AKMAN-TOKMAN

The name Akman-Tokman is known from ancient times. It is a historic name. Bashkorts were the only inhabitants here. The land was very fertile and rich in fauna and flora. Wolves, bears, foxes, hares, minks, sables were innumerable. The rivers were full offish, the woods were full of honey and beasts. Native people were used to hunting, bee-keeping and cattle-breeding. They adhered to nomadism, so the Bashkorts had their winter houses, but in spring they left them for pastures, green meadows and installed their temporary dwellings, so-called tirme. They were like nomadic tents. The Bashkorts lived free and happily until the black hurricane came from the East, from the Altai Mountains one summer. All people were on pastures, near the rivers with their cattle and horses. Not all the area was reached by invaders. Mostly southern regions, near the Yayik river suffered. The Khan left his chiefs with warriors there, who subdued local people. Those regions and their population were divided among the invaders. Each of them was given its tamga* - a symbolic tree and a symbolic bird. One tribe was given a pine-tree as a tamga, a specific axe as a symbolic weapon and the war-cry ???Salawat???. The Bashkorts who lived under the Khan's reign had to pay taxes to those chiefs.

It wasn't very hard at first, because the Bashkorts had enough pelts and honey. But new orders came from the Khan. According to one of them young men had to serve in the Khan's army. Another duty was to send horses for the Khan's army. The Bashkorts were oppressed their life became hard and they began to oppose the invaders. One of the opposition leaders was Suraman-batyr by name. He assembled many young men and killed the Khan's men, who came to collect taxes. And the Khan sent his warriors there. Suraman with his wife and his men were fighting against the enemy for a long time. They usually escaped in the mountains and thick woods. It was possible for the Khan's warriors to fight with the Bashkorts in summer. But the warriors couldn't reach them in winter, because snow covered all the roads. No war was then. When spring came the war renewed.

Many years the uprising went on. Suraman grew old in the meantime and died during one of the battles. His wife replaced him, and she was injured. She had two sons Akman and Tokman. Before death their mother told Akman and Tokman their father's precept: "It's better to die in battle for independence than to live as slaves." She said: "You were small boys when your father died. Now I'm leaving you alone. And you are grown-ups, you must follow your father's words. Don't forget it, my dear sons!" So Akman and Tokman led their tribe to battles. They fought against the Khan for many years. One winter both of them with a hundred of faithful people went to the Urals to weather away cold times. Unfortunately there was a traitor among those men. One black night he ran away and told the chief where the group was hiding. The traitor was given a gift for his prompt. The Khan sent a large troop of warriors there. The Bashkorts had to climb the mountains and soon they crossed the Urals. But they were encircled by the enemy troops. The weather was changeable and snow melted, then turned to ice again. Snow-storms began. The Bashkorts were short of food and shelter. Empty steppes surrounded them, a blizzard was blowing hard. Akman and Tokman with their ten friends died there from cold and hunger. Only some men came to the village, where the Khan's forces stayed. So the rest of the group died in the battle. However two brave girls were saved. But they were captured, executed and beheaded. The uprising stopped for a while. People called the blizzard "Akman-Tokman" in honour of the two heroes. This name has been in existence for seven centuries as the name of the snow-storm.