View Full Version : Current status and further development of pashto language

04-27-2010, 04:27 PM
In this thread I would like to ask our worthy friends to collect all the information about the present status of Pashto as a language like its official status, its use as medium of instruction, language of media both print and electronic, and the reasons why a foreigner should learn Pashto.

As for as I know Pashto is one of the official language of Afghanistan but its real status as an official language in Afghanistan can be better explained by a friend living in Afghanistan specially in Kabul and the South East regions of Afghanistan.

Pashto is the medium of instruction in Primary schools in some regions of the Khyber Pashtunkhwah. I know nothing of the status of Pashto in Balochistan and have great curiosity to know that.

I know that in Pakistan , Afghanistan some radio stations and tv channels broadcast and telecast Pashto Programs. Details have to be systematically gathered and shared here.

I know a little that Pashto is used as a language of writing and reading and calculating in Pashtun regions in Afghanistan but in Pakistan this trend almost does not exist. Urdu has practically repalced Pashto for reading, writing and arithmetic. Although Pashtuns speak and listen Pashto in Pakistan but they normally dont write and read Pashto. Thus in this case Pashto may become an endangered Lnaguage in Pakistan.

I request all friends here to contribute informing the current status of Pashto as a language in Pakistan , Afghanistan, and may be in other countries like India , UAE, UK ,USA etc. and then suggesting how Pashto can be further developed so that it becomes equal to any developed language like English, Arabic, , Persian, Urdu etc.

04-27-2010, 04:34 PM
I am really curious and need to to know the current status of Pashto langauge aspecially in
A. Balochistan (Quetta and Pashtun districts like Loralai, Chamman etc)
B. Afghanistan(specially Kabul and Pashtun provinces)
C. Tribal areas in Pakistan(FATA)
D. Southern areas of Pashtunkhwah like KARAK, KOHAT, BANNU, LAKKI MARWAT, DI KHAN , HANGU etc

Pashtun areas/towns/homes/families in


I shall highly appreciate if any friend who is currently living in these areas can update me the current status of Pashto mainly in the following aspects.

1, Whether Pashtuns speak and listen Pashto with pride or they feel need to speak other langauges.

2. Whether Pashtuns write, read and calculate in Pashto or they use other langauges

3. Whetehr courts and offices specially in Afghanistan use Pashto in Pashtun areas or they prefer Dari?

4. Are there some movements in these areas for the promulgation of Pashto as medium of instruction , court and official langauge.

5. Whetehr the sign boards , advertisements and publicity are in Pashto or other langauges?

6. Whetehr Pashtun write letters and messages to each other in Pashto or other languages.

7. Are there some local radio and tv channels for Pashto music and other programs. Are there some small Pashto news papers and magazines published by local Pashtun organizations.

8. Are there some active Pashto literary, social, intellectual groups , organizations, societies and gatherings

9. Are there some developemnt , health and educational NGOs using Pashto as their language of commuinication.

10. Any other relevant information regarding the current status of Pashto in all these areas.

Thanx in advance

04-27-2010, 05:29 PM
---يقينا چې د پښتو ژبې خدمت يو عبادت دئ خو

... would you be prefer a response in Pashto or would you prefer to continue this thread in English?

Also, is this research for a genuine project for the revival of Pashto or just *ahem* another long and disappointing posting about the poor status of Pashto in Pakistan written by someone in English? What do you consider more important? Literacy amongst Pashtoons or how much Pashto print is used?

I'm cynical about the need for these things, because, whilst I know that the main medium of the Internet is English, and hence its dominance, the way I see it, is that WE, as a community must start by using Pashto first especially if we begin lamenting at the poor status of Pashto. We cannot solve our Pashto literacy problems (all round) by having lengthy postings in English. What does this achieve beyond what we already know? And I begin with myself. Apologies if I disappoint, but trust me ...

د پښتو کمک د انګریزی خبرو سره نه کيږي

04-27-2010, 11:08 PM
Tor khan . I think you went a bit harsh on that one.

this is to help our community and to improve the status of our language.

good job osho. Post what you have gathered so far.

It's how I feel about this topic - I am sorry. I already said I was, but I'll say it again - apologies to Osho.

You're right - we need to improve the status of our language.

