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Default Afghan-e-Ghul: Term Origins - 10-10-2010, 12:27 AM

Okay, I know it's a derogatory term used for us but I would like to know where this term originates from.

I have read or heard (can't remember which) a Persian legend that went something like this:

There was once a nation that was known to be very talented at warfare. Some people said this nation was composed entirely of women, others said it was like any other nation. Regardless, the Persians went to war against them and were able to defeat them. Resulting from that, 1000 women from the losing nation were taken as prisoners and were marched from their homeland to Persia. On the way they stopped in what is now Afghanistan one night to rest. During sometime that night, a very powerful demon emerged from the mountains and killed some of the Persian soldiers, the rest ran away scared. The demon then impregnated all 1000 of the captured women and left. The children born to these women and their descendants became the mountain dwelling Pashtuns.

Now, the English word ghoul comes from the Arabic word ghul which was also transmitted to Farsi. Ghoul literally means demon and Wikipedia states, "The ghul is a devilish type of jinn believed to be sired by Iblis." I am not a fluent Farsi speaker but I do know for a fact that ghul is one of their main words used for demon.

One thing to note is that the term ghul must have been transmitted to Farsi after they were Islamized/Arabized, meaning this version of the origins of the term was born after ancient Persian times.

I am wondering if this derogatory term is indeed linked to this story. If it is then Afghan-e-Ghul could mean "Afghans of the demon." Firstly, I am curious if others have heard or read of this. Secondly, if anyone knows of any other possible origins of this term. And finally, if the term is translated to mean anything else.
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Default 10-10-2010, 12:34 AM

From what I have heard Shamaar is that in Kabul, when they see a Pashtun, only the Pashtun is considered an Afghan and they might at times joke and say "Afghan-e-ghul". Now, I have heard many Pashtuns complain that they are insulted by this because ghul in Pashto has a bad meaning. My uncle who was recently in Kabul said, he asked a shopper in the city a question in Pashto and he responded that he cant speak Afghani. Afghan-e-ghul is popular in Kabul which supposedly is a derogatory term preserved exclusively for Pashtuns.

I just asked my relative who graduated from Kabul University this very same question and he happens to be sitting across the room from me and he responded and said that Tajiks,Hazaras,Uzbeks etc only called Pashtuns Afghan in Kabul City. And if they were in a bad mood and felt like joking on Pashtuns, they would call us "Afghan-e-ghul" which meant Afghan fool[In a a more degrading way]But the Afghan in Afghan-e-ghul strictly equates to Pashtun, so in a way, it meant Pashtun ghul. If you couldn't speak Dari properly, you were labelled as incompetent and considered an "Afghan-e-ghul". But it didn't just have a strict correlation with Dari, it depended on many other factors at well.

It must've in my opinion originated from something more simpler, we are viewed in Pakistan and in Northern Afghanistan as incompetent and mentally challenged. It can presumably have something to do with that rumor I suppose? However, I am sure it revolves around an urban legend. I think just like how Punjabis call us Akharooth, our counterparts in Afghanistan call us Afghan-e-ghul.


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A line[Durrand line] of hatred that raised a wall between the two brothers -Hamid Karzai

For generations, the Hindus of India prayed for deliverance from "the venom of the cobra, the teeth of the tiger and the vengeance of the Afghan."

The men of Kábul and Khilj also went home; and whenever they were questioned about the Musulmáns of the Kohistán (the mountains), and how matters stood there, they said, "Don't call it Kohistán, but Afghánistán; for there is nothing there but Afgháns and disturbances." Thus it is clear that for this reason the people of the country call their home in their own language Afghánistán, and themselves Afgháns. The people of India call them Patán; but the reason for this is not known. But it occurs to me, that when, under the rule of Muhammadan sovereigns, Musulmáns first came to the city of Patná, and dwelt there, the people of India (for that reason) called them Patáns—but God knows!

-Ferishta, 1560–1620
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Default 10-10-2010, 12:44 AM

Thanks Admin bro. There was a lot of real life experience in that post which one is hardly able to get outside of the homeland.

