Thursday, 11 July 2019

A little history of how English dress made its way into Afghanistan

By Nafees Ur Rehman

(Superficial) Reforms that costed King Aman Ullah his kingdom!

In 1928, members of Loya Jirgah turned up in their Afghan dress for the Grand Assembly with the king. They were “issued black suits, ties and felt hats with orders to wear them from now on.”

Before and After photos!

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Mermanjan, a Pashtun-Circassian girl who allegedly "ran away" to India with an English army officer in 1849. Critical examination of the account

Photo of Mermanjan, a Pashtun girl 'who ran away' to India with an English army officer Thomas Maughan in 1849. Source

Descendants of Thomas Maughan present it as a extraordinary intercultural love story but there are tell-signs in the account that the young girl was most likely abducted by the English army officer and he might very well have crafted this story to avoid being punished by his superiors for misconduct and immorality.

Victoria Schofield quotes Thomas Maughan and writes, "[Thomas] Maughan was with his regiment in pursuit of Sikh and Afghan forces during the second Sikh war . "The former being hotly pressed surrendered en mass" whilst the Afghans escaped to Kabul through the Khyber Pass "at the foot of which our Brigades assembled". "At this time i [Thomas Maughan] met one evening when riding, my own dear wife. She was then about sixteen and her national costume, in many respects much resembling the Albanian, set off to advantage as sweet a face and figure as I thought I had ever seen. She was mounted on a spirited black horse which she managed with ease and confidence, and was escorted by men who appeared to be her relatives. Love at first sight, a strong lasting never swerving devotion became our destiny from that moment." ["Afghan Frontier: Feuding and Fighting in Central Asia", p-200].

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Its a local myth that Ahmad Shah Abdali conducted census of Wazir and Mahsud tribes

Its a local myth that Ahmad Shah Abdali conducted census of Wazir and Mahsud tribes. They were not part of his empire so number of their fighting men did not need to be estimated. Moreover Mahsuds had not yet branched off from the parent tribe of Wazirs in 18th century and were referred to as Wazirs as late as 1897. So its odd that in 1760 Mahsuds would be recognized as a distinct tribe and were censused separately from Wazirs.

Akbar S. Ahmed writes, "Two population indexes, rather than actual figures, are part of Waziristan demographic mythology and are said to date back to Ahmed Shah Abdali, the founder of the Durrani dynasty in Kabul in the eighteenth century. It is not clear whether the numbers refer to the entire population, the males, or the warriors, but probably they include only the male fighting population. It is also not clear to what exact dates in history the numbers refer. The Wazirs suggest that they encompass a broad period in the late eighteenth century, whereas the Mahsuds say that their figures refer to the late nineteenth century. Both tribes have a tendency to quote these figures as current and contemporary." ["Religion and Politics in Muslim Society: Order and Conflict in Pakistan", Akbar S. Ahmed, pp.17-18]

Pashtun fighters of Waziristan (most probably khassadars) pose with their weapons, 1919 (c).

British commanders speak with tribesmen of Waziristan following the end of the conflict of 1919-1920.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Khassadars of Waziristan

British Soldiers with Khassadars of North Waziristan, at Chitral , circa 1940 

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Allama Muhammad Iqbal Lahori and Afghanistan

Some local Pashtuns of Khost (Afghanistan) removing name of Allama Iqbal from a sign board (2017)

(Allama Iqbal was of Kashmiri descent but in Iran and Afghanistan he is popular as "Iqbal Lahori")

1- Iqbal's grave is covered by the most precious lapiz lazuli, found mostly in Afghanistan. These stones were gifted by the Government of Afghanistan. The value of these stones was equal to three hundred thousands Afghanis (currency of Afghanistan) at that time. The stone for the grave and also for the tomb-stone was sent from Afghanistan. Two stone-torches made of lapiz lazuli were also sent but were broken during the transportation. The contents inscribed on the tomb are as under :-

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Its Luhani or Nuhani (لوحاڼي ) , not Lawani (لواڼي)

Nuhani or Luhani Pashtuns are popularly but erroneously referred to as "Lawani" in modern Pashto literature of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Abdul Hai Habibi and Abdul Shakoor Rashad (and many others who have followed them) have confused Nuhanis/Luhanis (a branch of Lodis) with Lawanis (a branch of Miyanas).

Khushal Khan Khattak calls them Luhani (لوحاني) in Swat-nama :-

In its footnotes, Abdul Hai Habibi says that Nuhani or Luhani is indianized form of Lawani (لواڼي)  or Lawan (لوڼ) :-

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Zaman Shah Durrani

Zaman Shah Durrani enthroned, his two princes attend left and right, circa 1795. A third young attendant waves a white silk fabric as symbol of royal authority.

Zaman Shah Durrani in Durbar, Lahore, surrounded by attendants, 1799. British Museum. Inscribed: 'Portrait of his highness king of king Zaman Shah Padishah Durrani, may God prolong his realm and reign. 1214'