The renowned poet and writer left a lasting heritage and contributed immensely to the formation of contemporary Tatar language and culture.
Tukay was born in 1886 in a mullah’s family and soon became orphaned. During his studies at a madrasah he showed great talent in languages and learned Russian, Arabic, Turkish, and Persian (in addition to his mother tongue).
Tukay started his literary career at 19 and moved to Kazan at 21. His career spanned for only eight years before the poet’s life was cut short by tuberculosis before his 27th birthday. Despite that he left many works, among them over 400 poems, about 350 short stories, essays and memoirs. Tukay also served as the editor of satirical Tatar-language magazines.
Tukay is revered for his deep understanding of Tatar culture, fervent advocacy of national development based on education and enlightenment. He made a giant contribution to the Tatar children’s literature. He authored several kids’ books, created an anthology of Tatar poetry and prose for middle schools. He was also a prominent literary critic and publicist.
Tukay's memory is perennialized in many different ways. Kazan, for example, has Tukay square (the central city square), Tukay street, and Tukay garden; Republic of Tatarstan has a whole Tukay district where the second biggest city – Naberezhnye Chelny – is situated. Naturally, there are museums, literary prizes and contests that also bear his name. Kazan University’s Division of Tatar Language is also named after Tukay.
This year’s anniversary is celebrated at Kazan University on a large scale. There are several conferences, poetry readers’ contests, photo contests, exhibitions, flash mobs held by different institutes.