Tag Archive: Afghanistan


Safi Pashtuns

Safi Pashtun girl

There is a story which goes about Pashtuns, more importantly about Safi Pashtuns. This story infact became the focal point for Pashtun nationalism and led to the creation of present day Afghanistan (the more appropriate word would be, this story or this event implanted the seeds for independence for Pashtuns).

The story goes as following:

During the time of Aurangzeb (6th Mughal Ruler), Revolt was triggered when soldiers under the orders of the Mughal Governor Amir Khan allegedly attempted to molest women of the Safi tribe in modern day Kunar. The Safi tribemen retaliated and killed the soldiers. This attack provoked a reprisal, which triggered a general revolt of the most of the tribes. When news reached Aurangzeb that his general was killed, he appealed to the tribe to hand over the killers , but the naturally elders refused and challenged the Emperor. This was owing to their stance of Pashtunwali.

To be Noted:  I wonder how he would have reacted if his wife or daughter might have been subjected to such a treatment. Aurangzeb would have subjected such men to inhuman torture, a torture which would have been invented for those men only. Aurangzeb was a hypocrite, this event adds significance to those voices against him.

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Soon Aurangzeb set out with a large force against the Safi and their allies from other Pashtun clans namely Khattak, Afridis, Shinwari, and Mohmands in the command of Khushal Khan Khattak which was at that time the tribal chief of Khattak tribe. Afghan sources claim that Aurangzeb suffered a humiliating defeat, with a reported loss of 40,000 Mughal soldiers who were killed in the battle and with only four men, including the Governor managing to escape. These events occurred during 1672. This story stands out precisely because it shows the culture of Pashtunwali in it, where Honour for a Pashtun is supreme. Violating that Honour means death, especially if violating the honour of Pashtun women (An ideology also incorporated among many north-Indian warrior communities).

khushal Khan Khattak

Now the most interesting factor in all this was that Aurangzeb himself was married to a Pashtun woman named Rabia-ud-Durrani, also known as Dilras Banu Begum, though “official” accounts state that she was a decendant of Safavid dynasty. Pashtuns have Indo-Iranian origination, so things are hazy when the writers are writing what “master” wants. I say this because such reports have been made about other guys also.This is done to show “higher breed” of the person concerned. Thereby validating his/her rule or authority much like an irrepressible power and propelling feudal command. Liaquat Ali Khan is mentioned as descendant of King in Iran well infact he was a muslim Jat, whose forefathers were given enormous land by AurangzebRabia-ud-Durrani died in child birth in 1657; Aurangzeb had married her as a child in 1637. I am sure that she must have told Aurangzeb about Pashtunwali and Pashtun code of conduct. Though what fails me is that Aurangzeb’s insensitive nature towards the Pashtun men who fight for honour of their women (and more importantly those alike Pashtuns whom he butchered). It seems in this case he was more inclined towards making Pashtuns submit rather than hear them out. This nature of his is seen while dealing with Jats, Rajputs, Sikhs and Marathas too, which eventually led to crumbling of his Mughal empire.

Currently the Safi tribe is well known for resistance to the Taliban regime, and many fierce clashes have broken out between the two.

 Ancestry of Safi Pashtuns:

The ancestry of the Safis reaches back to the inhabitants of the ancient kingdom of Gandhara, and they are related to the neighboring Nuristanis. Besides Pashto, some clans of the Safis speak a Kohistani Pashayi dialect. More could be found after performing genetic test and DNA analysis but given the current state of Afghanistan it might not be possible. They basically reside in the region of Kunar Province is in the northeastern part of the country. The capital of the province is Asadabad. It is one of the four “N2KL” provinces (Nangarhar Province, Nuristan Province, Kunar Province and Laghman Province).

Kunar province

Pashtuns Genealogy:

There have been constant fights between many scholars who claim Pashtuns as the descendants of their respective races/ communities naturally so given fierce warrior independent nature of Pashtun. Though there might be possibility of mixing of races in Pashtun and formation of new clans which came into being during 5-10 Century AD.

Following are the people who lay claim on Pashtuns:

  1. Indo-Aryans/Indo-Europeans/Indo-Iranians or South Asians of Northern region.
  2. Jews more importantly Israelis
  3. Arabs: This one some Pashtun tribe claims decent from Arabs.
  4. Greeks: The Pashtuns of Peshawar region show genetic similarities with Indo-Greek traits as many claims that they are descendants of Alexander‘s army.

Politics behind Pashtuns Genealogy and Genetics:

Now any sane and logical person can understand that political significance of it.

