Saturday, June 18, 2016

"Afghan" is non-Pashto, loanword from foreign language?

While its true that ف is not original Pashto Alphabet, and that Pashto words with  ف are borrowed from Arabic.  Afghan is not derived from آہ فغان but it is modification of "Awghan". The original word is "Awghan", even today many people say "Awghan".....The famous 1000 year old Shah namah of Firdousi use word "Awghan" for Pashtuns.....The region by name of "Awghanistan" is mentioned twice in Tarikh Nama-i-Harat, a book written in 1322 A.D. Tuzk-i-Timuri use word "Awghan" for people of Koh Suleiman, its also used by Baburnama and other sources. Even before Hudud-i-alam (written in 982 A.D), there is mention of Awghans in the book Al-Tanbih by Masudi, written in 965 A.D. It states that "the rubat or fortified caravanserai of Badakhshan stands over against various kinds of Turks viz of Vakhan, Tibet and Ayghan". (Awghan has been pronounced as Ayghan)
 In pre-Islamic period, it appears as "Abgan" in 3rd century Sassanid inscription....the old texts of India the word has been written as "Avagana "....... Hsuen Tsang, in 629 A.D, refers to the people north-east of Ghazni as " O-Po-Kien". Abdul Hai Habibi remarks that "Many historians especially General Cuningham, the author of the Ancient Geography of India (Page 89), correspond O-Po-Kien to be Awa-gan (Afghan) and further goes on to say that Hsuen Tsang did not consider their language to be Hindi, but he says that it somewhat resembles the languages spoken in India, thus it must have been Pashto. On the other hand since O-Po-Kien has the same syllables as the ancient A-Wa-Gan, therefore we can say that he meant the present Afghans which still lie between the Indus and Ghazni and is the dwelling place of ancient tribes of the Afghans, who settled in the provinces of Paktia, Urgoon and Ghazni. Hsuen Tsang traveled from Bannu to Ghazni and crossed these mountainous provinces which were the home of O-Po-Kien or the Afghans". . So this argument that Afghan is a foreign word because ف is from Arabic, goes to dust bin because its earlier form is Awghan.

Some argue that the term Afghanistan was coined in British period or that Babur coined it on whims, thats not true. From the following inscription of 1626 A.D , it is evident that a region by name of Afghanistan was referred to as such in Mughal India.

Snippet from Tarikh Nama-i-Harat of 1322 A.D

In Jami' al-tawarikh, written at the start of the 14th century,  both words "Awghan" and "Afghan" appears . Some of the passages in original text with translation are given ;

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