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NIZAMI (1141–1203)

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Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 722 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NIZAMI (1141–1203). Nizam-uddin Abu Mahommed Ilyas bin Yusuf, Persian poet, was born 535 A.H. (1141 A.D.). His native place, or at any rate the abode of his father, was in the hills of Kum, but as he spent almost all his days in Ganja in Arran (the present Elizavettpol) he is generally known as Nizami of Ganja or Ganjawi. The early death of his parents,which illustrated to him in the most forcible manner the unstableness of all human existence, threw a gloom over his whole life, and fostered in him that earnest piety and fervent love for solitude and meditation which have left numerous traces in his poetical writings, and served him throughout his literary career as a powerful antidote against the enticing favours of princely courts, for which he, unlike most of his contemporaries, never sacrificed a tittle of his self-esteem. The religious atmosphere of Ganja, besides, was most favourable to such a state of mind; the inhabitants, being zealous Sunnites, allowed nobody to dwell among them who did not come up to their standard of orthodoxy, and it is therefore not surprising to find that Nizami abandoned himself at an early age to a stern ascetic life, as full of intolerance to others as dry and unprofitable to himself. He was rescued at last from this monkish idleness by his inborn genius, which, not being able to give free vent to its poetical inspirations under the crushing weight of bigotry, claimed a greater share in the legitimate enjoyments of life and the appreciation of the beauties of nature, as well as a more enlightened faith of tolerance, benevolence, and liberality. The first poetical work in which Nizami embodied his thoughts on God and man, and all the experiences he had gained, was necessarily of a didactic character, and very appropriately styled Makhzanul Asrar, or " Storehouse of Mysteries," as it bears the unmistakable stamp of Sufic speculations. It shows, moreover, a strong resemblance to Nasir Khosrau's ethical poems and Sana'i's Hadikat-ulhakikat, or Garden of Truth." The date of composition, which varies in the different copies from 552 to 582 A.H., must be fixed in 574 or S75 (1178–1179 A.D.). Although the Makhzan is mainly devoted to philosophic meditations, the propensity of Nizami's genius to purely epic poetry, which was soon to assert itself in a more independent form, makes itself felt even here, all the twenty chapters being interspersed with short tales illustrative of the maxims set forth in each. His claim to the title of the foremost Persian romanticist he fully established only a year or two after the Makhzan by the publication of his first epic masterpiece Khosrau and Shirin, composed, according to the oldest copies, in 576 A.H. (1180 A.D.). As in all his following epopees the subject was taken from what pious Moslems call the time of " heathendom "—here, for instance, from the old Sassanian story of Shah Khosrau Parwiz (Chosroes Parvez), his love affairs with the princess Shirin of Armenia, his jealousy against the architect Ferhad, for some time his successful rival, of whom he got rid at last by a very ingenious trick, and his final reconciliation and marriage with Shirin; and it is a noteworthy fact that the once so devout Nizami never chose a strictly Mahommedan legend for his works of fiction. Nothing could prove better the complete revolution in his views, not only on religion, but also on art. He felt, no doubt, that the object of epic poetry was not to teach moral lessons or doctrines of faith, but to depict the good and bad tendencies of the human mind, the struggles and passions of men; and indeed in the whole range of Persian literature only Firdusi and Fakhr-uddin As'ad Jorjani, the author of the older epopee Wis u. Ramin (about the middle of the 11th century), can compete with Nizami in the wonderful delineation of character and the brilliant painting of human affections, especially of the joys and sorrows of a loving and beloved heart. Khosrau and Shirin was inscribed to the reigning atabeg of Azerbaijan, Abu Ja'far Mahommed Pahlavan, and his brother Kizil Arslan, who, soon after his accession to the throne in 582 A.H., showed his gratitude to the poet by summoning him to his court, loading him with honours, and bestowing upon him the revenue of two villages, Hamd and Nijan. Nizami accepted the royal gift, but his resolve to keep aloof from a servile court-life was not shaken by it, and he forthwith returned to his quiet retreat. Meanwhile his genius had not been