Real Author of Hayat Afghani - Sher Muhammad Khan Gandapur

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Real Author of Hayat Afghani - Sher Muhammad Khan Gandapur, Muhammad Jamil Hanifi
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, September 16 2005 (

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Real Author of Hayat Afghani - Sher Muhammad Khan Gandapur

Muhammad Jamil Hanifi

Encyclopaedia Iranica

Publishing Date: Friday, September 16 2005

GANDAPUR, Sher Muhammad Khan. b. Mehrdad Khn. b. Azad Khan, author of the Persian Tawarikh e Khorshid e Jahan, an important chronicle containing genealogical accounts and tables of Pashtun/Paxtun tribal groups. He belonged to the Ebrahimzay section of the Gandapur Pashtun tribal segment. His dates of birth and death are not known. He was the mayor of the city of Kulachi in the Dera Ismail Khan district of Northwest Frontier Province for an unspecified period during the third quarter of the 19th century. The book (pp. 304-5) includes explicit reference to events in 1904 and 1905, which makes the actual date of publication 1905 or later and thus raises doubts about the authorship of some portions of the work. It was posthumously published by Sardar Mohammad Hayat Khan, probably the same Mohammad Hayat Khan that the author refers to as his own son (p. 306).

Sher Muhammad claims (p. 2) that when he was mayor of Kulachi, he composed a brief history and genealogy of the Afghans called "Gulshan-e-Afghan" but as he was preparing it for publication, due to the machinations of some government officials, it found its way to Muhammad Hayat Khan (not to be confused with the author's son), an assistant in the Bannu judiciary, who not only appropriated the document but also used it as the basis for his own book Hayat-e-Afghani. It is difficult to judge Gandapur's claim. Portions of Hayat-e-Afghani, however, show clear resemblance to Gandapur's book. Nevertheless, Muhammad Hayat Khan, without specifically naming anyone, refutes a number of Sher Muhammad's assertions, especially those concerning genealogical chronologies and the Gandapur's Pashtun identity and their stipulated descent from Muhammad Gisu Daraz (pp. 279-98).

The Tawarikh e Khorshid e Jahan was reprinted in Peshawar under the title of Tarikh e Khorshid e Jahan. The reprint is not dated but it is likely that it was published after the 1978 revolution in Afghanistan when a lucrative market appeared for reprints and translations of works dealing with Afghanistan and its people. The original publication date and the name of Sardar Muhammad Hayat Khan, who had commissioned the original publication, were omitted from the title page of the reprint. This book along with Muhammad Hayat Khan's Hayat-e-Afghani and Niamatullah's Heravi's Makhzan-e-Afghani are three basic and sometimes contradictory Persian sources for the dynastic history and genealogical accounts of the Pashtuns.


  • Sher Muhammad Khan Gandapur, Tawarikh e Khorshid e Jahan, Lahore, 1894; repr. Peshawar, 1980s
  • S. M. Imamuddin, "The Tarikh e Khan e Jahan i wa Makhzan e Afghani," Islamic Culture 22/2, 1948, pp. 129-42, 22/3, pp. 280-94.
  • Muhammad Hayat Khan, "Hayat e Afghani", tr. H. Priestly as Afghanistan and its Inhabitants, Lahore, 1981.
  • Niamatullah Heravi, "Makhzan e Afghani", ed. and tr. B. Dorn as The History of the Afghans, 2 vols., London 1965. Storey, I, p. 407.

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Real Author of Hayat Afghani - Sher Muhammad Khan Gandapur, Muhammad Jamil Hanifi
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, September 16 2005 (