Dialogue between Imadaddin Nasimi and Jan Hus in Baku

Dialogue between Imadaddin Nasimi and Jan Hus in Baku

The Nasimi Festival of Poetry, Arts, and Spirituality, organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, is underway in Moscow. Its goal is to tell about the work of one of the brilliant poets and thinkers of the East, Imadaddin Nasimi (1369-1417) and to expand cultural and literary ties between Russia and Azerbaijan.

The festival has been started in Baku. The fragments of the immersive performance Immolatio ("Sacrifice") directed by People's Artist of Azerbaijan Vagif Asadov were presented at the Magsud Ibrahimbayov Creative Center in Azerbaijani and Russian langauges. The play is written in Russian and translated into the Azerbaijani and English languages. The author of the play, poet and playwright, member of the Union of Azerbaijani Writers and the European Writers' Council Leyla Begim told Vestnik Kavkaza that Immolatio is dedicated to two great thinkers - enlighteners, who were born in the same year, but lived in different parts of the world - the East and the West, Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic. Imadaddin Nasimi (1369-1417) and Jan Hus (1369-1415) had identical views, ideas and attitudes towards the preservation and development of their native language.

"I live in the Czech Republic. There is the monument to Jan Hus in the Czech town of Boguszowice, which is surprisingly similar to our monument to Nasimi in Baku, and that's how I came up with this idea. Such a resemblance made me think about the similarity of their fates. They were not only born on the same year, they have a lot of similar ideas. Even their attitude to their native language. Nasimi was the first poet who started writing in Azerbaijani, and Jan Hus was the first to read the sermons in Czech, who translated the Bible into Czech language," Leyla Begim said.

According to her, "In a context of the stand off between East and West, dramaturgy allowed representatives of two different civilizations, two peoples, Jan Hus and Nasimi, to share the stage, to show that we should not compare them, but find the common. The play has a modern setting. Students of Prague's Charles University take us back to the 15th century during their discussions of this topic."

According to the play's author, Baku provided a wonderful site, a museum of creativity of our national writer and playwright Magsud Ibrahimbayov: "Magsud Ibrahimbayov's widow, the museum's director Anna Ibrahimbayova offered to use the entire building for it. Then the idea was born to create an immersive performance when the audience moves from one room to the next together with actors. We selected only some fragments of the play - the prologue and epilogue, scenes with angels, as well as several scenes from the 15th century to demonstrate the dialogue between Jan Hus and Nasimi. The performance was a great success, as both people of art and diplomats were among the audience; the play aroused great interest at the EU embassy. They suggested including this production in the upcoming International Festival of Tolerance, since this topic is very suitable for that festival."

Leyla Begim said that she was very happy when she learned that the festival will continue in Moscow: "Nasimi is a significant figure not only for the Azerbaijani people, but for the whole world. That is why his views are so surprisingly similar to the representative of the great European people, the Czech the people of Jan Hus. These are persons of a world-scale, who need to be remembered."