dormant, and two years after his reception at court, in 584 A.H. (1188 A.D.), he completed his Diwan, or collection of kasidas and ghazals (mostly of an ethical and parenetic character), which are said to have numbered 20,000 distichs, although the few copies which have come to us contain only a very small number of verses. About the same time he commenced, at the desire of the ruler of the neighbouring Shirvan, his second romantic poem, the famous Bedouin love-story of Laila and Majnun, which has so many points in common with Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, and finished it in the short space of four months. A more heroic subject, and the only one in which he made a certain attempt to rival Firdousi, was selected by our poet for his third zpopee, the Iskandarnama, or " Book of Alexander," also called Sharafnama or Igbalnama-i-Iskandari (" The Fortunes of Alexander "), which is split into two divisions. The first or semi-historical part shows us Alexander the Great as the conqueror of the world, while the second, of a more ethical tendency, describes him in the character of a prophet and philosopher, and narrates his second tour through the world and his adventures in the west, south, east and north. There are frequent Sufic allegories, just as in the Makhzan; and quite imbued with pantheistic ideas is, for instance, the final episode of the first part, the mysterious expedition of Alexander to the fountain of life in the land of darkness. As for the date of composition, it is evident, from the conflicting statements in the different MSS., that there must have been an earlier and a later recension, the former belonging to 587-589 A.H., and dedicated to the prince of Mosul, 'Izz-uddin Masud, the latter made for the atabeg Nusrat-uddin Abu Bakr of Azerbaijan after 593 A.H., since we find in it a mention of Nizaml's last romance Haft Paikar, or the " Seven Beauties," which comprises seven tales related by the seven favourite wives of the Sassanian king Bahramgur. In this poem, which was written 593 A.H., at the request of Nur-uddin Arslan of Mosul, the son and successor of the above-mentioned 'Izz-uddin, Nizami returned once more from his excursion into the field of heroic deeds .to his old favourite domain of romantic fiction, and added a fresh leaf to the laurel crown of immortal fame with which the unanimous consent of Eastern and Western critics has adorned his venerable head. The most interesting of the seven tales is the fourth, the story of the Russian princess, in which we recognize at once the prototype of Gozzi's well-known Turandot, which was afterwards adapted by Schiller for the German stage. The five mathnawis, from the Makhzan to the Haft Paikar, form Nizami's so-called " Quintuple " (Khamsa) or " Five Treasures " (Panj Ganj), and have been taken as pattern by all the later epic poets in the Persian, Turkish, Chaghatai and Hindustani languages. Nizami died at Ganja in his sixty-fourth year, 599 A.H. (1203 A.D.). The fullest account of Nizami is given in Dr W. Bacher's Nizami's Leben and Werke (Leipzig, 1871; English translation by S. Robinson, London, 1873; reprinted in the same author's Persian Poetry for English Readers, 1883, pp. 103-244). All the errors of detail in Bacher's work have been corrected by Dr Rieu in his Catalogue of the Persian MSS. in the British Museum (1881), ii. 563 sqq. Principal Editions.—The whole Khamsa (lithographed, Bombay, 1834 and 1838; Teheran, 1845); Makhzan-ul Asada (edited by N. Bland, London, 1844; lithographed, Cawnpore, 1869; English translation in MS. by Hatton Hindley, in the British Museum Add. 6961) ; Khosrau and Shirin (lithographed, Lahore, 1871; German translation by Hammer in Shirin, ein persisches romantisches Gedicht, Leipzig, 1809); Laila and Majnun (lithographed, Lucknow, 1879; English translation by J. Atkinson, London, 1836); Haft Paikar (lithographed, Bombay, 1849; Lucknow, 1873; the fourth tale in German by F. von Erdmann, Behramgur and die russische Furstentochter, Kasan, 1844) ; Iskandarnama, first part, with commentary (Calcutta, 1812 and 1825; text alone, Calcutta, 1853; lithographed with marginal notes, Lucknow, 1.865; Bombay, 1861 and 1875; English translation by H. Wilberforce Clarke, London, 1881; compare also Erdmann, De expeditione Russorum Berdaam versus, Kasan, 1826, and Charmoy, Expedition d'Alexandre contre les Russes, St Petersburg, 1829) ; Iskandarnama-i-Bahri, second part, edited by Dr Sprenger (Calcutta, 1852 and 1869). (H. E.) NIZHNE-TAGILSK, popularly known as TAGIL, a town and ironworks of Russia, in the government of Perm, stands in a longitudinal valley on the eastern slope of the Ural Mountains, within a few miles of the place where the