Kapisa Province

Geobox|Province
country = Afghanistan
country_

name = Kapisa
native_name = کاپیسا


map_caption = Map of Afghanistan with Kapisa highlighted
capital = Mahmud-i-Raqi
capital_lat_d = 35.0
capital_long_d = 69.7
population_as_of = 2002
population = 360000
area = 1842
population_density = 195
timezone = UTC+4:30
free_type = Main language
free = Persian (Dari)

Kapiśa (=Kapisha) ( _fa. کاپيسا) is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north-east of the country. Its capital is Mahmud-i-Raqi, and other districts include Kohistan, Nigrab and Tagab. The population of Kapiśa is estimated to be 360,000, although there has never been an official figure. The area of the province is 1,842 km². [http://www.statoids.com/uaf.html] .

Politics and Security

The Governor of the Province, Abdul Sattar Murad, was removed from office in July 2007 by President Hamid Karzai, and a replacement has not yet been named. The ostensible reason for Murad's removal was 'ineffective governance', but it was widely believed by press sources that Murad was removed because of critical comments he made in a Newsweek interview regarding the central government's ineffectiveness in remote areas of the province [http://www.e-ariana.com/ariana/eariana.nsf/allDocs/3C8778E76AB1C420872573170058C1FF?OpenDocument] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6901461.stm] .

2006 and 2007 have seen increased insurgent activity in the province. Southern areas of the province, in particular the Tagab district, have been the site of repeated clashes between U.S./Afghan forces and insurgent groups [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/71E72AE4-CB59-4725-8798-4D11A1C76573.htm] .

Districts

*Alasay District
*Hesa Duwum Kohistan District
*Koh Band District
*Kohistan Hesa Awal District
*Mahmud Raqi District
*Nijrab District
*Tagab District

Economy

Agriculture is the most general and usual means of sustenance. Trades are made between the people in an ancient way of exchanging commodities on trade days (once a week) called "Mila", which means "party" but is interpreted as a large gathering of people, having fun together with trade.

Amenities

Currently, there is one hospital in the province. Previously, the province contained a textile company and cinema, which were both destroyed during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Recently a university named Al Biruni University was established, with programs in engineering, medicine, law and literature.

Currently, the number of girls schools is limited, but has increased through the efforts of charities and NGOs.

