Connecting the Syndicate of Insurgent Groups: The Role of Language and Culture in Twenty-First Century
Muhammad Athar Javed. Forsker, ekspert i pakistansk sikkerhedspolitik.
Introduction: Language and Culture as a Taliban Strategy
There is something curious about Taliban’s obsession to dismiss the linguistic and cultural links between Pashtunwali1 and their version of implementing Shariah (Islamic law) in Afghanistan. Far from reflecting the neat‐Islamic doctrines and the classic Pashtun traditions, the Taliban movement is projecting Islam as a religion of oppression, which supposedly rejects the idea of a modern nation‐state. Although it would be remarkably impossible to define an ethnic community in a concrete term, the Pashtuns are, however, usually famous for their contradictory cultural behavior. At the same time, they are perceived as hospitable and hostage‐takers, generous and greedy, faithful and deceitful, brave and cunning. But, over the centuries, they have managed to maintain a proud independence of spirit and dignity of carriage, even in misfortune, poverty and war. Most of them are poor, but all claim nobility, not that the poverty inherently prohibits embracing luxury of aristocracy.
The following estimations consider how the Taliban deploy language and culture to gain hearing from their co‐religionists as well as their tribal connections. Weaving the threat of violence and war messages in a poetic dimension with the outpouring of propaganda about their ‘honour and revenge’ makes poetic language a considerable source of couching young radical Islamists. The Taliban understand that even implied threats and coded messaging of rhetoric can have impact on the population's perceptions and calculations. Since illiteracy is widespread in Afghanistan, and many Afghans have little or no access to current news, the Taliban use traditional methods to spread their message. For instance, they often use ‘night letters’2 or shabnamahs, a traditional means of communicating in the country, to send messages to individuals or throughout villages. Often the letters have been used to deliver threats to the enemy, and to gather human and material resources against the Allied forces.3 This use of language and cultural codes by Taliban is aimed to revitalize the old methods of communicating insurgency messages, but with a more regional approach. It is however, unclear how this fits in the modern age of internet, DVD, video and SMS. But with the Taliban controlling more than half of Afghanistan, the US and NATO will have to fight this war based on a strategy, which complements military efforts with extraintellectual dimensions.
The grand implication of Taliban’s current strategy underscores how crucial it is to decode such communications, which narrate message of violence. With this method of Taliban in mind, it must not be surprising that those who threaten to attack Western cities may have based their strategy on language and culture as well as on links with likeminded ethnic communities. Taliban are tactically using some of the cultural symbols to escape, communicate and supply weapons. Burqas, for example are famously used to escape arrest by top Taliban leaders, turbans and waistcoats are being used to supply small arms and bullets. The drawstring in a shalwar‐qameez4 may also have been used to hide and send written messages to the Taliban leadership. My argument is that the language expressions and cultural symbols are being used to create a syndicate of interconnected terrorist groups that may become a serious challenge for the world powers.
Tactical Humbleness and Pashtun Culture
Taliban’s inclination towards combining Pashtunwali and strict Islamic codes create a tactical humble character, ‘mullah’. Here tactical humbleness is defined in terms of Taliban’s use of mullah’s limited religious knowledge. My argument is that Taliban are culturally religious, rather than religiously cultured. For the purpose of this argument, I define Taliban as a Cultural Based Religion (CBR) because most of their practices of Islamic faith are based on their thousands year old code of conduct, Pashtunwali, rather than on the basis of Islamic history or traditions, as defined by the Koran and the words of the Prophet (Hadith).
This can be exemplified by using a certain set of codes of Pashtun culture and institutions. The Jirga system for instance, is used as an alternative system to an Islamic justice system, taking revenge (Badal), instead of forgiving which mainstream Islam considers the most preferable characteristic of a Muslim, showing hospitality (Melmastia; protection of a guest irrespective of their deeds), contrary to the Islamic principles that a criminal must be handed over to the state authorities. A combination of conservatism and local nationalistic reasons suggest that Taliban’s ideology is based on the obsolete ‘system of beliefs’, which only fancies the inward tribal‐Islamic traditions.
