The Nuristanis are an ethnic group native to the Nuristan region of eastern Afghanistan, who speak Indo-Iranian languages, chiefly Nuristani.

Before their conversion, the Nuristanis practiced a form of ancient Hinduism. Non-Muslim religious practices endure in Nuristan today to some degree as folk customs. In their native rural areas, they are often farmers, herders, and dairymen.

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They believed in many deities, whose names resembled those of Iranian and old Vedic sources.
They acknowledged a number of human-like deities who lived in the unseen Deity World (Kâmviri d’e lu; cf. Sanskrit deva lok’a-).

Certain deities were revered only in one community or tribe, but one was universally revered as the creator: the Hindu god Yama Râja called imr’o in Kâmviri.

There is a creator god, appearing under various names, as lord of the nether world and of heaven: Yama Rājan, or Māra (‘death’, Nuristani),or Dezau (ḍezĂĄw) whose name is derived from Indo-European *dheig’h i.e. “to form” (Kati Nuristani dez “to create”)

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