Kapiśa in ancient references

Fifth century BCE Indian genius of Sanskrit grammar, Achariya Panini, refers to Kapiśi, a city of the Kapiśa kingdom. [Ashtadhyayia Sutra IV.2.99.] Kapiśi appears as "Kaviśiye" in Graeco-Indian coins of Appolodotus/Eucratides. [See: Notes on Indian coins and Seals, Part IV, E. J. Rapson in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 1905, p 784, (Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland).] Panini also refers to "Kapiśayana", [ Sutra IV.2.29.] a famous wine from Kapiśa. [Dr S. Chattopadhyaya 1974: 58; India as Known to Panini, 1953, p 71, Dr V. S. Aggarwala; Foreign Elements in Ancient Indian Society, 2nd Century BC to 7th Century AD, 1979, p 86, Dr Uma Prasad Thapliyal.] That Kapiśa was an emporium for the Kapiśayana wine and the product was exported and stored in large quantities in the ancient period is proved by the recent archaeological discoveries (1939) at this site of numerous glass flasks, fish-shaped wine jars and drinking cups which were used in the wine trade many centuries ago. [A Grammatical Dictionary of Sanskrit (Vedic): 700 Complete Reviews of the Best Books for ..., 1953, p 118, Dr Peggy Melcher, Vasudeva Sharana Agrawala, Surya Kanta, Jacob Wackernagel, Arthur Anthony Macdonell.] Besides, large ivory plaques were also found during excavations at this ancient site. The grapes called "Kapiśayani Draksha" and the wine called "Kapiśayani Madhu" are referred to in several ancient Indian literature. [Cultural History of Ancient India: A Socio-economic and Religio-cultural Survey of Kapiśa and ... , 1979, p 29, Jaya Goswami; India as Known to Pāṇini: A Study of the Cultural Material in the Ashṭādhyāyī, 1953, 118, Dr Vasudeva Sharana Agrawala] Classical chroniclers write Kapiśi as "Kapisene". According to Pliny, [Pliny, Natural History, VI, pp 23, 25.] city of Kapisene (="Kapiśi") was destroyed in sixth c BCE by the Achaemenian emperor Cyrus (Kurush) (559-530 BC). Pliny's copyist, Solinus, spells Kapisene as Kaphusa [ Polyh C. 54.] , which the Delphin editors have altered to "Kapissa". Mahabharata refers to Kapisa as "Karpasika" (= Karpasa) and attests it for its common practice of slavery [ Mahabharata 2.48.7.; Tribes in the Mahabharata: A Socio-cultural Study , 1987, pp 94,314, Krishna Chandra Mishra - Mahābhārata; Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahābhārata: Upāyana Parva, 1945, p 44, Dr Moti Chandra - India] . Scholars like Dr Moti Chandra, Dr Krishna Chandra Mishra, Dr J. L. Kamboj etc write that "Karpasika" of Mahabharata is same as Kapisa or Ki-pin (or "Ke-pin, Ka-pin, Chi-pin") of the Chinese records and represents the modern Kafiristan (now Nurestan)/Kohistan [Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahābhārata: Upāyana Parva, 1945, p 44, Dr Moti Chandra; Tribes in the Mahabharata: A Socio-cultural Study, 1987, p 94, Krishna Chandra Mishra - Mahābhārata.] . The title of "Kadphizes" [Kadphizes = king of Kadphis (Kapisa) country. The title Kadphizes is similar to titles Taxiles and Abhisares under which the kings of Taxila and Abhisara were respectively famous in the history of Alexander.] claimed by Kushana rulers when their power had spread from "Kuei-shuang to Kaofu (Kambu)" [ Pre-Aryan and Pre-Dravidian in India, Edition 1993, p 120, Dr Sylvain Lévi, Jules Bloch, Jean Przyluski, Asian Educational Services - Indo-Aryan philology; Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahābhārata: Upāyana Parva, 1945, p 43,Dr Moti Chandra - India ] [ Chinese Kaofu is same as Kambu or Kamboja: See Refs: Alexander’s Invasion, p 38, J. W. McCrindle; Megasthenes and Arrian, p 180, J. W. McCrindle; Pre-Aryan and Pre-Dravidian in India, 1993 edition, p 100, Dr Sylvain Lévi, Jules Bloch, Jean Przyluski, Asian Educational Services - Indo-Aryan philology; Some Kṣatriya Tribes of Ancient India, 1924, p 235, Dr B. C. Law - Kshatriyas; Indological Studies, 1950, p 36; Tribes in Ancient India, 1943, p 3; Chandragupta Maurya and His Times, 1966, p 173, Dr Radhakumud Mookerji - History; Studies in Ancient Hindu Polity: Based on the Arthaṡâstra of Kautilya, 1914, p 40, Narendra Nath Law, Kauṭalya, Radhakumud Mookerji; The Fundamental Unity of India, 2004, p 86; The Fundamental Unity of India (from Hindu Sources), 1914, p 57, Dr Radhakumud Mookerji; Geographical Dictionary of ancient and Medieval India, Dr Nundo Lal Dey; The Modern Review, 1907, p 135, Ramananda Chatterjee - India; Literary History of Ancient India in Relation to Its Racial and Linguistic ..., p 165, Chandra Chakraberty; Prācīna Kamboja, jana aura janapada =: Ancient Kamboja, people and country, 1981, Dr Jiyālāla Kāmboja, Dr Satyavrat Śāstrī - Kamboja (Pakistan) etc).] is also said to have derived from "Kadphisa" (=Kapisa) [Pre-Aryan and Pre-Dravidian in India, 1993, p 120, Dr Sylvain Lévi, Jules Bloch, Jean Przyluski, Asian Educational Services - Indo-Aryan philology.] . The Paninian Kapiśi has been identified with modern Begram about 50 miles of north of Kabul on the ground that a Kharoshthi inscription naming the city has been found there. [Epigraphia Indica, Vol XXII, 1933, p 11.] Al-Beruni refers to Kapiśa as "Kāyabish". [Al Beruni's India, Sachau, p 259 ff.] Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang who visited Kapisa in 644 AD calls it "Kai-pi-shi(h)". Hiuen Tsang describes "Kai-pi-shi" [Su-kao-seng-chaun, Chapter 2, (no. 1493); Kai-yuan-lu, chapter 7; Publications, 1904, p 122-123, published by Oriental Translation Fund (Editors Dr T. W. Rhys Davis, S. W. Bushel, London, Royal Asiatic Society).] as a flourishing kingdom ruled by a Buddhist Kshatriya king holding sway over ten neighboring states including Lampaka, Nagarahara, Gandhara and Banu etc. Till 9th century AD, Kapiśi remained the second capital of the Shahi Dynasty of Kabul. Kapiśa (Chinese Ki-pin) is stated to have been earlier visited by lord Buddha in 6th c BCE. Ancient Kapiśa Janapada is related to the Kafiristan, south-east of the Hindukush. [ Ethnology of Ancient Bhārata, 1970, p 112, Dr R. C. Jain; Ethnic Settlements in Ancient India: (a Study on the Puranic Lists of the Peoples of Bharatavarsa, 1955, p 133, Dr S. B. Chaudhuri; The Cultural Heritage of India, 1936, p 151, Sri Ramakrishna Centenary Committee ] Kapiśa was known for goats and their skin. [Geography of the Mahabharata, 1986, p 183, B. S.Suryavanshi.] Hiuen Tsang talks of "Shen" breed of horses from Kapiśa ("Kai-pi-shi"). There is also a reference to Chinese emperor Tai-Tsung being presented with excellent breed of horses in 637 AD by an envoy from Chi-pin (Kapisa) [See:: T'se-fu-yuan-kuei, p 5024; Wen hisen t'ung-k'ao, 337: 45a; Diplomacy and Trade in the Chinese World, 589-1276, 2005, P 345, Hans Bielenstein] . These Kapisa or Chi-pin (Ki-pin) horses of the Chinese records, in reality, were the famed Kamboja breed since Kapisa was a mere part of ancient Kamboja [IMPORTANT NOTE: "In entire ancient Sanskrit and Pali literature as well as in inscriptional records, no mention ever is made of the Kapisa horses except in the Chinese records as noted above. But references to the foremost breed of Kamboja horses abound endlessly in ancient texts and inscriptions. This fact also proves that Kapisa was same as (or a part of) the Kamboja Mahajanapada and hence the horses referenced in the Chinese records are none else than the Kamboja breed".] [Cf: Indian studies: past & present, 1967, p 449, Indo-Aryan philology.] . Further evidence from Hiuen Tsang shows that Kai-pi-shi produced all kind of cereals, many kinds of fruits, and a scented root called "Yu-kin". The people used woolen and fur clothes and gold [Corpus II. 1, xxiv; Cambridge History of India, Vol iI, p 587.] [Ancient references like Mahabharata, Ramayana etc profuesely attest that the Kambojas produced and made use of woolen, fur and skin clothes and shawls, all embroidered with gold. Ancient Kambojas were noted for their horses, gold, woolen blankets, furry clothing etc (Foundations of Indian Culture, 1990, p 20, Dr Govind Chandra Pande - Spiritualism (Philosophy); Hindu World, Volume I, 1968, p 520, Benjamin Walker etc] , silver and copper coins . Objects of merchandise from all parts were found here [Si-yu-ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World, 1906, p 54 & fn, By Samuel Beal.] .

