UZBEKS and Uzbekistan, clearly belong to our close and historic ties with that region, which has emerged once again as a sovereign state from its control of USSR like many other central Asian States. I was lucky enough to visit Tashkent, Bokara and Samarkand, over two decades ago when I was in PIA.
PIA, was the first foreign airline to start a regular flight not only in neighboring Tashkent, but also to Baku, Turkmenistan, and other states soon after their independence. Pakistan in fact was the first country to take a lead in this regard over others including India but what happened later on is a sad story to be disused some time later.
The memory of those visits remain fresh and evergreen in my mind. It was a journalist colleague, Rohail, who phoned to invite me to a book launch by another friend, Tahir Anwaar Pasha, on his book entitled “Uzbekistan”, published by Sang Meel Publications. Pasha, also a friend and a retired senior civil, police and banking official, had recently visited Uzbekistan, accompanied by his wife on a conducted tour of about forfright and come out with a remarkable 177 pages highly illustrated and well produced book. The book is most remarkable as it covers not only the historical, cultural, geographical aspects but also its emergence as a modern, progressive and fast changing state with its rich resources.
Mr. Pasha, has unfolded the old history of state which had produced such icons like Imam Bokhari, Ammeer Taimur, and later Mughal Emperor Baber, who created a dynasty in the sub-continent. Both Samarkand and Bokhara, are rich and full of historical references and after being subdued for long time emerging again to renew and revive their true and proper identity. The food, the habits, life style is now quite enjoying its re-birth and revival.
The names, style, and cultural history is quite visible when one comes across such names as a “Munshi Mohalla” a complete Muslim locality in Tashkent, the word like “Shorba”, “Pulao” and other dishes reminding us of a common factor. The old mudrassas, Imam Bokhari’s tomb, mosque and historical mudrassa near Samarkend, is a must for all visitors. Mr. Pasha, has written a highly readable and interesting book, to be read and enjoyed by people to know about the transformation of the area now underway, in a neighboring Muslim Country.