Pathan - Settlements



While some Pathan are nomadic and others urban, the majority dwell in villages of 2 to 400 families. Frequently the Villages cluster around a larger town and are always located with concern for the availability of water and for defense. Settlement patterns reflect lineage politics with dominant lineages holding the choice or strategic lands. Genealogical closeness determines a group's location relative to them. Nomadic groups are primarily cattle herders who move with the seasons to follow pasture. They follow set routes and have traditional camping sites. Like the villages, camps are structured around the tents of the senior lineages. Houses are generally constructed of mud or sun-dried mud bricks covered with mud plaster. The only valuable parts of the house are the doors and the wood beams that support a flat roof of mats covered with mud and twigs. In small villages households consist of high-walled compounds frequently resembling fortresses, complete with towers on the corners. A clear and strict demarcation is observed between the areas ( hujra ) where the public may enter and be entertained and the family's living space. Women are secluded from the former (according to the Islamic custom of purdah) and animals and grain stores are kept in the latter. In the traditional style nomadic tents are woven from black goat's hair and supported by posts or arched poles and guy ropes.


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