Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies has signed an Agreement on the establishment of a double degree program with the Indian University of Gujarat. Thus, our university became the first educational institution in the post-Soviet space to open a joint educational program in the Hindi language with Indian universities. According to the document, in 2020-2021 academic year, a Master’s program in the specialty “Linguistics (Hindi language)”, which provides for training at two universities: the first year at TSUOS, and the second at Gujarat University, is being launched.
Historically, interest in India and its study in Central Asia is rooted in the distant past. Indology as a science in Uzbekistan has existed for more than 70 years. The Department of Indian Philology which is the same age as independent India, was founded in 1947. During its existence, the Indian branch has trained more than 1000 specialists. Not only representatives of the USSR and post-Soviet countries, but also envoys from Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Monogolia, Cuba and Vietnam studied here.
During the past period, significant work has been done at Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies in the field of studying the Hindi language, literature, history, philosophy, economics and foreign policy of India. From individual methodological developments to solid textbooks, teaching aids, anthologies, dictionaries, monographs. In particular, 5 textbooks for schools and lyceums, about 10 for universities, over 30 monographs and thousands of scientific articles on Indology have been published. Apart from that, three Hindi-Uzbek dictionaries have been published.
Translations of the works of Indian writers have been accomplished. In particular, a five-volume book by Rabindranath Tagore has been published, the novels of Premchand, Krishan Chandar, Yashpal, the great epics of India Ramayana and Mahabharata, the tales of Panchatantra, Hitopadesh, and the novel of the Tamil writer Chinnapp Bharati have been translated. The series “Mahabharata” and “Ramayana” were shown several times on Uzbek television with the translation of the indologist Amir Fayzullayev. He also translated Mahatma Gandhi’s book “My Life” into Uzbek.
Prominent scientists from India, who in different years successfully worked at the department played an important role in the development of Indology at TSUOS, in particular, J. Sarkar, Kamar Rais, B. Tiwari, H. Farukh, K. Hashimi, Muhammad Amin. About 50 candidates and doctors of sciences in linguistics, literary criticism, history and philosophy of India have been trained.
Many Indologists of the university were awarded various awards from India and other foreign countries for their merits in the development of Indology. In particular, PhD in Philosophy, diplomat F. Teshabaev was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru International Prize in 1988, was awarded the special “Goodwill Ambassador” award by the Governor of the American state of Tennessee, and became an honorary member of the Academy of Science and Culture of the State of California, USA. Doctor of Philology, Professor A. Shamatov (2014) and famous translator Amir Fayzullaev (2020) were awarded the high state award named after George Grierson, Doctor of Philology, Professor U. Mukhibova (2007) and PhD in Philology, Associate Professor S. Nurmatov (2017) was awarded an award by the Consulate of Cultural Relations of India (ICCR) “For merits in the development and spread of the Hindi language”.
An important event in the development of native Indology was the opening of the Mahatma Gandhi Center for Indology at TSUOS. The Center successfully conducts scientific conferences, workshops, cultural events together with the Embassy of India in Uzbekistan and the Shastri Cultural Center of India in Tashkent and partner universities of India.
Today at TSUOS, about 150 students study the Hindi language, culture, philosophy, history, economics and politics of the Republic of India. It is noteworthy that in 2020-2021 academic year, a new bachelor’s direction “International Journalism” will be opened at the university, which provides for the study of Indian journalism and the Hindi language.
In September 2018, the President of Uzbekistan made his first state visit to the Republic of India. This visit, as noted by experts, brought the Uzbek-Indian relations to a new, higher level. Since that time, the leaders of the two countries have been paying great attention to the development and deepening of ties between our countries in all areas. Meetings of the heads of ministries and departments are held on an ongoing basis, road maps for cooperation are developed, and experience is exchanged. An Uzbek-Indian trading house was opened in Delhi, and an Uzbek-Indian Center for Development of Entrepreneurship was opened in Uzbekistan. The number of enterprises with the involvement of Indian fund is growing and the trade turnover between countries is increasing. Branches of Indian universities are being opened in Uzbekistan, educational, scientific and cultural events are being held. All this increases the responsibility of the University staff in development of Indology, in training specialized qualified personnel and opens up new prospects.
