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Pashtun Tales From the Pakistan-Afghan Border by Aisha Ahmad, Roger Boase

Pashtun Tales From the Pakistan-Afghan Border



Pashtun Tales From the Pakistan-Afghan Border by Aisha Ahmad, Roger Boase

These oral tales were collected in the tribal areas on the Pakistan-Afghan frontier, a region described as the last free place on earth. It was here that the caravan routes from Persia, India and China once converged. With their blend of wit, fantasy, comedy and romance, they reflect the Pashtun code of honour and way of life that are now seriously threatened by social changes and recent political events. Most of them, such as the epic tale of Hazrat Ali, have never been recorded before, and might otherwise have been lost forever. Some are recognisable as universal types, such as a version of Androcles and the Lion and of the tale that provided Shakespeare with the plot of King Lear .


'Witty, macabre, beautiful and poignant ... populated by dozy princes and charming demons, these ancient tales are characterised by yearning: the desire for a past Eden to become a future utopia.'
Independent On Sunday

'The first substantial anthology of Pashtun tales, scrupulously edited. The stories retain a power to charm and shock by turns.'
Irish Times

'The authors of this volume have performed a great service. This utterly charming, beautifully illustrated book is wonderful food for the imagination.'
The Tablet

'Essential reading for anyone who wishes to challenge the thesis that world cultures are in a state of inevitable clash. Great fun besides.'
Akbar Ahmed, American University, USA

'All the passion, devotion, humour, and wisdom of Pashtun society can be read in the tales in this collection.'
Andre Singer, Adjunct professor of Anthropology, University of Southern California and author Lords of the Khyber

'Reading this, I felt I was sitting about a campfire high in the Hindu Kush mountains, listening to tales full of enchantment and laughter. An excellent and well-crafted work that I recommend to everyone.'
Eric Margolis, author of War at the Top of the World

About the Author

Roger Boase is an honorary research fellow at Queen Mary College, University of London. He is the author of The Origin and Meaning of Courtly Love: the Troubadour Revival and many articles on Muslim Spain. Aisha Ahmad obtained her PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has worked as a consultant for the World Health Organization.

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Book Info

Publication date

29th April 2008


Aisha Ahmad, Roger Boase

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Saqi Books


368 pages


Anthologies (non-poetry)
Folklore, myths & legends



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