History, Politics and Culture (17 June 2013)
Theodore L. Eliot, US Ambassador to Afghanistan from 20 September 1973 to 14 June 1978, has honored ACKU with his presentation of a collection of 278 books, together with issues of the Kabul New Times dating from January 1980. A good portion of this collection includes donations from Ruth and Anthony Arnold, author of classic works on the Parcham and Khalq communist parties and on the Soviet period in general. Book titles cover a full range of subjects including history, geography, politics, economics, archaeology and culture, society and anthropology, and literary works. It is a discerning collection written mostly in English, but also in Russian and Pashto, reflects Ambassador Eliot’s devotion to understanding Afghanistan, its culture and its people. This donation enriches ACKU’s collections many fold and is a measure of his continuing interest and contribution to Afghanistan.
Politics, Literature, Law and Culture (1 June 2013)
ACKU takes great pleasure in thanking Dr. Mahbouba Seraj Rafik for her generous donation of almost 200 significant books and magazines published over many years from the 1930s up into the early 2000s; many.are no longer unavailable to ordinary readers. This collection of works on history, archaeology, art and culture written mostly in Dari and Pashto, with some titles in English, German and Arabic, started while Mahbouba Rafik studied for her doctorate on Syed Jalaluddin Rumi Balkhi at Ankara University. The collection subsequently grew in breadth and scope during a critical period in Afghan history as Dr. Rafik took up positions at Kabul University and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1973-78. ACKU is delighted that Dr. Rafik has so thoughtfully shared her valued collection with the future generations of Afghanistan.
Forestry (27 May 2013)
Dr. Mohammad Alam from the Botanical Museum of Lausanne in Switzerland has generously donated a book and numbers of his reprints, pamphlets, and technical reports. Trees and Shrubs of Afghanistan: A Dendrological Guide (530 pgs.) is in English, beautifully printed and profusely illustrated. A reprint in English entitled Plant Collectors in Afghanistan, tells us that collectors and naturalists were attracted by Afghanistan’s flora as early as 1833 when J.M. Honigberger led a mission here. The pamphlets, in French, deal with specific plants such as figs, pistachio and pomegranates. ACKU’s collections have been significantly enriched by this kind donation by Dr. Alam.
Readers are invited to join Afghanii Bootii (firstname.lastname@example.org) which is devoted to the research, protection and promotion of forestry in Afghanistan.
Ethno-musicology (6 May 2013)
The ACKU collections were enriched by Professor Mark Tucker of the Royal College of Music in London who has generously donated a rare work published in Paris in 1888-1890 entitled Chants Populaires des Afghans by James Darmesteter.Author Darmesteter was commissioned in 1886 to conduct research around Peshawar by the French Ministry of Instruction, much as Mountstuart Elphinstone had been sent to Peshawar by the British East India Company in 1808 to report on the Kingdom of Caubul. There was high interest in the west in all things Afghan during these years when the empires of Russia and Britain eyed one anothers movements in Central Asia anxiously and suspiciously.
This early French work, however, is unique as it discusses the origins of the Afghan people, citing many controversial theories beginning with those put forth by the Ghaznavid historian/anthropologist Al-Biruni in 1030.In addition, it examines at length the origins and phonetics of the Pashto language by looking at popular Afghan folk songs of that era from an ethno-musicological point of view.
Arman-e-Milli Daily Newspaper (September 2012)
Responding to the considerable interest our users have expressed in using newspapers from the past for their research projects, ACKU is pleased to announce the acquisition of a set of the prominent Dari/Pasto newspaper Arman-e-Milli covering the years 2004-2010.
Medical Text Books (May 2012)
The Ministry of High Education kindly included ACKU in the distribution of 54 Dari and Pashto medical books along with CDs. These text books are included in the eCampus - Afghanistan project initiated by the Ministry and administered by the Institute of Development Research and Develpment Policy on the campus, with the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. For more information v. www.ecampus-afghanistan.org
Peace Education (5 May 2013)
ACKU extends its thanks to Mr. Gul Agha Ahmadi, media advisor for the Ministry of Education, for adding ten books on peace education in Pashto to our collections. These attractively published small volumes discuss the concept of peace in a variety of ways, such as: peace in the verses of the Holy Quran; peace in the Hadith of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh); various precepts of peace; peace in the Sirat about the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh); a wide range of thinking concerning peace; peace institutions and organizations; personalities devoted to peace; peace instruction in schools; peace in poetry and peace in prose.
Nineteenth Century Scenes of Afghanistan (April 2013)
The British Library, London, has transferred to ACKU, through the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Kabul, 96 high-quality mounted prints of sketches and photographs executed by prominent British artists and photographers during the First and Second Anglo-Afghan Wars. The artists of the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-1842) include: explorer/archaeologist Charles Masson (1800-1853) serving with the Kandahar Force; Lieutenant James Rattray, also of the Kandahar Force, who depicted the scenery and costumes of Kandahar and Kabul; the eye of surgeon James Atkinson (1780-1852), with the Army of the Indus was finely tuned to the life of the people as well as to military skirmishes. Keith A. Jackson’s sketch of Nawab Jabbar Khan’s house in Kabul (ca. 1840) was widely reproduced. The photographers active duringthe second war (1878-1880) include: apothecary John Burke (1823-1900) who took the first photographs of Afghanistan during the second Anglo-Afghan war which included scenes of Amir Sher Ali at Gandamak, social groups with dancing girls and musicians, and, Amir Abdur Rahman’s 1885 visit with the Viceroy of India at Rawalpindi where his Uzbek escort stunned observers; Doctor Benjamin Simpson recorded historical monuments in addition to streets scenes in Jalalabad and Kandahar; members of the Bengal Sappers and Miners focused on the ruins of the British residence and fortification inside the Bala Hissar that were a major cause of the second encounter.
