Chief Minister Vijay Rupani will depart Saturday on a five-day tour of Uzbekistan to Andijan, the city where Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur, who laid the foundation of the Mughal empire in India, was born in 1483. Rupani is going there on an invitation from the Uzbekistan government to participate in an international forum, International Investment Forum – Open Andijan.
During his five-day visit, Rupani is scheduled to hold one-on-one meetings with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev along with governors of Andijan, Samarkand, & Bukhara regions of the country, as well as the mayor of Tashkent city.
An official release said that apart from participating in the inaugural ceremony of International Investment Forum, Rupani is also scheduled to unveil a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Andijan where a street has been named after India’s first home minister.
Rupani will also visit Uzbekistan’s free pharmaceutical zone while opening a unit of Cadila Pharmaceuticals and inaugurate Sharda University in Uzbekistan.
During his visit, Rupani will also pay tribute to the second Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri who died on an official visit to Tashkent on January 11 1966, a day after signing the Tashkent Agreement.
Rupani will visit the Shastri School in Tashkent to interact with students there. He will also inaugurate an exhibition based on Mahatma Gandhi to mark the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation.
One of Adijan’s watershed events was the massacre of hundreds of people in May 2005 that incidentally started from a protest against corruption and seeking justice, at what was then called Babur Square (or Bobur Square). The government claimed over 170 people were killed in the protests, though human rights organisations pegged the number of deaths higher.
Emperor Babur is known as one of Andijan’s foremost sons. According to the Uzbek Indian embassy website, Uzbekistan celebrates the birthday of the “great poet and educator, a talented military leader and statesman” on February 14. It goes on to say, “Uzbek people are proud of the outstanding poet and brilliant scientist Babur’s masterpieces, which still are the link of cultural relations between the peoples of Central Asia, Afghanistan and India. In these countries, the subject of hundreds of scientific and literary works, movies are dedicated to our ingenious countryman”.
About Babur’s works, the embassy website says “Kabul divans” and “Indian divans” (poetic collections), memoir “Baburnama” had “a decisive influence on the formation of the Uzbek literary and artistic thought”. It says that at the age of 12, Babur became the ruler of Ferghana and then went on to found “a centralized state in 1526 in India, which lasted more than three centuries. Babur ruled this empire only five years, but during this period, he held numerous progressive reforms: prospered Agra and Delhi, built palaces on the banks of Yamuna river, cut taxes, upgraded the water supply system,” the website states.
The Indian namami.gov.in website has, in its journal Kriti Rakshana, Vol 8, a chapter on Babur and his literary works, which also mentions how he built a library in Andijan.
The political leaders of Andijan have visited Gujarat twice since 2018 and extended invitations to Rupani. Its Deputy Chief Minister Habibullaev Salombek Pulatovich paid a courtesy visit to Rupani in November 2018 to explore opportunities for Gujarat’s pharmaceutical companies to invest in Uzbekistan. Rupani then invited him to participate in the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat summit.
During the 9th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat summit in January 2019, Uzbekistan duly participated and Chief Minister of Andijan Shukhrat Abdurakhmanov paid a visit to Rupani and presented to him a traditional dress, cap, belt and sword of Uzbekistan.
Rupani will be accompanied by a high-level delegation of senior officers, industrialists from the diamond, gems & jewellery, hospitality, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, agro & food processing, and textiles industries, as well as some leading progressive farmers of Gujarat.