Old Market Time and New State Space from the Silk Road to the Indian Ocean

1The emergence of new states tends to transform old market relations. Modern states are fundamentally territorial entities, while markets are essentially time-bound to various daily, seasonal, and political calendars. But markets and states also overlap and share temporal and spatial interests in such things as cities. This generality is all to say that there is a range of possible relationships between markets and states in time and space that oscillate between complimentary and oppositional polarities.

2In the case of Afghanistan, we are dealing with very old markets and a very new state, and the Afghan state has not fared well in terms of market integration. The state structure that took shape in and around Qandahar under the direction of Ahmad Shah Abdali/Durrani in the mid-eighteenth century had deep roots in both Iran and India. Ahmad Shah was born in the Mughal district of Multan on the Indus river plain, but he gained political recognition to the west in the service of the Turco-Iranian ruler Nadir Shah Afshar. Ahmad Shah's use of Qandahar as the first capital of the Durrani Afghan state reflects the city's long-term function as transit market for the brisk overland trade between Mughal India and Safavid Iran that had deeper historic origins in exchanges between Mesopotamian and Indus valley civilizations.1 These overland routes exposing two ancient worlds to one another were complimented by a series of aquatic linkages that integrated port city and hinterland markets across the Indian Ocean world encompassing South and Southeast Asia, the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and East Africa.2 Qandahar can be seen as positioned amid a set of commercial routes and networks with a generally southerly orientation.

3Ahmad Shah's son and successor Timur Shah transferred the Afghan capital from Qandahar to Kabul in 1775–6, and in 1809 Mountstuart Elphinstone made the first official colonial contact with Timur's son Shah Shuja at Peshawar, the Durrani winter capital city at that time.3 Kabul and Peshawar fall within a set of ancient commercial routes known collectively as the Silk Road.4 The Silk Road represents a more northerly commercial axis connecting the Chinese and Mediterranean worlds. Civilizations and emporia, and the routes within and between them, rose and fell across the Silk Road during its long history. These historic ebbs and flows occurred according to different rhythms in the north than among the port cities and empires associated with them to the south across the Indian Ocean. Kabul generally enters Silk Road discussions in the context of the Greco-Bactrian period lasting between roughly the sixth century BCE and the first century CE that was centered in Balkh but had a distinct presence in locations such as Begram in the Kabul valley. Peshawar is generally viewed as the center of the Silk Road culture area known as Gandhara. Gandhara has been variously and often quite liberally dated, but the culture seems to have flourished during roughly the first few centuries CE when Buddhism was patronized by a number of rulers and dynasties including the Kushan Emperor Kanishka in the second century. It is important to recognize the wide assortment of cultural exchange between Bactria and Gandhara spawned a wide assortment of smaller movements and developments in Afghanistan, and beyond. For example, Hadda near contemporary Jalalabad and Bamiyan in central Afghanistan were once thriving centers of Buddhist learning and innovation, sites of interreligious pilgrimages, and locations of cultural achievement.

4The colonial construction of Afghanistan involved some very aged market settings, and Timur Shah, not the British, transformed Kabul into a capital city of the Durrani polity. However, the colonial emphasis on Kabul as the sole political capital of an emerging Afghanistan had important consequences for Kabul as a commercial center and also for the city's market relations with Qandahar and Peshawar. Kabul's "rise" as a political capital entailed a reconfiguration of the city's role in domestic and transnational commercial circuits and networks. The body of this book considers transformations in a triangulated economic relationship between Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar that crossed two distinct political spaces to form an interactive consortium of colonial frontier markets.

The Eastern Hemisphere The Eastern Hemisphere Kabul, Qandahar and Peshawar Identified Kabul, Qandahar, and Peshawar Identified
The Interregional Perspective The Interregional Perspective

Markets and Their Transformation: Mobility, Money, Machines, and Texts

5Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar are ancient market settings between one and two thousand years of age. In a long-term historical perspective, Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar have combined in varying proportions exchange, finance, storage, and consumption activities. Despite these broad structural similarities, each market has been distinguished by special functions through historical eras. Over the long term, these three markets have interacted dynamically and together with the smaller markets between them and in their respective orbits this commercial zone has served to connect wider supraregional economic networks in Central and South Asia.

6In conceptual terms, markets are centers of production, exchange, and circulation where goods and services become commodities through coexistence and interaction that is either directly or ultimately mediated by standards of value measured in currency, either cash money as reflected in retail market prices or book monies of account as used in the fiscal registers of states and large merchant firms. The commodification process occurs through exchange and the medium of currency, and markets are places where cash money and other forms of moveable and fixed commercial capital accrue and are transformed. The exchange functions of markets attract the interest of commercial actors in other markets as well as political authorities, and Islamic states typically involve the institution of muhtasib, or (chief) market inspector. The activities and prosperity of any market or state is contingent on interaction with other markets and states. Markets are locations where movements of people and things intersect and where relationships between people and things are reproduced and transformed. In market settings, social groups can be identified through the commodities they engage and control. Market settings can be examined, therefore, with attention to the commodities being exchanged and the financial instruments involved in the transaction, the communities represented in the transaction, and the political context of the exchange. Market exchanges can be interrogated, then, with a few basic questions in mind. What was and who were involved in the exchange? How did the transaction happen in technical fiscal terms? What was the role of the state or other regulatory agency within the marketing activity, if any?

7This book poses those basic questions to nineteenth-century Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar. Concerning commodity groups and trajectories of movement, the export trade in dried and fresh fruits and nuts from the Kabul and Qandahar districts to India was perhaps the most prominent and lucrative component of the economies of all three localities. Indian merchants financed this high-volume export of Afghan fruits and nuts, and Peshawar was an important base for the large numbers of bankers and financiers active in this trade. Peshawar's "natural" displacement as a staging area for wider distribution of fruits and nuts to South Asian markets where they were in high demand was dramatically transformed during the course of the nineteenth century as a result of political developments emanating from both adversaries in the two Anglo-Afghan wars. Similar questions about other commodities generally moving to the south, such as timber, hemp, felt, horses, sheep and its derivate wool and woolens, hides, and meat, and opium will generate different answers about the role of state authorities and local actors. Flows of tea, sugar, textiles, industrial equipment, and its technical expertise in the opposite northern direction occurred across the same routes but had different commercial and political motivations, possibilities and constraints for the actors. These commodity "counterflows" completed the commercial circuit and they entailed separate consequences for actors connected to the respective commodities or commodity groupings in each market on the return trajectory.5 In the first instance, the body of this work seeks to answer a small set of basic questions about the material, social, and political dimensions of market exchanges and commodity movements among Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar during the 1800s.

8In the course of striving for that basic goal, a number of other fundamental issues informing the political economy of this frontier zone will be considered. Labor processes are addressed from the perspectives of sedentary production and mobile circulation and redistribution. Fruit and nut production involved relatively sedentary laborers and very mobile accountants and transporters. The producers themselves are viewed primarily through the bankers and bureaucrats who financed, marketed, and taxed the product of their labor. The state-appointed accountants and scribes acted in conjunction with similar functionaries in the private sector/civil society to textually manage the fruit and nut trade. These state and private bookkeepers are treated as a laboring bureaucratic class in their own right. Bankers and financiers form another group of laborers. In the layers and interstices of the economy where money handlers and bookkeepers were jointly active, communities of Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims of Indian origin collectively referred to as Hindkis were quite prominent. The Qizilbash community is the most prominent among the local Afghan actors involved in the textual and scriptural dimensions of state and private commercial activities. Wielding the power of literacy in these contexts generally distinguishes the predominantly "twelver" shia Qizilbash from the largely "sevener" shia Hazara in Afghanistan, although one clear exception to that general rule is the high profile of Faiz Muhammad Katib, a Hazara scribe who authored the most important historical text produced in Afghanistan, Seraj at-Tawarikh.6

9Transportation is the labor form receiving the most attention in this work. In various portions of what follows, individual tribal chiefs and through them nomadic communities who were contracted to transport popular consumer goods and war material are discussed. Colonial commercial contracts with two Afghan tribal entrepreneurs are treated in detail. Sayyid Muhin Shah, who adopted nomadic trade after difficulties in the sedentary world, is responsible for initially quantifying the profitability of trade through the Kabul, Peshawar, Qandahar, and other markets for British colonial authorities. Sarwar Khan Lohani was the most important local figure in the overall organization of camel caravans for the first British occupation force. Carriage service was big business and a state concern. A long-established class of nomadic "tribal traders" was caught in a textual net comprised of passes, vouchers and certificates associated with Abd al-Rahman's state monopolization of the fruit trade. These state texts and the new cadres of officials handling them were deployed to reroute the nomadic tribal carriers in a way that greatly intensified commercial traffic between Kabul and Peshawar at the expense of routes between other markets that were concomitantly deemed to be passages for smugglers.

