Pamir Peoples

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pamir Peoples


(Pamir Tadzhiks), a term embracing speakers of Iranian languages who live in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast of the Tadzhik SSR (Wakhi, Ishkashmi, Shugni, Roshani, Bajuvi, Bartangi, Yazgulami), Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan (Sebaki and Sanglechi as well as the above), and the Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China (Sarikoli). The Pamir peoples belong to the Pamir-Fergana race and speak various Pamir languages. The Tadzhik language has long served as a means of communication between various Pamir peoples and between the Pamiri and the Tadzhiks. In the USSR, the socialist reconstruction of the economy and culture of the Pamir peoples is leading to the gradual consolidation of the Pamiri into a single nation with the Tadzhiks. (In the 1970 census, the Pamir peoples declared themselves to be Tadzhik.) The Pamiri are Ismailians.

The Pamiri developed as a people in the tenth century from ancient Saka, and possibly Danda, tribes on the periphery of the ethnic territory of the Tadzhiks; they developed under distinct historical, socio-economic, and natural conditions. When the Piandzh River was established as part of the border between Afghanistan and Russia in 1869, the Pamir peoples found themselves divided between two states; the only exception were the Yazgulami, who lived only on the right bank of the Piandzh.

All Pamir peoples share certain common features in their economies and in their material and spiritual culture. Their methods of farming and livestock raising are adapted to the harsh conditions of the Western Pamirs, as are their traditional work implements, dwellings, and clothing. In the USSR most Pamiri engage in land cultivation and livestock breeding on collective farms. Under Soviet power, profound transformations have taken place in the Pamiri’s culture and way of life. The Pamiri have produced various specialists and workers in diverse areas of the national economy, science, and culture. Pamiri peoples living outside of the USSR have basically preserved their earlier way of life and engage in land cultivation, livestock raising, hunting, and handicraft production.


Narody Srednei Azii i Kazakhstana, vol. 2. Moscow, 1963. (Bibliography.)
Monogarova, L. F. Preobrazovaniia v bytu i kul’ture pripamirskikh narodnostei. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.