In my previous post I wrote about Ilia Chavchavadze. So, I definitely have to mention Akaki Tsereteli.
The first thing I want to tell you about Akaki Tsereteli… is that not to confusing him with Zurab:) Akaki Tsereteli is not just a great friend of Chavchavadze, but also well-known national poet, beloved by all Georgians; playwright and author of the visiting card of the Georgian affair lyrics — song “Suliko”.
So, let us begin.
Akaki Tsereteli was born near Kutaisi in the village of Skhvitori (Imereti region). Tsereteli was a Prince by birth, but by tradition in early childhood he was brought up in a peasant family. He was very proud of this fact at the end of his life. That family lived in the village of Savan. Tsereteli learned a lot of peasant traditions and folk life. «If there is something good and kind in me, then this is mostly due to my growing up in the village together with the sons of peasants» — he said.
So he was born in June 9, 1840. Tsereteli has a lot of common with Ilia Chavchavadze, including the noble origin in conjunction with genuine populism. Kutaisi Gymnasium without realizing contributed to it: Tsereteli graduated from this Gymnasium with class hatred and determination to change the «entire world of violence» using all means available to him.
However, it was not all the common things. In 1859 Tsereteli also entered St. Petersburg University and also did not graduated from it not because of lagging behind, but because of the belief – he didn’t want to accept the oppression of students. Tsereteli left alma mater in 1862, just like Chavchavadze did.
Despite the short time of studying, the university gave a lot to Tsereteli, in particular it contributed to the appearance of his personal philosophical theories. For example, here is one of these theories: there is still a perfect man (even in the imagination of the philosopher), the main feature of whom is the complete absence of some estate properties and characters. «Humane man» and «human» in his pure form, who is unspoiled by ranks and castes.
Returning in Georgia (after St.Petersburg) Tsereteli did not join any of social groups. However, it was his unambiguous hostility to autocracy. Akaki showed hostility to antitsarizm and monarchy in his works. At the same time Tsereteli got the status of a professional writer, who earns money by writing. The idea of «pure humanity» or «humane man” began to penetrate into his works and, consequently, into the masses. Magazine “Tsiskari”, newspaper “Droeba» and «Tiflis Herald” contributed to it. The governors of these newspapers passed in print the works of Akaki.
This or some other fact, perhaps, morally supported Tsereteli and motivated him to fight for the liberation and education of lower class. Gradually the number of newspapers, which published works of Akaki, increased. In the 80s-90s he wrote for the newspapers «Iberia», «Schrom» («Work») and “Imedi” (“Hope”). Akaki also criticized the gap between intellectuals and ordinary people in the magazine «Quali” («Furrow»). He was a tough antimonarchist and hoped for the overthrow of the tsarism by the hands of the Social Democrats and Social-Federalists. He argued for the revival of the theatre, art, and wanted to give the masses access to culture.
Of course, he was happy because of abolition of serfdom in 1864, including in Georgia, but he wasn’t glad that autocracy remained. According to him, it was «good only in form, but not in content».
«Feudal dependency has fallen, but not entirely” — wrote A. Tsereteli. Landlords no longer possessed the souls of serfs as animals, but the peasants had no land. However, he was glad that at least something good happened with the peasants.»The land of the upper classes gradually passed into the hands of workers.»
Of course, Tsereteli was a good friend of Chavchavadze (and here it is necessary to mention that this pair of friends was a sort of a flagship of the thinking and the protester generation of 1860s). Akski took part in the revolution of 1905. For some time he was in prison. In general, sometimes he had been in prison, but it is quite strange that he had been always released from it. Yeah, certainly there is an undeniable charm of the talented creator, especially if he knows how to use it:)
(Monument to friends: Tsereteli and Chavchavadze)
Akaki Tsereteli died a natural death; it on happened Jan. 26, 1915. He was buried at the Pantheon Mtatsminda in Tbilisi. He also had a son Alexei Tsereteli, who is a well-known entrepreneur.
Akaki Tsereteli left a great literary and artistic heritage, which is known by every inhabitant of Georgia: «Song of the workers,» «Lullaby of Imereti», «Dagger,» «Desire,» «Tsitsinatela, Suliko,» Dawn «,» Chonguri «,» Tarnike Eristavi «,» Natela «,» Bagrat Great «,» Teacher «,» Little Kahi «,» Bashi Achuki”. Not only Georgians know Suliko. It is difficult to say who doesn’t know this song…