Pashtun Renaissance: Possible Scenario – OpEd


Merriam Webster defines renaissance in two different ways. Its defines it as a  situation or period of time when there is a new interest in something that has not been popular in a long time. In another definition it articulates that it is a period of new growth or activity. 

Historically, though Pashtun has not have such contribution in science, technology, or other fields as were in Europe which contributed in European renaissance, rather its land has been an epicenter of regional and international conspiracies and proxies. Because of its geostrategic and geoeconomic importance, peace has been no where for decades. Consequently, its economy has devastated, where its educational and health sectors have been deplorable, while, at the same time, its culture has suffered owing to societal decay. 

Pashtuns are living mostly in Pakistan and Afghanistan whereas as the same time, its political, social, traditional, and governmental landscape are different in both these countries. These distinctions also affect its revival. 

Pashtun,s society has been a traditional society where the tribal leaders have strong hold. In both countries, states have supported traditional elites. After the invasion of the USSR in Afghanistan, the local Khans and Malaks were cemented more in the form of warlords in both countries. Since then, although, these tribal leaders have pertinent role in shaping the socioeconomic and political cultures of Pashtun society, but, at the same time, though it is still prevalent, its significance has damaged in Pakistan because of many factors such as the emergence of social media and the formulation of new rights movements. While, in Afghanistan, the traditional elite still has a cemented presence. 

For example, in Pakistan Mehsud Tahafuz Movement in 2016 was formulated and demanded to clear the FATA from landmines and claimed compensation for victims. That movement was amalgamated into the PTM which has for the first time gathered all Pashtuns under one banner. The same is the case with the second right party the NDM, that was splited from the PTM, has almost the same agenda of awakening Pashtuns. 

The PTM and the NDM have provided a platform to provide new and alternative leadership among youths which has dented the religious and nationalist parties on the Pashtun mainland. They are filling the gap of leadership and have postured tough time for traditional nationalist and religious parties. They have vehemently used social media and created admirable consciousness among the laymen Pashtuns which are helping redifing their political status. These developments can ba portrayed as a hope for rebirth. 

A couple of months ago all nationalists groups, the PTM, and a senator from Jamiat Islami Mushtaq Ahmad particiapted in a procession in Swat under ine slogan against terrorism in the Pashtun belt. In the aftermath of Bajwar suicide attack on a gathering of religious party Jamiat I Ulama Islam, the response from all over the Pashtun parties and groups and then inquring after the wounded victims by the nationalist leaders should be seen in the prism of revival of the Pashtuns. These developments are novice. 

Literature plays pivotal role in the rebirth of a nation. History witnessed that it was literature that played a leading role in European renaissance. Concerning Pashtun literature, it has witnessed huge alteration since the Soviet of Afghanistan. The aesthetic themes of Pashto literature has declined wheras pains, misiries, and quest for peace have become major themes of Pashto literature. Progressive thoughts have hugly reshaped Pashto literature. It is a sign of consciousness among Pashtuns. 

As far as situation of Pashtun revival in Afghanistan is concerned, though it is not good but there are still voices and indicators which could prove to be vital in the awakening of the peopel from deep slumber. For instance, though, Taliban has banned girl,s education, but before the Taliban 2.0, the overall education in the country was flurishing. Ample schools, colleges, and universities were established. Many educated women leaders of right activists have emerged on the arena. These developments reflect that pebbles have been thrown in the deep sea and one should be optimistic that the people of Afghanistan will wake up from their deep slumber. 

The government of Pakistan has been fighting against terrorism for almost decades. It is evident that no war can be won without the support of peopel. Pashtuns are in pains and marginalized. They should not be seen in context of rivals rather they should be comforted and hug them is the need of the hour. The more their legitimate voices are heard the more it would be better in noth Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

Renaissance is an evolutionary process but once it happens it might take the shape of revolution. Pashtun rebirth is visible which might not culminate in near future, but, it has possibility in far future.

Naseeb Ullah Achakzai

Naseeb Ullah Achakzai is a M.Phil scholar and writes as a freelance columnist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *