In 1917, responding to Andranik’s call to save their homeland from the approaching danger, Hovhannes Tumanyan without hesitation sent his adult children (four sons and four daughters) to his service.
When homeland is endangered
“I have four sons, and I put all of them under the government’s, National Assembly’s, and your command. As for my four daughters, they will readily take up any work they can in the rear.
I undoubtedly do not have anything else. Therefore, I won’t regret sparing anything in order for all the honorable nations to draw back the oncoming threat and protect their sacred rights and freedom.
I unfalteringly believe in your experience tested in the storms of challenges, your fiery patriotism, your love of liberty, as well as your humanity and your innate talent of a commander. I am ready to come anywhere whenever necessary, responding to your brotherly call,” wrote great Armenian poet Hovhannes Tumanyan in his letter to Zoravar Andranik in December 1917.
Andranik’s call to Armenian people
In 1917 – 18, the menace of Turkish assault loomed over Armenian provinces. WWI was still raging when Russian regular units left the South Caucasus due to the October Revolution.
In such tough conditions, the newly-formed Armenian military forces attempted to do the impossible – somehow save the situation and hold Western Armenia at least in part. Alas, this was impossible due to the absence of sovereignty, the dissolution of the front by the government of Transcaucasia, and the onslaught of superior Turkish troops.
The Armenian corps under the command of Tovmas Nazarbekyan and Special Armenian Rifle Division under command of Andranik Ozanyan resisted the Turkish regular troops at the time. On 22 December, 1917, Andranik’s call to the Armenian people was published in Armenian media.
“I address each man capable of holding a weapon regardless of social class, be he a peasant, craftsman, or a representative of the high class. I address all adult students to arm themselves and arrive on the front.
I call upon each mother and sister to not accept traitors under their sacred roofs. Spit in their faces and send them to the barracks. A traitor is a mother who encourages her son, husband, or brother to stay home, exhausted and devoid of love towards freedom.”
Tumanyan’s patriotic behavior in this fateful moment became an example for everyone. A day later, he sent an open letter to Andranik, which caused spirited response and inspiration among Armenian communities.
Tumanyan believed that at the time, every Armenian had to voluntarily aid their soldiers, and committed himself to put 100 rubles into the collective depository.