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Journals & Publications

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J. BAILY., Amin-e Diwaneh - Musician as Madman
While engaged in research on the long-necked lute called Herati dutar in 1974, I was frequently told about a virtuoso dutari (dutar player) who had died a few years earlier after a fight with a gang of 'thugs' in the city of Kandahar. His name was Amin-e Diwaneh. The Persian word diwaneh means 'crazy', and was applied to people who (in terms of Western psychiatry) might be classed as 'insane', though the cause of insanity was usually attributed to spirit possession. Diwaneh was also a description for individuals who were particularly erratic in their behaviour, and was often used affectionately. Amin the dutari was such a person.

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M.A. MILLS & A. A. AHRARY., Folklore of Afghanistan

In Afghanistan in the 20th century, as in Persia until recently, a predominantly oral culture has long mingled with an established, elaborate literary tradition, both religious and secular, including prose and verse forms of verbal art. Additionally, most forms of traditional technical knowledge, as well as values, customs and beliefs in daily life, are primarily mediated orally (e.g. in proverbs and aphorisms) and by shared social practice and formal and informal apprenticeships, rather than by documents. Traditional formal education, purveying various forms of reading and writing competence, is or was also heavily dependent on oral memory techniques; thus, what might be deemed "folklore" or oral tradition is pervasive in daily life and implicated in literary practices.


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T. MOREMAN., Army in India & Frontier Warfare 1914-1939

Between 1849 and 1947 the inhabitants of the mountainous no-man's-land located between the administered areas of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Afghanistan posed an insistent threat to the security of British India. In many respects this local and immediate problem of tribal control overshadowed the more distant threat of war with Afghanistan or the USSR on this most sensitive strategic frontier of the British Empire, tying down large numbers of British and Indian troops in a long series of inconclusive skirmishes and major campaigns. What was known to generations of imperial soldiers as alternatively hill warfare, tribal warfare, mountain warfare or most commonly frontier warfare had distinctive characteristics and was the most prevalent form of actual fighting carried out by British and Indian troops.

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M. MARSDEN., Muslim Village Intellectuals: Life of the Mind in Northern Pakistan

Chitral is Pakistan's northern most administrative district, and a part of the North West Frontier province. It is a poor and relatively remote region; in winter all roads to the region are blocked by snow. Chitral is different in many ways from other regions of the Frontier. The Frontier is dominated politically and numerically by Pashto-speaking Pukhtuns, who have been the focus of sustained research in anthropology. Yet most if not all Chitral people, who call themselves Chitrali or Kho, are proud to assert that they are different in profoundly important ways from their Pashtun neighbours.

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H. SIDKY., Malangs, Sufis and Mystics, An Ethnographic and Historical Study of Shamanism in Afghanistan

The student of shamanism, whether in Afghanistan or elsewhere in Central Asia, must come to terms with the imprecise and indiscriminate use of the term "shaman" in the ethnographic literature. The term " shaman " is derived from the Tungusian word saman or vaman. It is now widely used by anthropologists to refer to a basic configuration of beliefs and practices which appears cross-culturally among geographically distant societies. This basic configuration finds different expression from one culture to the next.

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