] The typical Tajik has dark hair and eyes, and medium to fair skin. Light hair and eyes are relatively common, particularly in northern regions such as Badakhshan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and western China. A small minority of Tajiks in Central Asia show a Turko-Mongol admixture derived from the Uzbeks and Hazaras. Remote mountain Tajiks more closely resemble the Indo-European Soghdian, Bactrian, Parthian, Persian, and Scythian (Tocharian, Sacae...) populations present before the Turko-Mongol invasions and migrations. Pashtuns in Afghanistan and their government distinguish Tajiks from their Farsiwan (Persian), or the Persian variety of the Chahar Aimak subgroup, by religion and not appearance, as the ethnic Persians of Chahar Aimaks are Sunni Muslims. Nowadays, the Tajiks of Panjsher, known for their bravery against the Soviet Union and later the Taliban, are often counted by the Pashtuns and their government as an ethnos of ownFact|date=August 2008. The Pashtun government has done this in order to weakenFact|date=August 2008 the Tajiks and to settle their lands with Pashtun nomadsFact|date=August 2008.



The language of the Tajiks, as of their Persian brothers in Iran, is Persian, also called Parsi-e Darbari ("Persian of royal courts"/"Language of royal court"). The cyrillic variety written in Tajikistan is called Tajiki. Persian is an Indo-European language that is part of the Iranian language group. Tajiks speak an eastern dialect of Persian, historically called Dari or also Parsi-e Khorasani (see also the Persian population of eastern Iran´s dialect). Historically, it was considered the local dialect of Persian spoken by the Tajik/Persian ethnic group in Central Asia, from where it spread westward only to drive the Arabic language out as the mothertongue of ethnic Persians. In Afghanistan, unlike in Tajikistan, Tajiks continue to use the Perso-Arabic script as well as in Iran. However, when the Soviet Union introduced the Latin script in 1928, and later the Cyrillic script, the Persian dialect of Tajikistan ("soghdi dialect") came to be considered a separate (Persian) language. This dialect remains greatly influenced by Russian for historical reasons.

A transcribed Tajik text can, in general, be easily read and understood by Persians outside Tajikistan, and vice versa, and both groups can converse with each other. The languages of the Persians of Iran and of the Tajiks of central Asia have a common origin. This is underscored by the Tajiks' claim to such famous writers as Omar Khayyám, Firdausi, Anwari, Rumi, other famous Persian poets. Russian is widely used in government and business in Tajikistan as well, but the government of Tajikistan is trying to replace it gradually with full Persian.


The great majority of Tajiks follow the Sunni Islam, although small Twelver and Ismaili Shia minorities also exist in scattered pockets. Some of Sunni's famous scholars were from East-Iranian regions and therefore can arguably viewed as Tajik. They include Abu Hanifa, Al-Ghazali, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, and Imam Bukhari amongst many others.

In Afghanistan, Tajiks who follow Twelver Shiism are called FarsiwanFact|date=February 2007. Additionally, small Tajik Jewish communities (known as Bukharian Jews) have existed since ancient times in the cities of Bukhara, Samarqand, Dushanbe, and other Tajik populated centers. [J. Sloame, "Bukharan Jews", Jewish Virtual Library, ( [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Bukharan_Jews.html LINK] )] Over the 20th century, the majority of these Tajik-speaking Jews emigrated to Israel and the United States. Most of these Jewish emigrants have negative views towards Tajikistan especially because of the destruction of the Dushanbe synagogue.

Recent developments

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the civil war in Afghanistan both gave rise to a resurgence in Tajik nationalism across the region. Tajikistan in particular has been a focal point for this movement, and the government there has made a conscious effort to revive the legacy of the Samanid empire, the first Tajik-dominated state in the region after the Arab advance. For instance, the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, dropped the "-ov" from his surname and directed others to adopt Tajik names when registering births. [cite web |url= http://jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2372123|title=TAJIKISTAN RESTATES ITS STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH RUSSIA, WHILE SENDING MIXED SIGNALS |accessdate=2007-12-19|last= McDermott|first= Roger|date= 25|year= 2007|month= 04|publisher= The Jamestown Foundation|] Furthermore, once conditions are fulfilled, Tajikistan will switch its alphabet from Soviet influenced Cyrillic script to Persian script [ [http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=53991&sectionid=351020406 Tajikistan to use Persian script] ] thereby forging closer cultural ties with the Persian speaking nations of Iran and Afghanistan.

See also

* Tajiks in China
* Persian culture
* Persian language
* Persian people
* Farsiwan
* Herat
* Iranian peoples
* Samanid dynasty
* Demography of Afghanistan
* Demography of Pakistan
* Demographics of Tajikistan
* Demographics of Uzbekistan
* R1a1
* Chagatai people

Notes and references

Further reading


External links

* [http://members.tripod.com/~khorasan/Miscellaneous/MiscellaneousPosts.htm Khorasan: selected topics relating to Tajiks]
* [http://tajikam.com Tajikam.com - A Worldwide Online Community for Tajiks]
* [http://medlem.spray.se/Samarqand/index.html Uzbekistan: Ethnic Composition And Discrimination]
*Ethnologue statistics on [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=prs Eastern Farsi speakers] & statistics regarding [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=tgk Tajiki speakers] .
* [http://www.oxfordancestors.com/papers/mtDNA04%20DNALandscape.pdf Female Genetics of Central Asia, South Asia, and West Asia]
* [http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/AJHG/journal/issues/v71n3/023927/023927.web.pdf Male Genetics of Central Asia, South Asia, and West Asia (the origin of R1a1 is under question see)] (see Genetics and Archaeogenetics of South Asia)
* [http://www.eki.ee/books/redbook/asian_jews.shtml "Central Asian Jews."]

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