Uzbekistan, a hidden gem nestled in Central Asia, is rich in history, culture, and linguistic diversity. Throughout the country, the abundance of languages spoken represents the diverse ethnic makeup of its population. Although Uzbek is the official language, another language known as “өзбекше би has played a significant role in the preservation of a unique and ancient cultural heritage.
“Өзбекше би” is the Uzbek term for the Uzbek language written in the Arabic script. This script was used to write Uzbek for centuries before the adoption of the Latin script in the 1920s and the subsequent transition to Cyrillic in the 1940s. However, since the regained independence of Uzbekistan in 1991, there has been a resurgence of interest in reclaiming the Uzbek cultural roots, language, and script.
This traditional script, also known as “Yana Yozuv” or “New Alphabet,” is renowned for its elegance and artistic finesse. The unique combination of curls, dots, and hooks produces a visually striking effect that truly captivates the reader. Although its complexity demands dedication and practice to master, seeing the words of “Өзбекше би” inscribed in traditional Arabic script evokes a sense of pride and reverence for the rich Uzbek heritage.
The decision to embrace “Өзбекше би” as a reminder of national history and culture was a conscious effort by the Uzbek government. Recognizing the importance of language as a symbol of national identity, the government has made significant strides to promote the usage of “Өзбекше би” alongside the Cyrillic script.
This revitalization of “Өзбекше би” has fostered a renewed sense of cultural pride among Uzbek speakers. It has also strengthened their connection to their ancestors and helped preserve the linguistic heritage that characterizes the diverse ethnic groups residing in Uzbekistan.
The reintroduction of “Өзбекше би” has not been without challenges. The transition involved retraining a generation of Uzbek citizens who had grown accustomed to the Cyrillic script. Furthermore, achieving uniformity in the use of this ancient script across different generations and regions required educational initiatives and a concerted effort to standardize writing systems.
Despite its initial obstacles, “Өзбекше би” is gaining popularity. In recent years, increasing numbers of publications and online platforms dedicated to the Arabic script have emerged, encouraging Uzbekistan’s youth to embrace their cultural heritage and contributing to the advancement of “Өзбекше би.”
With international recognition of its historical importance, “Өзбекше би” is becoming an integral part of academic linguistics and studying Central Asian cultures. Research projects and workshops are underway to document its development, disseminate knowledge, and ensure its future preservation.
As we celebrate the revival of “Өзбекше би,” we recognize the valuable role it plays in Uzbekistan’s multicultural fabric. This ancient script is a testament to the Uzbek people’s devotion to their cultural identity, their appreciation for their linguistic heritage, and their profound connection to the past.
Let the beauty and complexity of “Өзбекше би” inspire us to embrace and cherish the diversity of languages that exist within our world