Rule Book for Measurement Standards


Niẓāmnāmah-ʼi miqyāsāt (Rule book for measurement standards) deals with the standardization of measurement systems pertaining to length and weight, as well as currency. It was published in Afghanistan during the reign of Amanullah Khan (1919‒29), the ruler under whom Afghanistan won its full independence from Great Britain. The book provides the names for the subdivisions and multiples of the units of length and weight in the metric system (i.e., the meter and the gram), but it does not provide information relating these new units to traditional units of measure, such as the dharʻ for length and the mithqal for weight. The introduction of the new standards was instead based on official prototypes that were shipped to various locations in Afghanistan and used as points of reference. The discussion of currency does provide conversion rates for the new monetary unit, the afghani, a silver coin weighing 10 grams that replaced the Kabuli rupee (at a rate of 11 Kabuli rupees to 10 afghanis). Also listed in the work are two gold coins, the amani and the half amani, named in honor of the Afghan ruler, and valued at 20 afghanis and 10 afghanis, respectively. The work includes an implementation timetable, which requests that the conversion project be completed by the spring of 1929, and warns that unspecified penalties will be imposed on those failing to make the conversion to the new system. The work was published in March 1926, in 50 copies, at the Rafiq printing press in Kabul. The author is unknown, but the book is stamped with the official seal of Amanullah Khan. Niẓāmnāmah-i albisah-i ʼaskarīyah (Military uniform regulation book), a slightly earlier work dealing with military uniform regulations under Amanullah Khan, appears to reflect a similar preoccupation with standardization as a key to progress.

Last updated: September 30, 2016