10The diverse communities of Indian merchants subsumed under the Hindki label (see later) did not act alone in Afghanistan. Rather, they performed local roles for a number of extensive banking and commercial networks with resources concentrated in Hindustan and representatives spanning the old Silk Road and Indian Ocean circuits.7 The high profile of Indian merchants in Afghanistan arises from their knowledge of and presence in the foreign markets where Afghan edibles were widely consumed. Furthermore, through global commercial networks, they had practically unlimited access to the ready cash in high demand by producers, merchants, and state authorities in Afghanistan. These diversified and widely dispersed Indian merchant family firms combined the abilities to identify receptive markets for multiple commodities, provide large or small cash loans, and transfer large sums of capital through paper notes known as hundis in India and hawalas in Afghanistan. The Hindkis in nineteenth-century Afghanistan are connected culturally and historically to communities of bankers, financiers, and large-scale traders associated with key Mughal markets in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, such as Multan and Shikarpur. Through the turbulent eighteenth century, the prominence of Multanis and Shikarpuris in state structures and political processes are expressions of continuity between Mughal and Durrani commercial regimes.

11Cultural distinction did not impede the integration of Hindkis into Afghan society and state structures. It is thus unclear whether the Hindki community comprised a diaspora presence in Afghanistan, or if they should be considered a natural part of the economic landscape. From either perspective, Hindki communities should be viewed in light of their own social institutions and cultural practices in addition to those found in the "host" market settings. Features of local tribal cultures, such as melmastia and nanawati among Pashtuns, usually glossed as hospitality and asylum, respectively, are relevant for a holistic understanding of the local contexts in which Hindkis operated. A full sense of Hindki market positionings also requires attention to a more widely evident institution across the cultural communities forming Afghan society, hamsaya. Hamsaya is a Persian word, literally meaning shade-sharing, that has been interpreted to mean a neighborliness exhibited toward or an accepted-protected status for local economic and social minority populations, such as for the small-scale Tajik tenant farming families found in localities where Pashtuns are the primary landowners and demographic majority. The Hindkis comprised one segment of large-scale merchant activity involving complex exchange networks and systems of communication that were centered in the markets of north India. North India's vast commercial resources and the social and economic structures that determined their movement and concentration in many ways dictated the terms of British colonial expansion in Hindustan and Afghanistan.8

12The financial and marketing services provided by Hindki bankers and merchants in Afghanistan had another important dimension. The loans provided by these financiers to ordinary producers and the elite classes in Afghanistan came at interest rates that could quickly generate stultifying debt. The ability to provision large sums of cash on relatively short notice will be described in the context of the first British occupation of Kabul. The already profitable position enjoyed by the Hindki merchants in Afghanistan was considerably advanced as a result of the first Anglo-Afghan war. However, their collective position was dramatically eroded during Abd al-Rahman's reign. As part of a larger agenda of state monopolization of the export economy, Abd al-Rahman attempted to replace these private Indian entrepreneurs with a corps of Afghan state commercial agents. The Hindki financiers were able to "thin" the debt accrued in Afghanistan over throughout their vast trans-Eurasian commercial networks. Abd al-Rahman's large-scale replacement of private Hindki financiers operating in Afghanistan with his own Afghan state officials and resources led to an increasing accumulation and concentration of national debt in Kabul. This policy also resulted in an elaboration of Kabul's commercial relationship with Peshawar that came under formal British India rule with the colonial creation of the Punjab Province in 1849.

13The routinization of political relations between British India and Abd al-Rahman beginning in 1880 revolved around the cash subsidies liberally dispensed by colonial authorities to the Afghan Amir. The subsidy funds were in many instances recycled back into British Indian and European hands through Abd al-Rahman's purchase of heavy industrial equipment and technical expertise for his most consequential product, the mashin khana, a Persian compound literally translated as machine house, meaning in practice the Durrani state industrial workshops. In Western languages, Abd al-Rahman has been dubbed the "Iron Amir," by popular and professional historians alike, in large measure as a result of his industrial approach to the military that gave the state's troops tactical advantages, at least temporarily, in executing his notoriously brutal mechanisms of rule. Colonial funding and connections gave Abd al-Rahman these means and energy. Arguably the most consequential European import made possible by the subsidy was the industrial minting machinery that arrived in Kabul in 1890. Qandahar and its commercial relationship to Kabul were particularly affected by the arrival of this new modern industrial facility.

14Qandahar was the scene of a curious incident during the first British occupation fifty years earlier. In this episode, ordinary colonial foot soldiers nearly rebelled when faced with unfavorable terms for a currency exchange that was nearly forced on them by their military superiors. The revolt was averted, but its threat was predicated on the ready availability of currency conversion services in Qandahar's thriving public money market. In the original and now former capital of the Durrani polity the ubiquitous Hindkis with their liquid assets were also very well ensconced. The occupation troops knew from the market itself that the exchange rate terms being imposed on them were inflated. Qandahar's commercial prosperity derived from its centrality along a primary Indo-Iranian trade route and its proximity to the larger Indian Ocean trading world through the ports of Sind. Its geographic location exposed the city to a wide array of currencies, and activity in Qandahar's mint was an important variable in helping the local money market players calibrate their daily exchange rates, whether or not the city was not militarily occupied. The arrival of the European minting machinery in Kabul signaled the end for the prestigious mint in the first Durrani state capital where the politically sensitive craft was still practiced with hand tools.

15A pair of new machine mints provided the Afghan state with an exponentially increased coin production capacity. Abd al-Rahman was personally struck by aspects of mercantilist economic philosophy where the measure of a state's wealth was specie (gold or, as in this case, silver bullion) that was accrued through the state's close management of exports and heavy taxation of imports. In European history, mercantilist economic policies are associated with early modern absolutist states often legitimized by notions of divine right to rule, and Abd al-Rahman's policies and practices reflect these combined orientations. During his eleven-year residence in Samarqand (c. 1867–78), where he received a Russian pension, it is possible that Abd al-Rahman was exposed to the legacy of Russian imperial versions of mercantilism and absolutism, archetypically identified with Peter the Great (ruled c. 1682–1725).

16It is clear that once the new mints were situated in Kabul Abd al-Rahman began an unrelenting quest to accumulate as much silver coinage, especially British Indian rupees, as possible. His goal was to melt down all foreign coins he could find and remint them with the new machines as state currency, thereby producing more Afghan money and wealth from his perspective. The problem here was that global economic processes had generally moved beyond mercantilist ideologies where mere physical money counted as the primary index of state power and status. The global economy was now running on paper money and telegraphic transfers, and while cash holdings still mattered, especially at the local level, the relative value of that cash was determined by intercurrency evaluations at the international exchange level. So as Abd al-Rahman committed to the machine minting of more and more state coins, the new Afghan money was increasingly losing its own value through inflation locally while being devalued in relation to other currencies circulating in the increasingly global capitalist economy.