None of this is possible if we have lengthy discussions about it in English, in my opinion. I care about Pashto, as we all do, and I understand the need for Pashto revival in Pakistan to a point, but it saddens me more that we don't use Pashto whilst discussing Pashto - there's an ironic contradiction there that I can't fathom.

04-28-2010, 02:18 AM
^We cant type in Pashto. English serves as the worlds lingua franca. If we type in Pashto how can people understand our demand?

Nazia, I understand -

- to a point -

- English is helpful - but it is our Pashto that makes us Pashtoon, not talking about it in English.

I'll bow out of this one. Perhaps this thread is the wrong place, because I'm on my own with this ...

04-29-2010, 07:13 AM
Pashto is not just a language but our way of life.We should invest in pashto media.
The status of pashto in the afghan govt today is just by name.Media,tv,govt etc use only farsi/dari.Even pashtu speaking leader talk in dari.
That is long history but the mohdzais and popalzais kings adopted dari language and culture.That was a big mistake.Even our babagans such as ahmad shah baba and his family done nothing for pashto.They in fact impose dari on pashtuns.
It is the duty and ,,,ibadat,,of every pashtun both in motherland and in pashtunkhwa to speak only pashto with their neighbors.The farsiwans never learn our language and the result is clear.We should only blame ourselves and not others.Why are we not proud of our language?
Our language is more rich and older then languages such as farsi and urdu.

04-29-2010, 04:29 PM
I need the above requested information for a research paper which I ll submit in English. However any contribution in Pashto or other language can be translated.

Yes we Pashtuns must speak , write and read Pashto with each other face to face or in internet and if there is a mixed gathering like here then we may use English in English forums and pashto in Pashto forums. Admn may specify that once a thread or topic is in Pashto then only Pashto may be used.

I have a special problem that in spite of all the best efforts I cant type in Pashto fonts so far. I will use romanized Pashto in the special threads for Pashto.

In Pashto speaking areas if we only use Pashto then automatically others will be encouraged or motivated to use Pashto for speaking, reading and writing.

04-29-2010, 04:34 PM
Pashto must be made official language , court language and medium of instruction in Pashtun areas but How? who will do so ?

The only hope now is ANP government and Bacha khan Trust or Education Foundation. They can can play an importnat role in this regard. But when I saw the websites of the Bacha Khan Trust and Education Foundation, I saw only English and Urdu books, even Pashto curriculum has not been finalized. There are retired Brigadiers, Human rights activitists and few professors but not educationists or Linguists on the Boarad of Directors. I dont know details of this Trust and Foundation still its a hope that it may do something better for making Pashto at least a medium of instruction along with English in few schools under its jurisdiction.

One concrete demand that I put forward here for the ANP government is to make Pashto a compulsory subject in all private and public schools and at least medium of instruction in Primasry schools in all Pashtun areas.

04-29-2010, 04:51 PM
Some friends opine that Pashtuns were deprived of their language by others. Millions of people cant be deprived of their langauge if they really want their language. Bangalis wanted and they got it.

Pashtuns are not generally language nationalists. Pashtun pa har sah pashto kawi kho pa pashto pashto na kawi!!!! Pashtuns have honour for all , not for their language. Dont beg others, do it yourself . Who stops a Pashtun in a remote village in Pashtunkhwah or Afghanistan who writes Urdu or English or Persian on the sign board of his shop, Panjabis , Tajiks or he himself!!!!!!!

04-29-2010, 04:58 PM
I tried to find out the following information about the status of Pashto language in the so called non Pashto speaking areas or mixed areas with other languages of Khyber Pashtunkhwah and has tried to remove some misconcpetions about the status of Pashto in these areas.

Pashto is spoken in almost half of the Chitral district. in Drosh area the whole town speak Pashto. Pashto is also used as a lingua franca in Chitral city. Its only in northern Chitral where pashto is not understood by each and every person.

Pashto is also spoken in Mansehra. In the areas towards north of the city of Mnasehra , 100 % population speak Pashto while in rest of the areas people are bilingual in the Mansehra district. In Abbot abad and Haripur yes you will find less Pashto speakers but Pashto is generally understood and majority of the people living there are Pashtuns racially if not linguistically.

In kohistan also Pashto is understood although not spoken in the areas beyond Bisham. Only in Dera Ismail khan city and its immediate neighbouring areas Pashto is not spoken but as you go out from the city towards Bannu and Tank, Pashto is spoken by all. Also majority of the people living in city like Mian khel are racially Pashtuns and many of them are bi lingual.

