We are currently in the process of moving information from our old website to our new home. Please visit frequently to see the updated information. This page provides some basic information about the Hazaras.
Hazaras are one of the most persecuted people on earth. Yet, despite centuries of persecution and ongoing systematic discrimination, the Hazaras are a progressive, highly educated, and peace loving nation.
Hazaras are peace-loving people -:-
The restive city of Quetta provides a great example of the peaceful nature of Hazaras where they are going through a genocidal campaign by Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists. Despite undergoing such extreme duress, the two Hazara enclaves are the only two civilian safe-zones in Quetta with a crime rate almost near 0%. In the Alamdar road enclave, for example, the only police precinct is located on the outer parameters of the area and police don’t even bother coming to the area. Within both the Hazara areas, it is not uncommon for young girls laden with expensive jewelry walking home from a wedding (commonly after midnight) without any fear of being harmed or mugged.
Another great example of this peaceful demeanor was at display after the double bombing (twin blast on Jan 10 targeting Alamdar Road and a major blast targeting Hazara Town on Feb 16) targeting Hazaras by Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists causing two of the worst terrorism-related casualties in Pakistan’s history resulting in deaths of approximately 250 people (including dozens of minors and children) and injuring over 300. On both occasions, the Hazaras responded with an unprecedented peaceful sit-in protest along with the coffins of their loved ones, out in the open, for several days in sub-zero temperature and rain, bringing the Federal government to shame and the dismissal of the entire provincial government. Mubashir Lucman, anchor of the widely watched program “Khara Such” on ARY TV channel in Pakistan, captured the essence of this protest in these words:
“I am actually very very impressed. It is the sign of a very evolved, educated, and enlightened people… In my life, I have never seen such a peaceful, resolute, and committed protest. I offer my salam to you all [mourners].”
Education is the fastest growing trend among Hazaras -:-
A generation ago, the educated class was so far and few between that an educated Hazara in Pakistan would get an honorary title of “Babu” tagged along with his name as a mark of respect. Today, education is the fastest growing trend among Hazaras and it is unheard of finding families who are not putting their best efforts in educating their newer generation. The education percentage, therefore, is easily guesstimated to be over 90%. For example, the several-mile-stretch Hazara enclave in Quetta has one of the highest number of schools, colleges, language centers, art centers, and computer institutes, compare to any place in the city. Likewise, in Afghanistan, Jaghori (in Hazarajat) is considered the educational district of Hazaras and may have one of the highest concentration of educational institutions than most places in Afghanistan. It should be noted that education among Hazaras are almost equally divided between males and females.
One disturbing news from Pakistan is that due to ongoing genocide where Hazaras are actively targeted by the plethora of Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists (Human rights organizations have accused Pakistani government in collusion with many of the terrorist organizations involved in Hazara genocide), 100% of all Hazara education activity has stopped that involves going beyond the several mile stretch of the two Hazara enclaves.
Hazaras have one of the most progressive value system on Gender -:-
While all Hazaras are systematically discriminated against, unarguably the Hazara women faces much higher degree of challenge as they have to face the male members of their own home and society first. Yet, despite such challenges, they have made strides in all walks of life. Some examples are:
Seen from the Hazara perspective, the above is considered well within the norm. Albeit slowly, the new trend is the joining of Hazara women as professionals in all walks of life and especially in the male-dominated fields of sports such as Karate where young girls are dominating the competitions.
Genocide/Persecution Timeline -:-
The Hazara Nation:
The word “Hazara”
The real origins and meaning of the word “Hazara” is unknown. Some researchers believe the term “Hazara” came from the word “Hazar” which meaning “one thousand.”
Hazaras are among few races on the face of the earth about whose origin so little is known. There are different theories about the origins of Hazaras. Many researchers believe Hazaras to be of Turko Mongol ancestary. Another theory is that Hazaras were Buddhists that lived in Hazarajat (the region that spanned most of today’s Afghanistan) since the time of the Kushan Dynasty some 2000 years ago prior to the arrival of Islam. During the time of Kushan Dynasty, Bamyan was the home of one of the main hub of Buddhist civilization. This is obvious from the two of the World Tallest Buddhas statues that is carved in the mountain in Bamyan, Afghanistan – the heart of Hazarajat region inhabited by Hazaras for at least 2000 years.
This similarity is also pointed out by the author of the famous book The Hazaras by Late Hassan Poladi.
The Hazara land, Hazarajat
The land of the Hazaras is historically known as the Hazarajat (also referred to as Hazaristan). It is the ancestral home of the Hazaras and it spans most of today’s Afghanistan. The historic boundaries of Hazarajat was much larger than now. According to H.W.Bellew the area was “from the border of Kabul and Ghazni to those of Herat in one direction and from vicinity of Kandahar to that of Bulkh in the other.”
It may be noted that after the genocide of Hazaras in 1893 (see more 1, and 2), Afghan ruler adopted a policy to plant Pushtun nomads in fertile Hazara lands. According to Askar Mousavi’s book Hazaras of Afghanistan (page 66) , now the Hazarajat area is reduced to 100,000 – 150,000 sq km.
Hazaras live in the following provinces in Hazarajat:
Ghazni, Uruzgan, Ghore, Wardag, Bamyan , Parwan , Baghlan (Majority Ismali Hazaras inhabit).
Hazaras also live in the following provinces:
Samangan, Balkh , Jozjan , Faryab , Kabul , Badges (with Sunni Hazaras) , Kunduz (with mixed Shia and Sunni Hazaras), Herat (few number of Shia Hazaras).
The Hazargi Language
The language of the Hazaras is known as “Hazaragi” (or Aazragi). It has some similarities to Dari and Farsi (Persian) but quite distinct from both. A person speaking Hazaragi may not understand Dari or Persian and vice versa. There are different theories about the origins of Hazaras. Many researchers believe Hazaras to be of Turko Mongol ancestary
The Hazara language is in danger of being lost completely unless steps are taken to preserve it. In the past, the language has remained intact because central mountaneous region of Hazarajat, for the most part, has remained inaccessible due to lack of roads and extreme weather conditions. It remains completely inaccessible due to heavy snow through long winter season. In addition, the Hazaras have faced centuries of persecution in Afghanistan and Iran. Hazaras living in Iran (permanently or as refugees for the past 30 years) now mostly speak Persian. Those living in Afghanistan mostly speak Dari. The only notable exceptions speaking Hazaragi are the poor uneducated Hazaras living in the Hazarajat region.
The Hazara religion
Hazaras are predominantly Muslim and belong to Shia, Sunni, and Ismaili sects of Islam.
The Hazara Population
The real population of Hazaras is not known. There are wide belief that Hazara make up at least 25% of today’s Afghanistan despite the fact that a millions of Hazaras live outside Afghanistan and all over the world. Several million Hazaras live in Iran and an estimated 600,000 Hazaras live in Pakistan. In the West, Australia is home to approximately 50,000 Hazaras. Tens of thousands of Hazaras also live in countries around the world.