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Imamat Day celebrations in Tajikistan feature education-themed reception
Rafiq Dhanji
Irfan Merali
14 August 2009
  • In Tajikistan, the celebration of Roz-e Takht Nishini has traditionally included family and neighbourhood gatherings with shared meals, music and dancing. This year, the AKDN Resident Representative Office contributed to the festivities by hosting an education-themed reception.

  • Diplomats from the EU, India, USA, and UN enjoy the Imamat Day Reception. Photo: Rafiq Dhanji Diplomats from the EU, India, USA, and UN enjoy the Imamat Day Reception. Rafiq Dhanji

    In Tajikistan, the celebration of Imamat Day – or Roz-e Takht Nishini in Tajik – has traditionally included family and neighbourhood gatherings with shared meals, music and dancing. Family members visit each other's homes and convey their Muborak on the happy occasion. With the memory of Mawlana Hazar Imam's Golden Jubilee visit to the country in November still fresh, the Aga Khan Development Network Resident Representative Office contributed to the festivities by hosting an education-themed reception on 10 July 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dushanbe.

    Senior Jamati members and AKDN leadership gathered alongside members of the diplomatic corps and government representatives to pay tribute to Mawlana Hazar Imam and recognise the contributions that the Ismaili Imamat has made to the country.

    Guests admire the education display boards at the Imamat Day Reception. Photo: Rafiq Dhanji Guests admire the education display boards at the Imamat Day Reception. Rafiq Dhanji

    The event showcased current and planned AKDN projects in education. Included in the exhibition were science exhibits from the Aga Khan Lycée in Khorog, curriculum materials from the University of Central Asia's Aga Khan Humanities Project, and recent publications from The Institute of Ismaili Studies in English, Tajik and Russian.

    At the entrance to the hotel, guests were saluted by a select group from the newly formed Aga Khan Scouts of Tajikistan, who volunteered to be on duty for the occasion. They were praised and admired as they lined the corridors of the exhibition hall. Many of the Ambassadors also paid compliments to the AKDN and Jamat for developing activities for the youth and involving them in the official festivities.

    Some of the Aga Khan Scouts at the Imamat Day Reception gather for a photograph. Photo: Courtesy of AKDN Tajikistan Some of the Aga Khan Scouts at the Imamat Day Reception gather for a photograph. Courtesy of AKDN Tajikistan

    The event provided many members of the Jamat with their first exposure to the major education projects that Mawlana Hazar Imam has envisioned for the country. Guests were also treated to panoramic views of the soon-to-be-completed Ismaili Centre Dushanbe, which is located just across the street from the hotel.

    Attending the celebration as the Chief Guest was His Excellency Abdullo Yuldoshev, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan. Following renditions of the Nashid al-Imamah and the Tajik National Anthem, he addressed the audience and spoke highly of the work of the AKDN, describing Mawlana Hazar Imam as a valued partner of the country.

    AKDN Resident Representative Munir Merali delivers the opening address alongside His Excellency Abdulla Yuldoshev, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan. Photo: Rafiq Dhanji AKDN Resident Representative Munir Merali delivers the opening address alongside His Excellency Abdulla Yuldoshev, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan. Rafiq Dhanji

    His Excellency went on to express his admiration of the Jamat as valued and peaceful citizens who have contributed to the development of Tajikistan following the end of the civil war. He made special mention of the contribution of Sayyed Nasir Khusraw, who is attributed with spreading the Ismaili interpretation of Islam in the region during the 11th century. As a special token of appreciation, His Excellency was presented with a copy of Nasir Khusraw: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, a publication resulting from an IIS conference held in Khorog in 2003 that celebrated the life of the Ismaili poet, philosopher and Da'i.

    In his remarks, AKDN Resident Representative Munir Merali expressed appreciation for the warm relations and personal support of President Emomali Rahmon. He also thanked the Government of Tajikistan for the cordial cooperation they have accorded to AKDN's current and planned projects in Tajikistan.

    A trio of graduates from the Academy of Maqam, supported by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, plays traditional Tajik music at the Imamat Day Reception. Photo: Courtesy of AKDN Tajikistan A trio of graduates from the Academy of Maqam, supported by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, plays traditional Tajik music at the Imamat Day Reception. Courtesy of AKDN Tajikistan

    In addition to the exhibition, a short film was screened highlighting AKDN's education projects globally, including the Aga Khan Academies Programme. It provided some insight on the future Academy to be built in Dushanbe. The film also included excerpts from Mawlana Hazar Imam's May 2008 address in Atlanta on the 40th anniversary meeting of the International Baccalaureate.

    Music has always been an integral part of Tajik culture and a central part of the Jamat's celebrations. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture's Music Initiative in Central Asia has supported the education of young musicians in traditional forms of music. Some of the students attending the Academy of Maqam, one of AKTC's supported schools located in Dushanbe, performed for the guests during the event. Their traditional Tajik instruments echoed a melodious Muborak in honour of Roz-e Takht Nishini.

    Also see the complete photo gallery.