A Grammar of the Pukhto, Pushto, or Language of the Afgháns


Henry George Raverty (1825–1906) was an army officer in British India who, as a self-educated amateur scholar, made important contributions to the study of the languages, history, and cultures of India (present-day India and Pakistan) and Afghanistan. He sailed for India at the age of 15 or 16. After mastering Hindustani, Persian, Gujarati, and Marathi during his service in India, in 1849 he was transferred to Peshawar and the Northwest Frontier, where he turned his attention to Pushto and the language, history, and ethnology of Afghanistan. In 1855 he published volume one of his A Grammar of the Pukhto, Pushto, or Language of the Afgháns, which also includes a 50-page introduction on “the language, literature, and descent of the Afghan tribes.” To complete the grammar, Raverty is credited with collecting and systematizing a body of grammatical and lexical material never previously assembled. Volume two of the grammar was published in 1856. The book was produced by subscription, and the first pages of volume one list the names of the subscribers, the chief of which was the government of India, which reserved 150 copies. The beginning of volume two contains a slip reminding subscribers to pay for their copies of the book, along with the necessary postage. Presented here are both tomes, which were printed at the Baptist Mission Press in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata). The second volume is still in its original binding; the first was rebound by the Library of Congress. Raverty issued a revised second edition of the grammar in 1860, and a third edition in 1867. His other major works include a monumental Dictionary of the Pushto or Afghan Language (1860; second edition 1867), an anthology of Pushto prose and poetry in English translation entitled Gulshan i Roh (1860); another book of translations, Poetry of the Afghans from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century (1862); and Notes on Afghanistan and Baluchistan, issued in four installments between 1881 and 1888.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Baptist Mission Press, Calcutta


Title in Original Language

A grammar of the Pukhto, Pushto, or Language of the Afgháns ... together with translations from the articles of war, &c., and remarks on the language, literature, and descent of the Afghán tribes

Type of Item

Physical Description

25 centimeters


  1. Edward Edwards, revised by Schuyler Jones, “Raverty, Henry George (1825‒1906)” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Last updated: August 25, 2016