Following in my grandfather’s footsteps

I often wondered why I chose to become an economist, and unfortunately, I couldn’t always provide a precise answer. Yes, my father is an economist, and that seemed logical, but I always knew there was more to it.

One day, my eldest son came running home with an injured leg after playing football. As I examined the wound, Atashka (grandfather), approached and immediately started providing assistance without wasting any time.

I watched my son for a long time, unsure of what to do. At some point, my thoughts drifted back to the gazebo at my late grandparents’ house, where I, too, sat with a wounded leg. I was 7 years old, playing tag with the neighborhood kids when I fell. Returning home in tears, my grandfather Muta examined my wound and, embracing me, asked my grandmother to bring him some ointment. Grandma grumbled about how girls shouldn’t run around like that and how she would tell my parents. In that moment, my grandfather started applying the ointment, and as soon as I felt the burning pain, I jerked away and started crying even harder.

My grandfather realized that it wasn’t the wound, but the ointment causing the pain. So, he put on his glasses and examined the tube in his hand. It turned out that my grandmother had mistakenly grabbed her «Finalgon» ointment, which she used at night, and my grandfather applied a thick layer to my wound. They didn’t know what to do. Washing it off would have made everything worse, so they told me to endure it. It was the trial of a lifetime. I remember crying for a whole hour until the effects of the Finalgon subsided. Perhaps that’s why I vividly remember this incident and can’t forget that burning pain. But fortunately, other beautiful moments also remain in my memories, such as how they took care of me during those times. I would give anything to relive those moments of my life.

To somehow make up for his carelessness, my grandfather picked the largest bunch of Uyghur white grapes for me, even though he never allowed anyone to touch them. The grapes hung above the gazebo like forbidden fruit wrapped in newspaper. And here I was, lucky enough to taste the juiciest grapes. To accompany the grapes, my grandmother brought the juiciest bergamot from the garden and started giving me slices. The taste of those fruits was so sweet that I forgot about my pain.

This incredible care from my grandparents still resides in my heart to this day. I am already 37 years old, but I still feel the warmth and boundless love of my grandfather, which gives me strong support in life. No matter what life situations I find myself in, I always feel his gentle hands and hear his warm words, which help me move forward.

My grandfather, Ismailov Muta Mukhpulovich, was born in 1922 in the village of Maly Ak-su in the Uyghur district. In November 1941, he was drafted into the Soviet Army by the Zharkez Regional Military Office and sent to Almaty to join the Special Communication Company No. 54 of the 32nd Reserve Infantry Division. After training, he was sent to the front near Voroshilovgrad in February 1942. He served there until August 1943, fighting as a signalman and machine gunner in the 988th Rifle Regiment. Their regiment reached Berlin, where my grandfather was captured but later liberated by the British forces. Then, as a machine gunner in the 204th Guards Rifle Regiment, he participated in the liberation of Hungary and Austria. In November 1946, he was demobilized.

However, from June 29, 1950, to January 14, 1956, my grandfather spent time in a corrective labor camp. He became a victim of political terror and was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment by the military tribunal of the Turkestan Military District. Fortunately, thanks to the persistence of his sisters, who wrote letters for 6 years, even to Stalin, he was rehabilitated by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR, and the case was dismissed due to lack of evidence of a crime

Returning to his native village, Chundzha, my grandfather worked in the Financial Department of the Uyghur District until his retirement in August 1991.

My grandfather has many awards, including:

  • Order of the Patriotic War, 2nd Class;
  • Honorary title «Excellent in Financial Work»;
  • Medal «70 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR»;
  • Medal «Veteran of Labor»;
  • Medal «50 Years of Victory»;
  • Medal «For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945»;
  • Medal «For Meritorious Work in Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of V.I. Lenin» and other medals and awards.

My grandparents raised 6 children and 15 grandchildren, giving each of us a higher education and knowledge. Following in my grandfather’s footsteps, only my father, my cousin, and I pursued careers in the financial field, while the others in our family became doctors and educators. I am extremely proud of my choice and profession. Finance and economics are my everything!

Currently, I have 15 years of experience in the financial sector, numerous completed courses, and a successful eco-business. I feel the support of my ancestors and I am confident that I will become a female leader in my homeland!

Author: Rimma Marat

Editor: Kymbat Kaliyeva

Translator: Diana Tsoy-Davis