I agree that there could be a simpler origin of the term, based on what you said.
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Default 10-10-2010, 12:54 AM

Shamaar, you want to know what Kabulis think of us? Let me just give you a quick example, I was over my friends house who is from Kabul and they started telling his son "Are you going over the Afghans house?" I was shocked at what that meant because him being a Tajik and strictly referring to me as an Afghan was quite shocking to say the least. So the next day I asked his Mom in a polite and professional manner why she called me an Afghan in such a way she did. She said that in Kabul city, we are Kabulis, not Afghans. Only Pashtuns are Afghans hence when my son was going over your house, I referred to you and your family as Afghans since you speak Pashto and you are a Pashtun. I figured she must be biased and as curious as I can be Shamaar, I decided to conduct as a survey with the local senior Kabulis who weren't Pashtuns. Some said they hate being called Afghans and some said they did not care. But if it was one thing that was made very clear to me, it was that they strictly equate Pashtun = Afghan. So the next time you find some old man on YouTube blabbering and going off on how much he hates being called an Afghan, just know its not a rare case. In fact, I just asked that question to the KU graduate sitting adjacent to me and he also verified that in Kabul City, only a Pashtun is considered to be an Afghan. That is why when they insult us, they insult us with "Afghan-e-ghul" which is a euphemism for belittling us Pashtuns. However, the Afghan disapora in the west is changing and they don't mind being called Afghans at all. In fact, many other provinces don't mind. Its only a few Northern provinces who act in such a way. They strictly equate Pashtun with Afghan due to historical references. They think Shamaar(being a Pashtun) has enforced the Afghan identity on them.

Sorry if I wrote too much.


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A line[Durrand line] of hatred that raised a wall between the two brothers -Hamid Karzai

For generations, the Hindus of India prayed for deliverance from "the venom of the cobra, the teeth of the tiger and the vengeance of the Afghan."

The men of Kábul and Khilj also went home; and whenever they were questioned about the Musulmáns of the Kohistán (the mountains), and how matters stood there, they said, "Don't call it Kohistán, but Afghánistán; for there is nothing there but Afgháns and disturbances." Thus it is clear that for this reason the people of the country call their home in their own language Afghánistán, and themselves Afgháns. The people of India call them Patán; but the reason for this is not known. But it occurs to me, that when, under the rule of Muhammadan sovereigns, Musulmáns first came to the city of Patná, and dwelt there, the people of India (for that reason) called them Patáns—but God knows!

-Ferishta, 1560–1620
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Default 10-10-2010, 01:05 AM

^ Are you talking about Kabulis as in those who have been inhabitant of Kabul for centuries, or those who are originally from some Shamali area but lived in Kabul for a very long time? Because those Kabulis who have been original inhabitants of Kabul always called themselves Afghans, but those who came to Kabul at later stage are a bit more uncivilized and uneducated and therefore got no idea which term to use for whom. I in fact have met millions of Tajiks who feel insulted when you tell them they ain't Afghans and honestly speaking even in Afghanistan it's the non Tajiks who mainly call themselves non-Afghans. And with non-Tajiks I mean Uzbeks, Hazaras, Nurestanis, etcetera. They love Afghanistan, but they refer to themselves after their ethnic, or Farsiwaan as majority are Dari speakers. That's the reason I correct people who badmouth Tajiks at all times because Tajiks by far haven't harmed Pukhtoons to the level for example Hazaras or Uzbeks have, and nor are they allergic to the term Afghan as much as Nurestanis and etcetera are.

But since for whatever reason Afghanistan is known as a Tajik versus Pukhtoon country, every negativity hold towards Pukhtoons will always be credited to Tajiks, init?


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Default 10-10-2010, 01:07 AM

Nah, it's not too much at all. I have to admit I didn't know they were bothered by being called Afghans. That is very new to me. I always thought, based on the non-Pashtun Afghans I was friends with at university and stuff, that they were totally into the whole Afghan identity.

Me and a group of my closest friends started a Pashtun Students Association about 4 years ago at my university. We initially had several non-Pashtun Afghan friends sign up out of interest or whatever. Not 1 term went by that they launched their own purely Dari based Afghan Students Association. This left me with the impression that they place the Afghan name much higher than any of the individual ethnic names. Also, quite a few of them were from Kabul.

