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Damon Lynch | all galleries >> Tajikistan 2013-16 > Flag flying above stupa - Vrang
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Flag flying above stupa - Vrang

Flag flying above stupa - Vrang

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A Tajik national flag flies above what some historians believe is an ancient Buddhist stupa above the village Vrang in the Wakhan Valley (other historians argue it might instead have been a Zoroastrian Fire Temple). As a symbol the intention behind placing the Tajik flag on a historic sacred site is ambiguous. Does the flag represent the triumph of the modern Tajik state over the forgotten sacred past in which there were no nation states? Or is its purpose more gentle by instead pointing organically to the religious ancestry contemporary Tajiks share? Of course I might be over-interpeting the situation. Maybe local people just wanted somewhere high to place their flag during the Persian New Year, and this was a convenient place. In any case, I personally felt great discomfort when I saw it. To me it seems sacrilegious to have the flag of any state flying above a holy site. Photo taken on March 28, 2014 in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, Tajikistan.

Canon EOS-1D X ,Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
1/250s f/10.0 at 44.0mm iso100 full exif

other sizes: small medium original
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Bryce 08-Jun-2015 21:04
The Tajik flag is especially puzzling since so few Pamiris identify as Tajikistani: they tend to consider themselves Pamiris first and foremost, they fought on the other side during the civil war, and they remain wary of the government today. Perhaps it was part of pre-election propaganda?