Kamboja people are a very ancient and historical people belonging to the famous Indo-Aryan race, now living quite numerously in the plains of East and West Panjab, Haryana and U. P parts of India, around the mountains of Hindukush, northern-eastern parts of Afghanistan, including its Badakshan province, and modern Tajikstan across the Amu Darya (Oxus river), as well as in southern-eastern parts of Iran. Ancient Kamboja tribe was a famous Aryan tribe whose descendents we find in the Kambos of today's Northern Indian Subcontinent. Scholars are of the opinion that the Kambo community of Punjab is related to ancient Kamboja country which was located in the Hindukush mountain system and its adjoining geographical areas, and which land was noted in ancient literature for its finest breed of horses. Also called Kambohs, a farming community of Panjab is the modern descendents of the ancient Kambojas. Kamboja people are the only Vedic Kashatrya people amongst the numerous Kashatrya tribes participating in the great Mahabharata war who have especially been glorified in Mahabharata Epic as the Vedic scholars (Kritvidiashach), besides being applausive designated as fiercest & swiftest fighters, deadly warriors, wondrously armed braves, war-intoxicated, Death personified, dreadful as Yama… the Gods of Death, elephants gone wild/mad, as deadly as cobras, expert archers, expert cavaliers and expert Mal-Yudh-Kushlah (expert duelists or wrestlers) etc etc (vide Mahabharta Paravas, 7/23/42-44, 7/112/43-44, 7/112/48-52, 12/101/5 etc etc).

Surprisingly, and by twists of times and history, these once an extremely famous and powerful warlike and scholarly class of royal and proud Indo Aryan people of ancient India and Iran, by all accounts and reckonings, are now living as a little known people these times! These famous Vedic and Avestan Aryan people of the bygone era once ruled supreme in southwest Asia. They dictated terms for sure, and talked and acted from positions of strengths as is amply and repeatedly evidenced from numerous and copious ancient literatures and epigraphic inscriptions of India, Persia and classical writings Sanskrit and of Greek historians. According to authentic and dedicated researches of Delhi University, "undoubtedly, every inch of the Afghanistan soil stands trampled under the hooves of the world famous Kamboja horses of the war expert Kamboja cavalry".

Furthermore, these Kamboja people have also been known in history as Ashav-Yudh-Kushlah (expert cavalary soldiers) in ancient Sanskrit and Pali religious literature. Their sub-clans were found as Asvakas/Asvakan, and Asvas/Asvayan of the Sanskrit and Pali texts and Assakenois and Aspasios of the classical Greek writings. "The people whom the Kamboja people helped and supported in their warfares used to be extremely proud of their friendship with these war-loving Kamboja people. These warlike people (whom Dr Govind Krishan Pilley has rightly styled as the war loving Kambojas) had helped in establishing and maintaining some of the famous empires in ancient world history. They were once a royal and scholarly class of people ruling in Kamboj and Param Kamboja, besides ruling in eastern and northern Afghanistan as Kamboja Mahajanapadans and later as numerous Kamboja hyparchs/kinglets/republicans in a dozen small territories in southern-eastern parts of the Hindukush mountain range such as Qandhar, Gazni, Kabol, Kapisa, Alishang valley, Kunar valley, Panjkora valley, Swat & Buner valleys, Ora, Bazira, Hazara, Punch, Abhisar/Rajaori, Srinagar etc.

The Asvas/Ashvakas of Sanskrit and Pali texts and Aspasios and Assakenois people of the classical writings, according to medern historians, were the (Vedic Indian) Kamboja people living in the Paropamisadea region, lying to the south/east of Hindukush The Afrikes tribe was an offshoot of the famed Assakenois or Ashvaka tribe (Ref Dr H. C. Raychaudhry, The Political History of Ancient India, 1996 page 217). The modern fiercest, most intractable, warlike and most dreaded kafir tribes (modern Nuristanis) variously called as Kamoz, Kamtoz, Kaum,Kams, Kom, Caum, Camoje, Camojee tribes population. The brave Ashvak Kambojas of Kunar/Swat valleys and their valiant women, had given toughest fights to Alexandrian forces and had fought the Macedonian army tooth and nail at Massaga (modern Mashkine of N.W.F.P of Pakistan).