This signifies a particular aspect of Pashtun culture, that is, on the one hand it seeks to maintain its autonomous superior nature, and on the other it follows only religious principles suitable to promote their respective tribal interests. The case in point is the role of the mullah in Pashtun culture, who may not possess potential to command a tribe. But, the cultural traditions can transform the weak and socially humble mullah into a warrior and a leader. The key contradiction, however, in this process is that Pashtuns scorn the mullah and consider him socially inferior.5 And yet, in the times of war, they lend him great authority of leadership and nobility, in order to terminate the cause of Jihad.
The character of current Taliban leadership reflects that the essential role of humbleness promotes communication, and thus creates a formidable mechanism of recruitment among the ‘poor and young’ radical Pashtuns. Arguably, such a scenario opens up another debate whether it would be a sustainable political strategy to use only religion as the basis to govern a complex and highly tribal and differentiated society like Afghanistan. Earlier history of warlords and tribal feuds reminds us that when all else failed, it is the political negotiation based on Islamic‐Pashtunwali doctrine, which might succeed. It is this close nexus between cultural and religious affiliations that creates unwarranted deception on the part of Taliban.
The vast majority of literature is in Pashtu and in Urdu6, the languages of ethnic constituencies from which the Tehrik‐e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and indigenous Afghan Taliban continue to draw most of their support. A mediumscale Punjabi language activity would seem intended to draw new recruits and sectarian‐based jihadi organizations (Ex. Lashkar‐e Jhangvi, LeJ, Sipah‐e Sahaba Pakistan, SSP and Jaish‐e Muhammad, JeM) from southern and northern Punjab in Pakistan. The current recruitment patterns of Taliban show that they may well use historical Pashto/Urdu and Punjabi folk poetry and Muslim identity to accommodate other ethnic and cultural groups in their ranks. The mention of Urdu and Punjabi speaking Taliban of Pakistan is important because they have made cultural differences the main reason for fighting the West. With the help of insurgents from South Punjab and Karachi (Sindh province), the Taliban occupied the entire valley of Swat and Malakand division. The TTP implemented their version of shariah in Swat valley and in South Waziristan, and had killed hundreds of civil servants, tribal chiefs and ordinary citizens. Although most of the Swat valley and South Waziristan are now under the control of Pak‐military, a low‐medium level of guerrilla war is still underway. As the Taliban rule in Pakistan and Afghanistan spreads, so does their reach to even those, who ideologically oppose Taliban’s ruling methods (Ex. the Hizb‐e Islami Gulbuddin, HIG).
The character of new Taliban alliances demonstrates that the cooperation between different insurgent groups is aimed to carry out a ‘collective action’ against the US and NATO forces. The concept of collective action is one of the most important pillars of Pashtunwali, which facilitates leader’s control over social and economic resources. But the question is how significant it would be to identify ‘war coded’ messages in Muslim mystical poetry that simultaneously address the dilemma of devotion to religion and love to cultural social traditions of a Pashtun.
“No Respect, No Negotiation and No Deal”: Pashto Language and Literature
The primary consequence of this dilemma is related to Pashtuns’ defiance of both central and political authority. It has always been a theme which finds adequate amplification in almost all the revolutionary poetry of the Northwest, a consequence of the individual derived from the Islamic idea and an unmediated relationship between cultural traditions of the Pashtuns and God.
It has historically provided legitimacy to stolid regionally based resistance and revolt against would‐be masters and outsiders. This more than any other single feature highlights the role of culture of a region and, by implication, language in the self‐definitions of identity on the part of variously situated Pashtuns.
