The Vedic Pakhtas

Jun 2015
896
Your Attic
#1
After the Aryan migration from the center in Bakhdi, some of the clans remained in Bakhdi or Bakhtar and the foothills of the Hindu Kush. They called themselves Bakhdi, (Bakht, Pakhat, Pashto and Pashtoon) after the name of their homeland. The same people took part in the fighting between 10 clans of the Aryans on the banks of the river Parushni (Ravi) and have been described as Pakhta.[7] Similarly, in the oldest Aryan text, Veda, the names of Pakhta (the Pashtun people), their kings, princes and prominent figures have been mentioned repeatedly.[8] This shows that about 1400 B.C. the Pashtun tribes had penetrated into the area bordering the Ravi river and it also establishes their way of living, culture and movements. Even now many of the names of the ancient Aryan personalities and tribes are used by Pashtun clans, such as Turvayana, the name of the king of Pakhat,[9] which in present day Pashto also means Tura (sword) and wahuni (wielder) or wielder of the sword. Similarly, the names of tribes, such as Dasa, Brisaya, Pani and Paravata, that lived on the banks of the river Sarasvati or Haravati (the rivers Dehrawaut and Arghandab in Kandahar), survive even today, and according to Nillebrandt belonged to Arachosia (present day Kandahar).[10] Even now such tribes as Dasu, Parvat and Baraich exist among the Pashtuns of Zabul and Zhob.[11]

On the basis of Vedic hymns and subsequent literature up to the Mahabharata we find that the Aryan clans or tribes rose in the Oxus basin and spread to the south across the Hindu Kush mountains. From there they followed the course of Kabul (Kubha), Kurram (Krumo), Gomal (Gomati) and Swat (Svastav) rivers to the banks of the river Indus (Sindhu) and later reached the land of Punjab (Supta-Sindhu) or Hepta-Hundu) meaning the seven rivers. From there they spread toward the heart of India and pushed the original inhabitants to the southern part of the peninsula.

Indian scholars, who have studied old Sanskrit texts, are in a better position to know about the ancient habitat of Indra or the northern home or cradle of the Bharata tribes.

In light of the research conducted by European scholars it can be stated more clearly that Balkh was the cradle of the Bharata tribes and they spread to the east and west from there. The name of this ancient cradle or abode of the ancient Aryans in Vedic literature was Balhika mentioned in the Atharva Veda. In the Mahabarata it is mentioned as Bahlika and Panini, the learned grammar scholar of Sanskrit, in about the 4th cenury A.D. described the tribes of Balhika as those from Balkh.[12] In Avesta itself Bakhdi was the fourth among the 16 dominions of the Aryans[13] and carried the name of Bakhdium Sariram, meaning Balkh the Beautiful. According to Avestan scholars the original or elemental letter of this name consisted of (د ى(ب خ B-KH-D-I of the Arabic alphabet, which in Pahlavi literature turned to Bakhl or Bakhli, the basis of the name of Bakhtar.[14] According to Jackson, in the Pahlavi version of Avesta, written in the 8th century A.D. and discovered in Samarkand, this name has been mentioned as Bakhal Bamik which in Dari literature survives as Balkh Bami.[15] This very opinion has been endorsed by the European scholar, Valle de Poussin. As we have already stated the Vedic Pakhat and the Pakhtious of Herodutus have been derived from Bakhdi and Bakhti of Avesta, which in time turned into Bakhat, Pasht and Pashtun now denoting a large nation in the center of Asia.

Mahabharata also gives us, indirectly, additional information showing the connection between the Aryan immigrants in India and Balkh and Bakhtar. For example, it is said that Bhadra, the matriach of Madra tribe was the wife of Vyushit-Acva, a name which has a close resemblance with Vishtaspa, a fabled ruler of Balkh, and even though he may not have been the king or ruler of Balkh, yet it must have been the name of the historic figures of Balkh or Bakhtar. The word Acva or its Pashto version aspa, was widely used as a suffix in names of Balkhi dignitaries.

