Hi, Pa khair, Marhaba, Welcome, Salaam, Khush Amadeed, Ahlan wa Sahlan!
Basically, Muslim by faith and Pashtun by ethnicity. Born and raised in Swat, Pakistan. Moved to the U.S. when I was about 12 years old. I’m a PhD student in Islamic Studies with emphasis on Gender and Sexuality in Islamic law. My academic and research interests include: Islamic hermeneutics, Islamic feminism, gender and Pashtunwali (the honor code of the Pashtuns), Qur’anic verse 4:34, gender relations in the Pashtun society.
An ethnic group of approximately 50 million (some will say 70 million ’cause who keeps track of our population, damnit) divided in 1893-ish by the British through the brutal boundary they called the Durand Line, the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some Pashtuns don’t accept it. I’m among them.
Oh, and we speak Pashto. Important note: I expect my readers to understand the fact that while I’m no fan of Pakistan, I don’t support Pakistan-bashing no matter who does it. For more information on this, please read my note to Pakistan-bashing Pashtun nationalists. Still, a note to those who bash on Pashtun nationalists, click here to understand one of the most important reasons why Pashtun nationalists stand against Pakistan (hint: the Babarra Massacre of August 12, 1948 where at least 600 Pashtuns were murdered by the Pakistani army at the orders of Abdul Qayum Khan.)
P.S. Pashtuns = Pukhtuns = Pakhtuns = Pushtuns, and we believe that all Pashtuns are also ethnically Afghans (though not all Afghans are Pashtuns, obviously). In the Indian Subcontinent, we are also called “Pathans,” but some Pashtuns, especially the nationalists, don’t like this name because it’s more an Indianized version of Pashtun and the name that invaders/foreigner have given us, I hear, because they refuse to try to pronounce our name right. So say it with me: P-A-S-H-T-U-N! For more on this issue of identity, please see “‘Pakistani or Afghan?’ The Frustrating Question of Identity.”
Pashtuns in Pakistan wanted the name of our province to represent our ethnic group, so we fought for it to be changed to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (or simply, more informally, Pakhtunkhwa/Pashtunkhwa). Sadly, most people in the media use the abbreviated “KPK” because they refuse to respect a people by actually putting in the time and effort necessary to spell out their name. This is a question of my identity, so I expect my readers to be able to try to pronounce it as correctly as possible for them. And when they can’t figure it out, I expect people to ask me. I’m generous with my time and resources when it comes to teaching about my people (with whom, yes, admittedly, I have a love-hate relationship, but that’s a long story for another time) to people who are interested.
Qrratugai is a Pashto term for someone who talks too much. We say in Pashto, “Dere qrrate me kawa!” to someone who just won’t shut up. So qrratu is the person, and qrrate is the ranting. I added the “gai” to it at the end just because it’s … I onno, I can’t explain. There’s a famous Irfan Khan/Hadiqa Kiyani song that goes like “… janan che pake ossi sumra khkuli dunyaGAI da,” and “dunyagai” there means “little world.” So adding the suffix –gai to a Pashto term means “little .”
Which is why I had to change it at last. I’m not a little girl; I’m a big girl.
P.S. Qrratu is also Pashto for “lawyer” in some dialects (’cause lawyers talk too much, they say … and stuff).
Orbala (اوربلہ) is Pashto for firefly in some dialects. Many other Pashto dialects use “orbalkey”/”orbalaka” (which I don’t find as aesthetically appealing as orbala), and my own Swati dialect actually uses shapinpinakey (commonly used) and orworakey (not common), but I prefer orbala –and I love what the firefly symbolizes. I also find it beautiful …. say it with me, folks: or-ba-la. Please don’t confuse the term with “orbal”/”worbal” (اوربل), which is Pashto for forelock or strand of hair or bangs … but even “orbal” means fire or lighting fire, so you can see how orbala = firefly” makes sense, combining orbal and orbalkey. Besides, or/wor = fire; bal = lighting, lit.
You understand: fire, lit, light -> passion -> anger (for all things unjust), and so on.
Ghani Khan!!! Everything about him inspires me! He was Pashtun. A poet, philosopher, sculptor, thinker, everything else there can possibly be! My favorite poem of his is “Lord My Beloved!” because of what he says about eternity and because of his freeness to talk to God the way he does. You can view his inspiring art at this link.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.