NABI & HAJAR

Translated by: Zahra Jamali

NABI AND HAJAR

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PREFACE: With almost twenty years of research and experience on tribes, I have heard many stories, which told about their bravery. Narrative stories from one generation to another has kept them alive for thousands of years and enforced their effects on people. Tribal culture in our area (Azarbaijan) shows the truth and this story, Nabi & Hajar, is an example of vernacular stories.

A. A. Nazarpoor

Translator's Comments: A nation is recognised by its culture, and it has been the main objective of this folkloric story. We, as proud citizens of a great nation must make the world aware of our rich culture. A culture that has been with us from the ancient times and still has its roles in our society. This shows our identity for the readers to see. Z. Jamali

Chapter I The plain seemed prettier at dawn and after the night's rain. The flowers looked more alive and the sweet grass soaked in dew were almost touching the belly of Nabi's

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horse. From the horizon a caravan going towards northern Iran until Aras1 River is visible. Strutting behind them with the water supply contained in large bottles enclosed in leather bags is Nabi with his dear Afshari horse. Nabi, a proud young man with a loaded 5-bullet Russian gun over his shoulder is breathing in nature's freshness. His thoughts are circling with this year's bountiful harvest, hopefully better than last years' and of the fat bellied sheep grazing. He saw a number of shepherds and their herds along the way. They knew and greeted him with enthusiasm. Waving back at them answering their greetings he continued on his way. He… Nabi is known for bravery among the tribes of the region. All of a sudden, his sharp eyes caught a sight of a ram rushing among the flowerbeds, a short distance from him. Galloping, he went after it and aimed, in a few minutes his bullet directly hit its aim. "How come this ram was away from its herd?" he thought, "unless something or someone is behind it…2" Fast as a lightning, a stranger on horseback appeared and claimed the hunt. Resisting the rider's claim, Nabi realised that his hat bore a hole from her pistol. Startled, he immediately handed over the prey and said that it is not worth fighting for or even the bloodshed. The unknown rider came near and Nabi immediately became fascinated by her tantalising eyes. She is a vision wearing a very beautiful native costume on top of her horse and a skilful marksman. Nabi came back and joined his caravan and rode toward the river, knotting the horse's bridle on its Ghoppose3, bent down on his two hands and tried to remember the happenings. It was like a dream, everytime her face appears his heartbeat becomes faster…her looks, bravery and shooting skills…"I love her", he half said and half shouted it. Her beauty, he, the prey and she, the hunter, captivate him. A very strange feeling enveloped him, a feeling he felt for the first time in his life. No girl in Gharapapakh4 has made him feel this way. His thoughts of her made him happy and fill him with joy. He reached the river filled the leather barrels and after securing their lids jumped into the river and washed himself. After loading the barrels he proceeded to Gheshlagh5 all the while wishing to see her once more, although it seems futile. It was almost noon by the time he reached Gheshlagh. Near his father's obeh 6, he filled the wooden troughs, about 30 cm. high, with water for the sheep to drink. His father came out of his tent and noticed the hole in Nabi's cap. Nabi told his father the story from the beginning. Upon hearing the story, his father positively identified the girl-rider as Hajar of Aghabashloo7 tribe. Nabi wanted to confess his feelings for the girl and seek his father's advice on what is good for his future when the dogs started fighting and one of them got entangled with the other so his father had to separate them leaving Nabi in the middle of a sentence. Thoughts about his aunt who got
Aras in Azary is ARAZ. Ghuch is a kind of sheep, which is not easily found. In Azary language it is "Ara mani" meaning look for me, it is usually seen when something is chasing it. It is a common mistake that it is Armenian ram but it is not. 3 Ghoppose is a part of a horse's saddle in front, a form of a knob. 4 Gharapapakh - Nabi's tribe. 5 Gheshlagh - a small area where the tribesmen go during summer for their sheep to feed. Usually cooler in summer. 6 Obeh - A place where tribesmen set up camp and tents 7 Aghabashloo - Hajar's tribe, a branch of Shahsavan tribe.
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married with a person from that tribe entered his mind, "it will be a good reason for me to go there and visit my aunt" he reasoned, "and also to find out more about Hajar" he mused, knowing that the second reason is more acceptable for him. With this thought in mind, he went to see his aunt. While passing in front of alachighs8, he noticed a familiar looking horse fastened in a pole in front of one of the alachighs. His heart started pounding, making bigger steps, he reached the alachigh and saw her busy making doogh9. She immediately recognised him as the hunter she met earlier during the day and whom she has confiscated her deer from. She stared and greeted him serenely. "This stranger has come to take my hunt back", she doubtfully said to herself, "I have make him leave sooner or risk his life", she decided for herself. "I'm on my way to my aunt's house when I saw your horse tied up here so I decided to take a look", Nabi said. "A man's word is only one and as promised that deer belongs to you, there's no way I'll take it back. I can easily hunt for another one of these days" Nabi replied seeing the questioning look on her face. Hearing this, Hajar felt better and offered him a bowl of doogh to quench his thirst. With eyes fixed on her, he drank the doogh. He could not take his eyes away from her, having noticed this Hajar got red with embarrassment and immediately understood that visiting his aunt is only a reason. She tried to start a conversation by asking him his name and which tribe does he belong to. Nabi dutifully answered all her questions. Hajar found out all about Nabi, how famous he is in his tribe, how he excels in archery and other traits. "Why did you not fight for your right and relinquish your hunt very quickly." She asked, "Did you think that arguing with a woman will make you feel and look small to others?" "Did you know that among the Shahsovan tribe there is no difference being a man or a woman, and all are treated as men-ofwar?" she implied further. Hearing this Nabi reasoned out "As what I have told you before, war should be something worth fighting for not due to a ram, which can be found everywhere. Bloodshed is not worth it and diversity in beliefs between the tribes must be stopped." Hajar realised that he is a man of logic and understood his intelligence. How they long to be with each other and be engaged in endless talk about life but their embarrassment is so obvious that Nabi finally had to say good bye and proceed to his aunt's house. Chapter II As a custom in any of the tribes, a new comer is always under suspicion. So before reaching his aunt's tent, she already knew what took place from the time he entered the obeh, finding Hajar, talking to her until the act of accepting the yoghurt drink from her was already reported. He reached his aunt's tent and embraced her as a sign of greetings, he held her so tight to keep the embarrassment from showing from his face. He felt that his cheeks were red and sweating. His aunt realised without saying that Nabi, her nephew is now a full grown man and is hopelessly in love with Hajar. She started questioning him, questions like, and what has she told you…have you two met before…how is she… and so on. Nabi tried to answer her questions but he firmly stated that he came to see
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Alachigh - a wooden hut used for temporary shelter by tribesmen. Doogh - native yoghurt drink.

