No 3-4, 04.08.1999
PANY DOCTOR FROM KRIVOZERYE
Klara Rafikovna Yanglyayeva (Polish version of the name is Klara Janglajew)
Born in a teachersí family in the village of Krivozerye of Lyambir rayon. Graduated from Mordovian University in 1976. Since 1983 teaches mathematics at the University of Bialystok, Poland.
- Klara, why have you become a mathematician? Itís not a traditional profession for a woman, Sofia Kovalevskaya comes to my mind for some reason first.
- My grandfather Ibragim Aynetdinovich Yanglyayev worked in the administration of the Penza guberna, then he was the director of the school in Aksenovo, then in his native village of Krivozerye. My father Rafik Ibragimovich and mother Geldjihan Ibragimovna are teachers.
Following the family tradition I decided for myself that I would become a teacher, a teacher of mathematics. I liked this subject. Father wanted me to become a teacher too, but mother wished me to become a doctor.
I went to check in my papers to Teachers college. On my way there I met a student from our village and he recommended me to enter the university. I objected - Teachers college curriculum was only 4 years and I would become a teacher very soon. He said if I wanted I could work as a teacher in school both after graduating the university, but in return the professors there were much stronger and the most important was that the university was closer to Krivozerye than the college.
Yet he convinced me, though at the university I had to pass two exams on mathematics - written and oral, and at the college golden medallists were accepted just after an interview. At home I said to mother that I had not reached the college.
I had no regret - I passed these two exams with excellent marks and became a student of the Mordovian university. At the university I took an active part in public activities - I was the chairman of the studentsí scientific society and the monitor of my group.
- And how did it happen that you do not work at a school?
- I graduated from the university with honours diploma and wanted to go to a village to teach children, but I was convinced to remain at the department - on condition that I would work a year and if I did not like to teach students I would go to school to teach children. I worked for a year as an assistant. I liked it. Then I was recommended to the postgraduate studies.
I was reckoned as a postgraduate of the department of computational mathematics of Mordovian University, but my supervisor was from Kiev - the head of the department of high mathematics at the Institute of Civil Aviation Prof. Kim Galyamovich Valeyev, Doctor of mathematics, Bashkir by nationality.
When he took me to the postgraduate studies he said that their school was rather different, but he hoped that Tatars were obstinate people and I would overcome all obstacles. I overcame indeed. When I defended my dissertation in 1982 he said that he was not mistaken about me and I was one of his few progenies who had written their dissertations really themselves.
First I was writing the dissertation "Numerical methods of differential equations", then we changed the subject. The dissertation took the name "Analysis of the asymptomatical proceeding of the answers of differential equations". It turned out to be a big and good dissertation.
- Klara, how did it happen that you studied in Saransk, in Kiev and now you work in Poland? And besides, your name on the cover of the resume of your dissertation is not Janglajew but Gilevich?
- The fact is that when I was a postgraduate student I married a Polish mathematician Yanush Gilevich. We were together in postgraduate studies. I defended my thesis after accepting his name - Klara Gilevich.
After postgraduating I came back to Saransk, I gave birth to our son Kamil. I worked for a year at the department of computational mathematics. Then my destiny brought me to Poland. I did not want to go, there was the martial law declared by general Yaruzelski, "Solidarity", but I had to. Yanush came to see us some times from Poland, but I could not go there because of martial law. It could not last long and I had to .
In March, 1983, I went there with my son. And since Oktober I began to work for the University. At that time it was a filial branch of the University of Warsaw in Bialystok. We went there (to Bialystok) because we were immediately provided with a 4-room apartment.
- So how did Polish students meet a Soviet "Pany Doctor"?
- I worked, gaining gradually certain positions for myself at the university. In the beginning, of course, everyone were sizing me up. Moreover, that time there was "Solidarity", the USSR supported general Yaruzelski, I was from the USSR and they didnít like the Soviet people.
The faculty dean was afraid that students would boycott me, would not attend the lectures, there would be some trouble. But everything was just fine.
My Polish was poor then, I could understand it, but had difficulties with speaking, I would make lots of mistakes.
I told my students I would teach them mathematics as good as I could, and asked them to correct my Polish, saying that I would be only grateful to them.
Recently my former student came and asked me to write a review for her article and said that when their course gathered after the graduation, three teachers were mentioned with warmth and I was among them. I told her that they should have memorized me due to my accent and some funny incidents.
If you speak well, students do not usually remember it. And if there happens something funny while proving a theorem, they remember this demonstration for a long time.
