NATIONAL DAY FOR UZBEK LANGUAGE
Afghanistan is a country with diverse cultures, different ethnic groups, and linguistic diversity. According to Shafiei Kadkani “Afghanistan is a home for every language and culture”. In this sense, the homeland is above all, a structured identity; An identity that perhaps the most important characteristic of one is language, and it arises from a strong and extensive foundation of cultural-historical experiences. Therefore, the Uzbek language is one of the most important indigenous languages of the Afghan people with rich historical and cultural backgrounds.
Considering the importance of language H.E. President Ashraf Ghani approved 29th Mizan; October 21 in Afghanistan; as National Day of Uzbek Language. The Uzbek language, being included in the Constitution of Afghanistan as one of the official languages of the country, is widely spoken in 10 provinces in the country and is widely gaining popularity from year to year. Several television and radio channels in Afghanistan are broadcasts in the Uzbek language.
Following to approval of the National Day of Uzbek Language, this year for the first time Uzbek language day was celebrated. The ceremony was organized at ARG, Salam Khana Palace under the supervision of Mr. Mohammad Shakir Kargar, President’s Chief of Staff. The ceremony was participated by H.E. President Ashraf Ghani and delivered speech. At first, H.E. President congratulated the National Day of Uzbek Language to all, and said: “the goal is to implement the 16th article of the country’s constitution and the law has clarified everything”. He further added that “the Uzbek language is the language of our communication and connection and Afghanistan is lucky as its every language is a connecting language, and each language of the country help strengthen national unity among the people”.
The National Day of Uzbek Language ceremony was also attended by First Vice President Amrullah Salih, Senate’s Speaker Fazil Hadi Muslimyar, lawmakers, government delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan led by Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Sardar Oktamovich Amorzakov, and the country’s writers and cultural figures. The National Day of Uzbek Language was celebrated in separate programs at the Presidential palace and at the Intercontinental Hotel.
Highlighting the importance of language, the Uzbek language is one of the richest languages, and it ranked 27th in the world. Currently, there are about 60 million Uzbek speakers in the world. While emphasizing the history of the Uzbek language, the name of Abu Rihan al-Biruni, Maulana Abdul Rahman Jami, Zahiruddin Mohammad Babur, Amir Ali Shir Nawai, Kamaluddin Behzad, and several other prominent authors, who have put valuable contribution and prolific record in the field of Uzbek language and culture.
For some people this might be a question, what is the significance of celebrating languages day?
As per our perspective, the celebration of language day is the celebration of culture. This is a step towards fighting against the forgetfulness of possessions and values of the language. Because, we live in a world of extinction; not only of animals and biological species but also extinct of linguistic and cultural values. That is why some languages have vanished and rarely a new language is born.
Therefore, celebration of language is the introduction of the language into socio-political and scientific structures. One prediction shows that half of the world's living languages are either unregistered, unwritten, outside socio-political structures, or in the absence of production and interaction, will disappear by the end of the next century.
If we give an example to explain this, in the United States, due to centuries of migration and indigenous integration, only a few strong languages remained out of about 300 completely different native languages, and now there are about fifty native languages, and those are also on the verge of extinction. The fact is that languages are always born and die naturally. It can only continue as long as there is historical-value, cultural, economic and political support. Fortunately, the Uzbek language contains those values, nonetheless requires serious further attention and consistent development.
VERBAL LANGUAGE AND THE ABSENCE OF WRITING
In a sense, literature is all the reserves, tastes and intellectual heritage of the peoples and nations, which people have always worked hard to record and publish, and in fact, they have recognized those works as worthy effort.
Referring to the history of the Uzbek language, we are faced with a vast and unique treasure trove of literary activities through this dynamic language in this area of civilization, both in verbal and in writing. These valuable works acquaint us with the thoughts, tastes, knowledge and perceptions of our ancestors of life, and provide us with the history of this frontier immediately.
From the centuries before Christ, when the verbal communication of the ancient Turks and the inscriptions of “Orkhon-Yenisey script” the old Turkish script and other written potteries and objects discovered from different parts of Asia and Europe which belonging to the language of the ancient Turkish period. And that reflects the civilization of the Uzbek language in the past. All those possessions have been the result of thought, knowledge, emotions and interests of the people of this land. Some of these works, such as kings' inscriptions and inscriptions on coins, and others inspired by indigenous writings based on national stories, legends, and some social customs, continue to this day, the main body of verbal literature and constitute the written language of the ancient Uzbek language.
But most of the written works left from ancient times in the Uzbek language are related to the Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Manichaean religious systems that form the main body of the pre-Islamic native literature of Afghanistan.
Highlighting, the relatively long history of languages in this region, unfortunately, there is a small version that remained in written. Some evidence illustrates the masterpieces of Uzbek literature, which certainly reflect the brilliant background of the Uzbek language. As well, the literary richness of these works from various historical periods, which was gradually disappeared for various reasons or has been seriously damaged. That could be the reason of those people’s interest in verbal communication, and keeping the traditions of verbal communication that have been remained by their ancestors. Also, the lack of writing during those periods could be the reason due to wars, conflicts, religious and cultural prejudices, and change of script and language, and many other reasons.
Therefore, the celebration of 29th Mizan as the National Day of Uzbek Language, and collection of articles at the inauguration event is the call for altering the verbal languages to written literature, and re-reading of existing narratives. This will lead to producing meaningful literature for the future generations.
LANGUAGE AS THE HOMELAND
It is believed that there is nothing in the world, which does not happen in the first place without a language, not even a concept called homeland. In this sense, we can call language is our homeland. Thus, in a larger sense, wherever there is a language and people communicate it, if they do not need to interpret for each other, this is a kind of human homeland, because it becomes meaningful by understating each other’s feeling and interest through a language. Therefore, we can call it "the homeland is there, where there are connections through a language".
Referring to modern history, we see that the alchemy of cultural attraction of the language in the era of poetry and literature has also combined with the tastes of nouveau riche and traditionalism. In this sense, culture has been able to preserve the precious literary and cultural heritage of a large area of civilization.
Thus, the Uzbek language is a connecting point not only in Afghanistan but also in its literary backbone, particularly in the countries of the Uzbek-Persian-Dari language-speaking territories. It is unfortunate that in recent years, many people, influenced by modernization, have ignored the importance of their own cultures and languages in the country. If we want to preserve the culture, language, and literature of this country, we must not sacrifice our culture influenced by political nervousness and respect the culture and languages of the Afghan people.
We all know that the Uzbek language has always suffered from cultural politicization. For that reason, there is a need to preserve the richness of the Uzbek language, and a lot of work has to be done. Uzbek literature should be properly placed in the education system, official correspondence, and the media. Similarly, arrangements should be made for cultural and governmental institutions, news agencies, newspapers, virtual media, to promote the Uzbek language.
Once again, we congratulate the National Day of Uzbek Language to all people of Afghanistan.