Aga Khan in Tajikistan 1998 - Description

I am forwarding you the description of the Tajik Padhramni as received. The message came in a mix of Pidjin English and Russian and we have translated it. Umed attended several Didars and has got infos on the others from his friends. He has presented a mix of observations from notes and memory and I hope the translation, though not perfect, is close to his text.

There were a lot of Irshads and Hidayats in the last few days, it was overwhelming!

21 sept-23 sept

Mowlana Shah Karim, Aga Khan IV, arrived in Dushanbe to meet with President, and leader of the opposition.

24 sept

9h30: The Imam arrived at the aeroport in Khorog where He was welcomed in the Tajik traditional way. It was a bright warm sunny day. Streets were all overflowing with pots and colourful flowers and plants. Lined with people young and old, all waiting to catch a glimpse of their beloved Khudawind.

HI was driven to the Hukumat (Government) upon His arrival in Khorog for an official Mijlas (Meeting).

3h30: Hazar Imam and the President were Guest of honour at the Opening of the Aga Khan Lycee in Khorog.

In His speech, He said this was the opening of the first formal education program that is undertaken in Central Asia. He highly praised the teachers who work in very difficult circumstances and spoke of difficulties in getting to school in the past because of lack of shoes. He paid respect and gratitude for the teachers who kept education alive in Badakshan.

He said that the educational Programs to prepare the next Generation was not an easy task because of these times of transition. On the subject of Technology, He mentioned that it must be accessible even in remote communities.

5pm (approx): Had a meeting with AKDN staff. Highlights:
- Ethical issues: a recurring theme in many of the other didars. He really put a very strong emphasis - Spoke on many areas, health, education, role models theme, the need to support each other and to share knowledge :-)

Evening: The Hukumat hosted a Banquet in honour of Hazar Imam with a Live Concert.

Sept 25

8h30: 1st Didar in Porshniev: Imagine approx 90,000 people from Roshtkala, Shugnan, Ruhan, Khorog, all sitting in a pin drop silence, waiting for their Imam to arrive. I went there with few friends at 3:00 AM. It was cold but our heart was filled with warmth. In the early morning the sun came up and the nature looked so beautiful, it was as if the whole earth was preparing itself to welcome the Imame Zaman.

Hazar Imam came and walked among the Jamat before taking His seat. He was welcomed by Salwats of the Murids. During Didar, Hazar Imam wore the traditional Imamat dress, black woolen hat and Jubo with pasley design in red-brown-green colours. He wore all white dress inside. The Surat al Noor was followed by a Mado or Qasida and then He made His Irshad Mubarak to all sited, Ismailis and non-Ismailis alike. He addressed them as "My beloved Spiritual Children and my brothers in Islam"

He read from a prepared text although he did divert from this prepared text on a few occasions. Most of the ideas developed in His Irshads were around the themes of peace and need for peace. Tajikistan more peaceful now than during last visit. Unity, absolute need to be united. Need to work very hard. He was optimistic about the future, He said to work hard, prepare for the futur. Talked of Education and spent quite a bit of time on Ethics. On drugs: should have absolutely nothing to do with drugs: shouldn't plant or use or sell.

2pm: Mulaqat with ITREQ Staff (Ismaili Tariqa and Religious Education Committee), Mulaqat with Khalifas of Badakshan-Tajikistan and with khalifas of Badakshan-Afghanistan.

3pm: Historical moment: They had built a new house for Hazar Imam Called the Tem House. Facing Afghanistan, right accross Shugnan Afghanistan. This is a very beautiful place. (although He could not stay there for security reasons - He was at AKDN headquarters instead (?) ).

There was going to be Didar in Shugnan Afghanistan, but it was cancelled due to security reasons. It was later decided that this Jamat would have Didar from the Tem house which is actually in Shugnan Tajikistan. Didar happened by microphone across the river and the Afghan Jamat was gathered on the Shugnan Afghan side to listen to the Irshad. It was quite phenomenal.

At this time, roads from Porshniev were blocked, so those Jamats from the morning Didar were walking the three-hour distance back and they passed by this phenomenal Mulaqat from the Tem House.

(Around) 4pm: HI visited the Pamir 1 Power Station in Gould (sp?)

Then He visited Qul-e-Sarez, "Qul" in Tajik means Lake.

5pm: Didar in the Bartang Valley. After Didar He gave a Mulaqat with teachers and staff and students at the Khorog English Language Program (KEP) at school #7, followed by a Mulaqat with approx 60 other religion teachers.

Sept 26

Morning: Visit at Qulma in the Murghab district. HI went to visit the new road that's being built between China and Tajikistan. This visit was followed by a visit to Power plant in Yaz Gulam. HI actually visited many projects during this visit.

Then there was a Mulaqat in Zanj with approx 14,000 predominently sunni people among whom maybe 500 were ismailis. There was a recitation of Madha preceded by Surah Ad Duah (?) and its English translation

Process for most of the Didars with the exception of a few.
- began with Salwat recited by Jamat
- recitation of ayat of the Quran, mostly Surah Nur with translation except
2 Didar sites: one of the was the Zanj mulaqat

- Qasida or Madha
- HI's Irshad and translation
- gift presentation - the Taufa presented to HI.
- Recitation of Salwat

Sept 27

Morning: Hazar Imam gave Didar in Langar, Ishkashim district of Badakshan, Tajikistan to 6000-7000 people of the region. The Qasida "Hazaran Durudo-Hazaran Salaam" was recited. Followed by Surah Nur and its translation. Then Hazar Imam made Irshad and was presented with gifts.

This all happened in the span of maybe 2-3 hours, it all happened in the morning.

The second Didar happened in Afghan Ishkashim. This was indeed a historical moment as Hazar Imam actually set His feet on Afghan soil after more than a century, When he went to Ishkashim (in Badakhshan Tajikistan), he crossed over to the other side of the river and gave a didar to the sister-town of Ishkashem on the Afghan side. First Didar for Afghan Badakshan. About 12000 people had attended. Surah Adullo (?) and its translation were recited.

Immediately after, HI went back to Ishkashim Center in Tajikistan and gave Didar. These 3 didars on Sept 27th were all in Ishkashim. First Langar, then Ishkashim but Afghan side, and then HI returned to Tajikistan to give Didar in Ishkashim Center.

On the same day after these 3 Didars, HI gave a Mulaqat at a hospital in Roshtkala Center District. There He spoke with the Jamat for a few minutes, but it was mainly a visit to see the hospital.

HI then returned to Khorog.

3-3h30: Mulaqat with volunteers at the AKDN office. Mowlana Hazar Imam expressed His admiration and His praise for volunteers for all their hard work. He said "Absolutely Wonderful". He mentionned that if work is successful, then we can all be happy together.

This one was very very emotional - all of it was emotional, but this one was particularly emotional because I guess Hazar Imam was leaving Khorog soon.

Didar in Yogid in Darvaz - the final Didar before His departure. There were approx 14,000 people. After this Didar in Darvaz, HI returned to Dushanbe.

Sept 28: There was a banquet in Dushanbe, but this time, it was Hazar Imam who hosted the banquet for the government, for Hukumat, whereas the previous one I had mentioned was a banquet the government has hosted for Hazar Imam, but that was in Khorog. Now on the 28 it's HI who hosted the banquet for Hukumat.

29 Sept: HI left Dushanbe at approx 11 in the morning.
Khuda Hafiz!

With all our prayers from Dushanbe, Tajikistan

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