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GENESIS OF TERM AFGHAN 2


AFGHAN AND AVUKANA PARALLELISM? OPINION OF SOME SCHOLARS
An article written by DENIS N. FERNANDO which he claims he subscribed to the Mahaweli magazine several decades back has received wide publicity in the English media newspapers recently. It not only claims that the Avukana statue is modeled after the recently destroyed Bamiyan Buddha statue in Afghanistan but that it was a replica of the latter. When used in reference to iconography a replica has to be an exact copy of the original in all respects. The writer does not furnish any evidence to support that it is so. He expects the reader to believe [what he thinks was the sculptor’s view, namely] that ‘’the aesthetic beauty [of the work at Avukuna] was so graceful and pleasing that he gave it the name of the country of origin", which is ‘Afghanistan’ or its variation ‘Avagan’ in Turkish. …The other argument used is the seeming parallel in the names ‘Avukana’ and ‘Afghanistan’ or rather its variation in Turkish which the writer calls ‘Avagan’. [D. G. B. de Silva]

http://www.island.lk/2001/05/12/satmag01.html


BELOW WE DISCUSS THE MORE SCENTIFIC ETYMOLOGY OF THE NAME AFGHAN:

ACCEPTABLE MODERN VIEW:

The above views by writers do confirm that the name Afghan or its equivalent form was indeed in existence much before Prophet Mohammad. But what was the true etymology and the acceptable logical and scientific explanation to the origin of the term AFGHAN has not been satisfactorily explained. It is fashion with numerous modern Moslem clans these days to link themselves/or trace their origin to Arab and claim that name Afghan has Arabic origin. But fashion or fad does not constitute genuine history.
The true origin of name Afghan….the more logical, scientific and reliable view comes from famous scholar of the classics, J. W. Mcgrindle, who states that:
“ The name Afghan however has evidently been derived from ASHVAKAN, the ASSAKENOIS of historian Arrian” (ref: Mcgrindle in Megasthenes and Arrian., p 180).
Dr Nand Lal Dey further endorses the above views of J. W. Mcgrindle (Goeographical Dictionery of Ancient and Medieval India, by N. L. Dey,).
Front ranking Indian historians and scholar like Dr J. C. Vidyalankar, in his classical book, ‘Itihaas Parvesh (An Introduction to History, 1948) also accept that the name Afghan is apparently seem to be evolved from Aspas or/and Ashvaks of the Sanskrit texts (Ashakayan/ Ashvakan and Asvayan of Panini).
Phillip Smith states that: “Some modern scholars think that Afghan preserve the name of Assaceni (Curtius VIII, 10, 5.38), Assacani (Arrian Anab IV 25, V.20) “ .

Note here that Assaceni and Assacani of the Greeks are the same tribes as the Aspasios and Assakenois of the other Greek writers. [These Asscani/Assaceni and Assakenois/Aspasios are the same as Sanskrit Ashavak/Ashvakan/Ashvakayan, Asvayan etc mentined in Panini IV-1, 110, 99 Ashtadhyai]

Cf: “The tribes living in the hilly regions in the valleys of Kunar, Swat and Panjkora valleys have been called Aspasios and Assakenois (from Iranian Aspa=Sanskrit Ashva). Their Indian names may be taken to be Ashvayana and Ashvakayana, as mentioned by Panini (IV. 1,110,99). The coins known as vatasvaka are attributed to these people, who might be identified with Ashvaka (=Ashmaka mentioned by Panini (IV,1, 173)”. [Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, pp 98-100: History and Culture of Indian People, the Age of Imperial Unity, Vol II, p 45, Dr A. D. Pusalkar, Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr Munshi etc.; cf: Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, pp 177178, Dr J. L. Kamboj; cf: These Kamboj People, 1980, pp118, 119,192].

NOTE THE CLASSICAL TRIBES OF PAROPAMISADEAN REGION: Assaceni (Curtius, VIII, 16. 5.38), Assacani Arrian Anab. IV, 25,V.20) Arrian treats them as separate tribes. Strabo distinguishes his Astaceni from the subjects of Asscenus, Aspasii, Guraei, Masiani and Nysaei. Nysaei are described as non-Indian while all the rest are described as Indian tribes[Dictionery of Greek and Roman Geography, 1843/1966, Vol I, p 243]
The CHIEF CITIES are described as Massaga, Peucela, Aornos (Ora), Bazira, Arigaeum, Andaka, Orobatis, Embolima and Dyrita.

Besides the views of the scholars as referred to above, there are numerous more well known scholars and Indologists like Luis Bishop and others also accept that that the name ‘Afghan’ is apparently derived from Ashvak/Ashvakan/Ashvakayan/Asvayan of Panini/Sanskrit texts.

