Hisam Kurban- The Contemporary Uyghur Humorist


Mt Zunun


Hisam Kurban, known as the contemporary Uyghur humourist, was a celebrated figure renowned for his ability to impart wit and wisdom within the Uyghur community. With a unique style characterized by sharp wit and subtle delivery, he earned the affectionate moniker "Hisam Kurban Chakchaks." His jokes provided insights into Uyghur societal values, customs, and cultural nuances, addressing family dynamics, marriage traditions, and gender roles. Beyond entertainment, Hisam's contributions serve as a valuable reflection of shared cultural values and constitute an integral part of Uyghur's intangible heritage. His legacy endures, resonating with the Uyghur people long after his passing.

Keywords: Uyghur humourist, Ghulja, Hisam Kurban, Chakchaks, Uyghur culture, 

Hisam Kurban, often referred to as the contemporary Uyghur joker and Modern Nasirdin Khoja, was a luminary of humour celebrated for his ability to spread wit and wisdom from the heart of the Uyghur region. His masterful humour entertained and shed light on Uyghur society's positive values and critical social issues during his era. His unique style of humour, characterized by sharp wit and subtle delivery, earned him the affectionate nickname "Hisam Kurban Chakchaks."

His jokes delved deep into Uyghur society's expected values, customs, and cultural structures. They explored various cultural topics, including the intricate elements of Uyghur family dynamics, marriage traditions, the roles of women and men within families, and notions of respect, harmony, and hospitality in marriages.

His contributions extended beyond mere entertainment; they served as a valuable reflection of shared cultural values and can rightfully be recognized as part of the intangible cultural heritage of the Uyghur people. On September 15, 2013, at approximately 4:30 in Urumqi, Hisam Kurban, the contemporary Uyghur humorist, bid farewell to this world, leaving behind a legacy of laughter and cultural insight that continues to resonate with the Uyghur people.

Biographical Details

Hisam Kurban, a renowned humorist, was born in 1930 in the Orda community of Ghulja City into a family of modest means. His journey through life was marked by resilience, creativity, and an unparalleled talent for bringing laughter to people's lives. Despite facing various challenges, Hisam's wit and humour would go on to make him a beloved figure in Uyghur culture.

Early Years and Education:

Between 1940 and 1944, Hisam attended Beytulla Madrasah in Ghulja City, laying the foundation for his early and creative development. Unfortunately, he could not continue his formal education due to family difficulties, leading him to venture into petty business endeavours.

Artistic Pursuits and New Beginnings:

In the early 1950s, Hisam found his calling in art. From 1951 to 1961, he dedicated his talents to art schools in Ili Province and Ghulja County, leaving an indelible mark on the cultural landscape. However, the disbandment of the Ghulja County Art Group in 1961 led him to explore a different path.

Agricultural Interlude and Return to Ghulja:

Embracing change, Hisam worked in agriculture in Turpanyuzi and Geme villages until 1966. In late 1966, he returned to Ghulja City, where he would resume showcasing his extraordinary comedic skills.

Recognition and Popularity:

In September 1980, Hisam participated in the 3rd Literary and Artist Congress of the Autonomous Region. His performance captivated artists across the Uyghur Region, earning him widespread acclaim. This pivotal event paved the way for further recognition and opportunities to refine his craft.

Legacy and Cultural Impact:

Hisam's contributions to Uyghur humour and culture earned him the title of "Mr Nasirdin of our time," a testament to his enduring influence. Through his wit and jokes, he nourished his people spiritually, leaving an indelible mark on Uyghur folklore.

Farewell to a Legend:

On September 15, 2013, at approximately 4:30 in Urumqi time, Hisam Kurban passed away peacefully at his home in Ghulja city. His departure marked the end of an era, but his legacy lives on through the laughter and joy he brought to countless lives.

Some of his Jokes

Late at night, Hisam encountered an unusual sight—a woman with dishevelled, cottony hair and an eccentric dress approached him. Sensing unease, she turned to Hisam and asked, "Hisamka, please accompany me to my house? I'm feeling frightened on the way."

Intrigued by her peculiar appearance and request, Hisam inquired, "What is it you're afraid of?"

With a nervous tone, she replied, "I'm afraid of a genie."

Hisam, wanting to alleviate her worries,  responded reassuringly, "Fear not, sister! You needn't be afraid. Go ahead confidently, and the genie will surely run away from you."

Note : 
The respective honorifics 'Aka' or 'Ka' are used to address elderly men by adding them at the end of their names. Such as Hisamka. 

 بىر كۈنى كەچتە چاچلىرىنى پاخپايتىپ، غەلىتە كىيىنىپ يۈرىدىغان بىر ئايال ھېسامغا دەپتۇ:

-ھىسامكا، ئۆيۈمگە ئاپىرىپ قويۇڭە، يولدا قورقىمەن.

-نېمىدىن قورقىسىز؟

-جىندىن قورقىمەن.

ھېسام جاۋاب بېرىپتۇ:

-ھېچقىسى يوق سىڭلىم، قورقماي ماڭىۋېرىڭ، مۇشۇ تۇرقىڭىزدا جىنلارمۇ سىزدىن قورقۇپ قېچىپ كېتىدۇ.

Hisam and his friend were having a light-hearted conversation when,   suddenly, his friend came up with a rather peculiar idea. He turned to Hisam and jokingly suggested, "Hey, Hisam, if we meet our untimely demise simultaneously, let's be buried together in the same grave. After all, we won't get tired of each other's company, right?"

 However, Hisam seemed taken aback by the proposal and responded with a hint of hesitation, "Nah, my friend, I don't think I can go along with that plan. I'd rather not lie in a grave with you."

 Perplexed by Hisam's unexpected refusal, his friend asked in surprise, "Why not? What's the matter, my friend?"

 Hisam delivered the punchline with a mischievous smile, "Well, my friend, it's all about your snoring. I'm afraid I wouldn't get a wink of eternal sleep with your symphony of snores keeping me awake!"

ھېسامنىڭ بىر ئاغىنىسى ئۇنىڭغا چاقچاق قىپتۇ :

-ئاغىنە ،ئىككەيلەن تەڭلا ئۆلسەك ،بىر گۆرگە قويسا ،چاقچاقلىشىپ يېتىپ زېرىكمەيتۇق -دە؟

-ياق ،بۇرادەر ،سەن بىلەن بىر گۆردە ياتمايمەن.

-نېمىشقا ؟-ھەيران بوپتۇ ئاغىنىسى.-سېنىڭ خورەك تارتىدىغان ئەسكى قىلىقىڭ بار،ئۇ يەردىمۇ مېنى ئارام خۇدا ئۇخلاتمايسەن ،-دەپتۇ ھېسام


China English Radio Network. 2013. "Hesam, the joke leader of the Uyghur people, died." Accessed September 2, 2021.  http://uyghur.people.com.cn/165019/15352725.html .

Muhammed, Mahmut. 1982. Hesam's Jokes. Xinjiang People's Publishing House, Urumqi.

Sopi, Nijat. 2014. "A Study on Ili Jokes." Xinjiang Journal of Social Science Research, no. 1.

Zunun, Memet T. (2019) The Encyclopedia of Uyghur Tradition and Social Customs. London: Uyghur Language Study.