|c. 65+ million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Afghanistan||21,012,000 (2023) |
|United Arab Emirates||338,315 (2009)|
|United States||138,554 (2010)|
|United Kingdom||100,000 (2009)|
Additional: Dari Persian (in Afghanistan) and Hindi–Urdu (in Pakistan and India)
(Sunni majority, Shia minority)
Hinduism (Sheenkhalai), Sikhism
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Iranian peoples|
Pashtuns (//, //, //; Pashto: پښتانه, pəx̌tānə́), also known as Pakhtuns, Pashteens or Pathans,[a] are an Eastern Iranian ethnic group primarily residing in southern and eastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. They historically were also referred to as Afghans[b] until the 1970s, after the term's meaning had become a demonym for members of all ethnic groups in Afghanistan.
The group's native language is Pashto, an Iranian language in the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. Additionally, Dari serves as the second language of Pashtuns in Afghanistan, while those in the Indian subcontinent speak Urdu and Hindi as their second language.
Pashtuns are the 26th-largest ethnic group in the world, and the largest segmentary lineage society; there are an estimated 350–400 Pashtun tribes and clans with a variety of origin theories. The total population of the Pashtun people worldwide is estimated to be around 49 million, although this figure is disputed due to the lack of an official census in Afghanistan since 1979. They are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and the second-largest ethnic group in Pakistan, constituting around 42 percent of the total Afghan population and around 18.24 percent of the total Pakistani population. In India, significant and historical communities of the Pashtun diaspora exist in the northern region of Rohilkhand as well as in major Indian cities such as Delhi and Mumbai. A more recent Pashtun diaspora has formed in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf (primarily in the United Arab Emirates) as part of the larger Afghan and Pakistani diaspora in that region.
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Pashtuns are found all over Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially between south of the Hindu Kush, the Indus River or around the Sulaiman Mountains. Big cities with a Pashtuns-majority include Jalalabad, Kandahar, Khost, Kohat, Lashkar Gah, Mardan, Mingora, Peshawar, Quetta, among others. Pashtuns also live in Abbottabad, Farah, Ghazni, Herat, Islamabad, Kabul, Karachi, Kunduz, Lahore, Mazar-i-Sharif, Multan, Rawalpindi, and several other cities.
The city of Karachi in Pakistan is home to the world's largest urban community of Pashtuns.
Main article: Pathans in India
Further information: Pathans of Kashmir, Pathans of Punjab, Pathans of Rajasthan, Pathans of Gujarat, Pathans of Uttar Pradesh, Pathans of Bihar, Pathans of Madhya Pradesh, Pathans of Tamil Nadu, and Pathans of Sri Lanka
Pashtuns in India are often commonly referred to as Pathans (the Hindustani word for Pashtun) both by themselves and other ethnic groups of the subcontinent. Some Indians claim descent from Pashtun soldiers who settled in India by marrying local women during the Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent. Many Pathans chose to live in the Republic of India after the partition of India and Khan Mohammad Atif, a professor at the University of Lucknow, estimates that "The population of Pathans in India is twice their population in Afghanistan".
Historically, Pashtuns have settled in various cities of India before and during the British Raj in colonial India. These include Bombay (now called Mumbai), Delhi, Calcutta, Rohilkhand, Jaipur and Bangalore. The settlers are descended from both Pashtuns of present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan (British India before 1947). In some regions in India, they are sometimes referred to as Kabuliwala.
In India significant Pashtun diaspora communities exist. While speakers of Pashto in the country only number 21,677 as of 2011, estimates of the ethnic or ancestral Pashtun population in India range from 3,200,000 to 11,482,000 to as high as double their population in Afghanistan (approximately 30 million).
The Rohilkhand region of Uttar Pradesh is named after the Rohilla community of Pashtun ancestry. They also live in the states of Maharashtra in central India and West Bengal in eastern India that each have a population of over a million with Pashtun ancestry; both Bombay and Calcutta were primary locations of Pashtun migrants from Afghanistan during the colonial era. There are also populations over 100,000 each in the cities of Jaipur in Rajasthan and Bangalore in Karnataka. Bombay (now called Mumbai) and Calcutta both have a Pashtun population of over 1 million, whilst Jaipur and Bangalore have an estimate of around 100,000. The Pashtuns in Bangalore include the khan siblings Feroz, Sanjay and Akbar Khan, whose father settled in Bangalore from Ghazni.
During the 19th century, when the British were accepting peasants from British India as indentured servants to work in the Caribbean, South Africa and other places, Rohillas who had lost their empire and were unemployed and restless, were sent to places as far as Trinidad, Surinam, Guyana, and Fiji, to work with other Indians on the sugarcane fields and perform manual labour. Many of these immigrants stayed there and formed unique communities of their own. Some of them assimilated with the other South Asian Muslim nationalities to form a common Indian Muslim community in tandem with the larger Indian community, losing their distinctive heritage. Some Pashtuns travelled as far as Australia during the same era.
Today, the Pashtuns are a collection of diversely scattered communities present across the length and breadth of India, with the largest populations principally settled in the plains of northern and central India. Following the partition of India in 1947, many of them migrated to Pakistan. The majority of Indian Pashtuns are Urdu-speaking communities, who have assimilated into the local society over the course of generations. Pashtuns have influenced and contributed to various fields in India, particularly politics, the entertainment industry and sports.
Pashtuns are also found in smaller numbers in the eastern and northern parts of Iran. Records as early as the mid-1600s report Durrani Pashtuns living in the Khorasan Province of Safavid Iran. After the short reign of the Ghilji Pashtuns in Iran, Nader Shah defeated the last independent Ghilji ruler of Kandahar, Hussain Hotak. In order to secure Durrani control in southern Afghanistan, Nader Shah deported Hussain Hotak and large numbers of the Ghilji Pashtuns to the Mazandaran Province in northern Iran. The remnants of this once sizable exiled community, although assimilated, continue to claim Pashtun descent. During the early 18th century, in the course of a very few years, the number of Durrani Pashtuns in Iranian Khorasan, greatly increased. Later the region became part of the Durrani Empire itself. The second Durrani king of Afghanistan, Timur Shah Durrani was born in Mashhad. Contemporary to Durrani rule in the east, Azad Khan Afghan, an ethnic Ghilji Pashtun, formerly second in charge of Azerbaijan during Afsharid rule, gained power in the western regions of Iran and Azerbaijan for a short period. According to a sample survey in 1988, 75 percent of all Afghan refugees in the southern part of the Iranian Khorasan Province were Durrani Pashtuns.
Indian and Pakistani Pashtuns have utilised the British/Commonwealth links of their respective countries, and modern communities have been established starting around the 1960s mainly in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia but also in other commonwealth countries (and the United States). Some Pashtuns have also settled in the Middle East, such as in the Arabian Peninsula. For example, about 300,000 Pashtuns migrated to the Persian Gulf countries between 1976 and 1981, representing 35% of Pakistani immigrants. The Pakistani and Afghan diaspora around the world includes Pashtuns.
