Soft Power
on Hard

Game Changers
Going Local to Defeat Violent Extremists

Completed Research Paper

The Pakistan-Afghan Borderland: Pashtun Tribes Descending into Extremism [Kindle Edition]

Completed Research Index

Current Research

Pashtun Story Telling: A Clue to Their Violent Culture

  "Storytelling" and visits from wandering Pashtun poets to isolated compounds having few other forms of entertainment, especially during periods of extreme winters, keeps the memory of tribal heritage, religion, and revenge fresh in the minds of succeeding generations.  Hafiz Rahmat, the Rohilla chief killed by the British, was a recognized poet and his poetry and tales of his demise probably lingered long among northern Pashtuns.


   There is a connection between Pashtu songs, actually their prized poetry, and the destruction of the Rohilla states.  In 1887, James Darmesteter studied their songs and concluded, "… the literary  poet, who can read … who has composed a Divan.  Every educated man is a Sha-ir, though, if he be a man of good taste, he will not assume the title.  Writing Ghazal was one of the accomplishments of the old chiefs.  Hafiz Rahmat, the great Rohilla captain, and Ahmad Shah, the founder of the Durrani empire, had written Divans, were 'Divan people.'"  "Afghan Life in Afghan Songs," Science, Vol. 10, No. 246, October 21, 1887, pg. 195. 


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