By Shaista Wahab, Barry Youngerman
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Additional info for A Brief History of Afghanistan, 2nd Edition
In the 16th century, Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty, made Kabul one of his capitals. Babur died in Agra, India, in 1530, but his body was buried in Kabul on a hillside in his famous Bagh-i-Babur mausoleum, in accordance with his wish. The gardens he laid out still remain as a public park. Kabul was just a small village when the Durranis arrived. It grew to a town of 10,000 by the end of the 18th century and to the country’s largest city over the following hundred years. Today, it is a growing metropolitan city that serves as the social, economic, political, and cultural center of Afghanistan.
The body is made of baked clay and is often decorated with drawings and designs. The head is covered with stretched goatskin. It is also played in Iran and Turkey. The daira is a kind of tambourine made from a wooden ring approximately 10¼ inches (26 cm) in diameter and 21⁄3 inches (6 cm) in depth. One side is covered with stretched goatskin. Brass rings or bells are often attached to the inner side of the wooden rim for additional sound effects. The daira is played primarily by women, who strike the skin with their hands.
The Greek language eventually disappeared from Afghanistan, where it probably had never been adopted by the rural subjects of the Greek cities; the colonists appear to have blended in with the local population or disappeared. In the isolated valleys of Nuristan northeast of Kabul, however, the local population includes many people with blond or red hair and blue or intermediate color eyes. Europeans who first encountered the Kafirs (from the Arabic for “infidel”), as the local people were called before their forcible conversion to Islam in 1895, theorized that they were the remnant of Alexander’s legions.
A Brief History of Afghanistan, 2nd Edition by Shaista Wahab, Barry Youngerman