Sunday, April 30, 2017

Yaghistan, the land of the free and unruly

By Khan Barmazid


Pashtun highlands in 19th century began to be called Yaghistan by British which means the land of rebels or unruly. Amir Abdur Rahman Khan referred to the tribal belt between British India and Afghanistan as Yaghistan in his autobiography. Colonel Brazier Creagh of the Indian Army, who visited the area in 1893-4, wrote, "When went to the frontier it was Yaghistan ; it was a forbidden land, and no Englishman had ever been there before.....It was impossible to go [inside] and if you did your bones would be left there.”


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1887 : 'The Afghans of Yaghistan do not belong either to the British raj or to the Amir (of Kabul) but live in the native national anarchy in the western basin of the upper India.....Swat, Buner , Panjkura, Dir etc. The Afghan of Yaghistan is the true, unsophisticated Afghan. '  The Library Magazine - Page 280

In Ghilzai usage, Yaghistan (lands of freedom or unrestrained)  is where no man is above another , in contrast to hukomat where there are governors and governed.  Tribe and State in Iran and Afghanistan 

The fiercely independent Pakhtuns of Yaghistan maintained their independence during the Ghaznavid, Ghurid, Mongol, Timurid, Mughal (Babur's dynasty), Durrani and Sikh periods.

Colonel Brazier Creagh of the Indian Army, who visited the area in 1893-4, wrote, "When went to the frontier it was Yaghistan ; it was a forbidden land, and no Englishman had ever been there before.....It was impossible to go [inside] and if you did your bones would be left there.”    . Frontier of Faith: Islam, in the Indo-Afghan Borderland