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Heroes of the Age : Moral Fault Lines on the Afghan Frontier


Heroes_of_the_ageIn Heroes of the Age the anthropologist David Edwards advances the argument that at a fundamental level Afghanistan’s troubles arise from the continuing existence of what are in many respects incompatible cultural principles – honour, rule or state governance, and Islam, and that these generate moral contradictions which make it difficult for the modern nation-state to take root there. Chapters 4 and 5 in particular focus on the Islamic dimension. Chapter 4 explores the life and activities of Najmuddin (d. 1902), the Hadda Sahib, a prominent Mullah, who settled at a place called Hadda not far from the border between Afghanistan and British India. He had a difficult relationship with the ruler of Afghanistan, but was also as consistent an opponent of British influence as the Mullah Paiwandah in Waziristan. He played a major role in encouraging the rebellion against British rule that broke out in Malakand to the north of Peshawar in 1897 and spread to much of the rest of this Frontier. Chapter 5 focuses on the Mullah’s role in this and on the ways he was able to establish his authority over the tribal groups living in the area.

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