A tribe called Pakthās, one of the tribes that fought against Sudas in the Dasarajna, or "Battle of the Ten Kings", are mentioned in the seventh mandala of the Rigveda, a text of Vedic Sanskrit hymns dated between c. 1500 and 1200 BCE:
Together came the Pakthas (पक्थास), the Bhalanas, the Alinas, the Sivas, the Visanins. Yet to the Trtsus came the Ārya's Comrade, through love of spoil and heroes' war, to lead them.— Rigveda, Book 7, Hymn 18, Verse 7
Heinrich Zimmer connects them with a tribe mentioned by Herodotus (Pactyans) in 430 BCE in the Histories:
Other Indians dwell near the town of Caspatyrus[Κασπατύρῳ] and the Pactyic [Πακτυϊκῇ] country, north of the rest of India; these live like the Bactrians; they are of all Indians the most warlike, and it is they who are sent for the gold; for in these parts all is desolate because of the sand.— Herodotus, The Histories, Book III, Chapter 102, Section 1
These Pactyans lived on the eastern frontier of the Achaemenid Arachosia Satrapy as early as the 1st millennium BCE, present-day Afghanistan. Herodotus also mentions a tribe of known as Aparytai (Ἀπαρύται). Thomas Holdich has linked them with the Afridi tribe:
The Sattagydae, Gandarii, Dadicae, and Aparytae (Ἀπαρύται) paid together a hundred and seventy talents; this was the seventh province— Herodotus, The Histories, Book III, Chapter 91, Section 4
Joseph Marquart made the connection of the Pashtuns with names such as the Parsiētai (Παρσιῆται), Parsioi (Πάρσιοι) that were cited by Ptolemy 150 CE:
"The northern regions of the country are inhabited by the Bolitai, the western regions by the Aristophyloi below whom live the Parsioi (Πάρσιοι). The southern regions are inhabited by the Parsiētai (Παρσιῆται), the eastern regions by the Ambautai. The towns and villages lying in the country of the Paropanisadai are these: Parsiana Zarzaua/Barzaura Artoarta Baborana Kapisa niphanda"— Ptolemy, 150 CE, 6.18.3-4
Strabo, the Greek geographer, in the Geographica (written between 43 BC to 23 AD) makes mention of the Scythian tribe Pasiani (Πασιανοί), which has also been identified with Pashtuns given that Pashto is an Eastern-Iranian language, much like the Scythian languages:
"Most of the Scythians...each separate tribe has its peculiar name. All, or the greatest part of them, are nomades. The best known tribes are those who deprived the Greeks of Bactriana, the Asii, Pasiani, Tochari, and Sacarauli, who came from the country on the other side of the Iaxartes (Syr Darya)"— Strabo, The Geography, Book XI, Chapter 8, Section 2
This is considered a different rendering of Ptolemy's Parsioi (Πάρσιοι). Johnny Cheung, reflecting on Ptolemy's Parsioi (Πάρσιοι) and Strabo's Pasiani (Πασιανοί) states: "Both forms show slight phonetic substitutions, viz. of υ for ι, and the loss of r in Pasianoi is due to perseveration from the preceding Asianoi. They are therefore the most likely candidates as the (linguistic) ancestors of modern day Pashtuns."
Further information: Afghan (ethnonym)
In the Middle Ages until the advent of modern Afghanistan in the 18th century, the Pashtuns were often referred to as "Afghans". The etymological view supported by numerous noted scholars is that the name Afghan evidently derives from Sanskrit Aśvakan, or the Assakenoi of Arrian, which was the name used for ancient inhabitants of the Hindu Kush. Aśvakan literally means "horsemen", "horse breeders", or "cavalrymen" (from aśva or aspa, the Sanskrit and Avestan words for "horse"). This view was propounded by scholars like Christian Lassen, J. W. McCrindle, M. V. de Saint Martin, and É. Reclus,
The earliest mention of the name Afghan (Abgân) is by Shapur I of the Sassanid Empire during the 3rd century CE, In the 4th century the word "Afghans/Afghana" (αβγανανο) as a reference to a particular people is mentioned in the Bactrian documents found in Northern Afghanistan.
"To Ormuzd Bunukan ,from Bredag Watanan ... greetings and homage from ... ) , the ( sotang ( ? ) of Parpaz ( under ) [ the glorious ) yabghu of Hephthal , the chief of the Afghans , ' the judge of Tukharistan and Gharchistan . Moreover , ' a letter [ has come hither ] from you , so I have heard how [ you have ] written ' ' to me concerning ] my health . I arrived in good health , ( and ) ( afterwards ( ? ) ' ' I heard that a message ] was sent thither to you ( saying ) thus : ... look after the farming but the order was given to you thus. You should hand over the grain and then request it from the citizens store: I will not order, so.....I Myself order And I in Respect of winter sends men thither to you then look after the farming, To Ormuzd Bunukan, Greetings"— the Bactrian documents, 4th century
"because [you] (pl.), the clan of the Afghans, said thus to me:...And you should not have denied? the men of Rob [that] the Afghans took (away) the horses"— the Bactrian documents, 4th century, Sims-Williams 2007b, pp. 90-91
"[To ...]-bid the Afghan... Moreover, they are in [War]nu(?) because of the Afghans, so [you should] impose a penalty on Nat Kharagan ... ...lord of Warnu with ... ... ...the Afghan... ... "— the Bactrian documents, 4th century, Sims-Williams 2007b, pp. 90-91
The name Afghan is later recorded in the 6th century CE in the form of "Avagāṇa" [अवगाण] by the Indian astronomer Varāha Mihira in his Brihat-samhita.
"It would be unfavourable to the people of Chola, the Afghans (Avagāṇa), the white Huns and the Chinese."— Varāha Mihira, 6th century CE, chapt. 11, verse 61
The word Afghan also appeared in the 982 Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam, where a reference is made to a village, Saul, which was probably located near Gardez, Afghanistan.
"Saul, a pleasant village on a mountain. In it live Afghans".
The same book also speaks of a king in Ninhar (Nangarhar), who had Muslim, Afghan and Hindu wives. In the 11th century, Afghans are mentioned in Al-Biruni's Tarikh-ul Hind ("History of the Indus"), which describes groups of rebellious Afghans in the tribal lands west of the Indus River in what is today Pakistan.
Al-Utbi, the Ghaznavid chronicler, in his Tarikh-i Yamini recorded that many Afghans and Khiljis (possibly the modern Ghilji) enlisted in the army of Sabuktigin after Jayapala was defeated. Al-Utbi further stated that Afghans and Ghiljis made a part of Mahmud Ghaznavi's army and were sent on his expedition to Tocharistan, while on another occasion Mahmud Ghaznavi attacked and punished a group of opposing Afghans, as also corroborated by Abulfazl Beyhaqi. It is recorded that Afghans were also enrolled in the Ghurid Kingdom (1148–1215). By the beginning of the Khilji dynasty in 1290, Afghans have been well known in northern India.
Ibn Battuta, when visiting Afghanistan following the era of the Khilji dynasty, also wrote about the Afghans.
"We travelled on to Kabul, formerly a vast town, the site of which is now occupied by Afghans. They hold mountains and defiles and possess considerable strength, and are mostly highwaymen. Their principal mountain is called Kuh Sulayman. It is told that the prophet Sulayman [Solomon] ascended this mountain and having looked out over India, which was then covered with darkness, returned without entering it."— Ibn Battuta, 1333
Ferishta, a 16th-century Muslim historian writing about the history of Muslim rule in the subcontinent, stated:
He [Khalid bin Abdullah son of Khalid bin Walid] retired, therefore, with his family, and a number of Arab retainers, into the Sulaiman Mountains, situated between Multan and Peshawar, where he took up his residence, and gave his daughter in marriage to one of the Afghan chiefs, who had become a proselyte to Mahomedism. From this marriage many children were born, among whom were two sons famous in history. The one Lodhi, the other Sur; who each, subsequently, became head of the tribes which to this day bear their name. I have read in the Mutla-ul-Anwar, a work written by a respectable author, and which I procured at Burhanpur, a town of Khandesh in the Deccan, that the Afghans are Copts of the race of the Pharaohs; and that when the prophet Moses got the better of that infidel who was overwhelmed in the Red Sea, many of the Copts became converts to the Jewish faith; but others, stubborn and self-willed, refusing to embrace the true faith, leaving their country, came to India, and eventually settled in the Sulimany mountains, where they bore the name of Afghans.
Main article: Theories of Pashtun origin
The ethnogenesis of the Pashtun ethnic group is unclear but historians have come across references to various ancient peoples called Pakthas (Pactyans) between the 2nd and the 1st millennium BC, who may be their early ancestors, and old Iranian tribes that spread throughout the eastern Iranian plateau. However, there are many conflicting theories amongst historians and the Pashtuns themselves.
Mohan Lal stated in 1846 that "the origin of the Afghans is so obscure, that no one, even among the oldest and most clever of the tribe, can give satisfactory information on this point." Others have suggested that a single origin of the Pashtuns is unlikely but rather they are a tribal confederation.
