Literary Classic of Georgia Dies
26 December, 2013
On 13 December, another famous patriot was buried at Mtasminda Pantheon, the final resting place of such great Georgian public figures, poets and writers as Ilia Chavchavadze, Akaki Tsereteli, Vazha-Pshavela, Otar Chiladze and others. Chabua Amirejibi died at the age of 92. He was the author of “D
ata Tutashkhia,” the novel acknowledged as a masterpiece of modern Georgian literature.
Much has been said about his genius, and a lot more will be said in the future, because he has become a part of Georgian history. It is difficult to talk about Amirejibi’s life. He was a legend of the generation that grew up at the time when copies of his acclaimed book changed hands among his devoted readers. Amirejibi also was a great man as well as a great writer, whose biography reflects the difficulties and paradoxes of Soviet history.
His book became a bestseller as soon as it was published. It was translated into over twenty languages. A TV film was based on the book. They say that during the hours when central television aired episodes of the serial about Data Tutashkhia, the streets of Moscow were empty of pedestrians - everybody was watching TV. It is also said that he was nominated as a contender for the Nobel Prize for three times.
Amirejibi received all the significant prizes that were available in Georgian culture. Despite his serious sickness, the writer managed to address the public about the need for charity and kindness. Three years ago Amirejibi took monastic vows. He, like Data Tutashkhia, hero of his novel, constantly fought for freedom. Tutashkhia is a character who will remain in Georgian literature as a symbol of kindness and freedom.
I was happy to record an interview with Chabua Amirejibi in 2006. He finished it with his famous phrase “Chkuit, qartvelebo!” (“Beware, Georgians!”). With these words he called on Georgian people to overcome the dire situation Georgia was in at the time.