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Caste System of Afghanistan
Transcript of Caste System of Afghanistan
Afghanistan became a country in 1747. Since that time, there came a strict divide between the people of Afghanistan that determined their standard of living. This divide is known as the caste system. The caste system ranks the different ethnic groups of the people of Afghanistan and gives a status to their name, which determines the life they will lead and how it will be lead. There are 5 castes that an Afghani can be born into. These being Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen, and Hazara.
The Hazaras are the lowest social class who make up 9% of the population. They live mainly in Hazarajat, Afghanistan where they speak Hazaragi and are Shi’a Muslim. They earn their living by mainly agriculture. This is because as the lowest caste, they are looked down upon as not having the standards to lead a decent life. There is distrust and discrimination between Pashtuns and Hazaras mainly because of the confrontations and one of them being the highest caste and the other being the lowest.
Turkmen boy and girl
The Turkmens make up 3% of the population and are from the lower middle class. They are Sunni Muslim and speak Turkic. With agriculture and herding as their way of life, their most valuable asset is the Karakul sheep. They practice their agriculture and herding in Northwestern Afghanistan, East of the Caspian Sea. Turkmens are known for being nomadic and warlike. As a result, people fear them.
The Uzbeks make up 9% of the population and live along with the Tajiks in the northern plains of Afghanistan. They are mainly middle class people who make their living through agriculture, herding, and even as businessmen. Uzbeks are Sunni Muslim and speak central Turkic dialects called Uzbeki. They come from a long and strong line of military leaders. As a result, they receive resentment by the other groups for their military conquests.
The Tajiks are the second largest ethnic group who are of the upper-middle class. About 27% of the population is made up by Tajiks. They generally farm and live in the Eastern valleys of Afghanistan. They originate from Tajikistan and their dialect is Dari. They are also Sunni Muslims. They have not dominated politically since 1928.
The Pashtuns are the largest and traditionally the most politically powerful ethnic group in Afghanistan. Almost 40% of Afghans are Pashtuns. People from the Pashtun caste are of the highest social class. They are Pashtu and Dari speaking Sunni Muslims who originate from the Afghan-Pakistani-Iranian border. Pashtuns generally make their living off livestock and agriculture.
Example: Baba and Amir
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