In Tajikistan, October 5 is celebrated as the State Language Day.
President Emomali Rahmon, whose birthday falls on this holiday, congratulated not only the residents of the country, but also all Tajik language speakers and added that “the language issue is one of the most important directions of the state policy and government of independent Tajikistan.” By mentioning the names of Rudaki and Ainy, he mentioned the vast territory and ancient history of the language. This is at a time when Tajik intellectuals living in Samarkand and Bukhara are also saying happy language day, but they are talking about their problems.
“Unfortunately, we lost the schools”
“Our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren speak Tajik language at home and on the street. They study in Uzbek language at school. What can be expected from these? If our children go to school in their mother tongue, Ibn Sinoho, Ahmadi Donishho, Sadriddin Ainiho will leave Bukhara again,” said Rahmat Gulzoda, a resident of Bukhara.
He fears that his children and grandchildren will not be able to pass on their native language to future generations and that his native language will survive.
In the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, where for hundreds of years Tajik Persian was the language of people’s conversation, government, science and art, now, according to Tajik intellectuals living in Uzbekistan, it is “in a difficult phase of its history”.
According to residents of Bukhara and Samarkand, in the last hundred years the influence of the Tajik language has been gradually decreasing. Professor Asliddin Kamarzoda said, “There were Tajik schools in Samarkand, in other regions, except Khorazm and Karakalpakstan. Now it is in many provinces. Unfortunately, the Tajik school almost disappeared in Bukhara in recent years. Make no mistake, one class is in Shavghan, Asad Gulzoda village. One class, not a school.”
According to the Tajiks of Uzbekistan, the decline in the prestige of the Tajik language coincides with the years of bad political relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan under President Islam Karimov.
According to official statistics, during the time of the former Soviet Union, 380 Tajik schools operated in Uzbekistan, but in the last 30 years, the number of these schools has decreased sharply. Tajik intellectuals living in Uzbekistan say that in the early years of independence, there were approximately 70 Tajik and mixed schools with separate classes in the Tajik language in the city of Samarkand.
Amina Sharofiddinova, a cultural activist in the city of Samarkand, says, “Our Tajik schools are decreasing day by day. They decrease in intensity. We had 85 Tajik schools in Samarkand region in 1997-98. Of these, 45 schools are completely Tajik. Unfortunately, we lost the schools.”
“Many Tajik classes were closed during Karimov’s time. There was a lot of restriction. There is no limit now. There is a television in Tajik language in Samarkand. The radio is in Tajik language. “Gulobod” newspaper publishes one page in Tajik language in the districts of Samarkand,” said journalist and writer Zahir Hassanzoda.
Poet Hadya Bukharai: “A language that appeared centuries ago has become a home language in Uzbekistan today. This is a nightmare. It is like a “prison”. It is considered permanent in prison.”
Writer Adash Istad: “Some nationalists say that only one language of a state-forming nation should become the state language, and other languages should not be given the same rights. In Europe, we know that even 4-5 languages of the people, which are few in number, have been given state status. This does not harm the reputation of the main state language and does not reduce its value.”
Others believe that the closure of Tajik schools is due to a decrease in demand for them.
Matluba Odinayeva, senior editor of the Tajik department of Bukhara state television and radio, believes that one reason for the disappearance of Tajik schools and classes is that parents try to choose Uzbek or Russian schools for their children’s future “career”.
“Many Tajik schools operate in Shahrisabz. Unfortunately, it is less in Bukhara. The doors are not closed, the population does not send their children to Tajik classes in recent years. Today there is a question of opening Tajik classes. They are working. The point is that the same classes can collect the required number? The norm for one class is 15-25 people. If this number is collected, of course, these classes will be opened,” he explained.
“They burned the books”
Writer and journalist Shahzoda Samarkandi also confirms the decrease in demand for Tajik schools, but links the reason to political motives.
He said: “During the fall of the Soviet Union, in the school where I studied, named after Mirzo Tursunzoda, an order came from Tashkent to burn all the books with the introduction of Lenin or Gorbachev or the word USSR. This was not because we should forget the Soviet Union. Russian books were not burned, while the same words were in Russian books. They said that the Russian Federation still exists, there are Russian books, but Tajik books were burned. I am not sure whether Uzbek books were burned or not. But Tajik books were burned. This caused parents to send their children to Russian schools. This led to a decrease in the number of Tajiks in the classes where children were registered every summer. With this excuse, many schools in Samarkand were closed.”
In the last five years, according to active Tajiks in the Uzbek society, the state’s attitude towards the Tajik language has softened a little. In particular, the books of several Tajik writers living in Uzbekistan were published in Tajik language, and departments of Tajik language and literature were opened in two universities.
Professor Asliddin Kamarzoda said, “Tajik schools have increased in Tashkent region, Piskent district, Bekobod, Chirchik, Ghazalkent. A department of Tajik language and literature was opened at the Pedagogical University of Tashkent region, and a group graduated this year. There are also elementary classes. Look, it wasn’t there, but they opened it, it was opened in Sukh region, where there are many Tajiks.”
But those Tajik schools are also facing the problem of lack of textbooks. Years ago, textbooks and educational literature were brought from Tajikistan for Tajik schools. It is not known how much Tajikistan contributes to providing these schools with textbooks.
Asliddin Kamarzoda said, “before, during the Soviet era, most of our books came from Tajikistan.” From the 1st grade to the 11th grade. Even the Tajik press was widely distributed in Samarkand.”
During the state visit of Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Tajikistan in the spring of 2018, the heads of Dushanbe and Tashkent announced the establishment of cooperation, including in the field of science, culture and education. At that time, many people hoped that there would be more Tajik schools in Tajik cities.
It is not known when the number of Tajik schools will increase in Samarkand and Bukhara, but every passer-by on the streets of this city still reads the inscriptions of the last century in the Tajik language.
Source : Радио Озоди