of one group or
another, continues his brazen robbery
Honest sons of the steppes are the victims of criminal
charges based on false accusations, and are subjected to
humiliating interrogations. Witnesses are produced ready
to swear to what they have never seen or heard. And al
this in order smear an honest person and bar him from high
office. If the persecuted man, to save himself, turns for aid
to these same rascals, he will sacrifice his honour: if he
refuses to bow to them, he is certain to be unjustly charged:
he will suffer hardships and privations, unable to find a
place and occupation worthy of him.
Having gained power by deceit and trickery, the head
of the volost avoids honest and modest folk like the plague
and seeks allies amongst people of his own kind, crafty and
crooked, whom he is fearful of antagonising.
A new saying has gained currency now: It’s the per
son, not the mater, that counts. In other words, success
depends not on the rightness of the matter in question, but
on the cleverness of the person involved.
The volost chiefs are elected for a three-year term.
They spend their first year in office listening to all kinds of
grievances and complaints: Don’t forget that we elected
future rivals, and the third year to their campaign for re-
What then is left?
Watching my people sink deeper and deeper into dis-
cord, I have come to the conclusion that the volost chiefs
should be elected from among men who have had at least
some Russian education, however little. If there are none,
or only persons whom people do not wish to nominate,
then let the volost chiefs be appointed by the uyezd author
ties and the military governor This would be beneficial in
several ways. First of all, ambitious Kazakhs would have
their children educated: secondly, the volost chiefs would
по longer be dependent on the whims of local magnates,
but take their orders from the higher authorities. To avoid
the inevitable objections and denunciations, an appointee
should not be subjected to any local control and verifica-
We have had occasion to see the futility of electing
biys in each volost Not everyone is capable of dispensing
justice. In order to hold a council »on the top of Mount
Kultobe, as we say, it is essential to know all the laws
passed down from our forefathers: Kasym- khan’s Radiant
Pathway, Esim-khan’s Ancient Pathway? and Az Tauke
khan’s (Seven Canons. But even these laws have become
outdated with the passage of time and require amendment
and infallible interpreters, of whom there are few, if any,
amongst our people.
People who know Kazakh ways well say: When two
biys get together, there is sure to be four disputes. The
lack of a supreme judge and the even number of biys hear-
ing a case only complicates the adjudication of disputes.
Why increase the numbers of bis? Would it not be better
to elect three educated and intelligent men in each volost
for an unlimited term of office, only replacing those whose
behaviour is unseemly?
Let legal disputes be settled by two arbiters, one cho-
sen by each party, and an intermediary acceptable to both.
Only if they failed to ascertain the truth and come to terms
would the dispute be taken to one of the three permanent
judges. Then lawsuits would not drag on so long.