ON THE SHALMANIS AND THEIR ORIGINS
Shalmanis are considered as the indigenous Dehqans [ethnic Tajiks] of what is now Pakistan — if not the main local denomination of this ancient Persian social category. All evidence points to their being the most ancient of the Persian peoples present in Gandhara — and this is important, as it is well known that Gandhara was a Persian imperial satrapy (province) in one or another form continuously from 550 BC to 651 AD. The Shalmanis therefore formed the backbone of ancient Persian polity and administration here — although it is evident all along that they were a minority. Though now reduced to remnants and traces absorbed by other tribes of the currently dominant Afghan ethnicity, there is fragmented evidence to prove that the Shalmanis were once very influential in times long forgotten. The fall of Persia to Islam ushered in 350 years of Indo-Hunnic rule over Khorasan and the Gandhara region, which seemingly eclipsed the status of the Shalmanis, relegating them socially and diluting their Zoroastrian creed with a Hindu syncretic mix. However in the early Islamic times especially the Ghori period, the Shalmanis continued to perform the same social role — and are believed to have been the parent stock, if not allied Dehqans of the Swati Tajiks who ruled Gandhara from AD 1190 to 1520 till the Afghan tribal invasions changed everything.
The Arabs have since long called the Afghans of this region “Sulemanis” — although they might well have been referring to the people they originally met here when they conquered the place 1000 years ago.
In continuation of the above related facts and inferences, it can be further surmised that the now obscure Shalmani legacy and influence may well have given rise to many core legends regarding the origins and identity of the later Pashtuns-Afghans, which are now twisted and cloaked in confusion. Cogent arguments to this effect exist, and the Shalmanis and their history can provide the basic part of the key to the puzzle of the formation of the Pashtun-Afghan ethnicity, if not the whole — and how it evolved from the larger Iranian matrix of Khorasan.
Below are some slides made from screenshots….one is a badly spelled and written entry from the website <khyber.org> detailing the so-called “Pashtun” and former Tajik tribe of Shilmani (or Shalmani). Another is from the discussion forum of the Russian molecular genetics website <molgen.ru> containing an observation by Russian expert and researcher Dr. Vladimir Gurianov regarding my [Shalmani] family’s Y-chromosome and how it compares very closely with Iraqi Christian (Assyrian or “Crypto-Iranian”) samples. Another double-photo shows two mountains in Swat and Iranian Kurdistan having the same name of “Ilum”. Another one is a map, which shows the location of a town called “Shalman” in Iran’s Gilan Province…
What I want to demonstrate here is that most of the factual information contained in Shalmani/Swati traditional legends of Assyrian/Kurdistani/ “Arab” origin — albeit sparse and fragmentary — are corroborated not only by circumstantial evidence of correspondences, but also by my own family’s patrilineal genetic matches.
Finally, it seems to me that the origin of the name “Shalman” is connected to the name of the Assyrian underworld deity, Shulman — from whom the Assyrian kings of the same name derived it.
REFERENCES AND LINKS
[Michael Jordan, Encyclopedia of Gods, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2002]