The Races of Afghanistan/Chapter X

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The Races of Afghanistan

Being a brief account of the principal nations inhabiting that country.

By: H. W. Bellew, C.S.I.

Publisher: Thacker Spink And Co. Calcutta.1880.
Chapter X: The Dadicae


The Dadicae are the last of the four Indian nations mentioned by Herodotus as forming a single Satrapy on the extreme eastern frontier of the Empire of Darius. There has been some difference of opinion as to the identification of this people, By one party they are supposed to be represented by the modern Tajik, but this does not seem a natural philological transition ; and besides the term Tajik only came into common use after the Arab conquest of Persia, as will be explained further on when we come to consider the Tajik people.

Others, again, have considered them to be represented by the hill people located north of the Gandanans, and formerly called Darada, a name which is still known to, but not in common use amongst, that people, though it is still the pationymic of the natives of Chilas, on the other side of the Indus, who style themselves Dard. The transition from Darada to Dadicae is not a natural one either, and it is much more probable that the Dadicae, who were evidently neighbours of the Sattagydae, are truly represented by the existing Dadi, a small tribe now incorporated with the Kakar, and still clinging to their ancient seat The Dadicae or Dadi, it would appear, originally possessed all the country now occupied by the different clans composing the Kakar tribe, but were gradually ousted, decimated, and finally absorbed by them. When these changes took place it is difficult to say, but the subject will be better understood if we leave the Dadi, and turn to the consideration of the Kakar, the present possessors of the country,


The Kakar of Afghanistan are a people of Scythic origin, and of kindred race with the Gakkar or Ghakkar, who are settled in Chach and Rawal Pindi on the other side of the Indus, and other parts of India According to the Afghan accounts, Kakar was the grandson of Ghurghusht or Ghughisht, by his second son, Dani And this Ghughisht was the youngest of the three sons of Kais or Kish, the great ancestral progenitor of the Afghan nationality of modern times It has already been shown how the name of the first son, Saraban, was merely the adoption of the race title of the people whom the Afgan genealogists classified together as one set of the descendants of Kais, and the fact of their Rajput origin might have been then made clearer by tracing up to more recent times, the names of the successive generations of ancestors, except that it would needlessly complicate the subject by a multiplicity of strange names. At the risk of this, however, it may be here mentioned that the above-named Saraban, according to the Afghan genealogies, had two sons named Shaijyun and Khrishytin. These are evidently transformations of the common Rajput proper names Surjan and Krishan ; and they have been still more altered by transformation into Muhammadan names Sharjyun being changed into Sharfuddin and Krishyun into Khyruddin. Similar traces of Indian affinity are to be found in almost all the Afghan genealogical tables And it is only what we might expect when we remember the tradition that the five Pandu brother kings, about the time of the Mahabharata, or great war which was decided on the field of Kurukshetra, near Thanesar north of Delhi, emigrated to the Panjab and Afghanistan as far as Ghazni and Kandahar, and there established independent kingdoms which lasted for several centuries. The third son of Kais, Ghirghisht or Ghurghusht, appears to have derived his name from the national origin of the clans classed together as his descendants by Afghan genealogists, in the same way as they have done with the name of the eldest son, Saraban For


Ghirghisht, it appears, is only an altered form of Cirghiz or Ghirghiz "wanderer on the steppe" and indicates the country whence the people originally came, namely northern Turkistan. For Cirghiz or Kirghiz merely means a wanderer or nomad in the language of that country, and corresponds with the more familiar term Scythian. Though the Kakar now holds the greater portion of the ancient Dadicae country by a number of clans confederated under his own name, they are not all of the same origin as himself.

