History of Pashto Translations of Bible: Its Impact on Pashto Language and Literature[1]

  • Dr. Muhammad Ali Dinakhel Lecturer, Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia) University of Peshawar.
  • Majid Khan Afridi PhD Scholar, Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia) University of Peshawar
Keywords: Bible, Pashto translation, Bible Society, New Testament, Old Testament, Pashto language, Pashto literature.


The history of Pashto translation of Bible started by John Lyden in 1818 with parts of Bible translation followed by Pashto translations of New and Old Testament by William Carey in 1863 and the practice continued till the publication of full revised Bible by United Bible Societies in 2020. Bible was translated from Hebrew, Greek and English languages into Pashto prose and verse. Missionaries were assisted in these translations by Pashtun mullahs, qazis, scribes and local converts. Prominent Pashtun who assisted in these translations were Ahmad, Qazi Abdul Rahman, Ghulam Jilani, M.A. Taib, Hamidullah and Wazir-al-Din. Bible translations into Pashto left its impact on Pashto language and literature in terms of style and themes. The first printed in Pashto is the translation of Bible. Early Pashto translations helped in the emergence of standard Pashto dialect. This article explores the history of Bible translation into Pashto. Furthermore, it highlights the significant contributions of prominent individuals, missions and organizations. It also explores thematic, stylistic, literary and linguistic impacts of Bible translation on Pashto language and literature. The study is going to be dominantly descriptive in nature based on the primary and secondary sources.



[1] An early version of this article was presented in International Conference on Christianity and Christians in Pakistan, organized by Kellogg College University of Oxford, London on June 15-16, 2023.