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.

The entry about Shalmanis in Peshawar Valley area on “khyber.org”. Although typically very poorly written, the traditional and other information provided here is generally correct. Also typical is the crude and thick bias in favour of the “Pashtun” image.
Dr. Gurianov’s comments about my Y-DNA (Q1b) in a discussion on “molgen.ru” (see body of article).
The English translation of Dr. Gurianov’s comments above. (Emphases mine). Dr. Gurianov here thinks in terms of Nestorian Christians — but actually Shalmani migrations to eastern Iran predate Christianity by about 500 years at least — as per our traditions. The Christians whom I resemble were early Persians whose descendants much later on converted to Eastern Christianity; additionally, Assyria (Kurdistan) was one of the Western Persian satrapies. It is now located in Iraq and Syria — so most of the original Assyrian-Persian inhabitants are now “Arabised” in culture and in name.
A double montage of two mountains in the Iranian world, both called “Ilum”: one is in the Zagros range of Iranian Kurdistan (left) ….while the other is in Swat (right). The latter was formerly a Hindu holy place, and is thought to be a possible site for the fabled Rock of Aornos, associated with Alexander’s dramatic siege of Bazira.
The Assyrian deity Shulmanu could well not only underlie the term “Shalman” but also Solomon (Sulaiman) itself — and thus it could also explain the persistent connection between “Sulaimani” and “Shalmani”.
Map showing the location of Shalman city in Iran.
British colonial scholars and government publications referred to the Shalmanis as Tajiks. (Imperial Gazetteer of the NWFP — 1908).
Another British colonial characterisation of the Shalmanis as Dehqans (“A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and NWFP, Vol. 2, H.A. Rose, et al [1911]).
Major H.G. Raverty describes the Shalmanis in his famous translation of the epic work “Tabaqat-i-Naseri” (P. 1043)
Al-Beruni refers to the Sulaiman Mountain range 1000 years ago as the “Shamelan Mountains” . Shamelan is regarded as a variant/corruption of Shalman — and the name is likely to have changed to Sulaiman with the arrival here of Islam. (Al-Beruni, “Kitab-ul-Hind”, P. 207 [original manuscript] op cit., Jamil Yousafzai “Mumlikat-e-Yousafzai kay Qabail” [2016], P. 20).
US author on Pathans (Pashtuns) James W. Spain refers to the historic region of KP, named till recently as “Ghabaristan” (Gabristan) in his famous book “Pathan Borderland” [1953].
This picture of excepts from British colonial literature indicates the absorption by the Mohmands of the Shalmanis — and their Pashtunisation. (R.T.I Ridgeway, PATHANS: Handbook For the Indian Army, P. 241).The image below it illustrates a typically ignorant comment regarding the Shalmanis, in which the ill-informed Victorian British writer makes a classic mistake — of presuming “Dehqan” to be Turkic, or Indian! It is a known fact that Dehqan is a term of Assyrian origin which applied to the landowning nobility of Sasanian Persia.

REFERENCES AND LINKS

http://www.khyber.org/pashtotribes/s/shilmani.shtml

http://forum.molgen.org/index.php/topic,2546.msg210374.html?fbclid=IwAR3jsju99TFscIarX3A-_CBr55Z5h5d6iJhTns6dmBnoiayV6cG0rvwHSYM#msg210374

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shalman

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shulmanu?wprov=sfla1

[Michael Jordan, Encyclopedia of Gods, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2002]

Scholar, Historian, Ethnologist, Philosopher, Activist.