For the other sons of Dani (after whom, in the early Muhammadan period, the northern part of the present Kakar country was named Danistan, as the southern was named Kakaran or Kakaristan), namely Dadi, Naghar, and Pani, are expressly distinguished in Afghan histories, as differing, in many of their manners and customs, as well as in dialect, from the true Kakar. Thus the Naghar are expressly designated as Rajputs, and by the Afghans are commonly called Baloch. They are described as closely allied in origin and domestic customs, as well as in political relations, with the Pani, and they both have most of their clans settled in Shekhawati and Hydarabad, the lesser parts only residing in Kakar territory As to the Dadi, their history is lost in the obscurity to which they have sunk, and nothing more seems to be known about them now than that they have become absorbed into the Kakar tribe, and attached themselves to an immigrant colony from Khojand, with whom they are generally known as Khojandi or Khundi.

Besides the clans confederated with them in their own country, the Kakar claim kinship with the Gadun of Mahaban and Chach, on both sides the Indus north of Attock. These people on their part call themselves Kakar, and in Chach one of their settlements is called Ghurghusht. They also claim kinship with the Tymani Charaymdc, who are settled in the Siah-band range of the Ghor mountains, to the south-east of Herat. This people, on their part, consider


themselves a branch of the Kakar, and hold themselves separate from the rest of the Charaymdc further north, from whom they differ in manners and customs, as well as dialect and religion these being Sunni and those Shia The Tymani are in two divisions, one of which is called Capchac, who are Aymac or "no made," and the other Darzi, who are settled, and are usually called Afghan.

The Kakar country on the Indus frontier is about a hundred miles square, and extends from the Waziri border on the north to the Baloch border on the south. The country is traversed from, north to south by a mountain range, on the east and west slopes of which are many pleasant and fertile valleys In the Kanjoghi valley, which runs about thirty miles south-west from the Kand peak, is settled the Sanya clan, and in Bori, an extensive valley running to the south-east, are the Sanjara and Sambhira clans names evidently of Indian origin. The Kakar, in fact, is a collection of several different peoples, who, though now all speaking Pushtu and calling themselves Kakar Puthan, nevertheless maintain their own peculiar customs, manners, and dialects

The bulk of the Kakar Proper are employed in the asafoetida trade between Herat and India ; but most of the other clans lead a pastoral life, moving from place to place with their cattle and flocks, and living in small societies of three or four families, who pitch their black hair tents, or Kizlidi, in little clusters together. The lesser number are settled in villages and cultivate the soil in the main valleys, as Bori, Zhob, Kanjoghi, etc , etc. The Zhob range separates the Kakar from the Waziri. Their neighbours on the north-west are the Ghilji, on the west the Achakzi and on the south-west the Tarin both Durrani tribes. On the south are the Baloch, the hereditary foe of the Kakar. The Shayuna Dagh, a mountain plateau, in the north-west of the country, is a celebrated pasture ground of the Kakar ; and to the west of the Toba mountain they have a number of narrow little valleys whose several


streams combine to form the Lohra river which waters the Peshin valley In spring and summer the whole of this part of the country is said to be a delightful residence, the climate salubrious, and the air perfumed with the odours of the flowers which cover the surface as with a variegated carpet. The country is good, it is the people only who are bad, for they are ignorant, brutal, and savage in their manners, and robbers by intuition, as indeed are all the independent Pathan tribes We have thus shown that the Pathan comprises not only the modern representatives of the four ancient Pactiyan nations mentioned by Herodotus to whom, alone indeed, the title properly belongs but also a variety of other races, some kindred and some foreign, who have been thrown together within the area of their original country, the ancient Pactiya, by successive waves of conquest, and dynastic revolutions. All these different races, such as the Kakar, Waziri, Tori, &c., have evidently had a long struggle before they finally established themselves amongst the Pathan nations , and it would seem that it was only by blending with them, and, to some extent, adopting their manners and customs, that they were afterwards enabled not only to hold their own, but to enlarge their borders and maintain their distinct identity at the expense of the ancient inhabitants. The only other people of Afghanistan, besides those dwelling in the Pathan country proper, who call themselves Pathan, are the Afghan and the Ghilji. Apparently, simply because they, to a great extent, the latter especially, live within the limits of the Pathan country, and to some extent have adopted their language and social code of laws ; and because it has pleased their genealogists to class them all together as a single nation descended from a common ancestral progenitor.

