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Khan is originally a title for a sovereign or military ruler, historically used by Turks, Persians, and Pashtun people. In the beginning Khan was just the title for royalty, great warriors, and tribal leader before it was commonly used as surname in Central Asia and South Asia. Khan was originally brought to South Asia from Afghanistan and Iran as the Pashtun people spread across this region.

In Afghanistan, Iran, and South Asia (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh) Khan remains a title and surname of Pashtun people. Recently other ethnicities in South Asia also have claimed Khan as their surname due to its historic value of nobility, power, and glamour.

Although Khan is often used as a surname and is rarely used as a first name. Khan used as a first name actually emphasises more on it’s title attribute rather than used a person’s name. Some people preferably choose their first name as Khan which has nothing to do with the officially awarded title. Others have more formal recognition behind using Khan as their first name such as Khan Abdul Wali Khan. The female alternative of Khan is Khanum.

The Meaning of Khan in English Language

The meaning of Khan in simple English is lord, prince, or leader. Although the meaning of Khan indicates someone in high official rank or authority yet the noun or title of Khan is usually associated with someone of great noble rank in the society. Other words that perfectly describe and translate Khan in English are chief or ruler.

Historically, Khan was used as a surname or title by people with great warriors. Khan as a surname or title was given to those people who had shown great courage and bravery in wars or they have simply own then minds and hearts of people by positively contributing to society for a good cause.

Khan in Pashtun Society

In addition to the use of khan as surname or family name, in the Pashtun society Khan is widely used as a polite or respectful way of addressing men or women, especially people in a position of authority or people of great moral values.

The word or noun Khan is also often used to address someone that you want to show love and affection for. For example, Pashtun parents or elders address their children with the name “Khan” (regardless of their surname) as a reward or when expressing their love for them regardless of their surnames.

Example of Famous Khan

Afghan Khans

Sher Khan, founder of the Sur dynasty in 1540
Mirwais Khan, defeated the Persian Empire (Safavids) and founded the Afghan Hotaki dynasty in 1709.
Ashraf Khan, ruler of the Hotaki dynasty
Ahmad Khan Abdali, founder of the Afghan Durrani Empire
Dost Mohammad Khan, ruler of Afghanistan
Sher Ali Khan, ruler of Afghanistan
Mohammad Yaqub Khan, ruler of Afghanistan
Ayub Khan, victor of the 1880 Battle of Maiwand in Afghanistan
Abdur Rahman Khan, ruler of Afghanistan
Habibullah Khan, ruler of Afghanistan
Amanullah Khan, ruler of Afghanistan
Inayatullah Khan, ruler of Afghanistan
Nadir Khan, ruler of Afghanistan
Zahir Khan, ruler of Afghanistan
Mohammed Daoud Khan, first president of Afghanistan
Ismail Khan, minister of power and energy in Afghanistan

Afghan Khans

One thought on “Khan

  1. Fake Khan is a person who officially or unofficially claims to have his surname or family name as Khan but in reality, he or she has no association with Pashtuns, Persian (Iranian), and Turk tribes. There is a great number of Fake Khans in Pakistan, India, and other regions who actually are not Pashtuns but call themselves Khans.

    These Fake Khans either want to hide their ethnic identity or they are simply under the huge influence of Khan’s bravery, attractive physical appearance, glorious history, and therefore falsely associate themselves with Khans.

    The fake khan trend is found both in men and women in Pakistan. Non-Pashtun means and women particularly in show business put the name of Khan at the end of their names as it sounds very smart, trendy, and attractive. The real Khans (Pashtun) are famous for their beauty and strong historical roots therefore by masquerading themselves, the fakes khans aim to get attraction in this regard.

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