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Statue of the Buddha from Palatu Dheri in Hashtnagar, inscribed of "the year 384", which is thought to be 209 CE of the Yavana era. Hashtnagar Buddha Year 384 original body only.jpg
Statue of the Buddha from Palatu Dheri in Hashtnagar, inscribed of "the year 384", which is thought to be 209 CE of the Yavana era.
Piedestal of the same statue, with Year 384 inscription: sam 1 1 1 100 20 20 20 20 4 Prothavadasa masasa divasammi pamcami 4 1 ("In the year 384, on the fofth, 5, day of the month Prausthapada"). Hashtnagar Buddha piedestal with Year 384 inscription.jpg
Piedestal of the same statue, with Year 384 inscription: sam 1 1 1 100 20 20 20 20 4 Prothavadasa masasa divasammi pamcami 4 1 ("In the year 384, on the fofth, 5, day of the month Prausthapada").

Hashtnagar [هشتنګر] (in Sanskrit अष्टनगरम्: aṣṭanagaram and more commonly known as اشنغر ashnaghar Pashto) [2] is one of the two constituent parts of Charsadda District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, The name Hashtnagar is derived from Sanskrit अष्टनगरम् aṣṭanagaram, n., "The eight towns" from Sanskrit aṣṭa, num. card., "Eight" and नगर nagara, n., "settlement, locality, town". The descriptive later being influenced by the Pashto asht, num., "eight". The etymology "Eight Towns", refers to the eight major settlements situated in this region. [3] These are:

Sanskrit language of ancient India

Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a history going back about 3,500 years. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India. In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia, emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions.

Charsadda District, Pakistan District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Charsadda District is a district in Peshawar Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan. Prior to its establishment as a separate district in 1998, it was a tehsil within Peshawar District. Pashtuns make up majority of the population of the district. District headquarter is town of Charsadda, which was part of the Peshawar ex-metropolitan region.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is one of the four administrative provinces of Pakistan, located in the northwestern region of the country along the international border with Afghanistan. It was previously known as the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) until 2010 when the name was changed to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the 18th Amendment to Pakistan's Constitution, and is known colloquially by various other names. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the third-largest province of Pakistan by the size of both population and economy, though it is geographically the smallest of four. Within Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa shares a border with Punjab, Balochistan, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Islamabad. It comprises 10.5% of Pakistan's economy, and is home to 17.9% of Pakistan's total population, with the majority of the province's inhabitants being Pashtuns. The province is the site of the ancient kingdom Gandhara, including the ruins of its capital Pushkalavati near modern-day Charsadda. Originally a stronghold of Buddhism, the history of the region was characterized by frequent invasions under various Empires due to its geographical proximity to the Khyber Pass.


The Sherpao is a subgroup of the Muhammadzai (Charsadda) tribe. As their name suggests, they are found in the village of Sherpao in the Hashtnagar area of Charsadda District, Pakistan. Sherpao, the common ancestor of the subgroup, was the grandson of Muhammad, the common ancestor of the Muhammadzai tribe. According to Captain Hastings in 1878, the Sherpao had only one high-land hamlet named Dakai, as their other lands were lost to surrounding tribes.

Tangi, Pakistan Place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Tangi is a Tehsil and union council of Charsadda District in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

Utmanzai, Charsadda Town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Utmanzai is a town in Charsadda tehsil of Charsadda District in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It is located at the border between Mohmand Agency and Charsadda District.


Buddhist period

Hashtnagar is known for an early Buddhist statue. The Original name of Hashtnagar was "Ashtanagaram", "Ashta" means Eight in Sanskrit and "Nagaram" meaning "Town". [4]

Modern era

In 1812 the Asiatick Society (Calcutta, India) described the Gujars of Afghanistan as brave, mainly pastoral, and numerous in Hashtnagar district. The Muhammadzai (Charsadda) were also mentioned as a powerful tribe in the area. [5]

Gurjar an ethnic group in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan

Gurjar or Gujjar is an ethnic agricultural and pastoral community of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. They were known as Gurjaras during the medieval times, a name which is believed to have been an ethnonym in the beginning as well as a demonym later on. Although traditionally they have been involved in agriculture, Gurjars are a large heterogeneous group that is internally differentiated in terms of culture, religion, occupation, and socio-economic status. The historical role of Gurjars has been quite diverse in society, at one end they are founders of several kingdoms, districts, cities, towns, and villages, and at the other end, they are also nomads with no land of their own.

Class struggle

Hashtnagar is known for its militant socialist struggle of peasants led by the Mazdoor Kisan Party which has resulted in various positive developments of the area. Before the peasant's movement poor people were living in a suffocated and suppressed environment. They were dependent on landlords for their daily routine life, they even cannot style or comb their hairs or wear neat and tidy clothes, because it was prohibited by landlords. Violation of the rules imposed by landlords leads to severe punishment and fines.

Mazdoor Kisan Party

The Mazdoor Kisan Party (MKP) is a political party in Pakistan with communist and socialist leanings. In the 1970s, it led a militant communist movement in Hashtnagar, Charsadda District, Pakistan. In 2012, a documentary film was screened in Lahore highlighting the armed struggle of peasants and workers of this small area which was crushed in 1974 by the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto regime.


A documentary, exploring the political and cultural life of Hashtnagar, has been made by Ammar Aziz [6] [7] which is the first ever film on the subject . [8] It features the local artists and political activists and romanticizes the communist movement of the area.

Ammar Aziz Pakistani documentary filmmaker

Ammar Aziz is a Pakistani documentary filmmaker and left-wing activist. As a filmmaker, he was initially known for his work about the working class of Pakistan. A graduate of Lahore's National College of Arts, he was the only filmmaker from Pakistan to be selected in 2012 for the Talent Campus of the Berlin International Film Festival. He was selected for his documentary about the power-loom workers of Faisalabad which was also screened at the Solidar Silver Rose Award 2011 in Brussels. His documentary about the home-based women workers of Hyderabad has been screened at several labour film festivals in the United States and Europe.

Notable people

See also

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  1. Problems of Chronology in Gandharan Art p.37
  2. Raverty, Henry George (1867), A dictionary of the Puk'hto, Pus'hto, or language of the Afghans (2 ed.), Williams and Norgate, p. 33
  3. Asiatick Society (Calcutta; India) (1812). Asiatick researches, or, Transactions of the society instituted in Bengal, for inquiring into the history and antiquities, the arts, sciences, and literature of Asia. John Murray. pp. 383–. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  4. Hendrik Willem Obbink. Orientalia Rheno-traiectina. Brill Archive. pp. 115–. GGKEY:S6C77GP5KP7. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  5. Asiatick Society (Calcutta, India) (1812). Asiatick researches, or, Transactions of the society instituted in Bengal, for inquiring into the history and antiquities. John Murray.
  6. http://tribune.com.pk/story/331394/in-the-spotlight-screening-of-hashtnagar/
  7. "Documentary on insurgency survivors wins first prize". 2011-01-28. Archived from the original on 2014-05-04. Retrieved 2013-01-15.
  8. "A man with a movie camera in Hashtnagar!". Viewpointonline.net. 2011-03-18. Retrieved 2013-01-15.

Coordinates: 34°12′59.24″N71°42′53.26″E / 34.2164556°N 71.7147944°E / 34.2164556; 71.7147944