The secondary result is that nowhere were cultural and linguistic links reflected more strikingly than in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) because Pahstuns always believed that the world/regional powers seek to extinguish their cultural superiority, honour and territorial independence. Effectively, the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) have never been part of the main stream political landscape, and thus formed no basis for any social relationship with their Urdu and Punjabi speaking counterparts. Their only interaction point came through different revolts and freedom movements in which they supported, financed and sheltered each other in the hour of need (Ex. invasion of Kashmir valley in 1948). While different Pashtu poets promoted nationalistic spirit, it was Khushal Khan Khattak7 whose poetry intrigued and counterintrigued, and led to the experience of rebellion along with other Pashtun tribes. His poetry reflects that the heroism of rebels is attributed to a cultural and linguistic configuration, rather than to the religious zeal alone. Khushal Khan Khattak’s story in the 17th century truly demonstrates how crucial it is to capture a ‘real insight’ into the codes of honour of Pashtuns.
During the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb8, Khushal was a loyal vassal of the Mughals, as he captured the Gwalior fort for them after all earlier attempts had failed. An ill‐advised governor of Kabul hit at his economic interests and insulted him personally.
This was enough for Khushal to revolt against the Mughal Empire. He organized a confederacy of Khattak, Afridi, Mohmand and Orakazai tribes against the Mughal army, and inflicted crushing defeats on it. Khushal articulates the reasons for his vengeance toward the enemy and expresses why he adopted tactical humbleness: Black is the Moghual’s heart towards all us Pathans/ Well I am acquainted with each one of their designs/ Freedom is mine, though plain and coarse my clothes;/ Relieved now am I of velvet and of brocade;/ A grass‐built hut is now so dear to me/ I had rather be seated there than in palace of stone9/
Demonstrating the close nexus between a regional and linguistic identity, Khushal overshadows the injury to his personal honour at the hands of the emperor’s advisor. With the ambition to transform personal vendetta into a nationalistic view of hostility towards the rulers, Khushal seeks to include the entire Pashtun community to share his worldly suffering. His rejection of Mughal grandeur is merely aimed to strategize a ‘collective action’ against unacceptable treatment of his person, a behavior, which enforces miseries at a Tsunami scale on the whole Pashtun community (Ex. the current situation of civilians in Afghanistan).
His preference to personal discomfort, freedom and humbleness jointly constructs the deception on the basis of which he would continue to defend his own language and culture with outpouring of propaganda about Pashtunization of Afghanistan: Persian poetry have I learnt, I have the taste for all;/ Pushto poetry I prefer, each one thinks his own the best/ Have I the Pushto language made to rival with Persian/ The Pashto tongue is difficult, its measures hard to find10/
In addition to his effort to defend the honour of the whole Pashtun community, Khushal also shows that a Pashtun is comfortable in his own identity. He not only takes pride in being a Pashtun, but also tactically undermines the linguistic and ethnic importance of Persian speakers in Afghanistan. This cultural upbeat can also be seen in the making of political tales, where a manifestation of self‐pride and honour will be applicable to the entire Afghan population. The case in point is of the last Taliban rule (19962001) under which all other cultural and linguistic aspects of Afghanistan were shunned and brutally suppressed. The destruction of a thousand‐year‐old statue of Buddha in Bamian province11, and the killing of Hazaras and other Persian speaking Afghans are well documented. In another verse, Khushal reflects upon his personal character: No Jew or infidel is there whose behaviour is so vile/ As I know myself to have been in word and deed/ I have never cared for right or wrong so that it pleased me/ When have I had concern for the lawfulness of my food?/ I am a drinker of wine, why does the priest quarrel with me?/ Our natures are made of fate, would that I could make his like mine!/ If in observance of rites consist true Islam/ Happy for me, for then perchance, I am a good Muslim12/
Crossing into the transnational territory, Khushal borrows the religious rhetoric to show that despite being a Sunni‐Pashtun and a traditional Afghan, he failed to uphold the basic tenets of Islam. He was tormented by his lack of true religiosity and makes a confession. But, at the cost of other faiths, a technique that has been part of propaganda campaigns against other religions by Taliban and other radical Islamist groups.
