Over worker: Mohammad Tamim R. Kabuli
In the last two centuries the status of Persian has been decreasing in Afghanistan and in other countries around the region. In Afghanistan, Persian, the language spoken by the majority of people, is being limited in all parts while Pashto, a tribal language spoken by the minority (35%), is being enforced all over the country. The Persian words for institutions such ‘hospital,’ ‘University,’ ‘pharmacy’ as well as many others have unreasonably been replaced by Pashto words. All governmental documents are being written in Pashto and the National Anthem is sung in Pashto instead of Persian. It is quite ironic for the people of a country to not understand their own National Anthem and also Pashtuns mostly (90%) speak in Persian.
In February 2007 Patman, an official in the Ministry of Education who is also an active member of the Afghan Mellat Party, was participating in a round table discussion on Ariana TV. He proposed new plans of Pashtunizing Afghanistan's education after the upcoming New Year in March. These new policies have opened a new chapter of chauvinism and fascism in Afghanistan which will destroy the country instead of making it prosper. However, it comes as no surprise. This article will highlight how the Persian language and culture has been oppressed throughout history from the time of Alexander to the present
The region has seen great conquerors come and go. One of the first was Alexander of Macedonia who plundered and pillaged the region with his savage-like army from Greece and Macedonia. The invasion ended a chapter of glory and prosperity for the Persian/Iranian/Aryan culture and civilization. During his time, Alexander tried eradicating anything associated with Persian. He burned the magnificent capital of Persipolis, which was built by the Acheamanid Dynasty. When Alexander reached Herat, the core of the Persian Empire, he encountered fierce opposition led by Satibarzan. Though Satibarzan waged fierce guerilla warfare against the invaders in ancient Aria, he was ultimately defeated and Alexander headed towards the Hindu Kush to Balkh were he defeated Satrap Bessus. Afterwards, Alexander moved on to ancient Samarkand where he burned down most of the city and massacred half of the population, ironically he himself felt in love to the civilizations, culture and language of the Aryans which brought up his own fellows because who tuned many times from him away. For ca. hundred years afterwards, his descendants tried to force their Hellenistic culture on the natives. However, they failed and a strong opposition grew and the Parthians and Kushans liberated all of "Ancient Iran" from the Greeks and thus the second era of the Persian/Parthian Empire commenced. History shows that the Persians (Bactrians, Meds ect.) fought until the end to keep their culture, language, and identity from being deracinated by the Greeks.
The term ‘’Persia or Persian’’ is not a race or a tribe but it describes a coalition of iranian tribes that had the same culture, language, origine and history. ‘’Persia’’ was used by non-iranians (Greecs) to define that coalation of Iranians or their country (Land of Persians). The term self drived from the persian province Pars where the ruler was situating. Dareiosh Coddomanus said that the people of Bactria, Sogdia, Media, Pars, Pasagard ect. are one and the same people with the same origine and language just differentiated by geography and their accents, also Herodot delivered the same content.
The second era of the Persian culture and civilization ended when the Arabs invaded during the time of the Sassanid Empire of Iran. The Arabs entered Iran like animals on a desperate hunt for prey. They destroyed, burned, and pillaged the great cities and towns. All things they learned from Mohammad (pbuh) they had forgotten. The law of Islam had no value more. They just intended to enrich themselves by calling for ‘’Jihad’’.
They killed all intellectuals, burned great books of literature and science and enforced their culture, language, and religion on the people of the region. Also the bibliotheke of Bukhara they burned down, also Universities in Cntral Asia were not protected. There are legends of the Arabs invasion of Kabul led by "Shah e du Shamshera" i.e. "The King with two Swords." At the hands of the Arabs, the Persians faced genocide far worse than that of the Jewish Holocaust during World War II. Arabic replaced the Persian language and anyone caught teaching or learning Persian was put to death. Though all non-Arabs were mistreated, the Persians were treated far worse during the Arab occupation.
