Topics in Vâsi Ethnography

a conversation with

Zamân Xân

recorded and translated by

Richard F. Strand


In August of 1973 I visited the Pârun Valley of central Nuristân, home to the Vâsi people. In the uppermost village of Ṣup’u I had the great fortune to become acquainted with Zamân Xân, who was the leader of the Pazg’am Clan, the former keepers of the creator god M’ârâ in pre-Islamic times. Besides showing me the greatest hospitality, he kindly consented to be interviewed about topics in Vâsi ethnography.

The tape-recorded interview is presented here. The language of the interview is Kâmviri; however, many Kâtaviri forms appear intermixed in Zamân Xân's speech. Although his command of Kâmviri was excellent, some grammatical errors do appear in his discourse; and for that reason these texts should not be taken as authoritative specimens of Kâmviri. They should, however, be regarded as authoritative statements about the Vâsi.

The texts presented here are unedited and represent the actual flow of the conversation. In some places Zamân Xân's meaning, or my understanding of it, is not entirely clear. Also, certain spots on the tape are not intelligible. Such is the nature of field surveys, and I beg the reader's indulgence for obscure passages. Questionable parts are indicated with question marks, and unintelligible parts are indicated with X's.

The discussants are myself ([RS]), Zamân Xân ([ZX]), and, briefly, another man ([??]), whose name I did not get.



First Topic on Tape


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