Like his Muslim counterparts in other regional narratives of identity, Khushal Khan prized his own self‐description of other religions. He showed little tolerance towards faiths other than Islam, and confesses about his drifting corrupt behavior. But, Khushal uses negative connotation and political rhetoric to define his own lack of character. At the same time, he exposes the consequence of contradiction within the Pashtun culture in which Islam is preached by illiterate local mullahs, a socially‐inferior icon in popular Pashtun consciousness over the centuries. These cultural practices continue even in the modern Islamic milieu. Currently, the local mullahs such as Mullah Omar in Afghanistan and Mullah Fazalullah,13 TTP leader in Swat valley, have established themselves as respectable leaders of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban and of other insurgent groups.
One can draw a similarity between Pakistan’s current attempts to tackle the autonomous Pashtun tribes in its FATA with that of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who too like the Pakistani government some believe, was illadvised about dealing with the independent nature of Pashtuns. The successive Pakistani government and military rulers ignored the linguistic and cultural promotion of Pashtuns, and deliberately kept them backward.
Urdu Language and Culture of Insurgency
As indicated earlier, the historical interaction between Pashtun, Urdu and Punjabi speaking insurgent groups mostly took place during numerous revolts. Political grievances against the British rule in the Indian sub‐continent greatly contributed to this interface. A careful location of the context in which culturally informed poets communicated popular discourses show that the role of Urdu was projected to narrate the post‐rebellion experiences. The suppression of the 1857 revolt, for example, snuffed out the last Muslim sovereignty. The popular voices including poets, however, felt that it was more the loss of an established way of cultural life than a political fact of foreign rule. Among those who were reluctant supporters of the revolt against the British was no less a person than decrepit King Bahadur Shah Zafar.14 As he acknowledged: I am the light of no one’s eye, nor the balm of anyone’s heart,/ One who could not come to anyone’s aid, I am a mere handful of dust15/
Forced to command the rebels, the remnant of the Mughal dynasty denied that he was a king. Bahdur Shah recounts the loss of popular support and lack of administrative authority. His views in the above‐mentioned verse demonstrate that he realized the causes of social turmoil and economic hardship in the country, but failed to prevent the fighting against the British. The lack of political clout to command the allegiance of a restive populace ultimately became the fundamental failure of his rule. Interestingly, while the Mughal king did not command authority, Mirza Ghalib, a renowned poet16 had his hand on the populace pulse when he asserted that if this was the condition of knightly authority then why every non‐entity in Delhi should not lord it over like lords. Ghalib also showed that he was not oblivious to the fate that had befallen general Muslim masses in Delhi after the defeat of the rebels: Now every English soldier that bears arm/ Is sovereign, and free to work his will17/
Although Ghalib could not bring himself to support the rebels, he instead raised the issue of mistrust between the post‐revolt inhabitants of Delhi and the British soldiers providing security to important buildings and officials. He sarcastically deplores the show of excess of arms in public domain and links it with the authority and power of the rulers. Part of the reason for Ghalib’s ambivalence toward the 1857 revolt was based on his realization of the inherent weaknesses of the Mughals and relative strength of the British rule.
Unlike Pashtu poetry where ‘defiance of a central authority’ was the main voice, the sense of hopelessness was to become a recurrent theme in much of the Urdu poetry after the loss of sovereignty. And after the revolt had been crushed, pragmatism replaced despair. This development demanded that liberals like Ghalib keep up his fences mended with the new rulers. The new cultural influences especially the introduction of western science and technology undoubtedly excited his imagination. As he put it: Faith holds me back while infidelity attracts me/ The ka’aba is behind me and the church ahead beckons me18/
From an intellectual who proclaimed himself free of all religions and cultural traditions, this was not an admission of his attraction to the Christian faith, but a sign of his open‐mindedness to what was new and as yet unknown. This did ease the hopelessness felt by the post‐revolt cultural milieu in India and by the Muslims in particular. The role of Urdu poets here is mostly described in the construction of collective popular discourses.
In any case, the Muslim poets and ulema were unable to agree, whether the insurgency (revolt) was a jihad. A declaration of jihad would make it mandatory for all Muslims to participate in it as a religious duty. The most common of the opinions floated by ulema was related to the fact that as long as Muslims enjoyed religious freedom, there was no need of jihad. This is also consistent with the overall trend in contemporary South Asian history in which the multiple sets of cultural, linguistic, religious and sectarian identities add up to a weak societal setup.
