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Bobojon Gafurov

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Gafurov  Bobojon Gafurovich (b. 1908; d. 1977), Tajik statesman, academician, and historian. Gafurov was born in the Ispisar township near Ḵhujand, Tajikistan, and studied law in Samarkand. From 1930 on, Gafurov worked as a government official in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, at the same time pursuing his interest in journalism. In 1931, he entered the Institute of Journalism in Moscow, graduating in 1935. In 1940-41, having completed postgraduate studies at the Institute of History, Soviet Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Gafurov defended his thesis “Istoriya sekty ismai’litov s nachala XIX v. do mirovoy voiny 1914-1918 gg” (History of the Ismaʿili sect from the beginning of the 19th century to the First World War”). He returned to Dushanbe and served in a number of high administrative positions, becoming eventually Second and then First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Tajikistan. His energy and administrative skills were instrumental in establishing Tajikistan’s first State University in 1948, and in inaugurating its national Academy of Sciences in 1951. During this period he published several historical works, and initiated the series “Materialy po istorii tadzhikov i Tadzhikistana” (Materials on the history of the Tajiks and Tajikistan).

Gafurov’s book, Ta’rikhi muḵtasari ḵalqi tojik (A concise history of the Tajik people), for which he was awarded a doctorate, came out in 1947. An expanded version of it was translated into Russian (Istoriya tadzhikskogo naroda v kratkom izlozhenii, Moscow, 1949; 2nd. ed. 1952; 3rd. ed. 1955).

From 1956 to 1977 he was the director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Moscow, and during his tenure the Institute expanded in new directions. He was elected a corresponding member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, and later became an academician. He was a founder of the Publishing House for Eastern Literatures, which printed scholarly works on the history, economics, philology, linguistics, religion, and the culture of the countries in Asia and the Middle East. It also published critical texts and translations into Russian.

In spite of his many administrative duties, Gafurov published more than 500 works in Russian, Tajik, and other languages. His monumental study, Tadzhiki: Drevneĭshaya, drevnyaya, i srednevekovaya istoriya (The Tajiks: Prehistory, Ancient, and Medieval History), was edited by Boris A. Litvinskiĭ (Moscow, 1972, 2nd ed., Dushanbe, 1989). It was also translated into Tajik. It treats the history of the Tajiks in the wider context of Central Asian history, and highlights the achievements of the Central Asian civilizations without succumbing to the sociological clichés which dominated the scholarly discourse at the time. His other major historical works include Aleksandr Makedonskiĭ i Vostok (Alexander the Great and the East, Moscow, 1980, with D. I. Tsibukidis). His selected works have also been published (Izbrannye trudy, Moscow, 1985).

Bobodzhon Gafurov died in 1977 and was buried in Dushanbe.

Awards and titles

He was awarded six Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and medals.


• In 1978, the city (now a village) of Gafurov in the Sughd region of Tajikistan, formerly called Sovetabad, was named after him.
• B. Gafurov is one of the six heroes of Tajikistan (posthumously, 1997).
• At the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in addition to the portrait of B. Gafurov, the director’s gallery also contains his portrait, woven on the carpet.
• In memory of the scientist, the Republican Museum named after Academician Bobojon Gafurov (Gafurov District, Sughd Region, Tajikistan) was established. A scientific center for the study of “gafurovreference” was created at the museum, which explores the scientific activities of the academic historian and orientalist Academician Bobojon Gafurov (the director of the museum and the head of the scientific center is his student, professor H. Kh. Kholdzhuraev). The center’s staff published several works in Russian, Tajik and Uzbek on the scientific activities of Academician Bobojan Gafurov and other publications.
• In 1997, by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Khujand State University was named after Academician Bobojon Gafurov.

Scientific works

• Gafurov B. G. History of the Tajik people. – M., 1952.
• The history of the Tajik people in summary. T. 1: From ancient times to the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917. Ed. 3rd – M.: Gospolitizdat, 1955.
• Gafurov B. G. Tajiks: The most ancient, ancient and medieval history. – M., 1972. – 664 p.
• Huber A. A., Gafurov B. G. Colonialism and the national liberation movement in the countries of Southeast Asia: A collection of articles in memory of Academician A. A. Guber / Institute of Oriental Studies, USSR Academy of Sciences. – M.: Science, The main edition of oriental literature, 1972. – 312 p.
• Gafurov B. G., Tsibukidis D. I. Alexander the Great and the East. – M.: Science, The main edition of oriental literature, 1980. • Gafurov B. G. Tajiks: The most ancient, ancient and medieval history. In 2 books / Ans. ed. B.A. Litvinsky. – 2nd ed. – Dushanbe: Irfon, 1989 .-384 + 480 p.