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GENESIS OF NAME AFGHAN 3


Let us resume the main topic:
“The Vata (=Varta)-Ashavkas were the Ashvakas who inhabited Eastern Afghanistan and who were included in the general term Kambojas. On their coins, there is a Kaboli in long robes doing obesiecance to Maurya symbol, Chandra on hill (J. R. A. S. 1936, 437). ………..The legend is in old Sanskrit script (brahmi)—Vatasvake. Here Vata is corruption of Varta which reminds us of varta-shasteropajivin description of theirs (Kambojas) in the Arathshastera…..” [Hindu Polity, Part I II, 1978, p 121, Dr jayswal]
Cf: Kambhoj-Surashtra-Kashatrya-shrenadyo-varta-shasteropajivin (A. S. XI.1.160, p 376) One of this group of republics seem to bear the name vata (=varta) ashvakas, the Ashvakas following varta (horse breeding/raising/trading). [see J.B.O.R.S. , XX, 289 on their coins]. (cf: op cit p 51, Dr Jayswal).

Pahlava-Sveta-Huna (white Huns)-chola (i.e.northern) (cf Ency Brit (11th ed, XIII, 330)- Avagana (=apagana=afghan)=Maru-China (XVI, 38, Vrahamihira, Brahata-Samhita).

Cf: “….But the Mecedonian conqueror made short shrift of the arrangement of Darius and over-running the Achaemenian empire, dashed into Afghanistan and encountered the stiff resistence from the Kambojas tribes called Aspasian and Assakenois, known in Indian texts as Ashvaya and Ashvakayana…..”…[source: Punjab Past and Present, pp 9-10, History of Poros, pp 12, 38, by Dr Buddha Parkash).

Dr L. M. Joshi and Dr Fauja Singh, the two well known scholars of Punjab have also identified the Aspasios and Assakenois of the Greek with the Kambojas of Indian Texts. [History of Punjab, Vol I, by Dr L. M. Joshi, Dr Fauja Singh).

Dr H. C. Raychaudhury and Dr B. N. Mukerjee, two very well known scholars of Bengal also identify the Assakenois/Aspasiois of the Greeks with the Ashvakas of Sanskrit texts and further with the Kambojas of ancient Sanskrit/Opalli Texts. (ref: Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 133, 216, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee). The reigning king of the Assakenois tribe at the time of Alexandra Assakenos. (P.H.A.C, 1996, p 217, Dr Raychaudhary, Dr B. N. Mukerjee). States Dr Raychaudhury: “With the expression Assanam-ayatanam, ‘land of horses’ used by Pali texts in reference to the Kambojas (Dictionery of ali Proper Names, I, 526; cf MBH., VI.90.3) may be compared to the names Aspasio ans Assakenois given by the classical writers to the sturdy tribes living in Alishang and Swat valleys in the days of Alexandra (Camb Hidt Ind. I, 352 n). [PHAI 1996, p 133 fn 5, cf: p 216 fn 3).

IMPORTANT COMMENT:
Afrikes or Erix was an offshoot of the Ashvaka/Ashvakan Kamboja subtribe, whose chieftain had also been called Aphrikes by Diodoros or Erix by Curtius, obviously after the name of the sub-tribe (Aphrikese/Erixes) he represented or headed, as is usual for the Greek writers. ( The Afrikes tribe also appears mentioned as Aprytae in other classical writings of the Greeks: Ref: Gates of India, 1910 by Colonel Sir Dr Thomas Holdich, K. C. M. G., K. C.I. E., C. B. D. Sc; for Aparita/Apritah=Afridi, cf Hindu Polity, Part I II, 1978, p 123, Dr Jayswal). This Afrikes, the king of Afrikese tribe, faced the onslaught of Alexandra after the defeat of other wing of his tribal branch called Aornos or Ora. The tribal name Afridi whose representaives are the modern Afridi Pashtuns, living mainly around the Khyber Pass these days is evidently derived from this above Aphrikes or Erix or Aprytae, according to the historians (Ref: Kamboja People and the Country 1979 by Dr. J. Lal Kamboj, These Kamboj people 1979 by K. S. Dard p 128, History of Panjaby Vol I II by Dr. Fauja Singh and Dr L. M. Joshi). This Aphrikes of Diodoros and Erix of Curtius has been described as the brother of the king or chief of Assakenois (=Ashvakan) Kamboja tribe. (ref: Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 217, Dr Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee)..Chief Aphrikes led the flying defenders of the famous fortress of Aornos (Ora) against the Greeks (Camb Hist Ind I 356). Aornos is identified by Sir Aurel Stein with the height of Una between Swat and the Indus (Alexandera’s Campaign on the Frontier, Benares Hindu University, Magazine, Jan, 1927). The southern side of the stronghold was washed by the Indus (Invasion of Alexandra, 271). The inhabitants thus seem to have migrated to Khyber Pass and Kamma valley. The geographical region of Afghanistan to the south-east of Kabol river, falling between Jalabad and the famous Khyber Pass of Sfedkoh mountain system is also still called the Kamm or Kamma valley (Ref: Struggle for Afghanistan 1991 page 158 by Nancy P Newell, Richards C. Newell) which further reminds us of the ancient Kamboja vestige left in this area, south-east of the Kabol river. [cf: ref: Military Text Books Series: “From Black Mountain to Wazirstan, by Col H. C. Wylly, C. B. 1912, p 237, 227 cf also: Kamma Daka, Kamma Shilman, Kamma Bela regions names]. These regions are the modern habitats of the Afridi tribe. Thus we learn that Afridis are also the descendents of ancient Ashvakan/Ashvakayan/Aspasin/Asvayan Kamboja tribes. [cf: History of Punjab, Vol I, by Dr Fauja Singh, Dr L. M. Joshi; also cf: These Kamboj People, 1980, p 128, K. S. Dardi; also cf: Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p 287].