Tagil, cutting through the eastern wall of the valley, escapes to the lowlands to join the Tura, a tributary of the Tobol. The southern part of this valley is occupied by the upper Tagil, and its northern portion by the upper Tura, from which the Tagil is separated by a low watershed. Pop. (1897) 30,000, all Great-Russians andchiefly Nonconformists. The town is connected by railway (the first in Siberia) with Perm and Ekaterinburg, the latter distant 88 m. to the S.S.E. It was founded in 1725 by the Russian mine-owner Demidov, and is still the property of his family. Nizhne-Tagilsk is a central foundry for a number of iron-mines and other works scattered in the valley of the Tagil and its tributary the Saida. Gold, platinum and copper are also mined at Nizhne-Tagilsk. The town carries on a brisk corn trade. The inhabitants make wooden boxes and trays, which are sent to the fairs of Irbit and Nizhniy-Novgorod. NIZHNE-UDINSK, a town of East Siberia, in the government of Irkutsk, 315 M. by rail W.N.W. of Irkutsk, on the Siberian railway, and on the Uda river. It is a centre for the Biryusa gold mines, and in winter the head of a line of communication with the Lena and Bratsky Ostrog, on the Angara. Pop. (1897) 5803. NIZHNIY-NOVGOROD or NIJNI-NOVGOROD, abbreviated into NIZHEGOROD, a government of Central Russia, bounded by the governments of Vladimir on the W., Kostroma and Vyatka on the N. and N.E., Kazan and Simbirsk on the E., and Penza and Tambov on the S., with an area of 19,792 sq. m., two-thirds being on the right and the rest on the left bank of.the Volga. The smaller portion, with the exception of the better-drained lands close to the river, is a low, flat, marshy region, covered with thick forests and sandy hills, and thinly peopled. The space between the Oka and the Volga, in the west, is also flat and forest-grown. The best part of the government is that to the east of the Oka; it is hilly, trenched by deep ravines and better drained, and has patches of fertile black earth in the south. The government is drained by the Volga with its tributaries, the Kerzhenets and the Vetluga on the left, and the Sura (with the Pyana) and the Oka on the right. These and their numerous tributaries offer great facilities both for navigation and for the transportation of timber. Numerous small lakes dot the government, especially in the north, and close upon two-fifths of its entire surface is still covered with forests, which occupy nearly the whole of the Zavolyi (to the north of the Volga), and extend without a break for 50 and 8o m. to the west and south-west respectively. The climate is severe, especially in the Zavolyi, where the average yearly temperature is 5.6° Fahr. lower than at Nizhniy. Besides the Carboniferous, Permian and Triassic deposits (" variegated marls "), Jurassic deposits are found in patches, chiefly in the south-east, as also in the south-west and north. They are overlain with Cretaceous black clays and sandstones. Thick strata of Tertiary sands, containing petrified wood, are found in the Ardatov district, and over the whole lie Glacial deposits, sandy gravels and clays. Black earth, known as the " black earth of the plateau," prevails on the high plains between the river valleys in the south-east; the " valley black earth," even more fertile than the former, covers the gently-sloping portions of the territory, also in the south-east. More or less sandy clays are met with elsewhere, and there are large patches of sand. Iron ores (brown and spherosideritic), alabaster, limestone, sand (used for glass), salt and phosphorites are the chief useful minerals. There are also extensive deposits of peat. The population increased from 1,376,000 in r88o to 1,602,292 in 1897; of these 841,245 were women, and 140,347 lived in towns. The estimated pop. in 1906 was 1,823,600. They consist of Russians, to the extent of 88%; Mordvinians, to the number of S3,1oo; Cheremisses, 6700; with Tatars and Chuvashes. Of the total number in 1897 1,525,735 were Orthodox and Old Believers, 75,848 Raskolniks (Nonconformists), 51,236 Mussulmans and 3388 Jews. Both the birth-rate (53 in r000) and the death-rate (42 in r000) are high. A little over 53 % of the area is available for agriculture, and of this 59%. is owned by noblemen and 16% only by the peasantry, the remainder being owned by merchants and others. Of the cultivable land owned by the peasantry 55% is under crops, but of similar land owned by noblemen only 30 % is cultivated. The principal crops are wheat, rye, oats, barley, pease and potatoes. In some years the yield is quite insufficient for the population, and every year over zoo,000 persons quit their villages in quest of temporary work in neighbouring