Feudalism, Honour and Identity:
The Role of Punjabi language and Culture
Whereas the themes in Urdu poetry reflect pragmatic approach toward the British rule, the Punjabis chose not to join hands with the rebels in the 1857. However, the Punjabis had shown their resentment through numerous local rebellions. The case in point is of one Ahmad Khan Kharal19, who revolted against the British rule.20 The tales of Kharal’s heroism in Punjabi culture is no less than a phenomenon that often underscores the importance of honour and collective concerns of an ethnic community. A folk Punjabi poet wrote on September 21, 1857 that, “When Ahmad Khan martyred, the British lower down the head of Punjab, Rai Ahmad was shot while praying his afternoon prayers; Gulab Rai Baidi fired the bullet, Ahmad has joined the Imam of Karbla”.21
Once again like Khushal Khan Khattak in Pashtun culture, the poet replaces the personal loss to the loss of the whole community. He links the death of Ahmad Khan Kharal with dishonouring the entire Punjab. The expression that Britain has tried to “lower the head of Punjab” clearly reflects that the loss of a head of a tribe or chieftain or a family elder is considered a major cultural loss of pride and honour, rather than a personal tragedy. The poet further expresses his woe; on that day Ahmad Khan was shot dead in the battlefield while he was saying his afternoon prayers. And for the poet, Ahmad Khan was a martyr who had joined with the first Shiite, Imam Hussein, who too was killed during his afternoon prayer. Such associations, linking an individual with the larger spectrum of Islamic history, vindicate approaches to different contemporary insurgences in which the cultural narratives are considered both in terms of nationalism and religious following.
By contrast to Urdu speaking culture where poets express hopelessness and pragmatism, the Punjabi Taliban is more connected with their Pashtun counterparts. The feudal culture of Punjab also does not endorse the leadership of a mullah, but during all major sociopolitical events, mullahs and mosques would become centers for cementing grass‐root support for radical ideas and thus building a strong connection between the mosque and the religious political parties. From an election campaign to the formation of linguistic/ethnic and cast‐system based grouping, everything would be done on the basis of Islamic‐Punjabi cultural harmony. This raises the interesting question whether the Taliban in Afghanistan are exploiting cultural contradictions within Urdu/Punjabi speaking Islamists, in order to expand their files and ranks.
Syndicate of Insurgent Groups: Taliban and Militant Groups of Punjab
As mentioned earlier, the southern and northern regions of Punjab are famous for their feudal and oppressive culture. Along with the stringent curb on the political activity of the ordinary people, the oppression of low‐cast Punjabi is one of the reasons that encouraged the creation of militant cells. What began as a struggle against oppressive feudal lords, and a fight against other sects of Islam (Ex. Shiite vs Sunni) in the 1980’s, has now transformed into a comprehensive network of ‘Punjabi Taliban’ which prizes its affiliation with international insurgent groups including al‐Qaeda. The claim of responsibility by different groups including the Amjad Farooqi group also supports the nexus between the Pashtun and Punjabi militants. Farooqi who was killed in September 2004, had belonged to the Jaish‐e‐Mohammad (JeM) terror group, which is still active in the Indian administrated Kashmir.22
The nexus between Pashtun and Punjabi militant groups began during the early 1990s, as Saudi funding for the Sipah‐e Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) was pumped in to counter the expansion of the Iranian Revolution into neighboring countries including Afghanistan. Consequently, Pakistan with the help of its Arab friends managed to establish Taliban. It suited the military establishment and the late prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, because the US and allied forces abruptly had ended their campaign against the Soviets in 1989. The fact that Punjabi Taliban are now scattered all over FATA, attached either with the TTP or other terrorist groups also demonstrates that the insurgent base is expanding. Despite the cultural differences, their ideological aim is to purge foreign forces from Afghanistan, a point of agreement that connects the agenda of these groups.
