Jun 9, 2012
The Nuristani people
are an ethnic group native to the Nuristan region of eastern Afghanistan. The Nuristanis are a people whose ancestors practised what was apparently an ancient Indo-Iranian polytheistic religion until they were conquered and converted to Islam in the late 19th century by Emir Abdur Rahman Khan. In the mid 1890s, he conducted a campaign in Kafiristan and followed up his conquest with forcible conversions, the region thenceforth being known as Nuristan, the "Land of Light". Non-Muslim religious practices endure today to some degree as folk customs. In their native rural areas, which was referred to by the local Muslims as Kafiristan before the 19th century, they are often farmers, herders, and dairymen.
The Nuristani are distinguished from the Kalash of Chitral by their adoption of Islam and territory within Afghanistan.
In 4th century BC, Alexander the Great's historians encountered them and reduced them after a stubborn and prolonged fight and described them as being distinct culturally and religiously from other peoples of the region.
The Nuristani were formerly classified into "Siah-Posh (''black-robed'') Kafirs" and "Safed-Posh (''white robed'')/Lall-Posh (''Red-Robed'') Kafirs". Timur fought with and was humbled by the Siah-Posh Kafirs. Babur advised not to tangle with them. Genghis Khan passed by them. In the 19th century, it was typical of the Kafirs to boast about having killed the sons of Ali.
The region is so called "Kafiristan" as the surrounding populations were converted to Islam, the people in this region retained themselves, thus known as "Kafirs".The Arabic word ''"Kufr"'' means not only to disbelieve, but also to blaspheme, and therefore, its derivative ''"Kafir"'' means one who commits blasphemy against Allah in the Islamic tradition. The "Kafir" here is used to refer to their being non-Muslims and the Nurestan province was hence known as Kafiristan, before the majority were forcefully converted to Islam during Abdur Rahman Khan's rule around 1895. They are now known as Nuristani. However, they have retained some of their old customs and traces of their previous beliefs, which is considered incompatible with the new belief and is disappearing.
"Kafir" has also been traced to ''Kapiś'' (= ''Kapish''), the ancient Sanskrit name of the region that included historic Kafiristan; which is also given as "Ki-pin" (or ''Ke-pin, Ka-pin, Chi-pin'') in old Chinese chronicles. That name, unrelated to the Arabic word, is believed to have mutated at some point into the word ''Kapir''. ''Kapiś'', the name of the people of Kapiś/Kapiśa, is believed to have changed to Kapir and then Kafir, because of the lack of 'p' in Arabic. This is similar to how Parsi changed to Farsi.
However, it is also certain that the word "Kafiristan" was used much later after occupation of the region by Muslims and was not referred to as "Kafiristan" prior to occupation and local conversions.
Most of the former Hindu Kush Kafir people are considered the ancestors of the Nuristanis. Led by the Koms tribe, the Nuristani were the first citizens of Afghanistan to successfully revolt against the communist overthrow of their government in 1978. Thereafter, Nuristan remained a scene of some of the bloodiest guerrilla fighting with the Soviet forces from 1979 through 1989. The Nuristanis inspired others to fight and contributed to the demise of the Afghan communist regime in 1992..
There is a large number of these people live in Chitral, Pakistan the eastern border of Nuristan. Most of these people are from the KATA Family and Janaderi Branch. There are other tribes as well, some of these people are live in Ozhor (recent Karimabad), Gobor, Buburat, Ayun, Broze, Drosh,Mastuj and other part of Chitral. There is very popular Rock (Stone) associated with KATA tribe located in Karimabad (Juwara) called KATA BOHT (Kata is the name of the trible normally they associated with the Headtribe and BOHT is stone in Chitrali Language). They are physically strong, brave,light hair, eyes, and skin like other Nuristani. Now they normally use Kuraishi with their names.
Some of these tribes include:
Source : wn.com/nuristan
at 11:32 PM