Turkish Tales Mem û and Zîn Love Story

Turkish Tales Mem û and Zîn Love Story

It took place during the reign of Mir Zeynuddin, son of Mir Abdullah, one of the rulers of Jizre (854 Hijri, 1451/1451 Gregorian). It was written by the Kurdish poet and scholar Ehmedê Xanî and completed in 1695. There is no documentation as to when this work was written. It is said that he started writing in 1690. There is also no precise information about the date of Xanî’s birth and death. Nevertheless, it is strongly believed that Xanî was born in (1651/52) in the village of Xân in the Hakkârî region and took his name from there. Ehmedê Xanî is one of the leading figures who revitalized Kurdish literature. And he has gifted many works to the Kurdish people. One of these works (his masterpiece) is Mem û Zîn.

Ahmedê Xanî came to Cizre approximately 240 years after this event and wrote his work. Tens of review books and hundreds of articles have been published, conferences have been organized and discussions have been held about this immortal work. It is the epic of endless lovers of endless beauty. But lovers and seekers are different, some want to benefit, others want to be sacrificed. some want the beloved for the beloved, others give their lives for the beloved. some want to be reunited, like tajdin. some choose trouble, like mem u zin.

When he looked at the waters, bloody tears would flow from both his eyes, the garden’s field froze for the nightingale’s love, he would water the roses with rose water. his height, which was really like a glass tree, and his cheek, which was as bright as the sun, would rub the ground so much that it would squeeze the soil and the beds. The earth would sigh for him, the stones would groan, the trees would wail for him, the leaves would weep. when he suffered from the hand of troubles, he would darken the face of the mirror of calamity. with his own color he faded the color of the roses, with his own voice he made the nightingale sad. the nightingale could not be his vocal partner, the red rose could not be his color partner.

On the day the people left the city, the love of Zîn’s dream struck his head. Mem, drunk and sick with love, looked at the hyacinths; “O rose, you are also gentle, but where are you, where is the color of Zîn’s face?

Mem Û and Zîn Story

Mir Zeynuddin, the Bey of Cizre, had two sisters named Zîn and Sitî.Zîn, white-skinned, was the bey’s sweetheart. He loved her very much. Sitî was dark and tall. Tajdin was the son of the Vizier of Divan of the Bey. Mem, the main protagonist of the story, was Tacdin’s spiritual brother and friend. During the month of March (March 21, Newroz), the herald of spring in the Botan region, all the people of Cizre, children and children, would go out to the countryside and decorate themselves.

On one such day, Mem and Tajdin, under the influence of the local tradition of köse, dressed up as girls and changed their clothes to attend the festival. When they arrived at the festival grounds, they saw two people dressed as men (they were Sitî and Zîn). As soon as they saw them, they both fell down and fainted. Sitî and Zîn took a good look at the two men in women’s clothes, put their rings on their fingers without them noticing and left. When Mem and Tajdin came to, they found themselves exhausted and dazed. Meanwhile, Tajdin notices the jewel on Mem’s finger with the inscription Zîn, and when Tajdin reaches out his hand towards Mem’s finger, Mem sees the priceless ring on his finger with the inscription Sîti. They both realized what Sîti and Zîn had done.

Sitî and Zîn tell their nanny, Heyzebun. Their nanny disguises herself as a physician and goes to the sick Mem and Tajdin, tells them that Sitî and Zîn are burnt like them and asks for the rings back. Tajdin gives the ring back. But Mem says ‘I live with this’ and does not give the ring back.

Mem and Tajdin get up and tell their friends about the situation. Thereupon, the prominent people of Cizre became intermediaries for Tajdin and asked the Bey of Cizre for Sitî for Tajdin.

Bey gives Sitî to Tajdin. Thus, their wedding is held for seven days and seven nights.

Beko, who is not originally from Botan but from a village in Iran (Merguverli), is the Bey’s doorman. Tacdin does not like Beko at all. How many times he tells Bey that this man is not worthy of being a janitor, but Bey always says, ‘Our mill turns with him. Dogs are also doormen’. In order to prevent Bey from giving Zîn to Mem, Beko fabricates the lie that ‘Sir, Tajdin gave Zîn to Mem on his side’. Upon this, Bey gets angry and says, “I swear that I will not give Zîn to Mem as a wife. I will not give a daughter to a Kurd!”

On a day when Bey is out hunting, Mem enters the garden to see Zîn. Seeing Mem, Zîn suddenly collapses to the ground. Meanwhile, Mem does not see him and says the following while looking at the roses and basil:

“O gul! Eger tu nazenînî, / ‘O rose! Though you are also gentle,
Kengê tu ji rengê ruyê Zîn’î / Where are you, where is the color of Zin’s face?
O sınbıl! Eger heyî tu xweş bû, / O sponge! Though you have a beautiful fragrance,
Reyhan ji te bûyîne sîyehrû, / Reyhan has become black-faced for you.
Hun ne ji mîsalê zilfe yarin / But you are not like my love’s asulf.
Hun her du fızûl û he zekarın / You are both shameless and mischievous.
O my dear one! Eger tu ehlê halî / O nightingale! Though you are also a man of love,
Perwanyê şem’ê werdê alî, / You are the propeller of the red rose candle.
Zîn’a me ji sorgula te geştir / My Zîn is sweeter than your red rose.
Bext’ê me ji talıê te reştir’ / My fortune is blacker than yours.”