Kapiśa: Equivalent to Sanskrit Kamboja

Kapiśa is related to and included Kafiristan. Scholar community holds that Kapiśa is equivalent to Sanskrit Kamboja. [ Pre-Aryan and Pre-Dravidian in India, Edition 1993, p 121, Dr Sylvain Lévi, Dr Jules Bloch, Dr Jean Przyluski, Asian Educational Services.] [ Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahābhārata: Upāyana Parva, 1945, p 43, Dr Moti Chandra - India.] [Ref: The Greeks in Bacteria and India 1966 p 170, 461, Dr William Woodthorpe Tarn.] [Indian Antiquaries, 1923, p 54.] [ The Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 291; Indian historical quarterly, Vol XXV-3, 1949, pp 190-92.] [Kathakasankalanam: amskrtagranthebhyah sangrahītani Kathhakabrahmana,- 1981, P xii, Surya Kanta.] [Epigraphia Indica, Vol XIX-1, p 11.] [Afghanistan: A Study of Political Developments in Central and Southern Asia, 1953, p 58, Sir William Kerr Fraser-Tytler, M. C. Gillet.] [Kāṭhakasaṅkalanam: Saṃskr̥tagranthebhyaḥ saṅgr̥hītāni Kāṭhakabrāhmaṇa, Kāṭhakaśrautasūtra, 1981, pe xii, Dr Surya Kanta.] [cf: JBORS, XVI, 1930, p 229, Dr K. P. Jayswal; cf: Visnu Purana, II, p 182, Wilson quoted in Kāṭhakasaṅkalanam: 1981, p xiv, Surya Kanta.] [Prācīna Kamboja, Jana aura Janapada =: Ancient Kamboja, people and country, 1981, p 44, 147, 155, Dr Jiyālāla Kāmboja, Dr Satyavrat Śāstrī.] [Cf: Society and Culture in the Time of Daṇḍin, 1972, p 89, Dr Gupta, Dharmendra Kumar.] [cf: Journal of Indian History, 1921, p 21, University of Kerala, University of Allahabad Dept. of Modern Indian History.] [Cf: Main Currents in the Ancient History of Gujarat, 1960, p 26, Bhasker Anand Saletore, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda Deptt. of History; Alexander the Great, 2003, Edition, p 277, Dr W. W. Tarn.] [Non-Aryan Linguistic Elements in the Atharvaveda, 2000, 137, Abhijit Ghosh - Vedic language.] In other words, Kamboja and Kapiśa are believed to be two attempts to render the same foreign word (which could not appropriately be transliterated into Sanskrit). [Pre Aryan and Pre Dravidian in India, 1993 edition, p 120, Dr Sylvain Lévi, Dr Jules Bloch, Dr Jean Przyluski, Asian Educational Services. See Link: [http://books.google.com/books?id=dx5dzJGGBg0C&pg=PA120&lpg=PA120&dq=kapisa+kamboja&source=web&ots=DR_gN5zFBG&sig=0Hq2AQXQP0wjCGf5a4vlAuBDBUM] ; .] [Problems of Ancient India, 2000, p 1, K. D. Sethna; Purana, Vol VI No1, January 1964, K. D. Sethna.] [See also: Indian Antiquaries, 52, part 2, 1923; Indian Antiquaries, 203, 1923, p 54.] [Prācīna Kamboja, Jana aura Janapada =: Ancient Kamboja, people and country, 1981, pp 44, Dr Jiyālāla Kāmboja, Dr Satyavrat Śāstrī; cf also: Dr J. W. McCrindle, Ptolemy, p 268.] . Dr S Levi further holds that old Persian Ka(m)bujiya or Kau(n)bojiya, Sanskrit Kamboja as well as Kapiśa, all etymologically refer to the same foreign word. [Pre Aryan and Pre Dravidian in India, 1993 edition, p 120, Dr Sylvain Lévi, Dr Jules Bloch, Dr Jean Przyluski, Asian Educational Services.] [See also: Indian Antiquaries, 52, part 2, 1923; Indian Antiquaries, 203, 1923, p 54.] [Prācīna Kamboja, Jana aura Janapada =: Ancient Kamboja, people and country, 1981, pp 44, 147, 155, Dr Jiyālāla Kāmboja, Dr Satyavrat Śāstrī.] Even the evidence from third century Buddhist tantra text Mahamayuri (which uses "Kabusha" for "Kapisha") and the Ramayana-manjri by Sanskrit Acharya, Kshmendra of Kashmir (11th c AD), which specifically equates Kapiśa with Kamboja, thus substituting the former with the latter, therefore, sufficiently attest that Kapiśa and Kamboja are equivalent. [See: Indian Antiquaries, 52, part 2, 1923 .] [Pre Aryan and Pre Dravidian in India, 1993 edition, p 121, Dr Sylvain Lévi, Dr Jules Bloch, Dr Jean Przyluski, Asian Educational Services.] Even according to illustrious Indian history series: "History and Culture of Indian People", Kapisa and Kamboja are equivalent [History and Culture of Indian People, Vol III, pp 122, 617, Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar, Dr. K. M. Munshi.] . Scholars like Dr Moti Chandra, Dr Krishna Chandra Mishra etc also write that the "Karpasika" (of Mahabharata) [ Mahabhara 2.48.7.] and Kapisa ("Ki-pin/Ka-pin/Chi-pin of the Chinese writings") are synonymous terms [ Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahābhārata: Upāyana Parva, 1945, p 44, Dr Moti Chandra - India; Tribes in the Mahabharata: A Socio-cultural Study, 1987, pp 94, 314, Krishna Chandra Mishra - Mahābhārata.] . Thus, both Karpasika and Kapiśa are essentially equivalent to Sanskrit Kamboja [ Dr Moti Chandra writes: "Thus before