"Looking for the origin of Pashtuns and the Afghans is something like exploring the source of the Amazon. Is there one specific beginning? And are the Pashtuns originally identical with the Afghans? Although the Pashtuns nowadays constitute a clear ethnic group with their own language and culture, there is no evidence whatsoever that all modern Pashtuns share the same ethnic origin. In fact it is highly unlikely."— Vogelsang, 2002
Pashto is generally classified as an Eastern Iranian language. It shares features with the Munji language, which is the closest existing language to the extinct Bactrian, but also shares features with the Sogdian language, as well as Khwarezmian, Shughni, Sanglechi, and Khotanese Saka.
It is suggested by some that Pashto may have originated in the Badakhshan region and is connected to a Saka language akin to Khotanese. In fact major linguist Georg Morgenstierne has described Pashto as a Saka dialect and many others have observed the similarities between Pashto and other Saka languages as well, suggesting that the original Pashto speakers might have been a Saka group. Furthermore Pashto and Ossetian, another Scythian-descending language, share cognates in their vocabulary which other Eastern Iranian languages lack Cheung suggests a common isogloss between Pashto and Ossetian which he explains by an undocumented Saka dialect being spoken close to reconstructed Old Pashto which was likely spoken north of the Oxus at that time. Others however have suggested a much older Iranic ancestor given the affinity to Old Avestan.
Yu. V. Gankovsky, a Soviet historian proposes an Ephthalite origin for the Pashtuns:
"The Pashtuns began as a union of largely East-Iranian tribes which became the initial ethnic stratum of the Pashtun ethnogenesis, dates from the middle of the first millennium CE and is connected with the dissolution of the Epthalite (White Huns) confederacy. ... Of the contribution of the Epthalites (White Huns) to the ethnogenesis of the Pashtuns we find evidence in the ethnonym of the largest of the Pashtun tribe unions, the Abdali (Durrani after 1747) associated with the ethnic name of the Epthalites — Abdal. The Siah-posh, the Kafirs (Nuristanis) of the Hindu Kush, called all Pashtuns by a general name of Abdal still at the beginning of the 19th century."— Gankovsky, History of Afganistan
According to Georg Morgenstierne, the Durrani tribe who were known as the "Abdali" before the formation of the Durrani Empire 1747, might be connected to with the Hephthalites; Aydogdy Kurbanov endorses this view who proposes that after the collapse of the Hephthalite confederacy, Hephthalite likely assimilated into different local populations.
Others draw different conclusions. Ghilji tribe has been connected to the Khalaj people. Following al-Khwarizmi, Josef Markwart claimed the Khalaj to be remnants of the Hephthalite confederacy. The Hephthalites may have been Indo-Iranian, although the view that they were of Turkic Gaoju origin "seems to be most prominent at present". The Khalaj may originally have been Turkic-speaking and only federated with Iranian Pashto-speaking tribes in Medieval times.
However, according to linguist Sims-Williams, archaeological documents do not support the suggestion that the Khalaj were the successors of the Hephthalites, while according to historian V. Minorsky, the Khalaj were "perhaps only politically associated with the Hephthalites."
Main article: Theory of Pashtun descent from Israelites
Some anthropologists lend credence to the oral traditions of the Pashtun tribes themselves. For example, according to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the theory of Pashtun descent from Israelites is traced to Nimat Allah al-Harawi, who compiled a history for Khan-e-Jehan Lodhi in the reign of Mughal Emperor Jehangir in the 17th century. The 13th century Tabaqat-i Nasiri discusses the settlement of immigrant Bani Israel at the end of the 8th century CE in the Ghor region of Afghanistan, settlement attested by Jewish inscriptions in Ghor. Historian André Wink suggests that the story "may contain a clue to the remarkable theory of the Jewish origin of some of the Afghan tribes which is persistently advocated in the Persian-Afghan chronicles." These references to Bani Israel agree with the commonly held view by Pashtuns that when the twelve tribes of Israel were dispersed, the tribe of Joseph, among other Hebrew tribes, settled in the Afghanistan region. This oral tradition is widespread among the Pashtun tribes. There have been many legends over the centuries of descent from the Ten Lost Tribes after groups converted to Christianity and Islam. Hence the tribal name Yusufzai in Pashto translates to the "son of Joseph". A similar story is told by many historians, including the 14th century Ibn Battuta and 16th century Ferishta. However, the similarity of names can also be traced to the presence of Arabic through Islam.
One conflicting issue in the belief that the Pashtuns descend from the Israelites is that the Ten Lost Tribes were exiled by the ruler of Assyria, while Maghzan-e-Afghani says they were permitted by the ruler to go east to Afghanistan. This inconsistency can be explained by the fact that Persia acquired the lands of the ancient Assyrian Empire when it conquered the Empire of the Medes and Chaldean Babylonia, which had conquered Assyria decades earlier. But no ancient author mentions such a transfer of Israelites further east, or no ancient extra-Biblical texts refer to the Ten Lost Tribes at all.
Some Afghan historians have maintained that Pashtuns are linked to the ancient Israelites. Mohan Lal quoted Mountstuart Elphinstone who wrote:
"The Afghan historians proceed to relate that the children of Israel, both in Ghore and in Arabia, preserved their knowledge of the unity of God and the purity of their religious belief, and that on the appearance of the last and greatest of the prophets (Muhammad) the Afghans of Ghore listened to the invitation of their Arabian brethren, the chief of whom was Khauled...if we consider the easy way with which all rude nations receive accounts favourable to their own antiquity, I fear we much class the descents of the Afghans from the Jews with that of the Romans and the British from the Trojans, and that of the Irish from the Milesians or Brahmins."— Mountstuart Elphinstone, 1841
This theory has been criticised for not being substantiated by historical evidence. Dr. Zaman Stanizai criticises this theory:
"The ‘mythified’ misconception that the Pashtuns are the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel is a fabrication popularized in 14th-century India. A claim that is full of logical inconsistencies and historical incongruities, and stands in stark contrast to the conclusive evidence of the Indo-Iranian origin of Pashtuns supported by the incontrovertible DNA sequencing that the genome analysis revealed scientifically."— 
According to genetic studies Pashtuns have a greater R1a1a*-M198 modal halogroup than Jews:
"Our study demonstrates genetic similarities between Pathans from Afghanistan and Pakistan, both of which are characterized by the predominance of haplogroup R1a1a*-M198 (>50%) and the sharing of the same modal haplotype...Although Greeks and Jews have been proposed as ancestors to Pathans, their genetic origin remains ambiguous...Overall, Ashkenazi Jews exhibit a frequency of 15.3% for haplogroup R1a1a-M198"— "Afghanistan from a Y-chromosome perspective", European Journal of Human Genetics
Some Pashtun tribes claim descent from Arabs, including some claiming to be Sayyids. Some groups from Peshawar and Kandahar believe to be descended from Greeks who arrived with Alexander the Great. According to Firasat et al. 2007, only a small proportion of Pashtuns may descend from Greeks, but they also suggest that Greek ancestry may also have come from Greek slaves brought by Xerxes I.
One historical account connects the Pashtuns to a possible Ancient Egyptian past but this lacks supporting evidence.
Henry Walter Bellew (1864) was of the view that the Pashtuns likely have mixed Greek and Rajput roots. Following Alexander's brief occupation, the successor state of the Seleucid Empire expanded influence on the Pashtuns until 305 BCE when they gave up dominating power to the Indian Maurya Empire as part of an alliance treaty.
