OTHER OPINIONS ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF NAME AFGHAN
Afghans are mentioned as â€˜Avaganaâ€™ as well asâ€™ Vokanaâ€™ by
Vrahamihira in (6th c AD) in his Brihat-Samhita (16/38, 11, 61,
Cf: â€œAfghans have also been described as â€˜Vokanasâ€™ by Vrahamihira
in (6th c AD) in his Brihat-Samhita (16/38).â€ [Afghan Immigration in
early middle agesâ€”article contributed by K. L. Lal in the book
â€œStudies in Asian History, p 20]
Cf: â€˜ Pahlava-Sveta-Huna (white Huns)-Chola (i.e.northern) (cf Ency
Brit (11th ed, XIII, 330)- Avagana (=Apagana=afghan)=Maru-China (XVI,
38 and XI, 61, Vrahamihira, Brahata-Samhita)â€™. [Hindu Polity, Part I
II, p 129, Dr Jayswal]
â€œThe name â€˜Abaganâ€™ was used for the Afghans by Iranians as is
documented by the Sassanian Inscriptions of 3rd c ADâ€. [Afghan
Immigration in early middle agesâ€”article contributed by K. L. Lal in
the book â€œStudies in Asian History, p 20).
Hiuen Tsang, the famous Chinese traveler of 7th c A.D. uses
â€˜A-po-kienâ€™ for a people living between the Khyber pass and Gazni.
Obviously, this Apokien of Hiuen Tsang stands for the term Afghan. [op
cit, p 20]
Cf: â€œ On his return journey from India, the Chinese pilgrim
Hsuuml;an-Tsang travelled from Varnu (possibly modern Wana) to
Jaguda in Ghazni, crossing the land of A-p'o-k'ien, . [ Hui-li 1959, p.
188.] a word derived from Avakan or Avagan, meaning Afghansâ€.
In Islamic sources, the first reliable mention of the Afghans is found
in the Hudud al-alam, which says of a settlement on the borders of India
and the Ghazni district that â€˜there are Afghans there too'. Mention
is also made of a local ruler some of whose wives were â€˜Afghan
womenâ€™.[Hudud alâ€™Alam 1930 p. 16-A]
The use of â€˜Oganâ€™ for Afghan has been reported by Sir Robert Scot
in his well known book â€œThe Kafirs of Hindukush, 1895,)
The term â€˜Awaganâ€™ for Afghan is also is in use in Afghanistan till
date [p 14, Afganistan, its People, its Society, its Culture, 1962, by
Donald N. Milber].
The name Afghan in Turkish which is called â€˜Avaganâ€™.
In the official records of Persian king Shapur III, 309-379 AD we find
the term â€˜Apkanâ€™ (=AFGHAN) referring to Afghan People. Professor
Sprengler and Sir Olaf Caroe believe that this Apkan evolved into modern
word of "Afghan".
In his Shahnama, Firdousi mentions the term Avagan, referring to a General in Faridoon's army.
SEE YET FURTHER ON THE GENESIS OF TERM AFGHAN :
â€œThe genesis of the word Afghan, as far as I know, is Persian. It is a
derivation from the word 'Bagan', which means God. The corruption of
this word can be found in the Hindi/Sanskrit language, which is Bhagwan
for Godâ€ .
â€The word Afghan is derived from the word â€˜Abaganâ€™ (i.e. without
God), which the Persian coined for the Pakhtuns to describe them as
non-believers. The antonym of Bagan (=believer in God) is Abagan
(=non-believer) just as the antonym of political is apolitical in the
â€The Persian bias for the Pakhtuns is a historical fact just like the
bias of the Indians or British is in describing the Pakhtuns as savages
â€Some authorities describe the genesis of the word Afghan to be a
derivative of the Persian word â€˜Fughanâ€™, which means noisy
lamentation. Since the Persians saw Afghans as noisy and un-civilized,
they argue, therefore, they were named as Afghansâ€. (Above views are
from L Mar)
One thing becomes very clear from some of the documentation given above.
We can at least see from the divergent views above that the name
AFGHAN or any of its afore said earlier â€˜supposedâ€™
VERSIONS/DERIVATIONS existed from a time much earlier than Prophet
Mohammed. Hence the traditional or a puranic account which some Moslem
Afghan clans give about the origin of name â€˜Afghanâ€™ from the
personal name of Afghana, the son of Qias is obviously a fallacy and
COMPARE: Although the origins of the Afghans probably lie in very
ancient times, [ Morgenstierne, 1940; Grantovskiy, 1963] the first
mentions of the Afghan people appear only in the sixth and seventh
ON TERM AFGHAN, SEE ALSO THE FOLLOWING:
EXTRACTS FROM AFGHANISTAN, ITS PEOPLE, ITS CULTURE, ITS SOCIETY:BY DONALD. N. WILBER:
â€œHistorically, the Afghans are first mentioned by name (Avagana) by
early sith century Indian astronmer Varaha Migira in his Brahat Samhiti.
