Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mir Nasir Khan Brahui of Kalat and Ahmad Shah Abdali

In 1737, the Baloch came in contact with Nadir Shah Afshar As the stories of the success of Nadir Shah Afshar spread, the Brahui Khans of Kalat abandoned the Afghans and went over to the side of the Persian despot. Major H.G. Raverty on page 613 of his Notes writes that on 22nd April 1737 AD, the sons of Mir Abdullah Khan of Kalat, namely, Mir Mohabat Khan, Mir Iltaz and Mir Nasir Khan visited Nadir Shah at Kandahar. According to Nadir Nama the latter confirmed Mohabat Khan as ruler of Kalat. The younger two brothers with their stepmother named Bibi Mariam remained behind with Nadir Shah who granted them the revenue of Shal/Quetta district, which belonged to the Kasi Afghans. Subsequently he cancelled this grant as Mir Nasir had killed his brother Mir Iltaz. However, subsequently Nadir Shah further allotted a portion of Kachh-Gandawah tract that also belonged to the Panni Afghans.

On assassination of Nadir Shah Afshar, Ahmad Khan Abdali and Mir Nasir Khan of Kalat returned to their respective homelands. They had become acquainted with each other during the long period of their service with Nadir Shah. The assassination of Nadir Shah was a landmark in the process of the commencement and evaluation of Afghan as well as Baloch nationalism.Mir Nasir Khan of Kalat did not stay at Kalat any longer and soon went over to Kandahar. He was present at the time of the coronation ceremony of Ahmad Shah Abdali. However, the latter confirmed Mohabat Khan as ruler of Kalat. According to G.P. Tate, in Appendices to his Memoirs On Kalat, Mohabat Khan killed Muhammad Talib Kansi on whom Ahmad Shah had conferred the office of Arbab. The King replaced him with Mir Nasir Khan.

Sir Olaf Caroe (The Pathans, p-372) writes:-Ahmad Shah, on setting up his new kingdom in that city in 1747, enforced the submission of the Brahuis,and regarded his empire as extending almost to the sea. If any doubt were held to exist upon the point,it would be resolved by the fact that, in order, to fix his new dependant's loyalty, Ahmad Shah proceeded to the unprecedented lengths of bestowing upon him an Afghan district, the valley of Shal, in which Quetta is situated. The settlement of Brahuis in the villages just south of Quetta, dates from that time.

Qazi Nur Muhammad in Jang Nama 1764 AD says that Shal was granted to Mir Nasir Khan by Ahmad Shah as a reward for his jihad against the Sikhs. However, Akhund does not make mention of this grant while Pottinger (Travels in Balochistan and Sindh) says that Shal was given to Nasir Khan for his bravery in the battle of Mashhad.

S. Fida Yunas, a knowledgeable scholar on the Afghanistan affairs, in Afghanistan, A Political History Vol-I, on page 105, states, With a difficult situation for the Afghans in India (1758 AD), Nasir Khan, a formally loyal Brahui Chieftain, also availed of the opportunity and declared his independence. A Brahui Baloch confederation, centered in Kalat state, threatened Ahmad Shah Abdali, Nasir Khan was defeated but was allowed to rule locally in return for the right to ask for troops to serve in time of War. Nasir Khan gave a cousin in marriage to Ahmad Shah, with Quetta and Mastung as wedding gifts. Ahmad Shah in this venture wanted to save his strength for the Mahrattas threat in India.

Soon after in 1759 AD, Ahmad Shah, joined by Nasir Khan Brahui of Kalat, reached Punjab via Balochistan with a view to stem the westward expansion of the Mahrattas. Throughout his stay in Hind the Brahui Chief remained his most trusted aide. The latter was also present with Ahmad Shah in January 1764-65 AD to fight against the Sikhs who had wrought devastation in the Punjab. After routing the Sikhs, Ahmad Shah offered the territories of Chenab, Jhang, Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan to Nasir Khan as a parting gift. However, the latter declined to accept the control over the areas offered.