Gamzat Tsadasa

Tsadasa, Gamzat


Born Aug. 9 (21), 1877, in the aul (village) of Tsada, in what is now Khunzakh Raion, Dagestan ASSR; died June 11, 1951, in Makhachkala. Soviet Avar poet. People’s Poet of Dagestan (1934). Father of R. Gamzatov.

Tsadasa studied at a madrasa and became a Muslim priest and judge in his native aul; he subsequently gave up these positions and became a peasant farmer. He began writing poetry in 1891.

Tsadasa satirized the vices of the clergy, petty tradesmen, and moneygrubbers in such works as “Dibir and the Hamster” and “Poem About the Eating House.” He was an ardent propagandist of the ideas of the October Revolution. His first collection of poems, The Broom of the Adats (1934), marked an entire stage in the development of Soviet Avar poetry. At the end of the 1930’s he wrote an autobiographical narrative poem entitled My Life. His songs of the period of the Great Patriotic War (the collection For the Motherland) were popular. His long poem The Tale of the Shepherd (1949–50), a realistic narrative about the new life of the mountain dwellers, was included in the collection Selected Works (State Prize of the USSR, 1951).

Tsadasa also produced dramas, comedies, and the first Avar fables, poems, and tales for children. His works were closely linked to Avar folklore, and many of his poems have become folk songs. He translated works by A. S. Pushkin and I. A. Krylov into Avar.

Tsadasa served as a deputy to the third convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. His name has been given to a scientific research institute of language, history, and literature, to the Avar Theater of Music and Drama, and to a pedagogical institute. He is buried in the center of Makhachkala. In 1965 an annual republic prize for the best work of drama was established in Tsadasa’s name. A museum devoted to Tsadasa was opened in 1967 in the aul of Tsada.


Asaral, vols. 1–4. Makhachkala, 1953–56.
In Russian translation:
Stikhi, basni, skazki. [Foreword by N. Kapieva.] Moscow, 1966.
Izbrannoe. [Edited and compiled, with introductory article and notes, by G. Gamzatov.] Moscow, 1973.


Istoriia dagestanskoi sovetskoi literatury (1917–1965), vols. 1–2. Makhachkala, 1967.
Gamzat Tsadasa, 1877–1951: Vospominaniia sovremennikov. Makhachkala, 1968.
Gamzatov, G. G. Gamzat Tsadasa. Makhachkala, 1973.