NATION IN FLOW OF HISTORY: Our ancestors were fighting for survival, and we must fight to become a great nation - Professor Omirzak Ozganbaev

ASTANA. July 27. KAZINFORM - On behalf of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in our country is being developing the program called "Nation in Flow of History", one of the goals of which is involving the huge potential of historical knowledge for patriotic education of the new generation of Kazakhstan. In an interview with our correspondent the Doctor of historical sciences, chairman of the Central Council of "Organization of Veterans of the Republic of Kazakhstan" NGO Omirzak Ozganbaev tells about the methodological significance of the book written by Nazarbayev "In the stream of history" for working out new approaches to the study of our past.

- Why, in your opinion, has it now become so urgent to develop a special program named "Nation in Flow of History", and that the President personally gives instructions on this issue?

- It is clear that without knowing the past it is difficult to plan for the future. Therefore, the Head of State in his book has paid great attention to this issue. Under the leadership of Secretary of State of Kazakhstan Marat Tajin now there is a lot of work being done to implement the orders of the President Nursultan Nazarbayev. A large national program should be developed and realized, but, first of all, we need to take the appropriate concept.

When we had been for about 70 years a part of the Soviet Union, indeed, in our history there were a lot of "white spots". Now we have become an independent state, we have access to many sources, including the ones abroad. We should carefully study these materials, so that they have entered into scientific circle. This is very important. Now, our scientists, are mainly busy with that sort of activity. Until recently, we have not been able to go deep enough in our history, we were limited by Turkic period only, reaching only the mid-first century AD. And the data that are found today, including details of archaeological research, prove that the history of our nation begins with the era of the Scythians and Saks. It reaches its roots, at least the middle of the first millennium BC. There is a lot of data, greatly expanding the framework for our history. Actually it has already been proved that on the territory of modern Kazakhstan before the Kazakh Khanate there existed 12 states.

When people talk about the history of the Kazakhs, more attention is given to the nomadic culture, nomadism. But in our country there were many large cities, civilization was developed. Experience shows that we should consider nomadism in close connection with the urban civilization. In the south of Kazakhstan we found the remains of plenty of cities. We are carrying out excavations, for example, in place of the trade market in Taraz (Zhambyl region), and the first results are very pleasing for us.

Historical research should be conducted on a large scale, it is the task of historians to study our history in depth to understand the genetic code of our nation. It is very important for the education of young people, young people of our independent state. If our youth has not formed historical consciousness, if it did not know its ancestors, it won't be a good generation. A true patriot must feel the continuity of our culture and traditions.

That's why one needs to generate a new look at our history, and this is all this work is carried out for.

- What are the points in the book of the President you think are most important for development of new methodological approaches to studying national history?

- In his book the Head of State wrote that in our history there was nothing to be ashamed of. The history of the Kazakh people was written by horses' hoofs. That is, young people should know our history. Another important point is that our ancestors fought for survival, and we have to fight to become a great nation. This, I believe, is very important from a methodological point of view. Nursultan Nazarbayev also said that the history of the Kazakh people is a history of unification. This means that we are strong when we are unified, and it's been proven many times in our history. You can refer at least to the examples from the era of the war with Dzhungars. There were time periods when our ancestors were defeated, were forced to leave their native land. According to Shahkarim Kudaiberdiev, in that period every fourth Kazakh out of ten was killed. The rest was forced to move to the southern and western lands. Then it took a strong lead. Kazakh khans and biys met in Ordabasy, and discussed the situation. It was a question of the continued existence of the Kazakh people. And it was decided that the troops of all three zhuzes would be led by Khan Abylkayyr. The first blows were inflicted on dzhungars in the battles of Anyrakai, Alakol, and Bulandy. Thus, our ancestors defended their land, cleared it out of dzhungars. This is the idea of the President - only united, Kazakhs were able to survive as a people and a country. And in the future, Kazakhs should not be divided between tribes and Zhuzes, it should be a united nation, a developed nation, and our state is to be a developed and civilized country.

- What are your proposals for formation of the History curriculum for schools and universities?

- First of all, we are in need of a concept of teaching National History. Then, there should be the standards to be worked out to study the history, training programs, and on their basis there are to appear textbooks and training manuals. The standard should include the principal periods of history that will be studied by pupils and students. Now, there are more than 12 textbooks about History of Kazakhstan. Maybe they are necessary, because there are different levels of education, and different directions. But they have to be based on a uniform standard for a young citizen of Kazakhstan to have a certain minimum level of knowledge on the history of his/her country.

In general, if we talk about the history, I recall the words of an English philosopher Edmund Burke, who said, "History is a union of the past, present and future generations." Each new generation must know the history of its people.

As for the curriculum, I believe that History should be taught in Kazakhstan, except a high school, in all schools, regardless of their form of ownership. One should also review the number of hours devoted to the History of Kazakhstan in the way to have more of them. So we will be able to raise the teaching of National History to a new level.

It is also necessary to analyze all the material accumulated over the years of independence. We have a number of institutions that are engaged in the study of history. They must pool our intellectual resources to engage scientists in this work to update the content of the curriculum and textbooks. It is also actual to upgrade the methodology of teaching History in order to control the level of knowledge of students, and this should also be reflected in the standards.

- Thank you for the interview.

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