The educationalist who was burned to death: Memtili Tewpiq

Today is May 30th 2020, 83th anniversary of Uyghur modern educationalist, poet, compositor Memtili Tewpiq burning to death. On this regard, I mourn for this great Uyghur scholar with all due respect and grief. He was born in Buyamet village, Atush. His father was well-known Uyghur traditional physician and his family attached high importance to modern scientific education.He lived during the time of wide spread oppression, banned education imposed by local militarist, Sheng Shicai. For not leaving him uneducated, his father sent him to the only modern science school at the time when he was 8 years old. There, he developed great interest towards modern science and advanced view of the world with the help of his thoughtful tutor.
After accomplished the school, in 1920-1921, he went to Ili, Bortala, Chochek with his father. There, he met uneducated ordinary people and experienced their lives and deeply realized that the Uyghur people left uneducated purposely. For this reason, he determined to make more efforts for studying and educating people with modern knowledge. Later on, he wrote many patriotic poems and expose brutality of ruler of that time to awake the nation. With his increasing popularity, Sheng Shicai saw him as a threat and planned to send him to prison as other social figures. His tutor, Mr. Murat, were well aware of his potentials and helped him fleeing abroad for further education. In 1926, Mr. Memtili fled from East Turkestan to Turkey, with the help of others, through Crimea where he spent two years before being able to flee to Turkey and arrived in Istanbul in 1928. Through studying and living In Istanbul, he became a prestigious intellectual by studying hard and meeting with other intellectuals.
He had always been concerned about Uyghur’s fate and future. So he returned to East Turkestan when he heard that Qumul Revolution (1931-1934 ) was broke and spread to all parts of East Turkestan against Chinese invaders. He confirmed the time had come and it was imperative educating Uyghur people with modern science to free from oppression and stand up against brutal regime.
After returning, he opened 24 modern primary schools in 24 villages in Atush and initiated an unprecedented educational initiative.
In 1934, the political situation of East Turkestan changed as Jozef Stalin helped Sheng Shicai against Uyghurs. However, Mahmut Muhiti was controlling Kashgar city and surrounding areas. So that, he was able to carry out educational renaissance initiative successfully within Atush from 1935-1937.
In 1935, he led hundreds of students with school uniforms and lobbying the benefits of scientific education in Payziwat, Toqquzaq, Upal, Tashmiliq, Yeghisar and Kashgar. This initiative was supported by Mahmut Muhiti, the commander of Uyghur army.
Mr. Memtili wrote many patriotic poems and a dastans such as < knowledge makes you great >. But after Mahmut Muhiti fled to India, the political situation of Kashgar became more critical and vicious oppression began.
Sheng Shicai targeted popular social figures, rich people and the people who had advanced political views. As Mr. Memtili determined to educate people with modern science and made great contribution, he was arrested from classroom when he was teaching and taken to jail on May 4th 1937. Matter fact, Jozef Stalin was afraid of educational renaissance in East Turkestan and sent 3 high rank spies to there and arranged them in police stations to eradicate all political leaders and gather information about the situation.
Mr. Memtili was targeted by them. In dungeon, Mr. Memtili wrote two lines of poem on the walls of dungeon with his blood to express his solid determination and agony: < my blood boils with indignation every day, a brick finishes for writing my sorrow and disobey>.
On 30th, May, 1937, Kadir Aji, a traitor worked for Jozef Stalin and Sheng Shicai, set fire in dungeons and burned more than 300 people alive, including Mr. Memtili.

Abdurehim Gheni Uyghur