Sadriddin Ayni (1878-1954) is famed as one of Tajikistan’s foremost literati and a formidable influence on the formation of Tajik national identity, effectively separating “Tajik” from other identities. Language and literature were key components to his project. Utilizing journal articles and short stories written by Sadriddin Ayni, I argue that he reinforced the distinction between Tajik and Persian by embracing the role of Tajik as the vernacular, “living” language of the “common” people of Tajikistan. He portrayed Tajik as the shared language of the Tajik nation, as opposed to Persian – depicted as a foreign language used primarily in poetry and politics. Ayni also classified historical Persian poets as belonging to either the Iranian or Tajik literary tradition by emphasizing their different geographic origins and historical settings. At the same time, he affirmed Tajik claims to the Classical Persian tradition in order to retain the Tajik language’s access to a prestigious literary past. The differentiation of Tajik and Persian supported the claim of Tajik officials during the 1920s, namely, that Tajiks did in fact constitute their own nation, were entitled to their own republic within the Soviet Union, and were not simply Uzbeks who had forgotten their original tongue and communicated in Persian.
|Commitee:||Kamp, Marianne, Bovingdon, Gardner|
|Department:||Central Eurasian Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- Indiana|
|Source:||MAI 81/4(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||language reform, nationalism, Persian, Sadriddin Ayni, Tajik, Tajikistan|
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