The Ancient Kamboja was a country famous for its finest breed of horses. Says Dr Michael Witzel: “….The best horses, according to Kautalya, are said to come from Kamboja (Kautlya Arathshaster 2.30.29) which is also well known from Mahabharata and Buddhist Jatakas (see Journal of Royal Asiatic Society 1912, p 253)”….The Buddhist Jataka Sumanglavilasini designates the Kamboja land as the land of horses [‘Kambojo- Assan-ayatanam’: Sumanglavilasini (P.T.S.), Vol I, p 124] …which expression means: Kamboja== > home of horses. {also compare: Brahamanda, II, 2.16.16. D.P.P.N., I, p 526; Visuddhimagga, (.P.T.S.) 332; Jataka no 504, according to Jain Uttaradhyanasutra, a trained Kamboja steed excels all other horses (S.B.E. XLV, p 47; MBH II., 49.20; 51.4; 90.3; VII, 23.7; 36.36;X.132; Vamsa Bhaskara Madhyapithika etc etc. For Association of Kambojas with Ashvas, see our earlier write-up on "Kambojas and Their World Class Horses").

The horse is called Ashava in Sanskrit and Assan in Pali. Thus the ‘Assan’ of the Sumandlavilasini and several other Buddhist Jatakas refer to Ashva /Ashvaka of Sanskrit texts. The Kambojas were also popularly known as Ashvaka or Ashvakan, Ashvakayan or Asvayan in Sanskrit literature (e.g. Panini IV.3.99). The name also appears as Assaka in Palli texts. Here Ashvaka/Ashvakan/Ashvakayan (nickname) etc refer to the people connected with the horses..they were so nicknamed because of their prominent profession for breeding/rasing and trading horses etc. == >Thus the Kambojas, by virtue of their profession connected with horses, were popularly called Ashvakas or Ashvakans etc (cf: Dr K. P. Jayswal, Hindu Polity, p 140).

Besides the several authorities quoted above, other scholars like Dr Romila Thapar, B. Mathew etc and several more also identify the Ashavakas/Aspasins (Greek Assakenois/Aspasios) as being the sub-tribes of the general major tribe known in Sanskrit/Palli texts as Kambojas.

ASPASIOI/ASPASIS (Asvayans, Aspasins, Aspasians): “Tribal people who were living in the valley of Kunar/Chitral rivers to north-west Indian Frontiers at the time of invasion of Alexandra, the great, had offered stiff resistance to Greek invader and Alexandra had to fight two battles with them before were finally reduced to submission” [extract taken from: Dictionary of Indian History, 1967 by S. N. Bhattacharya, George Braziller, N. Y.]

ASAKANOIS (Ashvak/Ashvakan/Ashvakayan/Askenians): Tribal people who occupied at the time of invasion of India by Alexandra; the great portion of their the Swat valley near Markand pass, had a large army and seat of their government was at the fortified place called Massaga. It was formidable fortress , protected by nature and human art. Assakenois offered very stout resistance on one occasion succeeded in wounding Alexandra with an arrow. But in the end, Alexandra triumphed, the fort of Massaga was captured and Assakenois were reduced to submission after severe slaughter.” [extract taken from: Dictionary of Indian History, 1967 by S. N. Bhattacharya, Goerge Brazillar, N. Y.]

The relics of these clans are still identifiable from the modern Kamboja clan names like Ashoke, Asoi/Soi, Asavan/Sawan etc. The other well known Kamboja clans living in Kunar/Swat Valley
During the times of Alexandra were Gureans (=Gore), Gandaris (=Gandhe/Gaindey/Gandher), Mallois (=Mallas), Sabagrae (=Sabras), Glauganicians/Gillausians (=Gillauvey) etc. The names within brackets are the modern Kamboja surnames of these ancient clans.