Mu'auiyah in a famous letter addressed to Ziyad ibn Abih, the then governor of Iraq, wrote:
Be watchful of Iranian Muslims and never treat them as equals of Arabs. Arabs have a right to take in marriage their women, but they have no right to marry Arab women. Arabs are entitled to inherit their [the Persians’] legacy, but they [the Persians] cannot inherit from an Arab. s far as possible they are to be given lesser pensions and lowly jobs. In the presence of an Arab a non-Arab shall not lead the congregation prayer, nor are they to be allowed to stand in the first row of prayer, nor to be entrusted with the job of guarding the frontiers or the post of a qadi
The hatred that the Arabs and their rulers had towards the Persian language and culture was no secret. This anti-Persian policy continued for at least two centuries. During the Umayyad dynasty the Persians were called Mawali. The following excerpt is taken from the work of an arab historian names Obaid:
The Mawali were not allowed to lead the prayers or receive booty even if they had participated in battles and distinguished themselves. They were not allowed to ride horses, marry into Arab families, or administer governmental or religious affairs. Even the offspring of mixed marriages were not exempt. The Mawali did not have the right to walk alongside an Arab; if a Mawali met an Arab carrying a load, he had to carry that load to the Arab's home without expecting any payment. If a Mawali were riding a horse and saw an Arab, he had to dismount and allow the Arab to ride instead. In fact, he had to take the Arab to his destination. Furthermore, the Mawali did not have the right to marry their daughters without prior permission from their Arab masters. Even in death rituals, there was a distinction. As a rule, Arabs did not participate in funerals held for the Mawali and the Mawali were not allowed to perform funeral prayers for a deceased Arab.
The Persians were not able to do anything under Arab rule; they suffered under these oppressive rules and all of their accomplishments were used to educate the Arabs. The Persian Language was forbidden all over the Arab Empire and its literature was banned. Hallaj ibn Yusuf had ordered that the language of the ‘divan’ in the eastern regions of the Empire be replaced by Arabic. In Beruni's From the Remaining Signs of Past Centuries, it is written:
When Qutaibah bin Muslim under the command of Al-Hajjaj bin Yousef was sent to Khwarazmia with a military expedition and conquered it for the second time, he swiftly killed whomever wrote the Khwarazmian native language that knew of the Khwarazmian heritage, history, and culture. He then killed all their Zoroastrian priests and burned and wasted their books, until gradually the illiterate only remained, who knew nothing of writing, and hence their history was mostly forgotten
Dark times had indeed been cast down upon the Persians. But the time came when the Great Persians rose once more against their enemies and defeated them and sent them back to their deserts. The great civilization of the Egyptians had all but disappeared and they lost their identity, culture, language to the aggressive Arabs while the Persians strove for justice and victory, seeking a sort of immunity from such invading viruses. Heroes such as Behzad Khorasani (Abu Muslim Khorasani), Babak Khurramdin, Yaqub Saffari, Saman Khudah, like their forefathers before them, fought for and liberated the Persians and revived the Persian identity once again. Works produced by great personalities such as Ferdowsi, Saadi, Hafez, and Mawlana helped the Persian culture and language flourish. As a result of the hard times faced by the Arab occupation the Persians were adamant about not going through such tribulations again and so they were able to defeat the invading Turko-Mongols who came from the east.
When the Turko-Mongol forces first entered Khorasan they were able to easily adopt the Persian culture and language because of they lacked culture and a proper tongue of their own. Ghaznavids, Seljuqs, Khaharezm Shahs, Timorids were patriarchs of the Persian culture and language. They financed works like the Shahnama, one of the most spectacular Epics ever written in history. They were originally not different than modern (medi-evil) Awghans but nevertheless Awghans are not able to get humanized or get domesticated, at least culturally assimilated. Their backwardness is fixed on their gens. You can send them to the best schools, give them the best Tajik food, give them the most expensive clothes and send them to elite-universities they don´t get change because it´s their fixed behave and culture which is backwardàPashtunwali. Their life is basing on their gens that´s why they never will get changed, never mentaly (even if they adopting Persian culture and language), never culturally ect. But back to the main text.
