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Old May 27th 06, 02:25 PM posted to soc.culture.pakistan,soc.culture.afghanistan,soc.culture.indian,soc.culture.iranian,
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First recorded activity by ChessBanter: May 2006
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Default My Khowar English Dictionary is being reprinted

Khowar English Dictionary is being reprinted

My Khowar English Dictionary, first published in Pakistan in 1981, is
in the process of being reprinted. It should be out in three weeks. I
am waiting for the page proofs to be sent to me for final checking.
ISBN 0-923891-15-3

I hope to be able to write a computer program to convert it to an
English-Khowar Dictionary. I am not certain that I will be able to do

In case there are any of you who are not familiar with Khowar, that is
a language spoken by 300,000 people in Chitral in the extreme
Northwest of Pakistan. My big selling point will be that Osama bin
Laden is suspected of being hidden in the area where Khowar is spoken,
so, if you want to collect the $50 million reward for catching Osama
Dead or Alive, you will have to buy my dictionary. If he really is
there, he would have to be very close to the home of my Chitrali wife,
because Jinjoret and Urtsun Valleys, which are right next to my wife's
house, are probably the only suitable places where he could stay

I have some questions:

1. Anybody who has any corrections or any additional words, please
send them to me.

2. I am looking for suggestions for my cover design. The original
cover was just blank red with only the words of the title. I could put
a picture of Terichmir Peak on the cover or put on a picture of my
principal informant, Honzagool, on the cover or just leave it blank.
Any suggestions?

3. My original dictionary had two editions, the Expurgated Edition and
the Unexpurgated Edition. The Unexpurgated edition had all the dirty
words and phrases of Khowar on the last page. This caused tremendous
controversy and unwanted publicity in Pakistan and hurt the sales of
my dictionary. Now that it is being reprinted, should I leave the
dirty words in or out?

My distributor will have very good distribution in America, UK and
Australia but not in Pakistan. Few copies of my dictionary will ever
reach Pakistan. Since Americans like to read dirty words, I am
thinking of leaving the dirty words in.

Several Chitralis have said that I am not to blame for publishing the
dirty words. The person who taught me the dirty words must be blamed.
I have a confession to make. It was my Chitrali wife, Honzagool, who
taught me the dirty words. Honzagool knew every dirty word and used
them with great frequency, especially when addressing me. It took me a
while to figure out what they meant.

Ismail Sloan
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Old June 2nd 06, 08:40 PM posted to soc.culture.pakistan,soc.culture.afghanistan,soc.culture.indian,soc.culture.iranian,
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First recorded activity by ChessBanter: May 2006
Posts: 1,558
Default My Khowar English Dictionary is being reprinted

--- Richard F. Strand" [email protected] wrote:


I passed by the Jalalabad jail every time I traveled into the city
from my office outside of town. We even supplied the jail with
some shade trees from our nursery. It is located on the east side
of town, right off the first main intersection where the road from
Peshawar enters the city. Whenever I passed it, I thought about
my dear late friend Muhammad Anvar, whom the communists had
imprisoned there when you joined that unfortunate club. Have you
read his memoirs on my Nuristan website? He provides a vivid
account of his arrest and imprisonment there, events that
compelled him to take up the cause of resistance in Nuristan after he was released.


Richard Strand

Thank you so much for pointing out the memoirs of Anwar. I just spent
the entire morning reading them. I read all eight sections that you
have translated, plus I read the other sections about the history of
the Kom people.

The most interesting to me of course was the section about the time he
spent in Jalalabad Prison, which is at

As you know, I played many games of chess with Anwar while we were in
Jalalabad Prison together.

It seems from the memoirs on your website that coincidentally he and I
were released from prison on the same date, or else he was released
one day before I was. I was released on exactly Eid day, which was
September 3, 1978. (Actually, I was officially released on the
pervious day. However, September 3 was the day I was escorted across
the border to Pakistan at Torkham.)

I have never written the whole story about the time I spend in prison
in Afghanistan. I just wrote the first half, up to the point where I
escaped. I should write the rest, about how I was arrested at Torkham
while trying to cross the border into Pakistan. I then spent six weeks
in Jalalabad Prison, two weeks in Demazang, one night in Puli Charqi,
and three days in Tolkif, the Central Jail in Kabul.

Your transcription of the Memoirs of Anwar is the first I have seen of
any prisoner in Afghanistan (other than my own, of course). I realize
that it must have taken months if not years to write it down,
transcribe it in Nuristani and translate it into English.

After I got out, I later met two men I knew in Jalalabad Prison. One
was Akhtar Jan, who later went to England. The other was a Nuristani,
I cannot remember his name but I met him near a refugee camp in
Chitral. None of the prisoners I met in Demazang and Puli Charqi
prisons I ever saw again. Perhaps I was the only one to survive.

Also, in May, 1978, before I was arrested, I drove my Volkswagen to
Nuristan. I was detained briefly by the Commandant in charge in the
Village on the road below Kamdesh. I remember a bunch of Nuristanis
there sitting in his office, while he was lecturing to them about the
new regime. Even though I could only understand a few words of the
language, I remember thinking that the Nuristanis were going to kill

When I met the Nuristanis again months later in Chitral, I asked them
what had happened to that guy.

They said that shortly after I had passed through there, he had fled
away in the night and had never returned. They had not killed him,
they said.

Just to fill up my recollection of these events, can you tell me, if
you know, the name of the Commandant? He was a relatively young,
slender man. Also, what was the name of the village where the police
headquarters was located and, if you know, do you know the name of the
other Nuristani man who was with me in Jalalabad Prison?

Ismail Sloan
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