Tajikistan Leader Bans School Proms As 'Pompous,' 'Excessive Luxury'
President Emomalii Rakhmon has banned high school graduation parties in this largely Muslim Central Asian nation, the latest in a string of edicts on Tajik cultural and social life. Rakhmon said he was concerned about the ``pompous'' and ``excessive luxury'' of school festivities, according to his press service. Earlier, he ordered a ban on the use of cell phones and private cars at high schools. In recent years, end-of-the-year graduation celebrations have become elaborate and lavish, with wealthy families buying teenagers new dresses and suits, and renting limousines, restaurants and ballrooms for parties - a trend made all the more jarring given Tajikistan's widespread poverty.Rakhmon also urged all new parents to drop Russian-style endings for infant surnames. Names, he said, should be according to ``historic traditions,'' and he also urged parents to drop from birth certificates Russian patronymic middle names that commonly end with ``ovich'' or ``ovna.'' Last week, the Tajik president de-Russified his own name - changing it from Emomali Rakhmonov - and he urged Tajiks to follow a 1989 law that discourages ``-ov'' and ``-ev'' endings that were widely added to surnames during the Communist era. ``It's about the spelling of names and surnames of children according to the historic traditions of Tajik culture, and as a comeback to national roots,'' the statement said. Most Tajiks speak a dialect of Farsi, Iran's main language. Rakhmon has ruled the impoverished Central Asian nation since 1994, and was re-elected last year in an election that foreign observers said was flawed.