See also: Pashtun nationalism
Their modern past stretches back to the Delhi Sultanate (Khalji and Lodi dynasty), the Hotak dynasty and the Durrani Empire. The Hotak rulers rebelled against the Safavids and seized control over much of Persia from 1722 to 1729. This was followed by the conquests of Ahmad Shah Durrani who was a former high-ranking military commander under Nader Shah and founder of the Durrani Empire, which covered most of what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Indian Punjab, as well as the Kohistan and Khorasan provinces of Iran. After the decline of the Durrani dynasty in the first half of the 19th century under Shuja Shah Durrani, the Barakzai dynasty took control of the empire. Specifically, the Mohamedzais held Afghanistan's monarchy from around 1826 to the end of Zahir Shah's reign in 1973. The Pashtuns in Afghanistan resisted British designs upon their territory and kept the Russians at bay during the so-called "Great Game". By playing the two superpowers against each other, Afghanistan remained an independent sovereign state and maintained some autonomy (see the Siege of Malakand). During the reign of Abdur Rahman Khan (1880–1901), Pashtun regions were politically divided by the Durand Line, and what is today western Pakistan fell within British India as a result of the border. In the 20th century, many politically active Pashtun leaders living under British rule of undivided India supported Indian independence, including Ashfaqulla Khan, Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai, Ajmal Khattak, Bacha Khan and his son Wali Khan (both members of the Khudai Khidmatgar), and were inspired by Mohandas Gandhi's non-violent method of resistance. Many Pashtuns also worked in the Muslim League to fight for an independent Pakistan through non violent resistance, including Yusuf Khattak and Abdur Rab Nishtar who was a close associate of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The Pashtuns of Afghanistan attained complete independence from British political intervention during the reign of Amanullah Khan, following the Third Anglo-Afghan War. By the 1950s a popular call for Pashtunistan began to be heard in Afghanistan and the new state of Pakistan. This led to bad relations between the two nations. The Afghan monarchy ended when President Daoud Khan seized control of Afghanistan from his cousin Zahir Shah in 1973, which opened doors for a proxy war by neighbors and the rise of Marxism. In April 1978, Daoud Khan was assassinated along with his family and relatives. Afghan mujahideen commanders began being recruited in neighboring Pakistan for a guerrilla warfare against the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan - the Marxist government was also dominated by Pashtun Khalqists. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded its southern neighbor Afghanistan in order to defeat a rising insurgency. The Afghan mujahideen were funded by the United States, Saudi Arabia, China and others, and included some Pashtun commanders such as Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Jalaluddin Haqqani, Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi and Mohammad Yunus Khalis. In the meantime, millions of Pashtuns joined the Afghan diaspora in Pakistan and Iran, and from there tens of thousands proceeded to Europe, North America, Oceania and other parts of the world.
Many high-ranking government officials in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan were Pashtuns, including: Abdul Rahim Wardak, Abdul Salam Azimi, Anwar ul-Haq Ahady, Amirzai Sangin, Ghulam Farooq Wardak, Hamid Karzai, Mohammad Ishaq Aloko, Omar Zakhilwal, Sher Mohammad Karimi, Zalmay Rasoul, Yousef Pashtun. The list of current governors of Afghanistan also include large percentage of Pashtuns. Mullah Yaqoob serves as acting Defense Minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani as acting Interior Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi as acting Foreign Minister, Gul Agha Ishakzai as acting Finance Minister, and Hasan Akhund as acting Prime Minister. A number of other ministers are also Pashtuns.
The Afghan royal family, which was represented by King Zahir Shah, are referred to Mohammadzais. Other prominent Pashtuns include the 17th-century poets Khushal Khan Khattak and Rahman Baba, and in contemporary era Afghan Astronaut Abdul Ahad Mohmand, former U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and Ashraf Ghani among many others.
Many Pashtuns of Pakistan and India have adopted non-Pashtun cultures, mainly by abandoning Pashto and using languages such as Urdu, Punjabi, and Hindko. These include Ghulam Mohammad (first Finance Minister, from 1947 to 1951, and third Governor-General of Pakistan, from 1951 to 1955), Ayub Khan, who was the second President of Pakistan, Zakir Husain who was the third President of India and Abdul Qadeer Khan, father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program.
Many more held high government posts, such as Fazal-ur-Rehman, Asfandyar Wali Khan, Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Sirajul Haq, and Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, who are presidents of their respective political parties in Pakistan. Others became famous in sports (e.g., Imran Khan, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Irfan Pathan, Jahangir Khan, Jansher Khan, Hashim Khan, Rashid Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Misbah Ul Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Wasim) and literature (e.g., Ghani Khan, Hamza Shinwari, and Kabir Stori). Malala Yousafzai, who became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient in 2014, is a Pakistani Pashtun.
Many of the Bollywood film stars in India have Pashtun ancestry; some of the most notable ones are Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Feroz Khan, Madhubala, Kader Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Sara Ali Khan, and Zarine Khan. In addition, one of India's former presidents, Zakir Husain, belonged to the Afridi tribe. Mohammad Yunus, India's former ambassador to Algeria and advisor to Indira Gandhi, is of Pashtun origin and related to the legendary Bacha Khan.
In the late 1990s, Pashtuns were the primary ethnic group in the ruling regime i.e. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban regime).[failed verification] The Northern Alliance that was fighting against the Taliban also included a number of Pashtuns. Among them were Abdullah Abdullah, Abdul Qadir and his brother Abdul Haq, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Asadullah Khalid, Hamid Karzai and Gul Agha Sherzai. The Taliban regime was ousted in late 2001 during the US-led War in Afghanistan and replaced by the Karzai administration. This was followed by the Ghani administration and the reconquest of Afghanistan by the Taliban (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan).
The long wars in Afghanistan have led to Pashtuns gaining a reputation for being exceptional fighters. Some activists and intellectuals are trying to rebuild Pashtun intellectualism and its pre-war culture.
According to a study from 2012 called "Afghanistan from a Y-chromosome perspective", the study from a sample size of 190 showed R1a1a-M198 to be the most dominant haplogroup in Pashtuns at 67.4%. In the north, it peaks at 50% while in the south, it peaks at 65.8%. R1a-Z2125 occurs at a frequency of 40% in Pashtuns from Northern Afghanistan. This subclade is also predominantly present among Tajik, Turkmen, Uzbek, and Bashkir ethnic groups, as well as in some populations in the Caucasus and Iran.
Haplogroup G-M201 reaches 14.7% in Afghan Pashtuns and is the second most frequent haplogroup in Pashtuns from southern Afghanistan. It is virtually absent from all other Afghan populations. This haplogroup is reported at high frequencies in the Caucasus and is thought to be associated with the Neolithic expansion throughout the region.
Haplogroup L-M20 exhibits substantial disparity in its distribution on either side of the Hindu Kush range, with 25% of Pashtuns from northern Afghanistan belonging to this lineage, compared with only 4.8% of males from the south. Paragroup L3*-M357 accounts for the majority of L-M20 chromosomes among Afghan Pashtuns in both the north and south.
According to a Mitochondrial DNA analysis of four ethnic groups of Afghanistan, the majority of mtDNA among Afghan Pashtuns belongs to West Eurasian lineages, and share a greater affinity with West Eurasian and Central Asian populations rather than to populations of South Asia or East Asia. The haplogroup analysis indicates the Pashtuns and Tajiks share some sort of ancestral heritage. The study also states that among the studied ethnic groups, the Pashtuns have the greatest HVS-I sequence diversity.
The most prominent views amongst Pashtuns as to who exactly qualifies as a Pashtun are:
Main article: Pashtun tribes
A prominent institution of the Pashtun people is the intricate system of tribes. The tribal system has several levels of organisation: the tribe they are in is from four 'greater' tribal groups: the Sarbani, the Bettani, the Gharghashti, and the Karlani. The tribe is then divided into kinship groups called khels, which in turn is divided into smaller groups (pllarina or plarganey), each consisting of several extended families called kahols.
The Durranis and Ghiljis (or Ghilzais) are the two largest groups of Pashtuns, with approximately two-thirds of Afghan Pashtuns belonging to these confederations. The Durrani tribe has been more urban and politically successful, while the Ghiljis are more numerous, more rural, and reputedly tougher. In the 18th century, the groups collaborated at times and at other times fought each other. With a few gaps, Durranis ruled modern Afghanistan continuously until the Saur Revolution of 1978; the new communist rulers were Ghilji.
Tribal allegiances are stronger among the Ghilji, while governance of the Durrani confederation is more to do with cross-tribal structures of land ownership.
