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The Origins of Pashto

Coronation of Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1747 by Breshna
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Pashto is a language spoken by some 40 million people. It is the national language of Afghanistan and the Frontier Province and is also spoken in a part of Baluchisrtan. This language is not only related to the Indo-Germanic languages and has close affinities to old Aryan languages such as Sanskrit and Zind (Avesta) but is also considered by scholars as a link between the Indian and Iranian languages which remains spoken in Afghanistan.
Among the ancient words the words Arya, Aryana Veja and Arya Warsha, whose roots are present and used in Pashto, are in use today.[i] From this we see that the language has closeness to the original Aryan language, which according to Gustave Le Bon, was named Arek. Just as Sanskrit and Zend were derived from this original language in India and Old Persian in Persia, Pashto also takes its roots from Arek directly and it is spoken in the valleys of southern Hindu Kush mountains as far as the Indus River and in Seistan. According to Trumpp and Darmisterer it serves as the link between the languages spoken in India and Persia. It has closeness in words and grammatical structure to both Sanskrit and Avesta.
Pashto’s Name
Pashto is a language associated with the Pashtun nation and this name has been mentioned in Rig Veda as Paktas and it has a direct link with Bakhdi or Bakhti, which in Avesta was the name of Bactria. After that Herodotos, the Greek historian, has has called it Paktees and Paktwees,[ii] and Ptolmmey has written it as Pakteen. Hence the name of Pashto has been derived from (Pakhat-Paktwees-Pakteen) and it is pronounced as Pashto and Pakhto. In Veda it is equivalent to the (خ kh) of Avesta and (ک k) of Greek. Even to this day Pashtoon is pronounced with the letter (ش sheeen) and Pakhtun with the letter (خ khe).

[i] The word Arya comes from the root Arah meaning pure and agriculture. Veja at the present time in Pashto is present in the form of Avejah meaning land. Warsha in Pashto is varsho which means an elevated and suitable place.
[ii] In Pashto literature this name has been mentioned as Pashtunkhwa.
Source:
http://alamahabibi.com/English%20Articles/E-The_Language_and_Literature_of.htm

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