This essay looks at the national history of the Tajiks of Central Asia that was created in the twentieth century and has continued to develop into the twenty-first century. It traces the notion of Tajik nationalism, which arose in the 1920s under the Soviet Union, largely in response to Uzbek nationalism. Soviet intellectuals and scholars thereafter attempted to construct a new history for the Tajiks. The most important effort in that area was Bobojon Ghafurov’s study Tadzhiki (Tajiks, 1972), which gave them primacy among the Central Asian peoples. The essay examines the policies of independent Tajikistan’s government, such as its focus on the Samanid dynasty and the replacement Soviet monuments and names with nationalist ones. Finally, it looks at the challenges that contemporary Islamic movements in the country pose to the earlier secular interpretations.
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