Until the recent changes,political and military changes which are still in course of development on the Trans-Indus frontier of India the Pathan tribes, who hold the mountain ranges of Sufed Koh and Suleman Koh, have for the most part


maintained their independence for many centuries , an independence, not of a united nation, but an independence of individual tribes.

The Pathan tribes on the plains and low lands, between the mountains and the liver, such as the Yusufzai, the Khattak, Bangash, Banuchi, the Mahmand of the Peshawar valley, &c , have been British subjects ever since the conquest of the Panjab. Some of the hill tribes, such as those of the Kurram, Daur, and Sibi valleys, have been at different times, within the above period, subjugated by the Kabul Government. But all the powerful hill tubes, such as the Yusufzai and Mahmand of the hills, the Waziri, the Kakar, and several lesser tubes, are entirely independent, as are some clans of the hill Ghilzai. From the foregoing account it would appear that the original Pactiyan, Pukhtun, or Pathan nations, though severally maintaining their identity to the present day, have become individually much mixed up with various tribes of foreigners brought into their midst by successive waves of conquest and revolution during many centuries. And this is just what we might expect, considering the situation of their country at the point of junction of the three great empires of the Persian, the Turk, and the Indian. How long it took for these different races to amalgamate into a nation speaking the same language, professing the same religion, and owning the same code of laws, it is difficult to say. But there is no doubt that the change once initiated was rapidly earned to completion , it would appear that in the accomplishment of this end, the influence of religion played an important part, and that the Budhist, Brahman, and Gabr, all simultaneously succumbed to the majesty of Islam. This religion was first systematically enforced upon the peoples of this country by the first Turk sovereign of that faith in these parts, the celebrated Mahmud of Ghazni, about the beginning of the eleventh century. But however successful his means of fire and sword may have been at first, it appears that their effects were not very lasting nor complete. In short, the conversion of the people under


such compulsion was only nominal, and they rapidly relapsed to their former creeds during the reigns of Mahumd's successors, until in the time of Shahabuddin Ghori, the twelfth century, there occurred a revival of the Muhammadan religion all over India. About this time the whole Pukhtun country was overrun by Arab priests who assumed the title of Sayyid ("Lord"), and by native Indian converts, who were called Shekh (" Elder "). These enthusiastic propagandists seem, to have set about the task of proselytizing the people with remarkable energy and boldness, though with no great self-denial or personal restraint. They everywhere made themselves very comfortable at free quarters amongst their ignorant flocks, freely took their daughters to wife, rigidly exacted the tithes and other offerings ordained by the law to their sacred callings, and punctiliously enforced the reverence and homage due to them as the expounders of the word of God and the guides to the delights of Paradise.

The priests of the Sunni or "orthodox" sect had not the field entirely to themselves, for they had already been preceded by those of the Persian Schismatics of the Shia sect, as well as by the Persian heretics of the Ali Ilahi sect, who believed in the divinity of Ali with the decline, however, of Persian influence in this quarter, they soon acquired the ascendancy, and the Shia and the Ali Ilahi, or Chamkani, as he was called (the Chuagh-kush of the Persians and Ormur of the Afghans), either deserted their own creeds for the more popular state religion, or, clinging to the faith of their fore-fathers, sunk to a state of servitude or dependence. There are still several Shia clans amongst the different tribes of Pathans, and since the decline of Islam as a state power in these parts, they manage to maintain their position with greater security and freedom than before. With the Chamkani, it was different. He was a proscribed and persecuted heretic by both Churches of Islam, and soon, for self-preservation, became a Sunni, though still retaining his former appellation.

End of Chapter X

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