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her aunt and seeing Hajar there is just a coincidence. Not believing his words, Nabi's aunt then said that the time is ripe to think of the future and start a family. She said that she could go to Hajar's parents and ask for their daughter's hand in marriage. It was a common knowledge among the tribes that Hajar with her extraordinary beauty is hard to please and demanding when it comes to her suitors. "What do you have to worry, you are handsome enough for her, brave enough to protect her" Nabi's aunt said with confidence. "Come, today you are my special guest and Aghabashloo tribe will be honoured having you. We will make bozbush10 , your favourite food for lunch." After lunch, the mothers of the tribe tried to calm down the children by ordering them to rest and keep quiet while the elders of the tribe took a short afternoon nap. Afterwards, they went for a ride around the obeh. One day, the great Khan11 of Aghabashloo decided to hold a tournament wherein every able-bodied youth of different tribes can take part. It is a contest of horsemanship and skilled marksmanship and its most coveted prize is Boz At 12. A fantastic 3-year old wild horse which was recently been saddled and tamed. All young men and women, skilled in horseback riding and shooting, came from all over the area to participate. Each tribe had their own hopefuls and Nabi and Hajar were their families' pride. Each and every one of the participants wished to be the winner and be able to own and ride Boz-At. The contest began, each horseman must be able to shoot while riding a fast moving horse. Out of the big number of aspirants only fifteen remained for the second lap. The third lap saw only eight remainders and for the final lap only Nabi and Hajar remained, a one-on-one encounter. For the final lap, the contestants should try to balance himself on one side of the horse and try to shoot in that position. The audience was crying from excitement, the 2minute interval before the final lap seemed to last forever. The ladies were cheering Hajar and acclaiming her for her skill. They were giving her points on how to shoot straight without missing the target. Hoping deeply that she wins and proud that a girl has this chance of winning. At last, gender equality in the Shahsavan tribe proved well and produced women warriors that can stand side by side with men or even better than them in skill. The Khan's son could not take his eyes off Hajar. He is a married man but seeing Hajar and admiring her prowess brought out the sparks of love in his eyes. Not knowing that Hajar's heart already belonged to Nabi, he tried to conceive a plan for her to be his. The final lap started and a wild ram was released as a target. First, it was Hajar's turn to shoot at the fast moving target but missed. Nabi, on the other hand expertly aimed
Bozbush - a dish of wild goat in dried whey, garlic and wild vegetables. This dish is very delicious that it is a feast food for the Shahsavan tribe. 11 Khan - an honorary title in tribes, of Mongolian origin which signifies power and demands respect. 12 Boz-At - a very famous horse that can move like a shadow. A well-bred horse.
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and brought it down with only one shot. He won! Everybody applauded, "Hail Nabi, our hero…the greatest marksman!" The Khan was so proud and handed over Boz-At to the young hero and as a sign of approval kissed Nabi's shoulder. In turn, Nabi kissed the back of Khan's hand as a sign of deepest respect. All the while Hajar was stunned by Nabi's handsome figure on horseback, a figure of bravery and valour. She wished that she could be with him and accept him as her husband, somebody who really deserves her. Nabi's aunt could not hide her joy, seeing the love in their eyes gave her the responsibility to make these lovebirds be near each other. She devised a plan on how they can see each other again without their knowing. She told Hajar that Nabi would be hunting near the Araz River the following day. On the other hand, she sent her son to tell Nabi that Hajar will be near the river next day, washing clothes. Unaware of his aunt's plans they saw each other again. Both of them had a surprised look in their eyes when they saw each other near the river. They decided that it is a good time to talk to each other about everything. Nabi hunted a wild goat and offered to make grilled veal for lunch. Oh! How precious time passes by, they both wished that time would stop right there so they can go on and on. How sweet it is to be with the one you love, trying to learn about each other's traits. After lunch, Nabi with all the courage he could muster tried to talk about marriage and wedding. He even mentioned the suitors she had turned down. "Who is the rightful man for you?" he asked. Hajar kept quiet and looked at him meaningfully. Her silence made Nabi happy, he knew right then and there that she belongs to him. "I loved you since the first time I laid my eyes on you. I'll send my mother to ask for your hand in marriage just promise me that you'll be mine forever and only death can make us part." He pleaded her. Hajar turned red with excitement, she is so happy that at last, the person she has been waiting for had come. Chapter III Nabi and Hajar's love affair became the most talked about topic among the tribes. Hearing of this, the Khan's son went to his father and told him about his love for Hajar. Seeing his son's apprehension, he ordered his men to send the best ram they could find to Aghabashloo. He instructed them to put some hana13, red being a symbol of love, on the ram's head and hand it over to Hajar's father as an offering for his daughter's hand in marriage. Seeing the precious gift sent by the Khan, Hajar's father became elated. He felt proud and honoured that the son of the great Khan has expressed his love for his daughter even though he wants her to be his second wife. "Who is more appropriate for my daughter than the son of the Khan himself?" Hajar's father said proudly. When Hajar heard of the Khan's son's offering, she felt so disgusted that she immediately went to tell her father. "I hate him, he is already married and still wants
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Hana- an herb used for hair colouring. Usually of red colour.