At that point in history the Persian language was the Franca lingua, its influences reaching from the Middle East to the Indian subcontinent. When the second round of Turko-Mongol (also not different than Awghans today)
savages led by Genghis Khan came the Persians faced massacre and bloodshed once more. Historical sources claim that sixty percent of the Persian population in Central Asia was killed during that time. Because of the hordes of marauding Turko-Mongols Mawlana, Hafez, and Saadi were forced to flee from their homeland while others who opted to stay, like Attar, were killed. The Turko-Mongols pillaged and destroyed the great cultural centers like the regions of Merv and Balkh. Unlike the Greeks and Arabs before them, who had their own language and culture, the Turko-Mongols attached themselves to the Persian culture and language. Most of their rulers could not speak their own mother tongue and had no choice but to speak Persian. Timorids used the Persian language when they ruled India; Ottoman Empire spoke Persian in their courts. Today, in the 21st Century, because they are embarrassed of their ancestors’ attachment to Persian, Uzbekistan and the Pan-Turkist movement is working against the Persian culture and language. They have banned the usage of the Persian language in the great cities of Samarqand and Bukhara and are “Uzbekizing” the 11,000,000 Tajiks in Uzbekistan. They have started a process of stealing Persian history, culture, and personalities; Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan have started claiming Rumi, Saadi, Avicenna, Al-Farabi and others as theirs, claims that are as wrong as they are ridiculous.
After the Afsharid Empire, an Afghan by the name of Ahmad Khan Abdali came to power in Qandahar and started the Durrani Dynasty in Khorasan. (today ‘’Afghanistan’’ (Land of Pashtuns) since 1911).
He and his descendants preferred to speak the Persian language over their mother tongue, Pashto. During their time, the Persian language was the language of communication and the Franca lingua of Khorasan. Durrani and his descendants used Persian titles like ‘Shah’ and referred to their Empire as Khorasan rather than Afghanistan or Pashtunistan. Pashtun chauvinism started in Afghanistan after Habibullah Kalakani's brief nine month rule as King. As he rose to power after tricking and killing Kalakani, Nadir Khan, a Muhamadzai Pashtun, massacred native Persian speakers in the north, Kabul area, Parwan, Kapisa, Kohistan, Khost, Gardez and granted a lot of northern land to tribal Pashtuns from the NWFP of British India. The same thing the Persians had to face also before his reign during Abdurrahman Khan, the ‘’Emir of Kabul’’ (Kabulistan was the name of modern Afghanistan from 1858 to 1911). At the same time he promoted Pan-Pashtunism and laid the foundations of an ethno-centric Afghanistan. When Nadir Khan was killed in 1933, his successor continued the oppressive process by first changing the national language from Persian to Pashto and Pashtunizing the Persian city of Kabul. They also changed books from ‘’Qaraa-ate Parsi’’ into ‘’Qaraa-ate Dari’’ to make Tajiks weaker by cuting them off from their Iranian, Uzbekistani, Tajikistani and Turkmenistani brothers and make them looking like ‘’Immigrants’’, in a country that was from ancient times there. Another reason for that movement was also that they didn´t want to speak about Parsi when they used it because of their ‘’Pride’’ therefore that name was a good choice to describe the Persian language of Afghanistan which they call ‘’Afghani Persian’’ while Afghani is Pashto and Pashtuns have nothing to do with Persian. Today, they still try to take our own identity away and force on us a dirty identity which has nothing to do with us. They say ‘’Dari’’ and Parsi are two different languages. Both languages have nothing in common. The Sistani dialect of Parsi which is similar of Iran they also call as ‘’Dari’’ , also the Badakhshani dialect which is closer to the Persian dialect of Tajikistan. Also Kabuli dialect is similar to Tehrani dialect and Herati is close to Shirazi dialect. That´s they plan. They just want to cut our roots to make Tajiks historyless while Tajiks have the most heavilly history in the whole region. They fabricated histories and books like Puta Khazana and many more.
Though the royal family couldn’t speak Pashto themselves, they started promoting the primitive language which was spoken by tribal Pashtuns. They changed Farsi/Persian to Dari so as to create divisions between Persian speakers in Iran and Afghanistan and other regions like they already did by using Islam to bring trouble between Shia Muslims and Sunnis Muslims while they lived in peace for centuries but all became change with the invasion and immigration of Pashtuns into our country, Khorasan.
