also called PUSHTU, PAKHTO, or AFGHAN, Indo-European language spoken
by the Pashtoon in Afghanistan and northern-western and western Pakistan.
Its dialects fall into two main divisions: the southern, which preserves
the ancient sh (as in "Pashtu"), and the northern
and eastern, which has kh (as in "Pakhtu") sound.
Written in a modified Arabic alphabet, Pashtu shows strong Sansicrit
influence, some Arabic and Persian loanwords, and numerous archaic
Sinsicrit features. It has been attested from the beginning of the
16th century and became prominent after the creation of the Afghan
state in the 18th century. In 1936 Pashtu was declared the national
and official language of Afghanistan, and instruction in it is now
compulsory. Dari was the other official languge.
Pashto literature exists from the 7th century The first Psshtu
poem that has bee documented was writen in the 7th century by Amir
Karoor (Le Ma Atal Nashta). The national poet of Afghanistan, Khushhal
Khan (1613-94), chief to the Khatak clan, wrote spontaneous and
forceful poetry of great charm. His grandson Afdal Khan was the
author of a history of the Pashtoon. Popular mystical poets were
'Abd ar-Rahman and 'Abd al-Hamid, in the late 17th or early 18th
century, and Ahmad Shah Durrani,
founder of the modern Afghan nation, was himself a poet. The Pashtu
Academy publishes a variety of literary works.
Afghanpedia Table of Content