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The races of Afghanistan: being a brief account of the principal nations inhabiting Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Super Icon

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 05:56 PM

The races of Afghanistan: being a brief account of the principal nations inhabiting that country (1880)

AUTHOR(S):
Henry Walter Bellew


DOCUMENT TYPE: Article
Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Co.; London: Trubner and Co., 1880. 124, 8 pages.

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#2 User is offline   Nader Shah Icon

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 07:39 PM

This is really a fascinating read, I don't know how much of it is true but definitely eye-opening for someone not very familiar with Afghanistan.

Here is a sentence from page 60 that caught my attention: "... the true Pukhtun people, who were, as they still are, Indians ..."
[QUOTE=Superior;11669] The races of Afghanistan: being a brief account of the principal nations inhabiting that country (1880)

AUTHOR(S):
Henry Walter Bellew


DOCUMENT TYPE: Article
Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Co.; London: Trubner and Co., 1880. 124, 8 pages.

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#3 User is offline   Nader Shah Icon

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 08:54 PM

Excerpts from the Tajik chapter:

The Tajik, or, as he is frequently called, the Parsiwan,
constitute a numerous and widely spread portion of the inhabitants
of Afghanistan, from whom they differ in language,
internal government, and manners and customs. They are
the representatives of tlie ancient Persian inhabitnnts of the
country, as the Afghans are of its ancicnt Indian inhabitants.

The term Tajik is said to signify " Persian,"
and there is also reason to believe that the Taochi of the
Chinese is the same word as the modern Tajik.Tajik is to be held
to be merely the ancient name for the Persian cultivator or peasant.
Thc word, in fact, being a Persian one, is restricted to
the territories which formerly owned tlie Persian sovereignty.
Hence its absence from India, and its presence in Turkistan.

The Tajik extend all over the plain country of Afghanistan
from Herat to the Khybar and from Kandahar to the Oxus,
and even into Kashgar. The name is applied nowadays in a
very loose way, and is made to include all the Persian-speaking
peoplc of the country who are not either Hazara, Afghan,
or Sayyid.

As a race the Tajiks of the plains are a handsome people,
of tall stature, and robust frames. They are of a peaceable
dlsposition, industrious, and frugal in their habits, and
fond of social gatherings and amusements. They occupy a
subordinate and, to some extent, servile position amongst the
inhabitants of the country, and have no voice in its government
or politics. In the rural districts they are entirely
devoted to agriculture and gardening, either settlecl in village
communities of their own, or scattered aboat as farm servants,
gardeners, etc. In the towns and cities they furnish the several
industrial and mechanical traclcs with their handicraftsmen,
act as shopkeepers, petty traders, and merchants s of substance
and position. The accountants, secretaries, and overseers
in public offices and private establishments are almost wholly
recruited from their ranks, and they enjoy a high reputation
for their intelligence, fidelity, and industry. They freely take
service as household estics or personal attendants, and are
esteemed for tlieir activity, diligence, and general tidiness.
They rarely engage in military service, though some of
them occupy high positions in the army of the Amir. Tlicy
possess naturally marly estimable qualities, but, being a subject
and dow-trodden people, they are very suspicious of
their rulers, and meet force by deception. In intelligence,
sobriety, industry, and fidelity to just masters, they surpass
all the other inhabitants of the country, and they are, moreover,
the best disposed towards the British Government.
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Posted 19 July 2008 - 08:56 PM

The book is very old and is written during a time where science and other sources were not given. The term Tajik is taken from ''Ta-Yuechi'' (Tocharian and self-desigantion of Kushanas). The Tang-dyxnasty of China were using ''Dashi'', their forefathers called central Asians Bactrians as Ta-Hia and Dahae
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Posted 19 July 2008 - 11:02 PM

But at the same time, the British author - despite his biases - seems to provide an astoundingly accurate as well as scholarly account of Afghanistan in the 19th Century and it is a very rare find for me. Even if there are some inaccuracies, not obvious to me, I am surprised to see how much of what he said still holds true.

He has a very positive view of Tajiks (see also a book by Mike Barry about Afghanistan which I have in French where he goes nuts for Tajiks).

The qualities he outlined in Tajiks - and which are lacking in Pashtuns - make it more obvious as to why Afghanistan is so backward. It cannot be the Tajik's fault but that of Pashtuns (with all due respect to the good Pashtuns).

[QUOTE=Parsistani;11682]The book is very old and is written during a time where science and other sources were not given. The term Tajik is taken from ''Ta-Yuechi'' (Tocharian and self-desigantion of Kushanas). The Tang-dyxnasty of China were using ''Dashi'', their forefathers called central Asians Bactrians as Ta-Hia and Dahae[/QUOTE]
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