The area of Kunar/Swat and Panjkors etc was inhabited by these Kamboja tribes during Alexdra’s times. The descendents of the Gureans are modern Gore tribe whose branches can still be found around the confluence of Swat/Panjkora rivers as well as on both sides of Kabol river where it merges with Lundei river. Note also that Lunde/Lundei is also a clan of the modern Kambojas.

Thus we gather that the Ashvakas/Ashvakans/Ashvakayans/Asvayans people were the clans of Kambojas. The general name for the tribe to which these people belonged was Kamboja. But local name Ashvaka was applied to the inhabitants of Kunar/Swat and Panjkora valleys simply because of their chief profession i.e. because they were famous people as horse breeders/raisers/traders.[ Cf: “The Vata (=Varta)-Ashavkas were the Ashvakas who inhabited Eastern Afghanistan and who were included in the general term Kambojas” ref p 121 of Hindu Polity, Dr Jayswal]

The modern Kambojas have physiognomic features resembling most prominently with many clans of modern Afghans. According to researcher K. S. Dardi, “the Kambojas can be easily identified from other clans of Punjab on account of their unique physiognomic features. Ethnically, they are generally well built and tall people with brown eyes, sharp noses, reddish transparent body color, broad chests and long necks……. They resemble more with the Iranians and Afghans than any other tribes of north India” (op cit. K. S. Dardi, p 346/47, 192-193 etc).

Cf also: “Kambojas probably had both Iranian as well as Indian affinities”. (Vedic Index of Names and Subjects Vol-I, p 138, by Dr A. A. Mcdonnel, Dr. A. B. Keath)

A. H. Bingley, in his well known book [The Sikhs], endorses the opinions of another English investigator about the Kambojas. Writes A. H. Bingley: “…..One critique describes them ( Kambohs) as a tall, strong, skillful and stiff- necked race and therefore RESMBLING MORE WITH THE AFGHANS than ANY OF THE OTHER HINDU RACES living in the plains of Punjab among whom they (Kambohs) have now settled for several generations…….They are fit for military recruitment because they are generally a hardy and of powerful physique” . [The Sikhs, A. H. Bingley, 1970, p 57].

The above are the comments of one English investigator about the Kambojas of Punjab which A. H. Bingley has reproduced as above in reference to the Kambojas, in his well known book.

A PASSING COMMENT:
[On Kambojas’ excellent physical build, hardiness and enduring courage which have been appreciated as their great qualities for military recruitment, please also compare: “They (Kambohs) make excellent soldiers, being of a very fine physique and possessing great courage……….” [Source: The Sikhs and the Sikhs wars: Reginald Holder (From the Punjab past and present Vol IV, Part I, April 1970 Serial No 7, edited by Dr Ganda Singh).]

And we have already demonstrated above based on scientific etymology, the name AFGHAN is evidently derived from the name of Ashvakan/Ashvakayan/Asvayan Kamboja sub-tribes…And these sub- tribes were just a particular clans of a vast frontier tribe known by the general name “Kamboja” in Sanskrit/Pali literature .

After his detailed investigation of the Kambojas and the Avestan language, Dr Michael Witzel ( Harvard University, USA) has concluded that ‘Kamboja’ was a general name for a numerous Iranian speaking people (non-Indo-Aryans=Iranian Aryans) living on the border lands of India and Iran. “Most probably, the Kamboja was a blanket term covering all non-Indo-Aryans on the western border (cf: Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, I, p 10, with ann; p. XXXVIII)” [Early Eastern Iran And the Atharaveda, Persica-9, 1980, p 115, fn 87], Dr Witzel.

THUS WE HAVE NO HESITATION IN STATING THAT IT WERE UNDOUBTEDLY THE WARLIKE “ASHVAKAN” KAMBOJAS OF THE ALISHANG/SWAT/KUNAR/PANJKORA VALLEYS WHO HAD GIVEN THE AFGHAN PEOPLE/ THEIR COUNTRY THEIR PRESENT NAME.

IMPORTANT NOTE:: Kophen, Kaoufu, Kophes, Kubha, Kabol, Kipin, Kapicene, Kapish, Kambysis etc are synonymous terms, according to numerous scholars who further link these terms with Sanskrit Kamboj, Kabuj etc [, J.W. Mcgrindle, Sir H. M. Elliot, R. K. Mukerjee, Dr D. C. Sircar, Dr J. L. Kamboj etc]
For Kabuj=Kamboj, also ref to Dasam Granth, M/S Bhai Chater Singh ji Co by Bhai Narain Singh Ji Giani, corrections by Dr Ajit singh Ji Aulakh Ph D
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Saif Fazel

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