Ali Shir Navai (9 February 1441 – 3 January 1501), also known as Nizām-al-Din ʿAlī-Shīr Herawī (Chagatai-Turkic/Persian: نظام الدین على شير هروی) was a Central Asian Turkic poet, writer, politician, linguist, mystic, and painter. He was the greatest representative of Chagatai language literature.
Nava'i believed that the Turkic language was superior to Persian for literary purposes, and defended this belief in his work. He emphasized his belief in the richness, precision, and malleability of Turkic vocabulary as opposed to Persian. Because of his distinguished Chagatai language poetry, Nava'i is considered by many throughout the Turkic-speaking world to be the founder of early Turkic literature. Many places and institutions in Central Asia are named after him
Ali-Shir Nava'i was born in 1441 in Herat, which is now in northwestern Afghanistan. During Ali-Shir’s lifetime, Herat was ruled by the Timurid Empire and became one of the leading cultural and intellectual centers in the Muslim world. Ali-Shir belonged to the Chagatai amir (or Mīr in Persian) class of the Timurid elite. Ali-Shir’s father, Ghiyāth ud-Din Kichkina (The Little), served as a high-ranking officer in the palace of Shāhrukh Mirzā, a ruler of Khorasan. His mother served as a prince’s governess in the palace. Ghiyāth ud-Din Kichkina served as governor of Sabzawar at one time. He died while Ali-Shir was young, and another ruler of Khorasan, Babur Ibn-Baysunkur, adopted guardianship of the young man.Ali-Shir was a schoolmate of Husayn Bayqarah who would later become the sultan of Khorasan. Ali-Shir’s family was forced to flee Herat in 1447 after the death of Shāhrukh created an unstable political situation. His family returned to Khorasan after order was restored in the 1450s. In 1456, Ali-Shir and Bayqarah went to Mashhad with Ibn-Baysunkur. The following year Ibn-Baysunkur died and Ali-Shir and Bayqarah parted ways. While Bayqarah tried to establish political power, Ali-Shir pursued his studies in Mashhad, Herat, and Samarkand. After the death of Abu Sa'id Mirza in 1469, Husayn Bayqarah seized power in Herat. Consequently, Ali-Shir left Samarkand to join his service. Bayqarah ruled Khorasan almost uninterruptedly for forty years. Ali-Shir remained in the service of Bayqarah until his death on 3 January 1501. He was buried in Herat.Ali-Shir Nava'i led an ascetic lifestyle, “never marrying or having concubines or children
Ali-Shir served as a public administrator and adviser to his sultan, Husayn Bayqarah. He was also a builder who is reported to have founded, restored, or endowed some 370 mosques, madrasas, libraries, hospitals, caravanserais, and other educational, pious, and charitable institutions in Khorasan. In Herat, he was responsible for 40 caravanserais, 17 mosques, 10 mansions, 9 bathhouses, 9 bridges, and 20 pools. Among Ali-Shir’s most famous constructions were the mausoleum of the 13th-century mystical poet, Farid al-Din Attar, in Nishapur (northeastern Iran) and the Khalasiya madrasa in Herat. He was one of the instrumental contributors to the architecture of Herat, which became, in René Grousset’s words, "the Florence of what has justly been called the Timurid Renaissance”. Moreover, he was a promoter and patron of scholarship and arts and letters, a musician, a composer, a calligrapher, a painter and sculptor, and such a celebrated writer that Bernard Lewis, a renowned historian of the Islamic world, called him “the Chaucer of the Turks”
Nava'i had a great influence in areas as distant as India to the east and the Ottoman Empire to the west. His influence can be found in Central Asia, modern day Turkey, Kazan of Russia, and all other areas where Turkic speakers inhabit. Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire in India and the author of Baburnama, was heavily influenced by Nava'i and wrote about his respect for the writer in his memoirs.The Ottomans were highly conscious of their Central Asian heritage; Süleymân the Magnificent was impressed by Nava'i and had Divan-i Neva'i, Khamsa, and Muhakamatadded to his personal library. The renowned Azari poet Fuzûlî, who wrote under the auspices of both the Safavid and Ottoman empires, was heavily influenced by the style of Nava'i.Nava'i is considered the national poet of Uzbekistan in Uzbek culture
While I was teaching English in Taiwan one of my students came up to me and told me I was too dark. Literally translated she told me that I was too black. I was crushed - not because she did not approve of my skin - but because she had been conditioned to think that whiter is better.
And that, my friends, is not true.
All over Asia there are billboards for face whitening creams and double eyelid surgery. Where are my dark female leads in entertainment? Where are my south east Asian politicians in historically white places? You best believe we’re here and coming up fast so better not be surprised when your boss/president/idol looks a little like us!
Happy Asian Face Appreciation Day - and never apologize for who you are. <3