I guess you are right that their views change once they come to these countries. Regardless, I am enlightened by what you have presented.
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Default 10-10-2010, 01:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shayesta View Post
^ Are you talking about Kabulis as in those who have been inhabitant of Kabul for centuries, or those who are originally from some Shamali area but lived in Kabul for a very long time?
I never bothered asking them that question but as we know, Kabul province is 60percent Pashtun. So obviously that 60 percent would have no objection in being called an Afghan. Kabul city and non-Pashtuns according to my experiences and the experiences of my peers who have studied in Kabul, they embrace us as wild cavemen. They have all reported and stated what I said earlier, a non-Pashtun of Kabul city doesn't like being called an Afghan and that is the exact reason the term "Afghan-e-ghul" is being coined around. If they all proudly considered themselves Afghan, they would never have insulted us Pashtuns by calling us Afghan-e-ghul. Afghan in this context strictly means Pashtun. Notice what I said, non-Pashtun. That doesn't mean the majority. Tajiks are not majority in Kabul province. However, they appear to be majority in the city.

Quote:
Because those Kabulis who have been original inhabitants of Kabul always called themselves Afghans, but those who came to Kabul at later stage are a bit more uncivilized and uneducated and therefore got no idea which term to use for whom. I in fact have met millions of Tajiks who feel insulted when you tell them they ain't Afghans and honestly speaking even in Afghanistan it's the non Tajiks who mainly call themselves non-Afghans. And with non-Tajiks I mean Uzbeks, Hazaras, Nurestanis, etcetera. They love Afghanistan, but they refer to themselves after their ethnic, or Farsiwaan as majority are Dari speakers. That's the reason I correct people who badmouth Tajiks at all times because Tajiks by far haven't harmed Pukhtoons to the level for example Hazaras or Uzbeks have, and nor are they allergic to the term Afghan as much as Nurestanis and etcetera are.
I come from the city of Kandahar. In Kandahar, we have a sizable population of Tajiks and they all proudly claim they are Pashtuns. They will argue and write thesis papers that since they speak Pashto and follow Pashtunwali, they are Pashtuns. They are affluent and not dependent on Pashtuns yet they consider themselves Afghan because they have learned the language and have been speaking it for generations now. I have a Tajik friend who can't even speak Dari even if his life depended on it. He speaks Pashto and can write scientific papers in Pashto.

Quote:
But since for whatever reason Afghanistan is known as a Tajik versus Pukhtoon country, every negativity hold towards Pukhtoons will always be credited to Tajiks, init?
Afghanistan is known as a Pashtun vs Pashtun country. Tajiks play no role.


Even Adobe Photoshop can't change me.

A line[Durrand line] of hatred that raised a wall between the two brothers -Hamid Karzai

For generations, the Hindus of India prayed for deliverance from "the venom of the cobra, the teeth of the tiger and the vengeance of the Afghan."

The men of Kábul and Khilj also went home; and whenever they were questioned about the Musulmáns of the Kohistán (the mountains), and how matters stood there, they said, "Don't call it Kohistán, but Afghánistán; for there is nothing there but Afgháns and disturbances." Thus it is clear that for this reason the people of the country call their home in their own language Afghánistán, and themselves Afgháns. The people of India call them Patán; but the reason for this is not known. But it occurs to me, that when, under the rule of Muhammadan sovereigns, Musulmáns first came to the city of Patná, and dwelt there, the people of India (for that reason) called them Patáns—but God knows!

-Ferishta, 1560–1620
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Default 10-10-2010, 01:24 AM

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Originally Posted by Shamaar View Post
Nah, it's not too much at all. I have to admit I didn't know they were bothered by being called Afghans. That is very new to me. I always thought, based on the non-Pashtun Afghans I was friends with at university and stuff, that they were totally into the whole Afghan identity.

Me and a group of my closest friends started a Pashtun Students Association about 4 years ago at my university. We initially had several non-Pashtun Afghan friends sign up out of interest or whatever. Not 1 term went by that they launched their own purely Dari based Afghan Students Association. This left me with the impression that they place the Afghan name much higher than any of the individual ethnic names. Also, quite a few of them were from Kabul.