us is placed a suggestion that Kapis- Kamboja denoted the same geographical unit. To this may also be added Karpasika which on account of its rare appearance seems to be clinging to some original form phonetically very near to the Sanskritised form Karpasika when more common form as Kapisa and Kamboja were being commonly used" (See: Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahābhārata: Upāyana Parva, 1945, P 44, Dr Moti Chandra.] . And Paninian term "Kapiśi" is believed to have been the capital of ancient Kamboja. [ A Comparative Study of Thirty City-state Cultures: An Investigation, 2000, p 388, Dr Hansen, Mogens Herman (ed(d).] Kapiśa ("Ki-pin, Ke-pin, Ka-pin, Chi-pin of the Chinese records"), in fact, refers to the Kamboja kingdom, located on the south-eastern side of the Hindukush in the Paropamisadae region. It was anciently inhabited by the Aśvakayana (Greek: Assakenoi), and the Aśvayana (Greek Aspasio) (q.v.) sub-tribes of the Kambojas. Epic Mahabharata refers to two Kamboja settlements: one called Kamboja, adjacent to the Daradas (of Gilgit), extending from Kafiristan to south-east Kashmir including Rajauri/Poonch districts, [The History and Culture of the Indian People, 1977, p 15, Dr Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Dr Achut Dattatraya Pusalker, Dr Asoke Kumar Majumdar; An Advanced History of India, 1973, p 54, Dr Rameṣa-Chandra Majumdar; The Soul of India, 1961,p 56, Amaury De Riencourt.] [Mahabharata 7.4.5; Mahabharata II.27.23.] while the original Kamboja, known as Parama Kamboja was located north of Hindukush in Transoxiana territory mainly in Badakshan and Pamirs/Allai valley, as neighbors to the Rishikas in the Scythian land. [Mahabharata II.27.25; Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India: Their Religion and ..., 1874, p 365, Dr John Muir - 1874; Die Voelker des oestlichen Asien: Studien und Reisen, 1865, p 186, Adolf Bastian; The Problems of Ancient India, 2000, p 1-8, K. D. Sethna; Some Aspects of Ancient Indian History and Culture, 1974, p 62, Dr Upendra Thakur; The Greco-Sunga Period of Indian History, Or, the North-West India of the Second Century B.C. 1973, p 39, Dr Mehta Vasishtha Dev Mohan; Geography of the Mahabharata, 1986, p 14, B. S. Suryavanshi. The Riśikas & the Parama Riśikas, whom the Mahabharata closely allies with the Parama-Kambojas, are located right into Śaka-dvipa or Scythia, north of Oxus. See: India as Known to Pāṇini: A Study of the Cultural Material in the Ashṭādhyāyī, 1953, p 64, Dr Vasudeva Sharana Agrawala.] Even Ptolemy refers to two Kamboja territories/and or ethnics - viz.: (1) "Tambyzoi", located north of Hindukush on Oxus in Bactria/Badakshan and (2) "Ambautai" located on southern side of Hindukush in Paropamisadae. Even the Komoi clan of Ptolemy, inhabiting towards Sogdiana mountainous regions, north of Bactria, is believed by scholars to represent the Kamboja people [Central Asiatic provinces of the Maurya Empire, p 403, Dr H.C. Seth; See also: Indian Historical Quarterly, Vol XIII, 1937, p 400-403; cf: History and Archaeology of India's Contacts with other Countries, from Earliest Times to 300 B.C., 1976, p 152, Shashi Asthana. For Kamboja Nomads in Central Asia, Cf also: India and Central Asia, p 25, Dr P. C. Bagchi.] . Front ranking scholars like Dr S. Levi, Dr Michael Witzel and numerous others accept the identity of Tambyzoi and Ambautai with Sanskrit Kamboja. Obviously, the Ptolemian "Ambautai" formed parts of the Kapiśa kingdom under sway of Aśvakayana/Aśvayana (Aśvaka) Kambojas. It appears probable that the original home of the Kambojas was trans-Oxian Kamboja, from where, some tribal sections moved south-wards and planted colonies in Paropamisan on southern side of Hindukush. With passage of time, the "Paropamisan" settlements came to be addressed as Kamboja proper, whereas the original Kamboja settlement lying north of Hindukush, in Transoxiana, became known as 'Parama-Kamboja' i.e. "furthest Kamboja". [See: Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India: Their Religion and ..., 1874, p 365, Prof John Muir; Geographical Data in the Early Purāṇas: A Critical Study, 1972, p 167-68, Dr M. R. Singh.] Some scholars call Parama Kamboja as 'Uttara-Kamboja' i.e. "northern Kamboja" [ See: Development of Hindu Polity and Political Theories, 1927, p 227, Narayanchandra Banerjee.] or "Distant Kamboja" [Proceedings and Transactions of the All-India Oriental Conference, 1930, p 117.] . The Kapisa-Kamboja equivalence as suggested by scholars like Dr Levi applies to the Paropamisan Kamboja settlement.

