History of Afghanistan: Official Text-Book for the Examination of Military Officers in Interpretership Pushtu


Tārīkh-i-Afghānistān (History of Afghanistan) is a translation into Pushto of G.B. Malleson’s History of Afghanistan, from the Earliest Period to the Outbreak of the War of 1878 (1879). Published in Peshawar in 1930, the book was used as a textbook for British military officers serving in the Pushto-speaking areas of northwestern India (present-day Pakistan) and Afghanistan. Its purpose was to provide a language learning text that would at the same time introduce its readers to the history of the Pushto lands. The translation was done by Ahmad Jan (1818−99), a munshi (scribe or clerk) from Peshawar. The Pushto language is one of the principal languages spoken in Afghanistan and is recognized as such in the country’s constitution of 2004. Many Pushto dialects are spoken in different regions of Afghanistan and in jurisdictions of northwestern Pakistan. Like Dari, Pushto belongs to the Iranic family of languages, but these Afghan languages are mutually unintelligible to the general population. Linguists continue to rely on 19th and early 20th century fieldwork in describing the phonetic and syntactic features of the language. Munshi Ahmad Jan is credited with developing a modern style of Pushto prose writing.

Last updated: September 30, 2016