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another wife?" She said almost in tears. "It is Nabi that I love and has promised him my sincerity for the rest of my life." Hajar confessed. Hearing this, Hajar's father became afraid. Afraid of what might happen, afraid of the consequences the Khan might bring upon them and his tribe. So he sought the elders of the tribe for advice. They tried to find a way to solve the problem and knowing Hajar at the same time pitying her, they sent Khan a message to wait for a few more days. They plan to convince Hajar to accept the marriage proposal not only for her but also for the tribe's sake as well. Nabi's aunt could not agree on the issue. She made a plan to have the young lovers elope. She advised them to stay in the mountains for some time and wait until the Khan's son's anger subsides then, they can come back and get married peacefully. In the middle of the night, Hajar went to Nabi's aunt's tent and waited for him there. Having their guns loaded and bringing extra bullets with them, they set off for the mountains without anybody's noticing. They headed for the jungles of Kaleibar14 where the can find refuge and safety. The place is heaven with a lot of animals for prey and springs. At dawn, they reached a clearing where the fastened up their horses to rest and prepared to have their breakfast of bread and cheese together. They felt very tired after the long mountainous ride. They slept beside each other feeling each other's warmth and for the first time in their lives they felt so alone and safe. Their journey continued, sleeping during the day and travelling during the night to avoid being seen. For food, they either ate what they were able to hunt or Hajar would make a kind of food from the wild plants found in the area. After lunch, while resting beside each other Nabi looked at Hajar adoringly. He noticed how lovelier she had become. He though of her decision to be with him rather than be the second wife of the Khan's son. Both of them were in such a state of passion that they did not hear the horses' hoofs approaching. It was too late when they found out that they were surrounded by fifteen of the Khan's expert horsemen. Running for refuge among the trees, Nabi asked Hajar to go and save herself, "I promised to be with you and I will be here until death" she grasp. They made the horse lie on the ground not to be hit. "We came for the girl Hajar, hand her over to Khan's son and nothing will happen you will be safe." Said the leader of the group. "Don't come nearer" warned Nabi, "unless you do not want to live" he added. The horsemen's Captain turned a blind eye to Nabi's word of warning he ordered the cavalry to dismount and continue with the attack. The soldiers carefully dismounted their horses and criss-crossed their way as low as possible to avoid being hit. Nabi and Hajar's position was well located and could see from all angles. They were firing at any thing that moved from all sides. A number of injured soldiers were already evident and all of a sudden the Captain was hit on the right shoulder. He then realised that they are of no match to Nabi and Hajar's
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Kaleibar (Caleibar) - a place near Tabriz known for its thick forest.