Kafir and Kafiristan etymologically derived from Kapiśa

According to the conventional etymology, the name "Kafir" derives from Arabic "Kafir", commonly translated into English as "infidels" or "idolaters". "Kafiristan" then would be "The Land of the Infidels". This explanation would justify the renaming of the country after its Islamization.

Many historians, [ For instance,Dr Thomas Watters, Dr Moti Chandra, Dr Suniti Kumar Chaterjee, Prof Surya Kanta, Dr J. L. Kamboj etc.] however, opine that the local name "Kafir" comes from "Kapiś" (= "Kapish"), the ancient Sanskrit name of the region that included historic Kafiristan; which is also given as "Ki-pin" (or "Ke-pin, Ka-pin, Chi-pin") in old Chinese chronicles. That name, unrelated to the Arabic word, is believed to have, at some point, mutated into the word "Kapir". This linguistic phenomenon is not unusual for this region. The name of King Kanishaka, who once ruled over this region, is also found written as "Kanerika", an example of "ś" or "sh" mutating to "r". [Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 1856, p 239, by Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland; Indian Caste, 1877, p 286, John Wilson; India of To-day, 1906, p 280, Walter Del Mar.] In a similar way, "Kapiś" -- the name of the people of Kapiś/Kapiśa, is believed to have changed to Kapir and then Kafir. [Ref: Publications, 1904, p 124, Published by Oriental Translation Fund (Editors T. W. Rhys Davis, Dr S. W. Bushel, London Royal Asiatic Society); Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahābhārata: Upāyana Parva, 1945, p 44, Dr Moti Chandra - India; Census of India, 1961, p 26, published by India Office of the Registrar General; Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahabharata, Upana parava, Journal of Uttara Pradesh Historical Society, Vol XVI, Part II, pp 48-50; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, Dr J. L. Kamboj, Dr Satyarti Shastri; The Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, p 94, Kirpal Singh; See also: Kāṭhakasaṅkalanam: Saṃskr̥tagranthebhyaḥ saṅgr̥hītāni Kāṭhakabrāhmaṇa, Kāṭhakaśrautasūtra, 1981, p xii, Surya Kanta; cf: The Contemporary Review, Vol LXXII, July-Dec, 1897, p 869, A. Strahan (etc), London; See also: On Yuan Chwang's Travels in India, 629-645 A.D., 1904, 124, Dr Thomas Watters. See Link: [http://books.google.com/books?id=N9YMAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA124&dq=Kanerka,+kafir] .] [S. Levi states that "Chinese Kipin is a rendering of an Indian word Kapir" (See quote in: Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahābhārata: Upāyana Parva, 1945, p 44, Dr Moti Chandra - India; See also: Bhārata-kaumudī; Studies in Indology in Honour of Dr. Radha Kumud Mookerji, 1945, p 916, Dr Radhakumud Mookerji - India).] [ In ancient Sanskrit literature, there are numerous instances where the name of the people was obtained from the geographical territoty they belonged to or occupied. Thus Kamboja was both the name of the people as well as their country. Similarly, Gandhara, Vahika, Kuru etc. were names of people as well as their countries. In a similar way, the inhabitants of Kapis (Kapisa) were known as Kapis => Kapir which later transmuted to Kafir.] One of the dominant clan of the Kafirs till recently was known as "Katir".

The second change from "Kapir" to "Kafir", may have occurred spontaneously, since the exchange of "p" by "f" is fairly common in Indo-European languages. [cf: An Abridged Malay-English Dictionary (romanized), 1908, p 95by Richard James Wilkinson; Bahasa Indonesia: Introduction to Indonesian Language and Culture, 1990, p 13, Yohanni Johns, Robyn Stokes - Foreign Language Study.] It may also have been the result of confusion or intentional wordplay with the Arabic word, since the Kafirs were indeed pagans until 1895.

The derivation of Kafiristan is now fairly easy since "-stan" in Iranian language means country, abode or place. Thus, Kafiristan would literally mean the "land or abode of the Kafir (Kapir) peoples" i.e. people belonging to Kapiśa.

Today it is disputed if the term "Kafir" really defines a traditional ethnic group.

