The Pakhtun Hindu connection or lack thereof by Alansaralhaq@yahoo.co.uk
I have seen much resurgent of the Hindu – Pakthun link in the last several months and with absence of Pakistan at Bonn we see this resurface again, just as it did in 2008. Lo and behold and now it appears on Rupee news but sadly by Dr. Sahib.
Are there person/s out there pushing Pakthuns towards Hindus, no guesses who. Dr. Sahib I am no historian but Pakthuns phenotype is very Mediterranean, they are more Iranian than Dravidian, thus dispelling the idea of ethnic bond with Hindus. Hinduism has never been a “significant” historic representation of Pakthuns and nor will it be. On linguistics they are once more nothing to do with sanskrit as their language is more linked to Persian. The origins of the Pashtuns are mixed, but their language is classified as an Eastern Iranian tongue, itself a sub-branch of the Indo-Iranian branch of the greater Indo-European family of languages, and thus the Pashtuns are classified as an Iranian people by historians. According to the academic Yu. V. Gankovsky, the Pashtuns began as a “union of largely East-Iranian tribes which became the initial ethnic stratum of the Pashtun ethnogenesis, dates from the middle of the first millennium CE and is connected with the dissolution of the Epthalite (White Huns) confederacy.
There are some anthropologists who have alternative views that lends to the widely accepted view of the origin of The Pakthuns based on the oral traditions of Pakthuns themselves. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam by far the most comprehensive study of this region and the sub continent, the widely accepted theory of Pakthun descent from Israelites is traced to Maghzan-e-Afghani who compiled a history for Khan-e-Jehan Lodhi in the reign of Mughal Emperor Jehangir in the 17th century CE. There is also another book that lends itself to this Pakthun historical record, Taaqati-Nasiri, which reads that in the 7th century a people called the Bani Israel settled in Ghor, southeast of Herat, Afghanistan, and then migrated south and east. These Bani Israel references are in line with the widely accepted view by Pakthuns themselves. It is said that when the twelve tribes of Israel were dispersed (see Israel and Judah and Ten Lost Tribes), the tribe of Joseph, among other Hebrew tribes, settled in the region hence the tribal name ‘Yusef Zai’ in Pashto translates to the ‘sons of Joseph’. A similar story is found by Iranian historian Ferishta.
The Maghzan-e-Afghani’s Bani-Israel theory has also been questioned due to historical and linguistic inconsistencies. The main inconsistency is based on the fact that the Ten Lost Tribes were exiled by Assyria, yet Maghzan-e-Afghani refers to them being under the ruler of Persia and part of The Persian empire and the tribe of Jospeh thus went further east to what is Afghanistan today. There is weight in the Persia theory also thus answering the uncertainty as The Persian empire acquired the lands of the Assyrian Empire when it conquered Babylonia. Babylonia if one reads into history conquered Assyria decades earlier. However no ancient record mentions a transfer of Israelites further east but history is unaware as to the extent on how that lost tribe lives in Assyria, later Babylonia. We do know they were nomadic in character and therefore more than likely continued their journey to find safety in the turmoil of war and decades of conflict of that era.
There are no ancient extra-Biblical texts that refer to the Ten Lost Tribes at all a historian like Dr. Sahib may well connect into this discussion but one needs to ask how is it so that that a very rich oral tradition the very source of modern history continues to exist tot his day that lends credence to the Pakthun origins as the lost tribe of The true Israelites. Yet if this oral tradition is to be believed once needs to look at some other oral traditions of Pakthuns as there are some groups from Pekhawar and Qandahar from among the Afridis , Khattaks and Sadozais who claim to be descended from Alexander the Great’s Greeks. There are also those tribes who claim descent from Arabs, including some even claiming to be descendants Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and others from Khalid bin Waleed (RA). It is the link to Bani Israel which is the strongest and factual and yes like all races there is no true race that exists today and the region known as Afghanistan and Pakistan were the cross roads of the ancient world.
Pakthuns were even mentioned in the rig vedas as it mentions a tribe called the Pakthas (in the region of Pakhat) inhabiting eastern Afghanistan, and some have speculated that they may have been early ancestors of the Pakthuns. Pakthuns were not however one and the same as Hinduism and Hinduism has never been a great influence or historic influence on Pakthuns this I assure you. Ofcourse for Pakthuns like all who ruled over the Sub Continent has to make alliances with the locals but there is no real credible link to say otherwise. I have seen many a Indian trying to create an association with Pakthuns, its zenith came in 2008 when Indian consulates and ISAF were harbouring TTP and they were being supported and their cause of creating a Pakthunistan was widely publicised on the media. I see the same nonsense being peddled on many boards and discussions trying to create this association from Khorasan to South Asia. Yes there is an association a link historically known to all and this is that the Khorasani ruled over the Sub Continent and have always influenced the events of South Asia.
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