Suranshi and Sauryk, descendants of the great Karasai Batyr, fought for Kazakhstan’s freedom and independence in the 19th century. Having led a major uprising against the Kokand khans, they drove the enemy forces beyond Zhetisu and also freed Taraz, Merke and Shu. The famous akyns Suyunbai and Zhambyl sang about Suranshi and Sauryk’s heroic deeds.
Members of Parliament, prominent historians, philosophers and public figures were among the guests at the opening ceremony for the monument. The celebrations began with a theatrical performance by the actors of the Almaty Oblast Drama Theatre, who recreated the heroes and their famous battles.
In their welcoming addresses, Mazhilis Deputy Serik Umbetov and Akim (Governor) of Almaty Oblast Ansar Musakhanov stressed the importance of studying history deeply and preserving the country’s spiritual past.
Professor Seit Kaskabasov presented biographies of the two warriors. He noted that the new monument was a tribute to the heroes who sacrificed their lives for the independence of their native land and to win peace and freedom for future generations.
Suranshi, who is also known as Suranshi Akynbekuly, died in a battle freeing the southern city of Sairam. His cousin Sauryk was mortally wounded in a battle in the Kastek ravine, near present-day Uzynagash.
Head of the Suranshi-Sauryk Public Fund Askerbek Abayev presented a collection of articles and research materials on the history of Kazakhstan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, containing facts and figures as well as reflections.
On the eve of the event, an international aitys (sung poetry) competition was held in the Zhambyl House of Culture. Sarah Toktamyssova from Astana won the two-day poetry marathon and took home 1 million tenge (US$6,517). A film about the two heroes, “Suranshi-Sauryk,” was also shown as part of the opening events. All the events, including the actual construction of the monument, were organised and funded with private money, about 200 million tenge (about US$1.3 million).
The celebrations continued at the Kokbastau racetrack with equestrian competitions between local horsemen and riders from Zhambyl and Astana. Winners received cash prizes and new cars.