I guess you are right that their views change once they come to these countries. Regardless, I am enlightened by what you have presented.
I recently attended a wedding of Kabulis[non-Pashtuns] aside from feeling extremely out of place, they all referred to themselves as Tajik and here was Admin Khan, "the Afghan". But like I said, I was receiving that vibe from the elders. The youth does not care about this nonsense. The new generation Tajiks,Uzbeks,Hazaras all proudly say they are Afghan. They won't bother saying that Shamaar[a Pashtun] has enforced the Afghan identity on them.

Our biggest problem is our lack of interest in our language. There was an Afghan TV channel[I can give you exact details if you want me too]and the News headline that go in a marquee on the bottom of the channel were only in Pashto. So, I recall a Dari speaker calling in and complaining that "Why does it only have news in Pashto, this is wrong, It should be in both languages". They agreed, and guess what? In no longer than a week, the news were both in Pashto and Dari. Now, when I occasionally grab a remote and begin flickering through TV channels, I begin seeing self-proclaimed Afghan channels, I see all programs mainly in Dari and the majority of the Afghan news channel do not have that marquee text in Pashto. So I thought to myself, I wonder if a Pashtun ever bothered calling them and complaining that they should also have the news in Pashto. But I guess not since its mainly in Dari.

And you know what? I respect Dari for that matter. I respect Dari speakers for caring so much about their language. Shame on us.


Even Adobe Photoshop can't change me.

A line[Durrand line] of hatred that raised a wall between the two brothers -Hamid Karzai

For generations, the Hindus of India prayed for deliverance from "the venom of the cobra, the teeth of the tiger and the vengeance of the Afghan."

The men of Kábul and Khilj also went home; and whenever they were questioned about the Musulmáns of the Kohistán (the mountains), and how matters stood there, they said, "Don't call it Kohistán, but Afghánistán; for there is nothing there but Afgháns and disturbances." Thus it is clear that for this reason the people of the country call their home in their own language Afghánistán, and themselves Afgháns. The people of India call them Patán; but the reason for this is not known. But it occurs to me, that when, under the rule of Muhammadan sovereigns, Musulmáns first came to the city of Patná, and dwelt there, the people of India (for that reason) called them Patáns—but God knows!

-Ferishta, 1560–1620
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Default 10-10-2010, 01:34 AM

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Originally Posted by Admin Khan View Post
I recently attended a wedding of Kabulis[non-Pashtuns] aside from feeling extremely out of place, they all referred to themselves as Tajik and here was Admin Khan, "the Afghan". But like I said, I was receiving that vibe from the elders. The youth does not care about this nonsense. The new generation Tajiks,Uzbeks,Hazaras all proudly say they are Afghan. They won't bother saying that Shamaar[a Pashtun] has enforced the Afghan identity on them.

Our biggest problem is our lack of interest in our language. There was an Afghan TV channel[I can give you exact details if you want me too]and the News headline that go in a marquee on the bottom of the channel were only in Pashto. So, I recall a Dari speaker calling in and complaining that "Why does it only have news in Pashto, this is wrong, It should be in both languages". They agreed, and guess what? In no longer than a week, the news were both in Pashto and Dari. Now, when I occasionally grab a remote and begin flickering through TV channels, I begin seeing self-proclaimed Afghan channels, I see all programs mainly in Dari and the majority of the Afghan news channel do not have that marquee text in Pashto. So I thought to myself, I wonder if a Pashtun ever bothered calling them and complaining that they should also have the news in Pashto. But I guess not since its mainly in Dari.

And you know what? I respect Dari for that matter. I respect Dari speakers for caring so much about their language. Shame on us.
Yeah, I think Pashtuns are like archetypical Muslims. When any other religion is so much as shown in a negative light, they'll flood the source with enough complaints to have some sort of reversion or an apology. Muslims will sit and watch their religion slammed, and maybe let out a "tsk" or a "tauba."

In these kinds of things we're disgustingly passive.
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Default 10-10-2010, 01:43 AM

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Originally Posted by Jasmine View Post
There is not much for me to add Shamaar. Admin Khan summarized it beautifully. Afghan is an exclusive term for Pashtuns. They insult us by calling us Afghan e Ghul.
So, that old tale and stuff, is it likely just a recent fabrication?
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