Ethnic Consciousness of Pashtun Tribal Rulers in Pre-Modern Times

in Iran and the Caucasus
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The article examines statements on Pashtun ethnicity from the original Pashto prose texts written by the Khaṯak tribal rulers Khūshḥāl Khān (d. 1689) and Afżal Khān (d. circa 1740/41) and included in the corpus of the historiographical compilation Tārīkh-i muraṣṣa‘ (The Ornamented History). Under discussion are conceptual roots of the Pashtun ethnic identity in tribal genealogical traditions and ethical regulations (Code of Honour) of the Pashtun customary law, main hierarchal levels (national, tribal, clannish) within the ethnic consciousness of the Khaṯak chiefs, and the early development of the concept of Homeland (watan) in Pashto literature. Textual material analysed in the article with reference to similar declarations from the national and patriotic poetry of Khūshḥāl Khān suggests that towards the beginning of the 18th century Pashtun tribes in the mass well recognised themselves as one people with common ethno-cultural heritage, and national self-identification was one of the key elements in their collective consciousness that provided necessary ideological ground for the creation of the Afghan national statehood in 1747.

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