17The fuel for Abd al-Rahman 's industrial ambition of mass-producing new state coinage came primarily from two sources. The first was his substantial British subsidy that amounted to approximately 15 percent more cash than estimates of internally generated state revenue. The subsidy generated a great deal of correspondence between colonial authorities and Abd al-Rahman who also used written orders and paper money instruments such bills of exchange and letters of credit, of a much less transferable form than the similar book money tools used by the private traders, to disburse portions of the subsidy to his officials and appointees stationed in British India. Abd al-Rahman considered the political space of Afghanistan to be his own personal household that offered not constraints but possibilities for acquiring cash. Abd al-Rahman relied on a wide array of new state paperwork including forms, passes, certificates, and vouchers to obtain as much cash money in circulation in Afghanistan as possible. The voluminous subsidy correspondence and a barrage of new government documents combined to fuel the industrial production of many commodities and coinage at the Afghan state workshops. From a vantage point informed by these two large bodies of written texts, at least, the Iron Amir appears as a paper prince.

18Abd al-Rahman's reorganization and elaboration of the government bureaucracy in Kabul involved new colonial connections with Peshawar that had significant effects on Qandahar. Abd al-Rahman liberally deployed a new class of functionaries armed and with textual command over new local breeds of state documentary weapons. State accountants and secretaries wielding various combinations of and competencies in numeric and written-word literacies were charged with ensuring the flow of silver to the mint in the state workshops. Kabul was saturated with state officials executing a personal hoarding scheme, but Qandahar also became a prime target of Abd al-Rahman's mulcting agenda.

19Abd al-Rahman regularly dispatched his textual agents to Qandahar to announce and collect a large number of new taxes. Qandahar was especially prone to receive the silver currency Abd al-Rahman was most committed to recycling, British Indian rupees. Abd al-Rahman used new literary tools and paper weapons in Qandahar to help satisfy his dependency on and compulsive quest for cash coinage. No human subject was immune from this textual coercion, and the primary form of resistance to the arbitrary nature of these surgical strikes was to become an informer in the hopes that the state would protect its affiliates. This buffering tactic generally did not incur the intended result, in fact quite to the contrary, as one of the dangers of being a state paper handler for Abd al-Rahman was the probability of becoming an internal target of a state audit or investigation. In this atmosphere of cynicism and mistrust, the accused government functionary would have two choices. The ostracized bureaucrat now targeted could either rely on goodwill or secondary extortion to raise the requisite cash from kinsmen, friends, and neighbors, or try to instigate a separate case against an associate or superior to account for alleged misdeeds.

20Revisions in the fiscal relationship between Kabul and Qandahar dramatically transformed state-society relations in both locations. In Qandahar, the state interventions generated new systems for the surveillance of commodity and human movements to, from, and within the city. The accountants, clerks, and messengers were active in public view, while an extensive network of spies and informants operated more covertly. However, both groups generated streams of correspondence that pooled together in the state bureaucracy Abd al-Rahman developed in Kabul around his person. The information received in the capital city generated subsequent outward flows of state texts and literate handlers of them from Kabul to the remainder of the country. Kabul's increasing centrality in new circuits of information, textual flows, and commercial processes had different effects in Qandahar and British-controlled Peshawar. In Peshawar Afghan officials and state-appointed traders conducted business under the dual oversight of Abd al-Rahman and his British patrons who maintained the fiscal and symbolic posture of placation through the course of their relationship with the Kabul Amir.

21A new class of state bureaucrats and writers emerged under Abd al-Rahman, and Afghanistan still suffers from the stain of their ink. Class formation entails the coagulation of previously separate social and productive units, usually in the context of institutional transformations associated with the emergence of new regimes of political economy. A new class of state bureaucrats was well entrenched in Afghanistan by the 1890s, and within this class the Qizilbash community in Kabul was very well represented. Roughly two generations earlier, in the 1830s, colonial authorities commented with great interest on the prominence of the Qizilbash of Kabul who were characterized as living in a distinct residential quarter, Chindawul, that utilized its own "separate police and courts of law and justice," and most important, as handling "all the local and foreign correspondence of Kabul so that their influence ramifies in every direction."9 During the nineteenth century, the Qizilbash in Kabul elaborated and consolidated their high profile positions within a growing class of state writers, and as such they represent an increasingly important component of the state bureaucratic elite.


The Colonial Archives and Their Discontents

22 The Cartographic Emergence of AfghanistanThe Cartographic Emergence of Afghanistan The present consideration of commercial, human, and textual flows in the market zone bounded by Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar is made possible by a wide assortment of colonial archival documents.10 The analytical opportunities offered by this material carry the inherent danger of reproducing colonial epistemologies, identity categories, and interpretations of the material in question. The first challenge in using colonial material on Afghanistan is navigating through the uncertainty of what the term designates in time and space. A sampling of maps produced in the United States, Europe, and British India during the nineteenth century indicates that before the first Anglo-Afghan war, Afghanistan, if it was represented at all, was dwarfed in significance by Kabul and Qandahar. For example, Mountstuart Elphinstone's authoritative map emphasizes the "Kingdom of Caubul," as in the title of his book. It is important to note that the term Afghanistan appears occasionally in his text and faintly on Elphinstone's map. But it is more important that for Elphinstone, like Babur before him, Afghanistan is a reference of secondary or even tertiary significance, particularly when considered in light of the overwhelming emphasis on Kabul.11 The term Afghanistan received greater cartographic weight after the first Anglo-Afghan war, and in the 1850s and 1860s Afghanistan and Kabul are more evenly but still unequally weighted. In the 1870s and 1880s, Afghanistan is firmly on the map so to speak, but is only in the 1890s that borders regularly appear. Maps are political and intellectual exercises, and Afghanistan's nineteenth-century cartographic lineage reads partially as follows. Afghanistan first emerges from within the Kabul radius, then competes with the city for primacy, and, finally, the term Afghanistan surmounts and subsumes Kabul.

23The cartographic dynamic between Kabul and Afghanistan in the 1800s occurred as authorities in British India and England were taking the necessary intellectual and political steps to justify and formalize the central positioning of Kabul in the colonial design of Afghanistan. Market relations among Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar therefore evolved within the political and economic vision of a Kabul-centered Afghanistan. Over the course of the nineteenth century, there were hundreds if not thousands of competing views issued from various geographic, institutional, and strategic vantage points regarding how to construct and maintain the colonially constructed "compromise polity" of Afghanistan. One of the first obstacles to contend with in dealing with the colonial records for Afghanistan is the cacophony of claims and counterclaims about it. However, amplification of Kabul serves to sooth the archival dissonance about Afghanistan. In other words, the preoccupation with and presuppositions about Kabul is a unifying element in the colonial discourse about Afghanistan. The decision to compare and interrelate Kabul, Qandahar, and Peshawar was arrived at in order to engage and surmount the Kabul-centrism of colonial records about Afghanistan.

24In many ways, imaginings about Kabul transcend the generally inconsistent and contradictory colonial records about what Afghanistan is, where it came from, what it is composed of, and ultimately what it can do for those acting in relation to it. Perhaps the most confusing dimension of the British colonial archive on Afghanistan has been reproduced by the vast majority of modern scholars. This is the polysemy and metonymy among the terms Afghan, Pashtun (and its primary variant Pakhtun, and permutations of vowels in both constructs), and Pathan. The labels carry multiple geographic, historiographic, and cultural characteristics that unite and distinguish them from one another, but yet it remains common practice to only deploy them in unison, usually to make various points and positions appear larger or more important than they would otherwise be. The intermingling of the Afghan, Pashtun, and Pathan labels across various genres of literature including archival documents, academic literatures, foreign policy formulations, and popular writings about Afghanistan has generally been a casual but consistent practice. As such, the labels reflect cultural ambiguities and historical distortions that impede full and objective appraisals of the country and the social groups comprising it.

