A thirteenth-century description of Pashtuns

Pashtuns appeared as a strange, novel and fearsome body of people to Minhaj al-Siraj Juzjani, the author of Tabaqat-i-Nasiri who was born in the Ghurid capital city of Firuzkuh and passed his childhood in the harem of a Ghurid princess. He gives the awe-struck description of Pashtun soldiers in the service of Ulugh Khan (the future Sultan Balban) as follow:- 

 “The defenders of truth, in conformity with Ulugh Khan-i-Azam’s commands, penetrated into all the loftiest places, into the defiles, and deep ravines, and acquired heads and captives, and became filled with property and money, especially the sept of Afghans, every one of whom you might say was some huge elephant with [the tails of] two Khita-i bulls over his shoulders, or some tall tower of a fortress, placed on its summit, for the purpose of over-awing, with banner displayed. The number of them, employed in the service of, and attending the stirrup of, Ulugh Khan-i-Azam, was about 3,000 horse and foot, daring, intrepid, and valiant soldiers, each one of whom, either on mountain or in forest, would take a hundred Hindus in his grip, and, in a dark night, would reduce a demon to helplessness.” (Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, English translation by H.G.Raverty, Vol-2, p-852) 

 Original Farsi text of the above passage from Tabaqat-i-Nasiri (edited by Abdul Hai Habibi) :-




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