HOW “SAWAD” BECAME “SWAT”
This article is in continuation of my previous article on ON THE SHALMANIS AND THEIR ORIGINS. Here the issue of Assyrian origins of the Swatis-Shalmanis will be further explored in connection with the name “Swati” itself and how it was derived.
“Sawad” is a Sassanian revenue term used for the Fertile Crescent area — the land situated between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers — where the earliest civilization first established itself. This land was also known by names such as Mesopotamia, Chaldea and Assyria in the course of its very long history.
The term is derived from the Semitic for “black”, as that is the colour of its extremely fertile damp soil.
Sawad lay in the western “Arab” reaches of the Persian Empire, but was actually central to it because the administrative capital always lay close to it.
Sawad was populated by famous Persian Dehqans known as Sawadis.
The Swati-Shalmani Dehqans of Balkh-Gandhara have always had a persistent tradition of migrating to their present location from Syria and other “Arab” lands….sometimes, they even refer to themselves as “Arabs” as do my own family — and a small but prominent community living in Bajaur, besides the so-called “Afghan Arabs” living in Kunar and Ningarhar provinces of Afghanistan. They also say that they are the “children of Alexander”. But this Alexander is actually Sikandar Zulqarnain of the Quran, and scholars are convinced that this character was none other than Cyrus the Great. This is a claim made by all Dehqans of Badakhshan and Pamir. So it makes sense…
One may also add, that the ancient Sumerians and Assyrians were known to mine the sacred stone Lapis Lazuli in Badakhshan as far back as 3–4000 years ago…
In addition to all the above, the name “Swati” was originally “Sawadi” till the Afghan invasion 500 years ago — and this is evidenced by a source no less than the “Baburnama”. It was corrupted to Swat by the Turkic Afghans — who demonstrated the Turkic linguistic characteristic of replacing a “D” with a “T”….such as in Ashqabad/Ashgabat and Muhammad/Mehmet, etc. That was part of the Pashtunisation that took place here.
The Swati-Shalmani contention of “Arab” or Assyrian origin is further backed by evidence of my own Y-haplotype resembling those of modern Chaldeans/Iraqi Christians, as observed by a Russian geneticist and expert Dr. Vladimir Gurianov.
- BABURNAMA [English translation], Beveridge, A. (London, 1922).