Friday, 8 June 2007

Panjshir in the Mirror of Civilization

(Part One)

Written by Salar Azizpour

Translated by: Abdul Ali Faiq


Our country (Khorasan of yesterday, and Afghanistan of today) generally, and its provinces and villages, specially, has not been introduced fully and sufficiently. Of course, some effort was paid, but was not verified and exhibited the real face of our civilization, identification and cultural glories. Therefore, we did our best to work on (Panjshir in the Mirror of Civilization), and this piece of work will be a good start or introduction of our rich cultural background.


Panjshir is an historical and beautiful province inside Afghanistan. The green valley with its magical and graceful river makes the province much attractive and splendid; mountains dominate the landscape, forming a terrigenous skeleton, traversing the all part of the valley. You can see very clearly the beauty, greenish, grace, love, warmness, bravery, affection, respect, hospitability, normality, sincerity, loyalty, calmness, and great civilization appearances everywhere in the valley!

Panjshir is one of the thirty-four Province of Afghanistan. It was established April 13, 2004. Its population is 307,620, and its area is 3,610 square kilometres. Its Centre is Bazarak. . Panjshir is an extended Province which starting from Gulbahar, a district of Parwan and stretched up to the mountains in south of Badakhshan province. Panjshir Province is located in the north of Parwan province and at distance of 100 km from Kabul city which is about a 2-hours drive. The road, alongside the river in the valley, is rough and narrow and at most of the points two vehicles can not cross each other easily. A lively river passes through the valley. The people have resided at one side and at some places at either side of the river. There are also some sub-valleys at the sides of the main valley. Comparing its area, Panjshir is less populated.


Panjshir is surrounded from north by Badakhshan, Takhar and Baghlan provinces, from south by Nejraab, Saanjaan and Kohistan, and from west by Shotel. The valley is 705 kilometres length, and has 137 villages or boroughs. Panjshir valley was divided formally in to four districts. First district, (1) Hisa-e-Awal, Second district, (2) Hisa-e-Dowom, Third district (3) Hisa-e-Suwom and Fourth district(4)Hisa-e-Chaharum, the four districts in Panjshir valley, respectively (separately). Every district has its own structure and administration. Panjshir Hesa-e-Suwom district is located at the center of the valley, called Rukha. There are a total of 40 villages. The biggest villages of the district are Shast, Hesarak, Peyawash, Bakhsi Khail, Maristan, Qabizan, Manjahor, Astana and Sangwana. Panjshir is one of the north eastern of Afghanistan provinces.

Ethnic Composition and language:

The official language of Panjshir is Farsi (Parsi) (Persian). All the population of Panjshir are speaking in Farsi. Tajaks and Hazaras are living in Panjshir Province, there are some (Pashton) Kochi tribes who are travelling via the Valley every year to the Khawak Mountains with their cattle and living the spring’s season there, and returning on the winter season to their original places. All people in Panjshir are Muslim.

Historical Background:

Panjshir is one of the historical Valleys according to our ancestors and historical narrators which the story and glory of Panjshir Valley was transformed heart to heart, and generation to generation. Panjshiri people believe according to their narrators ancestors that, the valley of Panjshir was “Kajken or Kachkena” before of Ghaznavid Empire (*). They are giving the reference and evidence of Shanama Ferdowsi (*) poems while Zal (*) advised his son Rustam (*) as the following poems:

You must not go to the Kajken oh my son!

Your quadruped (four-footed animal) will be destroy (falling in pieces)

And has a very frightful and powerful river

And hasn’t have any grasses only sharp stones!

If we accept the above mentioned theory or story that, the name of Panjshir Valley was “Kajken or Kachkena” before of the Ghaznavid Empire. Than, how and when the name of Panjshir formed (Panjshir)? Of course, we will find the answer of this question according to our ancestors and stories which was narrated to them and, they transferred to us in the course of the history.

How Panjshir got Panjshir name?

In Ghaznavid Empire period, while Sultan Mahmood Ghaznawi wanted (intended) to build the Baand (dam) of Sultan, all people was invited, from far and near of Afghanistan for building the Baand (dam). Panjshiri people, had selected or had chosen five persons from the Valley, and sent them for building the Baand (dam). While, they stared to work, they worked very hardly, uniquely and astonishingly! When, Sultan Mahmood Ghaznawi saw them, they were working very surprisingly and fantastically, then he called them Panjshir (Five Lions) .Subsequently, the Valley was named as Panjshir (Five Lions).Presently, the shrines (tombs) of these five lions are in different places in Panjshir Valley .Such as: (1) Khoja Abraham, in Dar band (2) Khoja Safa, in Do ahab (3) Khoja Walyan, in Tel (4) Khoja Aaref, in Aareb (5) Khoja Ahmad Bashar, in Astana.

Historical Evidences:

  • As we know currently that “Panj” means five, and “Sher” means lion .It is generally means Five Lions.

In other hand, from ethnical point of view, the terminology of Panjshir, mentioned in some historical book as Panj-hir, and divided in 2 parts: Panj, means (Five) Hir has a different meanings. Most confidently, (Hir) means {Fire} and also one the orientalist Mr. Tames Darmsteter (*) translated Hir {Fire} .It means (Five Fires)

· In other mythology evidence, Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta described (*) (Hir) as a mountain. In term of Panjshir, the word of Panj, means Five, and (Hir) means Mountins {Five Mountains}

· In other mythology justification, (Hir) was indicated to the (Water) In Awastahi and Pahlawi language {Hir} means water or extreme of water.


From the historical facts, stories and ancestors which mentioned and narrated are: Five Rivers, Five Mountains, Five Fires, and Five Lions {men} .All these above mentioned phenomena obviously and physically exist in Panjshir Province (Valley).

We can identify or justify the five Kotals (hills) or mountains such as: (1) Kotal Baba Ali, (2) Kotal Nil Gaw, (3) Kotal Farajghan, (4) Kotal Shaba (5) Kotal Par Nadaw. Or if we link five rivers which are added to the Panjshir River .Such as: (1) River of Shaba, (2) River of Paranda, (3) River of Khawak, (4) River of Hazara, (5) River of Paranday,

What we were mentioned about Panjshir Province is a humble piece of work and needs further and more scientific, mythological and historical work to be done .This is {Just} the begging of the journey of researchers and will be completed by other scholars and researchers soon or later.


(*)Shahnameh (The Epic of Kings) composed in the 10th century by Ferdowsi is the Crown Jewel of the Persian literature.

(*)The most famous hero of the great Persian Epic of the Kings, Shahname, by Firdaus (completed in 1010 CE/400 AH).

(*)In Persian mythology, the father of the hero Rustam. Zal was raised by Simurgh in the mountains.

(*)The Ghaznavid Empire was a Sunni Muslim state inn the region of today’s Afghanistan. That existed from 962 to 1187.

(*)Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta, also known as Shams ad - Din, was born at Tangier, Morocco.

(*)The orientalist Mr. Tames Darmsteter, French scholar noted for ancient Iranian language studies, especially his English and French translations of the Avesta, the sacred scripture of Zoroastrianism.


Anonymous said...

It is such a beautiful weblog!Afghanistan is proud of you Mr.Faiq


Anonymous said...

I now realize how Panjshir is great and has great personalities!