Pukhtunwali is an unwritten law of the pakhtun society. Pukhtunwali is pathan code of life of “the ways of pathan”.
Pukhtunwali is abbreviated as “Pakhtu”. There is a common proverb that “Pakhtu Jaba da”. It expresses the pakhtuness. When we say about a person that he is pakhtun and has pakhtu, it means that he has certain qualities, on the base of which we call him pakhtun.

The real religion of pakhtun people is pakhtunwali, by which all actions in their lives are governed, and where a pathan is a pathan and nothing else matters.

The main pillars of pakhtunwali are Melmastia (Hospitality) Badal (revenge), Nanawati and honor (Izzat)

Badal means to take revenge of another cruelty. There is a proverb “ He is not a Pukhtun, who doesn’t give a blow for a punch”
The obligation to take revenge for a wrong falls not only upon a man who suffered, but also upon his family and tribe. A pukhtun will must take revenge, no matter it takes how many years and where it took place.

In sharp contrast to Badal, here is prevailing another way to avoid further enmity and that is Nanawati.

In pukhtun society, when the weaker party throws itself upon the mercy of its enemy in order to avoid destruction, this is called nanawati. Though it include the ultimate humiliation on the part of the weaker party but it is perhaps the most daring and graceful way to avoid further enmity. It is quite opposite to Badal, which we discussed above. In such cases, whatever the seriousness of the dispute, pukhtunwali of a pathan demands that he should be forgiven for whatever happened. Nanawati is rarely rejected.

Honor (Izzat) is an important feature of pukhtunwali. Honor is the evaluation (value) of an individual in his own eyes, and also in the eyes of society. It is estimation of his worth; his claim to pride but it is also the acknowledgement of that claim, his excellence recognized by the society, his right to pride.

The pukhtuns are very sensitive to the concept of honor to the degree that they’re political, social, religious and economic system can’t be understood without making a reference to honor. In pukhtun terms, status doesn’t only mean a prestigious social position acquired or inherited. It is a rule of conduct, standard of behavior and mode of established order, which are sanctioned morally, socially and even legally.


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