Through a series of recent attacks on civilian and security targets including one on Pak‐military’s General Head Quarter on October 17, 2009, the radical Punjabi‐Islamists have shown they are as ruthless as their Pashtun counterparts and as resourceful as their Al Qaeda mentors. Even in incidents where they are not the main attackers, the Punjabi speaking Taliban are believed to have put together all the logistics by supplying weapons, procuring transport and arranging board and lodging for the assailants. The tentacles of the Punjabi Taliban have spread across the province through the activists of banned jihadi organizations. From Kahuta in north Punjab to Rahimyar Khan, from Jhang to Dera Ghazi Khan, and from Bahwalpur to Muridke in the south, the entire province is stippled with radicalized individuals whose ranks appear to swell, even as they have distinct cultural and linguistic differences with the Pashtun Taliban.
The most important conclusion is that insurgents are using language and culture as a ‘war strategy’ against the Allied Forces in Afghanistan. Overall, two different approaches have emerged from the above discussion. The first is that the Pashtuns and the Punjabis share a common ‘code of honour’, and the second is that the Urdu speaking communities endorse a more pragmatic viewpoint than their Punjabi and Pashtun counterparts.
To furnish additional argument about the links between Pashtunwali and Taliban’s Shariah, it is useful to point out that the feelings of pre‐eminence among Pashtuns over others is spreading discord among other ethnic and cultural entities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The infighting and betrayals among different tribes have been part and parcel of the Pashtun culture. As the following tappa – a very old and exclusively Pashtun poetic form with the first line shorter than the second – puts it: “Who will gain victory over us? We are Pakhtuns [Pashtuns] and we shall die in the love for Pukhto [Pashtu]”.23
The notion of providing protection and hospitality toward guests and revenge for all insults is among the most important codes of Pashtu culture. Nonetheless, the Pashtun culture has allowed Islamic impact to submerge only to the extent that the historical idioms of Pashtunwali must remain the dominant narrative of Afghanistan. Fascinatingly, contrary to the common perception, the Pashtuns lack nationalist compulsion. They are divided into tribes who think culturally and locally.
The examples of the post‐revolt Urdu poetry reflect that the poets and ulema did not agree on the legitimacy of jihad, rather, the pragmatic approach toward outsiders was widely supported. However, the sense of hopelessness within among the political leadership is mostly directed at the loss of their way of cultural life, rather than the loss of their sovereignty. This moderate character of Urdu speaking communities is relatively different from their Punjabi counterparts, whose complex religious‐political ideas ultimately shaped the territorial and cultural expressions of the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. Like their Pashtun counterparts, the Punjabi prized their ‘codes of honour’ (gairat) and religious base. Whereas, the feelings of pre‐eminence dominated the Pashtun culture, the oppression of low‐cast land‐workers has been one of the most crushing burdens on the honour of Punjabi culture.
Finally, it is important to point out that the connections between Pashto, Urdu and Punjabi speaking insurgent groups are rapidly expanding. I believe it is meaningful to alert to the underlying cultural and linguistic codes and sensibilities of these communities. Such strategy would help understanding the connections between the syndicate of insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
1 Pashtunwali is an unwritten socio‐political and culture “moral code”, which represent social order and responsibilities among Pashtuns. Most of the Pashtuns are habitants of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
2 ‘Night letters’ are mostly written in Pashto language, and are aimed at warning the villagers who cooperate with the Allied forces in Afghanistan. Usually, these letters are posted or hanged on the walls of a mosque or a school in small towns. Both Taliban and drug lords are suspected for carrying out such actions. These letters mainly carry a message of punishment.
3 Taliban using Text Messages and Ring Tones, Associated Press, July 24, 2008.
4 Salwar kameez is a traditional dress worn by both women and men in South Asia. Salwar, the pants, are gathered at the waist and held up by a drawstring or an elastic band. They can be wide and baggy or narrower. The kameez, the tunic, is usually cut straight and flat.
5 “Among Pashtuns…the mullah is a member not of the tribe but of an occupational qawm (Ex. blacksmith and carpenter), and might be the object of mockery”, Rubin, Barnett R., The Fragmentation of Afghanistan, State and Collapse in the International System, Yale University, London, 2002, p. 38.