  1. If Israel (Jews) justifies their claim, they can inspire Pashtuns to fight Arabs and Iranians. Not to mention pacify them from fighting Jews and turning against Palestine.
  2. If Iran justifies the claim then it is simple that Wahabbi ( Saudi ideology) will be pumped out and Shia Ideology could be brought in or any sunni Ideology which is not anti-Iran.
  3. If Indo-Aryans justify the claim they can stop Pashtuns from being a tool in the hands of Wahabbi and Salafi elements whose main job is get more land and more people in their religion (Not to mention kill infidels and take their women ,violate these women to be precise).
  4. If Arabs justify their claim or as some Pashtun tribes want to claim, then they could become an asset in the hands of Wahabbi or Salafis. The puritan form of Islamist who preach Islamic supremacy (The fundamentalist Arabs then infuse Wahhabi and Salafi ideology in Pashtun youth and brain wash them to perform suicide attacks ).

Whatever may be the outcome of this “political”  struggle, following words hold true for non-Pashtun people in the region who have watched Pashtuns for thousands of years.Sometimes in amazement, sometimes with respect and sometimes in form of an enemy.

The words could be best summed up are:

You will never find more noble, honorable and loyal friend

And neither will you find more honest and fierce enemy.

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The Pashtunwali

Pashtunwali dates back to ancient pre-Islamic times but is still widely in use, especially by the rural tribal society. It is not only practiced by members of the Pashtun diaspora but also by some non-Pashtun Afghans or Pakistanis who live in close proximity with Pashtuns.

Now my interest in this topic dates to the fact that there was quote that one heard during childhood ( pashtun or Pathans as they are called in India are integral part of Indian society pre-dating Islamic origination which goes back to ancient times, so as a group they are talked about often in the Pan-Indian society even though many associate them from Afghanistan which may be a more “modern” source point ).

The quote was :

You will never find a more noble, Honorable and Loyal friend

and Neither you will find a more Honest and fierce enemy.

Obliviously the whole quote got me thinking. I mean is it just the pashtuns who have these features or there is something else ?

Do they follow some type of code or lifestyle which evokes such response ?

Then while browsing over the net I fell upon a word called Pashtunwali.The word holds deep importance to the Pashtun culture and those who lived around them. It is said that a true Pashtun abides by this line of ethics. The great Badshah Khan tried to revive or more importantly tried to reignite it barring the badla ideology (which means revenge) . It was epitomised in the poetry by his son Khan Abdul Ghani khan, the Mad poet as he was called.The Red shirts were very prominent in telling about the pashtunwali culture in british era. One such line of his poetry reflects the deep pride he had of Pashtun culture.

“Pashtun is not merely a race but, in fact, a state of mind; there is a Pashtun lying inside every man, who at times wakes up and overpowers him.”

Imran Khan in this present era by his methods is trying live that great Pathan ideology but his ideology has got more to with moderate Pan-Pakistan (which is drawing hostility from urdu based parties especially PPP and Pakistan Muslim League (N).) He is in one way a by product of Pathan culture but of a Niazi Pashtun Tribe which settled in urdu speaking Punjab region during the Mughal rule. I however guess that his thinking is more in trying to mix both old and new. In order to give a balanced view point of Pakistani Moderates (which is creating a rockstar style status among youth of Pakistan, not that he isn’t already a rockstar. Someone even said that he is Mick Jagger of south Asia)

I therefore compiled a list of the points in Pashtunwali (hope I have covered all).

