Tajik Facebookers Make Persian Poetry Political

The cover of a Persian anthology. But the modern-day heirs of poets like Rumi and Hafiz are at work on Facebook. Wikipedia image,

The cover of a Persian anthology. But the modern-day heirs of poets like Rumi and Hafiz are at work on Facebook. Wikipedia image,

Persian poetry throughout the ages has been known for its praise of love, its moral musings and its contemplation of existence. The most well-known representative of Persian poetry in the English-speaking world is Rumi. In the Russian-speaking world, Omar Khayyam.

But now a new generation of poets in Persian-speaking Tajikistan is using the time-honoured medium to address social, economic and political problems — ever-growing in the ex-Soviet Central Asian country — on Facebook and the Russian social network Odnoklassniki.

Global Voices picked out a few samples of poetry widely shared on social media.

The young, talented and critical journalist Sayf Safar notes sarcastically that his countrymen refuse to see all these problems in the poorest country in Central Asia, and instead praise authorities for having “a normal peaceful life and bright future.”

Authorities meanwhile redouble their efforts to eradicate hijabs in a country where more than 90% of population is Muslim.

Ҳама чӣ дар ватанам нурмол аст,

Ҳама гап бар сари як рӯймол аст,

Ҳама мағз аз ватанам ирсол аст,

Ҳама ҳақ дар ватанам помол аст,

Тоҷикистон ватани нурмол аст?


Ақлу динро ту нигар дар ҷанганд,

Фаҳшу андеша бибин ҳамсанганд,

Хӯҷаинон ба по меланганд,

Ту бибин, оинаҳо дар занганд,

Тоҷикистон ватани нурмол аст?


ДОИШ аз роҳ бирасад, метарсам,

Чолиш аз моҳ бирасад, метарсам,

Таркиш аз оҳ бирасад, метарсам,

Хатар аз коҳ бирасад, метарсам,

Тоҷикистон ватани нурмол аст?


Ман агар гап бизанам, хоинам?

Ҷангу шурӯ шарар аст ойинам?

Буғзу кин аст ҳамагӣ ботинам?

Ба шумо ман чӣ касам? Як тинам?

Тоҷикистон ватани нурмол аст?

Everyone says, everything is normal

Everyone talks only about headscarfs

Every brain is leaving the country

Every right is violated here

Is Tajikistan home to abnormality?


Wisdom and religion are in conflict,

Dirt and mind are one,

Bosses do not care and are free of mind,

Mirrors fill up with dirt,

Is Tajikistan home to abnormality?


I’m afraid, that ISIS will come soon,

I’m afraid, that fate will challenge us,

I’m afraid, that frustration will turn into explosion,

I’m afraid, of a threat forming from nothing,

Is Tajikistan home to abnormality?


If I say something, am I a traitor?

Is my mission war and fights and provocation?

Is my inner full of malice and vengeance?

Who am I for you? Nothing?

Is Tajikistan home to abnormality?

The political situation in the country has been deteriorating in recent years with the government shutting down opposition parties and cracking down on media.

In regular Soviet-style propaganda, authorities link any form of political, social or economic dissent to foreign-funded treason.

Media magnate-in-exile Zafar Sufi brings all this into his verses.

Ҳама эътирози худро ба садои паст гӯянд,

Ҳама мекунанд шиква, ҳама аз шикаст гӯянд.

Чи замонаест, ё раб, ки адуи қавм хонанд

Ду нафар агар ба фарде “каси ҳақпараст” гӯянд.

Ҳама кас ба ҳамраҳи худ нигарад зи чашми шубҳа,

Ҳама ҳарфашон зи шояд, чи шавад зи ҳаст гӯянд.

Everyone protests in silence, speaks in silence,

Everyone complains, everyone talks about defeat,

What a time has come, o God, that they say “enemy of the nation”,

If two people name someone “an honest man”,

Everyone looks at his friend in suspicion,

Everyone worries, what will happen.

So, far the international community has paid little heed to ongoing religious and political persecution in Tajikistan, bar a few bland diplomatic statements.

Sayf Safar notes the futility of this reaction:

Бубин САҲА гузориш карда имрӯз, Шикоят кардаву фарёди ҷонсӯз.

Нафарҳои Убомо дар сафорат, Стейтмент кардаву бо он қаноат.

Бруксел ҳам хабар ёфта тане чанд, Зи пушти панҷара рафта ба тарфанд.

Ба ангушт рахна дар роёна карданд, Гузориш аз Вошингтан нома карданд.

Зи Дидбони ҳуқуқ бо шарҳу тафсир, Шикоятҳо расид ҳамчун тафи сир.

-Шумо кори дурусте менакардед!  -Чаро он мардакора баста кардед?

Садое аз даре сар дар наёвард, Якеро ҳам ба дарди сар наёвард.

Пашизеро наярзад ин гузориш, Баробар бо ришам қадри гузориш!

Look, the OSCE prepared a report, complained and screamed,

Obama’s guys from the Embassy, just made a statement and said, that’s enough,

A few people in Brussels also got some info, that some guys have been sent to jail,

Typing a few lines on a keyboard, Washington also sent a letter.

HRW has all the cases and the details, and complains every day

“That was not a good idea, jailing those men, why?”

But no one replies to any of this, no head aches from any of this,

All these statements aren't worth a cent, and are thrown into the trash.

Many Tajiks do not see a future for themselves in Tajikistan, a fact that has led to millions of them leaving to seek work in other countries, mainly Russia.

Poet Isfandiyor Nazar left his homeland for Germany a month ago:

Ёд он замон, ки дар Ватанам ошёна буд,

Мурғи дилам ба шохи ғазал ҳамчағона буд.

Ёд он замон, ки ҳарфи ситамгар нагуфтаме,

Шеърам шаробу нағмаи ман ошиқона буд.

Аммо чи гуфт боядам дигар, ки рӯзгор

Бо ман бикард ончи ба душман фасона буд.

По дар арикаи Ватан вақте гадо ниҳод,

Рафтам, ки дар Ватан дигар бар меҳр ҷо набуд.

Аз он гадо, ки муътабар гашту Ватан хароб,

Гуфтам ба шеъру шеъри ман хашми замона буд.

Ёд он замон, ки хоки Ватан аз гадо тиҳӣ

Буду барои ин Ватан ҳодӣ гадо набуд…

Рафтам, ки боз монданам суде дигар надошт,

Рафтам, ки ҷабр дар Ватан беш аз карона буд…

There were good times when I lived and loved the homeland,

My heart was drunk always from happiness there,

There were good times when I said nothing bad about homeland,

Any poems about it were full of love and joy,

But what shall I say now, when fate,

Has treated me worse than it treats an enemy.

When beggars conquered my homeland,

I left, because now there is no place for love there,

I left, because there was no use staying there anymore,

I left, because oppression and pain crossed all lines.


  • L. Finch

    “If I say something, am I a traitor?
    Is my mission war and fights and provocation?
    Is my inner full of malice and vengeance?
    Who am I for you? Nothing?
    Is Tajikistan home to abnormality?”

    What an excellent, but heavy read. Thank you so much for putting this together.


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