Friday, October 31, 2014

Malik Dilasa Khan of Bannu

The Bannuchis (who from 1823 to 1845 were every second or third year invaded by Sikhs} invaded a large Sikh army, which never entered their valley without fear and trembling ; and although it generally succeeded in squeezing out of them a considerable revenue, never quitted it without having suffered severe loss at the hands of some stout rebel. Thus on one occasion Malik Dilasa Khan head of the Daud shah Tappah, stood a siege of several days in his mud fort, and repulsed the Sikhs after inflicting upon them a loss of over two hundred men.' Now the Bannuchis as a tribe were a nation of cowards compared with the Marwats ; but they' had nearly four hundred compact villages, each a fort in itself, surrounded by a thick mud wall, strengthened with numerous towers, behind which they fought well. Added to this they were adepts at night assassination, and on the entrance of the Sikhs into their little Pandemonium, they by common consent suspended their own feuds for the time, called their Waziri foes "brothers," and attacked with one accord the Kafir (infidel) enemy whenever they could with safety to themselves. From first to last no attempt was made to occupy the valley permanently, and in open Marwat even it was not until 1844 that a fort was erected, a Sikh garrison located in it, and the country consigned to the tender mercies of a Kardar or revenue collector.

Dilasa Khan Bannuchi, some years before Edwardes first came to Bannu, repulsed with considerable loss a large Sikh force, which was besieging his village fort, and thus gained for himself undying fame. I give here some lines from the ballad celebrating his victory, which is still popular amongst Bannuchis and Marwats, to show the deep-rooted fanaticism of the people.

In the opening verses, the Sikhs are represented as boasting of their conquest of the valley; and first threatening Dilasa Khan with quick destruction should he not submit,and then, finding him obstinate, making tempting promises to him.

The 'Ghazi Dilasa' Taunts them as 'Kafirs' and replies:

"Countries are of no use to me:
If I am martyred, God will give me paradise.
All the world is fleeting, as we are born from earth."
The Sikh force came and pitched against Dilasa.
Day and night, oh friends! they fought without ceasing.
'Twas a great earthquake. Boys and girls were kept awake.
Thanks be to God that Dilasa came out with honour.
He fought with the infidels, he became a Ghazi.
All the people praise him; from sins he has been cleansed.
The Houris of paradise have made him their own - 'tis a truth from the book.
He put the Sikhs to flight. Where will they flee religionless?

Source: Bannú: Or Our Afghan Frontier by Septimus Smet Thorburn

When the news of Raja Sher Singh's rebellion at Multan reached Bannu, about the 25th September, the Sikhs rose in mutiny. They murdered Colonel Holmes, seized four light guns which had been withdrawn from the bastions for the purpose of being sent to Multan, and besieged Fatah Khan in the inner fort of Dalipghar. He called the Mubammadan tribes to arms, and many answered to the call, but the Malik had even in Bannu as many enemies as friends. First came to his aid Muhammad Khan Isakhel whom the Malik had once reinstated in his chiefship : then Dilasah Khan, whose name was a terror to the Sikhs, and who had beaten from his mud fort Tara Chand and the bravest of the Sikh Sirdars. With these came Jaffir Khan of Tappi, Bazid Khan Shorani, Sher Khan and Muhammad Azaz Khan Isakhel. (The Panjab chiefs, historical and biographical notices By Lepel Henry Griffin (sir.)page 531)

(It seems this Malik Dilasa khan supported besieged Malik fateh khan tiwana by Sikhs in bannu. In bannu gazetteer it is mentioned, without details, that dilasa khan had led a lashkar of dawar tribesmen against sikhs and english in Bannu .Sir Sir Herbert Edward , on his second visit to bannu in 1947, writes that all maliks of bannu attended his jirga except Dilasa khan, so it seems he was also hostile to English. By local accounts, he was exiled from bannu by British after the occupation of district and died a natural death , thats why he is called ghazi dilasa)

According to S.M.Latif, author of "History of Punjab', the zamindars of Ghari Dilasa Khan (Tappa daud Shah) in Bannu district raised the standard of revolt. Bukhshi Tara Chand and Sardars Sham Singh, Jai Singh, and Jagat Singh, At tariwallas, besieged the mutineers in the garhi, but the besieged, some two thousands in number, made a sudden sally, killing three hundred Sikhs with the fire of their matchlocks and wounding five hundred more. The Sikhs were compelled to raise the siege and retire to a distance of a kos from the garhi. The Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, on receiving news of this, forthwith ordered Raja Suchet Singh to march to the scene of insurrection at tho head of a force for the relief of the Sikh army. He was, however, much irritated at hearing of the disaster. Tara Chand had been created a dewan a about time before, and placed in charge of Bannu, Tank and Dera Ismail Khan. On the present occasion, he had with him the flower of the Sikh army.His force of eight thousands men and eight guns were led by the chiefs of atari, Nakka and Batala, and his ignominious repulse , with disgrace on his official career and a stain on his military character. He was highly indignant and fined dewan and his brothers Managal Sen and Ratan chand , 125,000 rupees.