Pashto and Pashtoonwalee

Pashto and Pashtoonwalee are inseparable parts of the Pashtoon way of life. Pashtoonwalee is social, political and legal system based on Jirgah. Jirgah, according to the German Professor W. Stein, evolved some 15 000 years ago during the early developing stages of the human society.

This suggests that the Pashtoon nation, which still practices the Jirgah system, possesses an extended history and great culture spread over a long period of time. Due to these reasons the word Pashtoon has become a social phrase in its own right and serves as a common link between Pashto and Pashtoonwalee.

Pashtoonwalee has three foundations.

The first and foremost is Pashto. Pashto is not only a language but a collection of different qualities which are “Patt” (honour), “Khaigara” (kindness), “Toora” (bravery) and “Wrorwalee” (brotherhood). Every Pashtoon, rich or poor, must posses these qualities.

As Khushal Khan Baba verifies:

“Pashtoons, from Kandahar to Attock, are united in preserving, overtly and covertly, their honour.”

The above quoted verse not only identifies the boundary of Pashtoon territory but also explains that Pashto is a collective quality of all Pashtoons. “Nang” a kind of loyalty or pride (e.g. fighting to defend your family’s or country’s honour) is a description of Nang, like “Patt”, “Marana” (courage) and “Toora” is a part of Pashto.

In these tenets no Pashtoon is less than any other. It is this equality in tenets of Pashto that has resulted in a collective sense of democracy in Pashtoon society.

The second foundation of Pashtoonwalee consists of certain customs which form a code of conduct, e.g. “Nanawatai” (seeking protection by entering a household), “Soola” (peace), “Rogha-Jora” (reconciliation) and many more.
The third foundation of Pashtoonwalee is “Paighore” or gibes. This usually involves questioning a pashtoons’s honour and other qualities associated with Pashtoonwalee and therefore the person affected has to act defend himself.
Any system must be based on an ideology which must be observed and protected and must be propagated. The ideology of Pashtoonwalee is “Pashto”. It is observed by holding Jirgahs and its place of Propagation is the home and the “Hujra” (a communal meeting place).

As is demonstrated by this exposition of Pashto and Pashtoonwalee. Pashtoons are a single group, but they are also geographically as well as religiously united. Above all, however, Pashtoons are economically united.

In spite of all our lustrous heritage we are in a wretched situation because we have been divided by force and are prevented from uniting into a political unit which is the only solution for our present day problems.

The new political era in the world heralds the unification of all divided nations e.g. East and West Germany have reunited and so have North and South Yemen. Other nations of the world are on the path of gaining such rights hence it is our historical need and our right to raise our voice for Pashtoon national liberation and unification.

All political leadership of the national and democratic parties of Pashtoonkhwa and other social dignatories must unite on one broad based platform to one broad based platform to deliver the Pashtoon nation from its predicament. The fate of the Pashtoon nation their dignity and honour depends upon this unity.

“Tol Pashtun” Magazine 2nd Issue April. – August, 1991

Pashtun Anjuman