How the Afghan genealogy-mongers came to adopt the name Saraban will be understood, if we refer to the anterior history of the country in which that people settled as conquerors. It was stated in a preceding passage that, during the first century of the Muhammadan era - the seventh of our own - the country of Sistan, which at that time included the present province of Kandahar, was inhabited by an Indian people, whom it was the persistent effort of the Arabs to conquer and convert. And we know from the records of history that, apart from the transfer or displacement of populations consequent upon prior irruptions of Scythic hordes from the north-east, there took place about two centuries earlier, or during the fifth and beginning of the sixth of our era, a very powerful emigration of an Indian people from the western bank of the Indus to the valley of the Helmand and its tri-butary streams, towards a kindred people already settled there.
This emigration en masse was owing, it would appear, to the irruption into the Indus valley of the Jats, and Katti, and other Scythic tribes, who about that period poured over the Hindu Kush. The Jats and Katti - the Getes and Catti of European authors - are now largely represented in this seat of their early conquest in the Jat (or Gujar as he is commonly styled) agricultural population of the Panjab, and in the Katti of Kattiwar or Kattiyawar.
In Afghanistan the Jat is known by the name of Gujar, which is a Hindi term expressive of his calling as a rearer of cattle and a husbandman, and he is found in the greatest numbers in the Yusufzai country, especially in the hill districts of Swat, Buner, and Bajawar.
The Katti are not known in Afghanistan as a distinct people, though, apparently, they have left a trace of their name in the district of Kattawaz, to the south-east of Ghazni, and in certain sub-divisions of the Ghilzai tribe who bear the names Kuttakhel and Kattikhel.
This body of Indian emigrants, who migrated from the Indus to the Helmand, was composed of a people professing theBudhist religion, and who, fleeing away from the irresistible wave of Scythic invasion, abandoned their native country, and took along with them the most sacred and cherished relic of their spiritual lawgiver - the water-pot of Budha The relic, which is a huge bowl carved out of a solid block of dark green serpentine, when I saw it in 1872 - and most likely it is still in the same position - was lying in an obscure little Muhammadan shrine, only a few hundred paces distant from the ruins of Kuhna Shahr - "old city" - ancient Kandahar. The descendants of the Budhists who carried it there have long since become Musalmans, and merged their identity in the common brotherhood of Islam. The sacred relic of the faith of their ancestors, unrecognized and uncared for, is now covered with Arabic inscriptions, and lies neglected and forgotten in an obscure corner close to the spot where it was in times gone by treated with the utmost reverence and most pious care Its history is forgotten, and, like that of the infidels connected with it, is an utter blank to the fanatic Musalman of the present day. It is enough for the people that they enjoy the blessing of being counted among "The Faithful," and bear the glorious name of Afghan. So powerful is the effect of Islam, in effacing class distinctions and ancient memorials, to reduce all its professors to a common brotherhood in the faith.
The Indian people who emigrated from the Indus and established themselves as a powerful colony on the Helmand were the Gandarii, and their country was the Gandaria of the Greek authors They were the Gandhari, and their country the Sindhu Gandhara of the Hindu writers. This people and their country will be noticed more fully hereafter, but it may be stated here that the early emigrants not only gave the name of Gandhar, or Kandhar, or Kandahar to the prime seat of their new settlement and rule, but actually, some ten centuries later, sent a powerful colony back to their primitive home. Return emigrants entirely ignorant of their mother country, and, regenerated by Islam, treating their kindred and foreigners alike, without distinction, as cursed infidels and "Hindus"
The emigration of the Yusufzal and Mahmand, with the Khakhi and Ghoryakhel Afghans from the Kandahar province to the Peshawar valley, will be described further on. Here it will suffice to indicate the reason why the Afghan genealogist took the term Saraban for the name of the ancestor of the first of the three nations orginally sprung from, or referred to, their great progenitor Kais. Suryabans was the distinctive race title of the Rajput people among whom the Afghans had become absorbed, and, independently of clan divisions and sub-divisions, it was also a title held in high respect among the people of the country at that time. Further, as it included a large and important population, it was a convenient term to adopt as an ancestral title.
Its adoption, however, in no way tended to keep alive the origin or influence of the term, nor that of the people to whom the title specially applied. This, perhaps, was partly owing to the disguised form of the word, but mostly to the levelling influence of the new religion. It appears from a comparison of the national character and customs of the Rajputs of India and those of Afghanistan, as represented by the Afghan, that there is a very remarkable similarity between the two peoples. As for instance in the laws of hospitality, protection to the refugee, exaction of vengeance, jealousy of female honour, the brother becoming by right husband of his deceased brother's widow, and others which are also ordained by the Mosaic code. As to national character, the warlike spirit and insufferance of control, addiction to vices and debauchery, instability of purpose, pride of race, jealousy of national honour and personal dignity, and spirit of domineering are pretty much alike in the two peoples now parted more by Brahmanism and Muhammadanism than by mere territorial distance. Apart from these again, there is the very sticking physiognomic resemblance, which is even more pronouncedly of the Jewish type in the Rajput of India than it is in his distant kinsman the Afghan.