A little later, the Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang mentions a tribe of
A-poâ€™kien, located in the Sulayman mountains. The earliest Moslem
works mentioning them are the Hudud alâ€™Alam (982 A.D.), the
Tarikh-I-Yamini and those of Biruni. The Indian appellation Pathan does
not occur till 16th c, but the change into Pathan (from plural of
Pushtun; Pushtana) indicates that it must have been used at a much
earlier date. Biruni places the Afghans in western frontier mountains
of India. No Afghan settlement west of Ghazni is mentioned by early
authors. The origin and early history of westernmost Pushtun tribe, the
Abdalis remains obsecureâ€ [op cit, p 40]
â€œIn warfare at the end of twelfth century between the Moslems and
Hindus, Afghans are represented as fighting on both sides, which
suggests that although legend places their conversion in the early
Islamic period, they had not yet all been converted to Islam.
Repeatedly, they are referred to as a rebellious and turbulent people.
Timur considered them brigands and is reported to have ravaged their
strongholds ain the Sulayman mountains. Their reputation as a fierce
race of mountain robbers and occasionally, soldiers of fortune turned
to fame with rise to power in India of the Afghans adventurer, Daulat
Khan Ludi of Ludi clan of Ghilzaiâ€â€¦â€¦â€¦. [ibid, pp 40-41]
AND FURTHER ALSO SEE THE FOLLOWING
AFGHAN AFGHANISTAN: An Etymological Overview.
By: Farid Maiwandi:
â€œThe earliest record of the word "Afghan" was found in a tablet at
Naqsh-i-Rostam in Shiraz. Written during the reign of the Sassanid King,
Shapur I who ruled between 260-273 AD, the tablet refers to a certain
military officer as Vindifer Abgan Rasmand. Translated in modern Persian
it means Vindafer Salar-i Jangi-e Abgan. The word Abgan is an old
Pahlavi (Parthian) word, which is believed to be the derivative form of
an adjective describing robustness, resilience, or bravery.
The word seems to have found a wider usage by the time of Shahpur III,
who ruled between 309-379 AD, and used the term Apkan in his official
title. Professor Sprengler and Sir Olaf Caroe call this term equivalent
to the modern word of "Afghan". In his Shahnama, Firdousi mentions the
term Avagan, referring to a General in Faridoon's army.
We encounter the word "Afghan" next in the works of the famous Indian
astronomer, Varha-Mihira. He died in 578 AD after he wrote his famous
book of Bharata Smitha, where the word "Afghan" appears as Avagana in
verses 11-61 and 16-31.
Heun Tsung provides the next recorded reference of "Afghan". He was a
Chinese traveller who visited Afghanistan between 629-645 AD. In his
Memories of the West, he refers to the territories between Banu and
Ghazi as Op-o-Kin. Modern researchers, such as Cunnigham, strongly
believe the word Op-o-kin* to be the same as the modern "Afghan".
*COMMENT: The term which appears in Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsong is Ap-o-kien and not Op-o-kin as Farid Majwandi asserts.
"AFGHAN" IN POST-ISLAMIC ERA:
It is in this period that the original word of Abgan, Apkan, Avagana,
and others becomes Arabicized and transform to "Afghan". The first
post-Islamic mention of the word is seen in Hudud-ul Aalam written by
Jawzjani in 982 AD. On page 45, he writes about Sool: "which is located
on top of a hill, where the â€˜Afghansâ€™ live."
In 1025 AD, Al-Atabi wrote his Tarikh-i-Yamini during the reign of
Ghaznavids. It provides accounts of how "Afghans" were recruited into
Sabuktagin's army. Another giant of the Ghaznavid era, Abu-Raihan
Al-Biruni(d. 1048 AD), wrote about "Afghans" in his Kitab-al-Hind. Other
mentions of the word "Afghan" or "Afghania" are in Al-Kamil of
Ibn-i-Asir, Aadaab-al-Harb Wal-Shuja'a of Fakhr-i-Mudabir,
Tabaqat-i-Nasiri of Minhaj Siraj Jawazjani, Tarikh-i-Guzeeda of
Hamadulla Mastaufi, Makhzan-i-Afghani of Ferishta and many more.
Just like the name of nations, the names of geographical regions and
states go through similar process of adaptability over times, until such
time when the name finds national acceptability and becomes part of
that country's daily life, history, and literature.
Contrary to popular belief, the word "Afghanistan" did not come to
existence during the reign of Ahmad Shah Durrani who ruled only as
recently as in the second half of the eighteenth century.
The oldest recorded mention of this word is found in Tarikh-i-Herat of
Saifi Herawi, written around 1221 AD. He refers to the region between
eastern Afghanistan and the Indus as "Afghanistan".
