The Tajik of Uzbekistan
The Tajik have repeatedly been invaded and conquered throughout their history. The armies of Alexander the Great, the Arabs in the seventh century, Genghis Khan, the Turks, the British, and the Russian empire have all had a profound impact on these people. In fact, the numerous invasions have been the major factor in the dispersion of the Tajik to other locations.
The term "Tajik" comes from the word taj, which means "crown." This name was probably first used by the seventh century Arabs to differentiate the Persian (Tajiki) speakers from the Turkic speakers.
What Are Their Lives Like?
More and more of the Tajik have moved to the cities over the past fifty years. Most families farm during the summer period, then return to the cities for the remainder of the year. This has resulted in an unstable work force throughout the region. Conflicts often occur between the Uzbeks and the Tajik as a result of the competition for jobs.
A majority of the urban Tajik live in governmental housing. The rural Tajik live instead in village communities located on non-farmable, rocky land. There they build low, square or rectangular houses out of unbaked mud. Pressed mud bricks made with stone are used for the foundations. Flat roofs are made of tightly packed earth and twigs, and are supported by mat covered beams.
Women wear colorful national costumes with printed cottons and silks accented by flowered head scarves. They rarely wear veils; however, they do wear chaddors, which are multi-purpose shawls. The men wear shirts and trousers, sometimes with quilted robes and belts. They also wear embroidered skull caps, and some wear turbans or fur hats during the cold mountain winters. The upper class and city dwellers tend to wear European style clothing.
Green tea is served with most meals. Bread is a staple food, and the Tajik bake bread out of anything that can be ground into flour, including a variety of peas and mulberries. They also eat starchy foods, rice, grapes, dried fruits, chicken, lamb, and vegetable dishes.
Tajik society is patriarchal, meaning that the authority belongs to the oldest males of the extended family. Inheritances are passed down through the males, and after marriage, a new bride moves in with the husband's family. Traditionally, marriages were arranged by the family. Today, however, most Tajik are free to choose their own mates.
Villages and communities are ruled by a majlis, or council, made up of the male leaders of prominent families. A chief is elected from among the council. The "kinship structure" is still dominant in social and political spheres of life. The Tajik live in tight-knit communities and are a very hospitable people.
What Are Their Beliefs?
What Are Their Needs?
the Afghani Tajik of Pakistan and Afghanistan; the Chinese Tajik;
the Tajik of Kazakstan; Russia; Kyrgyzstan; Iran; China; and Tajikistan.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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