Alexandra of Macedonia and Kamboja People:

The legend of Kamboja King Porus is well documented in Indian history. Facing a much larger army, Porus decided to shift most of the citizens to the south of Indus River. He chooses to stay behind to fight and protect the rear flank with handful of soldiers that also included some women as chiefs of their tribes. This way, he protected most of his citizens and forces from Alexander's surprise attack. Most of his tribe regrouped to later torment and harass the great invader with Gorilla attacks. Greek historians acknowledge the proud personality of Porus in when presented to Alexander as a prisoner of war. The conversation between the victor and the vanquished stands as a classic example of that era. When asked by Alexander, how should he treat Porus, the proud Aryan replied, "Like a king should treat a king, like a warrior should treat a warrior". This initiated a series of political discourses between the greatest military general of the world and the king of the first republic tribe of Indian Subcontinent. Alexander became aware of the futility of trying to dominate a powerful and enlightened civilization so far away from Macedonia. He was also mystified by a race so close to his own, specially the democratic principles and public welfare philosophy of the administration. While Porus was influencing Alexander with his political and spiritual wisdom, his Kamboja tribe from across the Indus demoralized Alexander's forces by a series of guerilla attacks. In the end, Alexander chose to make Porus a friend, established cultural, educational and trade exchange and started his journey back to him homeland.

Women as Warriors:

A unique example of women as warriors on Indian Subcontinent belongs to this Kamboja tribe as well. In the entire ancient world history, the honor of participating, fighting and then attaining supreme martyrdom in the active battle field, and that too, against, Alexandra the Great, one of the greatest military generals the world has ever produced, goes the heroic Kamboja queen Kripya and the brave Kamboja women of the famous Assakenian Kamboja clan. Commenting on the final and conclusive battle fought at Massaka, between the Assakenian Kambojas and the Alexandrian forces, writes thus an Alexandra's own contemporary and famous historian, Diodoros Siculus: "…..Assakenian (Assakenois) Kamboja women were pouncing upon the fighting Greek soldiers with an elemental fury, and grappling with them and snatching away their swords, spears and shields………While the Assakenian (Kamboja) soldiers were crossing swords with the enemy, their wives were covering their fighting husbands with the

shields they had snatched from the Macedonian army………………. And still other Kamboja women were picking up arms of those who had fallen or were wounded or cut …..And were fighting side by side with their husbands in the active field………. Another glorious Kamboja heroine Assakenian queen Tummeya Kamboj (Tumaris of Greek historian, Herodotus) had earlier fought valiantly against yet another greatest and proudest general of his times, King Cyrus II, the Great, who founded the great Achaemenian Kamboja empire (and who was a Kambojian himself). After loosing her son (king of Assakenois) in the battle against this Persian Kambojian king, Tummeya took to arms herself, fought valiantly and had Cyrus II killed in the fiercest and hottest battle of Massaga. The queen Tummeya or Tumaris is then reported to have herself cut Cyrus's head from his dead body and then grabbing it from his hair, said in a wailful and heroic avengeful crying tone: "Cyrus I give you the fill of your blood!" This evidence comes to us from none other than the famous classical historian Herodotus (for complete story, please refer to 'Alexandra of Macedonia and Kamboja People').The play of time, space and local circumstances have led rest of the Kamboja descendents to change or drop their Kamboja indentity in rest of the geographical areas they had once colonized and ruled. But still, as we will see, numerous relics or remnants of their tribal name, their culture and their language are abundantly found in the countries or places they had settled in and ruled in the olden times. "……….The Kamboja people, wherever they went, gave their own name to the places or the areas they occupied or colonized. Their descendents are found in the modern Kambohs of the Northern India….. ". (Ref: The Cultural Heritage of India Vol II, p 512 by Dr. C. P. Ramaswami Aiyer Vice Chancelor, Banars Hindu University, UP, India).

These Kamboja Aryan people, the famous frontier highlanders of the by-gone era, had contributed greatly to the spread of Aryan culture in ancient India & Iran. The civilizations do rise and fall. So the flourishing and blooming ancient Kamboja people were no exception to this ruthless and inevitable law of nature, the goddess of power, fame and fortune seems to have abruptly fallen asleep centuries ago, for these once famous and powerful people. A conquering and warlike Aryan race like the ancient Kambojas should have continued to progress and flourish in arts and civilization as they had progressed in warlike skills and in spiritual and intellective learning, in the ancient past in India and Iran.