Main article: Pashto
Pashto is the mother tongue of most Pashtuns. It is one of the two national languages of Afghanistan. In Pakistan, although being the second-largest language being spoken, it is often neglected officially in the education system. This has been criticised as adversely impacting the economic advancement of Pashtuns, as students do not have the ability to comprehend what is being taught in other languages fully. Robert Nichols remarks:
The politics of writing Pashto language textbooks in a nationalist environment promoting integration through Islam and Urdu had unique effects. There was no lesson on any twentieth century Pakhtun, especially Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the anti-British, pro-Pakhtun nationalist. There was no lesson on the Pashtun state-builders in nineteenth and twentieth century Afghanistan. There was little or no sampling of original Pashto language religious or historical material.— Language Policy and Language Conflict in Afghanistan and Its Neighbors, Chapter 8, page 278
Pashto is categorised as an Eastern Iranian language, but a remarkably large number of words are unique to Pashto. Pashto morphology in relation to verbs is complex compared to other Iranian languages. In this respect MacKenzie states:
If we compare the archaic structure of Pashto with the much simplified morphology of Persian, the leading modern Iranian language, we see that it stands to its ‘second cousin’ and neighbour in something like the same relationship as Icelandic does to English.— David Neil MacKenzie
Pashto has a large number of dialects: generally divided into Northern, Southern and Central groups; and also Tarino or Waṇetsi as distinct group. As Elfenbein notes: "Dialect differences lie primarily in phonology and lexicon: the morphology and syntax are, again with the exception of Wanetsi, quite remarkably uniform". Ibrahim Khan provides the following classification on the letter ښ: the Northern Western dialect (e.g. spoken by the Ghilzai) having the phonetic value /ç+/, the North Eastern (spoken by the Yusafzais etc.) having the sound /x/, the South Western (spoken by the Abdalis etc.) having /ʂ/ and the South Eastern (spoken by the Kakars etc.) having /ʃ/. He illustrates that the Central dialects, which are spoken by the Karlāṇ tribes, can also be divided on the North /x/ and South /ʃ/ distinction but provides that in addition these Central dialects have had a vowel shift which makes them distinct: for instance /ɑ/ represented by aleph the non-Central dialects becoming /ɔː/ in Banisi dialect.
The first Pashto alphabet was developed by Pir Roshan in the 16th century. In 1958, a meeting of Pashtun scholars and writers from both Afghanistan and Pakistan, held in Kabul, standardised the present Pashto alphabet.
Main article: Pashtun culture
Pashtun culture is based on Pashtunwali, Islam and the understanding of Pashto language. The Kabul dialect is used to standardize the present Pashto alphabet. Poetry is also an important part of Pashtun culture and it has been for centuries. Pre-Islamic traditions, dating back to Alexander's defeat of the Persian Empire in 330 BC, possibly survived in the form of traditional dances, while literary styles and music reflect influence from the Persian tradition and regional musical instruments fused with localised variants and interpretation. Like other Muslims, Pashtuns celebrate Islamic holidays. Contrary to the Pashtuns living in Pakistan, Nowruz in Afghanistan is celebrated as the Afghan New Year by all Afghan ethnicities.
Main article: Pashtunwali
Pashtunwali (Pashto: پښتونولي) refers to an ancient self-governing tribal system that regulates nearly all aspects of Pashtun life ranging from community to personal level. One of the better known tenets is Melmastyā́ (Pashto: مېلمستيا), hospitality and asylum to all guests seeking help. Perceived injustice calls for Badál (Pashto: بدل), swift revenge. Many aspects promote peaceful co-existence, such as Nənawā́te (Pashto: ننواتې), the humble admission of guilt for a wrong committed, which should result in automatic forgiveness from the wronged party. These and other basic precepts of Pashtunwali continue to be followed by many Pashtuns, especially in rural areas.
Another prominent Pashtun institution is the lóya jirgá (Pashto: لويه جرګه) or 'grand council' of elected elders. Most decisions in tribal life are made by members of the jirgá (Pashto: جرګه), which has been the main institution of authority that the largely egalitarian Pashtuns willingly acknowledge as a viable governing body.
The overwhelming majority of Pashtuns adhere to Sunni Islam and belong to the Hanafi school of thought. Small Shia communities exist in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Paktia. The Shias belong to the Turi tribe while the Bangash tribe is approximately 50% Shia and the rest Sunni, who are mainly found in and around Parachinar, Kurram, Hangu, Kohat and Orakzai.
A legacy of Sufi activity may be found in some Pashtun regions, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as evident in songs and dances. Many Pashtuns are prominent Ulema, Islamic scholars, such as Maulana Aazam an author of more than five hundred books including Tafasee of the Quran as Naqeeb Ut Tafaseer, Tafseer Ul Aazamain, Tafseer e Naqeebi and Noor Ut Tafaseer etc., as well as Muhammad Muhsin Khan who has helped translate the Noble Quran, Sahih Al-Bukhari and many other books to the English language. A number of Pashtuns are involved in Dawah activities in the United States. One of them is Sheikh Uthman Ibn Farooq, who belongs to the Yusufzai Pashtun tribe. Jamal-al-Din al-Afghani was a 19th-century Islamic ideologist and one of the founders of Islamic modernism. Although his ethnicity is disputed by some, he is widely accepted in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region as well as in the Arab world, as a Pashtun from the Kunar Province of Afghanistan. Like other non Arabic-speaking Muslims, many Pashtuns are able to read the Quran but not understand the Arabic language implicit in the holy text itself. Translations, especially in English, are scarcely understood or distributed. This paradox has contributed to the spread of different versions of religious practices and Wahabism, as well as political Islamism (including movements such as the Taliban) having a key presence in Pashtun society. In order to counter radicalization, the United States began spreading its influence in Pashtun areas.[failed verification][failed verification] Many Pashtuns want to reclaim their identity from being lumped in with the Taliban and international terrorism, which is not directly linked with Pashtun culture and history.
Lastly, little information is available on non-Muslim as there is limited data regarding irreligious groups and minorities, especially since many of the Hindu and Sikh Pashtuns migrated from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the partition of India and later, after the rise of the Taliban.
There are also Hindu Pashtuns, sometimes known as the Sheen Khalai, who have moved predominantly to India. A small Pashtun Hindu community, known as the Sheen Khalai meaning 'blue skinned' (referring to the color of Pashtun women's facial tattoos), migrated to Unniara, Rajasthan, India after partition. Prior to 1947, the community resided in the Quetta, Loralai and Maikhter regions of the British Indian province of Baluchistan. They are mainly members of the Pashtun Kakar tribe. Today, they continue to speak Pashto and celebrate Pashtun culture through the Attan dance.
There is also a minority of Pashtun Sikhs in Tirah, Orakzai, Kurram, Malakand, and Swat. Due to the ongoing insurgency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, some Pashtun Sikhs were internally displaced from their ancestral villages to settle in cities like Peshawar and Nankana Sahib.
Main article: Pashto literature and poetry
The majority of Pashtuns use Pashto as their native tongue, believed to belong to the Indo-Iranian language family, and is spoken by up to 60 million people. It is written in the Pashto-Arabic script and is divided into two main dialects, the southern "Pashto" and the northern "Pukhto". The language has ancient origins and bears similarities to extinct languages such as Avestan and Bactrian. Its closest modern relatives may include Pamir languages, such as Shughni and Wakhi, and Ossetic. Pashto may have ancient legacy of borrowing vocabulary from neighbouring languages including such as Persian and Vedic Sanskrit. Modern borrowings come primarily from the English language.
Fluency in Pashto is often the main determinant of group acceptance as to who is considered a Pashtun. Pashtun nationalism emerged following the rise of Pashto poetry that linked language and ethnic identity. Pashto has national status in Afghanistan and regional status in neighboring Pakistan. In addition to their native tongue, many Pashtuns are fluent in Persian, English and Urdu. Throughout their history, poets, prophets, kings and warriors have been among the most revered members of Pashtun society. Early written records of Pashto began to appear around the 16th century.
The earliest describes Sheikh Mali's conquest of Swat. Pir Roshan is believed to have written a number of Pashto books while fighting with the Mughals. Pashtun scholars such as Abdul Hai Habibi and others believe that the earliest Pashto work dates back to Amir Kror Suri, and they use the writings found in Pata Khazana as proof. Amir Kror Suri, son of Amir Polad Suri, was an 8th-century folk hero and king from the Ghor region in Afghanistan. However, this is disputed by several European experts due to lack of strong evidence.
