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The last Kirghiz patriarch

The story of the Manap Kendeur, the last of the Patriarchs.

This sage, whom nowadays the people revere as a saint, was elected chief of all the Kirghiz, and before the great insurrection that of 1916, about which I have written already, was visited by a delegation anxious to hear his opinion in the matter.

"Bring me a bucketful of sand!" he said. When the bucket was in front of him he took a handful up, and then, letting it fall immediately, said: "Now find the grains that were in my hand." The plain significance of which was: "The Russians completely submerge us, and we can do nothing against them or without them."

Then, before the revolt broke out, gathering his people, a total of many families—for under his protection were all his poor and weaker relations—the Manap made his way into China. Sarabaguich, for instance, the richest of all the Manaps, numbered seven hundred yurts in his tribe.

Later, Kendeur returned again to Aksu, his region, but no attempt was made to visit his defection upon him. When he died in 1927, untold multitudes flocked to the funeral, among them five thousand Russians come to render a last homage.

"Turkestan Solo" by Dervla Murphy


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