Physical characteristics of the people of ancient Kapiśa

Hiuen Tsang says that "the people of Kapiśa (Kai-pi-chi(h)) are cruel and fierce; their language is coarse and rude. Their marriage ceremonies are mere intermingling of sexes [The area that is commonly called Greater Punjab had comprised, in ancient times, vast territories of northern India and eastern Pakistan. In its original sense, it encompassed territories from Swat/Kabul to Delhi including Sarayu (Herat River), Gomal, Kurrum, Swat and Indus, besides the five rivers of modern Punjab and extending as far as river Yamuna in the east("See refs: Aryan and non-Aryan Names in Vedic India, Data for the linguistic situation, c. 1900-500 B.C., p 17; Substrate Languages in Old Indo-Aryan, (Rgvedic, Middle and Late Vedic), p 6, Dr Michael Witzel, Harvard University"). In ancient times, the area was inhabited by people called the Vahikas or Arattas. Scholars say that "Aratta" is a popular (prakrit) form of Vedic "A-rashtra" -- which means "without king or government". This compares to Avestic "A-sara" -- also meaning" without head/or government"--- thus the Vedic Aratta is said to allude to "A-rashtra" i.e. kingless or headless or in other words, a republican people or territory ("See refs: The Ancient Geography of India, 1871, p 215, Alexander Cunningham ; Evolution of Heroic Tradition in ancient Panjab, 1971, p 53, Dr Buddha Parkash; The Age of Imperial Unity, History and Culture of Indian People, p 49, Ed Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar; Hindu Civilization, 1923, p 289, Dr Radhakumud Mookerji; The Generalship of Alexander the Great, 2004, p 255, J. F. C. Fuller; The Cambridge Ancient History, 1923, p 406, John Bagnell Bury, Stanley Arthur Cook, Frank Ezra Adcock, Martin Percival Charlesworth, Norman Hepburn Baynes, Charles Theodore Seltman"). Similarily, the term "Vahikas" denoted "those falling outside the pale of Aryandom" or "those who are outside the pale of virtue, and live away from the Himavat, Ganga and Sarsvati..." ("See refs: Ethnology of Ancient Bhārata, 1970, p 113, Ram Chandra Jain; A Grammatical Dictionary of Sanskrit (Vedic), 1953, p 52, Vasudeva Sharana Agrawala, Surya Kanta, Jacob Wackernagel, Arthur Anthony Macdonell, Peggy Melcher; Tribes in Ancient India, 1943, p 71, Dr B. C. Law - Ethnology"). The tribes of the "Aratta" or "Vahika" territories were of wayward nature, committed highway robberies, and followed autonomous or republic way of life. And they were definitely outside the pale of Vedic Aryans. It was on account of these above characteristics of this people that they came to be commonly styled as Arattas or Vahikas etc. Aratta or Vahika, by no means, implies an ethic term ] [ The Vahikas or Arattas were divided into many tribes or clans like the Gandharas, Prasthalas, Khasas, Vasatis, Trigartas, Pauravas, Malavas, Yaudheyas, Saindhavas, Sauviras; the Iranian and transfrontier peoples such as the Kambojas, Pahlavas; and the Persianised Ionians (Yavanas) as well as the nomadic Scythians, also called Shakas ("See: Evolution of Heroic Tradition in Ancient Panjab, 1971, p 53, Dr Buddha Parkash; Cf also: The History of Indian Literature, 1878, p 178, Albrecht Weber - Sanskrit literature").] [The cis-Hindukush Kambojas ("i.e south of the Hindukush"), had extended from the Paropamisadae territory to as far as south-west of Kashmir (i.e. "north-west Punjab"). They had formed parts of the "Aratta or Vahika" people as described in the Karanaparava of Mahabharata. Much of the physical characteristics as described by Hiuen Tsang of the people of Kapisa to Rajapura (Rajauri), match very well with those which the Karanaparava of Mahabharata spells for the people of Aratta/Vahika countries which region included the Madras, Gandharas, Kambojas etc, and where the rules of intermingling of sexes are also described as much relaxed and libralised ("See: Social Structure of Warrior Communities, Chapter VI of "Evolution of Heroic Traditions in Ancient Punjab", 1971, pp 52-60, Dr Buddha Prakash").] [Cf: D. D. Kosambi observes: "The caste observances were so slack in the frontiers that the Brahmanical literature began to look upon the Madra, Gandhara and Kamboja peoples as loose-lived and barbaric. As compared to the rigid four-class social system of Madhyadesa, these tribes of the frontiers followed two social classes and further there was permissible vertical mobility.... The women were treated equal to men and there was no taboo of social mixing among the two sexes. Both sexes ate meat, drank strong liquor and there would be mixed public dancing in a state of undress. Such way of life was positively obscene to the eastern Brahmin eyes. The custom of bride price among the Madras (instead of dowry) appeared degrading to the easterners. Nevertheless, the beauty, the loving nature and utter fidelity of the women of the north-west including Madra, Bahlika remained proverbial ("e.g: Immortal Love Legend of Savitri & Satyavan. Savitri was the daughter of Asvapati, king of Madra tribe"). A warrior's widow in these regions would even immolate herself with her husband's corpse. The horrifying custom of Sati was completely unknown in the east until as late as 6th century AD.........." ("See ref: Mobile Men: Limits to Social Change in Urban Punjab - 1976, p 3, Satish Saberwal; The Culture and Civilization of Ancient India in Historical Outline, p 119, D. D. Kosambi".] [See also the Mahabharata Link on the Madra peoples of the Vahika/Aratta country for general characteristics of Vahika society: [http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08044.htm] .] . Their literature is like that of Tukhara country but the customs, the common language, and rule of behavior are somewhat different. For clothing they use hair garments (wool); their garments are trimmed with furs. In commerce, they use gold and silver coins and also little copper coins [Ancient references like Mahabharata, Ramayana etc profusely attest that the Kambojas produced and made use of woolen, fur and skin clothes and shawls, all embroidered with gold. Ancient Kambojas were noted for their horses, gold, woolen blankets, furry clothing etc (Foundations of Indian Culture, 1990, p 20, Dr Govind Chandra Pande - Spiritualism (Philosophy); Hindu World, Volume I, 1968, p 520, Benjamin Walker etc.] ... Hiuen Tsang further writes that the king of Kapisa is Kshatriya by caste [The Kambojas are also labelled as Kshatriyas in numerous of ancient texts of India. See Link: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kambojas#Kambojas_as_Kshatriyas_.28warriors.29] ] . He is of shrewed character (nature) and being brave and determined, he has brought into subjection the neighboring countries, some ten of which he rules " [Si-Yu-KI V1: Buddhist Records of the Western World, Edition 2006, p 54-55, Hiuen Tsiang.] .

According to scholar community, "much of the description of the people from Kapiśa to Rajapura as given by Hiuen Tsang agrees wonderfully well with the characteristics of the Kambojas described in the Buddhist text, Bhuridatta Jataka [ Jataka 548; Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, 1912, p 255-57.] as well in the great Indian epic Mahabharata". [Mahabharata 12.207.43-44; Mahabharata 6.11.63-64.] [ Journal, 1920, p 78, University of Calcutta, Deptt. of Letters; Journal of the Department of Letters, 1923, p 78, University of Calcutta; Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 134, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee; Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 103; Goegraphical Data in the early Purana, 1972, p 164, Dr M. R. Singh.] Moreover, the Drona Parava of Mahabharata specifically attests that "Rajapuram" was a metropolitan city of the epic Kambojas. [Karna-Rajapuram-gatva-Kambojah-nirjitastava (MBH 7.4.5).] The Rajapuram (=Rajapura) of Mahabharata ("Ho-b-she-pu-lo" of Hiuen Tsang) has been identified with modern Rajauri in south-western Kashmir. [For Rajapura=Holo-she-pulo, See: Yuan Chwang, Vol I, p 284, Watters; Si-yu-ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World, 1906, p 163, Samuel Beal - Travelers, Chinese; History of Kanauj to the Moslem Conquest, 1964, p 84, Rama Shankar Tripathi; Some Kṣatriya Tribes of Ancient India, 1924, p 236, Dr B. C. Law; Journal of the Department of Letters, 1923, p 77, Dept. of Letters, University of Calcutta; Political History of India from the Accession of Parikshit to the Coronation of Bimbisara, 1996, p 133, Dr Hemchandra Raychaudhuri; Asoka, 2001, p 31, R. G. Bhandarkar - Biography & Autobiography; The Shahis of Afghanistan and the Punjab, 1973, p 29, Dr Deena Bandhu Pandey; Census of India, 1961, p 26, India Office of the Registrar General.] Culturally speaking, Kapiśa (or Kamboja) i.e. the region from Kapiśa to Rajauri, had significant Iranian influence, while predominantly Indian. [Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 103.]