The advent of poetry helped transition Pashto to the modern period. Pashto literature gained significant prominence in the 20th century, with poetry by Ameer Hamza Shinwari who developed Pashto Ghazals. In 1919, during the expanding of mass media, Mahmud Tarzi published Seraj-al-Akhbar, which became the first Pashto newspaper in Afghanistan. In 1977, Khan Roshan Khan wrote Tawarikh-e-Hafiz Rehmatkhani which contains the family trees and Pashtun tribal names. Some notable poets include Abdul Ghani Khan, Afzal Khan Khattak, Ahmad Shah Durrani, Ajmal Khattak, Ghulam Muhammad Tarzi, Hamza Shinwari, Hanif Baktash, Khushal Khan Khattak, Nazo Tokhi, Pareshan Khattak, Rahman Baba, Shuja Shah Durrani, and Timur Shah Durrani.
Recently, Pashto literature has received increased patronage, but many Pashtuns continue to rely on oral tradition due to relatively low literacy rates and education. Pashtun society is also marked by some matriarchal tendencies. Folktales involving reverence for Pashtun mothers and matriarchs are common and are passed down from parent to child, as is most Pashtun heritage, through a rich oral tradition that has survived the ravages of time.
Pashto media has expanded in the last decade, with a number of Pashto TV channels becoming available. Two of the popular ones are the Pakistan-based AVT Khyber and Pashto One. Pashtuns around the world, particularly those in Arab countries, watch these for entertainment purposes and to get latest news about their native areas. Others are Afghanistan-based Shamshad TV, Radio Television Afghanistan, and Lemar TV, which has a special children's show called Baghch-e-Simsim. International news sources that provide Pashto programs include BBC Pashto and Voice of America.
Producers based in Peshawar have created Pashto-language films since the 1970s.
Pashtun performers remain avid participants in various physical forms of expression including dance, sword fighting, and other physical feats. Perhaps the most common form of artistic expression can be seen in the various forms of Pashtun dances. One of the most prominent dances is Attan, which has ancient roots. A rigorous exercise, Attan is performed as musicians play various native instruments including the dhol (drums), tablas (percussions), rubab (a bowed string instrument), and toola (wooden flute). With a rapid circular motion, dancers perform until no one is left dancing, similar to Sufi whirling dervishes. Numerous other dances are affiliated with various tribes notably from Pakistan including the Khattak Wal Atanrh (eponymously named after the Khattak tribe), Mahsood Wal Atanrh (which, in modern times, involves the juggling of loaded rifles), and Waziro Atanrh among others. A sub-type of the Khattak Wal Atanrh known as the Braghoni involves the use of up to three swords and requires great skill. Young women and girls often entertain at weddings with the Tumbal (Dayereh) which is an instrument.
Both the Afghanistan national cricket team and the Pakistan national cricket team have Pashtun players. One of the most popular sports among Pashtuns is cricket, which was introduced to South Asia during the early 18th century with the arrival of the British. Many Pashtuns have become prominent international cricketers, including Imran Khan, Shahid Afridi, Majid Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Usman Shinwari, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim and Yasir Shah. Australian cricketer Fawad Ahmed is of Pakistani Pashtun origin who has played for the Australian national team.
Football (soccer) is also one of the most popular sports among Pashtuns. The former captain and now the current assistant coach of the Pakistan national football team, Muhammad Essa, is an ethnic Pashtun. Other sports popular among Pashtuns may include polo, field hockey, volleyball, handball, basketball, golf, track and field, bodybuilding, weightlifting, wrestling, kayaking, horse racing, martial arts, boxing, taekwondo, kick boxing, skateboarding, bowling and chess.
Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan became professional squash players. Although now retired, they are engaged in promoting the sport through the Pakistan Squash Federation. Maria Toorpakai Wazir is the first female Pashtun squash player. Pakistan also produced other world champions of Pashtun origin: Hashim Khan, Roshan Khan, Azam Khan, Mo Khan and Qamar Zaman.In recent decades Hayatullah Khan Durrani, Pride of Performance legendary caver from Quetta, has been promoting mountaineering, rock climbing and Caving in Balochistan, Pakistan. Mohammad Abubakar Durrani International Canoeing shining star of Pakistan.
Snooker and billiards are played by young Pashtun men, mainly in urban areas where snooker clubs are found. Several prominent international recognized snooker players are from the Pashtun area, including Saleh Mohammed. Although traditionally very less involved in sports than boys, Pashtun girls sometimes play volleyball, basketball, football, and cricket, especially in urban areas.
Makha is a traditional archery sport in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, played with a long arrow (gheshai) having a saucer shaped metallic plate at its distal end, and a long bow. In Afghanistan, some Pashtuns still participate in the ancient sport of buzkashi in which horse riders attempt to place a goat or calf carcass in a goal circle.
In Pashtun society there are three levels of women's leadership and legislative authority: the national level, the village level, and the family level. The national level includes women such as Nazo Tokhi, Zarghona Anaa and Malalai of Maiwand. Tokhi was a 17th-century Pashto poet who eventually became the "Mother of Afghan Nationalism" after gaining authority through her poetry and adhering to Pashtunwali. She used Pashtunwali to unite Pashtuns against the Safavids. Her cause was picked up in the early 18th century by Zarghona Anaa.
The lives of Pashtun women vary from those who reside in the ultra-conservative rural areas to those found in urban centres. At the village level, the female village leader is called "qaryadar". Her duties may include witnessing women's ceremonies, mobilising women to practice religious festivals, preparing the female dead for burial, and performing services for deceased women. She also arranges marriages for her own family and arbitrates conflicts for men and women. Though many Pashtun women remain tribal and illiterate, some have completed universities and joined the regular employment world.
The decades of war and the rise of the Taliban caused considerable hardship among Pashtun women, as many of their rights have been curtailed by a rigid interpretation of Islamic law. The difficult lives of Afghan female refugees gained considerable notoriety with the iconic image Afghan Girl (Sharbat Gula) depicted on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic magazine.
Modern social reform for Pashtun women began in the early 20th century, when Queen Soraya Tarzi of Afghanistan made rapid reforms to improve women's lives and their position in the family. She was the only woman to appear on the list of rulers in Afghanistan. Credited with having been one of the first and most powerful Afghan and Muslim female activists. Her advocacy of social reforms for women led to a protest and contributed to the ultimate demise of King Amanullah's reign in 1929. In 1942, Madhubala (Mumtaz Jehan), the Marilyn Monroe of India, entered the Bollywood film industry. Bollywood blockbusters of the 1970s and 1980s starred Parveen Babi, who hailed from the lineage of Gujarat's historical Pathan community: the royal Babi Dynasty. Other Indian actresses and models, such as Zarine Khan, continue to work in the industry. Civil rights remained an important issue during the 1970s, as feminist leader Meena Keshwar Kamal campaigned for women's rights and founded the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) in the 1977.
Pashtun women these days vary from the traditional housewives who live in seclusion to urban workers, some of whom seek or have attained parity with men. But due to numerous social hurdles, the literacy rate remains considerably lower for them than for males. Abuse against women is present and increasingly being challenged by women's rights organisations which find themselves struggling with conservative religious groups as well as government officials in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to a 1992 book, "a powerful ethic of forbearance severely limits the ability of traditional Pashtun women to mitigate the suffering they acknowledge in their lives."
Despite obstacles, many Pashtun women have begun a process of slow change. A rich oral tradition and resurgence of poetry has inspired many Pashtun women seeking to learn to read and write. Further challenging the status quo, Vida Samadzai was selected as Miss Afghanistan in 2003, a feat that was received with a mixture of support from those who back the individual rights of women and those who view such displays as anti-traditionalist and un-Islamic. Some have attained political office in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A number of Pashtun women are found as TV hosts, journalists and actors. Nigar Johar is a three-star general in the Pakistan Army. Khatol Mohammadzai served as brigadier general in the Afghan Army, another Pashtun female became a fighter pilot in the Pakistan Air Force. Some other notable Pashtun women include Aisha Uqbah Malik, Armeena Khan, Fauzia Gailani, Ghazala Javed, Gulalai Ismail, Gul Panra, Humaira Begum, Laila Khan, Malala Yousafzai, Naghma, Najiba Faiz, Nilofar Bakhtiar, Sana Safi, Bushra Gohar, Shinkai Karokhail, Shukria Barakzai, Suhaila Seddiqi, Tabassum Adnan, Zartaj Gul, Zeenat Karzai, Marina Khan, Neelum Muneer and Mahira Khan.
