Laghman

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Laghman is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the eastern part of the country. In some historical texts the name is written as "Lamghan" or as "Lamghanat". During the invasions of Alexander the Great, the area was known as Lampaka (लम्पक).[1]

Origin of name

Lamba or Lampaka Jats

History

Tej Ram Sharma[2] writes that In the Abhidhana Chintamani and the Vaijayanti the Limpakas are identified with Murundas. The Lampakas are the same as the Lambatai of Ptolemy. The Puranas, mention Lampakas, the people who were residing in Lampaka, the modern Laghman in Afghanistan. Rajasekhara seems to be referring to Lampaka as Limpaka.

Bhim Singh Dahiya [3] mentions Lampakas with the Attris referring to Markandeya Purana 57/39. These Attris are separate from Brahmans of this designation, as the [Mahabharata]] (Bhisma Parva, 10/67) says they were Mlecchas.

Bhim Singh Dahiya [4] mentions that Lamba Jats of India are called Lampakas or Lampas in the Indian literature, although Garuda Purana mentions them as Lamba. Markandeya Purana (Ch.LVII ) mentions them with the Kuserus, Chulikas, etc., as people of the north. The Matsya Purana, too, mentions them. The Mahabharata (Drona Parva, 121/42-43) while mentioning them, seems to indicate their fierce warlike qualities. The Greeks mentioned them as Lambagae. Lassen has identified their habitat as the region of Lambagae, south of Hindu Kush near modern Lamghan. Abhidhana Chintamani of Hema Chandra says, "Lampakastu Murundah Syuh", showing that they were considered Sakas. Murunda is a Saka/Scythian title, meaning 'Chief/Head.

Aramaic inscriptions found in Laghman indicate an ancient trade route from India to Palmyra.[5]

In the seventh century, a Chinese pilgrim Xuan Zang visited Laghman, which he called "Lanpo" and considered part of India. He indicated the presence of Mahayana Buddhists and numerous Hindus.

By the tenth century, Laghman was still connected to the Greater Indian world. Hudud al-'alam which was finished in 982 AD mentioned the presence of some idol worshipping temples in the area.[6]

According to Muslim historian Al Utbi, the region was converted to Islam towards the end of the tenth century by the Ghaznavids, led by Abu Mansur Sabuktigin.

Sabuktigin then won one of his greatest battles in Laghman against the Hindu Shahis whose ruler, Jayapala, had amassed an army for the battle that numbered 100,000.[7] The area later fell to the Ghurids followed by the Khilis and Timurids.

During the early years of the 16th century, the Mughal ruler Babur spent much time in Laghman, and in Baburnama (memoirs of Babur) he expatiated on the beauty of forested hillsides and the fertility of the valley bottoms of the region.[8]

Laghman was recognized as a dependent district of Kabulistan in the Mughal era, and according to Baburnama, "Greater Lamghanat" included the Muslim-settled part of the Kafiristan, including the easterly one of Kunar River. Laghman was the base for expeditions against the non-believers and was frequently mentioned in accounts of jihads led by Mughal emperor Akbar's younger brother, Mohammad Hakim, who was the governor of Kabul.[9]

In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani defeated the Mughals and made the territory part of the Durrani Empire. In the late nineteenth century, Amir Abdur Rahman Khan forced the remaining kafirs (Nuristani people) to accept Islam.

