Nazo Tokhi
Died1717 (aged 65–66), Hotak Empire
Other namesNāzo Anā, Nāzo Nyā
Known forPoetry, Afghan unity, bravery
SpouseSalim Khan Hotak
ChildrenMirwais Hotak

Nāzo Tokhī (نازو توخۍ), commonly known as Nāzo Anā (Pashto: نازو انا, "Nazo the grandmother"), was an Afghan poet and writer in the Pashto language.[1] Mother of the famous early-18th century Afghan king Mirwais Hotak, she grew up in an influential family in the Kandahar region.[2] She is remembered as a brave woman warrior in Afghan history and as the "Mother of the Afghan Nation".[3][4]

Early life and family background

Nazo Tokhi was born into a powerful and wealthy Pashtun family in the village of Spozhmayiz Gul, near Thazi, in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan, in or about the year 1651. Her father, Sultan Malakhai Tokhi, was a prominent head of the Tokhi Pashtun tribe and governor of the Ghazni region.[5] She was married to Salim Khan Hotak, son of Karam Khan.[4] The famous Afghan ruler of the Hotak dynasty, Mirwais Hotak, was her son, and Mahmud Hotak and Hussain Hotak were her grandsons.[6]

Nazo Ana became a learned poet and courteous person; people knew her by her loving and caring nature. Nazo's father had paid close attention to her education and upbringing, inducing learned men in Kandahar to educate her fully. She came to be regarded as the "Mother of the Afghan Nation", gaining respect through her poetry and her strong support for the Pashtunwali code.[3] Nazo called for Pashtunwali to be made the law of the confederacy of Pashtun tribes, and she arbitrated conflicts between the Ghilji and Sadozai tribes so as to encourage their alliance against the foreign Persian Safavid rulers. Her poetic contributions to Afghan culture are highly regarded even today.

When their father was killed in battle near Sur mountain, Nazo's brother went into battle to avenge him and left Nazo in charge of the household and fortress. She put on a sword and alongside the men defended the fortress against the enemy.[7]


This is a translated excerpt from Nazo Tokhi's poetry (in the original Pashto, one of the two thousand or so couplets which she composed):

Dew drops from an early dawn narcissus
as a tear drops from a melancholy eye;
O beauty, I asked, what makes you cry?
Life is too short for me, it answered,
My beauty blooms and withers in a moment,
as a smile which comes and forever fades away.[8]

— Nazo Tokhi

Legendary dream

Legend holds that Nazo Ana had an extraordinary dream on the night her son Mirwais Hotak was born.

On the night Mirwais was born (1673), his mother, Nazo Ana, dreamed of Shaykh Beṭ Nīkə (who is the folkloric leader or ancestor of the Bettani confederacy of Pashtuns). He told Nazo to take best care of the new baby because when the child grows up, the country would be blessed by his services. Nazo Ana, from time to time, recalled the miraculous dream to her son and advise him to perform deeds with authenticity. Young Mirwais eternally followed his mother's advice.[2]


Nazo Ana died in or about 1717 at the age of about 66, two years after her son Mirwais's death. After her death, her cause was taken up by Zarghuna Ana, the mother of Afghan Emir Ahmad Shah Durrani.[citation needed]


Nazo Ana is revered as a heroine among the Afghans. Various Afghan schools and other institutions are named after her.[9][10][11][12]

See also


  1. ^ Anjuman-i Tārīkh-i Afghānistān (1967). Afghanistan, Volumes 20-22. Historical Society of Afghanistan. p. 53. ISBN 0-7787-9335-4. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  2. ^ a b "Mirwais Neeka". Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Tribal Law of Pashtunwali and Women's Legislative Authority" (PDF). Harvard University. 2003. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  4. ^ a b Hōtak, Muḥammad; ʻAbd al-Ḥayy Ḥabībī; Khushal Habibi (1997). Pat̲a k̲h̲azana. United States: University Press of America. p. 30. ISBN 9780761802655. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
  5. ^ Anjuman-i Tārīkh-i Afghānistān (2009). The Kingdom of Afghanistan: A Historical Sketch. BiblioBazaar, LLC. p. 36. ISBN 9781115584029. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  6. ^ "Nazo Anaa". Afghanan Dot Net. Archived from the original on 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2010-09-30.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ The Hidden Treasure: A Biography of Pas̲htoon Poets By Muḥammad Hotak, ʻAbd al-Ḥayy Ḥabībī, p.135
  8. ^ "Naz o Ana by Mohammad Osman Mohmand". 2003. Archived from the original on 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2011-08-20.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. ^ "Nazo Ana Primary School in Afghanistan". Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  10. ^ "Nazo Ana High School for girls in Kandahar, Afghanistan". Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Blog –". Archived from the original on 23 February 2010. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  12. ^[dead link]