governments. The zemstvo or district council of Nizhniy-Novgorod supports an agricultural school, an experimental farm and an agency for the purchase of improved seeds and machinery. The live-stock industry is inferior, as many as 41 % of the peasant families having no horses, and 24% no cows. The domestic trades, such as the making of cutlery, felts, woollens, leather goods, wooden wares (sledges, spoons, boxes, window-frames, &c.), gloves, wirework, hardware, mats and sacks, are widely practised; 7o% of the male working population among the peasants earn their livelihood in this way, as well as by shipping. This last is an industry of considerable magnitude, goods being shipped and unshipped to the annual value of over £5,000,000. Many of the villages and towns have each its own speciality, those in the district of Semenov being famous for wooden spoons, in Gorbatov for cutlery and locks, in Balakhna for spindles, in Makaryev for fancy boxes, in Arzamas, Knyaginin and Sergach for furs and leather goods. The Mordvinians and Cheremisses keep bees. Fruit and vegetables are cultivated along the Oka and the Volga. The factories are steadily developing, iron and machinery works, flour-mills, potteries, tanneries, shipbuilding yards, saw-mills and distilleries are the more important. Education, owing to the efforts of the zemstvo, is in a better condition than in many other governments of Russia. (P. A. K.; J. T. BE.) NIZHNIY-NOVGOROD, or simply NIZHNIY, a town of Russia, capital of the above government, situated at the confluence of the Oka and the Volga, 272 M. by rail E. of Moscow. It occupies an advantageous position on the great artery of Russian trade, at a place where the manufactured and agricultural products of the basin of the Oka meet the metal wares from that of the Kama, the corn and salt brought from the south-eastern governments, the produce of the Caspian fisheries, and the various wares imported from Siberia, Central Asia, Caucasia and Persia. It has, thus become the seat of the great Makaryevskaya fair (see below), and one of the chief commercial centres of Russia. Its importance was still further increased during the latter part of the 19th century in consequence of the growth of manufacturing industry in the Oka basin, the rapid development of steam-boat traffic on the Volga and its tributaries, the extension of the Russian railway system and the opening of Central Asia for trade. Nizhniy-Novgorod consists of three parts: the upper city, including the Kremlin; the lower town, or Nizhniy Bazaar; and " the Fair," with the suburb of Kunavino. The upper city is built on three hills, which rise as steep crags 400 ft. (490 ft. above sea-level) above the right bank of both the Oka and the Volga. The Kremlin, or old fort, occupies one of these hills facing the Volga. It was begun in the second half of the 14th century, but was erected chiefly in the beginning of the 16th, on the site of the old palisaded fort, and has a wall 2300 yds. long, and 65 to 95 ft. high, with eleven towers; it contains the law-courts, the governor's residence, the arsenal, barracks, the military gymnasium of Count Arakcheev (transferred from old Novgorod), a small museum and two cathedrals, Preobrazhenski and Arkhangelski. These last were erected in 1225 and 1222 respectively, and have been rebuilt more than once; the present structures, in somewhat poor taste, date from 1829-1834 and 1732 respectively. The Preobrazhenski cathedral retains several relics of the past, such as holy pictures of the 14th and 17th centuries and a Bible of 1408; Minin, the hero of Nizhniy (see below) lies buried there. The Kremlin is adorned with a square, containing a monument to Minin and Pozharsky erected in 1826, and pretty boulevards have been laid out along its lower wall. The view from the Kremlin of the broad Volga, with its low-lying and far-spreading left bank, is very striking. The Pechersky monastery, close by, is archaeologically interesting; it was built in the first half of the 16th century—instead of the old monastery founded in 1330 and destroyed by a land-slip in 1596—and has several antiquities and a library which formerly contained very valuable MSS., now at St Petersburg. Another monastery, that of Blagovyeshchensk (1370, rebuilt 1647), is situated on the right bank of the Oka. Its old churches have been destroyed byfire, but it has a very ancient holy picture—probably the oldest in Russia, dating from 993, which attracts many pilgrims. In 1904 a town-house and a monument to Tsar Alexander II. were built in the principal square of the upper town. • Besides the Kremlin, the upper town contains the best streets and public buildings. Five descents lead from it to the lower