About Pakhtun:

Pashtun, also spelled Pushtun or Pakhtun, and also called  Pathan ,and  Afghan, are Pashto-speaking people who reside primarily in the region that lies between the Hindu Kush in northeastern Afghanistan and the northern stretch of the Indus River in Pakistan. They constitute the majority of the population of Afghanistan and bore the exclusive name of Afghan before that name came to denote any citizen of the current state of Afghanistan. They are also called Pathans by their non-Pashtu speaking neighbors. The term was popularized by the British when they were ruling the area. Pashtuns themselves don’t like to be called Pathans though.

 

The origins of the Pashtun are unclear. The generally accepted view is that Pashtuns are predominantly an Eastern Iranian people, who use Pashto as their first language, and live in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Pashtun tradition however also states that they are descended from Afghana, grandson of King Saul of Israel, and thus have Jewish origin. Most scholars believe it is more likely that they arose from an intermingling of ancient Aryans from the north or west with subsequent invaders. The British doctor, Henry Walter Bellew, accredited for writing the first Pushtu dictionary suggested that the Pashtuns (Pathans) are actually a mixture of the Greek and Indian Rajput peoples. Bellew’s theory was that all Pashtun tribal names could be traced to Greek and Rajput names, "which posits the further possibility of a great Greek mixing with the ancient border tribes of India.(It should be recalled that Alexander the great invaded the area inhabited by Pashtuns around 327 AD and some of his troops opted to live in the area) In addition, the Arab historian Masudi wrote that Kandahar, the city in which most Pashtuns were concentrated at the time, "is a country of Rajputs" and was a separate kingdom with a non-Muslim ruler.

 

Several Pashtun tribes are known to have moved from Afghanistan to current  Pakistan between the 13th and 16th centuries, and now there are more Pashtuns  than the parent country, Afghanistan. Each tribe, consisting of kinsmen who trace descent in the male bloodline from a common tribal ancestor, is divided into clans, subclans, and patriarchal families. Tribal genealogies establish rights of succession and inheritance and the right to use tribal lands and to speak in tribal council or jirga.

 

There are around 50 millions Pashtuns throughout the world of which 60% live in Pakistan. They comprise about 400 tribes of varying size and importance, each of which occupies a particular territory. In Afghanistan, where the Pashtun are the predominant ethnic group, the main tribes—or, more accurately, federations of tribes—are the Durrānī south of Kabul and the Ghilzay east of Kabul.

In Pakistan the Pashtun predominate north of Quetta between the Sulaiman Range and the Indus River. In the hill areas the main tribes are, from south to north, the Kākaṛ, Shērāni, and Ustarāna south of the Gumal River; the Maḥsūd, Darwēsh Khēl, Wazīrī, and Biṭanī between the Gumal River and Thal; the Tūrī, Bangash, Ōrakzay, Afrīdī, and Shinwārī from Thal to the Khyber Pass; and the Mohmand, Utmān Khēl, Tarklānī, and Yūsufzay north and northeast of the Khyber. Another major tribe, Khattak, live east and south east of Peshawar.

We Pashtuns

We Pashtuns,
From the valleys of Hindukush,
Now in the foothills of Rockies,
Warming up to each other
In that “Cold Garden”(1)
The warmth that is meant to
Un-freeze the frozen hearts
And cozy us up to each other

We Pashtuns,
From the valleys of Hindukush,
Now in the foothills of Rockies,
Had been doing it since centuries,
Both in war and in peace,
Coming together
In “Ushers” and ‘Jirga”
And let our own light shine

We Pashtuns,
From the valleys of Hindukush,
Now in the foothills of Rockies,
Have come together again,
Under the banner of CPA
To show to the world,
Our talents, our peace, and
Glory of God that is within us

We Pashtuns,
From the valleys of Hindukush,
Now in the foothills of Rockies
Have formed CPA
To be the face of our unity,
Service and dignity,
Preserving it for posterity,
With God’s grace In perpetuity.

by Tayyab Shah


(1) Cold Garden” refers to Calgary; the name originates from a compound of kald and gart from Old Norse words, meaning "cold" and "garden"
Interesting Facts:

Pakhto language, (other spelling and pronunciational variants are Pakhtu, Pukhto, Pashtu and Pashto) is a member of the Iranian division of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages. Extensive borrowing from other languages has caused Pashto to share many features of the Indo-Aryan group of the Indo-European languages as well. Pashto became the national language of Afghanistan in 1936. It is spoken by more than 40 million people, most of whom reside in Afghanistan and  Pakistan. Smaller speech communities exist in North America, IranTajikistan, the United Arab Emirates, India, and the United Kingdom.

Pashto is written with a modified Arabic alphabet. Its earliest literary form is poetry; Mohammad Hotak’s Pata Khazana (1728–29; “The Hidden Treasure”) is a collection of Pashto poetry from the 8th century onward. According to Pata KhazanaAmir Kror Sori who lived in the 8th century AD, was the first poet of Pashto language. The national poet of Pakhtuns, Khushhal Khan Khatak(1613–94), wrote spontaneous and forceful poetry of great charm. Other major poets of Pashto language are Rahman Baba (1632-1704), Amir Hamza Shinwari (1907-1994) and Ghani Khan (1914-1996).

 

There are three major dialect patterns of Pashtu within which the various individual dialects may be classified: Northern Pashto (Pakhto), which is the variety spoken in South-Central and parts of eastern Afghanistan,  in and around Peshawar, and districts north of Peshawar, like Charsadda, Mardan, Swat and Dir; Central Pashto, also called Waziri and Bannochi, spoken in WaziristanBannu, Kohat and Karak; and Southern Pashto, spoken in Balochistan in general and Quetta in particular, and Qandhar province of Afghanistan.