Experiences of Revenge as Reflected in the Pashto Short Story
2010 (English)In: Best Served Cold: Studies on Revenge / [ed] Sheila C. Bibb & Daniel Escandell Montiel, Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press , 2010, 153-161 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Approaching a decade of US/NATO military engagement in Afghanistan, the scholarly interest over the area has gradually reawakened. However, emphasis has though mainly been directed towards the political and social implications of war, while cultural functions and expressions still remain by and large unexplored. This is especially true about the Pashtun community. Research has suggested that revenge, included under the Pashto concept of badal, is an essential element constituting Pashtun identity. Badal, which is part of a larger set of unwritten tribal codes of honour called pashtūnwalī, does not apply to a neutral conception of revenge but is more related to the ‘defence of honour’. Previous studies, as well as the media, have often emphasised this idea rather incautiously, stressing desire of revenge or vindictiveness to be a main characteristic of this group’s collective identity. Far from being a static phenomenon, pashtūnwalī displays great variation of observance depending on both temporal and local context. This study engages the contemporary Pashto short story genre, being the most popular and widely practised type of modern narrative prose fiction among the Pashtuns, and explores how the concept of revenge is formulated upon within this type of texts. The study delves into the question whether revenge, considering that modern Pashto literature is mainly an urban reality, is narrated according to its traditional denotation of ‘defending honour’, or if a more neutral or materialistic type of revenge may be discerned. It will also investigate whether revenge is a typical characteristic of Pashtun life, as has been proposed in prior descriptions, or if it is a theme of only peripheral occurrence. Searching for keywords related to ‘revenge’ in Pashto short stories published on the Internet followed by a close reading analysis of each entrance, an assessment of the urban Pashtun view upon revenge may be deduced.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press , 2010. 153-161 p.
Revenge, Pashto, Short story, Pashtunwali, Pashtun, badal, Taliban
Languages and Literature
Research subject Iranian Languages
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-134484ISBN: 978-1-84888-043-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-134484DiVA: diva2:372644
1st Global Conference: Revenge, Oxford, Mansfield College, July 2010.