I would usually give them 3, rarely 4 and 5. But nevertheless, they liked me. And my scientific work went well too - I made some new formulations for difference equations. But later I was offcast in science.
- What is the reason?
- The reason is that my husband and had a great personal tragedy - in 1987, a year after the atomic disaster in Chernobyl, our son Kamil died in Warsaw. He was only five years old. We had taken him to different clinics, but they couldnít help us anywhere, even in Paris in the Institute of Oncology.
That ruined our marriage. We decided to live separately. He went to another city and I stayed in Bialystok.
The pain of the loss was so strong that I didnít want anything in the life. In the winter, in the middle of the academic year, I packed up and left for my motherland, Mordovia. But it turned out that they didnít need me there. They told me in the University that there was no job for me, and they could give me some hours only in the beginning of the next academic year. They wouldnít give me a flat, only a place in a hostel. It meant that I would have to go to Saransk by train every day.
Moreover, when I came to the OVIR MVD (the department of visas and registration of the Department of Interior), a Selezneva told me that if I wanted to visit the grave of my son, I would have to ask permission in Moscow. And it would be possible only once a year.
And I understood that however difficult it might be in Poland, it would be more difficult for me in my motherland. I left for Bialystok again. There, at the department of mathematics, they gave me more hours of teaching for remembering my son werenít so painful for me. Really, a lot of work ceased the bitterness of my feelings.
When you come out to the students and hundreds of eyes are looking at you, you canít burst into tears there. You are reading lectures, checking papers, supervising your diploma writers. My diploma writers defended very well, they would stay as assistants at the chairs, would enter the postgraduate courses. They have been invited to two places in America. Generally speaking, I left the science and was busy with teaching only.
A great teaching load had its effect. Eventually I felt easier. I communicated with local Polish Tatars, went to the local meetinghouse (the mosque in Bialystok is only under construction), I talked for hours with Imam Ali Chalecki, with his wife pany Helema.
I was longing again to science and I went to Hungary with my old results to an international mathematical conference and I was sincerely amazed that my lecture roused such a great interest. I said that it was my old unpublished researches, that I wasnít engaged in science any more. Indeed, the ideas of these results appeared still in the USSR and I finally accomplished them in Poland already.
Prof. Saber Elady from Texas offered me to write together an article on differential equations. So I entered the science again, began to participate in international mathematical conferences, including the Second Worldwide congress on Nonlinear Analysis in Athens, July, 1996. I read there an hourís lecture on my subject. Itís a pity I couldnít go Taiwan to the conference on differential equations.
I go to such conferences 2 times a year in average. I have been to many countries. I have been three times to the USA, recently I was in Canada, Montreal. From there I went to Nebraska University (Lincoln city), USA. There I spoke too. I was surprised with the honours I was met and seen off with. I am from Poland, but when I said that I was born and studied in Russia, they spoke about me only as about a Russian mathematician. It doesnít matter where you work, where you live.
- But you are now a Polish citizen?
- I have become a Polish citizen because a Polish passport is much more convenient to travel with than a Russian one. You neednít any visas. After the USSR disintegration I did not change my Soviet passport.
I was detained at some border and they told me that the state had been disintegrated a lond time ago, that I had to take whether Russian, or Ukrainian, or Belorussian citizenship.
I went to Russian embassy in Warsaw, where I had an acquaintance. There were plenty of people, they did not let me get in. I gave my visiting-card to a guard and I was summoned. As it turned out of the conversation with my familiar official, I had to choose. If I, following my patriotic feelings, I have them, of course, become a Russian citizen, then I would always have inconveniences with passing borders and that would be a great difficulty in my professional development. I would have to wait for 1-2 months for visas in different embassies. If I become a Polish citizen, all the border problems disappear. So I stopped being a Soviet citizen and became a citizen of Poland, but in this case I changed back my maiden surname, though, according to the Polish rules, in masculine form. I defended my thesis under the name Gilevich and many of my works were published under this name, but I decided to recompense citizenship change recovering my aboriginal Tatar name.
- What is your scientific degree now? Students call you pany Doctor, have you defended the degree of Doctoral?
- Here in the West people do only one thesis and become a Doctor at once. And we have two degrees. Now Iím doing a work equivalent to our Doctorís thesis.
Our candidates in Poland are considered also Doctors, but we have to write once again a dissertation. It is called "habitatsia" - level endorsement. Earlier there were docentes (assistant professors) in Poland, now they are called adyunkts (associate professors).