town, planted on the alluvial terrace, 30 to 35 ft. above the banks of the Oka and the Volga, and in the centre of a very lively traffic. Piles of salt line the salt wharves on the Oka; farther down are the extensive storehouses and heaps of grain of the corn wharves; then comes the steamboat quay on the Volga, opposite the Kremlin, and still farther east the timber wharves. The fair is held on the flat sandy tongue of land between the Oka and the Volga, connected with the town by only a bridge of boats, 1500 yds. long, which is taken to pieces in winter. The shops of the fair, 4000 in number, built of stone in regular rows, are surrounded by a canal, and cover half a square mile. Outside this inner fair are nearly 4000 more shops. Several buildings have been erected, and institutions established, in connexion with the fair, e.g. the house of the committee (189o), banks, a theatre, a circus, a new semicircular canal and a second floating bridge, under-ground galleries, a water-supply, an electrical tramway, temperance tea-shops and restaurants kept by the Society of Tradesmen. The Siberian harbour is conspicuous during the fair on account of its accumulations of tea boxes and temporary shelters, in which the different kinds of tea are tried and appraised by tasters. The point of the peninsula is occupied by the store-houses of the steamboat companies, while metal wares and corn are discharged on a long island of the Oka, at the iron harbour and in Grebnovskaya harbour. An island in the Volga is the place where various kinds of rough wares are landed. The rail-way from Moscow has its terminus close to the fair buildings, to the south of which is the suburb of Kunavino, widely known throughout the East as a place for amusements of the lowest kind during the fair. On the fair side the Alexander Nevski cathedral was erected in 1881, and there too is the older " Fair " cathedral of 1822. The climate of Nizhniy is harsh and continental, the yearly average temperature being 39° Fahr. (1o•6° in January and 64° in July), and the extreme thermometric readings - 4o° and 104° Fahr. The town has a settled population of (1897) 90,053 inhabitants, who are nearly all Great-Russians, and many of them Nonconformists. The mortality exceeds the birth-rate. The educational institutions include a military school, a technical school, a theological seminary, and two schools for sons and daughters of the clergy. The manufactures include steam flour-mills, iron and machinery works, manufactories of ropes and candles, distilleries and potteries. Shipbuilding, especially for the transport of petroleum on the Caspian Sea, and steamboat building, have recently advanced considerably. Nizhniy is the chief station of the Volga steamboat traffic. The first steamer made its appearance on the Volga in 1821, but it was not till 1845 that steam navigation began to assume large proportions. The merchants carry on a brisk trade, valued (apart from that of the fair) at more than £2,000,000 of purchases and £1,800,000 of sales; the principal items are corn (£200,000 to £5005000), salt, iron, tea, fish, groceries and manufactured goods. The chief importance of the city is due to its fair, which is held from the 29th of July to the loth of September. From remote antiquity Russian merchants were wont to meet in summer with those from the East at different places on the Volga, between the mouths of the Oka and the Kama—the fair changing its site with the increasing or decreasing power of the nationalities which struggled for the possession of the middle Volga. Bolgari, Nizhniy-Novgorod, Kazan and Vasilsursk have successively been its seat since the loth century. From 1641 its seat was at a monastery 55 M. below Nizhniy and close to Makaryev (whence its present name). The situation, however, being in many ways inconvenient, and a conflagration having destroyed the shops at Makaryev, the fair was transferred in 1817 to its present locality at Nizhniy-Novgorod. The goods mostly dealt in are cotton, woollen, linen and silk stuffs (35 to 38 /1 of the whole), iron and iron wares, furs and skins, pottery, salt, corn, fish, wine and all kinds of manufactured goods. The Russian goods constitute four-fifths of the whole trade; those brought from Asia—tea (imported via Kiakhta and via Canton and Suez), raw cotton and silk, leather wares, madder and various manufactured wares—do not exceed 10 or 11 %. Manufactured wares, groceries and wines are the goods principally imported from western Europe. The total turnover of goods sold and " ordered " amounts to nearly 364 millions sterling annually. The former category dropped, however, from 26 millions in 1881 to 14 millions in 1905. In 1880, the Russian manufacturers