25The details surrounding the three terms themselves, irrespective of the cultural content, social referents, and political context are dense and can be distracting. However, given the salience of these complicated details for the historiography of Afghanistan and all that it entails culturally and historically, it is necessary to provide a basic sense of what unites and distinguishes these three words from one another. In general terms, the word Afghan comes into use through Persian texts beginning roughly one thousand years ago, circa 1000 CE, in geographical treatises and Ghaznavid historiography.12 The Ghaznavids set into motion a millennium of migrations from the Hindu Kush mountains to the Hindustan plains that were motivated by commercial opportunities and state-building activities entailed in Islamization processes.

26The term Afghan was used in Delhi Sultanate (c. 1100–1300) historiography when both Afghans and Turks were primary actors as militarily potent slave troops who could and would also rule in the mold of other medieval Islamic mamluk populations.13 The contentiousness involves the association between a community identified as Khalaj in the pre-Mughal period with the terms Ghalzai and Ghalji that appear in the Mughal period.14 The Ghalzi become especially prominent in the eighteenth century when they instigated a revolt that ended the Safavid dynasty in Iran, after which they were disenfranchised from state rule in Iran by Nadir Shah Afshar and kept on the fringes of state power under the Durrani polity that arose in the wake of Nadir Shah's death.15 Historical imprecisions and cultural ambiguities characterizing the categories Afghan and Ghalzi and the social relationships between those actors in practice were textually compounded during the construction of Pashtun genealogies that accompanied the writing of the Pashto language. What can be concluded here is Pashtun ethnogenesis occurred during the Mughal period after an Afghan identity congealed in Persian historiography and before the Pathan identity took root in English language texts.

27The Mughal rulers of India were of Central Asian Turkish stock. They succeeded the Suri dynasty that claimed Afghan but not Pashtun origins and used Persian as the language of state16. Thus, the dynastic shift from the Suris to the Mughals did not involve a radical change in the language of the state apparatus but it did eliminate the prominence of those who used Afghan or "Pathan" identity as an idiom of their domination of northern India or Hindustan. From its inception, the Mughal state structure was dominated by Persian cultural features, including especially the use of the Persian language in governmental bureaucracies. There is no evidence of the production Pashto language written texts in pre-Mughal India, although there have been claims of about the textualization of Pashto in "Afghanistan" before the Mughal empire took shape.17 It has been suggested that the first Pashto language texts, the Khayr al-Bayan and the Makhzan-i Afghani were written during the Mughal rule by non-Pashtun (probably Persian or Tajik) Sufis, Bayazid Ansari, and Akhund Darweza, respectively.18 The political context of these religious writings was the Roshaniyya insurrection. The Roshaniyya movement was a local response to the Mughal Emperor Akbar's policy of religious syncretism and the expansion of the Mughal empire westward across the Indus river into areas where the Pashto language was commonly spoken, a process that resulted in the Mughal incorporation of the Kabul province in 1585.19

28Pashto was recognized as a language spoken by some Afghans in the pre- and early Mughal era, but the language was first textualized in the 1600s with the writings of Khushhal Khan Khattak.20 During the seventeenth century, Pathan also appears in Persian language Mughal texts. From their base in Bengal in northeastern India in the mid-1700s, British officials encountered in speech and writing all three terms, Afghan, Pashtun, and Pathan. The Pathan label appeared in colonial records as early as 1784 when it was formally introduced in colonial discourse as having indigenous origins in the Ghaznavid and Ghorid period. The origin, referent, and historiographic reproduction of the Pathan term raise questions about distinctions between Persian speakers and Pashto-speaking Afghans, and about the nature and degree of connections between individuals and communities in Hindustan and claimed or purported "kinfolk" and a "homeland" outside of Hindustan, under the designates Khorasan, Roh, Kabul, Wilayat, and other labels.21 From the late eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century, colonial authorities increasingly favored the Pathan label that was transported via colonial documents "back" to the northwest frontier in the early 1800s as colonial authorities began to physically retrace the multiple hundreds of years of southeasterly migrations they were becoming aware of through Persian language texts and powerful theorizing about language and cultural origins throughout Eurasia such as that offered by Sir William Jones's ideas about Indo-European languages, their origin, and subsequent interaction.22

29The preceding outline leaves a number of important specific issues regarding the Afghan-Pashtun-Pathan matrix unexplored. However, through all the intended and unintended distortion it appears reasonably clear that the British first encountered Pathan as the term to distinguish Afghans by the criterion of using Pashto in writing and/or speech in addition to or instead of Persian.23 The referent was therefore imprecisely received and reified during retransmission of the term via colonial records closer to the relevant market settings where today it has morphed into a referent for Pashto speakers in Pakistan, an Urdu-speaking state environment. Afghan retained its territorial emphasis and became a weak national label in the context of the colonial construction of Afghanistan, a decidedly Persian language state environment. Pashtuns are recognized as speakers of Pashto in Afghanistan. The epistemological quandaries here involve the historical fact that in general the Durrani rulers of Afghanistan did not speak or use Pashto but portrayed themselves as Pashtuns.24 The British colonial apparatus appeared comfortable with the inconsistencies of that portrayal because of its instrumental familiarity with the ambiguities of the Pathan term, and the connection of many Durranis to Pathan communities as pensioners throughout north India, particularly Ludhiana in the Punjab. Pashto, despite its prominence and centrality in these matters, remained weakly textualized and subordinated to Persian as the language of state in Mughal India and Afghanistan in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and in nineteenth-century colonial India the roles of English and Hindustani gained increasing significance.25

30To use British Indian records about Afghanistan effectively it is necessary to appreciate the variety of geographic, social, and political components, distinctions, and relations among the terms Afghan, Pashtun, and Pathan. It is important to reckon with the historicity and diversity subsumed within each of those three terms, and even basic historical and semantic dissection draws attention to rich bodies of cultural and historical data for future researchers. Here and in general terms it is therefore neither accurate nor productive to impose neat and clear divisions among Afghans, Pashtuns, and Pathans in Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar, at least because of the ongoing movement of representatives of these communities between the three market settings. Market constraints and opportunities motivate individuals to consciously self-identify, however loosely, with more than one category. In other words, market environments tend to favor complex and multiple identities.

31The working solution for the terminological and conceptual issues involved in the Afghan-Pashtun-Pathan quandaries followed here is to contextualize use of each term by referencing relevant sources in the first instance and to provide necessary explanations or qualifications as required thereafter. Additional referential clarifications and general usage guidelines in this regard include: the term Pathan will not be used unless it is contained in quotation from original documents; Pashto speakers will be identified as Pashtuns; Afghan will designate a strong territorial and weak national referent (it also will be used in the Afghan society construct); the Afghan state will refer to the Durrani dynasts who ruled (Durrani is a major confederation of Pashtun tribes within which the Saddozai, Barakzai, Muhammadzai lineages produced the rulers) their non-Durrani confidantes, and the urban and urbanized "Kabuli" bureaucrats operating the state machinery; Durrani state and Afghan state will be used interchangeably; Durrani and Ghalzi Pashtun will be distinguished as functionally separate ethnicities based on their differential relationships to the Pashto language and the Afghan state. The distinctions and relationships between Pashtun tribal and ethnic identities, and between Pashtun tribalism and ethnicity, generally have been treated in piecemeal fashion and are yet to be fully dissected and analyzed.