Pashtun women often have their legal rights curtailed in favour of their husbands or male relatives. For example, though women are officially allowed to vote in Pakistan, some have been kept away from ballot boxes by males. Another tradition that persists is swara (a form of child marriage), which was declared illegal in Pakistan in 2000 but continues in some parts. Substantial work remains for Pashtun women to gain equal rights with men, who remain disproportionately dominant in most aspects of Pashtun society. Human rights organisations continue to struggle for greater women's rights, such as the Afghan Women's Network and the Aurat Foundation in Pakistan which aims to protect women from domestic violence.
Main article: List of Pashtun People
Ethnic population: 49,529,000 possibly total Pashto in all countries.
Interacting with mediapersons on Wednesday, Yasmin, the president of All India Pakhtoon Jirga-e-Hind, said that there were 32 lakh Phastoons in the country who were living and working in India but were yet to get citizenship.
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Over a lakh Pakhtoons living in Jammu and Kashmir as nomad tribesmen without any nationality became Indian subjects on July 17. Batches of them received certificates to this effect from the Kashmir Prime Minister, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, at village Gutligabh, 17 miles from Srinagar.
Many of the communities of ethnic Pashtuns (known as Pathans in India) that had emerged in India over the previous centuries lived peaceably among their Hindu neighbors. Most of these Indo-Afghans lost the ability to speak Pashto and instead spoke Hindi and Punjabi.
In the 1980s and '90s, at least three million Afghans--mostly Pashtun--fled to Pakistan, where a substantial number spent several years being exposed to Hindi- and Urdu-language media, especially Bollywood films and songs, and being educated in Urdu-language schools, both of which contributed to the decline of Dari, even among urban Pashtuns.
Most Afghans in Kabul understand and/or speak Hindi, thanks to the popularity of Indian cinema in the country.
The friends from Peshawar would speak of Hindu and Sikh Pashtuns who had migrated to India. In the tribal areas – the no man's land between Afghanistan and Pakistan – quite a few Hindus stayed on and were protected by the tribal codes. The same was true in Afghanistan itself (till the mujahidin and the Taliban arrived).
The meat-eating Hindu Pashtuns are a little known tribe in India even today, with a distinct culture carried forward from Afghanistan and Balochistan which includes blue tattoos on the faces of the women, traditional Pashtun dancing and clothes heavily adorned with coins and embroidery.
One can sense a diminutive yet charming cultural amalgamation in certain localities within the town with the settling of around 250 Pashtun Sikh families in the city.
The most familiar name in the west is Pathan, a Hindi term adopted by the British, which is usually applied only to the people living east of the Durand.
Pathan (pəˈtɑːn) — n a member of the Pashto-speaking people of Afghanistan, Western Pakistan, and elsewhere, most of whom are Muslim in religion [C17: from Hindi]
A majority of Pashtuns live south of the Hindu Kush (the 500-mile mountain range that covers northwestern Pakistan to central and eastern Pakistan) and with some Persian speaking ethnic groups.
In Afghanistan, up until the 1970s, the common reference to Afghan meant Pashtun. . . . The term Afghan as an inclusive term for all ethnic groups was an effort begun by the "modernizing" King Amanullah (1909-1921). . . .
The largest ethnic group in Afghanistan is that of Pashtuns, who were historically known as the Afghans. The term Afghan is now intended to indicate people of other ethnic groups as well.
Niamatullah knew Persian very well, as all the educated Pashtuns generally do in Afghanistan
Hindustani had arisen as a lingua franca from the intercourse of the Persian-speaking Pathans with the Hindi-speaking Hindus.
She's a Pathan girl who speaks Hindi and Urdu well and was spectacular in the screen test. It was pure luck.
By the late-eighteenth century perhaps 100,000 "Afghan" or "Puthan" migrants had established several generations of political control and economic consolidation within numerous Rohilkhand communities
Pashtun, also spelled Pushtun or Pakhtun, Hindustani Pathan, Persian Afghan, Pashto-speaking people residing primarily in the region that lies between the Hindu Kush in northeastern Afghanistan and the northern stretch of the Indus River in Pakistan.
'Pathan', an Urdu and a Hindi term, was usually used by the British when speaking in English. They preferred it to 'Pashtun', 'Pashtoon', 'Pakhtun' or 'Pukhtun', all Pashtu versions of the same word, which the frontier tribesmen would have used when speaking of themselves in their own Pashtu dialects.
Pathans are now scattered across the country, and have pockets of influence in parts of UP, Bihar and other states. They have also shone in several fields, especially Bollywood and sports. The three most famous Indian Pathans are Dilip Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan and Irfan Pathan. "The population of Pathans in India is twice their population in Afghanistan and though we no longer have ties (with that country), we have a common ancestry and feel it's our duty to help put an end to this menace," Atif added. Academicians, social activists, writers and religious scholars are part of the initiative. The All India Muslim Majlis, All India Minorities Federation and several other organisations have joined the call for peace and are making preparations for the jirga.
Superstar Salman Khan is a Pashtun from the Akuzai clan...One has to travel roughly forty-five kilometres from Mingora towards Peshawar to reach the nondescript town of Malakand. This is the place where the forebears of Salman Khan once lived. They belonged to the Akuzai clan of the Pashtun tribe...
Pathans are now scattered across the country, and have pockets of influence in parts of UP, Bihar and other states. They have also shone in several fields, especially Bollywood and sports. The three most famous Indian Pathans are Dilip Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan and Irfan Pathan. "The population of Pathans in India is twice their population in Afghanistan and though we no longer have ties (with that country), we have a common ancestry and feel it's our duty to help put an end to this menace", Atif added. Academicians, social activists, writers and religious scholars are part of the initiative. The All India Muslim Majlis, All India Minorities Federation and several other organisations have joined the call for peace and are making preparations for the jirga.
Nāder Shah also defeated the last independent Ḡalzay ruler of Qandahār, Shah Ḥosayn Hotak, Shah Maḥmūd's brother in 1150/1738. Shah Ḥosayn and large numbers of the Ḡalzī were deported to Mazandarān (Marvī, pp. 543-52; Lockhart, 1938, pp. 115-20). The remnants of this once sizable exiled community, although assimilated, continue to claim Ḡalzī Pashtun descent.
raided in Khorasan, and "in the course of a very few years greatly increased in numbers"
According to a sample survey in 1988, nearly 75 percent of all Afghan refugees in the southern part of Persian Khorasan were Dorrānī, that is, about 280,000 people (Papoli-Yazdi, p. 62).
According to Strabo (c. 54 B.C., A.D. 24), who refers to the authority of Apollodorus of Artemia [sic], the Greeks of Bactria became masters of Ariana, a vague term roughly indicating the eastern districts of the Persian empire, and of India.
All contemporary historians, archeologists and linguists are agreed that since the Scythian and Sarmatian tribes were of the Iranian linguistic group...
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Pashtun...bore the exclusive name of Afghan before that name came to denote any native of the present land area of Afghanistan.
The earliest mention of the name 'Afghan' (Abgan) is to be found in a Sasanid inscription from the 3rd century, and it appears in India in the form of 'Avagana'...
[ To Ormuzd Bunukan , ... greetings and homage from ... ) , Pithe ( sot ] ang ( ? ) of Parpaz ( under ) [ the glorious ) yabghu of [ Heph ] thal , the chief ... of the Afghans
Ninhar, a place of which the king makes a show of Islam, and has many wives, (namely) over thirty Muslim, Afghan, and Hindu (wives).
The Afghans and Khiljis who resided among the mountains having taken the oath of allegiance to Subooktugeen, many of them were enlisted in his army, after which he returned in triumph to Ghizny.
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...though most scholars believe it more likely that they arose from an intermingling of ancient Aryans from the north or west with subsequent invaders.
