Buddhism in Afghanistan
Buddhism was one of the major religions in Afghanistan during pre-Islamic era. The religion was widespread south of the Hindu Kush mountains, Buddhism first arrived in Afghanistan in 305 BC when the Greek Seleucid Empire made an alliance with the Indian Maurya Empire. The resulting Greco-Buddhism flourished under the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Indo-Greek Kingdom in modern northern Pakistan and Afghanistan, Greco-Buddhism reached its height under the Kushan Empire, which used the Greek alphabet to write its Bactrian language. The Greco-Bactrian King Menander I, ruled 165 BC -135 BC, was a patron of Buddhism immortalized in the Buddhist text the Milinda Panha. The famous Persian Buddhist monastery in Balkh in northern Afghanistan, known as Nava Vihara, the Buddhist religion in Afghanistan started fading with the arrival of Islam in the 7th century but finally ended during the Ghaznavids in the 11th century. The territory within the borders of Afghanistan has seen many cultural, in 305 BC, the Seleucid Empire made an alliance with the Indian Maurya Empire.
The Mauryans brought Buddhism from India and controlled the south of the Hindu Kush until about 185 BC when they were overthrown. At the time of these developments, most of the area belonged to the kingdoms of Bactria, many of the forebearers of the Pashtuns, including the Scythians, followed Buddhism until the arrival of Islam. Many monuments testify to the Buddhist culture in present-day Afghanistan, Greek cultural and artistic influence in the region can be researched under Buddhist art and Greco-Buddhism. Additional historical detail can be researched under Pre Islamic Hindu and Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan, soon after the Sassanian Persian dynasty fell to the Muslims, the Nava Vihara monastery in Balkh came under Muslim rule, but the monastery continued to function for at least another century. Nava Viharas hereditary administrators, the Persian Barmakids, converted from Buddhism to Islam after the monasterys conquest, the last of the familys line of viziers, Jafar ibn Yahya, is a protagonist in many tales from the Arabian Nights.
In folktales and popular culture Jafar has been associated with a knowledge of mysticism, the Buddhist religion survived the Islamic conquest of Afghanistan by the Umayyads and rule by the Abbasid Caliphate. Buddhism in Afghanistan was effectively removed by the Saffarids, one of the early Buddhist schools, the Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravāda, were known to be prominent in the area of Bamiyan. The Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang visited a Lokottaravāda monastery in the 7th century CE, at Bamiyan and this monastery site has since been rediscovered by archaeologists. Birchbark and palm leaf manuscripts of texts in this collection, including Mahāyāna sūtras, have been discovered at the site. Some manuscripts are in the Gāndhārī language and Kharoṣṭhī script, while others are in Sanskrit, some of these items date back to the 2nd century according to Archaeologists. Some Buddhist sites were found in Ghazni, the items in Logar include two Buddhist temples, Buddha statues, frescos and gold coins and precious beads.
There is a temple, beautiful rooms and small statues, some of the relics date back to the fifth century
The kingdom was founded when the Graeco-Bactrian king Demetrius invaded the subcontinent early in the 2nd century BC. The Greeks in South Asia were eventually divided from the Graeco-Bactrians centered in Bactria, but the Greeks failed to establish united rule in present-day north-western South Asia. The most famous Indo-Greek ruler was Menander and he had his capital at Sakala in the Punjab. The expression Indo-Greek Kingdom loosely describes a number of various polities, traditionally associated with a number of regional capitals like Taxila, Pushkalavati. Euthydemus I was, according to Polybius a Magnesian Greek and his son, founder of the Indo-Greek kingdom, was therefore of Greek descent from his father at minimum. A marriage treaty was arranged for Demetrius with a daughter of Antiochus III the Great, the ethnicity of Indo-Greek rulers is less clear. The diffusion of Indo-Greek culture had consequences which are still felt today, after 321 BC Eudemus toppled Taxiles, until he left India in 316 BC.