A professor of a university after transferring to other university doesnít save automatically his degree. But there are so called "zvichayniy professors". But this degree is given only by the president of Poland. And it is valid all over the Poland.
- Donít you have a wish to move to America or some other country with a high standard of living? I think you have been made such offers?
- Many friends ask me, what makes me stay in Poland. To tell the truth the science is not very well financed in Poland. But better than in Russia. Itís already good that the Polish scientists attend different conferences all over the world, the government covers their expenses.
But Iím not going to move anywhere, because every place where we donít live seems to be better. I already got used to Bialystok, to the university, to the minimum social conditions. But the main reason is that my son Kamilís tomb is here. And moreover, it is convenient for me to visit my parents from Bialystok. You take bus to Grodno, then you take train to Moscow and Saransk isnít that far already.
- Have you ever met Tatars at scientific conferences?
- I havenít met Tatars in mathematics, my supervisor was a Bashkir. I have met mathematicians from Turkey. There was one mathematician from Kazan but he was Russian.
- There are two physicist in USA, Tatars by nationality, and one of them is going to the space.
- I have only heard in Montreal that they had a good dancer in their ballet, itís a pity I forgot the name.
- Tatars have strong positions in ballet, itís enough to name Rudolf Nuriev and Irek Muhammedov, the present dancer of the London Ballet in Covent-Garden.
- What is interesting, the Russians become stronger nationalists in emigration than in Russia. Recently I came back from Nebraska and met a teacher of one of the Bialystok colleges, she is Christian, Russian by nationality. She said she hadnít seen me for ages. I told her I was going to write a monograph, that I had been to Canada, to some other places. And I told her with what honours I was accepted in America. I told her I didnít expect them to greet me like that, although my name is widely famous only among the specialists. She said: "Oh, Klinton met you very good! Heís like Hitler, isnít he?" I told her that of course, the NATO shouldnít have bombed Yougoslavia, of course the NATO offended its own concept not to attack without being attacked, but...
- I have been several times the guest of Tatars in Minsk. Theyíve lost their language, they speak Belorussian language. Now they study Crimean Tatar and Kazan Tatar languages at the linguistic courses. And how do the Polish Tatars live?
- Bialystok TV makers are trying to convince me to give them an interview for a long time already - they say that their Tatars lost their language a long time ago, and I can speak my mother language. They would like me to say something in Tatar language.
Generally Tatars are respected people in Poland. They say there that Polish Tatars are more Patriots than Poles themselves. Tatars live in Poland since the beginning of the XIV century and have always defended it actively.
The last Polish military unit fighting against Germans in 1939, was the Tatar squadron of the 13th Ulan regiment, where Ali Chalecki served, the present Imam of "Warshavskoe i Bialostoskoe voevodstva".
In peacetime this regiment was camped in Nowawilejka, the squadron was under command of rotmistr (captain of cavalry) Aleksandr Yeliashevich. The squadron had its own bunchuk (horsetail) of old Tatar design and also its own Imam - a Tatar from Volga region Sungatulla Habibullin. (Tatar regiments in Poland and Lithuania were named Ulan regiments by the name of the most famous commander of such a regiment - Aleksandr Ulan, whose name descends from the Golden Orda title "Ulan", showing that the man belongs to the breed of Chengiz-Han. Later all the cavalry regiments built like the Tatar regiments of light cavalry began to be called Ulan regiments. - Note of I.B.) The squadron last fought near the village of Suhovolia in Liubelshchizna. Ali Chalecki was prisoned by the Germans and was set free only by the Red Army.
I constantly keep in touch with Imam Ali Chalecki and his wife pany Helema. They are very heartwarming people. They consoled me after the death of my son Kamil, pan Chalecki prayed over the tomb of my Kamil, buried in Bialystok.
There are two Moslem cemeteries, the so called Mizars, in the villages of Bohoniki and Krushyniany. We go to Moslem feasts to the village of Krushyniany, in 70 kilometers from Bialystok. Many Polish Moslems come there. Earlier people used tocome there on foot, it was something like a Hadj.
I generally stand for the idea of Tatars uniting wherever they were born, in order that they would help each other. If I meet anybody, I help him, though, he might have already forgotten his language. The main thing is for him to remember his origin.
The Jews had not been speaking their language for thousand years and nevertheless they have not forgotten who they are. At a conference in Jerusalem it seemed to me to that half of Israeli mathematicians spoke mostly Russian. Nevertheless they all help each other. We, Tatars, have a good example to follow.
University of Bialystok
Institute of Mathematics
Akademicka 2, 15-267 Bialystok