32Social identities emerge, merge, and diverge in markets settings. Market identities may belie an ulterior identity, and actors involved in multiple markets can manifest distinct identities in each public setting. The archival sources relating to Afghanistan generally do not address the fluidity, multiplicity, transformation, and strategic deployment of identity categories. The Afghan-Pashtun-Pathan identity quagmire arises partly from the tendency for colonial writers to uncritically integrate and recycle older voices that often remain anonymous. This tradition of repetition and redundancy is most evident in the gazetteer genre of colonial writings that are encyclopedic in scope and appear designed originally to administratively orientate bureaucrats who were new to their appointments in any given location. The emphasis on conformity within British colonial bureaucratic culture evident in the structure of gazetteer writings within and across administrative districts promoted a generalization of India that was defied by a subculture of colonial officials who diverged from standard interpretations and career paths. In the colonial archives relating to Afghanistan, Henry George Raverty is the most complicated and nonconformist voice.26

33Colonial archival and published resources dealing with Afghanistan identify three major communities of market actors that will be considered in what follows. The first are state authorities, including both Afghan and British Indian. The European colonial personalities are generally easily identifiable. However, the social origins of the Indian officials involved in the colonial enterprise and portions of Afghan state officialdom are sometimes hard to identify with precision. In many instances, this is partly a result of Afghan-Pashtun-Pathan convolutions. The cultural, geographic, and historical variables uniting and distinguishing those three social categories have similarly complicating affects and nuanced influences on the two other major communities of market actors in Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar. The carriers and financiers of the trade between and beyond these markets are also treated with considerable imprecision and inconsistency in colonial records.

34Until this point, the term Hindki has been a generic referent for a diverse community of bankers, merchants, and traders active in Afghanistan with social origins in and economic connections to various localities in India. Hindki is the term used in Afghanistan to refer to these Indian businessmen and their families. 27 Colonial archives have quite a bit to say about Indian commercial activities in Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar, but generally identify the actors only by names without much accompanying detail about the wide spectrum of their cultural identities and practices. The general background of these communities is as follows. Hindus of various castes and Muslims of various persuasions from Multan, Shikarpur, and other locations in north India rose to commercial prominence during the Mughal period when local and long-distance trade in South Asia and the Indian Ocean expanded.28 These bankers and financiers continued to prosper in the post-Mughal period, and it has been noted that Shikarpuris were prominent in the eighteenth-century Durrani empire.29 The place of Hindkis in the nineteenth-century British Indian archive requires attention.

35The Hindki community was vital to the long-term structure and short-term functioning of the political economy of this colonial frontier. They were primary money handlers and therefore were actively involved in setting prices through the market, across retail, wholesale, and distribution sectors. The archival sources capture Hindki dealings with a large and complicated monetary vocabulary covering a wide variety of cash currencies including new and old local and foreign copper, silver, and gold coins of various denominations. Similarly, many of the large number of commodities the Hindkis and their associates handled were referred to by different words across the wide range of the commercial network in question. Further terminological and translation issues arose in the contexts of weights and measures of both precious metals and the less durable consumable commodities such as foods and textiles.

36The Hindkis managed these various vocabulary sets as they handled items referred to by the words themselves. The high profile of Hindkis in these markets in many ways involved translation services between various cash money and commodity forms. The archival sources tend to separate the specific vocabularies of currencies and commodities in appendices and end tables, which in turn can lead investigators away from full comprehension of Hindki market activities. The Hindkis' translation between the languages of commodities and monies involved verbal, social, and textual practices. Hindki market prominence derived from their ability to combine oral competencies and written literacies in ways that would allow them to be comfortable, and profitably so, engaging British officers in English for large-scale movements of cash, and Pashto-speaking nomads in Pashto regarding the barter of nomadic products such as wool or hides for market-supplied metal products such as knives.

37Hindkis moved large sums of cash and other forms of commercial capital using paper fiscal instruments identified by a number of English language constructs such as bills of exchange, letters of credit, and promissory notes. The variety of paper money forms, the endless number of specific uses for them, and the fact that they could be transferred and re-negotiated during their movement, all served to involve multiple parties playing well-defined roles in relation to that paper during the economic life-course of a given bill, letter, or note. In any single market, there could be multiple local vocabularies designed to express particular economic relationships to paper money, or "flying money" as termed by the Chinese who invented it, during its passage through the given locale during potentially very wide and long-lived circulation. The preponderance of references in the archives to dehistoricized, generic, undifferentiated bills, letters, and notes masks much more complex sets of economic and social relations intersecting in colonial markets through these texts. The paper records themselves, that is, the hundis and hawalas and the assortment of merchant record books where they met their final demise and realization, do not appear in the colonial archives. This gap in the archival sources reflects the high levels of secrecy and trust characterizing Hindkis' market operations. Handlers of hundis and hawalas used largely unknown bookkeeping systems that may have been unique to particular merchant firms, families, or networks sometimes involving secret scripts similar to the colonial use of invisible ink that could be encountered in the archives.

38The Hindkis' commanding presence in the markets of Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar arose from their collective capacity to determine relations between the monetized and textualized portions of the economy. Hindkis had access to information and knowledge about states and societies well beyond the local market triad under consideration. The tools and strength behind the Hindki commercial success in Afghanistan depended upon at least two long-term strategic relationships that were mediated, incompletely and inconsistently, by colonial and Afghan state authorities. These two connections were interrelated, because it was through their contractual engagement of nomadic transport services that the Hindkis maintained regular commercial and financial ties to their market bases in north India. Because the relationship to the nomads was contractual, it might be argued the primary constitutive bond for the Hindkis was to the markets of India, and through them to far more distant markets. In this sense Hindkis perhaps best represent Afghanistan's relationship to an increasingly global economy, and as such there is clearly a need for much more research in this area than the limited view provided in this book. The commercial relationships between the Hindkis stationed in the colonial frontier markets, and between them and their network affiliates in and beyond north India, were physically articulated in two ways: first through the commodities, that is the commercial goods, cash currencies, and paper money forms collectively helping to form large and diverse commercial capital portfolios, and, second, through the transportation services provided by a separate and similarly socially and economically diverse class of nomadic tribal carriers.

39These nomadic "tribal traders" were the everyday conductors of the commercial relationships among Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar. They did so on behalf of Hindki and other commercially active communities including themselves, foreign merchants such as Armenians and Iranians, as well as local Afghan traders that included, perhaps most significantly, Durrani state officials. These three major markets and their interrelationships subsumed smaller markets in localities such as Ghazni and Jalalabad. As a totality, this economic zone in the east of the country connected Afghanistan to India, and India's commercial tentacles connected Afghanistan to the world. The archives allow an appreciation for the roles played by a ubiquitous but historically opaque group of contract carriers known varyingly as kuchis, Lohanis, and pawindahs. Sources addressing these "trading tribes" are vexing for their contradictions and what they do not address regarding perhaps the most elementary and historically elusive commercial actors insofar as market connections are concerned.

40The archives indicate the three trading tribes are performing the same basic commercial function of transporting commodities between markets. The archives also indicate, however implicitly, significant cultural, geographic, and historical distinctions among the kuchis, Lohanis, and pawindahs. In general, in both local and Western languages, the label "kuchi" is the most generic and most used designate for the trading tribes. A basic distinction within the kuchis and other trading tribes is between localized pastoralism involving the breeding and exchange of animal products such as hides, dairy products such as ghi and wool in smaller markets, and long-distance commercial migrations wherein carriage and transportation services were important components of economic life.30 This book is primarily concerned with the latter long-distance commercial migrations.

41Kuchis have a wide territorial distribution, but they are particularly associated with the routes between the Kabul and Peshawar valleys, regions, and markets. Kuchis are Pashto speakers, but the word itself is a local Persian word for nomad. The use of a Persian language label for this Pashto-speaking community is an important instance of the Afghan state's use of Persian-language texts in dealings with commercially active nomadic communities. Abd al-Rahman utilized an innovative set of texts to reorganize the kuchi carriage services around his subsidy-based relationship with the British and state monopolization of commodity exports from Afghanistan. The resulting intensification of economic relations between Kabul and Peshawar was colonially inspired and the new dyadic link was achieved through the textual and territorial reconfiguration of kuchi commercial activities and movements in relation to and in between both markets.

