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Default Class-based origin of political dynamics in KPK - 04-26-2011, 04:39 PM

In another thread, Khushal and other friends have mentioned the non-existence of social stratification and the distribution of resources and privileges based on class and status in Afghanistan. The reason is understandable. In Afghanistan, at least to the extent of its Pashtun part, the resource base of the society comprised mostly of pastoral lands or lands suitable for small-scale farming. Consequently, food surpless that could ultimately bring about a social order other than the tribal one couldn't result and the society retained its early tribal character togethor with its egalitarian values and the concept of equality.

In KPK, a different order evolved. That is because, in KPK the land is relatively more productive. So when various Pashtun tribes settled down in KPK after a long period of nomadic or semi-nomadic life, the higher productivity enabled them to develop a social order based on class-based social stratification (some surpless produce could be given to serving classes for services). I can't determine whether the earlier Indic society played any role in this development but two-three factors were instrumental in bringing about the transformation.


One, the collapse of Sheikh Milli's migratory land ownership/access system somewhere in 18th and 19th centuries and the adoption by Pashtuns of settled/sedentary life. The other likely factor is the canal irrigation system that the British built in 19th and early 20th centuries and that enhanced the productivity of the land so giving rise to feudal relations. A third factor may be the colonial necessity of British to create and/or strengthen a feudal class through patronage and granting of privileges that could control local population. All these factors togethor strengthened a hierarchical feudal order in KPK in which the pure Pashtuns became the owners or the lords while the rest became the surfs.

This social stratitification has also had impact on the pattern of political affiliation and assertion in Pashtuns of Pukhtunkhwa. I think it needs discussion.

Last edited by Toramana; 04-26-2011 at 10:19 PM.
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