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Zarifa khanim was a rare, unique woman

Interview with  Chair of YAP Political Council, member of YAP Board of Directors, professor Nurlana Aliyeva

Q: Ms Aliyeva, April 28 marks the 92nd anniversary of of outstanding ophthalmologist, academician Zarifa Aliyeva. Who is Zarifa Aliyeva for you?

A: In the person of Zarifa Aliyeva we first and foremost can see the image of an ideal and real Azerbaijani woman. I think that the way she lived her life should be an example to follow for our young women. This is why Zarifa Aliyeva`s personality, her life must be promoted on a greater scale. Truly, for her lifestyle, her attitude to people the way she brought up her children, the way she treated her patients as a doctor, Zarifa Aliyeva must be considered a bright example of a perfect human being. In general, everyone who knew Zarifa Aliyeva personally and her family can san only good words of her.

Beside scientific career, Zarifa Aliyeva was a careful mother, wonderful and faithful wife. They say mother loves her child more than herself and Zarifa Aliyeva was such mother to her children. Our President Ilham Aliyev is a child who was brought up in the family of Zarifa Aliyeva.

Q: What role did the family factor and education played in Zarifa Aliyeva`s formation as a personality?

A: Aiming to devote herself to the medicine Z.Aliyeva entered in 1942 the Treatment and Prophylaxis Faculty of the Azerbaijan State Medical Institute that she graduated in 1947 with excellent marks. At the time, trachoma, an infectious disease causing harm to eye, grave consequences and even amaurosis, was widespread in Azerbaijan and effective fight with this infection and its serious consequences was an important issue not for ophthalmology only, even for the Republic of Azerbaijan. In such situation Azerbaijan strongly needed Zarifa Aliyeva, who was in detail studying this infectious disease and its treatment. Because many of blind people were suffering from this disease at the time. So, Z.Aliyeva visited big medical institutions of Azerbaijan, districts where trachoma was widely spread, delivered lectures for ophthalmologists on examination and treatment of trachoma and other eye diseases, talked to population. But it was not enough in fight with grave diseases. The republic was in need of fundamental studies on eye diseases of regional character, including professional eye diseases, development of effective methods to treat and prevent these diseases. Zarifa Aliyeva wanted to present the light to eyes deprived of bright, return love for life to those missing the beauty of the Sun and the Moon, fascination of colorful nature.

This desire took her to Moscow City and she acquired specialization of ophthalmologist after successfully completing the 2-year advanced training course at the All-Union Central Doctors Improvement Institute. Afterwards, Z.Aliyeva returned home and in 1949 began working as scientific worker at the Azerbaijan Eye Diseases Research Institute. In 1950 she entered the post graduate course, continued her researches. Engaged with development of medical and preventive actions against various eye diseases Zarifa Aliyeva dedicated the first phase of her scientific activity to treatment of infectious disease trachoma. Thus, the life itself determined the topic of first researches of Zarifa Aliyeva.

Q: What can you say of Zarifa Aliyeva`s scientific activity?

A: Looking at the rich and deep philosophy of life, spiritual world of Zarifa Aliyeva and her services in field of development of ophthalmology the one arrives at a conclusion that she was a comprehensive person. Interesting and decent life of Zarifa Aliyeva, an innovator scientist with inborn talent, honest and unique person, is the lesson of life and morality, the school of perfection and wisdom to every citizen of Azerbaijan, every scientist and doctor. Many articles and books have been and will be written about her scientific, medical and pedagogical actions and high moral qualities. The rich scientific heritage of Z.Aliyeva, studies she conducted in different spheres of ophthalmology, her achievements and fundamental works are the bright pages of the medicine of Azerbaijan.

Academician Zarifa Aliyeva implemented multi-profile studies on important problems of ophthalmology. As a selfless doctor she had much trouble in treatment of several eye diseases, putting an end to trachoma in Azerbaijan, carried out valuable researches to study different phases of the disease and find its treatment.

One of directions of the Scholar’s scientific activity was dedicated to ophthalmologic, histomicroscopic and histochemical study of eye.

Scientific conclusions by Zarifa Aliyeva were of huge importance for reviewing the standards on the possible degrees of toxicity and advancing new suggestions and recommendations. Those researches functioned as a basis to reduce the impact of medicines given to workers during those diseases. Results of Zarifa Aliyeva’s morphologic and histochemical studies were illustrated with color pictures, which contributed to the development of suggestions to recover industrial environment in those enterprises and implement the preventive measures recommended. Zarifa Aliyeva initiated the creation of a special problem laboratory to study pathology in eyesight of chemical industry workers.

Q: How can you describe Zarifa Aliyeva as a family head?

A: She was unique not in her sphere only but in everything. Unique person, spouse, mother, doctor, scientist… And at the head of all these notions there was human being with big heart. Because she was born in such a family, grown and trained in such an environment that she just could not be otherwise, as it is said in a proverb ‘as the tree, so the fruit’. Zarifa Aliyeva is one of the unique persons successfully uniting rich genetic codes and large mental possibilities. Great person and doctor Aziz Aliyev had trouble and care in her formation as a personality. She had a big heart. Zarifa Aliyeva was extraordinary mother with special attitude on her children. It is hard to find an attitude like that.

She was suggesting confidence and optimism to people, giving useful advices, gently and kindly diverting them from the wrong way and bad thoughts. Kindly and patiently listening to her interlocutor she used to politely ignore the insignificant views, focus on most important details. Despite hard work, she was able to remember the smallest details of issues and correctly count the course of the events.

Zarifa Aliyeva had another unique and distinctive feature too. She used to interfere in issues with all features specific to her entire nature. She used to dedicate all her skills, incomprehensible and inexhaustible resources of her soul in this. She was always ready to disinterestedly help people. She used to accept concerns of others as hers. Face of her interlocutor was sparkling with the light coming from the bottom of her black and bright eyes. That was the light that wisdom and inspiring goodwill was endowing her interlocutor with a new optimism and energy.

Q: Her family was committed to real Azerbaijani values, and it is an example for every family…

A:  Zarifa Aliyeva, a head of scientific studies, scholar, pedagogue, doctor, public figure, was a nice mother and spouse as well. She dedicated all her life to her husband, children and grandchildren. She was caring about each member of family, taking part in medical consultations when one of them was sick, controlling their correct nutrition. She much loved kids and was a good doctor-psychologist. When kids were quarrelling, she knew whom reproach and whom cherish. And children loved her not in vain. I would not make a mistake if I call Zarifa Aliyeva a benevolent genius of her family. Because thanks to her, convenience in the family was assured, her children were protected from disease and evil eye. In my life I have seen people of different professions, family conflicts, but I do not remember the second person having dedicated herself completely to her family as Zarifa Aliyeva. The aim of her life was to help people in hard times. It was noticed in her attitude even to people quite distant from her. I must say a few words about Mrs. Zarifa Aliyeva as a woman as well. Nature endowed her with an extraordinary feminine beauty. Her appearance, thick hairs, lines on the face, open forehead, touching black eyes aroused admiration. She was completely expressed in her moves and face. I have never seen her nervous, furious. She was always friendly, kind. Her hands were specially beautiful. Hands of this little woman-surgeon warmed everything, and these hands reflected family concerns as well. Though Zarifa Aliyeva belonged to a high stratum, she did not avoid domestic works.