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Culture & Identity of Tajikistan

Introduction

Life in Tajikistan is varied from mountain valley to mountain valley and from these rural areas to the city of Dushanbe and other larger towns. However, the people stick together as one, differentiating themselves from neighbors, many of who are vastly different from the Tajiks in many ways.

In the past the way of life in Tajikistan was about survival and freedom, clinging to the mountains as a sanctuary. Today the way of life in Tajikistan is still based on the mountains and the landscape. People have survived off the animals and plants in the country as they clung to each other on a localized level.

Although the Soviets destroyed much of the country's historic culture, the people still cling to their local region and people and the mountains still separate and define each set of people. Agriculture also greatly dictates the way of life in the country as nearly half of the working population is employed in the agricultural sectors. In these positions life is based on weather, seasons, and the sun, but for many family, friends, and neighbors are also required to succeed.

Only a quarter of the people live in urban centers today, but for these people life is dictated by the pulse of the city, public transportation, and jobs. Many urbanites have regular jobs that work from about 8:00 am to about 5:00 pm. This is strongly a result from the Soviet changes and infrastructural implementations. Life here is more scheduled, more predictable, and more consistent, not relying on the weather or lands.

Children throughout the country also have somewhat regular schedules as school and education is important to the Tajiks and a hangover from the Soviet period. For most children schools are located in their towns or nearby in the city and they attend school regularly.

No matter the location of an individual, their occupation, or their personal lifestyle, the culture and way of life in the country still revolves around family. Few people make enough money to spend money freely on wants so time away from work is often spent with family around a dining table or another location, but the time is generally spent with family.

Identity

The people of Tajikistan struggle to identify in a unified means. Most people first identify as Tajiks, which can be either politically- or ethnically-defined. On a more local level the people tend to identify with the local region they come from; this local regional definition is more popular primary identity among the people as mobility now and in the past has been somewhat limited so the people tend to cling to the people from their towns, village, or mountain valley. Those who primarily identify as Tajiks debate how this term should be defined as many claim it to be politically-defined, while others see it first being ethnically-defined. People also argue who is included in this identity (all citizens or only ethnic Tajiks), but for most locals this is only a secondary form of identifying oneself so there is little real debate amongst the people.

This page was last updated: November, 2013