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Ordykhan Jalilovich

Doctor of Sciences (equiv. Habilitation) - Philology
(24.08.1932 — 20.10.2007)
Born on August 24, 1932, in Yerevan. to the family of Jasme Jalil, a Kurdish poet and writer. His parents were immigrants from a Turkish Kurdish village emptied of its inhabitants after the Turkish pogroms of 1914, both of them grew up in the orphanages in Armenia. Who knows, maybe that is why all their four children started to study and explore their native culture.

In 1951, Ordykhan Jalilov was admitted to Yerevan University, the Philological Faculty and, in 1956, graduated from there. Then, he was the first Kurdish doctoral student admitted to the Institute of History of Sciences of Armenia, aimed at the study of Kurdhish folklore and literature. In October of 1957, he was sent to the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies to write a PhD Dissertation under supervision of Acad. J.A. Orbeli.

After the death of Stalin the life of Soviet Kurdish people changed much. They started to publish newspapers in Kurdish, the Kurdish Radio was organized, the possibilities for folklore fieldwork increased. From January of 1955 up to October of 1958, Jalilov worked as a broadcaster and author at the Kurdish Radio.

From 1954, he made several folklore expeditions to the Kurdish areas of Armenia and Georgia, first alone, then with his brother Jalil and sister Jamilya.

In spring of 1958, Ordykhan Jalilov as a scholar who collected Kurdish folklore spent some time as a guest of the fighters of the Peshmerga forces of Iraqi Kurdestan led by the legendary M. Barzanji.

In 1970 and 1973, he visited the Kurdish people deported to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenia, and carefully collected the folklore materials of his native people.

Over his entire life he carried on collecting Kurdish folklore, this resulted in the enormous and unique personal archives including 50 km of tape records, 100,000 files with proverbs and popular sayings, a huge number of photos of both the traditional Kurdish life and folk singers.

The edition of the archives will claim many years of work. By now, a number of books have been published such as The Kurdish Folklore Lyrical Songs [Курдские народные лирические песни] (Moscow 1964), The Kurdish Heroic Epic 'The Gold-Handed Khan' [Курдский героический эпос «Златорукий хан»] (Moscow 1967), The Kurdish Proverbs and Popular Sayings [Курдские пословицы и поговорки] (in both Russian and Kurdish, Moscow 1972), The Kurdish Folklore [Курдский фольклор] (in 2 vols; in co-operation with J.Jalil, Moscow 1978), The Kurdish Folk Fairy Tales, Parables and Legends [Курдские народные сказки, притчи и легенды] (Moscow 1989), The Kurdish Historical Songs [Исторические песни курдов] (St Petersburg 2003).

All in all, the scholar published more than 60 monographs and short papers on Kurdish literature and folklore including the text-book on Kurdish literature for Kurdish school.

In 1979, he was elected as a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of Iraq. He is also an honored member of the Kurdish Institute of Paris, a member of the USSR/Russian Union of Writers.

During many years, he worked at the Leningrad/St Petersburg Branch of the Insitute of Oriental Studies and was at Leningrad/St Petersburg University, the Faculty of Oriental Studies (professor from 2000).



Jalilov O.J. The Kurdish Historical Songs [Исторические песни курдов]. St Petersburg, Peterburgskoe Vostokovedenie Publishers 2003. 832 p. ('Orientalia').

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