Evidence from Modern Genealogy:

As per the modern research, the ancient Kamboja and Param Kamboja countries were located on the so called Uttrapatha of the ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts. Thus the Kambojas people were the true frontier people and they were living on the remoter outer skirts of mainland India on its extreme north and even beyond the Gandhara country. This land was truly the remotest lying area so far as the Madhyadesha land its people/its writers were concerned. This is one important single reason why the post-epic Sanskrit and Pali writers of Madhyadesha have written very scantily about these remote lying ancient Kamboja people, Kamboja countries & Kamboja kings in the ancient Sanskrit and Pali literatures. The is simply because the writers themselves were living far from these Kamboja people and Kamboja lands and thus were not very much updated or familiar with these remote frontier people and their kings as well as their administration systems. Thus, we see that most of the times, whatever has been written about these Kamboja people was written as if these people were a little known people or as if they were an outsider people or a foreign tribes and further as if, they had ceased to be an active part of the main stream of the Aryan population of mainland India and were thus not to be given any detailed and respectable reckoning or account in the writings of the later Sanskrit/Pali writers. This is one glaring problem of the history of the ancient Kamboja people of the post-epic era. But if we read between the lines, all the references to Kambojas quoted in various Sanskrit and Pali scriptures, epigraphic and rock inscriptions and several foreign sources, we can draw some intelligent inferences and solid conclusions about the Kamboja people, their countries. And we can reconstruct their political, social and economic set up or system fairly accurately. The numerous learned scholars and writers on Kamboja history have done exactly the same thing and now we have started to have some believable and authentic historical material about the Kamboja country, KambojaPeople and Kamboja rulers, in the celebrated writings of some of these learned scholars. But still we have touched only the tip of the ice-berg. We have long way to go to fully know and understand the history of these famous ancient people who undoubtedly formed a very important Aryan segment of the ancient Indo-Aryan society as well as of the Iranian Aryan society as you will see as we stream through the bulk of this discourse.
Numerous times, they have subjugated and ruled over various interior parts of India like Mathura, Ayudhya, Gujrat, Bengal/Bihar/Orisa, (Gaur Desha) etc as is witnessed by ancient and medieval Indian Sanskrit and Pali literature. They have left their indelible traces and footprints in the Kamaon hills of the Himalyan foothill spurs, where they once held their own and undoubtedly gave their own name to it. Over the centuries, the standard Sanskrit name Kamboja has, as expected, changed to its present Prikritized form (Kamaon), like the same Kamboja changed to modern Kamboh, Kambo, Kabo, Kammo, Kamo etc in the plains of India like Panjab, Haryana & UP.
The modern Taijk people of Tajikstan and Afghanistan are the modern descendents of the ancient Kambojas. And these Tajiks of Ghur, Afghanistan, even provided the Ghurid dynasty of Delhi in the thirtienth century AD.

In the fortieth century, another Tajik dynasty, the Karts, established themselves for a brief period in Herat and attained almost a virtual independence (1332-1370) from the Mongols. The Turana tribe of Afghans and Turna clan of the Panjabi Kambojas are a possible offshoot from king Turman or Torman of Param Kamboja whose clan had invaded Afghanistan from across the Oxus and had settled around Gazni around 4/5th century A.D. These people also had raided interior India around 5th century A.D. and their king Turman and his successor king Mehrokole had established a powerful empire.
The kambojas are one of the finest cultivating castes in the Punjab at the present time.They are found in the upper Satluj valley and through out the northern portion of the eartern plainsand as low down the Jamna valley.