Visit by Xuanzang in 630 & 644 AD

Alexander Cunningham[10] writes about 4. Lamghan: The district of Lan-po, or Lamghan, is noted by Hwen Thsang as being 600 li, or just 100 miles, to the east of Kapisene. He describes the road as a succession of hills and valleys, some of the hills being of great height. This description agrees with all the recent accounts of the route along the northern bank of the river from Opian to Lamghan. The bearing and distance also coincide so exactly with the position of Lamghan that there can be no doubt of the identity of


[p.43]: the two districts. Ptolemy, also, places a people called Lambatae in the very same position. From a comparison of this term with the modern appellation of Lamghan, it seems probable that the original form of the name was the Sanskrit Lampaka. I would, therefore, correct Ptolemy's Lambatae to Lambagae, by the slight change of Γ for T. The modern name is only an abbreviation of Lampaka, formed by the elision of the labial. It is also called Laghman by the simple transposition of the middle consonants, which is a common practice in the East. The credulous Muhammadans derive the name from the patriarch Lamech, whose tomb they affirm still exists in Lamghan. It is noticed by Baber and by Abul Fazl.

The district is described by Hwen Thsang as being only 1000 li, or 166 miles, in circuit, with snowy mountains on the north, and black hills on the other three sides. Prom this account it is clear that Lan-po corresponds exactly with the present Lamghan, which is only a small tract of country, lying along the northern bank of the Kabul river, bounded on the west and east by the Alingar and Kunar rivers, and on the north by the snowy mountains. This small tract is very nearly a square of 40 miles on each side, or 160 miles in circuit. It had formerly been a separate kingdom ; but in the seventh century the royal family was extinct, and the district was a dependency of Kapisene.

In Puranas

Bhim Singh Dahiya[11] writes that The Vayu Purana (47, 44) and the Matsya Purana, (121, 45) mention Lampaka:

सान्ध्रान् स्तुखारान् लम्पकान् पह्लवान् दरदान् छकान्
अताञ्जनापदाञ्चक्षु प्लावयन्ती गतोदधिम्

The Chaksu or Oxus river goes to the sea after irrigating the lands of the Sandhrans (Jats) , Tukharas (Takhar Jats), Lampakas (Lamba Jats), Pahlavas (Pehlavi-Iranians) Daradas (of Kashmir) and Chhakans (Chhikara Jats).

In Vayu Purana and Matsya Purana, the Oxus is mentioned as the river Chakshu, flowing through the countries of Tusharas (Takhar Jat clan) (Rishikas?), Lampakas (Lamba Jat clan, Pahlavas (Pahlawat, Paradas (Parauda Jat clan) and Shakas etc.

Jat History

Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang who visited Kapisa in 644 AD calls it Kai-pi-shi(h). Hiuen Tsang describes Kai-pi-shi[12] as a flourishing kingdom ruled by a Buddhist Kshatriya king holding sway over ten neighboring states including Lampaka, Nagarahara, Gandhara and Banu etc.


External links

References


Back to Jat Places in Afghanistan

  1. The Aramaic Inscription of Asoka Found in Lampāka by W. B. Henning
  2. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Tribes,p.154
  3. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Jat Clan in India, p.245
  4. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Jat Clan in India, p.262
  5. Cultural policy in Afghanistan; Studies and documents on cultural policies; 1975
  6. Annemarie Schimmel. "Islam in India and Pakistan". In CE Bosworth, E van Donzel, B Lewis, Ch. Pellet. The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Volume V. p. 649. ISBN 90-04-07819-3.
  7. The History of India: The Hindu and Mahometan Periods, Mountstuart Elphinstone, p. 321.
  8. Annemarie Schimmel. "Islam in India and Pakistan". In CE Bosworth, E van Donzel, B Lewis, Ch. Pellet. The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Volume V. p. 649. ISBN 90-04-07819-3.
  9. Annemarie Schimmel. "Islam in India and Pakistan". In CE Bosworth, E van Donzel, B Lewis, Ch. Pellet. The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Volume V. p. 649. ISBN 90-04-07819-3.
  10. The Ancient Geography of India/Kabul,pp. 42-43
  11. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/The Jats,p.19
  12. Su-kao-seng-chaun, Chapter 2, (no. 1493); Kai-yuan-lu, chapter 7; Publications, 1904, p 122-123, published by Oriental Translation Fund (Editors Dr T. W. Rhys Davis, S. W. Bushel, London, Royal Asiatic Society).