The Early Shahis of Kapiśa/Kabul

The affinities of the earlier Shahi rulers ("the so-called Turk Shahis") of Kapisa/Kabul, who are believed to have probably ruled from early 5th century till 870 AD, are still not clear. The different scholars link their affinities to different ethnics. 11th century Muslim histriographer Alberuni's "confused accounts" on the early history of Shahis [See: Tarikh-al-Hind, trans. E. C. Sachau, 1888/1910, vol ii, pp 10-14, Abu Rihan Alberuni.] [ The Pathans, 1958, p 108, 109, Olaf Caroe.] [Cf: That the first dynasty of Kabul was Turki is plainly based on the vulgar tradition which Alberuni himself remarked was clearly absurd. The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang knew well enough what a Turk was since he had come to Kabul through their country..... Against the contemporary evidence of Hiuen Tsang, an absurd tradition related by Alberuni after 400 years and with evident reluctance and disbelief in it cannot, therefore, be taken for history.....Hiuen Tsang clearly addresses the ruler of Kapisa/Kabul, whom he had personally met, as devout Buddhist and a Kshatriya and not a Tu-kiue/Tu-kue (Turk) (Ref: History of Mediaeval Hindu India, 1979, p 200, Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya).] based mainly as they are on folklore, do not inspire much confidence on the precise identity of the early Shahis of Kapisa/Kabul. They call them as Hindus on the one hand and claim their descent from the Turks, while at the same time, they also claim their origin/descent from Tibet [ NOTE: Nepali Traditions apply name Kamboja Desha to Tibet (See: Étude sur l'Iconographie bouddhique de l'Inde, pp 134-135, A. Foucher). It is also supported by two manuscripts [No 7768 & 7777] described in the Catalogue of Sanskrit and Prakrit Mss in the library of India Office Vol II, Part II" (Refs: History of Bebgal, I, 191, Dr R. C. Majumdar; Dist Gazeteer [Rajashahi] , 1915, p 26; Some Historical Aspects of the Inscriptions of Bengal, Dr B. C. Sen, p 342, fn 1. According to scholars, the ancient Kambojas are known to have extended as far as up to little Tibet i.e. Bolor or Baltistan (See Refs: Peter weiss: Von existentialistischen Drama zum marxistischen Welttheater ..., 1971, Otto F. Best; The Devi Bhagavatam, Vol. 2 of 3, p 117, Swami Vijnanannanda; Historical Mahākāvyas in Sanskrit, Eleventh to Fifteenth Century A.D., 1976, 373, Chandra Prabha; Kāmarūpaśāsanāvalī, Assam, 1981, p 137,Dimbeswar Sarma, P. D. Chowdhury, R. K. Deva Sarma). When viewed from Nepala itself, the ancient Kambojas appeared as if extended up to main Tibet, and this is stated to have been the logic behind the Nepalese traditions which identify Tibet with the Kamboja.] [Alberuni's accounts also connect the early Shahis to a king Kanika (Kanishaka?) but at the same time, make some Barahatigin to be the founder of the dynasty which is claimed to have ruled for 60 generations i.e about 1200-1500 years at a stretch which fact alone is sufficient to loose one's confidence in the folklore accounts of Alberunis!!. King Kanika is shown as some intermediate king down the line in this dynasty.] . Dr V. A. Smith calls the early Shahis as a Cadet Branch of the Kushanas. H. M. Elliot identifies them with Kators/Katirs and further link them to Kushans. George Scott Robertson writes that the Kators/Katirs of Kafiristan belong to the well known Siyaposh tribal group of the Kams, Kamoz and Kamtoz tribes [The Káfirs of the Hindu-Kush, 1896, pp 71-77, George Scott Robertson - Nuristani (Asian people).] [ And numerous scholars now also agree that the Siyaposh tribes of Hindukush are the modern representatives of the ancient Kambojas.] . Charles Fredrick Oldham identifies them with Naga-worshiping Takkas or Kathas and groups the Naga-cum-Sun worshipping Urasass (Hazaras), Abhisaras, Gandharas, Kambojas and Daradas collectively as the representatives of the Takkas or Kathas. Dr D. B. Pandey traces the affinities of the early Kabul Shahis to the Hunas. Bishan Singh and K. S. Dardi etc connect the Kabul Shahis to the ancient Ksatriya clans of the Kambojas/Gandharas. Seventh century Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang, who visited INdis (629 AD - 645 AD) calls the ruler of Kapisa as Buddhist and of a Ksatriya caste [ Si-Yu-KI V1: Buddhist Records of the Western World, Edition 2006, p 54-55, Hiuen Tsiang; The Sun and the Serpent: A Contribution to the History of Serpent-worship, 1905, p 120, Charles Frederick Oldham - Serpent worship; The Shahis of Afghanistan and the Punjab, 1973, p 17, Deena Bandhu Pandey ; The History and Culture of the Indian People, 1977, p 165, Dr Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar - India.] . Twevfth century Kashmirian historian Kalhana, the author of famous Rajatarangini, also calls the Shahis of Gandhara/Waihind as Ksatriyas [:Adyapi dyotate sahevahvayena digantare,:Tatsantana bhavonantah samuhah Ksatrajanamanam |
:(Kalahana's Rajatrangini, New Delhi, 1960, VIII, 3230, M. A. Stein (Editor).
] . These early references link this Ksatriya ruler and his dynasty undoubtedly to the Indo-Iranian Aryan lineage. Further, though Kalhana takes the history of the Shahis to as early as or even earlier than 730 century AD, but very interestingly, he does not refer to any supplanting of the Shahi dynasty at any time in the entire history of the Shahis [Kalahana's Rajatrangini, New Delhi, 1960, VIII, 3230, M. A. Stein (Editor; Studies in the Geography of Ancient and Medieval India, 1971, p 291, Dr D. C. Sircar; Hindu Sahis of Afghanistan and the Punjab, 1972, p 5, Yogendra Mishra.] . It is also worth mentioning here that the ancient Indian sources like Panini's Astadhyayi [Ashtadhyayi Sutra 4.1.168-175.] , Harivamsa [Harivamsa, 14.19-20.] , Vayu Purana [ Vayu Purana, 88.127-43.] , Manusmriti [Manusmirity X.43-44.] , Mahabharata [ Mahabharata 13.33.20-21). Cf also: (Mahabharata 13.35.17-18.] , Kautiliya's Arthashastra [ :"Sanskrit"::Kamboja.Suraastra.Ksatriya.shreny.aadayovartasastra.upajiivinah
:Licchivika.Vrjika.Mallaka.Madraka.Kukura.Kuru.Panchala.adayo raaja.shabda.upajiivinah|
::(Kautiliya Arathashastra, 11.1.03).
] etc etc call the Kambojas and the Gandharas as Ksatriyas. According to Olaf Caroe, "the earlier Kabul Shahis, in some sense, were the inheritors of the Kushana-Hephthalite chancery tradition and had brought in more Hinduised form with time. There does not yet exist in the upper Kabul valley any documentary evidence or any identifiable coinage which can establish the exact affinities of these early Shahis who ruled there during the first two Islamic centuries" [The Pathans, 1958, p 101, Olaf Caroe.] . Obviously, the affinities of the early Shahis of Kapisa/Kabul are still speculative, and the inheritance of the Kushan-Hephthalite chancery tradition and political institutions by Kabul Shahis do not necessarily connect them to the preceding dynasty i.e. the Kushanas or Hephthalites. From fifth century to about 794 AD, their capital was Kapisa, the ancient home of the cis-Hindukush Kambojas -- popularly also known as Ashvakas. After the Arab Moslems began raiding the Shahi kingdom, the Shahi ruler of Kapisa moved their capital to Kabul (until 870 AD). Alberuni's accounts further claim that the last king of the early Shahiya dynasty was king Lagaturman (Katorman) who was overthrown and imprisoned by his Brahmin vizier called Kallar. Alberuni's reference to the Brahman vizier as having taken over the control of the Shahi dynasty, in fact, may be a reference to Kallar (and his successors) as having been followers of Brahmanical religion in contrast to Shahi Katorman (Lagaturman) or his predecessors Shahi rulers, who were undoubtedly staunch Buddhists [Cf also: H. M. Elliot, History of India as told by its own Historians, Ed J. Dawson, p 426; S. D. Singh Charak, PURB No 1, 1970, p 2ff.] . It is very likely that a change in religion may have been confused with change in dynasty. In any case, this started the line of so-called "Hindu Shahi" rulers, according to Alberuni's accounts.

