Originally Posted by Eric Trowbridge
... Which leads to
a question, initially for Pierre, but also for others who are
monitoring this conversation: What has happened to the sub-tribes
and clans since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? Where did they
wind up (and how many of them stuck it out and stayed put)? Did they
disperse en bloc as clan units or were they separated from each
other? And, do the old affiliations even mean anything anymore, or
has identity morphed into a self-identification as just Turkmen?
It's interesting to see where past migrations led, but what about
the migrations (forced or otherwise) that have taken place in our
I have focused
my interest so far on the 16th to 19th century, but you are right it would
be interesting to get better information on the 20th century as
According to the ethnologist B. Bouchet (1), the largest tribes
(in decreasing order of size Tekke, Ersari, Yomud) and even some smaller
ones (Saryk, Salor, Gôklen) living in Turkestan
have kept to these
days a strong tribal identity, with a tendency to endogamy, no doubt
facilitated by the concentration of each tribe in a small number of areas
in their large country. Their main locations are quite unchanged since
About the smaller tribes, or those aoul-clusters settled far from
their tribe's main habitat, I have found no information so far. Perhaps
their social structure has suffered more from the forced integration in
large soviet kolkhoses.
During the 20th century, emigration has
been important, of course. The main cause having been Stalin's purges
around 1930, but before that crisis, there were at least two other waves.
My impression (perhaps unfounded) is that the middle Amu-darya communities
were the ones who moved the most over the border, in that case to the
Afghanistan northern piedmont. Judging from the names of their new
villages (identical with the names of the Turkestan village they left in
Turkestan), some smaller communities moved obviously "en bloc". By the
way, there is a modern Afghan village, just after the border, called
Chub-bash, perhaps related to this group).
It is certainly true for the
Ersari as well, who later also moved in number to Peshawar, Pakistan, when
the Russians invaded Afghanistan.
Sorry for not having much
PierreBertrand Bouchet. Tribus
d'autrefois, kolkhozes d'aujourd'hu. RE. M.M.M. 1991/1992. Pages 55-69