Shaking his head, he dismisses them as "nothing but stories of love," and complains that the film actors do no more than "dance, dance, dance." The debate over Shahrukh Khan is a proxy for a much deeper division.For generations, arranged marriages and a segregation of sexes have been the norm in Khujand; modern notions of romance and dating are now challenging the old traditions.The natural environment, too, is generally beautiful -- the sky is very blue and mountains line all horizons, but there are few trees and no grass here in the city.Perhaps out of habit from the days of the Soviet Union, the Tajik people seem to care much more about preserving their culture --their national dress, the national dishes, their commitment to Islam--than about bettering their country as a whole--the economy, the roads and the buildings, for instance. Whatever the case, Tajik culture is still very rich -- remarkable that it survived the uniformity of the Soviet Union.
There is also Zee TV, which features a heavy dose of Bollywood escapism.
Mohira, a single 20 year-old university student clad in jeans and high-heeled boots, calls Shahrukh Khan -- the Indian Muslim film star -- her "honey" and readily confesses to being transported by the stories of romance that are central to most of his movies.
Farrukh, a 28-year-old devout Muslim and new father disagrees.
I've now had a couple of weeks to observe the Tajik people and their ways.
The first thing I noticed upon entering Khujand was the colorful dress of the women, a huge contrast from the gray soviet buildings and the dusty roads.