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Resisting Colonialism in the Uzbek Historical Novel Kecha va Kunduz (Night and Day), 1936

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In this essay on the Uzbek author and poet Abdulhamid Sulayman Cholpon (1897–1938), his novel Kecha va Kunduz (Night and Day) is examined as a bold critique of both Russian and Soviet colonialism in early twentieth century Central Asia. Despite increasing censorship and previous arrests by Soviet authorities, Cholpon subtly employs a variety of techniques including satire and farce to undermine the legitimacy of the Soviet government that was being established around him. Bitterly portraying the hypocrisy and collusion of jadid reformists, Muslim clerics and local Russian officials, this unfinished novel, which was halted by the author’s execution in 1938, remains as one of the darkest comments on Soviet Central Asian history in the Uzbek language.


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