(69) Paṣ̌tō undoubtedly belongs to the Northeastern Iranic branch. It shares with Munǰī the change of *δ > l, but this tendency extends also to Sogdian
Pashto belongs to the North-Eastern group within the Iranian Languages
Pashto originally belonged to the north - eastern branch of the Iranic languages
It shares with Munǰī the change of *δ > l, but this tendency extends also to Sogdian. The Waṇ. dialect shares with Munǰī the change of -t- > -y-/0. If we want to assume that this agreement points to some special connection, and not to a secondary, parallel development, we should have to admit that one branch of pre-Paṣ̌tō had already, before the splitting off of Waṇ., retained some special connection with Munǰī, an assumption unsupported by any other facts. Apart from l <*δ the only agreement between Paṣ̌tō and Munǰī appears to be Pṣ̌t. zə; Munǰī zo/a "I." Note also Pṣ̌t. l but Munǰī x̌ < θ (Pṣ̌t. plan "wide," cal(w)or "four," but Munǰī paҳəy, čfūr, Yidḡa čšīr < *čəҳfūr). Paṣ̌tō has dr-, wr- < *θr-, *fr- like Khotanese Saka (see above 23). An isolated, but important, agreement with Sangl. is the remarkable change of *rs/z > Pṣ̌t. ҳt/ǧd; Sangl. ṣ̌t/ẓ̌d (obəҳta "juniper;" Sangl. wəṣ̌t; (w)ūǧd "long;" vəẓ̌dük) (see above 25). But we find similar development also in Shugh. ambaҳc, vūγ̌j. The most plausible explanation seems to be that *rs (with unvoiced r) became *ṣ̌s and, with differentiation *ṣ̌c, and *rz, through *ẓ̌z > ẓ̌j (from which Shugh. ҳc, γ̌j). Pṣ̌t. and Sangl. then shared a further differentiation into ṣ̌t, ẓ̌d ( > Pṣ̌t. ҳt, ğd).
It is, however, possible that the original home of Paṣ̌tō may have been in Badaḵšān, somewhere between Munǰī and Sangl. and Shugh., with some contact with a Saka dialect akin to Khotanese.
... and their language is most closely related to on the one hand with Saka on the other with Munji-Yidgha
Pashto in its origin, is probably a Saka dialect.
But it seems that the Old Iranic ancestor dialect of Paṣ̌tō must have been close to that of the Gathas.
The Hephthalites may also have participated in the origin of the Afghans. The Afghan tribe Abdal is one of the big tribes that has lived there for centuries. Renaming the Abdals to Durrani occurred in 1747, when descendants from the Sadozai branch Zirak of this tribe, Ahmad-khan Abdali, became the shah of Afghanistan. In 1747 the tribe changed its name to "Durrani" when Ahmad khan became the first king of Afghanistan and accepted the title "Dur-i-Duran" (the pearl of pearls, from Arabian: "durr" – pearl).
The fact is that the important Ghilzai tribe occupies now the region round Ghazni, where the Khalaj used to live and that historical data all point, to the transformation of the Turkish Khalaj into Afghan Ghilzai.
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In a nutshell, Bellew's thesis is that all Afghan tribal names can be traced to Greek and Rajput names, which posits the further possibility of a great Greek mixing with the ancient border tribes of India.
Alexander took these away from the Aryans and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus (Chandragupta), upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange 500 elephants.
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Ashfaqullah's father, Shafeequlla Khan, was a member of a Pathan military family.
In the 1980s and '90s, at least three million Afghans--mostly Pashtun--fled to Pakistan, where a substantial number spent several years being exposed to Hindustani-language media, especially Bollywood films and songs, and being educated in Urdu-language schools, both of which contributed to the decline of Dari, even among urban Pashtuns.
Ruled now by parties of the religious right, the Frontier province emerges soon after one proceeds westwards from Islamabad. I was lucky to find Ajmal Khan Khattak in his humble home in Akora Khattak, beyond the Indus. Once Badshah Khan's young lieutenant, Mr. Khattak spent years with him in Afghanistan and offered a host of memories. And I was able to meet Badshah Khan's surviving children, Wali Khan, the famous political figure of the NWFP, and his half-sister, Mehr Taj, whose husband Yahya Jan, a schoolmaster who became a Minister in the Frontier, was the brother of the late Mohammed Yunus, who had made India his home.
He was visiting his cousin Mohammed Yunus, a Pathan who had chosen to move to Delhi at Partition and become a well-known figure in the Congress regime.
Mohammad Yunus is belong to a rich and distinguished Pathan family and son of Haji Ghulam Samdani (1827–1926).
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Barfield (2007: 11) depicts Pashtun identity as sort of Venn diagram where those claiming Pashtun descent belong to the largest circle, those using the Pashto language appear as a smaller subset, and those adhering to the Pashtun code of conduct are the most authentic Pashtun of all.
As is well known, the Pashtun people place a great deal of pride upon their language as an identifier of their distinct ethnic and historical identity. While it is clear that not all those who self-identify as ethnically Pashtun themselves use Pashto as their primary language, language does seem to be one of the primary markers of ethnic identity in contemporary Afghanistan.
...because of the state's patronage, Urdu is now the most widely-spoken language in Pakistan. But the preponderance of one language over all others eats upon the sphere of influence of other, smaller languages, which alienates the respective nationalities and fuels aversion towards the central leadership...If we look to our state policies regarding the promotion of Pashto and the interests of the Pakhtun political elite, it is clear that the future of the Pashto language is dark. And when the future of a language is dark, the future of the people is dark.
Sources say that this is mainly because the Pushto text books in use in the settled areas of N.W.F.P. are written in the Yusufzai dialect, which is not the dialect in use in the Agency
Khpalwaak Pakhtunistan Ghurzang on Sunday demanded the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to introduce Pashto as a medium of instruction for the Pakhtun children as that was needed for their socio-economic development.
Besides Peshawar, literary and cultural organisations in Swat, Malakand, Buner, Swabi, Mardan, Nowshera, Charsadda, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Karak and tribal districts organised events to mark the importance of mother tongue.They were of the view that Pashto curriculum from 1st grade to 12th grade was already evolved but it was yet to be implemented.
A brief interview with the principal of the high school in Madyan, along with a number of his teachers, helps to underscore the importance of Pashto in the school domain within Pashtoon territory. He reported that Pashto is used by teachers to explain things to students all the way up through tenth class. The idea he was conveying was that students do not really have enough ability in Urdu to operate totally in that language. He also expressed the thought that Pashto-speaking students in the area really do not learn Urdu very well in public school and that they are thus somewhat ill prepared to meet the expectation that they will know how to use Urdu and English when they reach the college level. He likened the education system to a wall that has weak bricks at the bottom.
Paṧtō undoubtedly belongs to the Northeastern Iranic branch.
In most of the Karlāṇ dialects a regular vowel shift took place. Corey Miller terms this as the "Waziri Shift"... This affects other Karlāṇ varieties also...My readings of the Formants show that Bani speaker's vowel is closer to the Farsi speaker's /ɔː/. The first formant is 453 meaning it is articulated higher - that is the tongue closer is to the roof of the mouth than /ɒ/. As the second formant is close to the first formant (F2 – F1= difference i.e. 1086-541=608) it is a back vowel with the lips rounded. Therefore, Elfenbein was not wrong to assert that "Bannuči mainly goes with N. Wazīrī". He points out that the vowel /ɑ/ in dialects such as Kandahāri and Yusafzai turns into /ɔː/ in North Waziri and / ɒː/ in South Waziri
Most Hindus and Sikhs left Afghanistan during the 1992-1996 fighting
There is a small Sikh community in the largely ungoverned Orakzai tribal region, while a few live in Kurram's regional headquarters of Parachinar. They consider themselves "sons of the soil" – Pashtuns to be more specific – and are identified as such. "We are proud to be Pashtuns," says Sahib Singh. "Pashto is our tongue, our mother tongue – and we are proud of it."
Estimates of the number of Pashto speakers range from 40 million to 60 million ...
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He sang mostly in – Persian – but also in Urdu and English.