Proverbs from Afghanistan
If literacy rates were measured by a nation’s proverbs and poetry, Afghanistan would be one of the most literate countries on earth. These two forms of the oral tradition have been embraced for centuries and reveal the heart and soul of the Afghan people.
PROVERBS are part of every culture and have been for thousands of years. Francis Bacon said that the wit, genius, and spirit of a nation are discovered in its proverbs. Here are some common Afghan proverbs which provide unique insights into the ancient culture.
Everyone sees his country or area the most beautiful in the world.
Har chata khpal watan kashmir de
(for everyone his country is like Kashmir)
An empty vessel makes much noise.
Da khali daig ghag lor de
(The emty vessel noise is more)
nature can’t be changed
Da maar bachai maar wee.
(The snake’s baby is also a snake)
One is equal to one hundred, and one hundred to (so much) earth.
يو په سل، او سل په خاورو
One brave man is equal to one hundred cowards.
A friend will cause you to weep, an enemy to laugh
خپل به دې ژړوي، او دښمن به دې خندوي
That is, a true friend will always tell you your faults, an enemy will flatter you.
For a friend, the Hindu has eaten the flesh of a cow.
د يار د پاره هندو د غوا غوښې خوړلي دي
The cow is a sacred animal amongst Hindus. Meaning is, that to serve a friend a man would do an unlawful act.
Though you are an infidel, you are my liver
که ته کافر ئې، ځما څګر ئې
The liver here is the center of affections. Religious differences do not interfere with true friendship.
Some one said to the woman, “Your lover is dead.” She said, “Of which street?”
لوئې ته چا ويل چې يار دې مړ شو، ويل ئې چې د کومې کوڅې؟
Who is everybody’s friend, is nobody’s true friend
“IF THERE IS ONLY BREAD AND ONIONS, STILL HAVE A HAPPY FACE”
“NOT EVEN THE FIVE FINGERS OF OUR HANDS ARE ALIKE”
“FIRST A FRIEND AND THEN A BROTHER”
“HE WHO IS CORNERED WILL FIGHT. ”
“A broken hand can work but a broken heart can’t.”“A river is not contaminated by having a dog drink from it.”