The latest announcement by the Afghan Government to rebuild the tomb of Amir Alisher Navoiy, an Uzbek politician, mystic, linguist and poet, who was born and lived in Herat western Afghanistan, has angered many inside and outside the country.
The campaigners against the move of the Afghan government outside Afghanistan have been using the latest web-technology such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and web-blogs to show their anger. One of the campaigners using Facebook has named his group, ”To Rebuild Navoiyi’s Tomb for 6000 USD is an insult”, and has attracted more than 200 members within 4 days of campaigning. The creator describe the goal of the group as following: ” The purpose of this group is to fight another injustice in Afghansitan; this time the injustice is being done by the government of Afghanistan against a person, who had built the most of the country’s infrastructures, Amir Alisher Navoiy, an Uzbek politician, mystic, linguist, painter, and poet who was born and lived in the historic city of Herat, long before the name of Afghanistan was created.”
Recently the Bakhter News Agency reported that the Afghan government has allocated equivalent of 6000 dollars to rebuild Navoiy’s war-torn tomb in Herat. The move has not only angered many Turkic origin Afghans, whom Navoiy belongs to, but also most of the poets, journalists, writers, artists, historians, and culture and historic site lovers from other ethnic groups in the country, have also expressed their sorrow and anger over the issue. Most of these angry Afghans think that the only purpose behind the move is to prevent a UN decision to rebuild the shrine, which would cost more and done professionally and honestly.
Ahmad Herati, a citizen of Herat and an expert on historic buildings of the city told a Western based Afghanistan website (GuneyTurkistan.tk) that recently General Abdul Rashid Dostum, the founder of National Islamic Movement of Afghansitan, had also vowed to re-build the tomb with his personal expenses, so the latest announcement from the Afghan Government would also prevent him to fulfil his promise and gain more popular support from his people.
He adds,” While the Afghan government announces to re-build the shrine of Rahman Baba, a Pashto poet in Pakistan who wasn’t even an Afghan, for almost 3 million dollars, isn’t the latest announcement to re-build the tomb of Navoiy inside Afghanistan for only 6000 dollars an insult to the personality and services of this great man of the pre-Afghan history.”
The head of the union of Afghan students in Cairo, Egypt Shabir Bek on Friday also told me that the location of the Navoi’s tomb in the city of Herat, beside the Gohar Shad Begum’s resting, wife of Shah Rukh Mirza (son of Amir Temur, founder of Timurid) is very important and if the site is built gloriously, it would increase the yearly income of Afghan government by millions of dollars just through tourism.
The union added, ” Navoiy doesn’t not only belong to the Afghan people, but also he is very famous in Central Asia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey and somehow in rest of the world. The Afghan government should instead invest more on the site. By doing so, the government would gain more respect in the region and world.”
Who was Navoiy?
Navoiy lived from 1441 to 1501 in Herat, western Afghanistan. As a child, his skills for poetry was recognized and his father made sure he received the proper training. Navoiy, not only governed the Herat city, but also he made the city proud of his works. Amir Alisher Navoiy served as a public administrator and adviser to his foster brother, Sultan Husayn Bayqarah. He was also a builder who is reported to have founded, restored, or endowed some 370 mosques, Schools, libraries, hospitals, caravanserais, and other educational, pious, and charitable institutions in Khorasan. Only in Herat, he was responsible for 40 caravanserais, 17 mosques, 10 mansions, 9 bathhouses, 9 bridges, and 20 pools. Among his most famous constructions were the mausoleum of the 13th-century mystical poet, Farid al-Din Attar, in Nishapur (northeastern Iran) and the Khalasiya Madrasa in Herat. He was one of the instrumental contributors to the architecture of Herat, which became, in René Grousset’s words, “the Florence of what has justly been called the Timurid Renaissance”.
Moreover, he was a promoter and patron of scholarship and arts and letters, a musician, a composer, a calligrapher, a painter and sculptor, and such a celebrated writer that Bernard Lewis, the distinguished English historian of Islam, called him “the Chaucer of the Turks”.
The Afghan government has always prioritized the national unity in the country, however, taking its latest moves into the consideration , especially, not giving too much importance to the issues of non-Pashton citizens of Afghanistan such as rebuilding the Navoiy’s tomb, the national unity in the country seems to be very far beyond to reach.
The angry campaigners such as western based Cultural Federations of the Turks of Afghanistan including FFTA, Nawaye, Babur, Aydin and etc, as well as a number of writers, historians, poets, journalists and citizen in Herat and other parts of the country are asking the government of Afghanistan to reconsider the issue. They kindly request the UNICEF and other respective global and regional bodies to prevent the Afghan government to take steps, which can only inflame and increase the ethnical problems in the country, instead, these respective bodies should themselves take part in rebuilding the controversial sites in the country.
A sound mind would definitely wonder and question, if the government is allowing millions of dollars to rebuild the tombs Pashton leaders, can it not allow hundreds of thousands to non-Pashton leaders of Afghanistan, since they both show history and pride for the country.
By Eshan Turkistanlik