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Kyrgyzstan: Medieval Philosopher Reclaimed as National Hero

In recognition of Yusuf Balasaguni's achievements, the Kyrgyz government ordered that his portrait be imprinted on the 1,000 som banknote. (Photo: Public Domain)

When the 11th-century philosopher and poet Yusuf Balasaguni published a work on the principles of just governance, his ideas quickly gained traction among the rulers of the Karakhanid khanate in which he lived.
 
Both Balasaguni and the Karakhanid khanate are now history, but his personality and ideas on governance have lived on in Kyrgyzstan, a relatively new nation in search of an identity.
 
According to some historians, Balasaguni was born in 1015 — in the town of Balasagun, the capital of the Karakhanid khanate, located near modern-day town of Tokmok — and died in 1085 in Kashghar, currently part of Xinjiang Province in China. Ever in search of anniversaries that can help demarcate statehood, authorities in Bishkek have seized upon Balasaguni as a native son and have sought to capitalize on his status.
 

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Kyrgyzstan: Medieval Philosopher Reclaimed as National Hero

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