|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)|
Mention by Panini
V S Agarwal  writes about Pūga – [p.437]: Puga was less developed than a regular Ayudhajivi Sangha, but better organized than a Vrāta. Kashika makes Puga a species of Sangha composed of members of different castes without any regular occupation, but probably of a peaceful character intent on earning money (V.3.112).
Grāmanī constitution of Puga - Sutra (V.3.112) throws light on the nature and constitution of Puga. It shows that Pugas derived their names in two ways; some were named after their leader or Gramani and some from other circumstances. The Kashika mentions Lohadhvaja, Chātaka and Sibi as Pugas whose names were not derived from those of their leaders. But Devadattaka and Yjñadattaka are given a typical names of Pugas called after the name of their Gramani. Thus those who recognized Devadatta as their Gramani were called Devadattakaḥ.
[p.438]: This custom is still prevailing in the north-west. Many of the Pathan tribes or khels are named after their ancestral leaders corresponding to ancient Gramanis. Isazai, Yusufzai both living on the banks of the Indus, are names of this type. The name of Puga as derived from its original Gramani founder continued later on through generations.
The association of Puga with Gramani in Panini’s Sutra points to their definite geographical area. We are told in Mahabharata that the warlike Grāmaṇīyas, i.e. clans named after their Garamanis, lived on the banks of Indus and they fought against Nakula in his western campaign. (Sindhu-kulasrita ye cha gramanya mahabala, Sabhaparva, 32.9).
We may thus locate the Puga type of Sanghas organized under Garamani leaders in the tribal area to the west of the Indus. Panini names some of these war like tribes of the north-west frontier, e.g. Aśani (V.3.117), Shinwāris with their parent stock of the Kārshbuns, to be identified with Kārshāpaṇas in the same Gana, the Āprītas or Aparītas (IV.2.53) , same as Greek Aparytai, modern Afridis.
The Pathans are an ancient people, settled in their original homeland, the country of Pakthas or Pakteys (country Paktyike) mentioned as being in the north-west India by Herodotus, from which Pakhtun is derived.
Several ancient Sanskrit names in Ganas correspond to name of these clans, e.g. Pavindas (IV.1.110) corresponding to modern Powindas settled in Gomal valley, armed tribesmen formerly occupying the Wana plain, and Vanavyas (IV.1.99, people of the Vanāyu country), corresponding to the people of wide open Wana Valley in the north of Gomal River.
These clans (Pugas) are still governed by their council of Elders.
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