A Dictionary of the Pathan Tribes on the North-West Frontier of India


Pathan is a British term for Pashtun (also seen as Pushtun and Pukhtun), the people who inhabited the region along the border between British India and Afghanistan. Today they constitute the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and the second largest in Pakistan. During much of the 19th and early 20th centuries, British India sought to control the Pathan areas in order to secure India’s northwestern border with Afghanistan. A Dictionary of the Pathan Tribes on the North-West Frontier of India was compiled by James Wolfe Murray (1853–1919), a British officer who was at the time an assistant quartermaster general in the intelligence branch in India. The book was published in Calcutta in 1899. The dictionary provides a detailed index of the Pathan tribes and their subdivisions. It does not include details on Pathan history or genealogy. The dictionary uses a hierarchical classification that starts with the tribe on top, followed by the clan, the division of the clan, the subdivision of the division, the section of the subdivision, and other minor fractions of the section. The entries are alphabetically ordered, from the lesser entity to the greater. The locality of the tribe, clan, or division is given in brackets. Some entries are also followed by figures in parentheses, indicating the number of fighting men in that division or fraction. The dictionary concludes with a note explaining the various spiritual titles and denominations used by the Pathans, and a color map showing the tribal boundaries.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Office of the Superintendent, Government Printing, Calcutta


Title in Original Language

A dictionary of the Pathan tribes on the North-West Frontier of India

Type of Item

Physical Description

239 pages : maps ; 17 centimeters


  1. Ian F.W. Beckett, “Murray, Sir James Wolfe (1853‒1919),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Last updated: September 30, 2016