Critical Analysis of the Works by Fredrik Barth, Akbar S. Ahmed, and Charles Lindholm on Swat Pashtuns

European Journal of Philosophy Culture and Religion 6 (2):42-51 (2022)
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Abstract

This paper focused on analysing the three very famous ethnographic works on Pukhtun Society of Swat. First, the work of Fredrik Barth “Political Leadership among Swath Pathans, was analysed then analysis of counter work to Barth’s done by Akbar S. Ahmed, “Millennium and Charisma among Pathans”, then there was critical review of the work by Charles Lindholm “Frontier Perspectives: Essays on Comaritive Anthropology”. Works of Louis Dupree, Talal Asad and Micheal Meeker, have also consulted to critically analyse the works of the mentioned authors. This paper is an effort to examine the fact that the works of Fredrik Barth, Akber S. Ahmed, and Charles Lindholm present partially true picture about the socio-economic settings of Swat Pashtuns but not a fully appropriate, impartial and correct image of that society. If one would fully depend on these works to understand the economic and political circumstances of Swat society, then it would be probably insufficient and misleading owing to a significant difference in the writings of all these writers though written from the same society. It means that all of them were writing from the different positions, from separate cultural, educational and professional backgrounds. Their backgrounds have great influence on their writing, which made their work subjective and biased. Thus, it assumes that though an anthropologist tries to remain impartial and objective while writing about any culture, he cannot be, because of his cultural restriction. So, there is an effort to give an answer to the research question by applying the idea of post-modernist approach of James Clifford “writing culture”, also getting support by the Michel Foucault ideas of “Knowledge/Power” in discourse analysis. Thus, it is supposed here that work of each above mentioned authors is a partial truth, because in an ethnographic work author plays a central role and he writes ethnography as an auto-biography (based on his/her cultural limitation).

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