Saturday, November 22, 2014

History of Bannuchis

It will be convenient to adopt the simple style of narration in which the people themselves relate their story, and which would bear almost literal translation into idiomatic Pashto. Now when the abomination of idolatry had ceased in the land, it remained desolate for two hundred years, until, in the reign of Shahab-u-d Ghori, it was peopled by a race of true believers of the tribes of Mangal and Hani. They lived in peace for many generations, until they forsook the laws of the Lord and his prophets, and withheld tithes from their Pir Sheikh Muhammad. Then the holy Pir, seeing that their ways were evil, was vexed in his heart, and called his son, and said, " Go thou to the hill called Shawal, and say to the sons of Shah Farid,  Come, and ye shall inherit the land ; ' " and the young man rose up, and went and said, "Come, for my father calleth you." Then the children of Shah Farid, who was also called Shitak, were glad, for they were sore pressed at the hands of men of the tribe Wazir, and they girded up their loins, and with their wives and little ones came down from the mountains, and camped at the mouth of the pass called Tochi. Then their elders assembled together, and said, " Let us send three pigeons to the Mangals and Hanis, as a sign of what we shall do unto them." Then they took three pigeons, and the first they left entire, and the second they plucked of its wing-feathers alone ; but on the third they left not a feather, and moreover they cut off its head and feet; and they sent a messenger with them, who said to the elders of the Mangals and Hanis, "The Lord is wroth with you, for you have treated his Pir scornfully, and he has delivered you into our hands ; if ye rise and flee, even as this pigeon ye shall be safe ; if ye remain, ye shall be maimed even as this one ; and if ye resist, ye shall be destroyed even as this one.Then the Mangals and Hanis feared exceedingly, and it happened unto them as unto the pigeons. When the children of Khatak also had been expelled, the Bannudzais divided the land amongst themselves by lot.

Now Bannu was the wife of Shitak, whence his descendants were called Bannudzais, and she had two sons. Kiwi, which was the father of Miri and Sami, and Surani. The share of the sons of Miri fell to the south, of the sons of Sami in the middle, and of the sons of Surani to the north and west. Now the name of the land was Daud, for there was much water ; but the Bannudzais dug drains and sowed corn and Said, "Let us call this place Bannu, after our mother, for it is fruitful, even as she was." And they did so.

Then there was peace in the land for four hundred years, and the people waxed great and multiplied, and obeyed the commands of their priests. In those days holy men, hearing there was plenty in Bannu, came there from the west and the south � a vast multitude; but there was room for them all.
After many generations Bannu passed from the hands of the Kings of Delhi, and became a part of the kingdom of Kabul ; but when the power of the king waxed faint, the leaders of the Bannudzais raised their heads, and each said in his heart, " There is no ruler in the land, lo, I shall make myself chief! " And the people were perplexed, saying in their hearts, " Whom shall we follow ? " So they divided themselves into two parties, the " black " and the " white," and there was war in the land for many years. Then the Wazirs saw there was strife and discord in Bannu, that the land was good, so they stretched their hands forth for the prey. There was sore trouble in those days, but the cup of bitterness was not yet full, for a race of infidels came from the east and harassed the land even for twenty years.

Excerpt from Bannu Or Our Afghan Frontier by S. S. THORBURN