References:

SANSKRIT TERM 'KAMBOJ' AND ITS VARIOUS PRAKRITIZED DERIVATIVES
The word Kamboh and its synonymous words like Kambocha (as in Ashoka's Dhauli Rock inscriptions), Kamboya (as in Ashoka's Shahbajgari rock inscriptions), Kabo, Kambo, Kammo, Kamo (Panjabi), Kambhu, Kambhi, Kambe, Kambey or Cambey and Kamboi (Gujrat), Kaam, Kam, Kamma, Kaum, Camoje/Kamoj, Camojee, Camoze/Kamoz, Kamtoz (in Pushtu, the name of Shiaposh tribes, in Kafirstan (Nuristan), south-east of Hindukush), Kambodha, Kamuda, Kumuda (Vayu Purana), Komde, Komdei, Tamboza (Ptolemy), Kieufieu, (Tathatataguhya-Sutra) Kambu/Kaofu, Kipin, Chipin (Chinese), Kampoce, Kampoch, Kapoce, Kapoch, Kampotes, Kampochih (Tibetan religious texts), Kambojka, Kamboika, Kamui, Kamoi, Kamuia (Khroshti) etc etc are the Prakritic/other malformations, variants or derivatives of the original Sanskrit standard term KAMBOJ which stands for Kamboja people as well as Kamboja country (Hindu Polity-A Constitutional History of India ( Part I & II) by Dr K. P. Jayaswal, Kamboja People and the Country by Dr. Jia Lal Kamboj D. Lit, These Kamboj People by K. S. Dardi). The entire ancient and medieval Indian literature is replete with profuse references to Kamboja or Kamboj, which represent Kamboj people, Kamboj Prince, and Kamboj country. (e.g. "The Reference Kamboja-uluk of Panin's Ashatadhyai (4,1,175) indicates that the reference Kamboj variously stands for Kamboja King, Kamboja Prince, Kamboja people and Kamboja country", ref: Panini's India, 1954, page 6 by Dr V. D. Aggerwal,. Ancient India by Dr. D. R. Bhandarker). The word Kamboj in reference to Kamboja Vamsa, Kamboja King and Kamboja country occurs again and again in India's Buddhist and Sanskrit religious literatures (Ref: Sir George Griesen) like Vedas, Puranas, Shastras, Mahabharta, Ramayana, Manusimirtis, Jatkas, Mudrarakshasa, Rajatrangini etc and other famous classics of ancient and medieval India like those of Panini, Yasaka, Kautalya, Bhaas, Kali Das etc etc., to mention only a few (Ref: Kamboja People and the Country by Dr J. L. Kamboj, These Kamboj People by K. S. Dardi). The fact that the Kautalya's Arathasastra calles the Kamboja people as Kambhoja (Ref: Kautalya'a Arathasatra 1956 translated by Dr R Shamasastry, page 407, book XI, Chapter I) obviously refers to the Persian influence (Dr N. K. Sastri, Dr D. D. Kosambi etc) on the customs and language and name of the Kamboja people of 3/4th century B.C who were living in the Pamir/Badakshan as well as Parapamisadaen area south of Hindukush mountain systems. In some shlokas of Mahabharata, the term Kambujana has also been used in reference to the Kamboja people of Epic India. Again the word Kampoj/Kamboj/Kambu/Kambuj in reference to Kamboja country, Kamboja King, & Kamboja Vamsa etc also occurs in countless ancient and medieval rock inscriptions in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia (Kamboj Desh) per Dr J. L. Kamboj of Delhi University. In Pali literature, also a variation of Kamboja occurs as KAMBOJESU. In Persian, this word occurs as Kambujia or Kambojia in the old Persian rock inscriptions refering to Achaemenian (Kainad) kings and their vamsa i.e. "………..Later, Kamboja people crossed Sindh north-westwards and expanded into Iran where their name stands preserved as Kambujia in old persian rock inscriptions relating to Achaemenian Kings." (Ref: Ancient Vedic India by Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar, Vedic Index of Names & Subjects by Dr. A. A. Macdonell and Dr. A. B. Keath, Hindu World Vol I, by Benjamin Walker, Pre-Aryen et Pre-Dravidien dan d'Indi, JA (Jan-March 1926) by Sylvain Levi . Also ref to researches of Dr Hoffman, Dr Lassen, Dr Kuhn, Dr S. Sen, Dr Chattopadhya, Dr. Nariman, Dr D. R. Bhandarkar, Dr. Acharya R. Raman Pandey, K. S Dardi and other Indologists). In the rock inscriptions in Sanskrit, Pali and Khmer language in Cambodia, we find the word Kambu/Kambuj/Kampuchih/Kamboja, /Kambodscha/Kambodja, Camboja etc refering to Kambodge, Cambodge, Kambuj or Kamboj Desh (Ref: Inscriptions of Veal Kantel….Inscriptions Sanscrites de Champa et du Cambodge page 30 (e. g. Kambupuri, Kambuja etc in King Yaso Varman's rock inscriptions Angkor Thom in Cambodia), The Cultural Heritage of India Vol II, by Dr. C. P. Ramaswami Aiyer, Vice Chancelor, Banaras Hindu University, UP, India, : Les Estats Hindouises d'Indochine et d'Indonesie 1964 by Prof G. Coedes …Translated as Indianized States of South-East 1964 ) which has been transliterated as Kambodge or Cambodge into French by the French writers from which the modern name Kambodia or Cambodia in English has originated. The Pali chronicles (i.e. Chamadevivamsa, Jinakalamali, Mulasasna) in Chiangmai use Kamboja, and 'Kambojaraja' for the Kamboja king of Siridhammanagara ( Ligor) in south basin of Cambodia (Ref: : Les Estats Hindouises d'Indochine et d'Indonesie 1964 by Prof G. Coedes …Translated as Indianized States of South-East 1964 page 136).

