Kalasha vocabulary and possible relation with Greek

From: DEFAYES MICHEL ( mdesfaye@omedia.ch )
Subject: Kalasha vocabulary

I got acquainted with your Kalasha word list with great interest. I did not find the word for God. I have the word Dezao from a travel report. Compare with the following:

Lith. dazai dye, colour
Anc.Greek khdés yesterday: the daylight before the night
Skr. indhe id.
Cymric doe id.
Pers. di id.
Alb. dje id.
Alb. ndez I light
Kalasha Dezao God the creator (the Kalash are a non-Moslem people from northern Pakistan)
Ismail Sloan (center right) with two Kalash girls. The man to the left is a Kalash mountain goat herder who says that he almost shot me by mistake when I encountered him by night in the high mountains above Achulga Valley

Breton dez day
Lat. dies day
Cymric daio combustion
Engl. day time between sunrise and sunset
Cymric dieo beautiful
Ital. dío resplendent, God
Gael.I. die day
Ital.: V.Verzasca di day, God
Esp. día day
Gael.I. Dia God
Anc. Greek eudía clear weather (liter.: beautiful day)
Kalasha di sky
Esp. Dios God
Anc. Greek Dioskouroi the sons of God (Castor et Pollux)
Skr. Dyaus (borrowing) God
Lat. Deus God
Anc. Greek Zeus God (by influence of Daco-Roman., cf. Diana > Zana and di > zi; the Greek name is Theos)
Anc. Greek thoós shining
Anc. Greek Theos God
Phrygian Tios God
Etr. Thesan dawn; a goddess

Best wishes

Michel Desfayes
1926 Fully

To contact the author, please send e-mail to Michel Desfayes at the following address: mdesfaye@omedia.ch
Ismail Sloan replies:

It is not clear that the Kalasha people believe in a supreme god that is a creator of all things.

One big problem is that the Kalash people do not reveal much about their religion to outsiders. They pretend to believe in one god, as the surrounding Muslims do, but their religion seems to be more like the Greek system of gods and goddesses.

The Kalash deny this but as a matter of self protection from the surrounding Muslims they have been forced to pretend that their religion is something different from what it is.

Many older Kalash have died and I am not sure if anyone still alive really knows their religion.

Finally, there is another problem in that, according to Richard Strand, Kalasha is also a different language spoken by a different group in Afghanistan. Look at his map which I have posted on my web site at http://www.samsloan.com/honzamap.htm. You will see the word Kalasha, but it is on an area which is in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan. According to Strand, this is a different group of people speaking a different language which just happens to have the same name.

Strand's theory is that since the word "Kalash" or variations of it apply to several different people or languages in the region, that this word meant the entire area at some time in the past. Strand says: "Because the appellation 'Kalasha' applies to peoples of diverse origin over a wide area, we may infer that the name originally designated some multi-ethnic regional political movement. ... One group of [Red Kafir] Kalasha from Vägal apparently invaded lower Chitrâl in the fifteenth century A.D. and set up a ruling dynasty that gained hegemony over the indigenous population, imparting to them the name Kalasha [for] the local Indo-Aryan language."

Ismail Sloan

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