42Of the three communities of trading tribes, the Lohanis are the first to firmly enter the historical record in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. They are widely noticed during the Lodi and Suri periods, the two short-lived dynasties usually referred to as the last of the Afghan dynasties in north India, who competed with and then were displaced by the Mughals as they became established as the ruling dynasts in Delhi-centered Hindustan. Genealogies of Pashtuns that were textualized most often in Persian during the contentious "identity-politics" of the seventeenth century when the speaking or writing of Pashto in addition to Persian (or Marathi, Hindustani, etc.) carried increasing social and political significance. In some of these genealogies, Lohanis are represented as structurally complementary kindred to the Lodis and Suris, and all three stand in structural opposition to Ghalzis who in turn appear opposed in relation to Durranis, thus reflecting the structural tensions and dynamics at work in this "segmentary society."31 When the colonial gaze turned toward the trans-Indus territories in the 1820s and especially the 1830s, British authorities took close note of migrating and settled communities of Lohanis in, around and through the Gomal Pass and the market of Dera Ismail Khan. This official notice resulted in formal contractual arrangements with the Lohani chieftain Sarwar Khan for a wide range of carriage services in logistical support of the Army of the Indus and the colonial occupation of Kabul.

43The considerable historical depth of the Lohanis and their relatively well-defined territoriality reflect long-term interaction with state structures. Lohani relationships with the Mughal and British Indian states involved military and commercial arrangements and possibly administrative functions. Lohanis are a recognized tribal segment and as such the word is capitalized according to English usage here. The colonial records tell quite a different story for the kuchis and pawindahs who appear more as commercial classes, thus the lowercasing of those words in English. These two groups have a more shallow history, at least in textual terms, coming into clear view only through the early ethnographic accounts of colonial authorities.

44The colonial archives for Afghanistan situate the pawindah community in commercial orbit around the Qandahar entrepot. They are responsible for connecting the Qandahar markets to Quetta and from there to Indus, Indian, and Indian Ocean markets. Colonial authorities offered various tracings of the word pawindah through both Persian and Pashto terminology without any clear pattern. Connections to political authorities and centers are important variables in the activities and identities of the trading tribes and their subgroupings, and compared to kuchis and Lohanis, pawindahs appear less subject to state intervention in commercial, military and administrative arenas and more associated with the Pashto language and territories where Pashto-speakers preponderate. Among the pawindahs, Ghalzi Pashtuns are by far the most prominent and significant.32

45Colonial records make a clear association between kuchis and the markets of Kabul and Peshawar while distinguishing that constellation from the pairing of pawindahs with Qandahar. Lohanis are generally written out of the markets of Peshawar and Qandahar by colonial authorities, but the Lohanis become central for the original colonial commercial plan to link Kabul to the Indus River that contextualized the first Anglo-Afghan war in the terms of global colonial economic strategy. That first plan, tied as it was to the Army of the Indus, worked out poorly for the British. After the second Anglo-Afghan war, the policies enacted by Abd al-Rahman reveal his dependence on British capital, commodities, and expertise, and his desire to keep those resources and connections within his own personal purview, out of social sight. Through his policies, the kuchis became the key carriers along the increasingly important Khaibar Pass route between Kabul-Peshawar.

46The archival treatment of these three communities of nomadic tribal traders reveals nineteenth-century British Indian colonialism to have focused on Kabul and intensified the market connections between Kabul and Peshawar, at the expense of Qandahar. Colonial officials first worked with and through the Lohanis and then the kuchis to physically integrate markets across state boundaries and allow both state powers to profit from and keep track of the new terms of trade between Afghanistan and the world. This increasing commercial proximity and integration between Kabul and Peshawar had the unintended consequence of amplifying the economic distance and political tension between Kabul and Qandahar. One important result is that the pawindahs and Qandahar were marginalized, economically and politically, by these Kabul-centered colonial processes. The combined histories of the kuchis, Lohanis, and pawindahs illuminate the market complications of state building activities on both sides of this colonial frontier.


Afghanistan, Colonialism, and Global Capitalism

47The history of Afghanistan over the long term is in many ways a geographical tale, whereas colonialism, with its subtleties and punctuations, is the master narrative of the country's recent past. The history of colonialism is intimately linked to capitalism, and India was arguably the world's most important colony. This book can be read as a study in the local geography of capitalist expansion and as an examination of the colonial inability to integrate Afghanistan. Market relations between Kabul, Peshawar and Qandahar have been framed by interconnected workings of colonialism and capitalism. The preceding discussion of the archival sources discussed areas in which social and economic identity categories were treated ambiguously and contradictorily. Colonial records reveal dynamism and evolution regarding the categories of Afghanistan, Afghan, Pashtun, Pathan, Hindki, kuchi, Lohani, and pawindah. It is clear that colonial authorities and texts are responding to some degree of variation and strategic choice exhibited by local actors themselves in relation to these identity categories verbally and in the texts they produced. Any conclusions drawn about cultural authenticity or purity in these matters should be treated with the utmost caution if not outright skepticism. However, it should be clearly recognized that flexible identities and identity boundaries not only facilitate market transactions but also serve to open the whole system up, culturally, economically, and politically. So, at first glance, the archives' infinite and haphazard variation and apparent confusion turn out in fact to be both the adhesive and the lubricant of the local system.

48The Hindkis and trading tribes under any moniker represented indigenous capitalism for colonial authorities whose engagement of those groups dramatically transformed the political economy of this frontier region. The course of that colonial engagement finished with what is generally referred to as modern Afghanistan, with Kabul as its capital. Culturally, historically, and politically Pashtuns are perceived to be at the core of that fundamentally colonial construction. This framing raises questions about the commercial and cultural interactions between Pashtuns and Hindkis, and the relationships of both communities to cities and states. Afghanistan is a colonially constructed and disaggregated unit of political economy that simply cannot be understood through Kabul or Pashtuns alone. A far more developed understanding of the relationships between Pashtuns and Kabul, and between other communities and markets throughout the country, is necessary before knowledge about Afghanistan can transcend its colonial moorings. The point of emphasis now is that colonialism and capitalism conspire to operate at multiple levels, so that a full treatment of market relations must include attention to geographic, historical, cultural, and political variables and contexts. Kabul does not have the singular ability to absorb and resolve its periodic but increasingly intense saturations with colonial politics and high-voltage capitalism. Kabul's fate has been and will remain tied to the economic and political destinies of proximate markets and more distant urban centers.

49Views of Afghanistan through the history of capitalism throw a number of relevant comparative issues into greater relief. Fernand Braudel, the principal conceptual and historical stratigrapher of capitalism, uses enticing imagery to show that market life stands apart but throws out feeders that are grabbed by the tentacles of true capitalist activity occurring at a layer above the market. Below the affairs of the market, and sustaining them, is a deeper layer of human activity involving basic material existence and subsistence. The attraction of Braudel's three layers is that they correspond to three layers of time, something along the lines of geographical time applying to material life, market activity establishing a kind of medium-term stable structure, with events relegated to quick surface time, as foam is to waves and waves are to currents. Braudel raises the crucial issue of historical conjuncture, when the old gives way to the new over a span of generations. In a number of ways, Braudel will be looming throughout this analysis, as will Immanuel Wallerstein, who uses a global division of labor approach to capitalism, so to speak. This model has cores, peripheries, semiperipheries, and an external zone, and this geographic division is inspired in part by Braudel. Eric Wolf places human labor migration in the global historical terminology of capitalism, and Sidney Mintz considers the possibility of one commodity providing a certain sweet key to capitalism's expansion.33 Each of these authors helps to identify and conceptualize global historical structures of capitalism informing this analysis.