Thai chronicles left by Thai principalities (12th century AD) of upper Menam in Indo-China mentions the people of Lova in the upper basin as 'Kambojas of Lova' (op cit page 161). Sylvain Levi identifies Tambuza or Tamboza of Ptolemy's geography, with the Sanskrit Kamboj (Pre-Aryen et Pre-Dravidien dans l'Inde, JA January-March, 1926 by Sylvain Levi) and the word Cape Camboj seems to have been used for Cambodia. (Ref: Intercourse Between India & the Western World 1971 page 133 by H. G. Rawlinson M.A. I.E.S). In the Chinese writings, the reference occurs as Kambu/Kafu/Kaofu for Kambojas of India and Chen-la for Khmer Kambojas of Cambodia. The Tuthagataguhya-Sutra of Ratnakuta Collections of the Buddhist religion uses the word Kieufieu for the Kamboja people and Kamboja country. The reference Kieufieu of Tuthagataguhya-Sutra stands translated variously as Kampoce, Kampochih, Kapoch and Kapoce and Kampotse etc in the Tibetan religious texts. According to Tibetan religious text Paag-Saam-Jone-Zang, the country between Bengal and Burma was known as Kampotse. The Kamboja country mentioned in the Braham Purana of Sanskrit literature refers to this very same Kampotse country located in the eastern parts of India, in the neighborhood of Assam, sandwiched between Burma and Bengal. The author of Vayu Purana uses Kumuda-dvipa for Kusha-dvipa. This Kusha-dvipa or Kumuda-dvipa is the Alexandrian Sugadha Strapi (Sogdiana) situated on north west frontiers of India comprising northern parts of Tajikstan and Uzbekstan and which country appears named variously in ancient writings as Kumuda, Komuda, Komdai, Komdei, Kamdei, Kamdesh or Kambojdesh etc. This Kumuda and Ptolemy's Komdei (Kamdesh or Kambojdesh) are synominous words and they both stand for Komdesh, Kamdesh or Kamboj desh i.e Kamboja country of Kamboja people of the Iranian affinities living on the borders of ancient India and ancient Iran i.e. in the Badakshan/Pamirs and surrounding regions, says Dr. Buddha Parkash (Ref: India and the World 1964 page 71 by Dr. Buddha Parkash, Kamboja People and the Country by Dr. J. Lal Kamboj. Also ref to researches of Dr H. C. Seth, Dr. P. C. Baghchi and other historians). Another modified version of Kamboj is described as Kamusa, Kamuda, Kamuia, Kamoia, Kambuja, Kambujaka and Kambojaka etc in the Mathura lion Capital Inscriptions (Kharoshti language). "The reference Kamusa, Kamuda, Kamuia, Kambojaka etc. represents the name of the Kambuja (Kamboja) tribe", says famous Indian historian Dr. Nil Kanth Sastri (vide Comprehensive History of India Vol 2, page 270 by Dr N. K. Sastri. Also ref to works of Dr Buddha Parkash, Dr R. K. Mukerjee, Dr J. Lal Kamboj etc). Several Greek historians use Cambysis for Kamboj or Kambujia (O.P.) while referring to several Kamboja kings (Cambysis I, Cambysis II or Kambojia I, Kambojia II.. etc) of Achaemenian dynasty. The word Kamboj appearing in IRDA Copper Plate (i.e Kamboj-Vamsa-Tilak) and the Kamboja appearing in Dinaaj Pore Capitol Inscriptions (i.e Gaudesewara Kamboja) are used for the Kamboja Vamsa of several Kamboja Kings of Gaur Desa as well as a compellation used by one victorious Kamboja King i.e. Gaudeswara Kamboj ruling also over Gaur desh in the 9th century AD. In the Mathura Lion Capitol Inscriptions, we find this word inscribed in Khroshti as Kambojka/Kamuia (Queen Aiyasi Kambojka/Kamuia) and Kamui/Kamudha (Prince Khrosta Kamui/Kamudha etc). We can also find the term Kamboja in its Perkritized form in the Kamaon hills of the Himalyan foothill spurs, adjoining Pauri-Garhwal area, where the Kamboja once held their own and gave their own name to these hills. Some writers and historians have used word Kanauj in the same context as the word Kamboj (Idrisi) while others opine that the word Kanyakubja from which word Kanauj evolved is yet another variation of the original Sanskritic word Kamboj (H. S. Thind etc). In Kathiawar, Gujrat, we find some Indo Aryan Kasatrya caste now engaged