(The following text is a translation by Dr. Mahino Fatima of an excerpt from the Kabul Diaries, written by Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi)
The land between Iran and India is inhabited by people speaking a particular language, Pashto. These people are called Poshtana in Persian and Pathan in Hindi, because they show elements of different races like Turkish, Arab, Greek, Armenian, Jews and Persian. But, according to our study, understanding and research, we consider these people as a part of ancient Indian civilization and that ‘Pashto’ (their language) has evolved from Sanskrit. Study of historical evidence reveals that these people joined the army of Sultan Mahmood when he defeated Raja Jaipal of Lahore and annexed the region. Hindu temples still exist in these areas. They did not become the part of regular army then, and later accepted Islam during the reign of Shahabuddin Ghauri.
Grammar of Pashto has more similarities with Sanskrit than Persian. The rules governing gender and countables are much similar to Hindi than to Persian.
Pashto follows Hindi in few of its rules. In Pashto there is an alphabet which is pronounced ‘SHIIN’ by some tribes and ‘KHE’ by the others. This alphabet is also found in Hindi alphabetical order. Many pathan tribes are known by the names which are similar to the names of Hindu communities, or castes, in India. Like Lodhi are the people of the same tribe. In Qandhar these people profess Islam while in Balochistan they follow Hinduism.
(Author is a biologist with an interest in Muslim history, politics and culture)