Field Guide to Afghanistan: Flora and Vegetation (12 March 2012)
This beautifully produced volume provides 863 pages of Dari and English descriptions along with 12,000 colour illustrations of the flora and vegetation of Afghanistan. This is the most extensive coverage of this subject yet published. The four thousand copies intended for wide distribution among higher education schools and universities inside Afghanistan will be much appreciated as a source of knowledge and will also bring pleasure to many readers.
Folk Music (22 October 2011)
An elegant set of 10 CDs containing folk music from Herat and Badghis, a documentary and videos of live public performances has greatly enriched the ACKU collection. Recorded in 2010-2011, they showcase the talents of 36 Folk Muscians as part of an ongoing documentation of Afghan folk music by the Aga Khan Music Initiative under the direction of Vaheed Kaacemy. ACKU thanks the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for sharing this valuable research.
Russian-Afghan Relations(8 October 2011)
Thanks to the kindness of the Embassy of the Russian Federation and the Department of Russian at Kabul University, ACKU now has an interesting collection of copies of archival documents relating to the development of Russian-Afghan relations (118 pgs).A letter from Amir Sher Ali Khan (1869?) complains to Russia about being mistreated by the British and asks for help.Exchanges of expressions of friendship from King Amanullah (1919-1929) begin in1919 with his correspondence with Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, head of the Soviet state from 1917-1924, regarding the new Afghan Ambassador General Mohammad Wali.These letters of friendship continue down through the reign of King Zahir to Hamid Karzai and Vladamir Putin.
Initially artistically hand-written in graceful calligraphy, the documents mark the advent of the mundane typewriter. MoUs concerning commercial issues emphasize the importance of trade; those about the installation of radio andtelegraph service, dutifully accompanied by teams of aid experts, make familiar reading, as does the document detailing the $3.5 million loan for the construction of the silo in 1957. A few news photos of visiting diplomatic and commercial missions are also included.
Director: Louis Meunier. Running time: 52 minutes.
Homam Family Donation (August 2011)
Through the generosity of the family of the late Professor Sayed Sultan Shah Homam ACKU has received an exciting collection of 200 books and 456 periodicals published in Afghanistan during the past thirty years, including Professor Homam’s own work entitled Dari Folk Tales and Their Demarcation. The collection includes rare monographs and serials on history, culture, archaeology, politics, law and linguistics. Many are difficult to find elsewhere. We are most grateful to Qamar and Mukhtar Homam for sharing the family’s library so that others may enjoy these valuable works belonging to Afghanistan’s cultural heritage.
Photographs (May 2011)
ACKU is most pleased to announce the kind gift of 2045 slides from Sue Heringman taken by her late mother, Jean Heringman, who devoted the latter part of her life to helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan. The photograph documents her experiences in the refuee camps. The gift also includes 48 original drawings of Afghan refugee children.
Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh (March 2010)
ACKU is most pleased to announce the generous gift from the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh, through the Sibbold Trust, of 212 botanical papers, fascicles and books relating to the plants of South West Asia. These include substantial runs of The Flora of West Pakistan and The Flora of Iran that are relevant to scholars working on Afghan flora. The Annotated Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of West Pakistan and Kashmir (1028 pages) is a particularly impressive item included in this donation. A publication on the Flora of Afghanistan now under preparation is eagerly awaited. These works greatly enrich ACKU’s holdings.
Margaret Mills donates research on Afghan Folklore (October 2009)
ACKU is proud to have been chosen as a depository of 684 computer optical discs containing oral histories, folklore and interviews recorded by Margaret Mills, the leading expert on Afghan folklore, mainly in Herat between 1975 and 2004.The recordings are in Dari. By sharing her research, this distinguished folklore scholar strengthens the field of research for students in Afghanistan.She has also provided hours of enjoyment.
The Archives of Traditional Music at Indian University (March 2009)
in the United States has kindly provided ACKU with 11 CDs (10 hours) containing folk music recorded by Louis Dupree in 1969-70 and 1975.These tracks of love songs, epics and poetry were mainly recorded on bazaar days in villages near Dupree’s archaeological excavations in Maimana, Gurziwan and Badakhshan.
Louis Dupree in the field
Taliban Publication (July 2009)
دافغانستان اسلامی امارت : دمجاهدینو لپاره لایحه(Rule Book for the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan)
In the summer of 2009 four Afghan mountaineers from the Wakhan went up the slopes of Mt. Noshaq to the highest peak in Afghanistan. This was the first time that Afghans had reached the top of a major Afghan mountain. The film starts with some training in Europe and then carries the viewer along through preparations in Kabul to end with victory at the summit of Mt. Noshaq, It is a moving account of Afghan courage, tinged with the supreme confidence, infectious humour, and dogged perseverance that symbolize the best in the character of the Afghan people.