By Chingiz Huseynov
When Fatali met Melkum khan in Istanbul, he was amazed at his naïve and clear eyes and young face. His moustache did not make him look older. On the contrary, it emphasized his youth. Yes, Melkum khan is about thirty years old, while Fatali is in his late fifties; had his son been alive, he would be the same age as Melkum khan…
Fatali knew that Melkum khan was Armenian by origin and for some reason, as soon as they met, he remembered Khachatur Abovian…
Then, when they were alone for a moment, Fatali said, “I have heard much about you, I did not want to speak about it in front of strangers. About your Masonry and the “House of Oblivion.” But what oblivion can there be when such things take place all around us?! However, I am glad that you found strength in yourself to recover after the deportation. You can’t have any problems: you excellently know French, Turkish and your native languages – Persian and Armenian! You found an excellent way out when, after appearing here, you adopted Turkish citizenship – your opinion will be taken into consideration even more in Persia. You will see, they will bow at your feet! It is just the beginning that you are adviser of your embassy in Istanbul – where can they find educated people like you?”
After returning from Turkey, Fatali once told in the circle of his Nukhi countrymen about his meeting with Melkum khan, how Melkum khan had rejoiced at his ideas about alphabet and praised the “Deceived Stars.”
“Of course he will be glad,” he was suddenly interrupted by his countryman, one of the pupils of Akhund-Alesker, he often comes to Tiflis on business and stays with them. “Why shouldn’t he be glad?!” The guest was angry and it caused an oppressive silence in the room. “Because he is Armenian! Why should he be worried about our Muslim affairs?”
“I would not exchange one Armenian like him for a hundred of my countrymen!” Fatali protested. “Even the Sheikh ul-Islam of Tiflis, Muslim leader Akhund Molla-Ahmed Huseynzade, is more progressive than you!
Even he mentions Melkum khan’s name with respect!..” (That countryman did not visit them after that).
“My Melkum khan, my Ruhul Qudus – Archangel Gabriel! The other one sometimes flew from Allah to Prophet Muhammad for trifling matters, while you brought me the light, strengthened in me the faith in the future and gave me hope when I lost heart. And our fight for the people’s enlightenment. And our talks about your Masonic lodges!... Why are you silent?!”