50When the sinews of global capitalism reach their local destinations, often through various forms of coercion, the resulting cultural adaptations and transformations can be quite unexpected and profound. It is never the case that a single hegemonic entity called capitalism enters new settings that simply succumb in mimetic fashion to the new order that is thus reproduced neatly and cleanly over these remote environments. Local cultures on the margins of capitalism do not merely imitate metropolitanism; instead, they bring their own ingredients and senses of distinction to the encounter. Marshall Sahlins drew attention to the cultural frontiers of capitalism where patterns of local consumption do not predictably digest the new global commodities, and that perspective provides an important analytical compass for this work.34 The small movements along the path of capitalism's cultural history made here are facilitated by a few insightful guides who provide different types of vehicles to traverse Afghanistan's unique and diverse colonial terrain.

51Dave Akin and Joel Robbins deploy an "enlarged spheres of exchange" model that treats state money use as a key index of both the transformation and resilience of indigenous economies.35 The enlarged spheres framework supports the present inquiries into the social dimensions and structural modalities contextualizing the introductions of and accommodations to new forms of state money. Jack Goody identifies the cultural and historical connections between literacy and the state via scribal classes and practices that reveal important bureaucratic similarities across what can otherwise appear as widely disparate cultural and political zones. Goody's comparison of literate social groups and his integration of issues related to bookkeeping, literacy, and state bureaucracy set the textual parameters of this investigation.36 Arjun Appadurai's proposal of a commodity ecumene that unites producers and consumers through a combination of ordinary or customary movements or unusual diversionary paths resonates strongly here.37 The commodity trajectory aspect of this paradigm combines biographies of people and things, and this work is similarly trying to capture synergies between materiality and sociality. Perhaps the most relevant aspect of Appadurai's perspective is the distinction he finds between the forms of knowledge held by producers and consumers in relation to the commodities that unite and distinguish them, and the important role intermediate merchant communities play in bridging, or not bridging, those gaps in commodity knowledge across the various trajectories of the ecumene.

52The global cultural and structural histories of capitalism eventually merge into the glaring lair of colonialism. From the perspective of British colonialism in India the works of Christopher Bayly have provided a rich canvas that best lays out the "sociocommercial" background and landscape of this study. Bayly demonstrates the significance of and connections between medium-sized market settings through merchant network analysis that attends to nomadic transport and the textual practices of large merchant firms that fed into British Indian imperial policy and political practice. Bernard Cohn has provided this study with its concern for the intellectual dimensions of British colonialism.38 None of these authors offers the single key to the only analytical lock on Afghanistan, but as a whole they provide some good questions about Afghanistan for students of colonialism and capitalism. As such, this work is essentially explorative in nature, although some revision and reorientation are also intended. With capitalism and colonialism as organizing agents, useful subsidiary questions are raised about the relationship between Afghanistan's atypical colonial target status and its ill-positioning on a hypermarginalized periphery of capitalism. The master framers can only help us see the terms of the relationship between capitalism and colonialism, on the one hand, and our three markets, on the other. They do so by identifying themes such as human migration, commodity circulation, forms of currency (and contours of intra- and intercurrency exchange), urban-rural interaction, commercial routes, textual practices, and debt (its creation and circulation) that can trump or circumvent the archival market nomenclature quagmires previously outlined. At the very least, archival sources reveal precious material for comparative questions and theorizing organized for the broader challenge of fully comprehending the emergence of the modern world system.

53No such summits will be reached here. The goals of this book are drastically more limited. They have to do primarily with routing. The story might be reduced to the Khaibar Pass between Kabul and Peshawar becoming a colonial toll road, with subplots revolving around what happens to other markets such as Qandahar in that context. A kaleidoscopic view of capitalism and colonialism focusing on Kabul conveys the imagery of periodic overdoses of capital resulting in unforeseen results. In a less dramatic way, these infusions of colonial capital transformed the market mix among Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar. What seems clear within the confines of this book is that Kabul is not well disposed to being a center of capital accumulation. Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar share market profiles that do not suggest any one of them will fare well as a political capital of any substantial magnitude. Each of these cities is reputed for its hawalas and hundis, not its harems or hammams. In the historical long view, only in combination with either or both of the others does any one of these cities assume global political significance. It might therefore be that in the local historical view the three markets become nearly interchangeable on the politically hierarchy. At the minimum for Kabul, Peshawar, and Qandahar, the function of each market derives from its relationship to the other two, and as such, the activities and destinies of these markets are increasingly contingent on their interrelations and respective connections to exterior influences. A variety of relations between these markets become tangible through colonial archival sources that illuminate interactions between three groups of actors in and between each setting. These interactive communities of commercial classes are state authorities (Durrani Afghan and British Indian), bankers and merchants (primarily Hindkis), and nomadic tribal traders (primarily kuchis, Lohanis, and pawindahs). At a basic level, this history is just a glance at the long-standing tension between markets and states.

54With the historical background, geographic context, thematic orientation, and descriptions of the actors and sources in hand, a brief narrative guide to how these variables intersect in what follows is in order.

55Part I deals with the experimental period of Anglo-Afghan relations between 1809 and 1842. Chapter 1 describes the production, financing, and consumption of the fruits and nuts exported from Kabul and eastern Afghanistan to India.

56Chapter 2 examines how the British assessed the value of this lucrative trade using nomadic commercial experiments that validated the project of opening up the Indus river to international commerce and also considers the role of nomadic carriage for Indus Army's occupation of Kabul.

57Chapter 3 deals with fiscal issues associated with the first Anglo-Afghan war including the challenges surrounding the introduction of new currencies, the desperate overborrowing by the occupation army before its demise using paper money instruments, and the effect of the British reorganization of the Durrani state revenue bureaucracy on the financing and functioning of the export fruit trade.

58Part II deals with the reign of Abd al-Rahman, whom the British-appointed as the Amir of Kabul in 1880 to facilitate an evacuation that would avert another disastrous conclusion to the second Anglo-Afghan war. Kabul-centrism characterized British Indian policy and practice leading up to the first Anglo-Afghan war, and Abd al-Rahman intensified the colonial commercial emphasis on Kabul after the second war. This part of the book considers the consequences of concentrating colonial capital in Kabul for the markets of Qandahar and Peshawar.

59Chapter 4 discusses the British subsidy that structured Abd al-Rahman 's relationship with colonial authorities and how its handling and management reconfigured market relations between Kabul and Peshawar, capital of the British Indian North-West Frontier Province since 1849. The Durrani state industrial workshop complex is the institutional focus of this chapter and period. The demarcation of Afghanistan's boundaries occurred in exchange for increases in Abd al-Rahman's stipend, and he ultimately became dependent on colonial capital emanating from Peshawar. Those resources gave Abd al-Rahman the strategic upper hand, allowing him to consolidate his autocracy around a new class of state officials. These new bureaucrats and the texts they wielded were enabled by colonial capital and facilitated Abd al-Rahman's further concentration of capital in Kabul.

60Chapter 5 considers two areas of impact made by these further Kabul-centric developments. The first area affected by these new state policies was the Qandahar marketplace, which experienced the systematic textual and physical siphoning of its commercial resources. A second area of consequence was upon the nomadic commercial carriers who were textually conscripted by a maze of new state papers to execute a coordinated plan by Abd al-Rahman and British Indian authorities to route commerce between Kabul and Peshawar through the Khaibar Pass.

61Chapter 6 offers a brief case study of the Peshawar-based Sethi merchant family in Abd al-Rahman's Afghanistan. The Sethis were commercially favored by Abd al-Rahman, but they also provided commercial intelligence to the colonial authorities. In this sense, the Sethis were getting the best from both sides out of a bad commercial situation between Afghanistan and India. The vastly more common counterexample to the exceptionally favorable experience of the Sethis is the commercial evasion and flight from Afghanistan. This chapter examines the widespread evasive action taken by merchants when confronted by the new policies and practices occurring in these old markets. The case study on the ordinary side of the commercial equation are a consortium of north Indian tea traders who avoided the required and highly surveilled and taxed Khaibar route by tapping into the Indian Ocean's seaborne routing circuit and engaging new technologies such as telegraphic money transfer services to circumvent Abd al-Rahman and his commercially poisonous state paper.


