A brief description of NWFP (North West Frontier Province) of Pakistan

NWFP stands for northwest frontier province of Pakistan. In north side of the province is situated range of Hindukush mountains. To the south is Baluchistan and dera ghazi khan district of Punjab.

NWFP falls into different divisions including District of Peshawar, District Hazara, Malakand Division and mountains and border of Afghanistan.

Valley of Peshawar was always been more closely connected politically with eastern Iran (the ancient Arianan and modern Afghanistan). History finds that Iranians dominating the whole Indus Valley.

Peshawar was also been closely connected politically with India in Muhammadan times, that’s is Ghazni, Mahmud Sabuktagin;s son, Mughal Emperors, Jalal udin and Chingiz Khan. Its population was mainly Indian by race during that period.

Brief historical background of NWFP:

Taxila, the capital of Gandhara, olden times Gandahara is now modern district Peshawar. Today Taxila ruins lies near the modern city of Islamabad in Pakistan. This city remained a great center for culture and learning.

Alexander the great crossed the Hindukush in 327 B.C. He joint king of Taxila. He dispatched some part of his force through the valley of Kabul, while he himself advance in Bajaur and swat with his light troops. After Alexander’s death Porus obtained possession of the lower Indus Valley.
Asoka made Buddhism the dominant religion in Gandahar (now Peshawar) and Pakuli (now Hazara). The rock inscriptions at Shabaz garhi and mansehra show these.

After Asoka’s death, the Greek Princes seized the opportunity. There is print of different cultures on NWFP area in past. But now it’s totally dominated by Pathan.

Pathans (pukhtana) are the dominant class of this region. Pathan tribes are mainly of Iranian origin.

History of Pukhtuns is full of romance, traditions and glorious adventures. Inspite of a tough and rigid society, the pukhtuns have inherited a rich culture, romance and beauty. The various pukhtun clans and tribes possess rich treasure of literature and poetry, folk, art, dances and colorful fairs and festivals.

Dominant language of NWFP is Pashtu, which belongs to the Iranian branch of the Aryan family of speech. There is difference of accent and some local difference in vocabulary among Pashtu language.
Two dialects, a hard or northeastern (pakhto) and a soft or south western (pashto)

Different tribes of pukhtoon are Yousufzai, Bangash, Orakzai, Afridi, Momand, Khattak, wazirs and Marwat etc.
Mainly Afridis and orakzai tribes hold Tirah in tribal areas. Afridi is a tribe of pathan, inhabiting in the mountains of tribal areas.

The classical dialect is that of Yousufzai’s in which the earliest pashtu literary work was composed. It is the purest and clearest form of language.
However with the passage of time, changes occurs in languages too. Though there are still some people, who speak pashtu in its real and actual style but the present dialect of the region have some how undergone some changes. Now pashtu include many words from English and Urdu etc. People borrowing words from other cultures like Urdu and English.

There are different other tribes such as Awans, mainly in hazara and also in Peshawar valley. Gujars in Dir, Swat, and Bajaur. Other tribes include Jats, Saiyids, Tanolis, Rajputs, Shaikhs, Mughals, Kureshi’s, Baghban, Parachas, Kassabs etc

Artisan classes include Tarkhans or Carpenters. Next is Jhulas, the weavers, the Lohars (blacksmith), Mochi’s (leather worker and shoe makers), Kumhars (Potters and brick burners), Sonar (Gold smith).

Menial Classes, such as nai’s(barbars). Next is Scavengers, dhobi’s, Mirasis or dums.

There was a time when tarkhans (carpenters) use to have small shop in some village where he use to make furniture on very small level, but now they are having very good economic condition. They are having big showrooms where different type of furniture on the display. Same is the case with Nai’s(barbar) and Mirasi’s (Dum). In past they were considering inferiors, but now they have established their business to such high levels that none of marriage ceremony gets completed without both of them. They are getting heavy charges for the provision of their facilities. Nai’s (Barbar) have now been converted into beauty parlors; they are called as hairdressers and beauty salons, where people use to visit not only for a haircut but also for the complete grooming. Not only females but also now males too regular visit these beauty salons for facial, scrubbing, face packs, manicure, pedicure and other such beauty treatments. Their staff getting professional education from different countries in the field of beauty and grooming and then they provide their facilities to the locals.
Same is the case with Mirasi’s Dums. In every wedding party their music system is consider must and without their band and music system, the wedding is consider being incomplete.

Fanaticism (person obsessively devoted to a belief, activity etc) is violent throughout NWFP. Taliban have put many restrictions on the people in the name of Islam. They were considering themselves the true preacher of religion Islam, thus songs, dancing being condemned and shrines of saints, who have obtained a reputation for spiritual powers such as Akhund Baba of Swat and the Pir Baba in Buner, which attract the pilgrimages all over the regions have been banned and tried to destroy their shrines.
At most of shrines, bodily ailments may be cured or other advantages are obtained.

For the geographical studies of NWFP of Pakistan one can read the following book.

Edited and compiled
Abid Bokhari


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