Afghan Culture Invading City


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culture invading City


March 22, 2000  Wednesday
Peshawar Diary
By Mansoor Ahmed

Peshawar - The culture and lifestyle brought by Afghan refugees is invading Peshawar as the refugees have not come over here alone

The comparatively new breed of mostly Persian speaking Afghans, more enlightened and liberal in their outlook and lifestyle is quickly changing the local old mode of life. After being uprooted by war in their country, these Afghans have settled mostly in the city's western parts such as Hayatabad Township, Nasirbagh, Tehkal, Danishabad, Jamrud Road and numerous other localities.

The Afghan families have brought with them traditional Kabul life and its typical culture by keeping them away from local cultural life. They have set up their own schools, clinics, restaurants, music centres, dental clinics, health centres, garment shops etc, more visible on main university road giving glimpses of a new life.  This is indeed, an unusual phenomenon for the natives as a new social set up is fast emerging with the arrival of relatively cultured class of Afghan people. A distinct feature of all this is that there is not much distinction between the men and women as both of them are equally modernised and equally sharing normal life activity in an alien land.

Through, a large member of Kabulis have taken shelter is some of urban and suburban localities like Afghan colony, Zaryab Colony, Faqirabad, Haji Camp, Sethi Town, Kohat Road, Dilazak road, Charsadda road etc. The western parts of the city however remain major areas of their concentration giving a typical Persianised Kabul look. Unlike old Afghan refugees long settled in the city who hail from rural Afghanistan, the Persian speaking population is more educated, well-mannered, highly cultured, modern and some of them ultra modern.

There is a marked difference between two kinds of refugees who came earlier and those who came later running from war in their homeland. This sharp difference can be defined in terms of rural and urban divide.

The relatively new comers wearing modern dresses and speaking, Persian have made shopping centres, business and commercial places on the main University Road, as main hub of their activities. The whole area, parks, Roads, and other public places are frequented by Afghan families the day and night. The beautiful and distinct features of the ladies and girls covering heads and bodies with black gowns or sheets are some of refreshing scenes in our totally male-dominated society.

According to some careful estimates over 50 per cent of Kabuli Afghan women are educated. A fairly good number of them have opened their own schools and English language centres in rented premises.  These war-affected people in fact, have made their own world in a short time eversince they fled Kabul.

Moreover, delicious Afghan food like pulao, grilled meat, chicken soup, tikka Kabab, special salad and other tasty items, are slurred in the restaurants they run. Even the natives now prefer to dine out at these neat and clean restaurants whose mushroom growth has largely upset the locals running their food business. Quality-wise, the locals cannot compete Afghanis in the food business.

In fact, most of Afghanis eversince they left their homeland did not sit idle and some how managed to involve themselves in earning their own livelihood to feed their families. It was, of course, a challenging and difficult task for these displaced people which they successfully accepted and braved amidst heavy odds.

A significant aspect of Persian speaking Afghan populace is quick popularity of Persian language. Several shops, hotels, restaurants, commercial places owned by Pakistanis are displaying signboards in Persian to attract their Afghan customers.   The local people on the occasions of family weddings and similar other engagements prefer to invite Afghan singers and dancing groups to amuse the guests. The impact of Afghans culture has become so heavy both socially and culturally that time is not far-off when it will completely dominate the natives way of life because of its superiority and competitiveness.




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