S. S. Thorburn
From "Bannu: Our Afghan Frontier"
Topic: BraveryAdmiration for physical courage is as innate in a Pathan as an Englishman. In a Pathans eyes a brave man must possess every virtue, but a coward can possess none. Though the moral tone of the maxims collected under the above heading is high and honourable to the people amongst whom they are current, and I believe most of them are so throughout the whole of Eastern Afghanistan, yet with all his gallantry and talk about brave deeds, the Pathan has no knowledge of "fair play", and would think an enemy, who practised it towards him, a generous fool. So foreign is the idea comprised in the above phrase to his mind, so difficult its conception even, that his language contains no equivalent expression, and, though there is a word of treachery (tagi), still it appears to him in most cases merely a skilful taking advantage of an enemy's mistake or weakness. Two instances of recent occurrence will suffice to illustrate what I have now stated. In June 1870, a sepoy guard was butchered, the heads of the different Waziri clans settled in the District were summoned into Edwardesabad (Bannu) and it was explained to them that the revolted clan had committed an outrage of the blackest treachery. None of the assembled chiefs would regard it in that light, but held that, as the section was, or imagined itself to be, aggrieved, and had made up its mind to rebel, the blow was well and nobly struck. Again in the campaign of 1873, between the Darwesh Khel and Mahsud Wazirs, a large party of the former succeeded in surprising some shepherds belonging to the latter, and slaughtered them all, including a woman; and the victorious band, on their return to Bannu, exulted over their cowardly deed, as if it had been a glorious feat of arms. Those who think my remarks unfairly severe should call to mind the incidents of 1841 in Kabul.
- On his forehead is light, whose sword tip is red (with blood)
ځه د توري ووزي ئي سور وي د هغه په ټنده نور وي
That is, he who has killed his man is a fine fellow. Good looks and brave deeds accompany each other.
- One is equal to one hundred, and one hundred to (so much) earth.
يو په سل، او سل په خاورو
One brave man is equal to one hundred cowards.
- Either a brave man wields the sword, or one red from grief (i.e., desperate)
توري يا با تور وهي، يا ئي له غمه سور وهي
- When the wolf gets red, he becomes an ugly customer.
ليوه چه سور کيږي ګنده کيږي
Bannuchis say this of Wazirs, but its general application is that a bad man, whom one has punished or injured, becomes all the more dangerous.
- Shoes are tested on the feet; a man in a row.
پنړي په پښو کښي څرګنديږي او ميړه په بدو کښي بلنګ کيږي
- Against a sword assume a shield, against words a bold front.
توري ته ګنډي نيسه ، خبرو ته تندي نيسه
- Desire a man's disposition, and a lion's heart.
د ميړه خوي او د زمري زړه غواړه
- The sword's fellowship is sweet.
د توري وروري خوږه ده
One brave man admires another.
- Look at a man's deeds, not whether he is tall or short
ميړه په عمل څيروه ، غټ او ووړئي مه څيروه
- The sword is wielded through family
توري په پيډ و هلي شي
That is, its use is almost natural to men of good family, or descended from brave men.
- To a true man his sickle is an Afghan knife.
ميړه چه ميړه وي، لور ئي چاړه وي
- May you rather die in fight, my son, than be disgraced before the enemy.
په تورو مړ شي ځويه نه چه دښمن ته خړ شي ځويه
- The tiger rends his prey, the jackal, too, benefits by it.
زمري ما ته وکه د ګيدړ هم په ښه شي
The jackal is a tiger's attendant, and eats his leavings. The meaning is that a strong man both maintains himself and his dependents.
- The load which the ass won't carry, you yourself will carry.
بار چه خر نه وړي نو په خپله به ئي وړي
When a brave man can't get assistance readily, he sets to work and does without it.
- I would rather be a childless mother, than that you should run from the battle-field
زه د بوره يم خو چه ميدان پرينږدي
Said by a mother to her son.
- Other brave men do not seize on the wealth of him who binds on his arms.
چه و تړي برګونه مال ئي نه خوري نور ميړو نه
- Who passes through in one (case), becomes a lion in another
چه په يوه تير شي په بله شير شي
- Who has the power to fight lays conference aside.
چه اختيار د جنګ لري پوښتنه په څنګ لري
- Although there are many roads, for men there is only one (i.e., the straightest)
لاري ډيري دي خو د ميړو لار يوه ده
- True men are not God, but are not without God either.
ميړونه که خداي نه دي، بي خدايه هم نه دي
That is, though not equal to God, yet receive help from him.
- The spectator is a great hero (i.e., criticizes freely)
نند ارڅي باتور دي
- Though you are of the border, I am of the woods.
که ته د ور غړ يي زه ده ځنګل يم
Means "I am as good a man as you"
- The clod does not miss the dock-eared dog.
لوټه له بوړي سپي نه خطا کيږي
Such dogs are the best fighters, and, when barking at any one, approach so near him that a clod thrown at them is sure to hit; whereas, the common village curs keep, when barking, at a respectful distance. The application is that the more reckless of danger a man is, the greater the chances of his getting hurt.
- For a man, either a swift flight or a swift blow.
د ميړه يا ترپ دي يا ئي خړپ
That is, either "discretion" in running away, "is the better part of valour," or a sudden bold attack.
- If there be not a leader, there won't be a crossing; If there be not Gold, there won't be Eid.
چه سر نه وي ګودر نه وي، چه زر نه وي اختر نه وي
Until some man tries the depth and the bottom, whether firm or a quicksand, it is impossible to say where the ford is.
- See a man all round, a dog of a fellow may be a good swordsman.
د ميړه خو ډول ګوره، توري سپي سړي وهي
When forming judgement as to a man's worth, do not regard only one or two points, e.g., his skill with the sword, but study him all round, and strike the balance from the general result.
- The thorn which is sharp is so from its youth
اغزي چه تيره وي له کمه ځايه وي
That is, a brave man, was brave as a boy. "The child is father of the man".