Толибшохи Давлат

Толибшохи ДавлатРодился 15.05.1955 года в городе Курган-тюбе. В 1982 году окончил спецгруппы по журналистике при факультете таджикской филологии ТГУ им. В.И. Ленина (ныне национальный университет).

После учебы в средней школы некоторое время работал на производстве. Потом призывался в армию. После служба и учеба в ТГУ продолжил трудовую деятельность в областной газете «Хакикати Кургонтеппа». В 1988 году был приглашен для работы в районном газете «Байраки дусти». После приезда в город Душанбе работал в информационно-аналитическом центре «Сипехр», еженедельниках «Чахони паём», «Омузгор», журнале «Масъалаҳои маориф», республиканской газете «Садои мардум», еженедельник «Мухочир». На данный момент является редактором отдела в молодежном газете «Джавонони Тожикистон».

Является автором социальных повестей «Гнезда без журавлей» (2004), а также детективных повестям «Кинжал Чингизхана» (2005), «Перистые облака» (2007).

Толибшохи Давлат и его произведение «Журавли по весне», которое посвящено теме миграции участвовал в конкурсе «Новеллазия» и стал один из пяти победителей.


Cranes in Spring

Nowadays, we are accustomed to the phenomenon of labour migration. If today or tomorrow, a friend or neighbour leaves to go abroad (Russia, Ukraine or Belarus are common examples) to work, it looks all too familiar. All we can do is wish them a safe journey and ask them to convey our greetings to a relative or someone close to us.

Of course, occasionally, during the years of ‘abundance’ in the Soviet period, sometimes one or two villagers left for Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan to work in construction or in a cotton processing enterprise. Sometimes these trips were one way, with the travellers finding a ‘new country’ in which to live, or eternal rest in the corner of some cemetery on foreign soil.

The phenomenon of labour migration has become ubiquitous. I remember in 1993 (11 years ago) an emigrant from Garma (a district in Tajikistan), commented that in one or two years, all Tajik men between 16 and 45 would be working in Russia.

His countrymen did not agree with him, retorting, ‘What are you talking about? People have a family, children, and farming; who will leave them all and come here?’ The emigrant replied by claiming, ‘They will go, sell their farms for their travel expenses…’ As it turned out, the emigrant was wrong. The men were not just between 16 and 45, but 16 and 60. Women were going too..

Today, many people have no choice except but to migrate for work in order to feed themselves and their family.

Nobody knows how long it will continue.

Newspaper ‘Nigoh’ 04.12.2006

Introduction

– Get in line!

A tall policeman, the commander, barked the words in Russian. The forcefulness of his voice did nothing to settle the jangling nerves of the migrants. They tried to get into line hastily but in their panic, lost all sense of direction. It was as though chickens were fleeing haphazardly from the shadow of an eagle.

The fully armed policemen weren’t making it easy, beating the migrants mercilessly with their hands and feet, with their baton and guns.

The tall policeman waited until they fell in line, but the beatings continued as though he wasn’t there. There was a lack of respect from the policemen towards the commander, and it was evident that they did not respect his orders. One of the migrants escaped the clutches of the police and tried to run away, only to be grabbed by the commander.

– Enough! – the commander shouted.

The beatings ground to a halt. The commander held the escapee firmly, as though he might bolt again should he let go. The other migrants were in disarray; afraid of more brutality. The commander yelled again:

– Come here, line up! Immediately!

The migrants became hurried: aware that any insubordination might bring more blows from the policemen. Organizing themselves into a row it became apparent that there were about thirty migrants. Some were in their underwear. Some were injured and only managed to remain in line with the help of their friends.

The construction site was enclosed with a wooden fence. Only one five-story building was being built here. The walls had been erected and the roof was also in place. The remaining works were due to start. Around the building, there was a tower crane on rails and a few other bits of construction equipment. The events of that night didn’t concern these pieces of machinery, and they remained silent.