They stopped printing textbooks in Persian and instead, they distributed Pashto textbooks to schools throughout the country. However, there was a lack of interest in Pashto and because everyone, including the royal family, was a native Persian speaker, this promotion of Pashto failed and they had no choice but to turn back to Persian again. But their tribal jealousy and hatred did not dissipate; anti-Persianism in Afghanistan continued through the Taliban era. The Taliban torched Persian books and closed Universities which used the Persian language. There were reports that the Taliban would go to libraries and bookstores and demand all books in the Persian language and they would burn them in front of the booksellers or Librarians. One week passed when Taliban bruned more than 80 000 Persian books in Kabul, just in one day. Books about history, language, religions ect. All were burned and destroyed. They did the same in all parts of the country. They beat anyone whom they heard speaking Persian and they blew up the Buddha statues which symbolized the rich history of the region. They very much wanted to tribalize the entire nation. They banned the Persian culture of Tajiks like Now-Roz, Mehragan, Shabe Yalda ect. The Pashtun nationalists, the Talibans were created by Karzai and his fellows to bring another Pashtun King on power and during their time they brought Pashto to the country and claimed it as ‘’primary’’ language of all people of Afghanistan or they have to leave the country. Many genocids and cleansing were part of their agendas to pashtunize/afghanize the country which is mostly inhabitet by Non-Afghans/Pashtuns.
After the fall of the Taliban, a new Pashtun group emerged by the name of ‘Afghan Mellat.’ (tough they were known from ealier time for their facism against Non-Afghans (Tajiks, Hazaras ect.) and everything persian).
They started took advantage of the fragile government and started imposing their own agenda. Their first step was to declare the title "Afghan" as a national identity and to remove all other identities i.e. Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, etc -àPashtunization. Their next step was creating a National Anthem in Pashto rather than in the Persian language. They had Persian professors replaced in Kabul University and, as stated earlier, forcefully placed Pashto words for institutions like University, governmental institutions, etc. while banning all the Persian words. It is a wonder just how much the Persian people can take with all this ethno-centrism plaguing their home.
For the last 3,000 years, the Persian speakers and their culture and language have been under constant bombardment from those who wish to make others pay for their own insecurities. The Persian speakers need to once more wake up and defend their identity, culture, and language which have seen enough oppression throughout its history. There will be no end to this sort of oppression once the oppressors are allowed to impose their tribal ways on the Persian speakers. The time to start raising awareness and claiming discontentment and injustice is now. Predecessors such as Satibarzan, Ariabarzan, and the Parthians fought for their rights during the Hellenistic period; Abu Muslim Khorasani, Babak Khurramdin, and Saman Khuda fought during the Arab occupation of Iran and Khorasan; Kartas of Herat and Safavids of Persia fought the Mongol invasions. Ghorids, Shaffarids, Buyids ect. Fought against Arabs, turks and many other, including Awghans to keep our identity. They gave up their blood and mind to rescue us, their descends. We, as their descends have the duty to base our identity for their courage and movements. What kind of Sons and Daughters are we when we would forget the name of our own fathers and mothers who fought for our survive??? Can you live with that??? The Persian speakers of today need another Abu Muslim, Firdowsi, Babak Khomreddin, Arash, Afshin ect. to get rid of Afghan Mellat and Pan-Turkism. Are you an Afshin?? Are you a Firdowsi?? Are you Babak Khomreddin?? Are you Vahram?? If not than it´s your obligation to get one and fight for your own people no matter to which Non-Awghan ethnic you belong!!! UNITED WE ARE STRONGER AND BETTER!!!
In today’s world, even a simple man can become a hero just by standing up for justice and equality. History will always repeat itself if the mistakes are allowed to be repeated.
Don´t forget, Pashtuns wanted to cleansing Persian areas to replace them by Awghans. Fight against them, fight for your right, for your equality, fight for your future and your descends!!! Fight for your ancestors who fought for you. It´s now your turn to pay tribute to them!!!