Mahalla Committee

What is Mahalla?

Mahalla means a neighborhood or local community, originally the word “mahalla” came from the Arabic language meaning “locality”. In Uzbekistan, mahalla is a separate self-governing association. The role and importance of mahallas have always been invaluable in carefully preserving the multi-ethnic Uzbek people’s national and universal human values, culture, way of life, thoughts and spirituality that have been passed down for generations. Mahallas even exist in neighboring countries possibly unofficially in Kyrgyzstan (Uzgen, Osh) and Southern Kazakhstan (Shymkent, Sayram) in independent Uzbekistan they are an established institution. 

A brief history of Mahalla

Uzbek´ mahalla dates back to ancient times as a powerful seat of culture, an active citizens’ self-governing body, the entity closest to the people, and a unique civil society institution. When the Soviets came to power in Central Asia they wisely decided that instead of breaking centuries-long traditions of the mahalla, it is easier to take it under control and use it for its own advantage. Therefore those mahallas survived the twentieth century, and whilst in.

After Uzbekistan became independent in 1991, the authorities expanded the role and responsibilities of mahallas. In 2003 was declared to be the “Year of the Mahalla” by ex-president Islam Karimov and mahalla was transformed into the basic administrative unit of local government. 

Today mahallas are now hybrid institutions, operating both as part of the formal system of public administration as a formal mahalla as well as an informal, community-based welfare system. The formal one means that there are committees headed by a state-salaried chairman and act on behalf of the state. While informal means social mahallas are established on moral ideas of solidarity and mutual help and are led by an aksakal (elderly person) chosen by residents.

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