Centennial Celebration of the Birth of Khachig Tashdents (1910 -1974)

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By Zarmine Boghosian

OAKLAND GARDENS, N.Y. — On Sunday, February 20, the Hamazkayin Educational and Cultural Society and the Tekeyan Cultural Association chapters of metropolitan New York sponsored an event at the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the birth of the poet, educator, novelist and Shakespearian translator Khachig Tashdents. Tashdents translated 17 works of William Shakespeare, four works of William Saroyan and an extensive work about Lord Byron and the Armenians into Armenian.

Opening remarks were delivered by Dr. Hrant Markarian, who introduced the guest of honor, the award-winning stage and movie actor Azad Kasbarian, who was specially invited for this event from Armenia.

Kasbarian has had roles in more than 20 films and is also the author of the book Im Lezvis Dag Poosh Chga (There Is No Thorn under My Tongue). He has released a number of CDs in which he recites some of the great works of Armenian literary giants such as Yeghishe Charents, Barooyr Sevag, Siamanto and Tashdents.

A biographical movie of the life and scholarly works of Tashdents, which was prepared and premiered in Yerevan, was also shown to the capacity-filled audience.

The students of Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School honored Tashdents by performing two songs whose lyrics were written by the man of the day: Mesrob Mashdotsin, with music by Bishop Zareh Aznavorian, and Khosink Hayeren, with music by Berj Turabian, and directed by Anahid Boghossian.

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The afternoon continued with panel discussions. Questions were asked directly of Anahid Tashdents Turabian, daughter of the prominent writer. The panelists: Avedis Hadjian, Arevig Caprielian and Zarminé Boghosian asked questions which highlighted the many experiences and hardships Tashdents Turabian’s father went through, from orphanages to the Soviet era.

The program was enriched by the recitations and humor of Kasbarian. During the conclusion, on behalf of the joint committees, Hagop Vartivarian thanked the participants of the program, especially Kasbarian for his brilliant performance.

A wine-and-cheese reception followed the program to allow the audience more time to reflect on this literary program. It was truly a fitting tribute to the life and works of Tashdents.

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