Sunday, May 13, 2018

Arghandab valley

Arghandab valley (looking south), Old Qandahar, 1879. Coloured lithographic plate by Bedford after Lieut. J.F.Irwin


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Nawab Muhammad Akbar Khan of Hoti

Major Nawab Muhammad Akbar Khan of Hoti (Mardan district, KP), Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The Khans of Hoti are Kashranzai Kamalzai Mandanr-Yousafzai.

"Akbar Khan was an educated person and was known for his polished manners. He is the first 'Khan' of Hoti Family who started his career in Imperial Cadet Corps and escorted Lord Curzon. then Viceroy of India, during the Coronation Durbar at Delhi in 1902-03, and was awarded Delhi Coronation Durbar 1903 Medal.

In 1904, Akbar Khan accompanied Sir Louis Dane's Mission to Afghanistan. Two years later, as a Lieutenant, he was sent on special duty with Amir of Afghanistan from 22nd September 1906 to 1st of May 1907.On completion of his assignment the Amir acknowledged his good services with compliments and good wishes and sent him memento of inscribed watch. In 1912, he was on Escort Duty with King of England during his Coronation Durbar at Delhi in 1912-13 and was awarded Delhi Coronation Durbar 1913 Medal. Just after one year the First World War started. Captain Akbar Khan and Maharaja of Indore were selected by the Government of India to be Special Service Officers to serve in the operations in the vicinity of Suez Canal from February to August 1915. He served for six months at Suvla Bay in the Gallipoli peninsula and thereafter he moved to France and joined the 2nd Indian Cavalry Division. Later, he joined the 3rd Ambala Cavalry Brigade and 8th British Division in Somme campaign and Albert in France.

Captain Muhammad Akbar was transferred to Indian Army with effect from 25th August 1917 and was posted to 1st Brahmans at Santa Cruz. On 27th February he sailed with the regiment to Aden Field Force staying there till 4th September 1918. He served as the second-in- command and for some time acted the commanding officer of the regiment.. Soon he commanded a joint force consisting of two squadrons of Aden horse, two batteries of the Royal field Artillery, 7th Hampshire Fusiliers, 73 Carnatic Infantry, two companies of the 62nd Punjab Regiment and lst Brahman Regiment, and successfully attacked the Turkish positions at Bir Jabbar and Darab Front under Turkish General Said Pasha. Thus he earned the distinction to be the first lndian and particularly the first Muslim who commanded the British troops in operations against the Turkish General Said Pasha of Aden. After the war he was promoted on 5th January 1919, and posted to l/ 124 Baloch Regiment at Lahore. On 16th April 1919, he was appointed the Martial Law Commander at Badami Bagh. Soon the Regiment was called for the active service in connection with the Third Afghan War on 25th May 1919. During the war he again acted as the Commanding Officer of the Regiment at Hangu. After the war he resigned from his military service and retired as a Major on 28th April 1923.

In 1922, the government raised the Indian Territorial Force in North West Frontier Province. However, the government felt some difficulty in recruitment. Several local notables including Subedar Ghulam Haider Khan of Hund, Sher Afzal Khan of Jhanda and some of the latter’s relations were asked for help, however, ultimately Major H.A. B. Johnson, Officer incharge of recruitment turned to Major Muhammad Akbar Khan of Hoti for help. On the latter’s inducement the Yousufzi recruitment was completed to the entire satisfaction of the government. Subsequently, Akbar Khan was appointed the President of the Advisory Committee of the Indian Territorial Force of his Province and remained so till 1931. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on 28th September 1928. [Source: "History of the Pathans", Haroon Rashid, Vol-II, pp.184-185]

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Nawabs of Savanur

The Nawab of Savanur (Karnataka, South India) and his sons, 1862.

The rulers of princely state of Savanur were Indianized descendants of Miana Pashtuns. The Miana tribe belongs to the Saraban division of Pashtuns, descended from Mianaey son of Sharkhabun son of Ibrahim alias Saraban. Most of its clans have become extinct or have lost their identity. Their en-masse migration to India greatly weakened them and they fell easy prey to their Baluch neighbors. Lunis, Jafars, Zamaris and Gharshins are the surviving clans of Mianas in Pashtunkhwa. They have adopted the customs and traditions of Baluchs. [Reference: "History of Pathans", Haroon Rashid, Volume-1, p-408]

Mianas were among the great nobles and feudatories of the Adil Shahi Sultans of Bijapur. The rulers of Savanur were descendants of Jan-Nisar Khan Miana who held the personal rank of 2,000 horse in the reign of Ismael Adil Shah who ruled from 1510 to 1535 AD. [ "Notes on Afghanistan and part of Balochistan", H.G.Raverty, p-516]

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A 17th century account of Balochs

A 17th century account of Balochs by Niccolao Manucci (1638–1717), an Italian writer and traveller who worked in the Mughal court. ;

""There is also another race called Baloche, who dwell on the farther side of the river Ravi, near the city of Multan, and as far as the confines of Persia. In this territory are many camels, which they bring for sale into the Mughal country. Usually they are expert camel-drivers, and serve everyone in that capacity. They wear long locks of hair, and are of a dark, ruddy complexion. During the march they sing as they ride their camels. These men never look for service as soldiers at the king's court ; only a few of their superior men act as governors and faujdars near their own country. This race can place in the field fifteen thousand horse and much infantry. Within their own country they are good soldiers, and they prevented Prince Akbar from invading the Mughal realm at the time he was helped by Shah 'Abbas. They are of the religion of the Mughals, and without a prince. " [Storia Do Mogor: Or, Mogul India,Vol-2, pp.454-455] "

Death of Bairam Khan at the hands of Afghans

This illustration to the Akbarnama depicts the assassination of Bairam Khan by Afghans beside the lake at Patan (Gujarat, India) in 1561


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Saddu Khan Abdali

Saddu was born in 1558 AD, during the reign of Shah Tahmasp Safavi of Iran. Majority of the writers of repute, namely, Muhammad Hayat Khan, Munshi Abdul Karim, Ganda Singh, Atta Muhammad and Sir Olaf Caroe are of the view that Saddu was the son of Umar Khan Popalzai. At the age of ninety, his father, Umar - eight years before his death - appointed Saddo his successor and performed the 'belt and sword-girding' ceremony with his own hands. Saddo was only twenty five years old then. But this talented young man was so promising and popular that his elevation to the chieftainship of the tribe was welcomed and acclaimed by all, including his sixty years old brother Malik Saleh [4]. When Kandahar became a bone of contention between the Mughals and the Safavids , Malik Saddu allied himself with Shah Abbas instead of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Malik Saddu, helped Shah Abbas Safavi in conquering Qandahar in 1622 (1032 A.H.). Shah Abbas, therefore, realising Malik Saddu's importance in the territory of Qandahar, acknowledged his chiefdom and bestowed upon him the government of 'Safa' along- with the title of Mir-i-Afghan. He also exempted Alus Abdali and Malik Saddu from paying annual tribute to the Safavid Emperor. Malik Saddu was a great warrior, a politician and a pious man. [1]