To the south, another general ruled over the Greek colonies of the Indus, son of Agenor, in 305 BC, Seleucus I led an army to the Indus, where he encountered Chandragupta. The confrontation ended with a treaty, and an intermarriage agreement. But Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus in consequence of a marriage contract, several Greeks, such as the historian Megasthenes, followed by Deimachus and Dionysius, were sent to reside at the Mauryan court. Presents continued to be exchanged between the two rulers, on these occasions, Greek populations apparently remained in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent under Mauryan rule. It is thought that Greeks contributed to the work of the Pillars of Ashoka. 1 That is the Caucasus Indicus or Paropamisus, Alexander had established several colonies in neighbouring Bactria, such as Alexandria on the Oxus and Alexandria of the Caucasus. After Alexanders death in 323 BC, Bactria came under the control of Seleucus I Nicator, the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was founded when Diodotus I, the satrap of Bactria seceded from the Seleucid Empire around 250 BC.
The preserved ancient sources are contradictory and the exact date of Bactrian independence has not been settled. Somewhat simplified, there is a chronology and a low chronology for Diodotos’ secession. The high chronology has the advantage of explaining why the Seleucid king Antiochus II issued very few coins in Bactria, as Diodotos would have become independent there early in Antiochus reign. On the other hand, the low chronology, from the mid-240s BC, has the advantage of connecting the secession of Diodotus I with the Third Syrian War, a catastrophic conflict for the Seleucid Empire
The practitioner is commonly called bacha Baz. It may include to some extent child pornography, sexual slavery, bacha bazi has existed throughout history, and is currently reported in various parts of Afghanistan. During the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, bacha bazi officially carried the death penalty, a controversy arose after allegations surfaced that US government forces in Afghanistan after the Invasion of Afghanistan deliberately ignored bacha bazi. The US military justified this by claiming the abuse was largely the responsibility of the “local Afghan government. ”Bacha bazi is a form of pederasty which has been prevalent in Central Asia since antiquity. A number of Western travellers through Central Asia have reported on the phenomenon of the bacchá, visiting Turkestan in 1872 to 1873, Eugene Schuyler observed that, here boys and youths specially trained take the place of the dancing-girls of other countries. The moral tone of the society of Central Asia is scarcely improved by the change and his opinion was that the dances were by no means indecent, though they were often very lascivious.
At this date there were signs of official disapproval of the practice. In the khanate of Khokand public dances have for years been forbidden - the formerly licentious Khan having of late put on a semblance of morality and severity. Schuyler remarked that the ban had barely lasted a year, so enthusiastic were the Sarts for a bazem dance and he further describes the respect and affection the dancers often received, These batchas are as much respected as the greatest singers and artistes are with us. He reports that a patron would often help establish a favourite dancer in business after he had grown too old to carry on his profession. Backstage, an orchestra composed of twin flutes, kettle drums. Opposite us a door left slightly ajar led to the harem quarters and we caught a glimpse of flashing eyes as the inmates thronged to the door to have a good look at us and watch the performance. The orchestra started up with a curious, plaintive melody, the rhythm being taken up and stressed by the kettle drums, the bachehs are young men specially trained to perform a particular set of dances.
They wear their hair long, reaching below the shoulders, though the front part of the head is clean shaven, the nails of the hands and feet are painted red, the eyebrows are jet black and meet over the bridge of the nose. The dances consist of sensuous contortions of the body and a rhythmical pacing to and fro, with the hands, the Heir explained that they were chanting of love and the beauty of women. Swifter and swifter moved the dancers till they finally sank to the floor and they were followed by others, but the general theme was usually the same. In 1909, two bacchá performed among the entertainers at the Central Asian Agricultural and Scientific Exposition in Tashkent, noting the publics constant interest in and laughter at the performance, several locally based researchers recorded the lyrics of the songs performed by the two boys. The songs were published in the original Sart language with a Russian translation
It is the site of an ancient city located at the junction of the Ghorband and Panjshir Valley, near todays city of Charikar, Afghanistan. The location of this town made it a key passage from Ancient India along the Silk Road. It is unknown when the site was originally settled, in the mid 6th century BC, Cyrus the Great of the Persian Achaemenid Dynasty destroyed the city as part of his campaign against the Saka nomads in the region. The town, was rebuilt by his successor Darius I. In the 320s BC, Alexander the Great captured the city, the new town, laid out in the hippodamian plan or iron-grid pattern—a hallmark of Greek city planning, had brick walls reinforced with towers at the angles. The central street was bordered with shops and workshops, after his death in 323 BC, the city passed to his general Seleucus, who traded it with the Mauryans of India in 305 BC. After the Mauryans were overthrown by the Shunga dynasty in 185 BC, Alexandria became a capital of the Eucratidian Indo-Greek Kingdom after they were driven out of Bactria by the Yuezhi in 140 BC.