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shooting skills. He ordered them to stop shooting and retreat. They were forced to retreat carrying their wounded and promised to be back with more men. Chapter IV Nabi and Hajar's victory soon became very well known among the Shahsovan tribe. Their struggles for their love became heroic act that Khan became worried. He called for a meeting with his advisers. They decided to punish the two lovers for their deeds. One of the advisers insisted on their punishment if not, people will lose their respect for the great Khan and it will be very shameful on his part. They tried to find out their hiding place but to no avail. Remembering that both Nabi and Hajar are excellent marksmen, they sent ten thousand soldiers to the jungles of Kaleibar but there has been no outcome. Threatened by his lose of power, the Khan set up a reward for those who can find the two lovers and punishment for those who helped and are hiding them. He also sent a force of small groups, twenty soldiers per group, to conquer the jungles from all directions. He chose men who were familiar with the area and skilled in the arts of warfare. Nabi and Hajar on the other hand, with the help of nature continued to ride at night and rest during the day. They went on until they reached the mountaintop where Babak castle is located. They were reminded of the great Babak's glory and honour. The great Babak who fought for many years against Haroun Al Rashid, the tyrant Caliph of the time, and with Amin and Mamoon15, he fought bravely until finally due to Maziar's 16 treachery suffered defeat and lost his life. Sympathising with Babak's objectives Nabi and Hajar felt a strong passion to fight injustice and defend those who are helpless like them. As they had pledged near the bank of Aras River to be with each other, until death make them part. On the third day they encountered a group of Khan's riders. The battle took a while until Nabi was hit in the leg. They had to find a proper shelter since they can not go on their way. Hajar on the other hand had tried her best to guard him by shooting at anything that moved to protect him. They are aware that other groups will be coming knowing that Nabi is wounded and helpless. Hajar proceeded to nurse Nabi's wound, she has to take the bullet out of Nabi's leg for the wound to heal. She made her knife hot over the fire and used it to pry out the bullet. Nabi had to endure the pain by biting on a piece of cloth to prevent him from shouting. He perspired heavily and finally fainted because of the pain. He felt cold water running on his face when he gained consciousness. He also found out that his wound has been dressed up and Hajar was busy shooting at the soldiers approaching the shelter. Giving them a sign that they are still alive.

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Amin and Mamoon were the leaders of Omavians. Maziar - One of the rulers of northern Iran.

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The combat lasted for three days and three nights. They took turns to get some rest and be on guard all the while. Their ammunition is becoming less and Khan's soldiers have surrounded their place but still afraid of getting nearer for the sake of their lives. Their food and water supply is also running low, seeing the situation Nabi begged Hajar to surrender and save her own life. "We will fight till the last bullet." She refused. "I would rather die beside you than surrender and be second wife to Khan's son. I will save two bullets, one for me and one for you if needed" Hajar continued pleading. Nabi realised her bravery and he also felt that together, they are not afraid of death and it is much sweeter to die in each other's arms. They became aware of a group approaching the shelter, they started shooting but found out that the Khan's men has retreated to get more help instead the whole of Gharapapakh and Aghabashloo tribes put together. They could not believe their eyes, "Don't be afraid, we came to help, if you are alive then answer us." said Nabi's father. The other tribes like Arasbaran were also there to lend a hand. They joined forces to protect Nabi and Hajar from the soldiers sent by the Khan. "The Garadaghs informed us of your situation" continued Nabi's father while helping him to climb on his horse. "We tried to catch up with you in Arasbaran area but you were ahead of us." Nabi's father explained. "When the Khan of Garadagh found out about your love, he took pity on you and sent a message to the Khan of Shahsovav, warning him of the consequences if he doesn't let you both go free and get married peacefully. Don't worry everybody is on your side" he said. Upon arrival in the obeh, Nabi's wounds were given fresh dressings and Khan was forced to forgive them. He even consented on their marriage. Nabi and Hajar's wedding feast lasted for seven days and seven nights. Everybody was invited to the feast of bozgoosh served in sajis17. They all gathered around the bride and groom, wishing them all the luck and prosperity in life. Nabi and Hajar both looked at each other, realising that dawn comes after the darkness of night. They were filled with hope and future plans of having a lucky life with beautiful children that will help them forget all the problems they have encountered. Chapter V As days passed by Nabi and Hajar were living a contented life. They took care of the herd that were given to them as wedding gifts. The weather turned hot and the grass in the obeh area is becoming less. The tribes had to move on and find fresher grounds. The time of migration had come. Every year the Shahsovan tribe migrates to the Sabalan mountains18 while on the other hand the Aghabashloo and Garapapagh tribes proceed to Sahand mountains. The obeh soon became a busy place getting ready for migration. The women were busy putting down their alachighs, loading the camels with their personal possessions.
Sajis - a dish wherein its back part is used for making bread while its hollow part is used for native stews and watery dishes. 18 Sabalan Mountains - a mountain chain in the north-western region of Iran.
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The news of up coming war between the Iranians and Russians soon spread all over the land. The news borne by a messenger reached Abbas Mirza Shah 19 on his way to Ardabil. The preparation of the whole Persian army is needed to fight the Russians. To prevent them from losing their cattle and to avoid tribal envolvement, the king ordered the tribes to postpone their migration. Fear spread throughout the tribes and an emergency meeting was held in the Khan's tent. They decided to send some guns but not food as the king has to provide them with the necessary rations. In a week, 3,000 young and able-bodied men and women of the Shahsovan tribe20, including Nabi and Hajar and commandered by the Khan's son, went towards Ardabil to join forces with Abbas Mirza's army. To protect the city from Russian invasion, Abbas Mirza and his army along with his supporters from Shahsovan tribe crossed the Khoda Afarin Bridge to Baku. Each of them knew the importance of Moghan plain21 with its fertile soil in their lives. Nabi and Hajar know that they are just a small part of this land, their own native land and they have to do their best to protect it from foreign invaders. On the first week of October, Abbas Mirza's messenger warned them of a Russian battalion near them. Under Abbas Mirza's command, the Persian army prepared for the battle. They encountered the Russians and hand-to-hand battle started. The Russian army outnumbered the Persian army both in ammunition supplies that consisted of twenty carts of cannon balls and in soldiers. The first encounter ended up with the Russians retreating. It was a great win for the Iranians as they travelled back to Baku. The war did not end there, after months of fighting, the Iranian army is faced with the problem of a reduced amount of supplies both ammunition and food. The provisions went to a minimal that they had to pass the time with only bread and water. The soldiers became weaker both physically and mentally. The Prince decided to go back to Tabriz and Ardabil to secure some help. Unluckily, the King of Iran was no aware of the problem's importance and paid no heed to his son's plea for assistance. He did not provide his full support to the fighting in the north-western part of Iran unlike the Russian army's case. The Russians enjoyed the full benefit of support mentally and physically. Chapter VI After years of struggle and bravery on the Iranian part even under the poorest of circumstances, they suffered a series of defeats that led to the Russians almost crossing the Khoda-Afarin Bridge to conquer Iran. In one of these battles the son of Abbas Mirza Khan was killed thus the army became divided and a lot of deserters ensued. A group of Partisans was formed under the leadership of Nabi and Hajar.
Abbas Mirza Shah - one of the kings of the Persian Khajar dynasty. The Shahsovan tribe was formerly made up of 7 smaller tribes all under one leadership. They helped King Abbas of the Safavi dynasty in governing the area. Due to this, differences among the tribes themselves came up and the king was forced to split the tribe. Those who were in favour of the king were sent to Dasht-e-Moghan and were called Shahsovan (king's allies). 21 Moghan plain - an area for agriculture in a mountainous area. Useful for the tribes' agriculture and cattle in Azarbaijan.
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Nabi and his followers went back inside Iran to guard the other cities along the Aras River from Russian invasion. Thinking that the area along the river may become a war front, Abbas Mirza decided to give the Soldooz Desert 22to the Gharapapagh's due to their large number and used it as his camp. At the same time he granted the Aghabashloo the rich and fertile lands of Miandoab. Nabi and Hajar's partisan group consisted of one hundred and fifty expert marksmen and skilled soldiers. They fought hard and braved the worst conditions. The Russians decided to occupy the Khoda Afarin bridge so as to have Nabi and Hajar's group surrounded. On the other hand, Abbas Mirza decided to destroy the bridge. Seeing that there is no escape from the situation, the group had to make up their mind on three different solutions: one: to surrender to the Russian army ; two: attack and be killed while fighting ; three: defend the territory while thinking of a solution. Choosing the third option, Nabi and Hajar vowed to protect their country and stay beside each other until the end. They swore to each other that through hunger and danger they would be together. Nabi and Hajar were still fighting when the treaty of Gholestan Chai was signed and implemented. This treaty assessed the border provinces of Baku, Ganjeh and Nakhjavan to Russia while Iran's borders was limited along the Aras River. After the division, the people tried to live under the Russian government's rule. The only hope that remained for them was the partisan group led by Nabi and Hajar. This group resisted even though they were outnumbered. Due to their bravery, they were praised and became living symbols of heroism while the Russians became more authoritarian and tried to suppress their spirit. News of their bravery did not reach the other side of the border or even if it does, Abbas Mirza could not do anything to uphold their just cause. Nabi and his men decided to go to the mountains of Ghafghaz to be safe and one with nature. The way being narrow could only allow one person to pass. Any Soldat 23 passing by would be seen and attacked, with this they were expecting to end the war. They have been wandering in the mountains for many months but it seems that the war is not near its end. They know that with the shortage of ammunition and provision they will be forced to surrender and end the war, but due to the bravery of the Iranians they clung to victory. At this stage, Nabi decided to designate a Soldat to take his post while he went to the Russian Emperor and report everything that happened and at the same time visit his family. The story of Nabi's life and battles touched the Emperor in such a way that he decided to grant him an amnesty and instructed the Soldat to give Nabi his message of protection. The king fully believed that brave men and women, like Nabi and Hajar, must be protected and getting them to agree to be on their side is an advantage for the Russian army. The Emperor even offered them the governorship of a part of his lands.
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Soldooz Desert - the old name of Naghadeh city in West Azarbaijan. Soldat is a soldier of the Russian army.