This clearly indicates that the word "Afghanistan" was in use even at
the time when the area was being pillaged and plundered by Mongols and
Maulana Kamaludin Samarqandi(b 1413 AD), a courtier of the Timurids of
Herat, refers to the same lands that Saifi Herawi had mentioned as
"Afghanistan" in his Rozat-ul Janaat. Later we see the word
"Afghanistan" in reference to the areas inhabited by today's Afghans in
Akbar Nama and similar works. Zahirudin Babur, who was forced to leave
Ferghana and came to conquer our homeland in 1525 AD, reigned over
territories that the Mughul historians repeatedly referred to as
CLICK THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE FOR MORE RELEVANT INFOMATION:
COMPARE ALSO THE FOLLOWING:
â€œAlthough the origins of the Afghans lie in very ancient times,4 the
first mentions of the Afghan people appear only in the sixth and seventh
centuries. The Brhat-samhita (XVI, 38 and XI, 61) speaks of the pahlava
(Pahlavis), the svetahuna (White Huns or Hephthalites), the avagana
(Afghans) and other peoples. On his return journey from India, the
Chinese pilgrim Hsuuml;an-tsang travelled from Varnu (possibly
modern Wana) to Jaguda in Ghazni, crossing the land of A-p'o-k'ien,5 a
word derived from Avakan or Avagan, meaning Afghans. In Islamic sources,
the first reliable mention of the Afghans is found in the Hudud
al-calam, which says of a settlement on the borders of India and the
Ghazni district that â€˜there are Afghans there too'. Mention is also
made of a local ruler some of whose wives were Afghan women.6 The Afghan
language, or Pashto, is one of the East Iranian groups. Among its
characteristics, it contains a stratum of Indian words and its phonetic
system has been influenced by Indian phonetic systems, which is not the
case of other Iranian languages. There are approximately 23 million
Pashto-speakers in Afghanistan and Pakistan today.7 The mountains in the
east of modern Afghanistan and the north of modern Pakistan were
settled by Dards. They were known to the ancient Greek authors, who used
several distorted names for them: Derbioi, Durbaioi, Daidala, Dadikai
and Derdaios.8 In their descriptions of India, the Puranas speak of the
Darada in the same breath as the inhabitants of Kashmir and Gandhara.
They are repeatedly mentioned in the Ramayana and the
Saddhar-masmrtyupasthana, together with the Odra (the Uddiyana). In
Tibetan sources, the Darada are known as the Darta.9
There are two groups of languages that are now generally known as
Dardic. The first are the languages of Nuristan (a region of
Afghanistan): they form an 'individual branch of the Indo-Iranian family
belonging neither to the Indo-Aryan, nor to the Iranian group'. The
second group of languages (particularly the Dardic) are 'part of the
Indo-Aryan [group], though far departed in their development from the
latter'. The two groups, however, have much in common in their
'structural and material features [phonetical, grammatical and
lexical]'.10 The Nuristani languages include Kati, Waigali, Ashkun and
Prasun (or Paruni) and are chiefly spoken in Nuristan. The Dardic
languages proper include Dameli, which is the link between the Nuristani
languages and the Central Dardic. According to one classification, the
Central Dardic languages comprise Pashai, Shumashti, Glangali,
Kalarkalai, Gawar, Tirahi, Kalasha and Khowar. The Eastern Dardic group
is divided into three sub-groups containing the Bashkarik, Torwali,
Maiyan, Shina, Phalura and Kashmiri languages. In the early 1980s Dardic
languages were spoken by 3.5 million people in Pakistan, India and
Afghanistan, of whom 2.8 million spoke Kashmiri, some 165,000 spoke
Khowar and some 120,000 spoke Pashai. The Nuristani languages were
spoken by around 120,000 people.11
Burushaski is a completely distinct language: it stands at the
confluence of three great families â€“ the Indo-European, the
Sino-Tibetan and the Altaic â€“ but belongs to none of them. Its
speakers live in northern Pakistan, in the region of the Hunza and
Vershikum rivers, and number around 40,000. The language's morphological
structure is very rich and the verb has a particularly extensive system
of accidence. Burushaski is one of the oldest tongues, but its place in
the system of ancient and modern languages remains obscure. Although a
literary tradition may well have existed in the early Middle Ages, when
Buddhism was widespread, no literary records have been found, which
hampers attempts to reconstruct the language's past. There have been
repeated attempts to trace its affiliations, and links with the
Caucasian, Dravidian, Munda, Basque and other languages have been
suggested, but from the standpoint of contemporary linguistics the case
is not conclusive. Burushaski was unquestionably more current in ancient
times and occupied a number of regions where Dardic languages are now
spoken and where Burushaski acted as a substratal or adstratal
foundation. Grierson has even postulated that speakers of Burushaski or
related languages once inhabited all or almost all the lands now held by
1. Lazard, 1971; 1975, pp. 595â€“7.
2. Fuchs, 1938, p. 452.
3. Oransky, 1988, p. 298.
4. Morgenstierne, 1940; Grantovskiy, 1963.
5. Hui-li, 1959, p. 188.
6. Hudud al-calam, 1930, p. 16-A.
7. Morgenstierne, 1942; Gryunberg, 1987.
8. Francfort, 1985, Vol. 1, pp. 397â€“8.
9. Tucci, 1977, pp. 11â€“12.
10. Edelman, 1983, pp. 14â€“15, 35â€“6.
11. Morgenstierne, 1944; 1967; 1973; Fussman, 1972; Gryunberg, 1980; Edelman, 1983.
12. Grierson, 1919; Zarubin, 1927; Lorimer, 1935, Vol. 1; 1938 , Vol. 2; Klimov and Edelman, 1970.