  1. Melmastia (hospitality) – Showing hospitality and profound respect to all visitors, regardless of distinctions of race, religion, national affiliation as well as economic status and doing so without any hope of remuneration or favour. Pashtuns are widely considered to be the most hospitable people in the world and a Pashtun will go to great extents to show his hospitality.
  2. Nanawatai (asylum) – Derived from the verb meaning to go in, this is used for protection given to a person who requests protection against his/her enemies. The people are protected at all costs, in many cases even people running from the law must be given refuge until the situation is clarified.
  3. Badal (justice) – To seek justice or take revenge against the wrongdoer. This applies to injustices committed yesterday or 1000 years ago if the wrongdoer still exists. Justice in Pashtun lore needs elaborating: even a mere taunt (or “Paighor”) is regarded as an insult – which can only usually be redressed by shedding of the taunter’s blood (and if he isn’t available, then his next closest male relation). This in turn leads to a blood feud that can last generations and involve whole tribes with the loss of hundreds of lives. Normally blood feuds in this all male dominated setup are then settled in a number of ways.
  4. Tureh (bravery) – A Pashtun must defend his land/property, family and women from incursions wherever he or she might reside. A Pashtun should always stand brave against tyranny and he should always be able to defend his property, family, women and the honour of his name. Death can follow if anyone mistreats these traits.
  5. Sabat (loyalty) – Loyalty must be paid to one’s family, friends, and tribe members. Loyalty is a must and a Pashtun can never become disloyal as this would be utterly shameful towards themselves and their families.
  6. Imandari (righteousness) – A Pashtun must always strive towards thinking good thoughts, speaking good words and doing other good deeds. Pashtuns must behave respectfully towards all creations including people, animals and the environment around them. Pollution of the environment or its destruction is against the Pashtunwali.
  7. Isteqamat – Trust in God (known as “Allah” in Arabic and “Khudai-ta-Allah” in Pashto). The notion of trusting in the one Creator generally comports to Islamic idea of belief in only one God (tawheed).
  8. Ghayrat (self honour or dignity) – Pashtuns must maintain their human dignity. Honour has great importance in Pashtun society and most other codes of life are aimed towards the preservation of one’s honour or pride. They must respect themselves and others in order to be able to do so, especially those they do not know. Respect begins at home, among family members and relatives.
  9. Namus (Honor of women) – A Pashtun must defend the honor of Pashtun women at all costs and must protect them from vocal and physical harm.
  10. TOR: Pashtuns are sensitive about the honor of their women folk and slight touching of the women is at times considered a serious and an intolerable offence. The cases of adultery and illicit relations are put down with iron hand in and no quarter is given to culprits either male or female. Casting of an evil eye on woman is tantamount to imperil one’s life. Both sexes, therefore, scrupulously avoid indulgence in immoral practices.
  11. TEEGA OR KANRAY: Teega or Kanray is cessation of bloodshed between contending parties. Teega (putting down of a stone) in other words means a temporary truce declared by a Jirga. The word stone is used figuratively as actually no stone is put at the time of the cessation of hostilities. Once the truce is enforced, no party dares violate it for fear of punitive measures.
  12. GHUNDI: Ghundi is a classic case of balance of power in tribal areas. It is derived from Pashto word Ghund, meaning a political party but it is used for an alliance. As modern states enter into bilateral agreements for promotion of trade, cultivation of friendly relations and mutual defense, similarly various sections of a tribe align themselves in blocs or Ghunds to safeguard their common interests. Ghundi is entered into defeat the aggressive and nefarious designs of a hostile neighbor. In tribal fighting the Ghundi members espouse their mutual interests against their common enemy and act as a corporate body with all the resources at their command.

Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan tried to eliminate the Badla aspect for which many term him Bachcha Khan too. The revenge culture however of Pashtun is such that it is passed from generation to generation. The term that “ Revenge is dish best served cold” was imbibed from this tradition and the Britishers took that quote and made it famous. Though now the whole world thinks that British invented that “fascinating” sentence. (It is sometimes funny how the world goes round, reminds me of “It’s awataur moron” dialogue by the “high-flys”.)

Ps: It sad to see that the real faces of Pashtun society being marginalized and only Taliban phenomenon is being made the face of Pashtun identity. There was a time when Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan was the spiritual leader (and many in this age have forgotten his name ) and now it is Mullah Omar the spiritual head of Taliban( The hardline Wahhabi ideologue, however poverty and neglect of Pashtuns has got to do alot with it).  Though what is sad more is that these days Militant feminist or Fem-Nazi as they “belovedly” are called in world. Identify anything which is not according to them as a Taliban phenomenon not to mention the entire pashtun race as such and those alike, just so that they could score some brownie points on media channels without even understanding the whole story.( Now does that make me uneducated for raising that question.I Do not know but just don’t shoot the messenger is all I ask. 🙂 )

Regarding the last post and most importantly regarding the ARYANS and SCYTHIAN.  There has been a substantial finding by many scholars, who classify Scythians as a sub-family of  Aryans. As these Scythian were the Eastern European-Indo-Iranian proto people who migrated into north India in 2 century BC. There is always a likelihood of being identified differently from the original Aryan natives in India who have been living there since 4ooo BC. ( atleast of what is known.)

The Pashtuns, Yakuts,OssetiansKazakhs and Jats claim their linage from Scythian WAR-LORDs  which is substantiated, but that may not be true or Rajputs who claim “PURE” Aryan blood ( They might be a product of ancient Aryans who came to Sub continent earlier, they have no connection to Scythians but must be part of larger Aryan family).   Pashtuns for one are part of eastern Iranian bloodline, with Greek DNA added. Jats also are a by product of Eastern-Iranian bloodline.  Jats are a Scythian-Aryan ethnic group with traces of Greek ancestry( Though the historical records showing as Scythians, a sub family of Aryans. They are classified as Indo-Aryan ethnic group by modern day scholars).