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When Nabi heard of the news and fearing for the possible outcome of the Emperor's offer, he immediately made Hajar his rightful successor, under the circumstance of his death she will lead their soldiers. Nabi held a meeting with the Soldat who said that if they put their guns down, the Emperor is willing to bestow pardon and recognise his people for bravery. The King even offered a convenient life by having a good position in the government. "By agreeing to your terms we will live decades longer but the cause of what we have been fighting for and our names will be alive forever in History." Nabi seriously answered. "We started the war because of the love for our country and that love can never take the place of convenience and death is sweeter for us" he declined. The Soldat allowed them to go back and with that the war went on. Chapter VII The war went on for three days and both Nabi and Hajar were seriously injured. They were able to get rid of the bullets that hit them but their strength seemed to have left them. There were only five remaining fighters, the rest either died fighting or seriously wounded and near to death. One night, they decided to attack. Out of the five men, two remained to cover them while the rest crawled in the dark into the Russian soldiers' line near the horses' stables. The attack was unexpected, they were sure that they outnumber Nabi and Hajar's army. They succeeded in getting the horses and tried to ride as fast as the wind towards the mountains and lose the pursuing soldiers. Near dawn, they felt that their wounds are again bleeding, they could not stop due to fear of being arrested by the soldiers but they became very weak and could not continue riding. They soon found a cave where they were able to transfer the half-dead bodies of Nabi and Hajar with some bread and water. Nabi pleaded them to go and save themselves. It is best for them to scatter so the soldiers could not find their trail and at the same time they may be able to pass the border to their own country, Iran. The plan could not be put into action till morning. By then the soldiers have caught up with them following their footprints. Shooting started and the people in the cave tried to use every single bullet they have wisely. Their position was right in the middle, straight ahead of the line of fire but being good marksmen, nobody had the guts to get near the cave. Army reinforcement came and they decided to surround the cave and take it by the top. They planned to conquer the cave through the mountaintop, they may lose some men but for sure they will be able to arrest those in the cave. The Soldat was able to enter the cave, "Cut the snake's head off!" shouted Nabi to Hajar who was unaware of the danger. She aimed weakly and shot at the Soldat directly in the forehead, seeing what happened the rest of the army got frightened and lost hope so they retreated. Being short of everything, Nabi and Hajar became very weak. Feeling that it is their last chance to live, Nabi asked Hajr to forgive him and grant him the pardon of being

