Pathans in India

I went to India in 2003/4 while working for the BBC Pashto Service. I was given two months to complete my study of the Pathan Communities in three areas and knowing that it was a short period, added my own annual leave to get written material in the libraries.

My original report was a summary and did not cover everything that I had seen and heard, but it had to be written as part of my commitment. I made six Radio Programmes in Pashto using some of the interviews. Still a number of people wanted me to write a book on this subject. I had taped and written notes as well as hundreds of pictures. I could not find time when I was back to my own daily work as an Editor of the Pashto Service.

I kept reading and collecting information and scrbbled notes wherever possible.

In 2004 I realised that one book may not be enough because there will hundreds of pages. I was also disheartened that Pashto speakers in Pakistan are not literate in their own language and the market of Pashto books is non existent anyway. However I was encouraged by the changing scenario in Afghanistan where reading habits are changing due to the new technology.

I decided to publishe the first book in this series “Da Hindustan Pachtana, Bhopal” It was a hit with many readers and I moved on to the second, Maler Kotla, then Bihar and the fourth on Bara Basti. Work is still underway on the fifth ” Rohailkhand” which took longer to write due to the vastness of the area.

More work is needed to be done on this subject because there are still places to be explored. One journalist in Pakistan told me that very soon Pakistani Pachtoons will be in the same situation as they are in India because of ongoing conflict and urbanisation.


Pathans in India