After Mem says this, he sees Zîn and she faints. When Bey returns from hunting, he sees Mem wrapped in an abaya in the garden. Mem says, “Mr. Bey, you know I am sick, I was bored and wanted to go for a walk and then I found myself here.” Tajdin, who was with the Bey, saw Zîn’s hair under the abaya. Understanding the situation, Tajdin convinced the Bey and took him to the divan. He then goes to the house and takes Sitî and her child out of the house and sets the house on fire. Thus, Tajdin sacrifices his house for the salvation of Mem and Zîn. He demonstrates an unprecedented example of friendship.

Mem is persuaded by Beko to play chess with the bey and initially wins the first three games. When Beko sees that Mem is playing well, he turns Mem’s attention towards Zîn. Seeing Zîn and daydreaming, Mem loses to Bey. When the Bey learns that his lover is Zîn, he throws Mem into the dungeon.Mem, who stays in the dungeon for nearly a year, cannot bear Zîn’s longing and dies. During the funeral of Mem, Tajdin sees Beko and kills him.See what Zîn thinks about Beko when she sees him dead:

“O shah û wezirê izz-û temkin! / ‘O izz and cautious shah and vizier!Ez hêvî dikim ne kin înadê / I beg you not to be stubborn,Der heqqê vi menbeê fesadê / About this source of mischief.Lewra ku xwedanê ins û canan / Because of God of mankind and jinn,Wi xaliqe erd û asimanan, / Creator of the heavens and the earth,Roja ewî hubbe da hebîban / On the day when he gives love, lovers,Hıngê ewî buxzê da raqiban / Then he gave the bugzu to the opponents. …/… Em sorgulin, ew jibo me xare / We are the red rose, he is the thorn for us
Em gencîn û ew jibo me mare / We are treasure and he is a snake for us.
Gul hıfz-ı di bin bi nûkê xaran / Roses are protected by the beak of thorns,
Gencîne xwedan di bin bi maran / Treasures also feed on snakes. …/… Ger ew ne bûya di nêv me hail / If he were not the obstacle between us,
‘Isqa me di bû betal û zail’ / Our love would also be corrupted and exhausted.”

“Just as a thorn protects a rose and a snake protects a treasure, Beko will be our guardian (dog).” Zîn says, weeping continuously at Mem’s grave:

“O Owner of the property of my body and my soul,
I am the garden and you are the gardener
Your garden is unattended
What good are they if you can’t be
What are the eyebrows, the eyes, the locks?
Let me pull my locks
Then, my love, maybe you’ll see me differently.
Best to keep it all in place
Let me hand over my trust to Hakk.”

Zîn dies on Mem’s gravestone, clinging to it. Bey has Mem’s grave opened to bury Zîn and while Zîn is hanging, he calls out and says:
“Memo! Take your love!”

Xanî wrote this love story inspired by the ‘Memê Alan Epic’, which is quite widespread among the Kurdish people and has been passed down through oral tradition for centuries. This epic, which has taken on a mythological character, has been told in verse and sometimes in prose (in narrative form) by ‘dengbêj’, especially on long winter nights. The people would listen to these long-lasting dengbêjs for hours in a mesmerized and ecstatic manner, and on the following nights they would await the end of the story with great impatience and curiosity. Depending on the interest of the people, the narrator would determine the length or brevity of the story.

Xanî wrote ‘Mem û Zîn’ in the late seventeenth century. All the works written at that time were under the influence of Arabic and Persian and contain words from these languages. (This is Divan Literature’swas also a characteristic). This is why it is possible to see this influence in Mem û Zîn. Nevertheless, this work is a testament to the Kurdish language and its rich culture. Xanî’s statement ‘Kurmancım, kûh-î kenarî’ (I am Kurdish, I am from the mountain, I am from the edge) is, I think, the answer to many questions. This work was first translated into Azeri Turkish by Ahmad Faîk (1143 Hijri-1730 Gregorian).Sırrı Dadaş wise translated it into prose in 1969 and simplified its couplets. The first page of this translation, which consists of 42 leaves and 83 pages, is missing. Faîk translated 35 years after Ehmedê Xanî. Faîk mentions himself in two different places and also uses pseudonyms in the last couplets of the ghazals.

Secondly, Abdulaziz Halis Çıkıntaş translated it into Turkish in 1906. But the book was never published. It was translated into many languages, especially Arabic, French, German and Russian. In 1968, it was translated into Turkish by M. Emin Bozarslan. Like Leyla and Majnun, Romeo and Juliet, Mem û ve Zîn has taken its place among the immortal literary works of the world. And like these works, Mem û ve Zîn is also about the rise from human love to divine love. Around this love, Xanî strongly depicts the social, cultural, religious and administrative situation of the time, and it is possible to see the customs of the region (Botan region), the festivals (the Newroz holiday is very important here…), hunting parties, countryside festivities, in short, all the lifestyles of the people. In addition to the element of love, he frequently mentions mountains (Cudi, Tura ‘Tur mountain’), water (especially the Tigris river), trees, animals, birds (the nightingale is of great importance), plants (the rose in connection with the nightingale), colors and scents, and brings them to life in the minds of the readers.

Mem û and Zîn

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