The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Ahmad Shah Durrani; the founder of modern Afghanistan

The people in Afghanistan have special respect to Ahmad Shah Durrani. He is called Baba, the father of the nation. The symbol of his kingdom was a cluster of wheat which was placed by Pir Sabir Shah Kabuli on the turban of Ahmad Shah in 1747 to proclaim him as a king. The cluster of wheat has always appeared as a national symbol in the flag and national currency of Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s official history books have regarded Ahmad Shah as the founder of modern Afghanistan and the first king of the country. Even some non-Afghan historians have used these respectful titles in their books. Ahmad Shah has been also complimented particularly by historians and experts of the then British colonial. One of the British historians has said that ‘Ahmad Shah was born as a leader. Sir Alexander Cunningham wrote, “Ahmad Shah was an ‘ideal Afghan genius’. Ahmad Shah became known when he was a young commander of nearly 6,000- elite Pashtun forces fighting for Nadir Afshar. From 1748 – 1766, Ahmad Shah repeatedly attacked on India and formed a great empire. Ahmad Shah led and conducted lots of attacks against various powers in India as Mongols, Sikhs and Marathas. Ahmad Shah declared war against the Marathas. Early skirmishes ended in victory for the Afghans, and by 1759 Ahmad Shah and his army had reached Lahore. By 1760 the Maratha groups had coalesced into a great army. Once again Panipat was the scene of a confrontation between two warring contenders for control of northern India. The Battle of Panipat in 1761 between Muslim and Hindu armies who numbered as many as 100,000 troops each was fought along a twelve-kilometer front. Despite decisively defeating the Marathas, what might have been Ahmad Shah’s peaceful control of his domains was disrupted by other challenges. The victory at Panipat was the high point of Ahmad Shah’s power. Afterward, even prior to his death, the empire began to unravel. By the end of 1761, the Sikhs had gained power and taken control of much of the Punjab. In 1762 Ahmad Shah crossed the passes from Afghanistan for the sixth time to subdue the Sikhs. He assaulted Lahore and took their holy city of Amritsar. In fact, Ahmad Shah somehow had a religious motive for invading India. Shah Waliullah, a Muslim cleric in India (later inspired by the extremist Deobandi movement), asked for Ahmad Shah’s attack to stop Hindu and Sikh rule over Indian Muslims. This request of Shah Waliullah caused the Afghans to declare “Jihad” against various powerful tribes as Sikhs and Marathas. When Ahmad Shah conquered Delhi in 1757, he put an end to the traditional Mongol policy of religious tolerance. Non-Muslims were no longer allowed to wear “Muslim dress” including the turban, and Hindus had to wear an allamah (tiqa) on their foreheads to be recognized. To be continued

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.