makhta, arabic, ishtarli

now i am proper confused. late yesterday just before leaving office very late, an old hazaragi ‎folk song from central Afghanistan about a hero’s demise sneaked up to me and told me ‎to put it on my blog. i agreed and put my favorite verse of the song up (and since i was the only one left behind i ‎also gave my vocal cords a practice and started singing it out loud in its original makhta ‎tragedy mode.) ‎

then today I check out the blog and there are two comments that, i think, have taken it ‎for an arabic verse of sorts. who would have thought of that –an old hazaragi folk song ‎and arabic? first bobaker from libya posts a comment with prayer that may god ‎strengthen me (at least that’s what my meager knowledge of arabic makes it out to be) ‎and then lily’s comment rekindles my suspicions that weird serendipitous things can happen and that ‎the verse may have a meaning in arabic. But what kind of arabic, and what it actually ‎means, i have no idea. frankly it does not sound a whole lot arabic to me; and all of this confusion may have just started with bobaker’s comment. anyhow.
all I know is that the hazaragi version means something like this: ‎

early one morning the sound of the nickel guns broke out‎
and two flowers blossomed in ishtarli ‎

this particular makhta –or tragic folk song- is about a folk hero -najaf beg shero- who ‎was killed together with his wife (hence the allegory to the two budding flowers) in ‎internecine warfare in hazarajat. he is said to have resisted to the last man, and his wife is ‎said to have fought shoulder by shoulder with him. Eventually Najaf Beg ‎buried the body of his dead wife in an old chest before being killed himself. dr. hafizullah shariati sahar who has researched the subject has a serious article with more ‎examples of makhta up on his blog here (in farsi.)‎

also, i beg of the readers to point me to where ishtarli (ashtarlee?) is today? it is apparently some ‎place in central afghanistan but i have not seen it on any of the maps, and for those of us with a weakness for beautiful sounding place names, boy what a pleasure for the ears…

*update* i found ishtarli (or ishtarlay) – it is in dai kundi.

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~ by safrang on June 2, 2008.

2 Responses to “makhta, arabic, ishtarli”

  1. Just a thought: Isn’t it that Afghanistan is also a Muslim country? So maybe they and the Arabs share some common songs, epics, etc.

  2. interesting thought, j.a.carizo, but not likely. while it is true that afghanistan is also a muslim country and much did come over to afghanistan with the invasion of arabs, including cultural influences and a vast vocabulary into the farsi language, in this particular instance, the verse is almost pure hazaragi, a dialect of farsi spoken in central afghanistan (with the possible exception of ‘saba’ or morning which i think is similar to ‘subh’ in arabic.) beside this, especially in the realm of epics and folk stories that have proliferated with the word of the mouth, it is as likely for them to be influenced by arab myths and epics as by tales of valhalla and the nordic mythology.
    the strange and serendipitous thing would be -as i have suspected in this post- that something in one langauge can accidentally have a meaning (albeit totally different) in another language. so if there is a meaning in arabic, it is accidental and serendipitous, and not because the languages have something in common. a blunt example would be that “i see a mack truck” in english can accidentally mean something like “these oranges are so delicious” in another language (possibly one that is spoken in macondo of marquez’s imagination.) thanks for the comment.

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