Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ghakkars and Afghans


Ghakkars were subjects of Lodhi Sultans and remained peaceful till the time of invasion of Babur. This is also verified by Babur who records in his tuzk-i-baburi, "Tatar Ghakkar had waited on Daulat khan and was in a certain way subject to him" .[2]

The authority of Khan Kaju or Gaju Yusufzai, chief of Khashi tribes, was acknowledged from Nangrahar to Margalla pass and from upper swat to Pindi and Kalabagh. Adam Khan Ghakkar was his feudatory. Khan Gaju's power may be gauged from the fact that he had at one time a force of 150,000 men under his command[3]

 In 1541, Sher Shah, having driven the Emperor Humayun from India, led an expedition against Ghakkars who sided with Humayun.Sher Shah threatened to construct such a fort in that country that it should not only effectually restrain the Ghakkars, but also the passage of the Mughals. He therefore himself made a tour through the hills of Girjhak Nlnduna [mountains circumjacent],‘ and finding a fit spot, he laid the foundations of the fort, which he called Rohtas.

Besides that, he sent a large force against Rai Sérang, the Ghakkar, and not only was the country subdued, and the hill of Balna'th plundered, which was then the residence of the Darogha of that tract, but the daughter of its chief was taken prisoner, and conducted before Sher Shah, who presented her to Khawas Khan; upon which Rai Sérang, they relate, sent a quantity of [hemp] blankets and millet to Sher Shah, with the remark that in such only consisted their raiment and food, besides which they could afford nothing; according to others, he sent a lion’s skin and some [arrows] spears, which he said was their only property. With this conduct, however, Sher Shah was by no means satisfied. Sarang [Sarang’s troops] being weakened by [skirmishes] the attacks of“ the holy warriors, and greatly reduced and straitened, submitted himself in person to Sher Shah, who ordered him to be flayed alive, and his skin to be filled with straw, and so pay the penalty of his misdeeds.

Sher Shah issued farmans to complete the fortifications of Rohtas ; but Todar Khatri represented that the Ghakkars, to whom that country belonged, would not allow any one to work for wages; and that they had agreed amongst themselves, upon oath, to expatriate every person that should contravene their wishes. Sher Shah, in answer, told him [that he should noways be allowed to give up that work, which he only wished to do in consequence of his greediness for gold] that the work did not seem to advance under his superintendence, and that a man who was fond of money, and was alarmed about disbursing it, would never accomplish the king’s designs. Todar, on the reception of this fresh command, fixed first a golden ashrafi as the enormous remuneration for one stone, which induced the Ghakkars to flock to him in such numbers that afterwards a stone was paid with a rupee, and this pay gradually fell to five tankas, till the fortress was completed." ’[4]

Rohtas fort


After the defeat at the hands of Islam shah, Niazis took refuge with the Ghakkars, in the hill-country bordering on Kashmir. Islam Shah advanced in person with a large army for the purpose of quelling the Niazi rebellion, and during the pace of two years was engaged in constant conflicts with the Ghakkars, whom he desired to subdue. He strove by every means in his power to gain possession of the person of Sultan Adam Ghakkar, who had been a faithful friend of the Emperor Humayun, without success; but he caught Serang Sultan Ghakkar, who was one of the most noted men of his tribe, and caused him to be flayed alive, and confined his son, Kamal Khan, in the fort of Gwalior. When Islam Shah had thus taken a proper revenge of Sultan Adam Ghakkar, and destroyed many of his tribe, many of the zaminda'rs whose possessions were at the foot of the hills submitted themselves to him. Skirting the hills.[5]

Kamal Khan Ghakkar was released from prison by Mughals when they came into power. He was sent against  Miyanah Afghans, who had revolted near Saronj (Malwah), and was made on his return jagirdar of Karah and Fathpiir Huswah. Prince Salim was married to a daughter of Sayd Khan, a brother of Kamal Khan.[6]

In 1586 when Zain Khan Koka failed to subdue Afghan tribes, he appealed for reinforcements. Akbar, from his base camp at attock, dispatched fresh contingents of troops under the commands of Raja Birbal and Hakim Abu Fateh respectively to march upon Swat valley from two different directions. Sayid Khan Ghakkar was part of this military expedition. However their armies were annihilated by Afghans and Bribal perished in the battle. Zain Khan and Abu fateh survived the disaster and escaped to the fort of Aattock with great difficulty.

 During the civil commotions of Jehangir's reign the Niazais are said to have driven the Ghakkars across the Salt Range, and though, in the following reign, the latter recovered their position, still their hold on the country was precarious. In 1748 a Durrani army under one of Ahmad Shah's generals crossed the Indus at Kalabagh, and drove out the Ghakkars, who still ruled in the cis-Indus tracts of the district, owing nominal allegiance to the Emperor at Delhi. Their stronghold, Muazzam Nagar, was razed to the ground, and with their expulsion was swept away the last vestige of authority of the Mughal Emperor, in these parts.
Mian Ali, who founded Mianwali in Ghakar times, is said to have been a holy man from Baghdad. He gained ascendancy over the Niazi settlers in the country by encouraging them to throw off the yoke of the Ghakars. His promises of success were fulfilled, and the Ghakars were driven out of the country about the middle of the last century.[7]

Under Durrani rule , Ghakkars were given the charge of lower parts of Hazara, their chief Sultan Jaffar khan famous for his uprightness. But Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa drove them from their lands. In 1868 British gave back entire Khanpur tract to Ghakkars.[8]

References:
1.  The Panjab chiefs, historical and biographical notices By Lepel Henry Griffin (sir.), page-575
2.  The Frontier Policy of the Delhi Sultans By Agha Hussain Hamadani, page-179
3.  Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West ..., Volume 1, page-241
4.  The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians the Muhammadan ..., Volume 5, page-115
5.  The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period ... By Sir Henry Miers Elliot, John Dowson, page-493
6.  The Ā-'īn-i Akbarī: A Gazetteer and Administrative Manual of Akbar's Empire and Past History of India, Volume 1, page-507
7.  Gazetteer of the Bannu district, 1883
8.  Gazetteer of the Hazara district, 1907 by Hubert Digby Watson