Afghan Cameleers in Australia

The Afghan cameleers (majority Afghan but all the other cameleers) play a vital role in the early development of the Australia. Those who are interested to read further in the details, can read the book (picture 1), Australian Muslim Cameleers, which provides details about the history and role of those great cameleers.

One hundred and sixty years after the first camels and their cameleers arrived in Australia to aid explorers, the Royal Australian Mint celebrates the substantial contribution of the Afghan cameleers to Australia’s inland development. The cameleers, who came from countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey, were indispensable for their exploration efforts and for carrying goods to inland communities. Their contribution is celebrated with the release of these special 50c Silver Proof and Uncirculated Coins.

One can easily buy via the link

I would certainely like to share some shots of the pages of the book ‘Australia’s Muslim Cameleers Pioneers of the Inland 1860-1930. The first camellers arrive for the Burke and Wills Epedition, 1860.

From the Archives, first camellers reached to Australia.

For the interest of the people (esp; Afghan), I hereby share some photographs of the book with the name and pictures of the camelers to have some idea about their homeland and tribes. Also, their names are very interesting and so their background information.

Shaurang is very old name in Pashtu, very rarely use these days.
This man in the picture looks like Marri, Buzdar or Bugti Baloch. They travelled to Australia with their camels and played a great role.
Sayed Naseer is mentioned as from Quetta, Afghanistan. It will be very interesting for the new generation of Pashtun Afghan living in the land now in Pakistan.
Noor Muhammad from Ghazni

Unfortunately, the camels in Australia are under great pressure and challenge. You can find some views about the Australian camels issue in my articles.

Also, you can read about the whole picture of the importance of camels and the way they can be use as a great asset.

I’m looking forward to hear from you with suggestions and comments.

Nawroz, The New Year of Bactrian/Aryan Farmers

Since ancient times, the Bactrian (Inhibitants of Bactria) had been celebrating Nawroz as new year. Since last few decades it is being tried to declare this New year as Iranian year only (Iran was part of Aryana/Bactria). This new year is the years of farmers to plant food and ornamental flora. This region was also the cradle of domestication for many flora and animals species and Bactrian camel is the most prominent one. US President Obama sent greetings to Iranian people at the eve of new year of Nauroz which provoked the feelings of Pashtun/Afghan people as they angered why Nawroz is linked with Iranian only. We agree that Iran is the part of this history but not the sole part. I hereby copying the open letter of a Kabul university retired professor in this regard to bring things on ground. Nawroz

“Many Afghans are disappointed by President Obama’s Spee…ch while calling the celebration of Nowruz as Persian/ or Iranian New Year. Nowruz celebration, which falls on March 21st, is not solely “Iranian New Year”. Iranian writers have hijacked the history and traditions of a large region once called Ariana-Vija, according to Avesta and the Vedas. I believe that President Obama should not add to the conceited claims of Iranian Regime, which is based on the concept of “Aryanism”, initiated in Europe in the 1930. Perhaps it would be more appropriate and politically correct if the term Nowruz or New Year be used. The Spring Solar New Year was widely celebrated in Central Asia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, Turkey northern parts of Iran today and initially from Bactria to Indus Valley, the entire territory of Afghanistan and parts of Present-day Pakistan.

The celebration of the Nowruz actually started in archaic periods in Bactria or Balkh in the 2nd Millennium BCE or earlier by the farmers who lived on the banks of Oxus River, According to researches of Professor Habibi in ancient Vedic and Avestan texts, the early farmers were called Aran, which etymologically changed to Arian. Thus the term Ara or Aran was referred to a profession rather than a Superior Race. The celebration of the Farmers Day is still observed in Afghanistan during Nowruz, but not in Persia. The Elamet culture of Persian culture in the 2nd Millennium was connected to ancient Mesopotamia. According to Greek historians, Herodotus, Polybius and Strabo, this ancient civilization started on the foothills of Pamir Mountains and banks of Oxus River. Professor Luis Dupree and Alexander Marshack, American Archeologists also believed that the banks of Oxus River were one of the first places for farming wheat and barley. Italian archeologist in 1957 while conducting researches in northern Afghanistan, (Balkh, Takhar and Samangan) found very ancient irrigation system, which was initiated by the early farmers. Hence spring was an important season for the farmers and the first day of spring, March 21st was celebrated. Many different human races endured to make farming a source of living in ancient times. Nowruz was not exclusive to Persian Kings nobilities as widely propagated.

Hamid Naweed
Former Professor of Art History at Kabul University

The future of Mongolian nomadic lifestyle under debate! Same situation of other nomadic societies in the world

The report is self explainatory. The situation of other Nomadic societis is almost the same.

Listen and download: Dr Caroline Upton talks on the issues facing Mongolian nomadic herders

 Geographers from the University of Leicester are involved in research on pastoralism, environment and livelihoods at a critical juncture in decision making over the future of Mongolia’s rural areas.Image

 The two year study, Community, Place and Pastoralism: Nature and Society in Post-Soviet Central Asia, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and involving work in both Mongolia and Kazakhstan, led to a meeting in Ulaanbaatar in September 2012, organised by the University of Leicester team and their Mongolian colleagues. At this meeting herders were able to discuss key land and livelihood issues directly with ministers, donors and government advisors.

 Dr Upton, the Principal Investigator for the project, said: “Mongolian herders are facing multiple pressures on their livelihoods, traditionally based on nomadic pastoralism, from climate change, mining, desertification and new policies on land. Through our project, national decision makers were brought together with affected parties and local stakeholders to debate some of the vital issues pertaining to nomadic culture, livelihoods and identity in modern Mongolia. They were also able to draw lessons from the Kazakh context, based on our project results.”

 Dr Moore, the project Research Associate, who spent 5 months conducting fieldwork in Mongolia, said: “The herders that I met were deeply aware of climatic and environmental change in their pastures that are affecting their lifestyle. They often have to move further and more often to find good grazing for their goats, sheep, horses and camels. Therefore many are concerned that any moves towards privatisation of pasture will reduce their ability to maintain their livelihoods and nomadic culture.”

 In recent years, Mongolian herders have been encouraged through government policy and donor interventions to form herder groups. These groups are designed to collaborate in pasture management, labour sharing and environmental conservation, as well as marketing of their livestock products, thus improving local livelihoods and resilience.

 A long-debated draft pastureland law, to be considered by the new Mongolian government in the next session of parliament, seeks to strengthen rights to key seasonal pastures for families and herders groups. Although this law focuses on possession rather than ownership rights, for some herders it has raised fears over the ultimate privatisation of pastureland and reduction in the ability to move, particularly in times of need.

 Government policy is also promoting intensification of livestock production. Thus, there are tensions between mobile and more sedentary livestock production in rural areas and questions are raised over the place of nomadic culture and identity in modern Mongolia.

 Dr Upton said: “This is a critical moment in decision making about the future of Mongolia’s rural areas. Enhanced rights of herders’ groups to key seasonal pastures have the potential to make positive contributions to local livelihoods and to conservation. Increases in mining activity also make the recognition of land rights especially important, so that herders’ voices may be heard in defending and seeking compensation for land loss and displacement.

 “However, centuries old traditions of mobility, flexibility and reciprocity should not be lost. As other pastoral cultures have found, ‘modernity’ does not necessarily equate with sedentarisation or privatisation. Nomadic heritages and practices retain great value”.

 The Leverhulme team are finalising detailed reports and articles to share with herders, international donors, and government policy makers, as part of their contribution to these vital, ongoing debates. Results of the work have also been presented at this years’ Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) annual conference in Edinburgh.