Further also refer to ‘Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography’: Vol I, 1843/1966, William Smith, DCL, LLD, p 243).

Dr J. L. Kamboj, a distinguished Sanskrit scholar and specialist on ancient Kambojas, also agrees with scholars like J. W. Mcgrindle, Dr J. C. Vidyalankar etc who state that name ‘Afghan’ evolved from Sanskrit ASHVAKAN, the ASSAKENOIS of historian Arrian. (Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p 118: also cf: K. S. Dardi: These Kamboj People, 1980, p 192).

COMMENTS:
[The use of ‘Ogan’ for Afghan has been reported by Sir Rober Scot in his well known book “The Kafirs of Hindukush, 1895,]

[The term ‘Awagan’ for Afghan is also is in use in Afghanistan till date [p 14, Afganistan, its People, its Society, its Culture, 1962, by Donald N. Milber].

[The use of Avagan for Afghan is documented by Vrahamihira in his Brahata Samhiti, 16.38, as already stated above].

THE FOLLOWING SEEM TO BE THE TRANSFORMATIONS OF ANCIENT SANSKRIT ‘ASHVAKA/ASHVAKAN’ INTO MODERN AFGHAN DOWN THE ROAD, IN THE OPNIONS OF MODERN SCHOLARS: AND WE QUITE AGREE WITH THIS ANALYSIS:

Ashvaka (Sanskrit texts)== > Ashvakayan (Panini IV-1, 110, 99; Ashtadhyai] == > Ashvakan (J. W. Mcgrindlle) == > Awakan == >Avakan (=Avukan, Denis N. Fernando) ==> Avagan (Brahta-Samhita of Varaha Mihira, cf: also ‘Avagan’ in Turkish, cf: also ‘Avagan’ in Firdousi’s Shahnama) == Awagan (= Ogan, Robert Scot) ==Apkan (=Abgan) [official records of Persian king Shapur III, 309-379 AD we find the term Apkan which term also appears as ‘Abagan’ in Sassanian records; also cf: A-po-kien (=Apkan) of Chinese Hiuen Tsang] == > Apagan (Dr Jayswal) == > Afghan. (seems quite logical to us).

The modern descendents of the ancient Ashvakan/Ashvakayan Kamboja clans of Panini are the Aspins of the Chitral and Yashkuns or Mashkuns of the Gilgit. The Massaga city of the Greek historians has its modern name as Mashkayan. This is the same city as the Mashkavati of Panini. This city is about 24 miles from Bazaur. The Asvayan Kamboja clans of Panini (Aspasins/Aspasians, Aspas) find their modern descendents in Asp, Isap, Pachai and Yusufzais. (A Comprehensive Hist of India, Vol II, p 118, Dr N. K. Shastry; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p 278, Dr J. L. Kamboj, These Kamboj People, 1980, p 120, K. S. Dardi). Asvayans, the ancestors of these people lived between Indus and Kabol rivers at the times of Alexander invasion.

BUT THEN WHO WERE THESE ANCIENT ASHVAKAN, ASHVAKAYAN, ASVAYAN TRIBES?:

There is one school of eminent scholars/Indologists identifying or locating ancient Kamboja mentioned in the Buddhist Jatakas and Sanskrit texts in the Paropamisadean region [SE of Hindukush covering Kabol, Begram, Alishang, Kunar, Swat Panjkora regions of Afganistan and N.W.F.P of Pakistan] . There are numerous indisputable and irrefutable evidence which puts the ancient Kamboja in the above mentioned territories . This region was called Paropamisadean in Persian/Greek terminology. And it was the land of the Kambojas who stand prominently mentioned in Ashoka’s Inscriptions (Asoka’s Rock edicts V XIII). [PHAI, 1996, commentary , pp 601,604-613 etc, Dr Raychaushury, Dr Mukerjee]
[For more evidence and further details, refer to the website ‘Location/Identification of Ancient Kamboja Mahajanapada’……the views of seconds school about Kamboja location.].

http://indiaculture.net/talk/messages/128/9181.html?1005368678

The first scholar who identified the Asssakenois and Aspasios of the classical writers….(= variously called Ashvaka/Ashvakan/Ashvakayan/Asvayan/Aspasian/Aspasin tribes in Sanskrit texts) with the Kambojas of Ashoka’s R.E. V (Yona-Kamboj-Gandharanam) R.E. XIII (Yone-Kambojesu) as well as the Kambojas of other numerous Sanskrit and Pali texts was a well known French Indologist, E. Lamotte. (ref: Historie the Buddhism Indien, p 110).

