Farman Kaskar, pictured above, is a young and prominent Pashtun nationalist figure of the time….a Pashto poet who expresses himself mainly via comedy and jest.

But he is a “Pashtun” with a difference — because he will proudly tell you of his ethnic Marhatta origins from central — south India. He is a “Marhatta Pashtun”! Kaskar is a prominent Marathi/Marhatta surname in Maharashtra; the infamous Indian “don” Dawood Ibrahim is also a Kaskar — which is a wine making caste from the Konkan region of Maharashtra.

As for their presence in Peshawar, very few are aware, that the Marhattas — under their “Peshwa” or leader Tukoji Rao Holkar — took Peshawar from Prince Taimur Shah Durrani in May 1758, and ruled it for a year and two months, before Ahmad Shah Abdali/Durrani retook it in 1759. Remnants of their soldiers settled here. They now occupy 8 small villages around Nowshera. They still retain the knowledge of their actual identity — and very proudly too.

The example of Farman Kaskar very adequately illustrates what the phenomenon of qualifying for “Pashtun” identity really is: just adopting the language and the madness perpetrated by a few tribes.


Scholar, Historian, Ethnologist, Philosopher, Activist.