Kellerassel/Wikipedia

Upset with Western decadence, the government of Uzbekistan is urging its citizens to shun Valentine's in favor of Emperor Babur.

Ladies: What should your boyfriend get you today, a Valentine's card and box of sweets or a book of poems inspired by 16th-century Muslim conqueror Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur?

Definitely the latter option, according to Uzbekistan's government.

This year, central Asia's most populous country put out the word that Valentines' Day card-and-gift exchanging is not acceptable behavior in Tashkent, Samarkand, Namangan or any other Uzbek city. Instead, the Department for Enlightenment and Promoting Values is urging its people – especially the youth, who have embraced the lovers' holiday – to honor the Feb. 14 birthday of Emperor Babur, founder of south Asia's Mughul dynasty and distant relative of Genghis Khan.

Dinner and a movie is nice, suggest the ministers, but much nicer would be a book reading on Babur's significant geopolitical accomplishments.

So is someone high in the Uzbek government totally trying to cover up for not buying his lady a present?

Actually, the ban is part of an ongoing effort by this mostly Muslim country to shun the decadent and "alien" culture of the West, as the BBC reports:

In the past few weeks there have been several articles attacking foreign soap operas from Mexico and Latin America for being too explicit and for undermining local values and traditions.

Similar criticism was levelled against hard rock and rap music in an extensive campaign a year ago. A Youth Channel on state TV labelled the music "Satanic", feeding on drug addiction and immorality.

The government set up a special censorship body to monitor rap music, register artists and hold regular meetings to encourage the use of more wholesome lyrics.

The V-Day decree is bad news for lovers of chocolate and plushy animals. On the other hand, it opens the door for terrifying gifts like this colorful novella, whose book jacket well conveys the screams of the damned who fell under the sword of Babur.

Top image of Babur from Kellerassel.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class

    Bike equity is a powerful tool for reducing inequality. Too often, cycling infrastructure is tailored only to wealthy white cyclists.

  2. Life

    The Singles Bar That Shook Up 1970s Toronto

    After the fern bar craze had swept the U.S., the Coal Bin arrived in the growing, but still-conservative Canadian city.

  3. Transportation

    With Trains Like Schwebebahn, No Wonder Germans Love Public Transit

    Infrastructure like this makes it clear why Germany continues to produce enthusiasm for public transit, generation after generation.

  4. Amazon HQ2

    Without Amazon HQ2, What Happens to Housing in Queens?

    The arrival of the tech company’s new headquarters was set to shake up the borough’s real estate market, driving up rents and spurring displacement. Now what?

  5. A man sleeps in his car.
    Equity

    Finding Home in a Parking Lot

    The number of unsheltered homeless living in their cars is growing. Safe Parking programs from San Diego to King County are here to help them.