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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the trauma of being an immigrant/musafir – and on music that heals

Blessings of peace and comfort to all readers!

So my grandfather passed away last Sunday. It’s been difficult coping with the loss, and, given my parents’ situation as immigrants struggling to deal with the deaths of their parents over the past years, I’ve been reflecting a lot on being a musafir.

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Pashtun Personality of the Week: Malalai of Maiwand, the Heroine of the Second Anglo-Afghan War

Pasting the following from the old blog (click for the comments, if interested). Since it was written ages ago, excuse the writing style!  I might re-visit and polish it eventually … or maybe I should do that soon because people are likely to be looking up Malalai of Maiwand a lot since Malala Yousafzai was named after the following woman ❤

Malalai of Maiwand (1861-1880), the heroine of the Second Anglo-Afghan War
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The Babarra Massacre of August 12, 1948: Translation and Background of Pashto Song “Margiya Ma Raza Darzama”

The short version of what follows


What happened on August 12, 1948 in Charsadda [EDIT: it’s been brought to my attention that this photo is NOT of the Babarra massacre but of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre (against Sikhs) of 1919.]

On August 12, 1948, two days before Pakistan was to celebrate the first anniversary of its creation (August 14, 1947), the Pakistani government  attacked and killed over 600 Pashtuns during a peaceful demonstration against the unjust imprisonment of several Pashtun leaders demanding justice for Pashtuns. This took place in a town called Babarra in Charasadda, Pakhtunkhwa. Hardly anyone knows about this massacre and Pakistan doesn’t want to acknowledge it; such denial on Pakistan’s part and the ignorance on Pakistanis’, including Pashtuns’, part is unacceptable. We can’t bring the dead back, and we can’t heal the wounded, but there’s a reason history is important. It’s especially unhelpful that Pashtuns don’t know about it because that’s a part of the deliberate attempts on Pakistan’s part to keep Pashtuns as ignorant of their history as possible. I have my theories about why this is so (e.g., aware Pashtuns as a threat to Pakistan), but we’ll talk about that another time.

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Happy Sixth Birthday, Kashmaley!

Here’s some love to the littlest feminist I know ❤

When Kashmala was turning five (last year), I decided to start writing letters to her as a birthday message – that I hope she’ll read when she grows older. Or now, whatever works. The first letter can be read here. Here’s the second one. InshaAllah, I’ll write many more to her, if I don’t forget ❤

I’m actually not sure what I’m going to say here … then again, I wasn’t sure what I was gonna write in the last one, either, but I feel like I wrote a pretty good letter to her ❤ Just being real and honest when I say I’d consider myself pretty darn lucky if I had an aunt/uncle like me. But I’ve got a niece who love me unconditionally, so no complaints here!

Dear Kashmala,

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What It’s Like Being a Pashtun Woman on Social Media – Story 1: intimidation, indecent photos, and threats of no-husband-for-you

The firs story in the series of being a (Pashtun) woman on the Internet. (Be sure to read this, folks – I’m afraid someone brilliant is going to come up and say, “But it’s not just Pashtun women who face these problems! Why are you targeting Pashtun men as harassers only?!” Because you didn’t read.)

The following person shall remain anonymous. Whatever I am sharing has been approved by her. It is told from her perspective.

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What It’s Like Being a Pashtun Woman on Social Media

This is going to be a series, and I am not going to promise it’ll be as regular as I’d like it to be. I’ve asked several Pashtun females to share their online experiences with me for this series — whatever stories they’d like to share, however, detailed or un-detailed, whether they use their real name or fake names or remain anonymous, whether they choose to expose the men and women and others who harass them online. Many have responded, and I’m grateful. If you’re a Pashtun woman reading this and would like to share your thoughts, experiences, observations as well, please feel free to do so. You can email me at

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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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Pashtun Personality of the Week: Bushra Gohar – A Remarkable Leading Politician

Bushra Gohar

Bushra Gohar

The following is being pasted from my old blog; click here for a discussion on the post.

And at last, we continue on with our Pashtun leaders series I’m going to stop apologizing for the delays in being consistent with this series because writing these out really does take a lot of time 🙂

Bushra Gohar

Bushra Gohar is one of my personal favorite women in contemporary times. It makes me so proud that she’s Pukhtun, too, because she’s quite an accomplished woman, and whenever I lose hope in my people, I think of her to feel hopeful again. What makes me happiest, though, is that she’s really easy to talk to and interact with. Very humble and down-to-earth. I know too many people, when they make it big, start feeling so big that they refuse to interact with us “smaller” people then. Gohar isn’t like that. In fact, I sent her a few questions in preparation for this post that I wanted her to answer, and she got back to me right away. There wasn’t any “I don’t have time for this average human blogger random Pukhtun girl to write about me” kind of responses, and she certainly didn’t ignore me.

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Pakistani Racism against Pashtuns: what it’s like hearing that a Pashtun man killed 10 relatives

The article below was originally published over at MuslimGirl.Net, titled “Misogyny Doesn’t Come from ‘Pashtun Culture.'”

As a Muslim, I find it agonizing having to write about and recognize the injustice so prevalent in so many Muslim societies—mainly because of the role of such violence in inviting more Islamophobia and assuring Islamophobes that their bigotry is well in place. It’s worse when you’re an ethnic minority almost everywhere (except in Afghanistan) because you’re Pashtun, and you’re marginalized in virtually all spheres of life, and then suddenly, so many news outlets, major and minor, are talking about the barbarity of your culture and people. I’ve written about the marginalization of Pashtuns in Pakistan on my blog before, so I won’t go into details about that here. For now, I want to reflect on a possible reaction to the most recent act of misogyny that a man who shares my ethnic identity has just committed: homeboy killed ten of his relatives because he wanted to marry a girl whose father couldn’t yet afford the marriage and asked him to wait.

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