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IRANIAN LANGUAGES

PASHTO LANGUAGE


 

 

Pashto is member of the Eastern Iranian languages, which is related to Avestan, and is the language of largest Afghan ethnic group and of about an equal number of people in parts of Baluchestan and North-West frontier of what is now days known as Pakistan.

 

Pashto is an Eastern Iranian language related to Persian Dari. The two main dialects are spoken: The "Hard" or "Peshawari", called "Pakhtu" and the "Soft", or "Qandahari", which is called Pashto/Pashtu. The former is also called the Northern or Eastern dialects, the later the Southern or Western.

 

The earliest Pashto book is the history of the Yusefzai (1417), by Sheikh Mali, a Yusefzai chief. There is a considerable amount of native literature, consisting mainly of tribal and national histories and love poems.

 

Most important of these are the Divan (collection) of Khushal-Khan Khatak (1644/90); the Makhzan-i Afghani (Afghani Treasure), by Akhund Darwaza a Tajik; the Tarik-i Murassa' (history of Jewls) by Afzal Khan Khatak, a grandson of Khushal-Khan (15th-16th centuries).

 

In Afghanistan, as in Central Asia and parts of India, Persian-Dari was the people's and official language untill sepration of Afghanistan by British in late 19th century, and especially since 20th century Afghan government have promoted Pashto as the national language.

 

In 1923 a literary group, Da Pashtu Maraka, was formed for this purpose, followed by the Pashto academy, which conducted research in Pashto literature and culture. The constitution of 1964 declared both Pashto and Dari official languages.

 

 

 

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