- Armenian Literature, History, Religion
Sero Khanzadyan

Sero Khanzadyan


Sero Khanzadyan, born November 20 (December 3) 1915 to the family of a ploughman at the ‘Roof of Armenia,’ town of Goris, located in the rough mountains of Zangezur, where every bit of fertile ground is taken in a battle against solid rocks and burning sun.

Little Sero’s parents used to tell him “You will learn the value of the land once you grow up.” Many times he had noticed how people, returning from work in the field, would keep the pieces of ground stuck to their clothes and shake it off on a naked rock in front of their houses. “The land is the dearest thing that we have. Without the land there is no nation,” – would be the words said by the characters of his novels.

Upon his graduation from pedagogical college the young man worked as a schoolteacher. He started a diary, which later on led him to the career in literature. Some of his first works were published before the WWII. They were “brought up” and inspired by the land of Zangezur and working days of its people. They were also inspired by a dream of a brighter future. In “The Last Tears” (1940) Meghrab has spent all his life to bring the water up on a mountain to irrigate dry land. “I will not leave my native land!” – is his immovable reply; and thanks to the help of other people in the village the dream comes true. This attachment to one’s land serves as a foundation upon which the author has created all his work. A leitmotiv of it is the old song of an Armenian ploughman – ‘Horovel.’ One can ‘hear’ it in “The Land,” historical novel “Mkhitar Sparapet,” “Kadjaran,” and other books by Khanzadyan. In “Thirsty – Give me Water,” ‘Horovel’ is a hymn to the strong will of a peasant, stubbornly following the plough despite the pain and thirst.

In his work the writer with great respect and honor describes the ancient customs of his people and thousands of years old constructions – some of the most valued monuments of the past. However, with all the respect to the past he does not idealize it. It is not on the dead, but on a live, soil that his heroes want to live and Meghrab’s dream comes true. Both ‘The Land’ and ‘Horovel’ are integral parts of life and development for Khanzadyan.

At the age of 18 Sero Khanzadyan voluntarily joined the Red Army and participated in the World War Two rising to the rank of the Commander of a mortar company. His personal combat experience and ability to derive general conclusions helped him to create “The Battle Diary” (“Three Years: 291 Days”). The novel, written in 1972, was one of the most prominent works in the Soviet military fiction literature at the time. The kind-hearted characters of Khanzadyan’s stories are relentless in their struggle against an armed enemy, as they fight to protect their families, their land, and their country. At the same time they do not confuse the German nation to consist all of enemies, but distinguish among those carrying out massacres and those of the deceived, desperate and suffering mass of people. Reading the “Diary” one would feel that the war was a personal war for the author. For him it was not just a war for the Soviet Union, but also for the existence of the Armenian nation.

“Unrealized death – is death, but the realized death – is the eternity!” This ancient Armenian saying, runs as the primary theme in Khanzadyan’s work, as his heroes, Armenians, fight shoulder to shoulder to Russians, Ukrainians and other nationalities to protect their motherland. He often recalls the long history of strong Armenian and Russian relations that have evolved over the centuries. Later on he would use this idea in his “Mkhitar Sparapet” and other works. Khanzadyan in one of his interviews mentioned that the work on a story about Mkhitar Sparapet and David Bek, the great defenders of the Armenian nation of the early 18th century, had begun while he was still at the war. In “Sparapet,” as elsewhere, the idea of the strong friendship between the Armenian and Russian people is in the center of the story.

Besides the war, Sero Khanzadyan writes about, as has already been mentioned, Armenian history and specifically one of its darkest pages, the Armenian Genocide of 1915. One of his best novels “Six nights” is about that. The philosophical idea of the story is the precedence of the humanity over the evil, as the story’s two main characters save a newborn baby, although at the cost of the life of one of them. As he dies, Asour, the young man who has saved the baby, says: “It’s not the child that must no die, but the one who has caused the horrific massacres and antagonized common, kind people against each other. The murder of the children is the evil, despite of his nationality!”

Sero Khanzadyan has created a great legacy of literature work inspired with ideas of internationalism, strong ties with the folk culture and tradition. In his works he defends the ideals of humanism and love to one’s motherland. His ideas of kindness and peace are fully realized and therefore are in eternity.

by Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan
based upon J. Petrovsky and
introduction to S. Khanzadyan’s “Mkhitar Sparapet”


Source: J. Petrovsky and introduction to S. Khanzadyan’s “Mkhitar Sparapet”
Provided by: Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan

See also:

Biography of Sero Khanzadyan in Russian. in in Russian
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