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The etymology of the word afghan


Quote:

"The name Afghan has evidently been derived from Asvakan, the Assakenoi of Arrian... " (Megasthenes and Arrian, p 180. See also: Alexander#039;s Invasion of India, p 38; J. W. McCrindle).


Quote:

Their name (Afghan) means "cavalier" being derived from the Sanskrit, Asva, or Asvaka, a horse, and shows that their country must have been noted in ancient times, as it is at the present day, for its superior breed of horses. Asvaka was an important tribe settled north to Kabul river, which offered a gallant resistance but ineffectual resistance to the arms of Alexander "(Ref: Scottish Geographical Magazine, 1999, p 275, Royal Scottish Geographical Society)


Quote:

"Afghans are Assakani of the Greeks; this word being the Sanskrit Ashvaka meaning #039;horsemen#039; " (Ref: Sva, 1915, p 113, Christopher Molesworth Birdwood)


Quote:

Cf: "The name represents Sanskrit Asvaka in the sense of a cavalier, and this reappears scarcely modified in the Assakani or Assakeni of the historians of the expedition of Alexander" (Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological..by Henry Yule, AD Burnell)


Quote:

The Kambojas were famous for their horses and as cavalry-men (aśva-yuddha-Kuśalah), Aśvakas, #039;horsemen#039;, was the term popularly applied to them... The Aśvakas inhabited Eastern Afghanistan, and were included within the more general term Kambojas.(Hindu Polity, 1978, pp 121, 140, K. P. Jayswal.)


Elsewhere Kamboja is regularly mentioned as "the country of horses" (Asvanam ayatanam), and it was perhaps this well-established reputation that won for the horsebreeders of Bajaur and Swat the designation Aspasioi (from the Old Pali aspa) and assakenoi (from the Sanskrit asva "horse").(Lamotte 1988, p. 100)


Quote:

*Dr V. S. Agarwala writes: "As shown in the Jataka and Avestic literature, the Kamboja was the center of ancient Arian civilization as is evidenced by the peculiar customs of the country " (Ref: The Kamboja Janapada, January 1964, Purana, Vol VI, No 1, p 229; Jataka edited by Fausboll, Vol VI, p 210.)


Dr Michael Witzel: "The Kambojas, located somewhere in east Afghanistan, spoke Iranian language and followed Zoroastrian habits of killing lower animals." (Early Eastern Iran and the Atharvaveda, Persica-9, 1980, fn 81, p 114; Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies, Vol. 7 (2001), issue 3 (May 25), Art. 9).


Dr D. C. Sircar: "The Kambojas were of Iranian extractions .. they were settled in Afghanistan region in Uttarapatha. (Purana, Vol. V, No. 2, July 1963, p 256, Dr D. C. Sircar).


Willem Vogelsang: "The name Kamboja was commonly applied in Indian sources to the Arian population of the borderlands i.e Afghanistan." (The Afghans (Peoples of Asia), 2001, p 127).


Dr R. Thapar: "The Kambojas were a tribe of the Arians " (History of India, Vol. I, 1997, p 276).


E. Benveniste: "The Kambojas ... were known in Indian traditions as a foreign people, with peculiar customs, ... raised celebrated horses, spoke - as the Nirukata (II,2.8) tells us - a language with Iranian words in it ... and had, according to Buddhist Jataka (VI.206, 27-30), a certain religious practice - the killing of insects, moths, snakes and worms - which we may recognize as Mazdean from the passages in Mazdean books like the Videvati (XIV.5-6) as well as from the remark of Herodotus (I.140) about the Persian religion " (Journal Asiatique, CCXLVI 1958, I, pp 47-48, E. Benveniste)


- The Invasion of India by Alexander the Great gt; BOOK

- Kalhana#039;s Rajatarangini gt; BOOK



Saif Fazel

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