a song for Afghan refugees in Pakistan: Pekhawara Afghanan che khapa na krre by Naghma

With Pakistan evicting some 600,000 Afghan refugees by the end of this year alone, this song, sung by Naghma in 2011 (I think?), is so real and relevant it’s heartbreaking. Song is at the bottom of the lyrics. The Pashto is in Green (one of my favorite colors, yay!). Immense thanks to T. A. S. for helping with translation of a couple of lines/words I was struggling with.
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Terms of Endearment in Pashto

Below are the many different ways to address the person you love – in Pashto. Needless to say, I’m missing many words, so please free to suggest more. These are the ones I use with my nephews and niece. Yes, they’re not necessarily or only for someone you love romantically. They can apply to anyone. My personal favorite one to use with my (girl) friends is “jaanaan”; my personal favorites to use with Kashmala and her brothers (my little niblings) are jaanaan, qurbaan, zarrgi (plural), da zrra sar.

To address them directly (e.g., “you”):
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The “sh” and “kh” in Pashto: on Pashto dialects – and Pashto-learning materials

I’m pasting the below from the old blog. Click here to read the comments there; they might be useful for a better understanding of this dialect business.

A good Formspring question!

Who says Peshawar and who says Pekhawar? It seems some accents in Pashto say the -sh- as -kh- like I heard a song with dushman as dukhman. Tell us about Pashto dialects/accents 🙂 Thanks.

There are two (main) dialects in Pashto, soft and hard. The soft dialect is spoken in Quetta, Waziristan, Kandahar, and other southern Pashtun areas; the hard one is spoken in northern areas, like Peshawar, Swat, Mardan, Dir (in Pakistan) and Nangarhar, Kabul, Jalalabad (in Afghanistan). The map below should help with identifying the northern and southern Pashto-speaking regions.

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11 things wrong with Pashto music today – with gifs

Pre-post: Importing the following post from the old blog (click for a great discussion in comments on the state of Pashto music today).

I love my language, I love Pashto music (generally), I love my people (for the most part), and I’m a generally happy Pukhtana. So the post below isn’t an attempt at self-hatred or bashing my beeblez. Honestly, I love you all, I really do. BUT there are some things that I’m embarrassed by, and one of those is some really, really lame, stupid stuff that happens in Pukhto songs/music videos, especially the ones from the Pakistan side of the Durand Line. Most Pukhtuns would be embarrassed by them, really. These include:

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Pashtun Personality of the Week: Samar Minallah Khan – anthropologist and human rights activist

Samar Minallah

Samar Minallah

Pasting the following brief intro to Samar Minallah from my old blog:

Continuing our discussion on Pashtun leaders, both past and contemporary, we present to you – – – Samar Minallah. I’ve been meaning to write about her for over a year, but I think she’s so important that I’m afraid of not introducing her fairly enough. So please remember that these biographies of Pashtun leaders are intended to be only a glimpse of their lives and achievements and are not intended to be complete sketches of their lives. Thanks! 🙂

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Khuga Pekhawara (Pashto poem – with English translation)

Pashto poetry, when done well, is moving and inspiring and leaves the reader/listener speechless. That’s why I’ve always avoided it – ’cause I can’t do that much justice to a language every other word of which is so poetic and beautiful it makes you want to wrap the whole language around you with pride, even though you played no role in its development and growth. STILL! Here’s my second (technically third, but let’s not talk about that ’cause the first attempt was pretty bad) attempt at Pashto poetry. It’s in mourning of the Peshawar attack yesterday (December 16, 2014 – #NeverForget) and the many attacks before and after that, not just in Peshawar but also in Jalalabad, Kandahar, Kabul, Waziristan, Bajaur, and every other place where Pashtuns live as a majority. It breaks my 10849905_10154890120280005_136342531700925567_nheart and I feel somewhat guilty that a tragedy like that tends to inspire so much creativity in us, and a part of me feels as though I’ve exploited this opportunity for a selfish gain (working on improving my non-existing Pashto poetic skills), but I’m hopeful God will forgive me for that.

Also,  I’ve been told that this poem belongs to a genre of poetry called ghazal, apparently, and as with much of Pashto, Persian, Arabic, Urdu poetry, the writer has to use her name in the last verse of the poem (last verse of poem = maqta). Hence the reference to meeee at the bottom…. It’s exciting, okay! I’ve never done this before. (But someone else then said that, actually, no it’s not a ghazal. Whatevz – I’m sticking to ghazal ’cause I feel more talented that way, hah.)

Thank you for reading! 🙂 A Pashto-script version of this might be available soon, inshaAllah.

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Who is the Bibi Shirina in Sardar Ali Takkar’s new song, “Ta Bibi Shirina Ye”?

