afgahanistan01Nanawati means 'going in' or entering into someone's house or abode (in northern Afghanistan called a Hujra). In its broader sense nanawati means hospitality to anyone, even your enemy. Should a rival or enemy or stranger invoke the age-old custom of nanawati it means surrender, asking for forgiveness, or mercy for some misdeed or wrong-doing.

"Some bandits attacked a northern village - and the villagers fought them off, although one of the young men was killed in the battle. The bandits took to their heals and fled, but two of them took shelter in the house of an old woman, whose sons were among those fighting off the bandits - it was her youngest son who was killed in the fight. Her other sons and villagers came to the house, ready to drag out the two bandits and punish them. But the old woman wouldn't let them come in. Her eldest son asked that she get out of the way - these were the men are responsible for the death of her son. 'Maybe,' said the old woman, 'but they have come to this house nanawati. No-one can harm them as long as they are under my roof.'"