Note 1: See Singh (1981), Chakrabarti (1990), Lockhart (1938). back

Note 2: The Indian Ocean literature is growing and can be entered through Bose, Boxberger Chandra, Chaudhuri (1993 and 1995), Das Gupta (1979 and 2001), Hill, Ho, McPherson, and Subrahmanyam (1995). back

Note 3: Timur's move involved immediate political motivations, and Shuja was deposed merely days after Elphinstone left, only to be returned to Kabul with the ill-fated Army of the Indus some thirty years later. Shuja's ill-fated return is addressed in Chapter 3 in the context of a discussion of Sarwar Khan Lohani, who provided carriage and transportation services for the British and Shuja. See Chapter 5 for more about Timur wanting to be closer to Qizilbash community in Kabul. back

Note 4: The Silk Road literature is also expanding. A good beginning can be made with Broadman, Christian, Kurin, Luce, Nebenzahl, and Whitfield (1999, 2004a, and 2004b). back

Note 5: See Braudel, vol. II, pp. 138–53 on bill of exchange circuits and their closing. back

Note 6: R. D. McChesney has produced an English translation of Faiz Muhammad Katib's Seraj at-Tawarikh, or Latern of Histories (1913–15), which is scheduled to appear online at the Afghanistan Digital Library in 2008. See the ADL Web site at http://afghanistandl.nyu.edu/ back

Note 7: See Dale (1994) and Levi (2002) for the presence of Indian merchants along the old Silk Road in Central Asia. and Markovitz (2000) for attention to a wider dispersion of Indian merchants communities within and beyond Indian Ocean circuits. See Chapter 1 for further consideration of these works and the diaspora model. back

Note 8: See Bayly (1988) for treatment of the family merchant firms in north India and British dealings with them. back

Note 9: See Burnes "on the Persian Faction in Kabul" in Burnes et. al. and for quote about the "ramifications" of the Qizilbash influence in Kabul, and Mason, vol. II, p. 260, for notice of the separate police and court system for this community. back

Note 10: This project is founded on archival sources consulted at five institutions in South Asia. These are the National Archives of India in New Delhi, the North-West Frontier Provincial Archives in Peshawar, the Tribal Affairs Research Cell in Peshawar, the Punjab Provincial Archives in Lahore, and the National Documentation Centre in Islamabad (hereafter NAI, NWFPA, TARC, PPA, and NDC, respectively). back

Note 11: See the map inserted at the end Elphinstone, vol. II, and Babur, vol. II, pp. 476–77 for one of Babur's rare uses of the Afghanistan label. back

Note 12: See al-Biruni, Bosworth (1963 and 1977), Minorsky (1937), and al-Utbi. Gommans (1995) provides a good treatment of these processes for the early Durrani polity in the eighteenth century that centers on the horse trade. His sensible starting position on historical handling of the terms Afghan and Afghanistan, p. 12, is especially relevant here. back

Note 13: See Eaton (2006), Kumar, and Haig. back

Note 14: For Khalaj as either Turks or Afghans, see Barani, A. H. Habibi (1971), Lal, and Minorsky (1940). back

Note 15: See Lockhart (1938 and 1958) and Singh (1981). back

Note 16: The Suri dynasty ruled from circa 1540 to 1555. The Lodi dynasts who ruled from circa 1451 to 1526 also identified themselves as Afghans, not as Pashtuns. The Lodis and Suris used the Persian language in the bureaucracies they controlled, and each dynasty has subsequently received the Pathan label from a number of authors. Lodi and Suri historiography includes Abd Allah, Dorn, Haziya, Khan, Lal, Mushtaqi, Niazi, Nimat Allah, Qanungo Sarwani, and Yadgar. back

Note 17: See the introduction to the Pata Khazana by A. H. Habibi at http://www.alamahabibi.com/. back

Note 18: See Ansari, MacKenzie (1964), Morogenstierne (1939), Darweza, and Caroe. The Pashto Makhzan-i Afghani of Akhund Daweza referenced here differs from Nimatullah's Persian language Makhzan-i Afghani (see Dorn), a genealogical history of Pashtuns, who are dubbed Afghans by the author, that was compiled during the early-seventeenth-century reign of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. back

Note 19: See ibid., Qandahari, and Arlinghaus. Akbar ruled from approximately 1556 to 1605, and the Roshaniyya (literally enlightened) movement is framed as insurrectionary by the Mughals who term it the Tariki (literally darkened) movement. Ansari (c. 1525–c. 1585), who is also known as the Pir-i Roshan, wrote the Khair ul-Bayan before outbreak of the revolt that the Mughals commissioned Darweza to refute. Akbar's new religion was termed Din Ilahi (literally Godly religion). See Rahim. back

Note 20: See Morgenstierne 1960 and Raverty 1981. back

Note 21: See Jones and Vansittart. back

Note 22: See Jones and Trautmann (1995 and 1998) for more on the comparative and theoretical issues raised by Sir William Jones and his work. back

Note 23: Modern Iranian Persian is known as Farsi. The Persian dialect spoken in Afghanistan has been referred to as Dari since the 1950s in accordance with Afghan state policy, although the term Farsi is still often employed domestically and in outsiders' references to Afghan Persian. back

Note 24: See M. J. Hanifi (2004). back

Note 25: See Cohn (1996) for an overview of Hindustani in British India. back

Note 26: See the entry for Henry George Raverty in the Dictionary of National Biography and Raverty (1987, 1982a, 1982b, 1981, 1978). back

Note 27: For more on the use of the generic Hindki label, see Chapter 1. back

Note 28: For an introduction to the Mughal economy, see Richards (1993), ch. 9. back

Note 29: See Markovits, p. 296. Ahmad Shah was born in Multan (Sing, p. 15), and it is possible that he capitalized on connections with merchants based in that location later in the empire-building stage of his life. See Lockhart (1958 and 1993) for events in early- and mid-eighteenth-century Iran involving the Hotak Ghalzi and Nadir Shah Ashar that form a combined prelude to the rise of the Durrani empire. See Astarabadi and al-Hussaini for the two primary Persian language sources for Nadir Shah Afshar and Ahmad Shah Abdali/Durrani, respectively. back

Note 30: See Balikci, Balland, and Ferdinand (1962 and 1969). back

Note 31: See Caroe, p. 15, for one such genealogy. Pashtuns are commonly referenced as the world's largest segmentary society. Issues of segmentation are linked to ethnography of tribal societies that fall within two main subtypes in Islamic societies, egalitarian or segmentary tribes, and hierarchical chieftaincies. These issues have generated as substantial literature in anthropology and history. See Khoury and Kostiner as an entree to some of these issues and surrounding literatures. back

Note 32: Robinson identifies pawindahs primarily but not exclusively as eastern Ghalzi tribes among whom the Sulaiman Khel confederation was most prominent, although he also addresses a number of non-Ghalzi (p. 157–85) are identified. See S. M. Hanifi (2004) for a brief treatment of the Sulaiman Khel. back

Note 33: See Braudel, Mintz, Wallerstein, and Wolf. Also contributing to the framing of this work is Kasaba's (1988) application and refinement of Wallerstein's world systems theory that focuses on the peripheralization of the Ottoman empire after being engaged by Eurocentric capitalism. back

Note 34: Sahlins. back

Note 35: Akin and Robbins. back

Note 36: Goody (1988 and 1996). back

Note 37: Appadurai. back

Note 38: See Bayly (1988 and 1996), and Cohn (1987 and 1996). back