Panini, a great scholar of the 4th century B.C., who lived at the confluence of the rivers Kabul and Indus and formulated the Vedic grammer, entitled Asht-Adhyaya or Eight Lectures, polished the Vedic language and cast it in grammar. He called it Sanskrit, meaning the perfected.[16]

Since Panini appeared on Pashtun soil on the eastern bank of Indus river, therefore his reference to the tribes of Balhika is more reliable and Valle de Poussin also believes that the Balhikans were really and truly the people of Balkh and enjoyed a high reputation among the Aryan clans and migrants.
In addition to the ancient Sanskrit texts, the father of Greek historians, Herodotus. who also lived in the 4th century B.C. and was a contemporary of Panini, has also mentioned a number of tribes of Afghanistan, such as Paktick, Gandariol, Satta Gudoi. Badikai and Aparutai,[17] who, according to research scholars were among the Paxt, Paxtoon, Gandhari (Gadara in the inscription of Darius), Shattak (Thatagush of the Hakamenites), Tajik and the Afridi or Apridi who even now are among the most respected people of Afghanistan. These people, since the migrations of the Aryans, have continued to inhabit the same historic regions. About 500 A.D. Hecataeus, in his writings, mentions a central city of these tribes, Peshawar, as Kaspapuros in Gandhara. On the basis of Parthian and Greek inscriptions of Shapur 1, discovered by an American archeologist of Chicago Museum and said to be dated 260 B.C., the town has been called Pashikiboura[18] which later turned to Shahpura in Sanskrit.
Hsuen Tsang, the Chinese pilgrim, described it as Po-lo-sha-po-lo and during the Islamic period it changed to Parshapur, Farshabur, Farshawar and later Peshawar. It can, therefore be surmised that these people were firmly established in their territory since ancient times and up to the Christian era, and if they had also participated in the fighting among the ten Aryan tribes, their remnants stayed in their ancient land, Afghanistan.
Among the five tribes, described in Sanskrit as Pank-Jana, the Druhus, Yadus, Turvashas, Anus and Purus are included. Ghandra Dass, professor of the History of Ancient India at Calcutta University, believes that all of the celebrated Bharata people must be included in this phrase and under this name. The most important of the five tribes was the Puru and their descendants, that is Pouravavas had close ties and kinship with the Bharata masses. These five tribes followed the route taken by the Bharata tribes in their migrations. In other words they arose in the north Hindu Kush from Balkh and Bakhtar and descended to the south where ultimately they occupied the Punjab and the vast plains of India.
Professor Dass places the domain of the Puru tribe in the Upper Indus Valley and near Gandhara. It is quite true that these people did at one period during their migrations live in this place, but if the oldest periods of Aryan migration were to be taken into consideration then their abode, like those of other clans of the same stock and race, should be looked for in the mountains of Afghanistan. By studying the Mahabharata, the Purana, Vedic epics and the epics of Avesta and Shah Nama and then comparing these with each other in the light of comparative literature and folklore, we shall find that the abode of the first and ancient Aryan migrants of India and Iran consisted the area north of the Hindu Kush and the Oxus basin. Up to this point whatever we have said was based upon Vedic hymns and Indian-Sanskrit and Greek sources. This can be endorsed by looking into the ancient Avesta of Balkh, the memories of which have now been revived as a result of recently published Pahlavi sources. Even though the text of the old Avesta is not available, yet we can use later Avesta texts and other books in Pahlavi to define more clearly the position of Balkh and other provinces of Afghanistan in which most of the 16 Aryan tribes lived. However, we will avoid going into details at this point and will invite interested parties to refer to Vendad (Fergird 1), of Avesta, and Yashtha.
The study of Avesta from the perspective of history and geography, Aryan tribes and clans, and their social, cultural, literary and religious institutions carries much more importance and has a larger bearing upon our history than Vedic texts. A comparison between Vedic and Avesta texts together with their geographical and historical contents makes Afghanistan's history and its relationship with the neighboring countries in the north, east and west quite clear.
Resemblance between the language of Avesta and Veda is so close and strong that these two languages could be called "dialects" of an older language. This linguistic affinity demands that the followers of Veda and Avesta at one time must have lived in close proximity to each other. This home or territory was none other than the Oxus basin—the same vast basin of the river Oxus or Amu Darya on the banks of which lived the Aryan clans and which was given various names such as Balkh-Guzin, Bakhdium-Sariram, Balhika, Bakhtar, Balkhal-Bamik, Bamik, Balkh-Bami and Balkh-el-Husna. All ancient legends of Indian and Iranian origins accept it as the oldest place of Aryan habitation.
Similar to the discoveries at Mohenjo-Daro and Anu, Mundigak, Sialik, and Jian, which show us traces of life in Afghanistan, Trans-Oxania and Iran in pre-Aryan times, Sanskrit and Avesta literature provides descriptions of the home and movements of the waves of white-skinned Aryan tribes.

