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The National Myth of Pashtuns in Afghanistan: role of Ahmad Shah Durrani (Abdali)

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Presentation on theme: "The National Myth of Pashtuns in Afghanistan: role of Ahmad Shah Durrani (Abdali)"— Presentation transcript:

1 The National Myth of Pashtuns in Afghanistan: role of Ahmad Shah Durrani (Abdali)

2 The rule of Ahmad Shah Durrani ( ) The founder of the Durrani dynasty, the ‘Eastern Prince”, the Great Emperor who has established what is now modern Afghanistan The ruler that created the largest Islamic Empires in 18 th century stretching from Central Asia to Delhi, from Kashmir to the Arabian sea "Loy Ahmad Shah Baba" (Great Grand Father Ahmad Shah) – this how he is called by people of Afghanistan “Durr-I-Durrani” (“pearl of pearls” or “pearl of the age”)

3 The rule of Ahmad Shah Durrani ( ) The well-known supporter of military development. “A revolutionary reformer” The honest and fair ruler whose “justice is been put into songs now” The greatest patriot of his country: "Nowhere in the world can replace the ground on which one crawled in childhood.” The famous poet and historian And one of the strongest warriors and conquerors of the times Acknowledgement of Durrani’s military accomplishments are reflected by British intelligence reports on the battle of Panipat, which referred to Ahmad Shah as the 'King of Kings'

4 History of use/misuse of Durrani image by different political figures: early this century King Amanullah ( ), King Zahir Shah ( ), and President Dauod ( ) used the symbol and image of Durrani for the benefit of national unity and nation-building. King Abdul Rahman ( ) was misusing his image to practice his dictatorship and tyrannical agendas

5 Period of Communism: Durrani is treated like a National Hero His poems are published in the school textbooks He is seen as an ideal for every young man

6 1992 – Tajik Mujaheedin take over control with Ahmad Shah Massoud in power. Civil war all over the country. The National Hero of Pashto, Durrani -- is shown by the leaders of Tajik minority and media as a dirty and cruel figure Those Afghan/Pashtoon Leaders who are forced to leave Afghanistan during trying to reestablish his image abroad and opened in 1993 the First Afghan University in Peshawar in 1993 named The Great Ahmad Shah Baba University And again -- he becomes a hero for the opposition of Tajik Mujaheedin – especially for Pashtun tough nationalist during this period

7 Flag of the Pashtun National Opposition during the Mudjaheedins’control


9 Role of image of Durrani Today: CONTROVERSITY OF THE IMAGE AND ITS USE Image of Durrani is back again playing the important role during the period of reforms and post-war reconstruction, and in rebuilding the national identity especially for the majority -- Pashtuns (not that much for local minorities) His poems and pictures appear in the school books In each city of Afghanistan many schools and street are named in his honor When Hamid Karzai is talking about Afghan National pride, the image or quotes of Durrani are used Recently there were some problems and press disputing involving the President of Pakistan, during which Hamid Karzai mentioned several times the ‘true frontiers of Afghanistan’

10 Role of image of Durrani Today: CONTROVERSITY OF THE IMAGE AND ITS USE. Part 2. Weesh Zalmian (The Awaken Youth) Movement use his image and symbolic in promoting their agenda Afghan Milat (Afghan Nation) -- popular Afghan Pashtun social democrat party (which is blamed for Pashtun chauvinist trends by northern sectarians) used him widely for promoting their utopian goals of the Great Afghanistan which according to them should also include Pakistan Durrani’s image, slogans and poems are used in Pakistan by Pashun Nationalist parties during their demonstrations

11 Where we can see Durrani image and symbolic now Several monuments in Kabul Arc Gate in Kandahar Websites and posters Durrani’s mausoleum picture on old banknote Durrani’s picture on new 1000-banknote Anniversaries and celebrations

12 September 20, 2006 Independence Day of Afghanistan

13 TALIBAN Taliban fighters were most respectful toward him for two reasons: 1. Ahmad Shah Durrani was native of Kandahar -- a main stronghold and a birth place of Taliban.The same ethnic group - Pashtuns and the same tribe - Durrani 2. Religious reason: as Durrani had major historical victory over Indian big army (non Muslim Hindus) and Persia (Shiits)

14 TALIBAN -- continued Pakistan (Taliban backed country) named one of its long-range missile by the name of Abdali (Ahmad Shah Baba). It was also a political move to remind about his victory over Indians in the famous battle of Panipat near Delhi (year 1761)


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