depending chiefly on the barter-trade in tea at Kiakhta, their production was regulated principally by the prices of tea established at the fair; but now cotton takes the lead, and the prospective output for the year of the mills of central Russia is determined at the fair by the price of raw cotton imported from Asia, by that of madder, and by the results of the year's crop, which became known during the fair. The same holds good with regard to all other stuffs, the prices of wool (pro-visionally established at the earlier fairs of south-western Russia) being ultimately settled at Nizhniy, as well as those of raw silk. The whole of the iron production of the Urals depends also on the same fair. The " caravans " of boats laden with iron-ware, starting from the Urals works in the spring, reach Nizhniy in August, after a stay at the fair of Laishev, which supplies the lower Volga; and the purchases of iron made at Nizhniy for Asia and middle Russia deter-mine the amount of credit that will be granted for the next year's business to the owners of the ironworks, on which credit most of them entirely depend. The fair thus influences directly all the leading branches of Russian manufacture. It exercises a yet greater influence on the corn and 'salt trades throughout Russia, and still more on the whole of the trade in Siberia and Turkestan, both de-pending entirely on the conditions of credit which the Siberian and Turkestan merchants obtain at the fair. The Makaryevskaya fair attracts no fewer than 400,000 people from all parts of Russia, and partly from Asia. Two other fairs of some importance are held at Nizhniy—one for wooden wares on the ice of the Oka, and another, in June, for horses. History.—The confluence of the Oka and the Volga, inhabited in the loth century by Mordvinian tribes, began to be coveted by 'the Russians as soon as they had occupied the upper Volga, and as early as the 11th century they established a fort, Gorodets, 20 M. above the mouth of the Oka. In 1221, the people of Suzdal, under Yuri Vsevolodovich, prince of Vladimir, erected a fort on the hill now occupied by the Kremlin of Nizhniy. Until the beginning of the 14th century Nizhniy-Novgorod, which grew rapidly as the Russians colonized the banks of the Oka, remained subject to Suzdal; it enjoyed, however, almost complete independence, being ruled by its popular assembly. In the 14th century, until 1390, it elected its own princes. Ill-protected by its palisaded walls, it was plundered in 1377 and 1378 by the Tatars, supported by the Mordvinians. In 1390 Prince Vasili of Moscow, in alliance with Toktamish, khan of the Golden Horde of the Mongols, took Nizhniy and established his own governors there; in 1417 it was definitely annexed to Moscow, becoming a stronghold for the further advance of that principality towards the east. It was fortified in 1508–1511, and was able to repel the Tatars in 1513, 1520 and 1536. The second half of the 16th century was for the city a period of peaceful and rapid development. It became a depot for all merchandize brought from the south-east, and even English merchants established warehouses there. With the fall of Kazan, and the opening of free navigation on the Volga, it became the starting-place for the " caravan " of boats yearly sent to the lower Volga under the protection of a military force, whilst the thick forests of the neighbourhood favoured. the development of shipbuilding. In 1606-1611 the trading classes of Nizhniy took an active part in the expeditions against the revolted serfs, and it was a Nizhniy dealer in cattle, Kozma Minin Sukhorukov, who took the initiative in sending an army for the delivery of Moscow from the Poles in 1612. In 1667 the robber chieftain, Stenka Razin, made an unsuccessful attempt to capture the city. During the 17th century the country around Nizhniy became the seat of a vigorous religious agitation, and in its forests the Raskolniks established hundreds of their monasteries and communities, those of the Kerzhenets playing an important part in the history of Russian Nonconformity even to the present time. Nizhniy-Novgorod had at one time two academies, Greek and Slav, and took some part in the literary movement of the end of the 18th century; its theatre also was of some importance in the history of the Russian stage. (P. A. K; J. T. BE.)
End of Article: NIZAMI (1141–1203)

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Nizami is azeri-turk. He is told about it in his poem(in ISGENDERNAME) to Sah of Sirvanshas dovlet Axistan. Azer-Turkish language Tessuf ki Turk adi yarashmaz bize bizim sahligimiza bu sozleri Nizami cox tessufle bildirmisdir
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