"See the main article": Shahi

Modern ethnics of Kapiśa

Scholars have identified the former Kafir clans of the Kams, Kamoje/Kamoz, Kamtoz etc (or" modern Nuristanis") as the relics of the ancient Kapiśas i.e. Kambojas of the Paropamisan region. Similarly, the former Kafirs like Aspins of Chitral and Ashkuns or Yashkuns of Gilgit are identified as the modern representatives of the Paninian Aśvakayanas ("Greek: Assakenoi") and the Asip/Isap or Yusufzai (from Aspazai) in the Kabul valley (between river Kabul and Indus) are believed to be modern representatives of the Paninian Aśvayanas ("Greek: Aspasio") respectively. [The Quarterly Review, 1873, p 537, William Gifford, George Walter Prothero, John Gibson Lockhart, John Murray, Whitwell Elwin, John Taylor Coleridge, Rowland Edmund Prothero Ernle, William Macpherson, William Smith.] ["An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan", 1893, p 75, Henry Walter Bellew. ] [Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1864, p 681, by Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.] [ The Invasion of India by Alexander the Great as Described by Arrian, Q. Curtius, Diodoros, 1893, p 334, John Watson M'Crindle, Quintus Curtius Rufus, Marcus Junianus Justinus, Plutarch, Arrian, Diodorus. ] [Evolution of Heroic Tradition in Ancient Panjab, 1971, p 72; History of Punjab, Publication Bureau Punjabi University Patiala, 1997, p 225, Dr Buddha Prakash.] [ A Comprehensive History of India, Vol II, p 118, Dr Nilkantha Shastri.] [ See also: Ancient Kamboja, People & the Country, 1981, p 278, These Kamboj People, 1979, pp 119-20, K. S. Dardi etc.] The Aśvakayanas and Aśvayanas are also believed to be sub-tribes of Paropamisan Kambojas, who were exclusively engaged in horse breeding/trading and also formed a specialised cavalry force. [ For Aśvaka/Kamboja connection See: Historie du bouddhisme Indien, p 110, Dr E. Lammotte; East and West, 1950, pp 28, 157-58, Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, Editor, Prof Giuseppe Tucci, Co-editors Prof Mario Bussagli, Prof Lionello Lanciotti; Hindu Polity, A contitutional History of India in Hindu Times, 1978, p 140, Dr K. P. Jayswal; Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 133 fn 6, pp 216-20, (Also Commentary, op. cit., p 576, fn 22), Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee; Panjab Past and Present, pp 9-10, Dr Buddha Parkash; History of Punjabi, Vol I, 1997, p 225, (Editors) Dr L. M. Joshi, Dr Fauja Singh, Publication Bureau, Punjabi University Patiala; Raja Poros, 1990, Publication Buareau, Punjabi University, Patiala; Ancient Kamboja, People and Country, 1981, pp 271-72, 278, Dr J. L. Kamboj; These Kamboj People, 1979, pp 119, 192; Kambojas, Through the Ages, 2005, pp 129, 218-19, S Kirpal Singh. Dr J. W. McCrindle says that the modern Afghanistan -- the Kaofu (Kambu) of Hiun Tsang was ancient Kamboja, and also says that name Afghan evidently derives from Aśavakan, the Assakenoi of Arrian (See: Alexandra's Invasion of India, p 38; Megasthenes and Arrian, p 180, J. W. McCrindle). Sir Thomas H. Holdich, in his classic book, (The Gates of India, p 102-03), writes that the Aspasians (Aspasioi) represent the modern Kafirs. But the modern Kafirs, especially the Siah-Posh Kafirs (Kamoz/Camoje, Kamtoz) etc are considered to be modern representatives of the ancient Kambojas.]

ee also

*Alexandria of the Caucasus
*Achaemenid dynasty
*Arachosia
*Bagram

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