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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Golden statue for Alabai dog in the centre of the road !!

Sure have heard of or have used the idiom ‘It's a dog's life’ ~ something you say which means that life is hard and unpleasant.  Dogs often are related to hard times often uncared for. என்னடா நாய் வாழ்க்கை என சிலர் அலுத்துக்கொள்வதை கேட்டு இருப்போம் ! ~ நாயை குளிப்பாட்டி நாடு வீட்டில் வைத்தாலும் என்ற சொலவடை கேள்விப்பட்டு இருப்பீங்க.  சில நாய்கள் மனிதர்களை விட ராஜ வாழ்க்கை அனுபவிக்கின்றன !  .. .. நாய்க்கு சிலை, அதுவும் தங்க சிலை, அதுவும் தலைநகரத்தின் முக்கிய வீதி சந்திப்பில் .. .. என்ன சொல்வீர்கள் !!


In news is – a  huge gilded statue   has been unveiled on a busy traffic circle in the capital of Turkmenistan by the country’s longtime leader, who has also written an ode  and gifted one to Russian President Vladimir Putin.   

Very tough to spell and tougher still to pronounce :  “Gurbanguly Mälikgulyýewiç Berdimuhamedow”  is  the  serving President of Turkmenistan since Feb 2007. A dentist by profession, Berdimuhamedow served in the government under President Saparmurat Niyazov as Minister of Health beginning in 1997 and as Vice-President beginning in 2001.  In 2007 presidential election, he  faced no meaningful opposition in the vote and won by an overwhelming margin (89.23%). In 2012, he was re-elected with 97% of the vote. In the February 2017 presidential election, he was re-elected to a third term with 97.69% of the votes. He uses the honorific title Arkadag, translating to "protector" in the Turkmen language.

Turkmenistan   is a sovereign country in Central Asia, bordered by Kazakhstan,  Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran   and the Caspian Sea to the west. Ashgabat is the capital and largest city of the country.  Turkmenistan has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries; Merv is one of the oldest of oasis-cities in Central Asia and was once the biggest city in the world. In medieval times, Merv was also one of the great cities   and an important stop on the Silk Road. Annexed by the Russian Empire in 1881, Turkmenistan later figured prominently in the anti-Bolshevik movement in Central Asia. In 1925, Turkmenistan became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, it became independent after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Turkmenistan possesses the world's fourth largest reserves of natural gas.Most of the country is covered by the Karakum (Black Sand) Desert. From 1993 to 2017, citizens received government-provided electricity, water and natural gas free of charge.  The sovereign state of Turkmenistan was ruled by President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov (also known as Turkmenbashi) until his death in 2006. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow was elected president in 2007.  Turkmenistan has been widely criticized for its human rights record. Notable issues were its treatment of minorities, press freedoms, and religious freedoms.

The Central Asian Shepherd Dog (Alabai) is an ancient livestock guardian dog breed. Traditionally, the breed was used for guarding sheep and goat herds, as well as to protect and for guard duty. It is a large breed of dog recognized by FCI as a Molossoid type dog breed of Soviet-era origin under Russian patronage – Turk President gifted one to Russian President Putin.

Alabai is in news for the statue, with a screen showing Turkmenistan’s beloved Alabai dogs in action wrapped around the pedestal, joins another on a different major junction, also coated in gold, of President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov himself, seated on a horse. Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the ruler of Turkmenistan, unveiled a statue to the Alabi dog on 11.11.2020. The 50ft-tall bronze sculpture, coated in gold leaf, is a tribute to his favourite breed which is native to the country.  Statue sits on a plinth covered in TV screens that show dog playing, in a newly-built part of capital Ashgabat.  Berdymukhamedov has written a book about the dog, which he called 'a symbol of achievement and victory.'

It is not an ordinary dog and the phrase ‘dog’s life’ has no meaning – the ruler of Turkmenistan has unveiled a 50ft golden statue of his favourite dog breed in the country's capital. The statue sits at the centre of a roundabout in a newly-built area of Ashgabat, the capital, and features a plinth covered in TV screens that play videos of the dog. President Berdymukhamedov has a long-running love affair with the breed, which is native to Turkmenistan and which he considers part of the country's national character.  The statue is cast of bronze and stands at 20ft tall, and is covered in 24ct gold leaf. The podium measures 30ft for a total height of 50ft, according to the Turkmenistan government.

The dog sits at the center of a new area of Ashgabat, designed and built to house civil servants. It includes several white marble apartment buildings, schools, parks, shops, cinemas, wedding venues and sport grounds. Despite the lavish ceremony, most of Turkmenistan's population is impoverished and badly repressed.  The country is ranked lowest in the world for press freedom according to RSF, below even North Korea. The country's economy is growing, thanks largely to huge deposits of oil and natural gas, but most of the wealth is concentrated at the top of society.

A press release by the Turkmenistan government described the statue as demonstrating the 'respect and honor to the exemplary courage and cordial heart of these wonderful animals.' The statue will 'highlight their role in historical destiny of the nation and the place which Alabis occupy in the life of the nation,' the press release added.  Berdymukhamedov’s obsession with the Alabai is not just personal. He attended the unveiling ceremony on Wednesday alongside a choir of children in traditional dress and dancers who performed traditional national dances.   

The barrel-chested, large-skulled dog has been at the side of nomads in the Central-Asian nation for as long as it has existed.  The new statue is just the latest opulent monument erected at the behest of the nation’s dictators. In 2015, Berdymukhamedov unveiled a gold statue of himself in the capital riding a horse atop a cliff of white marble.  And the former dictator, Saparmurat Niyazov, erected a golden statue of himself which would rotate so that it always faced the sun, placing it atop a 246ft-tall tripod.  

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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