Bagram became the capital of the Kushan Empire in the 1st century, the works of art found in Bagram are either quite purely Hellenistic, Chinese or Indian, with only little indications of the cultural syncretism found in Greco-Buddhist art. While the Diadochi were warring amongst themselves, the Mauryan Empire was developing in the part of the Indian subcontinent. During the 120 years of the Mauryans in southern Afghanistan, Buddhism was introduced and eventually become a major religion alongside Zoroastrianism, the ancient Grand Trunk Road was built linking what is now Kabul to various cities in the Punjab and the Gangetic Plain. Commerce and architecture developed during this period and it reached its high point under Emperor Ashoka whose edicts and rest stops were found throughout the subcontinent. Inscriptions made by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, a fragment of Edict 13 in Greek, as well as a full Edict and it is said to be written in excellent Classical Greek, using sophisticated philosophical terms.
And the king abstains from living beings, and other men, the last ruler in the region was probably Subhagasena, who, in all probability, belonged to the Ashvaka background. Bagram hosts the strategic Bagram Airfield, from which most US air activity in Afghanistan takes place, the runway was built in 1976, and it was a Soviet air base from 1979 to 1989. There is a Provincial Reconstruction Team which is led by the US, Bagram is the location of the Parwan Detention Facility, this detention facility was the last prison in Afghanistan under management of the US. It was handed back to the Afghan government on 25 March 2013, the detention centre had earlier come into the attention of the news media as it was claimed that prisoners were tortured. At the time of the hand-over of the facility, human-rights groups like Amnesty International have raised concerns about the treatment of prisoners there, on December 21,2015, Bagram was the site of a suicide bombing killing 6 people. Afghanistan, Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul
At its peak, the Hotak dynasty ruled very briefly over an area which is now Afghanistan, western Pakistan, and large parts of Iran. In 1715, Mirwais died of a cause and his brother Abdul Aziz succeeded the monarchy. He was quickly followed by Mahmud who ruled the empire at its largest extent for a three years. Following the 1729 Battle of Damghan, where Ashraf Hotak was roundly defeated by Nader Shah, Hussain Hotak became the last ruler until he was defeated in 1738. Immediately to the east began the Sunni Mughul Empire, who occasionally fought wars with the powerful Safavids over the territory of southern Afghanistan, the area to the north, was controlled by the Khanate of Bukhara at the same time. By the late 17th century, the Iranian Safavids, like their arch rival the Ottoman Turks, had been starting to decline due to misrule, sectarian strife. His first task was to quell the uprisings in the region, Gurgin began imprisoning and executing Afghans, especially those suspected of organizing rebellions, successfully crushing the rebellions.
One of those arrested and imprisoned was Mirwais who belonged to an influential Hotak family in Kandahar. Mirwais was sent as a prisoner to the Persian court in Isfahan but the charges against him were dismissed by Shah Husayn, in April 1709, protected by the Ghaznavid Nasher Khans, and along with his followers revolted against the Safavid rule at Kandahar. The uprising began when Gurgīn Khān and his escort were killed during a feast that was organized by Mirwais at his farmhouse outside the city and it is reported that drinking of wine was involved. Next, Mirwais ordered the killings of the remaining Persian military officials in the region, the Afghans defeated a twice as large Persian army that had been dispatched from Isfahan, one which included Qizilbash and Georgian/Circassian troops. Two years later, in A. D.1713, another Persian army commanded by Rustam Khán was defeated by the rebels, refusing the title of king, Mirwais was called Prince of Qandahár and General of the national troops by his Afghan countrymen.