As history show that prior to Scythians , Indo-greeks use to rule north-west Indian sub continent.  These kingdoms were defeated by the Scythian warriors, who then married many Indo-greek and Indo-aryan women. The formation of a “new” race in sub-continent took place.

There are a few links which one would like to offer, for those who wish to read about Scythians:

http://listverse.com/2010/01/05/top-10-interesting-facts-about-the-scythians/

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/dragons/esp_sociopol_dragoncourt02_01.htm

http://www.imninalu.net/Eurasians.htm

http://heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/saka/index.htm

http://www.vnnforum.com/showthread.php?t=52282

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azes_II

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_race

http://www.lost-civilizations.net/scythians.html

Scythian women

They represented the equality as they fought along side their men in battlefields. In the current central Asia one could only find the traces of such equality.The act of war was one in which the Scythian women are said to have participated in equally with the men. Scythian women were tattooed like their mates, and the ancient historian Diordorus commented that Scythian women ‘fight like the men and are nowise inferior to them in bravery’.

It has been recorded that Scythian women had to kill three enemies in battle before marrying, and that a mastectomy of the right breast was performed on female infants so that their pectoral muscle wouldn’t weaken and they would be able to brandish a sword better.

http://www.fscclub.com/history/scyths-e.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazons#Scythians_and_Sarmatians

http://anti-amazon.blogspot.com/2010/11/iranian-peoples-sarmatians-women.html

This song is one of the best songs which I have heard till date.  The lyrics of this song is such that one can listen to it on  a daily basis for rest of his life. Truly a master piece by Kalyanji-Anandji and well sung by Manna Dey. It is of movie zanjeer(1975) which became the first hit for amitabh bachchan(after numerous flops).

This song is pictured on pran who is playing the role of sher khan, a pathan who would die for his friends and for whom friendship is his faith.

I can honestly say that those who value friendship they would love this song.The essence of the song is that of

Friendship is faith, my friend is my life. Friendship is my faith and life, my friend. 

Music Director : Kalyanji Anandji

Singer : Manna Dey

Lyricist : Gulshan Bawra

Aa . . .
Gar khuda mujse kahe . . .  (2)
Kuchh maang eh bande mere
Me ye maangu . .  (2)
Mehefilo ke daur yu chalte rahe
Ham pe aalao, ham nibaah laao
Hamsafar, hamraaz ho
Ta qayaamat. . .  (2)
Jo chiraago ki tarha jalte rahe

Yaari hai meri imaan mera yaar meri zindagi
Yaar ho bando se ye . . . oh
Yaar ho bando se ye sabse badi hai bandagi
Yaari hai!
Yaari hai meri imaan mera yaar meri zindagi 

Saaz-e-dil chhedo jaha me . . . (2)
Yaar ki gunje sada
He saaz-e-dil chhedo jaha , Me yaar ki gunje sada
In dilo me pyaar hai unpe bahaare ho fida
Pyar leke noor aaya . . .  (2)
Pyar leke taazgi Yaari hai!
Yaari hai meri imaan mera yaar meri zindagi 

Jaan bhi jaaye agar . . .  (2)
Yaari mein yaaro gham nahi
Eh jaan bhi jaaye agar yaari mein , Yaaro gham nahi
Apne hote yaar ho , Gham-geen matlab ham nahi
Ham jaha hai . . us jagaah  (2)
Jhoomegi naachegi khushi Yaari Hai!
Yaari hai meri imaan mera yaar meri zindagi
Aa . . .
Gul-e-gulzaar kyu bezaar nazar aata hai  (2)
Chashme pat ashiqaar yaar nazar aata hai
Chhupaana hamse zara haale-dil suna de tu
Tere hasee ki keemat kya hai ye bataade tu 

Kahe to aasmaa se chaand taare le aau
Haseen jawaan aur dilkash nazaare le aau
Tera mamnoon hu . . .   (2)
Tumne nibhaaya yaaraana
Teri hasee hai aaj sabse bada nazraana  (2)
Yaar ke hasti hi . . .  (2)
Mehefil pe jawaani chhaa gayi, chhaa gayi Yaari hai!
Yaari hai meri imaan mera yaar meri zindagi
Oh . . . eh . . Qurbaan qurbaan?oy oy oy


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