Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Response to Salman Rashid, a travel writer



Salman Rashid, a travel-writer from Lahore. He is an eloquent writer but its a pity that he is quite cocky and sloppy in his history writings. In this article he calls Pakhtuns idiots after reading few emails from some Pashtuns in which he was told that Yousafzais moved into Swat and Mardan in 16th century and that they are not ancient inhabitants of those parts. He remarks, "The mind boggles at the idiocy of a nation brought up on manufactured history". Interestingly its him who is making fool of himself here . The learned author has not read Akbarnama of Abu Fazal written around 1585. Abdu Fazal was courtier of Mughal emperor Akbar and Akbarnama is an official history authored by him. Abu Fazal writes,
"This large tribe (Yousafzai) formerly lived in Qandahar and Qarabagh. From there they came to Kabul, and became powerful. Mirza Ulugh Beg Kabuli massacred them by a stratagem. Those who remained took refuge in Lamghanat. Afterwards they settled at Hashtnagar. It is nearly one hundred years since they settled in Swad (Swat) and Bajaur" [Akbarnama, English translation by H.Beveridge, Vol-III, p-716].
The theory that Aspasioi are Yousafzai , and Shattagadai are Khattaks, is not Salman Rashid's. 19th century British author H.W.Bellew came up with it.. I am sure he has not read Bellew work itself  (or has read only portions of it) but later works which used Bellew's theories because Bellew, on the authority of Akhund Darweza, do say that Yousafzais migrated from Kabul to Peshawar valley around 1500 AD. To make sense of the story, Bellew speculated that perhaps Yousafzais were ancient Gandharis of Gandhara civilization of Peshawar valley who migrated to Kandahar for some reason in ancient period, and then returned back to Peshawar valley via Kabul in late 15th century.

Bani Israeli origin of Pashtuns and Batan story are legendary accounts. Early history of every nation on this earth is shrouded in legends and myths. It should not upset him so much.

I did contact Salman Rashid on twitter few months ago and shared the reference of Akbarnama with him but he stuck to his guns.

See also: "Chup sha, Hari Singh raghlay"