The IIS, in collaboration with the Aga Khan Development Network and The Tajik Academy of Sciences, organised a book launch in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 19th July 2005 for Nasir Khusraw: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, a collection of papers presented at a 7 day international conference in Dushanbe and Khorog in September 2003 to commemorate the millennium birth anniversary of Hakim Nasir Khusraw. More than 70 scholars from various academic institutions attended the programme.
In his welcome address, Professor Mamadsho Ilolov, President of the Tajik Academy of Sciences, acknowledged the book as “an important milestone in new post-Soviet rethinking of Nasir Khusraw and his legacy,” suggesting that such collaborative endeavours must continue between the Ismaili Imamat institutions and the Tajik Academy of Sciences.
Mr. Hakim Feerasta, Resident Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network, congratulated the Tajik Academy of Sciences and the IIS for a valuable collaboration and stated that “the publication of such a volume indicates that the works of the Aga Khan Development Network in Tajikistan are not only confined to economic activities, but also entail academic and educational dimensions which, in turn, embody a more holistic and fulfilling notion of development.”
Dr Sarfaroz Niyozov, Coordinator of the Institute’s Central Asian Studies Unit, spoke of the challenging yet rewarding process leading to the publication of this volume, after two years of collaborative work. He emphasised the intellectual dimension of the millenary celebrations and the ensuing publication of the proceedings. He stated that collaborations between the IIS and the Tajik Academy of Sciences, Khorog State University, and other Academic Centres in Tajikistan and Russia have been ongoing and have produced a number of publications, of which this is one. Dr. Niyozov concluded his talk citing verses from Nasir Khusraw which emphasize ‘aql and ‘ilm as cornerstones of Islam and its Ismaili tariqa.
A number of local academics, such as Professor Muso Dinorshoev, Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Law, Professor Kamol Aini and Professor Jurabek Nazriev, Director of the Institute of Oriental and Manuscript Studies at the Tajik Academy of Sciences, spoke highly of the 2003 conferences in Khorog and Dushanbe and have invited further collaboration on concrete projects between the AKDN, IIS and local research centres.
This comprehensive 675 page volume, with articles written in four languages, contains eighty entries that embody considerable cultural and intellectual diversity. The papers are divided into six sections according to themes regarded as important in exploring, understanding and representing Nasir Khusraw, his context, legacy, and the living traditions informed by his writings. Each section’s papers are preceded by brief summaries in Tajik and English.
The title of the volume, Nasir Khusraw: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, reflects the continuing impact and influence of the universal themes, values and aspirations that Nasir Khusraw and other medieval Muslim scholars of Central Asia articulated. In so doing, the volume speaks richly about the way cultures and civilisations have learnt from their interactions and how they reflect the common past, present and future of humanity. The volume will be of educational and intellectual value to a wide range of scholars and students studying the heritage of Central Asian Muslims.