6 Nathan, Joanna, “Reading the Taliban” in Giustozzi, Antonio (editor): Decoding the New Taliban, Insights from the Afghan Field, Hurst & Co. London, 2009, pp. 29‐30.
7 Khushal Khan Khattak (1613‐1690) was a famous Afghan warrior, poet, and chief of the Khattak tribe who called on the Afghans to fight the Mughals then occupying their land. He admonished Afghans to forsake their anarchistic tendencies and unite to regain the strength and glory they once obsessed. The Khattak tribe of Khushhal Khan now lives in the areas of Kohat, Peshawar, and Mardan, Pakistan. Khushals poetry has been translated into Danish by Jens Enevoldsen in Århundredets Pathan, Digte af Khushal Khan Khatak, Kbh. 1966.
8 Muhi ud‐din Muhammad Aurangzeb, more commonly known as Aurangzeb (1618‐1707) was the 6th Mughal Emperor reigning from 1658 until 1707.
9 C.E. Biddulph (ed.), Afghan Poetry of the Seventeenth Century: Being Selections From the Poems of Khushal Khan Khattak, Saeed Book Bank & Subscription Agency, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1983, pp. 62‐64.
10 Ibid. pp. 72‐77.
11 “Afghan Taliban Begin Destruction of Ancient Buddah”, Agence France Presse (AFP), March 01, 2001 “Afghan Taliban Begin Destruction of Ancient Buddah”, Agence France Presse (AFP), March 01, 2001, “Afghanistan's puritanical Taliban Islamic militia began demolishing statues across the country...The two massive Bamiyan Buddhas were built around the second century…The Taliban, or movement of religious students, seized Kabul in 1996 and have imposed a puritanical mix of Pashtun tribal and Sharia law in a bid to create their idea of a true Muslim state…”
12 Ibid. p. 81.
13 Mullah Fazlullah was a chairlift operator, and does not possess a formal authority in Islamic jurisprudence.
14 The last Mughal king, Bahadur Shah (Bahadur Shah Zafar, 1775‐1862). During his reign, Urdu poetry flourished and reached its zenith. He himself was a prolific poet and an accomplished calligrapher. Love and mysticism were his favourite subjects. Most of his poetry is full of pain and sorrow owing to the distress and degradation he had to face at the hands of the British. It was at the time of Bahadur Shah that the revolt of 1857 started. The rebels nominated him as their Commander‐in‐Chief. In the initial stages, the revolt was successful, but later on the strong and organized British forces defeated them.
15 ”Taqazah”, Shahjahnpuri, Payam (ed.), Fortnightly, Annual number on the 1857 revolt Lahore, 1986, pp. 25‐26.
16 Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan (1797‐1869), was a great classical Urdu and Persian poet from Indian‐sub continent during British rule. During his lifetime the Mughals were eclipsed and displaced by the British and finally deposed following the defeat of the rebellion of 1857. He critically wrote about the events that led to this revolt.
17 Shahjahnpuri, Payam, Taqazah, Fortnightly, Annual number on the 1857 revolt Lahore, (ed.), i, 1986, p. 28.
18 Annemarie Schimmel, A two Colored Brocade: the Imagery of Persian Poetry, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1992, p. 119.
19 Ahmed Khan Kharal belonged to Sanadal Bar Jhamra in Jhang District, currently in Faisalabad division, Punjab province of Pakistan. He was the leader of Kharal Tribe who revolted against the British, due to the perceived injustice from their rule.
20 Mirza, Shafqat Tanveer: Resistance Themes in Punjabi Literature, Sang‐e Meel Publications, Lahore, 1992, pp. 102‐105.
22 Raman, B., “Why Amjad Farooqi had to die”, Asia Times (Online), September 30, 2004.
23 Jan, Inamullah, “Pukhtunwali in Historical Perspective”, unpublished doctoral dissertation, Quaid‐e Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan, 1979, pp. 17‐18.
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