He died peacefully in November 1715 from natural causes and was succeeded by his brother Abdul Aziz, in 1720, Mahmuds Afghan forces crossed the deserts of Sistan and captured Kerman. His plan was to conquer the Persian capital, after defeating the Persian army at the Battle of Gulnabad on March 8,1722, he proceeded to and besieged Isfahan for 6 months, after which it fell. On October 23,1722, Sultan Husayn abdicated and acknowledged Mahmud as the new Shah of Persia, the majority of the Persian people, rejected the Afghan regime as usurpers from the start. For the next seven years until 1729, the Hotaks were the de facto rulers of most of Persia, the Hotak dynasty was a troubled and violent one from the very start as internecine conflict made it difficult to establish permanent control. On the other hand, the Afghans had suppressed by the Iranian Safavid government represented by its governor Gurgin Khan before their uprising in 1709. Nader Shah had driven out and banished the remaining Ghilji forces from Persia and began enlisting some the Abdali Afghans of Farah, Nader Shahs forces conquered Kandahar in 1738
The ethnonym Afghan has been used in the past to denote a member of the Pashtuns, and that usage still persists in some places in Afghanistan. The name Afghanistan is a derivation from the ethnonym Afghan, originally in the loose meaning land of the Pashtuns, in the 3rd century, the Sassanids mentioned an eastern tribe called Abgân, which is attested in its Arabic form Afġān in the 10th century Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam. Through the nineteenth century, the term Afghan was used by writers as a synonym for Pashtun. Since the Afghan Constitution of 1964, Afghan officially refers to every citizen of the state of Afghanistan, the Encyclopædia Iranica explains, From a more limited, ethnological point of view, Afġān is the term by which the Persian-speakers of Afghanistan designate the Paštūn. The term Afġān has probably designated the Paštūn since ancient times, under the form Avagānā, this ethnic group is first mentioned by the Indian astronomer Varāha Mihira in the beginning of the 6th century in his Brhat-samhita.
Hiven Tsiang, a Chinese Buddhist pilgrim visiting the Afghanistan area several times between 630 and 644 CE, speaks about the tribes inhabiting the region. According to scholars such as V. Minorsky, W. K, the word Afghan has appeared in the 982 Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam, where a reference is made to a village. Saul, a pleasant village on a mountain, Saul was probably located near Gardez, in the Paktia province of Afghanistan. Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam speaks of a king in Ninhar, who shows a public display of conversion to Islam, even though he has over 30 wives, which are described as Muslim, Afghan and it should be noted that some of these names were used as geographical terms. For example, Hindu has been used historically as a term to describe someone who was native from the general region known as Hindustan or the Indian subcontinent. Al-Utbi, the Ghaznavid chronicler, in his Tarikh-i Yamini records that many Afghans, the Afghans and Khiljis who resided among the mountains having taken the oath of allegiance to Subooktugeen, many of them were enlisted in his army, after which he returned in triumph to Ghizny.
In the 11th century, Afghans are mentioned in Al-Birunis Tarikh-ul Hind and it is recorded that Afghans were enrolled in the Ghurid Kingdom. By the beginning of the Khilji dynasty in 1290, Afghans have been known in northern India. Ibn Battuta, a famous Moroccan traveler, visiting Afghanistan following the era of the Khilji dynasty in 1333 writes and we travelled on to Kabul, formerly a vast town, the site of which is now occupied by a village inhabited by a tribe of Persians called Afghans. They hold mountains and defiles and possess considerable strength, and are mostly highwaymen and their principal mountain is called Kuh Sulayman. It is told that the prophet Sulayman ascended this mountain and having looked out over India, from this marriage many children were born, among whom were two sons famous in history. The one Lodhi, the other Sur, who each, subsequently, in the writings of the 17th-century Pashto poet Khushal Khattak, it states Pull out your sword and slay any one, that says Pashtun and Afghan are not one.
Arabs know this and so do Romans, Afghans are Pashtuns, Pashtuns are Afghans, the last part of the name -stān is a Persian suffix for place of, the Pashto translation of which is stogna prominent in many languages of Asia
Name of Afghanistan
The name Afghānistān means land of the Afghans, which originates from the ethnonym Afghan. Historically, the name Afghan mainly designated the Pashtun people, the largest ethnic group of Afghanistan, the earliest reference to the name is found in the 10th-century geography book known as Hudud ul-alam. The last part of the name, -stān is a Persian suffix for place, in 1857, in his review of J. W. Kayes The Afghan War, Friedrich Engels describes Afghanistan as, an extensive country of Asia. Between Persia and the Indies, and in the direction between the Hindu Kush and the Indian Ocean. It formerly included the Persian provinces of Khorassan and Kohistan, together with Herat, Beluchistan and Sinde, and its principal cities are Kabul, the capital, Ghuznee and Kandahar. Afghanistan was officially recognized as a state by the international community after the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 was signed. Arabs know this and so do Romans, Afghans are Pashtuns, Pashtuns are Afghans, pashtunization has been going on in the region since at least the 8th century.