Afghanistan lying between India, Iran and Central Asia is the central territory which even now protects, among its valleys the progeny of the ancient Aryans. These people have preserved, to a great extent their ancient culture, civilization and dialect as seen among the inhabitants of eastern and central Hindu Kush and the Safed-Koh where, in addition to Pashto, nearly twenty local dialects are spoken.
 
Nov 2009
8,402
Canada
#2
This is conventional thinking, most of which is out-dated.
The vedic saraswati has a far greater correlation with the dry river-beds of the Ghaggar-Hakra than the Helmand, which can be attributed to outward migration of the aryan tribes.
We also have historic data of population flow from western Indian subcontinent (Pakistan region) to the eastern reaches, there is no evidence for a population flow from beyond the Suleiman ranges in the times we are discussing (2nd millennium BCE to before).

We also have the data of Iranians exhibiting a east to west migration, where in their initial points they are attributed in the Helmand basin (the Parusni in the vedas), then in later times, they are attributed to've moved to & assumed control of Kerman ( loss of Anshan from the Elamites to the Indo-Iranians) and then later, their final spot, the Province of Fars.
 
Jul 2014
1,240
Former Corded Ware
#3
Vedic Pakhtas are not directly connected to Pashtuns and the ethnonym Pashtun is derived from the of Iranian word Parsawa and has the same root like "Persian".


The most plausible derivation of Paҳt’o, as already suggested by Markwart (Untersuchungen zur Geschichte von Eran, Göttingen and Leipzig, 1896-1905, II, p. 177; cf. Morg[enstierne]4, par. 40b), is from *Parsuwā, and of Paҳt’ūn from *Parswāna-, with the basic stem *Parsū-; cf. Skt. (Pāṇini) Parśu- “a (northwestern) warrior tribe.” Tedesco, in a letter, compares Pārsa- (from a vṛddhi from *Pārswa-). We know how certain tribal names can spread over widely separated regions; cf., e.g., Veneti and Saxons (Morg.4,5).
 
Last edited:
Jun 2015
896
Your Attic
#4
This is conventional thinking, most of which is out-dated.
The vedic saraswati has a far greater correlation with the dry river-beds of the Ghaggar-Hakra than the Helmand, which can be attributed to outward migration of the aryan tribes.
We also have historic data of population flow from western Indian subcontinent (Pakistan region) to the eastern reaches, there is no evidence for a population flow from beyond the Suleiman ranges in the times we are discussing (2nd millennium BCE to before).

We also have the data of Iranians exhibiting a east to west migration, where in their initial points they are attributed in the Helmand basin (the Parusni in the vedas), then in later times, they are attributed to've moved to & assumed control of Kerman ( loss of Anshan from the Elamites to the Indo-Iranians) and then later, their final spot, the Province of Fars.
No they did not migrate out of India they migrated from Bakhtar where they split from the Indo Aryans and for lack of a better term central Aryans.
 
Likes: Aupmanyav
Nov 2009
8,402
Canada
#6
No they did not migrate out of India they migrated from Bakhtar where they split from the Indo Aryans and for lack of a better term central Aryans.
There is no proof of that. The entire history of the vedic origin hinges on identification of the saraswati and nadistuti sukta makes it very very clear that that saraswati was the ghaggar hakra river, not the helmand.
And if its not the helmand, then afghanistan has no claims to the origin of the vedic people.

In the Iranian plateau we have proof of the iranians moving from east to west, the mitanni also moved east to west.
There is no proof of west to east movement in prehistoric times.
 

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