This publication is a transcription into Arabic characters of a paper by the Tajikistani ethnographer M. Mirkamolova, published in Cyrillic script a quarter of a century ago (in Armaghon 2: Mas’alahoi filologiiai tojik, Dushanbe: Donish, 1971: 205-15).  Albeit quite short, this study has not yet been really surpassed—which bears testimony of the lack of interest of late Soviet and present Tajikistani scholars in Turkic oral traditions as they have been developing through the twentieth century on the territory of the former Tajik SSR.  The paper notably conveys invaluable, though quite elliptic, data on the history and sociology of the saqis—as are sometimes called the bilingual, Persian and Uzbek-speaking tellers of the epics cycle of Gurughli / Köroghlu in Central Asia.  The author provides, in particular, interesting information on Buran Saqi (b. around 1900) in the Wakhsh River area, a Gurughli-teller of ‘Gipsy’ (Tajik: luli) origin who had studied in the 1930s with an allegedly Gipsy master, “Kenje”, from the predominantly Uzbek-speaking city of Regar in Western Tajikistan.  In spite of the contempt shown by authorities in Dushanbe for everything non-Tajik, and in spite of the hopeless scorn of the Tajik intelligentsia towards everything ‘Gipsy’, these data on the implication of Southern Tajikistani luli singers in the transmission of Persian- as well as Turkic-language pre-modern oral traditions should be enriched by studies in the making on the Gypsies’ role in the preservation and transmission of other repertories (most particularly the sacred repertory of the rhapsodes [maddahs] of the Khatlan province, especially of the Kulab area).

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-6.3.C-593