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Proverbs (MATALONA / Zarbul Masal)

Matalona in Pashto and Zarbul Masalh in Dari mean “Proverbs”, Afghan proverb deeply reflect Afghan culture and although they are very simple and every one can use it in their communication.


Afghan proverbs can have same impact as the great words of famous philosophers and writers around the world history in the wealth and meaning.  A lot of Afghan proverbs are very short but in fact there is a story in the background.  If someone considers its full meaning and knew the fact in the background it’s become of his/her surprise, laugh and delight. Afghans universally prize wit and cleverness in speech and an appropriate Afghan proverb inserted at the right time can carry the weight of an entire explanation or discussion.

A good Afghan proverb properly used can match the enlightenment of Fukuzawa Yukichi, the wisdom of Confucius and the profundity of Zen Koan. Besides, it can be similar to the whimsy of Lewis Carroll, the homespun words of Mark Twain, the lyricism of Shakespeare and Alama Iqbal Lahori who expresses all meaning in one short phrase.

The proper use of Afghan proverbs demonstrates respect and understanding of Afghan culture at a very high level. Their use can lead to deeper personal connections that help to build a bridge among very different religions, ethnicities, customs and traditions. Moreover, it can also be used as a positive relationship-building tool.

Examples of Proverb:

1.Wakht laka Sra Zarr de (Pashto), Waqt Tela Ast (Dari)
means Time is gold.

2.Da Topak Zakham Joregy kho da Jabi na (Pashto) means Har Zakham jor mesha magar Zakhmi Zuban ne (Dari) means The wound of the sword/gun will heal, but not that of the tongue.

3.Da 1 lass tole goti yw barabar na di (Pashto),
  Angoshtan 1 dast hech ga ba hm barabar nest (Dari)
  means Not even the five fingers of our hands are alike (English).

Seniro Field Officer

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April 17, 2014 in Afghanistan |