"Central Asia is a place where the veils between
the spiritual and material worlds are thin."
Memories of SamarklandÓ
This fact can be demonstrated clearly by two events which
happened in June 1942. Tamerlane a 14 Century Naqshbandi
leader who is buried in a lavish mausoleum in Samarkhand
is the main character in this story for which the second
world war might have been the plot. Tamerlane, or Timur
the lame as he was known to Europeans in the Middle Ages,
was a Ruler and Military Leader who established an Asian
Empire which he conducted from Samarkhand, and which was
second only in size and ferocity to that of the infamous
Ancestor Chinggis Khan.
His tomb made of jade is an object which inspires myth
and is apparently engraved with the ominous words, "if
this grave is disturbed the earth will rumble". During
the night of 22nd June 1941 a Russian Archaeologist, Mikhael
Gerasimov, intent on discovering whether Tamerlane was
in fact lame or not, took it upon himself to open the
tomb for experiments. He did this at night so as not to
raise local curiosity, and whilst he was in the Gur Emir,
one of his assistants came rushing in to tell him that
the Hitler had invaded Russia.
Seemingly oblivious to this ominous coincidence the Archeologist
continued with his excavations, as the war began between
Germany and Russia in earnest. Gerasimov continued his
experiments on Tamerlames body for a further 2 years and
when he was satisfied that Tamerlane had in fact been
lame he returned the body to its casket. Within two weeks
of him doing so the Germans had surrendered at Stalingrad
and the second world war had turned in the favour of the
Allies, which of course included the Russians. Truth or
myth, the veils are thin in Central Asia, as they have
always been, it seems.
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