Dr K. P. Jayswal has also established independently that the Assakenois, Aspaasios etc tribes of Greek writers and Ashvakas tribes of the Sanskrit were a clans of the Kambojas [which term was the general name for their vast tribe] mentioned in Ashoka’s R.E (V XIII) and numerous Sanskrit and Pali Texts.
Argues Dr Jayswal: “From Arrian, we get some light on the identification of Yona-Kamboja-Gandharas of the Ashoka. In the edicts these are grouped together, which means, they were all neighbors situated in that order. The enumeration is scientific, being in geographical sequence from west to east, which is confirmed by Arrian (I):--

“The region beyond the river Indus on west are inhabited, upto the river Kophen by two Indian tribes, the Astakenois and Assakenois…….The Nysois however are not Indian race, but descendents of those who came into India with Dyonisos…The district in which he planted this colony the named Nysaia (=the Naisaya Janapada of Patanjli)…and city itself Nysa. But the mountain close by the city and on the lower slopes of which is built, is designated Meros (Meru)…In the dominions of the Assakenois, there is a great city called Massaka (Massaga), the seat of of the soverign power which controls the whole realm. And there is is another city, Peukelaitis (Pusklavati=Peshawer) which is also of great size and is not far from Indus. These settlements lie on the otherside of river Indus, and extend in western direction as far as Kophen (Kabol).”
Says Dr K. P. Jayswal: Arrian, in the above passage, indicates that the Pusklavati was easternmost in this enumeration, and his Assakenois, or the Ashvakas, were on river Kabol and between the Nysa Yavanas and the Puskalavati. Puskalavati was in Gandhara. Ashoka’s Kambojas were between the Yavaans and the Gandhara. The Kambojas of Ashoka and of Sanskrit and Palli Texts thus occupy exactly the same position as Arrian’s Assakenois (Ashvakas). We thus get another name for the Kambojas i.e. Ashvakas. The Kambojas were famous for their horses and as CAVALARY-MEN (Ashva-Yuddha-Kushlah) [MBH Santi Parva , 105.5 (Kumbakonam, ed.); Ashvakas ,horsemen’ was the term popularly applied to them. [Hindu Polity, 1978, Part I II, pp 139-140, Dr K. P. Jayswal).
************************************************** ******************************************
COMMENTS:
The Kambojas had been known in history for their best specimen of horses. Not only were they breeder/raisers of best breed of horses, but also were they wonderful cavalary-men and have been designated as Ashva-yudh-kushlah in classical Sanskrit literature.

(1)The Kamboja Cavalry-men in Mahabharata war had played a most prominent role on behalf of Kaurvas.

(2)Kamboja Cavalry had also played a key role in the composite army of Chandergupta Maurya nasd won him the throne of Magadha. (Buddhist Play, Mudrarakshas II.2).

(3)Kamboja cavalary men had aided the Haiyava/Talzung Kashatryas and had usurped the throne of Aydhya from Aryan king Bahu. The Kamboja cavalry-men again fought the second battle of Aydhya against king Sagara.

(4)In Kalika/ Kali war between Vedic king Kalika (Pushpamitra) and the last king of Mauryan, the Buddhist Kamboja Cavalry again sided with the Mauryan king against Vedic king Shungvaamsa Pushpamitra. The Kamboja cavalry has been described as BHIM-VIKARAMA…[i.e. of terrific prowess] in the Kalika Purana (Shloka 20/40).

(5) Kambohojas highlander cavalary-men had also joined the forces of Persian kings and had fought against Greeks and other tribes of the west.
We can quote zillions of instances like the above which clearly proves that Kamboja cavalry was much sought-
after in the ancient times and had helped in raising and maintaining some of the famous empires in ancient world history.

Also Compare:
“Both the Puranas and the epics agree that the horses of the Sindhu and Kamboja regions were the finest breed and that the services of the Kambojas as cavalry troopers were requisitioned in ancient wars. In the Mahabharata war the Kambojans were enlisted”
source: War in Ancient India - By V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar 1944. p. 103 -105)

http://atributetohinduism.com/War_in_Ancient_India.htm

Compare:
“They (Kamboja cavalry- soldiers) are said to have fought as far as Egypt and Greek while serving in the armies of Achaemenian kings of Ancient Persia. In this process many of these soldiers had settled in as far as Sudan/Africa” [Dr J. L. Kamboj, People and the Country, 1981).

Compare:
“Kamboja and Gandhara were the outermost regions and they had by the fifth century BC already developed significant relations with the Achaemenid Empire of Persia. Evidence exists of tributes being paid to Cyrus of Persia and armies recruited from the two regions battling against the Greeks………”.

http://www.foil.org/history/greekinv.html
Saif Fazel

Library:

Saif Fazel

Author:

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