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of Halal24. "Don't worry, I will follow you soon" answered Hajar. "I'm sorry that I could not give you a peaceful life, all the times we were together was spent at war" pleaded Nabi sorrowfully. Hajar took her husband's papakh25 and tried to fan him. He was perspiring and breathing heavily. Hajar noticed that her husband's hat is full of holes, she tried to look for the hole she made the first time they saw each other but couldn't. Their love for their country and fight against cruel conquerors became an aim and obsession. The glory and honour of their aim was coupled by the deep love they have for each other. A love that knew no boundaries and more alive than the comfortable life offered by the Emperor. Love's emotion is mixed with love of country it brings about a superior form of love not worth changing even with the richness of the world. Nabi became calm and Hajar had nothing to say. They held each other's hand and in that position they went to sleep…an endless sleep that lasted…forever. For a week nobody dared to enter the cave when they noticed that birds coming in and out. This made them sure of the absence of life inside the cave. When they finally entered the cave, they saw two lovers lovingly holding each other's hands till death. They were touched by the scene so they decided to bury them in one grave and were given military burial with all the respect due to heroes. When the Emperor heard of their death he ordered that their graves be revered fit for heroes who taught them the lesson of love, be it to a friend or to an enemy and the lesson on how to live. The Aras River continued on its current, it was soon populated and an Ashegh26 with his Saz27 is to be seen on its bank, singing the beautiful poems of Nabi and Hajar. While on the other side of the border, people have not gotten over their death and even now, after one hundred and fifty years they are still being sung. Songs of Nabi and Hajar's heroism and love, each verse remained new in the turn of ages and transferred verbally from mouth to mouth. These verses became the favourite of every lover whenever they plead their love for each other.

A part of it reads: My dear Boz At I'll keep you in the best stables And will put your heel in silver and gold If you save me from this war The sun is in the middle of the sky and
Halal is forgiveness in God's way. Papakh is a hat. 26 Ashegh is soloist who sings about the beauty of nature and bravery of Azarbaijan's heroes. 27 Saz is a Turkish musical instrument.
24 25

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Nabi is riding Boz At, nobody can go faster than his horse… Nabi twisted his dark moustache His hat is full of enemies' bullets Nobody can go faster than his horse… **** **** ****

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