mainly in Agriculture and are refered to as Kambhi, Kambhe etc (Ref: Historical and Cultural Dictionery of India 1976, page 141 by George Thomas Kurian) and there is also famous medieval sea port town called Kambey or Cambey, and there is said to be another geographical place called Kamboi (Ref: Hist and Culture of Indian People, Delhi Sultanate page 155, By Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar)) or Kambhu, a famed historical place name, a site of war during 1392 between Zafar Khan and Farhat Mulk of Gujrat (vide ref: Chronology of Indian History, Vol II, 1972 by C. Mabel Duff). These words are undoubtedly the Prakritic variants of the original Sanskritic word 'Kamboja' and are reminiscent of the Western Rajayapalas (Kashatrapas) who, after the death of Kamboja emperor Mause or Moga of Taxilla (20BC -22AD), had become independent and later ruled over Malwa/Kathiawar from the start of Christian era until the end of 3rd century AD. These Western Rajayapalas have been identified as Kamboja people by historians (Ref: Ancient India Vol III, page 94, 125 by Dr. T. L. Shah). Nagpaul, Soni, Asoi, Kaura, Juj etc still intact in Gujrat. Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji, while refering to the invasion of Alexandra of Macedonia, uses the reference Kamboj for the frontier people or Uttarpatha people, living on north-west frontiers of India ('Kamboj, Kilmak kathin pal me kat dare': vide Triya Chritra 217 page 1125 of Sri Dasam Granth Sahib 2024 published by Bhai Jawahar Singh, Bhai Kirpal Singh Amritsar). The word Kamboj referring to Kamboja People appears also in Ashoka's Girnar, Kalsi and Mansehra rock inscriptions, though we also find Kambocha in Ashoka's Dhauli Rock inscriptions and Kamboya in Shahbajgarhi rock inscriptions, in reference to the same people. "The name Kambo (Kamboj) of numerous Hindu caste found in Panjab is derived from this Kamboya of Ashoka's Shahbajgarhi rock inscription" says celebrated Dr. K. P. Jayaswal. (Ref: Hindu Polity-A constitutional History of India (Part 1 & 2) by Dr K. P. Jayaswal). "The Kambo or Kamboh caste found in upper India are the descendents of the Ancient Kamboja people of Pamir and Badakshan" (Ref: Cultural Heritage of India Vol II, by Dr. C. P. Ramaswami Aiyer, Vice Chancellor Hindu Banaras University). "Ancient Kamboja tribe was a famous Aryan tribe whose descendents we find in the Kambos of today's Punjab" says Dr. Buddha Parkas in his Social and poltical movements in Ancient Punjab 1964 page 242-243. "The Kambohs, a farming community of Panjab are the modern descendents of the ancient Kambojas of Pamir/Badakshan" says Dr Acharya R. R. Pandey (Ref: Sidhant Kaumdi 1966 p20-22 by Dr Acharya Radha Raman Pandey. In this context please also ref to works of Dr H. C. Rai Chaudhary, Dr J. C. Vidyalankar, K. S. Dardi, Dr J. Lal Kamboj etc etc). According to Bhai Kahn Singh from Nabha, "Scholars are of the opinion that the Kambo community of Panjab is related to ancient Kamboja country which was located in the Hindukush mountain system and its adjoining geographical areas, and which land was noted in ancient literature for its finest breed of horses" (refer to entries Kambo and Kamboj: Gurbani Ratnakar, Panjabi Shabad Kosh page 257 by Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha). Some writers have used the word Kamboz for Kamboja people (vide Jat Tribes of Zira 1992, by Mr H. S. Shergil M.A. L.L.B.), which is historically and grammatically incorrect. There has never been any word like Kamboz in ancient Sanskritic/Prakrit/Persian or Khmer literature or in any ancient rock or epigraphic inscriptions. One tribal section of Shiaposh Kafir Kambojas of the Hindukush does call itself as Kamoz, but that is only a dialectical variation confined to a restricted and isolated region only. The standard and literary word which has been in use from times immemorial is unmistakeably and undoubtedly the 'Kamboj' and not the Kamboz.