Left to right: Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Malala Yousafzai, and Sardar Ali Takkar

Left to right: Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Malala Yousafzai, and Sardar Ali Takkar

I’ve just found out that Sardar Ali Takkar, one of the most beautiful, most important musicians of all time, will be performing at the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony tomorrow, December 10th; Malala Yousafzai personally invited him to sing this song along with the unofficial national anthem of the Pukhtuns–Ay Zama Watana (I know, I know – it bothers me, too, that it’s basically all men in this song as though the Pukhtun nation(s) belong to men alone or as though they alone have built it. I’ll deal with this issue another time). This post is about the song he will be singing, one that’s very close to my heart and that brings me peace and hope every time I hear it–and I hear it a lot. It’s called Ta Bibi Shirina Ye, sung and composed by Sardar Ali Takkar, written by Behroz Khan, and dedicated to Malala Yousafzai and all other Pashtun girls. I’m going to explain something before translating these words because they mean more than just “you’re a sweet lady” – it actual has no translation because it’s a concept.

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Pashtun Personality of the Week: Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the Non-Violent Soldier of Islam

Pasting directly from the old blog.
Continuing our series on Pashtun Leaders.
What better day than August 14th to write about the prominent Pashtun leader and thinker, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan – popularly known as Baacha Khan (or Badshah Khan)!
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as Bacha Khan (1890 – 1988)
Bacha Khan
Bacha Khan, father of Ghani Khan and Wali Khan, was born in 1890 in Utmanzai (Charsadda) in Peshawar. The fourth child, he was sent to a local mosque for religious education. After the completion of his Qur’an lessons, he  was sent to the Municipal Board High School in Peshawar, where he later joined the Edwardes Memorial Mission High School. When his elder brother was sent to Bombay for medical school, Bacha Khan remained with his family servant, who later influenced Bacha Khan’s decision to join the British Indian army. However, as he was in the process of applying, he witnessed a British Raj officer mistreating a countryman and also realized that the Guide officers, an elite corp of Pashtun soldiers for the British Raj, were treated like second-class citizens; this highly offended him and made him change his mind about joining the army.

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Pashtun Personality of the Week: Ghani Khan – Philosopher, Poet, Sculptor

Again: Pasting from the old blog! (Just a reminder, I’ll be doing this with most of the posts from there! So please be patient in case you’re getting too many notifications from me with the updates.)

Khan Abdul Ghani Khan (commonly known as Ghani Baba or Ghani Khan) (1914-1996)

Young Ghani Khan

Ghani Khan was born in January 1914 in Utmanzai, Hashtnagar, in present-day Charsadda in Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber Pashtunkhwa. His father was Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Bacha Khan), a prominent and respected Pashtun leader who rose to international fame because of his teachings against violence and his efforts to fight for independence from British India without violence. Often dubbed “the Frontir Gandhi” [“Frontier” refers to the former name of the northwestern Pakistani province now called Khyber Pashtunkhwa], Ghani Khan’s father and Gandhi shared many of the same ideas and beliefs, but Bacha Khan is not known nearly as widely as Gandhi is. (I’ll write about Bacha Khan for next week.) As for Ghani Khan’s mother, Meharqanda, she hailed from a village nearby, married Ghani’s father in 1912, and passed away a little after World War I of  influenza. She left Ghani when he was six years old–he was the oldest among his siblings.  His younger brother, Khan Abdul Wali Khan (Wali Khan), Ghani’s younger brother, also grew up to be an influential leader, a politician, in Pashtunkhwa.

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Khairey: Pashto Curses, Insults, and Verbal Abuses in the Pashtun Culture

Again, pasting from the old blog.

“Khairey” is the Pashto equivalent of the English term “curses” or “evil wishes.” But what distinguishes khairey from the English curses is that khairey are common in the Pashtun culture and are usually called upon by close family members and people we love most, such as our mothers. Those who issue khairey are almost always women–and interestingly, especially mothers, which is witness to the fact that they are not meant to be taken seriously and are rather harmless. According to my knowledge, there is no research on the significane and use of khairey in the Pashto language and in the Pashtun culture, so I can’t provide any references yet on this phenomenon, BUT I do hope to write about it in a matter of some time so as to provide a more detailed description of what these are, why we use them, why they are so common, why mostly (if not only) women use them, and so on. I have read some literature on the exact same phenomenon in Egypt, which one can read about in an article called “Impoliteness Formulae: The Cognate Curse in Egyptian Arabic,” but these are linguistically different from the Pashto ones, since they are often formulated such that they reflect the situation in which they are being used and they rhyme. In both languages, a reference to God (Allah, Khwdey/Khuda) is made so as, I believe, to make the curse appear more forceful.

From amazon.com.

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