Afghanistan and Hindustan (presently India) were two neighboring countries just more then half century ago. Before the partition of subcontinent, Afghans and Indians had a frequent exchange of business and cultural activities. According to famous Indian writer and Afghan affair specialist Mr. Manohar Singh Butra, close relations between Afghans and Indians remained a vital and glittering point in regional history. Because Afghans had played an important role in promotion of Indian art and culture. Mr. Manohar is absolutely right, because one can find the glimpses of Afghan architecture speared all over the Indian Territory. According to historians, When Afghanistan was called ARYANA, both Afghans and Hindus were sharing a common culture. Similarly when Arian ruled the said region and the region was called Gandahara, in those days both Arian and Indians were sharing the same faith, system and traditions.
The huge statue of great Buddha in central parts of Afghanistan and also other ancient pieces of art and culture are the memorials of those days. Similarly in Indian books of Sanskrit version have also mention Balkh of Afghanistan as a great place of learning. This is worth mentioning that a number of words are being used in both Afghan and Indian dialogues. Indian history believe that in nineteenth century when most of the Asian nations were chained in slavery, Afghans stood against alien rulers and not only thought a lesson to those foreigners but also wrote a history of freedom and self-determination. Afghans are also consider the pioneers of democracy, because centuries before of the western democracy, Afghans were solving their disputes through the democratic way of Jerga and which is still a practicable way. Indians are also so much grateful to Afghan for their fight against English empire because when Afghan got their freedom the other nations including Indian were rose against their rulers and it last they also got liberation.
Sufism is one of the most significant and scare gift from Afghanistan received by Hindustan or India. Founder of Chishtia Series Ghareeb Nawaz Hazrat Khwaja Mueendin was a souvenir from Afghan land, who brought drastic changes in spiritual life of local population. This is the specialty of Khawaja Mueendin that people from different ideologies and believes goes to his shrine in Ajmir Sharif and conveys their regards and presents their requests for various purposes. Similarly Baba Sheikh Farid also came from Afghanistan. One can imagine the greatness of Sheikh Farid from that very fact that his name has been included in holy book of Sikhs Sury Goro Granth and Sikhs offer him great respect. Apart from these great personalities the other important people from Afghanistan also contributed in the development of common Afghan-Indian culture.
When Afghans were ruling India they earned a great fame in the field of architecture. Famous Afghan kings Sultan Muhammad Ghuri build Qowat-e-Islam Mosque of Delhi. While his Army Chief Qutob u Din Aibak had constructed the famous Qutab Manor. The said places still have great attraction for tourists and a source of income for Indian government. Other Afghan sultan Shams din Altutmash is famous for the construction of two famous Haoz or pools one had called Haoz Khas and the other Haoz Shamsy. Those places were picnic spots for locals in those days. King Nasirudin build a white palace or Hazaar Satoon (Thousand Pillars) on the cost of Jamna river. Ghiasudin Balban constructed an other building called Soor Mahal or red palace. The famous Urdu poet and music composer Ameer khisro was a court member of Sultan Ghiasudin Balban and his grand father was migrated from Balkh Afghanistan.
In the course of history one can find that Afghan kings remained busy in constructive works and promotion of arts and culture. Sultan Alaudin of Khalji Chain had built a city called Seree near Delhi. The ruins of said city are still exists. Sultan Alaodin had also rebuilt Hazar Satoon and Qowat-e-Islam Mosque. He also rebuild most portions of the Shrine of Nizamudin Awliya. Afghan king Firoz Shah Tughlaq achieved big name in mosque construction. For example Mosques of Choburji, Turkman Geet, Kaloo Sary, Biegum Pur, and other religious place of Delhi were built by that creative Afghan Emperor. The same heritage of creativity continued and the kings of Lodhi dynasty had also set a number of examples. The famous Agra fort is one of the creations of Sekandar Lodhi. Most of the Lodhi emperors have chosen India for their last place of rest (graves).
Further more famous Afghan Ruler Shir Shah Suri contributed the most significant works in the field of road building and architecture. The famous Gernaly Road or GT road which links Afghanistan with India, is the land mark of Suri Dynasty.The said road for the last many centuries is the back bone of economic, social and cultural growth of the whole region. Afghans not only ruled the Land of Hindustan but they also ruled the hearts the Hindustanis. The beautiful mosques, Palaces, castles, Shrines, gardens, roads and inns are living heritage of Afghan rulers and also the significant gifts from Afghans to Indian nation. According to Manohar Singh Botra, Indian history in general and cultural study in particular will remain uncompleted without mentioning Afghans.
On literary side Afghans have also strengthened foundations of Indian poetry and writings. Till today the libraries all over Indian contain such kind of written pieces which reveals the role of Afghan intellectuals in promotion of literature in today's India or Bahart. Man of pen and sword Great Afghan poet Khushal Khan Khattak Baba had close attachment with India and he described his love for Indians in his poetry. Artists, musicians and Actors who acquired great fame in their respective fields are mostly belongs to Afghan background. From Delip Kumar to Shah Rukh Khan a long list of Indian actors can be presented in this respect. All of them introduce themselves as Afghan with great pride. Afghan musician Ustad Sarahang was always given a flowery welcome on his visit to India and same is the case with other Afghan celebrities. Afghans are also much in love with Indian actors and singers. It means that both the nations enjoy a vast field of relationship and mutual interests.
Although during Russian invasion Indian government policy remained pro-USSR but a great number of Afghans willingly migrated to India and got refuge their. Evens to day thousands of Afghan migrants are living in India and they are sharing their social and cultural values with their host Indians.
By : Mati ullah Abid
E Mail: Mabidn@yahoo.com