ETYMOLOGY OF THE SANSKRIT WORD 'KAMBOJ'

Yaska (500 BC?) in his famous Nirukuta (2/2) defines Kambojas as Kamnyabhojas (Epicureans, the people with fine tastes, or enjoyers of excellent foods) and Kambhalbhojas (the people fond of wearing woolen blankets). Ancient Kamboja country was mostly a hilly and cold land comprising Hindukush mountain range, Badakshan and parts of Tajikstan & Uzbekstan land north of Oxus river where fine varieties of grapes, pistachio, walnuts, almonds, kesera etc were abundantly grown and are still grown and which formed an important constituent of Kamboja People's diet. These foods were counted amongst the most precious food stuff in India in ancient times and still are the most expensive delicacies from Indians' point of view. Further, Kamboja country being a very cold country, the Kambojas people habitually wore woolen blankets as a fashion as well as out of necessity (Ref: K. S. Dardi.). These blankets or Kambbals and furs were embroidered with fine threads of gold. In Rig Veda (V. 1. 126 .7), Gandharah is shown as famous for its good wool. "Quite in keeping with Kambojas's association with Gandharah, is the love of Kambojas for blankets (kambhals) to which Yasaka (11. 2/2) bears testimoney" says Dr H. C. Raychaudhury in his classical book Political History of Ancient India 1923/1996. Again, in continuation to the above premise,"… Kamboja people were not only famous for their furs and skins embroiderd with threads of gold, their woolen blankets (Kambhals), their wonderful horses, and their beautiful women, but by the Epic period, they became especially renowned as Vedic scholars and their homeland as a seat of Brahmanical learning." (Ref Hindu World Vol I, by Benjamin Walker, Kamboja People and the Country 1978 by Dr. J. Lal Kamboj). This quotation from another famous indologist again speaks of Kambojas' love for Kambhalas or blankets. Furthermore, the Kamboja people were epicurean and aristocratic class of people, besides being excellent warriors and Vedic scholars (Kritvidyashach) during Yaskian and Epic periods. Mahavanihija Jataka especially makes a mention of blankets or Kambhals of Oddiyana or Udyana of Suvastu city of Swat valley (Suatsos of the Greeks) which region was undoubtedly, a part of the famous ancient Kamboja Mahajanapada or country, and was inhabited by Assakenois (Asavaks) and Gaurean (Gore) Kambojas, as modern historians have conclusively proved (for details, please refere to Alexandra of Greece and the Kamboja People, page 38). Mahabharta also speaks high of the expensive blankets/shawls and precious food stuff of the Kamboja country. (vide Mahabharta, Sabha Parav, Ch 7). Thus Yasaka has only been realistic and true in describing and defining the Kamboja people as Kambalbhoja as well as Kamnyabhoja. (Ref: Nirukuta 2/2 by Yasaka, Kamboja People and the Country by Dr J. L. Kamboj D. Lit, These Kamboj People by K. S. Dardi).
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