In all these areas Pashto is used as a lingua franca between the people as a source of communication and if not used still Pashto an important language of the province , must be learnt by them. Its not necessary that we should learn the langauge we speak, we learn other languages too. And for learning a langauge it should be made as a medium of instruction.

keeping all this inview I demand that Pashto may be made compulsory subject in all schools in Pashtunkhwah and the same may also be done in FATA and Pashtun areas of Balochistan . Urdu as a mother tongue is spoken only by 10% of the polulation of Pakistan as in Karachi and Hyderabad only but its compulsory for all citizens of Pakistan, why Pashto should not be made compulsory for all citizens of Pashtunkhwah????

Pashto is not a second langauge in Peshawar, Kohat and Nowshehra as some think. Its langauge of the majority in these cities and a very small percentage of people speak Hindko there. Althu in this sense its correct to say that Pashto is second alnguage of the non pashtun population of these cities as here Pashto is understood and spoken by all inhabitanbts whether pashtuns or not.

In Pakistan Pashtuns should make Sindhi as a model for Pashto and Dari in Afghanistan. If Pashto gets the status what Sindhi or dari has then it ll be a great achievemnet.

I wish friends inform us about the currect status of Pashto in the areas wehre they live and then suggest ways and means how to improve the status of Pashto as a language.

05-22-2010, 06:58 PM
Pashto Status in Herat

I copy the following post from the Culture Section of this site.

I can’t believe it! I can’t believe my ears! I am so excited, and there are no words to express my happiness. One of the greatest dreams of my life has come true. The sweet language of Pashto has returned to Herat. Now I can proudly say to everyone that Herat City is the birthplace of Ahmad Shah Baba and the burial place of Kakar and that more than fifty percent of the population of Herat City is Pashtun.

I want to tell all my friends who would laugh if someone mentioned anything about Pashto being spoken in Herat province that they were right, it was indeed an unheard of occurrence but not anymore. Even I used to say that we Herati Pashtuns are unfortunate people. Unfortunate because we lost our ancestral language of Pashto. In the whole city of Herat there was not even a single Pashto newspaper or magazine to be found anywhere. Herat, called the city of literature, the city of knowledge, and the city of culture completely turned it’s back to Pashto language and literature .

Herat City is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan, and even though Pashto is an official language of Afghanistan, there was not even a single Pashto article in our government magazine and never more than a short news program on our government TV channel. There were many other television channels and many other magazines, but even though the majority of the people of Herat are Pashtuns, none of those were in Pashto either. Any sort of Pashto learning center existed only in our imagination. Pashto seemed almost to be a forbidden language in my city, the so called City of Knowledge.

I will never forget what happened one afternoon when I was at a memorial conference for a Dari poet. At one point in the program, a young Pashtun man came onto the stage and recited a lovely poem in Pashto, praising the life of the respected Dari poet. An Irani diplomat, who was present in the conference shamefully and loudly said; “This is a conference for a Farsi poet and this is Herat so why is he talking in Pashto!”

Today with great happiness and joy, I want to tell everyone that most of Herat’s Pashtuns now speak the sweet language of Pashto. Every weekend, all over Herat province, we have Pashto poetry gatherings and every month we have a large and productive gathering to discuss Pashto and Pashtunwali. Once every year the city of Herat hosts an International Pashto Conference. Now we have Pashto TV channels, Pashto magazines, and Pashto medium schools all over Herat, and more than fifty percent of government TV programs and government magazines are in my beloved language of Pashto.

All this is a reality. I am not dreaming. I am not dreaming. Just as I say this sentence to myself a third time ….., I wake up. Alone in my room, my happiness suddenly turns to great sorrow. It was all a dream. All of beloved Pashto’s miseries still exist in Herat. Pashto is still not welcome in my city and most of it’s Pashtun residents still do not know how to speak their own language.There is no Pashto TV, no Pashto poetry gatherings, no Pashto language conferences, not even a regional one and schools in Pashto medium do not exist.

Recently some Pashtuns in Herat have started a Pashto language magazine called Harrirod named for a river that flows through the province. It the first and so far the only Pashto language publication in Herat. I know I am not alone in these dreams that Pashto language media and learning resources will be available to all Pashtuns everywhere, and I have faith that someday, InshaAllah, this dream of ours will become a reality.

by Eimal Dorani