It is a process of a cultural or linguistic change in which something non-Pashtun becomes Pashtun, according to Tarikh-i Yamini, Afghans enrolled in Sabuktigins Ghaznavid Empire in the 10th century as well as in the Ghurid Kingdom. From the beginning of the Khilji dynasty in 1290, Afghans are becoming more recognized in history among the Delhi Sultanate of India. The Lodi dynasty and Sur dynasty of Delhi were both made up of Afghans, whose rule stretched to as far as what is now Bangladesh in the east. The word Afghan is mentioned in the form of Abgan in the third century CE by the Sassanians and as Avagana in the 6th century CE by Indian astronomer Varahamihira. A people called the Afghans are mentioned several times in a 10th-century geography book, Hudud al-alam, particularly where a reference is made to a village, Saul, a pleasant village on a mountain. Al-Biruni referred to them in the 11th century as various tribes living on the frontier mountains of the Indus River. They hold mountains and defiles and possess considerable strength, and are mostly highwaymen and their principle mountain is called Kuh Sulayman.
The name Afghanistan is mentioned in writing by the 16th century Mughal ruler Babur, the road from Khorasān leads by way of Kandahār. It is a level road, and does not go through any hill-passes. In the country of Kābul there are many and various tribes and its valleys and plains are inhabited by Tūrks, Aimāks, and Arabs. In the city and the part of the villages, the population consists of Tājiks*
History of Afghanistan
The Indus Valley Civilisation stretched up to large parts of Afghanistan in the north, with several sites being known. Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army arrived at what is now Afghanistan in 330 BCE after conquering Persia during the Battle of Gaugamela, Afghanistan has been a strategically important location throughout history. The land served as a gateway to India, impinging on the ancient Silk Road, the archaeological manifestation of the Indo-Iranians before their split into separate language groups is generally seen as the Andronovo culture to the north of present-day Afghanistan. The Iranian languages were developed by one branch of these people, elena E. Kuzmina argues that the tents of Iranian-speaking nomads of Afghanistan developed from the light surface houses of the Eurasian steppe belt in the Bronze Age. The Arab invasions influenced the culture of Afghanistan, and its period of Zoroastrian, Buddhist. Turkic empire-builders such as the Ghaznavids and Timurids made the now called Afghanistan of major importance.
Mirwais Hotak followed by Ahmad Shah Durrani unified Afghan tribes and founded the last Afghan Empire in the early 18th century CE, a cave called Kara Kamar contained Upper Paleolithic blades Carbon-14 dated at 34,000 years old. Farming communities in Afghanistan were among the earliest in the world, archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation in Afghanistan from as far back as 50,000 BC. The artifacts indicate that the people were small farmers and herdsmen, very probably grouped into tribes. Urbanization may have begun as early as 3000 BCE, Zoroastrianism predominated as the religion in the area, even the modern Afghan solar calendar shows the influence of Zoroastrianism in the names of the months. Other religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism flourished later, leaving a mark in the region. Early inhabitants, around 3000 BCE were likely to have been connected through culture and trade to neighboring civilizations like Jiroft and Tappeh Sialk and the Indus Valley Civilization. Urban civilization may have begun as early as 3000 BCE and it is possible that the city of Mundigak was a colony of the nearby Indus Valley Civilization.
The first known people were Indo-Iranians, but their date of arrival has been estimated widely from as early as about 3000 BCE to 1500 BCE, the Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization extending from what today is northwest Pakistan to northwest India and northeast Afghanistan. An Indus Valley site has found on the Oxus River at Shortugai in northern Afghanistan. Apart from Shortughai is Mundigak another notable site, there are several other smaller IVC colonies to be found in Afghanistan as well. The Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex became prominent in the southwest region between 2200 and 1700 BCE, the city of Balkh was founded about this time. It is possible that the BMAC may have been an Indo-European culture, but the standard model holds the arrival of Indo-Aryans to have been in the Late Harappan which gave rise to the Vedic civilization of the Early Iron Age