- Kulab city in Khatlan
- New monument in Kulab.
The configuration of events galvanized entire Tajik nation into a festive mood. Besides a march past by contingents of Tajik armed forces personnel numbering more than ten thousand at an impressive ceremony at the Samani Squire and under the shadow of the imposing statue of Ismail Samani, the founder of the 9th century Samani kingdom of Bukhara, there were various cultural programmes also to mark the day of great pride for the Tajiks.
A very conspicuous undercurrent of all these functions was the resonant cry for what may be called “back to basics”. It is the revival of pre-Islamic civilization of the Tajiks and more significantly their Aryan ethnicity. Scholars, political activists, students and the Tajik civil society in general are vociferously enthusiastic about their land being the place of the origination of the ancient race of the Aryans. According to their historians and researchers, the Aryans in the hoary past dispersed to various parts of Eurasia from their land — the ancient Sogd or Sogdiana and Tukhara or Tukharistan, which includes the Greek settlement of Bactria.
Central Asia or Turkistan was overrun by Arab legions in the late 7th and early 8th century. The conquerors set up satrapies in the vast Khurasan and Turkistan regions, which gradually shaped into a mix of Arab Islamic — Zoroastrian civilization pattern. However, the fact of the mater is that like other Aryan regions that came under the sway of the victorious Arabs during the hey day of their power, the Tajiks also never really bade adieu to their pre-Islamic moorings and traditions. The history of post-Islamic Khurasan or the eastern part of the then Baghdad Caliphate reveals that several determined, though unsuccessful attempts were made by sections of spirited nationalists to revert to their ancient cultural roots.
Viewed in the context of rising crescendo of Islamic religious extremism in various parts of Asia, and particularly among the Aryan and non-Semitic ethnic groups in the proximity of and within the boundaries of Tajikistan, one may presume that this could as well be the first society of its kind that aspires to raise its head from under a deep and wide Islamization process imposed on the people in the entire region. The antiquarian trend forcefully launched and ardently supported by the ruling apparatus in Dushanbe, has to be understood as the first outspoken reaction of a Central Asian state with 92% Muslim Sunni (Hanafi) population to religious extremism accompanied by acts of violence. This nullifies the argument of these extremists that their resorting to violence emanates from injustice to and oppression of the Muslims.
If this Pan-Aryan historical — cum — social movement escalates with the passage of time, which somehow appears rather unlikely to happen, then radical Islam will be face to face with a serious challenge within. Secular democracies, now targeted by theo-fascists are bound to attach much more significance to this unprecedented social phenomenon.
The painful recollections of the civil war that immediately followed the declaration of independence in 1991, the looming threat of fundamentalist Taliban to the south and the haranguing of Pan-Turkism ideology of the northern State of Uzbekistan, are a combination of catalysts to the new trend in Tajikistan. Tajik identity remained submerged for many centuries first under the ferocious Mongol and Turk invasions and then under the autocratic rule of the Khanate of Bukhara. The Tajiks had welcomed the imperial Czarist expansion southward in the middle of the 19th century in the hope of being relieved from the clutches of a classical oriental autocratic dispensation. No less unjust were the communists to them who, under their cartographic engineering plan, detached two major and historical Tajik towns, namely Bukhara and Samarkand from their newly formed state and allotted them to the territorial jurisdiction of Uzbekistan. A cumulative result of these suppressions and deprivations was the sense of loss of identity. The Tajiks do not want to lose time in re-claiming their historical identity now that for the first time after the collapse of their 10th century kingdom of the Samanids, they are again the masters of their destiny.
Along with the celebrations of the Aryan year, Tajikistan also celebrated the 15th year of their independence. How the present leadership managed to steer the nation through extremely difficult and turbulent times since 1991, has won appreciation of knowledgeable circles at home and abroad. The country dogged by lawlessness for several years after the declaration of independence, has gradually returned to normalcy and security. Tajikistan is now a full-fledged member of international community. She is engaged in economic development through all possible means, local and foreign investment, development of essential segments of infrastructure, collaboration with MNCs and sustaining friendly and cordial relations with the neighbouring and distant countries.
Tajikistan is trying to make judicious use of its rivers. Hydroelectric projects of Rowgan and Sangtudeh I and II will produce sufficient electric power for export. Blueprints for projects on Zarafshan, Vakhsh and Panjrud are finalized. The aluminium factory with latest technology and equipment has provided employment to tens of thousands of workers. Construction of roads and bridges of strategic nature and of international utility are underway. The Kulab-Khorog-Qala, and also Dushanbe-Jargnal-Sarbatash highways will have immense impact on the economy of the country. Construction of bridges at Penj and Ishakashim is in hand. The Anzob tunnel, an engineering feet, ensures communication and traffic round the year between the capital and the province of Sogd.
Tajikistan has succeeded in attracting foreign investment for development. As a result of an economic agreement with the US, nearly 610 million US dollar worth investment has been made by MNCs in Tajikistan.
Tajikistan is wedded to secular democratic dispensation. Tajik constitution forbids discrimination on the basis of religion, creed, colour, gender etc. It recommends an open society where woman have equal rights and opportunities with men. Tajik women with hundred per cent literacy are represented in all social and political institutions of the sate and in its organs.
In her foreign policy, Tajikistan is an ardent supporter of international peace, human rights and cordial relations with all countries. She is a member of Shanghai -5 besides being a signatory to many bilateral and multilateral agreements with various governments aimed at the development of Tajikistan.
But this picture is still incomplete because for the rulers of Tajikistan there remains much to do. People have to be provided with a better standard of living, which means better education, healthcare, job opportunity, business facilities etc. Many existing institutions need to be streamlined and made more efficient to serve the civil society. More democratization of public institutions is needed. The culture of democracy has to percolate down to the masses of people and it has to become a way of life. Being in the eye of international community as an increasingly stable region, Tajikistan will have to play the role of a major entity in Central Asia.