Three wagons could be seen in a row from one corner of the building. The lights were on and the doors were open. No one was inside. Suddenly, the police kicked the migrants into the yard.

***

Mustakim and Saidabror arrived in Moscow in the evening. They had planned to spend the night somewhere in the capital and head to Chelyabinsk in the morning. They decided to visit Jamoliddin, a son of Mustakim’s aunt, who worked for a construction company along with some other Tajik men. They were welcomed kindly.

Seven construction workers were living in a small room in a wagon. The bunk beds were already cramped, but space was found for the two guests.

Jamoliddin and Mustakim began to talk.

– Didn’t you succeed? –  asked Jamoliddin

– No, we couldn’t find our friend in the factory. So, we had to work and earn with small jobs. The salary was just enough for travel expenses –  replied Mustakim

– Well, I am glad that you were not caught; otherwise you would be in big trouble. I went through that. But, Thank God! I met my current host. He is a good person. He has his own construction company. The company constructs buildings in different places. We built one of the buildings. The owner saw that we work well, and he didn’t let us go. He paid us on time, so the guys earned at least for bread. Then, he brought us here and I was appointed to be in charge of the workers. He provides us with food and supplies on time. Overall, there is nothing to complain about. But, unfortunately, he doesn’t take newcomers; otherwise he would have accepted you.

– Thank you for that, but don’t worry about me. Two of my younger brothers work in Chelyabinsk, so I am going to join them.

– If I am not mistaken, your brothers work in the market, right?

– That’s right. They buy the vegetables from the suburban villages and sell them in the city market.

– It is cold in Chelyabinsk. It will be difficult for you as the freezing season is ahead of you. My uncle’s son trades in Orenburg, in fact, his work is getting better. The weather is also warmer there. I have some relatives there. I will give their contact to you if you want. I will call my cousin and he can help you if you go there.

– Thank you for your concern, but you shouldn’t worry. We are heading to Chelyabinsk. It will not be good if we go back to Orenburg from here. I have been in Chelyabinsk several times, so it is bearable there. How is it going with you? When did you come to Russia?

– In the spring, If God blesses us, I will go home once we are done with the building.

– We came here at the end of the summer.

– Our guys usually arrive here early in spring, and if they are lucky, then they get their salaries and return home at the end of the fall. It became a habit.

– But what can people do in their home country? There’s nowhere to work, and they have to survive somehow.

– I think you will spend the winter here.

– We don’t have any choice.

Mustakim sighed heavily. Jamoliddin kept silent now. He looked at Saidabror for some time. Saidabror didn’t say anything for the whole time they sat at the table. He was a shy, young man who listened to them silently. After peering at Saidabror’s face, Jamoliddin broke the silence:

– I don’t recognize your companion.

– A neighbour’s son – said Mustakim.

– He finished the school this year. He wanted to come to Russia, so he came with me. His name is Saidabror.

– He’s an unusual one. He hasn’t said a word since we have been here.

– Saidabror is an educated guy, but a little shy.

– Good friends.

Everyone was asleep but, that night, the Tajik migrants were not clearly destined to sleep. At midnight, the police came calling.

It was bright as day at the construction site. The powerful spotlights attached to the tower crane and the roof of the building illuminated the site, and three buses of police stood in the corners with their lights on. The chief of police stepped out in front of the group of migrants, facing them, and staring into their faces. He spoke in a loud, commanding voice.

– A hundred roubles from each person and you are free! Otherwise, I will take you to the office, and that might lead to your arrest or deportation.

He beckoned towards them, signalling that he was ready to receive payment. He started to collect money from one end of the line. Mustakim and Saidabror stood at the opposite end of the line, and as the policeman drew nearer, Mustakim held Saidabror’s hand firmly. He wanted to make sure that the boy didn’t suffer.

The policeman approached slowly. One of the newcomers next to them could be overheard whispering to his neighbour:

– The policeman is from the section fifty-eight. I don’t have much money. Please lend some money and help. If he takes you to the section, you won’t return in shape. They will eat you alive.

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