An important event was the last year’s meeting of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev with the Chief Minister of the Gujarat State of the Republic of India Vijay Rupani. During the meeting, it was noted that one of the priorities of bilateral relations is cooperation in the field of education and personnel training. In order to solve the tasks set by the Head of the state, the delegation of Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies, consisting of rector Gulchekhra Rikhsieva and Vice-Rector Elyor Makhmudov, visited the Republic of India in November last year. The purpose of the visit was to establish systematic and comprehensive cooperation with Indian universities.
The visit resulted in the signing of agreements and reaching a number of agreements with leading universities, namely, Gujarat, Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Jamia Millia Islamia, as well as the National Council for the Promotion of Urdu language.
Jamia Millia Islamia University is the only higher education institution in India where the Uzbek language is taught. At a meeting with students of this university who study the Uzbek language, the Rector of TSUOS G. Rikhsieva made a presentation on the Development Strategy of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021, initiated by the President of the country. The library of the department of the Uzbek language was provided with about 30 modern books on the Uzbek language, fiction, and culture of Uzbekistan.
This year, specialists from Jamia Millia Islamia University visited TSUOS to deliver lectures. In particular, Associate Professor Shahid Taslim, who in 2018 translated the Development Strategy of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021 into Hindi and Urdu. He introduced Indian economics students to the Indian higher education system. Senior teacher Shiraz Khan gave an intensive course of lectures on two subjects – “Economy of India” and “Business and Entrepreneurship in India” for a month. Shiraz Khan is the first specialist economist from India who was invited to deliver lectures at TSUOS. In 2020-2021 academic year, he will continue to lecture online.
Within the framework of cooperation with the University of Delhi, a preliminary agreement was reached on opening the Center of Uzbekistan TSUOS on the basis of the Faculty of Art of the University. Senior lecturer, PhD N. Khojaeva delivered a series of lectures at the University of Delhi on “The role of translation in development of Indo-Uzbek literary ties”.
Within the framework of cooperation with the University of Gujarat senior lecturer, PhD of TSUOS Sh.Askarova completed a month’s internship in India, and also took part in 3 International scientific conferences organized by this university.
Together with the University of Gujarat, a double degree program was launched, the discussion of which began in January 2020 and was not easy. This is due to a number of objective reasons. In particular, the Indian higher education system is relatively conservative; most public universities have almost no practice of opening double degree programs with foreign universities. The coronavirus pandemic and quarantine measures have slowed down discussions on the program. However, reality has shown that, if the both sides have a strong wish, nothing can be a hindrance, even such an invisible evil as Covid-19.
This program will be the first double degree program for Gujarat University, and for TSUOS the fifth and the first for a Master’s program.
I would like to thank the leadership of Gujarat state and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India Santosh Jha for their support, who also took part in the discussion of this program. “Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies is a prestigious, well-known and one of the leading universities not only in Uzbekistan, but throughout Central Asia”, said Santosh Jha, whose mission as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Uzbekistan ended recently. He has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Belgium.
Signing the Agreement, the Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat University Himanshu Pandya emphasized: “We cordially welcome the attention paid to the development of Indology in Uzbekistan. We are convinced that this double degree program will meet the goals of strategic partnership and a new era of Uzbek-Indian relations”.
TSUOS also plans to open double degree programs with universities in India in other areas and specialties of education. Today, in the circumstances of a pandemic period, the university continues to work closely with India using ICT and Internet technologies. The faculty successfully participates in the International Webinars organized by partner universities and organizations in India.
PhD Elyor Makhmudov,Vice-Rector for International Cooperation, TSUOS