He opened eye to the world in Shabistar in 1923. When he was just 5-6 years old wish to go to school and after a long time of begging and insistence his mother let he go to school with is sisters which had been at their home street. The teacher was a woman called Zehra Beyim who had a class for teaching Koran for boys and girls altogether and Zehtabi finally had got her approval for studying there. He had learned alphabet for a while and soon he had started reading very popular novels in his mother language, Turkish, like Asli and Karam love story, Khavarnameh, Alparslan, and Hosein Kürd Shbisteri epics, etc.
Prof. Zehtabi himself explained the later years as follow: Then I went to Mirza Ibrahim's school and Golshaneh Raaz primary state school in Shabistar and began to learn Farsi and forgot all about learning my mother language. Later I went Tabriz and studied at intermediate school and then at collage and together with Farsi I learned French and Arabic but I never even thought about studying my own mother language and I perceived it as natural. This was because all social condition and air and state organizations were directed against it and children who dared to speak in mother language were hardly punished and fined.
In the year of 1945 Riza shah's dictatorship ended and again the Azerbaijan newspaper restarted publishing. Becoming familiar with this paper tied Zehtabi's life with mother language forever. From the time on my struggle to study my mother language at universities and colleges came to nothing and all gates were blocked.
He then escaped in USSR just for studying mother language at Baku. But instead he was sent to court and jailed and exiled to Siberia's labor camps. Two years later he had been sent to Dushanbe (Tajikistan).
Zehtabi explained this period as follow: I studied there for a year at an evening school and got a diploma and sent it with a written application to University of Baku. Two weeks later I got an approval letter and packed my books and went Baku to study my mother language and settled in a hostel.
One day head of hostel came to me and after asking my name said," President of University (the great chemist and academia inventor Yusuf Memmed Aliyev from Nakhchivan) wants to see you. Go to him and see what is he wants to tell you."
Yusuf Memmed Aliyev asked my name and my home town and then asked me," what course do you want to study?"
"Azerbaijani Language and Literature", I answered. When he heard this mentioned to my diploma on his table and said," you have good marks and want study language?! Do study chemistry!"
"But sir my nation now is in need of this," I answered.
He startled and got up and came to me took my hand warmly and shake," I hope you succeed." he said sent me.
After a five year study he began to teach Arabic literature in Baku University Orient Studies Faculty and from then he thought about the way to send mother language knowledge to his nation because his nation was in need of it.
Prof. Zehtabi was in struggle to get Iraq in the time of Abdul Karim Qasem for more than 12 years and going to Moscow and back to Baku all the time to get in Iraq and seeking for becoming refugee. Finally e succeeded and went Iraq in 1971 and settled at Baghdad and taught Farsi and Ancient Turkish languages at the University of Baghdad.
After 1979 Revolution a week later he came to transient government to get permission to come back to his motherland and 5 months after approval he got back to Tabriz and began to teach Turkish and Arabic at Tabriz University. After a long 30 years of departure being among his people he made acquaintance of hundreds of young girls and boys and as a result he found the great enthusiasm among people to learn and safe guard their mother language and found that his great book of teaching mother language (Iranian Turkish Language Conjugation) printed in foreign country is too complex for them.
At this time universities got closed up but Zehtabi went on working at Tabriz University and wrote his valuable book, Lexicology of Contemporary Literary Azeri Language and together with it e wrote a simplified book containing Phonetics and Conjugation of mother language.
In 1989 Tabriz Radio Officials came to him and proposed him to teach literary language to reporters broadcasting programs for foreign countries. He was more than willing to make use of this little chance of teaching mother language to some of his people even if they were to give service to and unwanted government. Through this program he wrote the book, Contemporary Literary Azeri Language (Phonetics and Conjugation).
Prof. Zehtabi went on his educational activities to revive his mother language to the end. He revived our mother language and history in his classes with what we can call it an alternative educational university of language and history and culture in country in which racism policy had forbidden and falsified everything you can think of. He led and revived a nation whose moralities had been declared as discussing and had been ruined by chauvinism and he brought up an awakening, civil and nonviolent movement of acknowledging movement.
Zehtabi's active, studious, fruitful and successful life ended in 23.12.1998.
His published books:
1) Old History of Iranian Turks (2 volums)
2) Falcon in Chain (Poem), Tabriz
3) Contemporary Literary Azeri Language
4) Lexicology, Tabriz
5) Syntax of Azerbaijani Turkish
6) My memories with Ali Agha Vahid
7) Life of Butterfly (Poem), Baghdad
8) Baghban, The son of Nation (Poem), Tabriz
9) The Myth of Commando, Baghdad
10) From Bez Castle, Berlin
11) The Luck in Sleep, Baghdad
12) Wind's Existence, Baghdad
13) Contemporary Literary Azeri Language Phonology and Grammar rule
14) Lets it be 10- short stories, Tabriz
15) Qavad-al-Farsiyeh (Arabic)
16) Crimes of Kings through 2500 Years
17) If Farsi Is Superior to Other International Languages?, Baghdad
18) Ark (weekly Journal), Berlin
19) Way of Unity (monthly journal), Baghdad
Works that are not published yet:
1) Youthfulness and Wreath
2) Poetry of Mirza Mojiz Shabistarli (5 volums)
By Gholamreza Poorbagher
Translated by: Araz Bilgin